If you owned a bike in the 1980s or before in the UK, it was probably British-made. If you own one today, most likely it’s made abroad.
My 1980s Falcon racing bike was made in England. It is superb quality and a rides like a dream despite its age. Falcon Cycles is still going. The company owns and sometimes uses a number of different former British bicycle brands including Elswick, Hopper, Holdsworth (the Holdsworth brand is also used by Far East manufacturer Planet X Bikes), Falcon (once the second largest bicycle manufacturer in the UK after Raleigh; the factory in Barton-on-Humber closed in the mid-1980s and production was moved to nearby Brigg; in 2006 Falcon ceased UK production entirely, but by this time only a few high end bikes were being assembled in the UK by Falcon and most Falcon bikes were already being made abroad, since about 2002), British Eagle, Coventry Eagle (also previously a motorcycle manufacturer), Townsend, Wearwell and Claud Butler. The same company (Tandem) now owns Dawes cycles (the Dawes factory in Tyseley, Birmingham closed down in around 1990 and production was moved to the Far East) too. Like Raleigh Cycles, Falcon and Dawes (Tandem) do not make bikes in the UK nowadays, all their bicycles now being foreign made.
Sadly Raleigh stopped manufacturing bikes in the UK in 2002 (having already ceased volume production of bikes in the UK in 1999), and is no longer British owned, but at one point it was making more bikes than any other company in the world. Raleigh also made three-wheel cars (these operations were later spun off in 1934 to form the independent Reliant motor company) and mopeds (up until 1971).
Over the years Raleigh / Tube Investments Group / TI-Raleigh subsumed in various ways other famous British bike makers including Humber Cycles (originally cycle makers; later automobile makers too; the bicycle business was sold to Raleigh in the early 1930s and production under the name continued until the 1970s), Phillips Cycles, Triumph Cycles and BSA Cycles, Rudge Whitworth Cycles, Norman Cycles (Rambler), Carlton Cycles, Sun Cycles, Armstrong Cycles, Hercules Cycle (the Hercules brand still lives on in India, along with Philips and BSA, as part of the TI Cycles of India company, with production taking place in India still), Brooks (now Italian owned – see below), Sturmey-Archer (now Taiwanese owned and made in Taiwan), Moulton (now an independent company again – see below), Accles & Pollock (at one time a leading British bicycle tubing manufacture; now part of the Caparo Group; they ceased tube manufacturing in 2001 and now concentrate on manipulation projects for the aerospace and nuclear markets) and Reynolds (now an independent company again – see below).
The 17 minute film below is about the Raleigh bicycle factory. Filmed in 1945, it tells the story of bicycle manufacture in what was once the largest bicycle factory in England. The site was demolished in 1996.
During the mid-1970s Falcon produced a range of UK made Eddie Merckx branded cycles, as well as their own brand bikes. These were on sale in the UK and at the same time a company called Kessel of Belgium produced Eddie Merckx branded cycles for sale in Europe. There is a Belgium company called Eddie Merckx selling Eddie Merckx branded cycles today but these are made in the Far East I think.
Ernie Clements appears to have been a designer at Falcon Cycles at some point, designing the Eddie Merckx branded cycles by Falcon mentioned above, various Falcon bikes, and a range of Falcon Ernie Clements branded cycles too. He also had a cycle shop in Ledbury, Herefordshire in his later years.
Harry Quinn Cycles was a bicycle maker in Liverpool. In the 1980s the company moved to South Wales, with bikes having been made at both locations. The business began in 1890 as Coronet Cycles, with their last frame being build in 1993 when the company was wound up. At one point Falcon Cycles were badged as Harry Quinn, but did not carry the Harry Quinn frame numbering system. Harry Quinn bikes were apparently known for their short wheelbase and steep angles, relative to other marques and for being lightweight cycles. Frames were mostly Reynolds but sometimes used Italian made Columbus tubing. Judging by the prices (£230 – £775) in their 1988 brochure, these were high-end bicycles. Many famous cyclists rode Harry Quinn bikes including former World Champion Reg Harris (more normally associated with Raleigh) and 1959 Milk Race winner Bill Bradley. Mr Harry Quinn also designed bikes for Viking Cycles and Falcon. From 1981-89, Townsend and Falcon were licensed to use the Harry Quinn brand, after Harry retired. He and his son Peter bought back the name in 1989 and started making frames again in Wales. During this period in the 1980s attempts were made to cash in on the the brand name by having HQ bikes made in Ireland, in England and even aboard (in Japan?). Pre-1980 and post-1989 frames will carry a frame number in the format Qxxxx.
Viking bicycles were made in England from the mid 1930s (the company was founded in 1908 as a cycle assembler) until their demise in 1967. The brand then went through various ownerships and manufacturing locations. During the 1970s it appears the Viking factory in Wolverhampton made Lambert / Viscount bikes and that production was later moved to Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Lambert / Viscount bikes were popular in the USA (Viscount “the aerospace bike”) and are seemingly best remembered for their aluminium “Death Fork” and various other bits snapping off. The Viking name is currently owned by a company called Avocet based in Manchester, with manufacturing taking place in the Far East.
The Enfield Cycle Company (Royal Enfield) made good quality bicycles (and motorcycles, lawnmowers, stationary engines and rifle parts) in the UK and also made proprietary parts for other manufacturers under the Eadie name. UK production ceased in 1970. Enfield of India continue to make Royal Enfield motorbikes in India.
Hetchin’s (or Hetchins) Cycles started selling bicycles in the 1920s and from 1934 built bicycles originally in Leyton, London (they also had a shop in Tottenham), and from the 1970s in Southend (where they had a shop until 1990) and Leeds (at Bob Jackson Cycles – see below) and in Italy, with all production eventually by Bob Jackson Cycles (JRJ Cycles) in Leeds. Hetchin’s cycles are best known for the fancy lugs and curly stays on some of their models and people seem to be willing to pay larger sums for a vintage Hetchin bike than for other brands. In 1993 the brand name seems to have left Jackson Cycles and passed to David Miller who subcontracts the construction of Hetchin’s bikes under the name Hetchins Lightweights. On the internet it says that the current frame builder is Paul Riley of Preston, but perhaps tellingly there is no information about this or country of origin generally on the Hetchin’s Lightweights website, so you should ask about where these cycles are made before buying.
