Top Ten British Cycling Brands
Britain has had a long and loving relationship with bicycles since the invention of the Penny Farthing way back in the mid 19th century. Although replaced by the car as the primary mode of transport, cycling has become a way of life to many and a fun, practical, healthy and cheap way to get yourself around.
Whether that be commuting into work through the busy streets of London, conquering the steep, winding hills of Cumbria or shredding the dirt in Snowdonia. Although showing signs of promise, the UK still has a long way to go to become the cycling paradise we all dream of. The vast majority of cycles sold are imported, mainly from the Far East with only about 83,000 cycles a year manufactured on British soil. But all is not lost, there are some fantastic British bike companies producing excellent, high quality and world-renowned bicycles, componentry and accessories.
These brands are proud of their British heritage and represent the best of what Britain has to offer the world of cycling. At Rutland Cycling, we are always looking to support the cycling industry - especially in our own green and pleasant land. All the great British brands below are stocked in our stores and online and have proven to be very popular, becoming mainstays in many of our bestselling ranges. So, read on and get yourself acquainted with our 'Top Ten British Cycling Companies'.
Famously founded in London in 1976 by then-gardener Andrew Ritchie and named after the Brompton Oratory, a landmark visible from Ritchie's bedroom workshop where the first ever Brompton prototypes were created. After five years seeking a license for his design, Ritchie began manufacturing the bicycle design himself. It wasn't until 2002 when the business really took off, going from 6,000 bikes produced per annum to more than 40,000 in 2013. The growth continues to this day, with Brompton now synonymous with the folding bike category. 2018 also saw the introduction of the electric Brompton bike, showing once again the companies commitment to keeping up with the current market trends and continual innovation.
The Brompton was conceived as a product that increases people's sense of independence and freedom in urban spaces, and this concept is still clearly at the heart of the design process. With a variety of customisation and spec options, The Brompton is a unique and personal transport solution, allowing people to rethink, vary and adapt their journeys at will as their Brompton sets them free from the constraints imposed by the complexities of modern-age travel.
Currently, Brompton is the largest volume bicycle manufacturer in Britain, producing approximately 45,000 bicycles each year. Each bike is hand brazed by skilled craftsman at their London factory. This makes every bike incredibly durable and made especially unique by each individual brazer is having their own 'signature' which they stamp on the parts of the bike that they work on. London is a city of icons and a Brompton bike is definitely one of them - it's as London as a double decker bus, the Underground ,Big Ben and The London Eye - innovative, excellent, enduring and oozing in British charm.
We can pretty much guarantee you know who Raleigh are. One of the world's oldest and best known bike brands, there's a good chance you've ridden a Raleigh at some point. Originally founded in Nottingham way back in 1887 by Sir Frank Bowden, and with such iconic bikes in their line up as the Burner, Chopper and Grifter, Raleigh continues to be headquartered in the UK today.
In the ensuing 130 years since their creation things have moved on a fair bit for Raleigh, but they still continue to offer a broad range of top quality kids bikes like the Pop and Molli, functional and stylish hybrid bikes like the Pioneer and Strada, and their range of stunning classic bikes like the Willow.
And as times have changed, so have Raleigh, with their catalogue now boasting a huge range of electric bikes. Designed with town and leisure riding in mind, bikes like the Array and Motus offer all the benefits of going electric, while still maintaining the class and quality that you'd expected with that classic heron logo on the headtube. They've not stopped there either, driving an active travel revolution with the recent introduction of cargo bikes like the Stride.
The 10/10 and 5/5 review scores Whyte bikes have been getting are partly down to another set of numbers - the ones that make up Whyte's unique geometry and ride character. Whether it's their Alp-taming, EWS thoroughbred G170 series bikes, the entry level 600 series trail hardtails, versatile S-150 or the mould-breaking, award-winning Wessex road bikes - every Whyte is designed to create a unique chemistry with its rider to all them to ride faster and further in more comfort and in total confidence.
For Whyte engineers it's all about creating 'total user freedom'. This is why their gravel frames have dropper post routing as well as mudguard and rack mounts because they believe that road bike looks and commuting practicality shouldn't stop you getting rad on a weekend. Whyte continue to evolve the geometry and parts featured on their frames even further, adding even more control and keeping you further ahead of the competition than ever.
