There are brands, personalities, and event promoters that have achieved exceptional accomplishments in 2016. Here we are examining forward-thinking concepts for the sport, product design, or marketing campaigns that were surprising and inspiring, with the potential to revolutionize specific segments of the industry.

The Industry Award has been created to honor the accomplishments of teams and persons who are ready to revolutionize the known and build something entirely new. Idealists and realists, these award winners are a driving force within the industry with their innovative concepts and approaches. They’re also a source of inspiration for others, and proof of the benefits of pushing boundaries. This year, our international award team highlighted three winners across three categories.

Votec Gravel Fondo – Event of the Year

Despite last year’s Industry Award going to a similar concept – namely the Californian-born Grinduro – the Votec Gravel Fondo Event is even more elusive to define, blurring the boundaries of a race, a tour, a sportive, and a marathon event. The competitive elements are optional, and the refreshment and coffee stops obligatory.

The Votel Gravel Fondo continues to push progress towards merging various disciplines of cycling and prioritizing a good time and a shared experience. With participants ranging from pro road riders to downhillers, the Votec Gravel Fondo proved that fun and camaraderie are bigger draws than performance or podiums. Not only did everyone leave properly stoked from the experience, it also laid the scene for new friendships and great shared memories – this is surely the future of sporting events.


HNF Heisenberg – Newcomer of the Year

The new Berlin-based bike brand HNF Heisenberg have launched an innovative sales and service network where the consumer is king. They’ve decentralized sales, advice, test riding, and servicing so that it is within direct access of the consumer. Who among us would be opposed to a hand-delivered bike to test at home or a visit from the brand’s customer services to repair the bike? HNF have set up a great online portal for information where you can customize bikes and book test rides too. Then their staff swings by with the test fleet for a test ride and one-on-one chat. The brand is basically coming straight to the consumer, which gives them the chance to receive direct feedback on their products and cement relationships with their consumers. For the buyer, this saves time and stress while bringing them peace of mind regarding a purchase they’re happy with. As the expectations of today’s consumers are more and more demanding, this brand’s innovative sales approach rejects how successful customer service can look. In today’s increasingly competitive market, service splits the good from the great.


Oakley – Design Team of the Year

Smart products with artificial intelligence will soon become part of our future, but the challenge has gone beyond merely collecting data: the focus is now on how to interpret it so that the user benefits in a direct and easy-to-understand manner. This is where we see the Radar Pace from Oakley as setting a standard. A groundbreaking product, the Radar Pace are much more than just a pair of stylish sunglasses.They have the ability to gather real-time data during your training ride and give voice activated real-time feedback, analysis, and coaching. Elevating eyewear into a personal trainer, Radar is ushering in a new era of training.


Design & Innovation Award 2017 Special Issue

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Words: Photos: Diverse