Bob Jackson Cycles (JRJ Cycles) is a specialist in frame building (all frames being built in the UK), frame repairs, and frame modifications, frame resprays and refinishing. They do not do bike repairs or builds and no longer have a shop or manufacture complete bikes. At one point they made own branded complete bikes under the Bob Jackson name, in 1955 they purchased the Merlin brand and made bikes under this name as well, and they used to make bikes for Hetchins (see above).
Bates Cycles – Horace Bates and EG (Eddie) Bates were brothers and initially produced frames and cycles as a partnership under the name Bates Brothers from 1926. They went their separate ways after the war with Horace Bates trading as Bates of London and later Bates of Westcliff, while Eddie Bates traded as EG Bates Cycles. EG Bates, who also had a cycle shop, appears to have traded up until the 1980s or even 1990s. Horace Bates production changed from thousands of machines post-war to small scale production throughout the 1960s. When Horace Bates died in 1968 his son Peter carried on with frames still produced in small numbers until the late 1980s. After Peter Bates retired in the early 1990s the design rights for the Bates Cantiflex frame and Diadrant forks were acquired by Ray Etherton who arranged for frame builder Ron Cooper (see below) to continue to build frames to order. In 2001, the production of new Bates Cantiflex frames was taken over by Martin Coopland of Classic Bikes, based in Scotland. I do not know whether they are still in production or if are UK made still.
Rick Powell was an employee at Carlton Cycles Worksop factory from the mid 1950’s until the factory closed in 1981. He then set up his own business, D D Enterprises, in Dinnington, and built high quality bicycle fames there until 2003.
The famous motorcycle manufacturer Matchless was also a bicycle maker. It is unclear how long bicycles were produced but they seem to disappear after W.W.II. The Matchless company operated from 1899 to around 1967.
Classic Rendezvous has details of many more vintage British bicycle manufacturers.
Many independent cycle shops have closed in recent years (for example Braggs in Abingdon; A. S. Gillott of Camberwell, London who also used to make bikes), but there are still some around. For example Graham Weigh (Deeside Cycles) in Shotton, Deeside sold their own brand of frame badged as Graham Weigh and now only sell / repair bikes. Ellis Briggs is a bicycle shop, based in Shipley, West Yorkshire, England. Post WW2 they started building their own frames and I understand they still do so today. Swinnerton Cycles in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent used to make their own branded bicycles with frames made by the likes of George Longstaff, Mercian and Keith Coppall, but these days only sell / repair bicycles. Harry Hall Cycles of Manchester used to make their own branded frames and bicycles, but now only sell / repair bikes. Peak Cycles, a bike shop that used to be in Matlock Bath in the 1980′s, used to sell their own branded cycles with frames made especially for them, but the shop has now gone. Geoffrey Butler Cycles is the name of a bike shop in Croydon, England and they used to have their own brand bicycles made for them, although these days now only sell / repair bikes.
There are other small cycle shops and repairers out there.
Argos Racing Cycles offer a frame re-spray and renovation service and custom frame making.
H Lloyd Cycles, the biggest supplier of cycle transfers (decals) in the world, have supplied bicycle transfers (decals) to individuals and the refinishing trade since 1982. I get the impression the stickers are made in England, but I am not sure so you will want to check – http://www.hlloydcycles.com
New foreign made mass produced bikes are just not in the same league quality wise as British made ones.
Reynolds is a manufacturer of tubing for bicycle frames and other bicycle and non-bicycle components (such as wheelchairs, sports cars, motorcycles, and industry) in Birmingham, England. They were established in 1898 and are still going. Sadly most Reynolds products are foreign made these days, for example the Reynolds “520” steel alloy range is made under license for Reynolds in Taiwan. Reynolds have supply partners in Taiwan, China and South Africa for their higher volume products. They still have a UK factory, but UK production now appears to be limited to specialist or custom-made steel and titanium tubing applications and made-to-order products. Their website gives some limited information on country of origin but you will need to ask Reynolds directly to be clear on where a particular product is made. Italian Columbus Tubing was a main competitor to Reynolds for many years and appear to still manufacture in Italy – http://reynoldstechnology.biz
Brooks England still make most of their bicycle saddles in England, but some are made in Italy. Most Brooks cycle bags, handlebar tape, trouser straps and so on are made in Italy or China. The company are Italian owned and seem to labour under the misapprehension that Euros are used in the UK, as prices are in Euros. They make one or two cycling rucksacks in the UK, e.g. the Eton leather satchel and the Piccadilly leather knapsack. Some Brooks leather toolbags are made in the UK, some Brooks shoulder bags are UK made, and some Brooks saddlebags are UK made. Mostly country of origin is clearly stated on their website. Brooks mud flaps are made in England, but their other accessories are foreign made. Brooks spare parts might be made in the UK or abroad, but you will have to ask them as country of origin is not given on their website for spare parts. Most of Brooks John Boultbee clothing is made in Italy or Romania, but a couple of pieces such as the Oxford Roll Up Rain Cape and the Criterion ladies cycling jacket are made in England. There’s an interesting article about Brooks that tells you something of their history here – http://www.brooksengland.com
Sturmey-Archer are now Taiwanese owned and manufacture only in Taiwan.
Brompton and Pashley, are both UK-owned, with factories in west London and Stratford-upon-Avon respectively. Brompton is now the largest volume bicycle manufacturer in this country, with Pashley, who made the last all UK-sourced bike in 1986, before Michelin closed their tyre factory in Stoke-on-Trent, not far behind.