USE Exposure Lights
Exposure Lights are an integral part of parent company Ultimate Sports Engineering (USE), which was founded in 1990. To this day the brand is driven by the obsession of creating the ultimate in innovative sports products, with Exposure lighting technology supported by the design and production of cycling components (USE) and Marine Lighting (Exposure Marine). The company's HQ is located in Bury, nestled in the heart of the South Downs National Park - providing the perfect backdrop for product testing and development.
Exposure lights are proud of their British heritage and have established themselves as an excellent source of innovation for products that work brilliantly to combat the dodgy British weather. Most recently the introduction of ReAKT and DayBright technology has revolutionised urban riding and day-time visibility whilst Exposure's work on beam spread has seen their lights become the go to option for both MTB and Road riders.
Bike light ranges such as the Joystick and Maxx-D continue to hold their place at the top-end of lighting products for bicycles. Exposure also produce dynamo hubs, helmet lights, battery/USB rechargeable options and a variety of other lighting options that work together to offer one of the most extensive and successful lighting ranges available to cyclists in the UK and globally.
Founded in Scotland in 1993, Endura are renowned for their no-nonsense commitment to advancing the performance and function of cycle clothing for every rider. The Scottish are no strangers to dodgy weather and inventing things - therefore it's perhaps no surprise that Endura produce a wide variety of high quality and market-leading products that have earned the brand almost iconic status globally - resetting the benchmark of function and durability within the industry. Their philosophy of 'disruptive innovation' has carried the brand from Scottish local hero to global market leader, with Endura consistently selected as a clothing partner by the world's top teams and riders whether they ride road, MTB, triathlon or all three! This partnership with leading experts in other fields such as aerodynamics and bike fitting ensures Endura clothing is constantly on the cutting edge of clothing technology.
On road, a close partnership with pro teams has driven a new level of R&D and production methods including the Endura Drag2Zero aero triathlon program and 'real world rider testing' that utilises high tech, scientific lab sessions to gain significant improvements in aerodynamics, temperature regulation and comfort in all conditions. This level of performance product isn't reserved exclusively for the pro's though - the 'trickle-down' is evident throughout the Endura range, with several products in the Pro SL collection having evolved directly from World Tour teams and professionals.
Frog are a British company based dedicated to making cycling fun and accessible for children. Designing super-light and user-friendly bikes, Frog aim to make learning to ride a bike easier and more enjoyable for children, igniting a passion for cycling that will (hopefully!) last long into a child's adult life.
Many kids' bikes on the market weigh nearly as much as the child, with grip-shift gears Schwarzenegger would struggle to budge and poor-quality components that make riding on anything other than flat tarmac a bit of an ordeal - not ideal if you're trying to enthuse your mini-Wiggins about the joys of two-wheeling. All new Frog bikes are tested by the two young children of founder's Jerry and Shelley to ensure to fulfil all the requirements of a high quality kid's bike, a successful formula so far, with the family run and owned business winning the FSB & Worldpay family business of the year award for the south-east region and the Wales Manufacturer of the Year award in 2017!
Frog bikes are built around a light but strong aluminium frame and hand-picked components that offer a high performance without compromising the low-weight philosophy. A unique crank design makes the bike super-easy to pedal as it reduces the Q-factor (the space between the pedals) which allows the child to push more directly down when cycling, converting more of their energy into motion.
Frog are working hard on further developments and improvements they can make to their bikes, supported by ongoing scientific research at Brunel University, ensuring Frog bikes continue to lead the way in terms of innovation and comfort for children's bikes. With the recent introduction of the new 'Push The Limits' range of MTB and hybrid bikes aimed at 8-14 year olds, the future looks bright for Frog.
Burgtec stem from the need for tough, quality bike components in downhill racing, and have expanded on this to bring a line of trail and enduro products that suit the current crop of long travel bikes perfectly. Burgtec components can be found racing at the highest level, and their products ooze the kind of quality that can only be attained through the utmost care and attention to the manufacturing process.
