Nearly three years after a wrenching transition of the Diamondback fitness division from Southern California to near Seattle, the company is set to debut a new, refined product line that will culminate its three-year transition plan. To boot, it will be Diamondback’s 20th anniversary product.
“Diamondback Fitness became part of a dynamic culture of design innovation at a time of significant growth for Diamondback bicycles,” said Steve Meineke, president of parent Raleigh America, referring to the re-location of the fitness division to the home of the bike division in spring 2008. Since no employees made the move, an all-new team was in place about four months later under Brian Davidson, division director. (Click here to see a March 31, 2008, SNEWS® story about the reorganization.)
In the last two years, the fitness division (www.diamondbackfitness.com) has been quiet but has focused on product development and design, said Davidson, taking cues from the bike segment and working to develop a look that tied the two together to identify them as one brand.
“Culturally, everybody thought there was an opportunity to work more closely with the bike people,” Davidson said. “We needed people to recognize that Diamondback was both bikes and fitness.”
First up was unification in look, including logo and colors, and then a reorganization and integration of its operations.
Then came design: Diamondback’s fitness division joined the bike division at Raleigh’s headquarters in Seattle, which had already been working on new design and new product developments for a few years. The division, which released its first fitness products in 1991, per Meineke, “pollinated and simulated the same move with fitness.”
“Product design innovation from concept to final product has been rapid and resulted in products that provide immediate floor appeal in look, styling and graphics,” Meineke told SNEWS. “We rely on the combination of great talent -- people in our team and outsourced talent -- to always bring new ideas. End result: speed to market.”
Design and product
At this point, the product line remains without treadmills since Diamondback decided to focus first on the popular elliptical segment, as well as on its strength -- cycles.
To be launched at the Health & Fitness Business Expo Sept. 22-23 in Las Vegas are four key products: a recumbent bike (910Sr, MSRP $899), a rear-drive elliptical (910Er, MSRP $1,699), an upright (910Ub, MSRP $799), and a new bike (910Ic, MSRP $899) that, according to Davidson, is a mix of the best of upright and studio cycles. The new hybrid bike maintains the compact nature of a studio cycle with a heavy flywheel, but adds electronic resistance and programs, like an upright bike. Plus, a self-generating electronic package means you can wheel it anywhere you want -- even on the back deck.
All use less plastic and they expose details of the frame, taking a cue from the bike segment, Davidson explained.
In addition, an Apple product docking station is on the first three products -- a long slot with a flip cover where a user can dock anything from his or her iPad to an iPod or iPhone, plus the slot comes equipped with a headphone jack as well as a USB port so other non-Apple products can be used while exercising.
“We have one overriding requirement -- unique design differentiation -- which we achieved in bikes and ellipticals,” Meineke said. “We foresee treadmills in our future under this guiding principal.”
Although treadmills are in the future, the retail line’s foundation is now ready for launch, Davidson said.
“The basics of the home line will now be in place,” he added, “and now we’ll take a hard look at treadmills and a light commercial product line.”
With nearly four decades in bikes and hitting two decades in fitness, Diamondback, which was acquired by Raleigh in 1999, is pointing to brand longevity and the ability to be more nimble.
“We are very pleased with our progress and have confirmation of a growth business in 2011, even considering the challenges, and (considering) a modest recovery in the specialty fitness sector,” Meineke said. “Our first priority is to work closely with leading IFDs -- Independent Fitness Dealers -- to grow their brand with our brand.”