USWE Sports AB, a publicly traded backpack company based in Malmö, Sweden, has acquired Bend, Oregon-based Giant Loop LLC, the off-road motorcycle soft luggage brand. The purchase agreement was signed Wednesday, with the transaction is scheduled to close on July 1.
The acquisition provides USWE with a strong position in the premium segment for panniers, saddlebags, tank bags and dry bags for the off-road powersports market. Giant Loop’s Bend headquarters offers USWE a USA base of operations for further expansion in North America. Products from both companies are expected to reach new customers from overlap in each company’s pre-existing customer bases, and Giant Loop´s products will be offered through USWE´s global distribution network.
Armadillo Bag LLC, a new automotive brand created by Giant Loop’s founder, is also included in the acquisition. Its focus on international overland travel provides new markets and sales channels for all three companies’ products.
Giant Loop LLC was founded in 2008 by owner Harold Olaf Cecil. The company designs and manufactures a portfolio of premium products with dual sport and adventure motorcycles as a primary focus and side-by-sides, snow bikes and snowmobiles representing crossover powersports markets. Product design and development and all other primary business functions are based in Bend, and production is outsourced to USA facilities, as well as factories in Asia. Sales are generated through an omni-channel model, where the split between D2C and B2B is approximately 50/50.
Cecil will continue to lead the company for at least two years, focusing on the best integration between USWE and Giant Loop. He will also be one of USWE´s largest shareholders.
“Giant Loop is a perfect partner for USWE in the USA,” said Jacob Westerberg, CEO USWE Sports. “We started our companies in the same time period, and our founders met early in each companies’ history. We share similar company values, as well as product design and development vision. Our two product lines also perfectly match each other, where USWE focuses on the rider and Giant Loop focuses on the bike gear. So far, Giant Loop has been developing soft luggage for off-road and adventure motorcycles. However, we see great potential in developing bags and luggage also for e-bikes, mountain bikes and gravel bikes. The barrier between a motorcycle and a bicycle is getting more and more blurry, and we would like to provide the best available gear for the new bikes and the new riders. Giant Loop headquarters are in Bend, Oregon, an ideal location for USWE and our focus for the coming years, whether it will be on the bike, on foot or on skis. Together, we have already identified several synergies in sales, distribution and manufacturing and we are looking forward to implementing and benefitting from them. I am convinced that this acquisition will massively strengthen both Giant Loop and USWE.”
“I am excited about the transaction with USWE Sports,” Cecil said. “For me, the acquisition represents the culmination of 15 years of my life’s work. The excellent fit of our markets, brands and business cultures truly compliments both company’s strengths. We’ve used, sold and promoted USWE products ourselves for many years at Giant Loop already, and we look forward to collaborating with such an innovative, category leading brand and company.”
“Uswe” (pronounced YOU-SWII) is Swedish slang for “kick ass.” The company is highly regarded for its “No Bouncing Monkey” patented harness technology for performance backpacks developed for high impact action sports, such as off-road motorcycling, mountain biking, trail running, skiing and snowmobiling. The innovative NDM harness technology makes the packs 100% bounce free in action and it allows the user the freedom to move and breathe without cramping its style.
The team behind USWE grew up riding off-road motorcycles in the Swedish countryside. Out of frustration with backpack designs of the day, the founders purchased a used industrial sewing machine in 2007 and began creating their own designs — a story that parallels the creation and development of Giant Loop.
As a longtime and frequent winner of the annual Powersports Business Nifty 50 products and accessories contest, Cecil and the Giant Loop team are receiving big props and congratulations from PSB!