Quality over quantity - Burgtec's focus is to product industry leading products that last, as oppose to flooding the market with cheaper, lesser componentry. Their products rely heavily on rider feedback from the likes of Greg Minnaar, Steve Peat and Josh Bryceland, funneling their experience and knowledge into truly world class components. All of this and humbly produced in the UK? Perfect.
Established in 1989, Hope Technology has spent 30 years pushing the industry forward through designing, testing and manufacturing virtually all products in-house at their factory in Barnoldswick, United Kingdom. The brand was one of the first to bring cycle-specific disc brakes to the mainstream market in the early 1990s.
As time went on Hope diversified into the manufacturing of high-quality hubs that became extremely popular during the MTB renaissance of the 90's, famously producing some of the anodized, bright and wild colour variations seen on frames during the same decade. The introduction of hydraulic disc brakes saw Hope become very popular and successful in the Downhill racing scene, with the brakes superior stopping ability and modulation allowing riders to go faster and have more control than ever before over their descent.
Currently Hope produce an array of cycling parts and accessories including hubs, bearings, lights, brakes, pedals and shifters whilst also working to give back to the wider MTB community in the UK, as seen via the development, funding and building of the red-graded "Hope Line" descent at the company's local trail centre, Gisburn Forest. Hope technology can also be seen at the top of the 'special build' category of cycle parts - Developing the drivetrain, cranks, chainrings and bottom bracket of Guy Martin's adapted Rourke frame that he rode to smash the British outright speed record on a bicycle at 110mph!
Founded by William 'Rath' Pashley in Birmingham, 1926, Pashley are dedicated to hand-building high-quality bicycles and tricycles. Pashley is the longest-established British bicycle manufacturer and one of only three remaining solely UK based. Their bicycles are not only unique in their design and quality, but also in their connection to a well-established heritage of craftsmanship ad innovation at their factory in Stratford-upon-Avon.
It is this British heritage that remains one of the strongest driving forces behind Pashley's operations today and the company is committed to the tradition of UK production and craftsmanship. As well as being a dedicated British manufacturer, Pashley are also directly supplied and supported by almost one hundred other British companies, thereby encouraging the ongoing resurgence of industry here in the heart of England. Demand for Pashley bicycles has increased considerably in recent years as people are more frequently seeking out bespoke, hand built frames.
However, Pashley are determined to not sacrifice quality for quantity, continuing to focus on a small-scale, hands-on approach to production and employing a close-knit team of experienced craftsmen who hand-build each cycle individually, ensuring an unparalleled level of quality and longevity in a bicycle that will provide years of performance, pleasure and reliability.
Pashley is focused on evolution rather than revolution, therefore seeking to innovate whilst remaining true to their valued historical identity. They're always keen to innovate on their existing bike ranges by combining the traditional aspects of the company with quirky and fun new designs. This can be seen in the launch of the Britannia, a traditional bicycle intended to celebrate the company's British identity, as well as the Tube Rider, a rather more relaxed and unique take on a cruiser-style cycle.
It is this combination of a strong British heritage, an impeccable quality of hands-on manufacturing and a constant urge to innovate that has enabled Pashley to be a truly unique in the cycling industry. Their motto of 'different by design... distinctive by nature' certainly rings true and highlights the ethos that forms the basis of the companies identity.
Brooks have been making quality saddles and products for their customers ever since the company was founded in Birmingham by John Boultbee Brooks in 1866. Today Brooks remain committed to John's legacy. His early blueprints and inspirational pursuit of innovation led to a wealth of quality, durable and beautiful products and Brooks seek to preserve that spirit by combining the very best of modern technology with the timeless Brooks aesthetic. Even after so many years , the Brooks brand still delivers the finest saddles and cycling accessories to customers across the UK and beyond.
In 2002 Brooks was bought by Italian saddle manufacturer Selle Royal, who own the company to the present day. However, much of the design and production work is still done in the UK and the brand has strived to retain its British identity. Continually innovating to keep pace with the ever changing landscape of the bicycling market, Brooks currently offer a variety of traditional and modern styled saddles with carbon and plastic options supporting the renowned leather-based range. Furthermore, the company also produce bespoke cleaning kits and accessories and work closely with other British brands such as Brompton.