Pashley Cycles is England’s longest established bicycle manufacturer. Founded in 1926 and based in Stratford-upon-Avon, all their bikes are made in England. Their range includes classic and commuter bikes as well as retro beach cruisers. Adult and children’s tricycles provide stability and pleasure on three wheels, with a range of trikes for those with special needs. Pashley also supplies high-quality work bikes, cargo bikes and load carrier tricycles for industrial and commercial use, offering companies an economical and environmentally friendly alternative for transporting food and equipment, vending, or delivering post. Note that Pashley also sell a child seat, racks and a basket made by Pletscher of Switzerland. They also sell a range of British made bags – http://www.pashley.co.uk
Also, there are folding / separable bikes with small wheels from the Moulton Bicycle Company, which are made in England. The Moulton Bicycle Company manufactures beautifully engineered small wheeled bicycles in Bradford-on-Avon. Moulton pioneered the small wheeled bicycle revolution 50 years ago and has continuously developed and refined this concept. Today it offers a range of models for touring, sport, racing, audax, commuting and leisure use. All Moulton bicycles are made in England, except for the Bridgestone Moulton which is made in Japan. I assume some or all Moulton accessories are UK made, but do check before buying. In 1967 Moulton was taken over by Raleigh. In the early 1980s, Alex Moulton bought back the rights to the Moulton design from Raleigh and the company was once more independent. In 2008 Moulton merged with fellow British bicycle manufacturer Pashley Cycles – http://www.moultonbicycles.co.uk
Brompton Bicycle is a manufacturer of folding bicycles based in Brentford, London. All Bromptons are designed and built in England. Brompton state their philosophy is “a product that increases people’s independence and freedom” and they describe he Brompton as “a personal transport solution, allowing people to rethink and vary and adapt their journeys at will; their Brompton sets them free from the constraints imposed by the combustion engine, city planners, the weather, public transport administrators, bike thieves and countless other layers of complexity”. Brompton also have a stolen bikes database, which appears to be a rather good idea. There’s a Brompton World Championship race. There are Brompton shops or your can buy online or from a dealer. Brompton sell a range of spares, available from dealers. They also sell accessories but I am not sure where these are made as country of origin is not stated on their website, although some are certainly British made fro example the Chapman Brompton Game Bag. You can also hire a Brompton from various locations across the UK – http://brompton.com
But what if you don’t want a separable or folding bike or an upright? The good news is that it is still possible to get a British made or at least partly British made bicycle. There are still a few small companies producing hand built frames and complete bikes such as Mercian Cycles, Shand, Ted James, Wilson Cycles (F.J. Wilson), Villiers-Velo, Roberts Cycles, Chickens Frame Emporium, Orange Mountain Bikes (note that whilst high end Orange bikes are built in Yorkshire using components from all over the world, Orange entry level bikes are made in Taiwan) and 14 Bike Company. Lee Cooper make frames in the UK for the 14 Bike Company.
Below is an interesting video from Mr Porter about a Paul Smith Mercian Cycles order.
Enigma Bikes make bikes and frames in the UK. Thorn (St. John Street Cycles) touring bikes are assembled in Bridgwater to customer specifications; it is not clear from their website but seemingly using mostly foreign made components including foreign made frames. Vickers Bicycle Company build frames and wheels and assemble in Britain. Sven Cycles are hand built in Dorset, England (also available from Meccanica). Starley Bikes are built in the UK (also available from Meccanica). T.J. Cycles (Trevor Jarvis Cycles) make hand built lightweight frames including the ‘Flying Gate’ design, as well as making complete bicycles, and doing bicycle repairs and restoration. Moss Bikes make bespoke adult and children’s bikes using UK handmade frames and, where possible, British parts (see below for more on Moss Bikes).
Woodsman Bicycle Company bikes are made in England, using Reynolds tubing. Stanforth Bikes are built in the UK; their Kibo cross over is made using Reynolds 631 tubing by Lee Cooper. Gladstone Motorcycles also make bicycles, using a Mercian frames and forks made from 725 Reynolds tubing. Baldwin Titanium specialise in building high end, custom fitted titanium bicycle frames and each and every bike is hand crafted in Beverley, East Yorkshire, England. Sword Cycles hand build steel cycle frames, forks and complete bikes in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England. Steve Goff Cycles make custom built cycle frames and complete bicycles. Hobo bicycles are made in Coventry, England. Craddock custom carbon fibre bike frames manufactured in England. Grimcycles make frames (using Reynolds possibly English but more likely foreign made tubing or Columbus Italian made tubing) and complete bicycles in England (they also make messenger bags). George Longstaff manufacture custom build bicycles, tricycles and tandems and also adapt machines for use by those with special needs. Vernon Barker Cycles (previously known as M&B Cycles) manufacture custom built bicycles and tandem bicycle frames and carry out renovations from their workshop in Dronfield, England.
Prices for bike handbuilt in the UK can be reasonable. You can also try to specify British made components for your bike.
Cotic mountain bikes are currently assembled in the UK using pre-painted Taiwanese made frames and other foreign made components. Starting in 2014 all their droplink full suspension frames (such as the Rocket) will be produced in the UK at their sister company Bicycle Manufacturing Limited, in South Yorkshire. Bicycle Manufacturing Limited (BML) is a new venture that hopes to make bicycle frames and components in the UK, starting with some for Cotic, and they hope to be able to compete with Taiwanese factories on price but with greater flexibility on production and speed of development. Eventually they hope to be able to manufacture for other brands too – http://www.bicyclemanufacturing.co.u
Empire Cycles mountain bikes are made in the UK. Quoting from their website – “All Empire frame parts are designed, manufactured, and assembled in the UK: no exceptions” and “wherever possible, we will source British products over imports as a matter of course. The more local, the better” – http://www.empire-cycles.com
Moss Bikes make “frames and build bikes using as many British made parts as possible”. Perhaps they could be encouraged to have their tee-shirts, bags, and mugs made in the UK too but they are printed in Cheshire in the UK. Moss Bikes sell a very well made British made traditional bicycle water bottle, as well as USE seat posts and bars, and Exposure lights. Wound Up are an American company and the forks Moss Bikes sell are made in the USA. Moss tell me they use British made Reynolds tubing. – http://www.mossbikes.co.uk
Bottle Sport plastic custom made water bottles are all manufactured in the UK. Bottle Sport are the UK’s leading manufacturer of Sport Bottles, Bike Bottles and Bidons for the cycle trade and sports in general. For educational insistutions, schools, sports clubs, businesses, etc. Minimum order quality is 50. No purchase option for individuals on their website – http://www.bottlesport.com
The only UK made metal water bottle cage (handlebar mounted or frame mounted) I can find is the USE one below (and no country of origin information is given for that). Are there any British made water bottle cages?
Hope Technology (IPCO) Ltd make bike components and lights in England. On their website they say “Hope Technology is one of the world leaders in engineering bicycle components. Since 1989, owners Ian Weatherill and Simon Sharp have been pushing the industry forward through designing, testing and manufacturing virtually all products in-house at the factory in Barnoldswick, United Kingdom”. Good stuff. Hope Technology products include hubs, brakes, stems, grips, headsets, lights, wheels, chain rings, jockey wheels, chain guides, bottom brackets, pedals, seat clamps, stem caps, stem spacers, end caps, quick releases, and bike wash.
