Easton-Bell Sports (EBS), which is changing its name to BRG Sports because of the sale of its Easton baseball and softball business to Bauer Performance Sports, has extended its exclusive European distribution contract with Shimano for a further three years.

The new agreement covers all the products of its Giro, Bell and Blackburn brands, but introduces some exceptions because of their diversification into new product categories where they are in competition with those of Shimano, such as its cycling shoes and apparel.

Especially in the bigger markets of Europe, alternative distributors have been hired to deal with some brands and some products such as Giro's new and growing lines of cycling shoes and clothing or Blackburn's cycling pumps. In France, in particular, EBS/BRG has decided to stop working with Shimano, after four years of collaboration, and to reassign the distribution of all its cycling products, including the now licensed Easton Cycling brand, to Royal Velo France (RVF).

The new deal with RVF, which will take effect from July 1, looks particularly appropriate because RVF recently merged with Sport Pulsion, another major French sports distribution company that is already handling sales of Giro's snow helmets. The arrangement mirrors the contacts that EBS/BRG already has in place with Grofa in Germany and Chris Sport in Switzerland: in both countries, these distributors take care of all its snow and bike products.

Shimano Europe will continue to distribute the products of EBS/BRG in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Poland, but in the Benelux countries, its shoes and clothing have been sold since February by Jacobson, a company that belongs to AGU.

BRG's Easton Cycling division is not included in the deal with Shimano because the operation has just now being sold to its OEM producer, Chris Tutton, who owns Race Face Performance Products. Contrary to a report, the business does not include the cycling products sold by BRG under the Bell, Giro and Blackburn brands.