Evans Cycles

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Evans Cycles
Privately held company
FoundedLondon, United Kingdom, 1921
HeadquartersCamino Park
Crawley West Sussex, United Kingdom
Key people
Mike Tomkins, Chairman
Mike Rice, Director
Number of employees
approx. 1,100 in 2012
Evans Cycles, Wandsworth High Street, London

Evans Cycles is a British cycle retailer. It was opened in central London by a London cyclist, Frederick Evans, who won an award from Britain's largest cycling club for the best cycling invention of 1925. He left his shop to be run by his manager and joined the Royal Air Force when war broke out in 1939. He died in a road accident in 1944 and the shop and the national business that developed from it has had several owners.

The history[edit]

The business was created by a London cyclist, Frederick W. Evans. He created what The Bicycle described as a quick-release and reversible rear wheel device, an ingenious feat for which he was awarded the Cyclists' Touring Club's first silver plaque as the inventor or producer of the greatest improvement in cycle design, construction or equipment during the year 1925.[1]

Evans opened a shop in Kennington Road in south east London, known as F.W. Evans Cycles. With the outbreak of war in 1939 he joined the Royal Air Force and left the business in charge of his manager. The shop traded from this site for 30 years. Evans died in a road accident in 1944, having never again run his shop. He was by then in the educational engineering branch of the RAF.[2]

The business was bought by Joseph Smith in the 1950s. At the time the shop sold cycles and toys. In the 1970s Smith handed the business to his son, Gary, who turned the shop into a specialist cycle retailer. After more than 50 years at Kennington Road, the site came up for development. The shop moved to Waterloo, at 77- 79 The Cut.

During the 1990s, Gary worked with Mike Rice, the Croydon store franchise owner, to bring the other franchised stores under the control of F.W. Evans Cycles (UK). During this time the Evans Cycles mail order catalogue was launched, requiring a central distribution centre, later established in Leatherhead, Surrey. This coincided with the Evans Cycles web site being established.


Evans' own brands include the Pinnacle range of bikes[3], and the FWE brand of basic accessories.


For many years Evans Cycles has been involved in many different rider sponsoring activities, including various racing teams in a range of cycling areas.

Recent expansion[edit]

The business outgrew its distribution centre in Leatherhead. In 2001 the head office and distribution centre moved to Gatwick, Sussex, which is still the company’s base.

The company opened between two and three stores each year until 2006 when it opened six. In 2004 Evans Cycles moved outside south-east England, with a branch in Castleford, Yorkshire. There were eight new stores in 2007.


The company was acquired by the firm Active Private Equity in 2008[4] for £30 million. [5] British private equity firm ECI Partners then acquired a majority stake in the company in May 2015[6] for £75 million[7].

On 30 October 2018, Evans Cycles entered administration, and was purchased by Sports Direct in a pre-pack administration for £8 million.[8]


  1. ^ The Bicycle, UK, 13 December 1944, p25
  2. ^ The Bicycle, UK, 13 December 1944, p25
  3. ^ Cycling Weekly https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/pinnacle-goes-utilitarian-10-year-anniversary-range-334805
  4. ^ "ECI pedals off with Evans Cycles". The Independent. 1 May 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  5. ^ Editorial, Reuters. "ECI Partners to buy 90-year-old UK bike shop Evans Cycles". U.K. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  6. ^ "Evans – ECI Partners - UK middle market private equity (PE) firm". 1 April 2018. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  7. ^ "What is Mike Ashley's plan for the High Street?". BBC News. 2 November 2018. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Evans Cycles sold to Mike Ashley's Sports Direct as part of pre-pack administration". The Independent. 30 October 2018. Retrieved 30 October 2018.