Their clothing though is made by others and they do not bother to give country of origin, so it it may well be foreign made. One of their suppliers is Endura (see below) who do make some products in the UK. Another supplier is RoyalRacing who make no mention of UK manufacture on their website, so are presumably just importers – http://www.hopetech.com
Endura make some of their cycle clothing in the UK. “The company currently manufactures both with partner companies and also in its own custom built 42,000 square feet (3,900 sq m) facility in Livingston, Scotland”. Unfortunately Endura do not bother to state country of origin on their website, so you will want to ask them where each particular item you might be interested in is made – http://www.endurasport.com
Ultimate Sports Engineering (USE), parent company of Exposure Lights which I mention below, also produce bike components in the UK – seat posts, handlebars, wheels, stems and headsets, cranks, chainrings, shims, bottle cages and water bottles. USE market cycling components under the USE brand, cycle lighting under the Exposure Lights brand and marine lighting under the Exposure Marine brand. On the Facebook pages for USE and Exposure Lights it says made in England in the headers, but it does not say this on the Exposure Marine Facebook page. It would be advisable to check that the particular product you are interested in is actually made in the UK. Some USE products, such as their clothing, are undoubtedly foreign made, but unfortunately country of origin is not given against individual products on their website – http://www.use1.com
Middleburn Cycle Components Ltd in Surrey make British made bicycle components; chainwheels, spiders and cranks, bottom brackets, chain ring bolts, cable oilers, headset spacers, self extract bolts, and valve caps; all 100% made in their factory in their UK – http://www.middleburn.co.uk
Great British Bike Build (GBBB) was started as a hobby in 2012 rebuilding a bike using as many British made parts as they could find. They are now manufacturing a small number of components themselves (at present just a headset), repairing bikes and spraying bikes with company logos. Great British Bike Build build bikes to order, using British made components where possible. They specialise in the utility bicycle and bicycles from GBBB usually come fitted with carriers, dynamo lighting, mudguards and stands. You can purchase on line or by visiting their retail shop in Gloucester. – http://www.greatbritishbikebuild.co.uk
GB Cycle Components was so named after its founder Gerry Burgess (and not Great Britain as many presumed). The last GB brakes were made in the 1970s, but GB continued with bars and stems into the early 1990s. There are rumours on the net from 2011 that GB Cycle Components are back, revived with Pashley marketing GB componenets as a joint venture with Jeremy Burgess son of the late Gerry Burgess, with parts being made in the UK using the original tooling. The wingnuts are back on sale through the Pashley Collection website and feature on some Pashley bikes (as shown in their August 2013 catalogue), but otherwise all seems quite on the GB Cycle Components revival. This was the brand that revolutionised cycle brakes after the Second World War and it would be great to see it back and manufacturing in the UK. They is a GB Components website, but it does not seem to do very much – http://www.g-b.cc
Cyclo was a company that ran from 1932 – 1969 and, all produced in Birmingham, they made derailleurs, freewheels, frame bits, and accessories such as pump pegs and saddle supports.
Shimano (best known for gears) of course is a Japanese company and I’m not sure where they manufacture. SunTour (best known for gears) are a former Japanese company, now Taiwanese owned, and I don’t know where their manufacturing takes place. Weinmann (best known for brakes) were a Swiss company (now defunct). Campagnolo (best known for gears) is an Italian company and again I don’t know where they manufacture. Wikipedia has a pretty comprehensive list of notable international bicycle brands and manufacturing companies past and present and a less comprehensive list of international bicycle part manufacturers and brands past and present.
Fibrax manufacture brake pads, disc pads and control cables both for bicycles and industrial applications are at their Wrexham site, as well as rubber and plastic moulded parts, for Automotive and other industries. You will want to check with them whether the product you want is UK made, as country of origin is not stated for particular products – http://www.fibrax.com
VeloSolo distribute a range of own-branded UK made precision bike components including bolt-on and threaded track cogs, CNC chainrings, spacer kits, and handlebars for fixed wheel or singlespeed bicycles, as well as selling foreign made parts from other companies –http://www.velosolo.co.uk
Restrap say on their website that most of their products are still made in Yorkshire. Unfortunately they do not give country of origin against the products on their website. In some instances you can see the words “made in Yorkshire” on pictures of products, but this is just their logo and does not mean a particular product is made in Yorkshire! For example their beanies are clearly labelled “made in Yorkshire”, but in fact are made abroad! They are very helpful and you will just have to ask about the provenance of a particular product you are interested in. They started off making pedal straps and now also make hip pouches, messengers bags, musettes, ruck sacks, lock belt holsters, a belt bottle holster, etc. Their t-shirts and crew necks are printed in Yorkshire, but foreign made. Their jerseys and bibs are foreign made. Given the lack of clarity about where their products are made, best to ask before buying – http://restrap.co.uk
Brampton Brothers were manufacturers of cycle chain and cycle fittings; they were purchased by the Coventry Chain Company in 1925, who subsequently merged with Hans Renold in 1930. Renold do still have a factory in the UK and a factory in the USA, but most production now takes place in Shanghai and Changzhou in China, and as far as I can gather they no longer make bicycle chains. Does anyone still make bicycle chains in the UK?
A few small companies make bicycle lights in the UK, such as Exposure Lights, Hope Technology (mentioned above) and Lumicycle. I use a Clulite (Cluson Engineering) small torch attached to my handlebars as my front head light and it’s very bright and an old made in England Eveready red light at the rear (sadly Eveready no longer make bike lights in the UK), backed up by tiny modern flashing lights front and rear. Clulite also make purpose made cycle lights.
For the safety of others it is essential you have a bell on your bicycle. As far as I know Lion Bellworks are the only company currently manufacturing bicycle bells in the UK. Lion Bellworks produces high-quality solid brass bells based in retro designs, and is particularly proud of the ring, which it describes as having “a musical quality that is loud and clear with a long sustain”. Parts are manufactured in Birmingham and Barnsley, England. The bells are assembled in Manchester. You can see and hear a Lion Bell in the YouTube video below – http://www.lionbellworks.co.uk
Mapdec handlebar map boards are now being made in the UK (previously they were made in China).
