By Mike McNulty, Crain News Service
PARSIPPANY, N.J. (April 2, 2015) — The Goodyear brand bicycle tire is back after a 36-year hiatus.
Goodyear has licensed Kent International Inc., which bills itself as the second largest producer of bicycles and accessories for the mass market in the U.S., to use the Goodyear name on bicycle tires and tubes in the U.S., its territories and Canada.
Kent President Scott Kamler said the deal “will revolutionize the bicycle industry and meet the growing demands of cycling. We look forward to offering Goodyear-brand products to the consumer with one of the best known and most respected names in the tire business.”
Parsippany-based Kent has begun outsourcing production of the tires and tubes overseas, said Mr. Kamler, noting the license agreement with Goodyear covers five years. The boxed products are expected to be available for purchase at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Dunham's Athleisure Corp. stores this spring.
Bicycle tires were among the first products Goodyear manufactured after it was founded in 1898, said Nancy Ray, Goodyear's director of licensed products. “We're excited about our licensee agreement with Kent and that bicycle tires will once again be sold under the Goodyear brand.”
A Goodyear spokesman said the Akron-based tire maker stopped manufacturing the tires and tubes in 1979.
Kent said that once the tires and tubes are manufactured, they are folded into smaller boxes about the size of a softball and shipped.
“This agreement was born out of consumer demand and serves as a natural extension of our core business,” Ms. Ray said. “We couldn't ignore the statistics on the growth and popularity of cycling and look forward to working with Kent International.”
Kent's Goodyear product line will include all new tread patterns marketed and designed by Kent. Product specifications include: all tires are folded; regular and self-sealing tubes will be available; and sizes will range from 12 inches to 29 inches.