Full Windsor (folding) mudguards are NOT made in the UK.
Woodguards wooden mudguards appear to be made in the UK.
It is stated on the Freeman’s Cycles website that Spencer mudguards (or at least the ones featured there) are manufactured in the UK. I wrote to Spencer Manufacturing Ltd to try to confirm this on 11th July 2014, but they have not replied to my email. Please check with Spencer yourself if you are thinking of buying any of their products , as to whether they are still British made or not.
I’m told that CycraGuard plastic road and mountain bike mudguards are made in the UK, however it does not say on their website where they are made so you will want to check – http://www.cycraguard.co.uk
Crud Products was founded in 1991. They make mudguards for mountain bikes and road bikes. They design, manufacture and test all their products in the UK. I found their products on the Cycle Solutions websites, but they are elsewhere on the web too – http://www.crudproducts.com
Fenwick’s bike care products are all manufactured in the UK (as incidentally is 95% of their packaging as well) – cycle cleaning fluids, bike and chain cleaning sponges, grease and oils, maintenance kits, and tubeless sealant. Fenwick’s also make caravan, motorhome, tent and awning (cleaning and re-proofing) care products in the UK. http://www.fenwicks.info
WD-40 is made in the UK (careful though, the little bottles sold in the pound shops are imported). WD-40 UK is a wholly-owned subsidiary of WD-40 in the USA and is manufactured in various locations across the globe, including it seems the UK. WD-40 also owns 3 in One oil and 1001 Carpet Cleaner, but I am not sure where these are made currently, as there is scant information about product manufacture and country of origin on the WD-40 websites. In any case there is much debate about the efficacy of the use of WD-40 and 3-in-1 for bicycles as a chain lube, so you might want to consider other products if you feel they are more suitable.
Some Purple Harry’s Bike Cleaning products are manufactured in Great Britain, for example their bike floss, super sponge, bike maintenance spray, and chain lube. For other products check country of origin before buying – http://www.purpleharry.co.uk
Bicycles are best kept securely inside, but that is not always possible. There’s some advice here in the Guardian about how to stop your cycle being stolen – tips I have heard include – always use a lock (or better still 2 different locks; perhaps a D-lock and robust chain with padlock are ideal because thieves are less likely to carry the tools to break both locks) and never use a cheap lock (or a cable lock), make sure you don’t attach your bike to something that can easily be broken, moved or lifted off, leave it where there is good light, CCTV and lots of people if possible (remember even the busiest streets empty out eventually and watch out for deliberate flat tyres), lock the frame and wheels, remove accessories, and register and insure your bike. More detailed bicycle security advice can be found here on the Pragmasis website and here on the British Cycling website.
Squire Snaplok (a carabiner shaped combination bicycle lock), Squire wall / ground anchors and some Squire padlocks are made in Britain. Only high end Squire products are made in the UK nowadays, with most Squire products being foreign made. British made Squire products are listed with a little Union Flag against the products details in their UK price list – http://www.squirelocks.co.uk
Bulldog Security products are mostly made in the UK and include chains and ground anchors. These products are more aimed at motorbikes, caravans and trailers than bicycles – http://www.bulldogsecure.com
Tklamp is a new product, a device is focused on locking the bike at the crank arm and chain stay, possibly destined for release sometime in 2014 and set to be made in the UK by the Man Group co-operative – http://www.man-group.co.uk
For British made padlocks for chains, please see my section on padlocks.
Pragmasis (securityforbikes.com; formerly torc-anchors.com) manufacture in the UK ground anchors, security chains (suitable as bike locks) and shed shackles, useful for a variety of securing applications including securing bicycles and motorbikes. They also supply Squire padlocks to go with these products, some of which are made in the UK (you will have to ask which or better still ask Squire – only Squire high-end high security padlocks are made in the UK nowadays). The raw chain is from Europe but the specialised treatment – cutting, hardening, de-embrittlement and electro-plating are all done by companies in the West Midlands and the final cutting-to-length and sleeving at the unit in Tamworth. Each chain comes with a woven polyester sleeve – http://securityforbikes.com
Cyclehoop specialises in producing innovative indoor and outdoor cycle parking infrastructure, for local authorities, business and the home. Cyclehoop design, manufacture and install their own products, which are made in the UK (they also sell a few foreign made products) – http://www.cyclehoop.com
Glasdon make cycle shelters, cycle lockers, and bike stands for businesses, institutions and local authorities. They also make waiting shelters, smoking shelters, recycling bins, benches, bollards and road safety products, litter bins, cigarette bins, and so on. Country of origin is clearly labelled on their website and the majority of their products are made in the UK – http://www.glasdonshelters.com
Cyclepods provides cycle parking solutions, all of which are manufactured in the UK, for institutions, businesses and local authorities, with products including cycle entry systems, bike shelters, bike lockers, cycle stands, public cycle pumps and public cycle repair docks – http://cyclepods.co.uk
H-B Designs manufacture infrastructure for cycling, sports and recreation – bicycle racks and stands and cycle parking solutions, shelters and sheds, sports grandstands, golf driving range shelters, cycle path infrastructure, etc. – for businesses, corporations, institutions, and local authorities – with all their products being made in Britain – http://www.hbdesigns.co.uk
Whether you own a vintage road bike or a high spec modern British made bike, you’ll want to keep it looking its best and keep it safe from thieves.
Asgard provide a range of British made virtually theft-proof ALL METAL bike storage sheds made from heavy gauge steel with a range of approved locking mechanisms, and fitted with an integral metal floor – designed to deter criminals and keep your bikes safe. They also make secure garden sheds, motorcycle storage sheds and storage sheds for schools and other institutions – http://www.asgardsss.co.uk
Pendle Bike Racks manufacture a wide range of British made bicycle racks for your car, indoor bicycle storage hangers, indoor bicycle stands, garage mounts, outdoor cycle stands, bike trailers, and cycle shelters. Pendle Bike Racks are designed, tested and made in their factory in Nelson, England. Pendle Engineering Ltd. also make KLIPONOFF Motorcycle racks and a range of iPad and laptop stands; again all made in England – http://www.pendle-bike.co.uk
Perhaps because of concerns about weight, bicycle kickstands (or prop stands) seem to have gone out of fashion somewhat, even though they are very useful. I do not know of any current British kickstand manufacturers.
The Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC; a cycling charity) site is a useful source of cycling information, for example about how to transport bicycles by air and they even sell a large plastic bag (the CTC Plastic Bike Bag) for this purpose (not sure where that is made though). There’s more information about flying with your bike on the Two Wheel Travelblog site. The CTC site also has useful and clear information on topics such as lighting regulations for pedal cycles and how you can take bikes by public transport. The Heathrow website has advice on getting to and from Heathrow by bike, tells you about the Heathrow Cycle Hub for airport workers and has information on cycle routes into Heathrow. Bicycles can weigh 20 – 30+ lbs (10 – 14kg), so bear this in mind when flying – most airlines will fly your bike as part (or more likely all) of your checked baggage allowance and remember baggage allowances vary from airline to airline (for your cabin baggage that is true too). The fab “My Ten Speeds” website considers weights of vintage bicycles amongst other things.
CycleStreets is an online UK-wide cycle journey planner which lets you plan routes from A-B by bike. Sustrans is a charity that encourages people in the UK to walk, cycle and use public transport and helps enable that for example through the National Cycle Network of interlinked quiet roads and traffic free lanes.
Companies such as Dunlop, John Bull (the Leicester Rubber Company; later know as the John Bull Rubber Company; later taken over by Dunlop) and Rubberweld used to make cycle puncture repair kits in the UK, but sadly these companies are now closed.
Weldtite still has a manufacturing site in Lincolnshire. Their picture repair kits used to say British made on them but they no longer do, which made me think they are now foreign made but this is not exactly the case (as I was pleased to hear by email on 4/7/14). All Weldtite Repair Kits are manufactured in England, and they also mould their own plastic boxes which the kits are packed into. Some of the materials within are sourced from abroad, but the tyre levers they mould themselves and the rubber solution tube is also filled by them. Weldtite also fill the majority of their cleaners and lubricants. One of the key products within the Lubricant range is our TF2 aerosol spray (03015/03021) which they do buy in ready filled. The main items Weldtite import are tools, valve accessories and axles, however that said they do pack the items in their factory in Barton Upon Humber. So, Weldtite is still the brand to buy for British made puncture repair kits and some other stuff too. No doubt they will be happy to tell you if the product you are interested in is British made or not, so do ask them – http://weldtite.co.uk
Does anyone know of any other current British made cycle puncture repair kits?
Not the same thing, but I did come across a company called Puncturesafe on the net who manufacture tyre sealants in UK, including one for bicycle use which you can buy on eBay and elsewhere on the net. It is coloured orange and is apparently suitable for all types of cycles with Schrader valves. It is not possible to apply PunctureSafe through the narrow Presta valves. Seals punctures caused by puncturing objects up to 3mm in diameter – http://www.puncturesafe.com
This article recommends you always carry 2 inner tubes (and a puncture repair kit and latex gloves) – good advice!
This interesting short article tells you how to make your own bike tool roll.
A cycle emergency toolkit at its most basic ought to contain a bicycle spanner stamped made in England and a British made cycle puncture repair kit and perhaps some British made tyre levers. Any suitably sized bike spanner marked made in England would do, but does anyone know of current British cycle spanner manufacturers?
Brands such as Dunlop, Adie, and Terry’s all made their tyre levers in England, but either no longer make tyre levers or manufacture abroad or have gone. Weldtite plastic tyre levers are made in the UK still. Who else still makes tyre levers in the UK I wonder?
Terry’s also made saddles, cycle clips (trouser clips; trouser bands) and much more. Some great pics of their pump clips, tennis racket clips and Primus stove carrier can be found here. Herbert Terry & Sons Ltd (Terry’s) of Redditch, Worcestershire, was established in 1855 as a spring company and the UK company Central Springs and Pressings Ltd. (the successor to that firm) is still in operation today…although they no longer make anything related to bicycles and it is not clear from their website whether they still manufacture in the UK but possibly they do. Herbert Terry also made the famous Anglepoise Lamp (Anglepoise are still going, but these days they are expensive and made in China). The term ‘Terry Clip’ is now in generic usage to mean a spring metal clip used to hold a cylindrical object.
In 1992 the ADIE brand of cycle accessories was incorporated into Weldtite. Today they are well known for baskets, bells, stabilisers and trouser bands (cycle clips). Weldtite still has a factory in Lincolnshire, but on their website ADIE do not state country of origin, so you’ll need to check with them directly before buying – http://www.adieuk.co.uk
Are any companies still making cycle clips (trouser clips) in the UK? Possibly Adie above but please check before buying.
Are there any companies still making bicycle pumps in the UK?
I found bicycle pumps branded “Turbo” and “Marwi” that said “made in UK” on them in Cycle King in Oxford last month (October 2014) but I can’t find any further information on them. There is a Taiwanese company called Marwi but I don’t know if it is them that make these pumps. I took 3 pictures in Cycle King and these are above. I have also seen these pumps on eBay but they are not on the Cycle King website. Are they old stock?
For information, there are three types of valve used on bicycle inner tubes: Woods (or English or Dunlop) which are shorter, with a screw on collar below the cap; HP / Presta (or French or Racing Valves) which are long slim and thin with a screw fitting at the end; and Schrader (or American or Car Type) which are like the valves on car tyres. Woods valves were once popular on bicycles tyres in Great Britain, northern and Eastern Europe and Asia (including Japan). The rim drilling is the same for both Woods and Schraeder. A Woods valve can be inflated with a Presta valve adapter. The Woods valve is too short to readily accept a push-on connection, a screw-on hose or presta/schrader adapter works better. A Woods valve opens and closes with a collar screwed on to the stem. This collar must be removed to put the valve through the hole in a rim. With the collar off, the valve core is free. Take care that it doesn’t fall out and get lost. On bikes, Schrader valves tend to be used on lower pressure tyres, such as children’s bikes and mountain bikes. To inflate or deflate via Presta Valve, the top section must be unscrewed, allowing the core of the valve to be free to move. To let air out of the tube, with Presta valves unscrew the fitting depress the top, this will deflate the tube; with Woods valves unscrew the collar and remove the valve centre; and with Schrader; depress the stalk in the centre of the valve and squeeze the tube. Woods and Presta valves have screw on rings which hold the valve in the rim. To release the valve Woods valves need the collar and the ring removed and Presta valves need the ring removed, whilst Schrader valves will push into the rim with no ring to undo. There are a couple of pictures to make all this clearer below.
In days gone by English bikes usually had pump pegs brazed on the seat tube, between which you could keep your bicycle pump. Modern bikes tend not to have pump pegs. I found some English made clamp-on pump pegs on eBay and the same supplier (Veloheaven) also has English made leather bicycle portaging straps (carrying handles) – I’m not sure whether these are old stock or if someone still makes these items.
What about current British made (rear or front) pannier racks (pannier carriers) – are there any?
If you do manage to find a British made rack and you’re not using pannier bags, you’ll need a way to secure loads to it. In the past I’ve always used bungee straps (bungee cords / elastic luggage straps). Regray Textiles appear to make their bungee straps in the UK but appear to be basically trade only however you could contact them to order just a couple I suspect. Compression straps are suggested as a good alternative and I’m going to try this myself. I found a company called Wetkama selling British made compression straps on eBay.
Some Brightkidz high visibility accessories are made in Britain (those that are, are clearly labelled as such on their website), including a reflective sash for adults and children, some reflective armbands and stickers, key rings, badges, zip clips, reflective tags, lace reflectors, spoke reflectors, snap bands, children’s reflective tabards and waistcoats, book bags, PE bags, duffle bags, and so on – http://www.brightkidz.co.uk
Does anyone know where to get a UK made rear bicycle reflector? Like the one in the picture below.
Does anyone still make duel pull brake levers (extension levers / auxiliary brake levers) in the UK, like those in the picture below? I find them very convenient and just the job on a touring bike.
MECCANICA (Meccanica Coritani) mens clothing, which is inspired by racers of cycles and motorcycles from the 50s, 60s and 70s, is made entirely in Britain, and suitable to wear on the bike or for casual. Clothing includes t-shirts, polo shirts, shirts, jeans, jackets, knitwear and boxer shorts; all made in Britain.
Meccanica also sell some Brooks made in England saddles (and Brooks foreign made saddles, Brooks foreign made handlebar tape, Brooks foreign made trouser straps, Brooks foreign made toe straps and Brooks foreign made tools), foreign made helmets, Bolin Webb made in Great Britain razors, Truefitt and Hill mens grooming products (it is not clear where these are made), art prints (country of origin is not stated for these), bikes from Sven Cycles, Starley Bikes and Baldwin Titanium Cycles and they offer a restoration service for vintage bicycles – http://www.meccanicacycles.com
ForceGB produce custom-made cycling clothing for clubs, associations, charity rides and groups, with no minimum order quantity and all garments being made in West Yorkshire, England. For example they make a cycling shirt for a company called Bikemonkey – http://www.forcegb.com/
Route Clothing sell clothes that celebrate bicycles and cycling culture. On their website they state that where possible their products are made in the UK, although mostly they sell t-shirts and none of these are made in the UK (although they are printed in Glasgow). They have a nice UK made cycling cap and bag and they offer free delivery in the UK – http://www.routeclothing.com
Owl and Monkey are currently (July 2014) selling ‘The Race’, a cotton musette bag celebrating L’Eroica Britannia & Le Yorkshire Tour routes, which was deigned in York and is screen-printed in Leeds onto bags made in Accrington – http://www.owlandmonkey.co.uk
Albam cycling caps are made in England – http://www.albamclothing.com/product/18817/premium-navy/cycling-cap.asp
Some Dashing Tweeds products are made in the UK, for example their reflective cycling leg warmers and their reflective cycling caps. For other products check country of origin before buying – http://www.dashingtweeds.co.uk
This is Cambridge (tic) specialises in cycling caps made in Cambridge, England. Inspired by the enthusiasm for cycling in one of Britain’s greatest cycling towns, they produce a range of vintage style caps made from British tweeds and wool. Their other products are likely foreign made – http://www.this-is-cambridge.co.uk/Shop/Cycling-caps.html
Cyclodelic make clothing and accessories for women who love cycling, in London, including saddle and handlebar bags that also become handbags, reflective sashes and trouser cuffs – http://cyclodelic.myshopify.com
Some Carradice bicycle bags may still be made in Nelson, England; possibly the cotton duck bags (Super C range and Originals) and perhaps the rainwear and the drywool jerseys, but you will have to ask them as it is not clear from their website – http://www.carradice.co.uk
Although most Alpkit gear is foreign made, quite a bit of their bike luggage is now made in the UK, including frame bags, handlebar harnesses, handlebar pouches, top tube pouches, a saddle bag and handlebar mounted water bottle pouches – https://www.alpkit.com/bike-luggage
I also found a similar made in the UK handlebar bottle / snack pouch to the Alpkit one above on eBay.
BIGxTOP (or Big Top) make rucksacks (daysacks), a messenger bag, accessory pouches, phone pouches, hip pouches, pedal foot straps, and saddle rolls. Designed and made with cycling and the outdoors in mind, all BigxTop bags are made in the UK – http://www.bigxtop.com
In addition to making their bikes in Britain, Pashley also sell a great range of made in Britain cycle bags – saddle bags, handlebar bags, dispatch bags, frame guards and basket tote bags. They also sell mens and ladies cycling clothing, a few pieces of which are made in Britain (most items being made in Portugal and New Zealand). They also sell things like bells and pumps and baskets under their ‘spares’ category but most of ‘spares’ appear not to be British made – http://www.pashleycollection.co.uk
Aiguille Alpine rucksacks are all made in England. Aiguille Alpine do a wide range in their renowned quality rucksacks and many other useful bags including rope bags, chalk bags, travel bags, holdalls, shoulder bags, zipped pouches, bumbags, camera cases, belt pouches and so on. Based near Kendal, their own brand stuff in made in their own workshop – http://www.aiguillealpine.co.uk
Aquapac (waterproof bags and cases) make all of their submersible cases (the cases with the hard grey clamp on) in London. The rest of their products are either made in China or Taiwan. A waterproof case or bag for your phone and other EDC stuff when you are riding is a good idea – http://store.aquapac.net
For British made bags in general, including more rucksacks, day sacks, messenger bags and the like, please see http://wp.me/p2KOue-11z
If you are thinking about getting a vintage British made cycle, there are bargains to be had. There are many places to look. Here are just a few of my suggestions:
- Cardiff Cycle Workshop, Cardiff
- Recycles Swindon (Salvation Army), Swindon
- The Heroic Bicycle Company, London
- Chelsea Bikes, London
- Station Bicycles, London
- Camden Cycles, London
- Recycling, London
- Isambard’s Cycles, London
- Oxford Bicycle Company, Oxford
- Walton Street Cycles, Oxford
- Bike Rescue Project, York
- Yarecycle, Great Yarmouth
If you are restoring an old bike or getting accessories for one, do make the effort to buy British made because that is what would have been on the bike originally in most instances.
Advice on buying a second hand bikes can be found on the Cambridge Cycling Campaign website. A forum for the exchange of information on classic racing bicycles of all marques may be found at Classic Rendezvous. The Classic Lightweights website concentrates on British and Italian made classic bicycles. Much historical information manufacturing in Britain can be obtained from the informative Grace’s Guide and on Wikipedia.
For Euro style see the fab Cycle Chic blog from Copenhagen and for advice on what to wear when commuting by bicycle see here. The Veteran Cycling Club was formed in 1955 to promote the riding and conservation of old cycles in addition to the study and exchange of information about the history of cycles and cycling.
Incidentally, Boris’ Bikes (the London cycle hire bikes and docking stations) are made in Canada! Pashley, the country’s oldest bicycle manufacturer, had its bid rejected in favour of international services company Serco, which sub-contracted to DeVinci, the Canadian firm behind Montreal’s scheme. This was massive opportunity to support British bicycle manufacture missed and the authorities is London have let us down badly on this one.
Condor Cycles are made in Italy these days, not London. Whytes bikes are made in Taiwan I understand. The Donkybike is not made in the UK (Donkybike bikes are made in Taiwan).
Foreign bicycle companies (like Giant – Taiwanese, Scott – Swiss, Specialized – American, Mongoose – American, and Cannondale – American) only manufacture outside of the UK.
Halfords may have a few British made products in their stores, but they are likely to be far and few between.
Knox make motorcycle and mountain biking gear and body armour. Their products are suitable for motorcycling, motocross, mountain biking, snowboarding, skiing and equestrian. Much of their gear is made in Britain, with the items made in Britain clearly labelled on their website – http://www.planet-knox.com
Gear Grinder is a small chain driven coffee grinder that grinds a single hopper of coffee, and is attached to the seat stay of a single speed bicycle and the device is made in the UK –http://www.geargrinder.co.uk
I haven’t been but I like the sound of L’Eroica Britannia “The most handsome bike race in the World” which was held in the UK, in the beautiful Peak District, for the first time in June 2014, with a FREE ENTRY 3 day festival and bike tour. Entry criteria was a pre-1987 road racing bike. The L’Eroica festival, which means heroes, centres on the village of Gaiole in Chianti, Tuscany and began in 1997 as a celebration of vintage cycling and in 2014 the event has been exported to both the UK and Japan. The 2015 Eroica Britannia is to be held 19-21 June 2015 – http://eroicabritannia.co.uk
Glory Days Bikes provide reliable retro bicycle hire in the Peak District. All bikes are pre-1987. Great if you don’t have your own vintage bike. All their frames are steel tubing and of British manufacture. As well as offering a beautiful selection of retro bicycles to rent, Glory Days also provide guided ride packages for groups. They are located in Bakewell, Derbyshire. They occasionally sell retro bikes too, as well as a few vintage cycle jerseys (all the ones I have seen are foreign made though) – http://glorydays.cc
And of course 2014 saw Le Tour de France & its British Grand Depart from Yorkshire (Tour de Yorkshire – The ‘grandest’ of Grand Departs). It was really exciting to have the Tour de France returning to Britain. This was the fourth Tour de France to contain stages in England (after 1974, 1994 and 2007) and the only edition to contain more than two stages in England. Also see British Cycling (formerly the British Cycling Federation), the national governing body for cycle racing in Great Britain.
Haycyon manufacture British made motorcycle goggles in Hertfordshire, England. Haycyon also make motorcycle mirrors and classic car mirrors. Manufactured in the UK and based on the original RAF flying goggle of the 1940′s Halcyon Goggles are a popular choice for use with all styles of open face helmets. Leather or PVC. Wholesale or via their website. Prescription lenses can be accommodated with the Halcyon lens frame by your optician (+6 to -6 lenses) or Halcyon goggles can worn over prescription glasses – http://halcyonclassic.store.buegle.com/index.php/2/
I found Haycycon goggles on the Davida Helmets website. Davida helmets – stylish handmade open face helmets made in England. Davida are now the sole UK manufacturers of open face motorcycle helmets – http://www.davida.co.uk
Founded in 1921 Thomas Meldrum Limited of Sheffield are now known world wide for the “Melco” range of tools and equipment, particularly their car and motorcycle tools, but they also make construction tools. According to an email from the company (on 6/7/14), 99% of their products are still made in Sheffield, England – http://www.thomasmeldrumltd.co.uk
For more British made tools in general, please see http://wp.me/p2KOue-wT
An article on the CTC website states that traditional British made leather cycling shoes are still available from a company called Reynolds. Their website, such as it is, does not state country of origin on it but an email I received from the company on 3/9/14 confirmed that Reynolds shoes are made in Northamptonshire. Prices and further information are given on the order form on their website – http://reynoldsshoes.co.uk
William Lennon & Co also still manufacture a traditional cycling shoe in the UK, called the Arturo it is a wide fitting cycle touring shoe, with an all leather upper and smooth thermoplastic rubber sole. William Lennon & Co have been manufacturing shoes and boots in Derbyshire since 1899. Their own brand boots and shoes all all made in England. They are also stockists and distributors of other footwear brands and styles, some of which like Solvair boots and shoes are made in the UK but others, like CAT, are not – http://www.williamlennon.co.uk/footwear/arturo-wide-fitting-cycle-shoe.html
For more British made outdoor gear, including clothing, from companies like Ussen, Fairfield Clothing and Miles Stronger and gloves and hats please see my outdoor gear category.
For current British made motorcycles please see here.
British made bicycles, frames and accessories – Bicycles made in the UK – UK made bicycles – British bikes – British bicycles – Made in England bicycles – English bicycles – English bikes – British bikes – Bikes made in the UK – British Made Motorcycle Gear – British cycles.