Viking Cycle Company

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Blue plaque marking the location of the Viking Cycle Company showroom

The Viking Cycle Company was an English bicycle company. Founded in 1908 in Wolverhampton as a bicycle repair shop, it became a manufacturer and sponsored a racing team. The company closed in 1967; the business was purchased and reestablished as Viking Cycles, an assembler in Derry, Northern Ireland. The brand is now owned by Avocet Sports of Manchester, which imports rebadged bicycles into the UK under the Viking name.

In 2015 Avocet Sports was bought[1] by Hero Cycles and became part of Hero Motors Company of Pankaj M Munjal. Its now getting relaunched [2][3] and would be sold by Insync Bikes which is launched by Hero Cycles [4][5]

History[edit]

Alfred Victor Davies went into bicycle repair in 1908 to supplement his wages as a railwayman, and continued with it full-time when ordered to stop because rules forbade second jobs. Around 1935, after twice moving and acquiring an additional building for the works, the company started manufacturing frames rather than simply assembling bicycles.[6] Alfred Davies was succeeded by his son, Reg Davies, who registered the company as Viking Cycles Limited in 1939.[6][7] During the Second World War, the company produced munitions.

After the war production rose from about 800 cycles a year in the late 1940s to more than 20,000 in 1963, making Viking the city's largest-ever bicycle manufacturer.[6] The company diversified into lightweight racing bicycles and the began Viking road racers team in 1948, managed by former Wolverhampton Wheeler Bob Thom, who later also became sales manager.[6] At its production peak in the mid-1960s, the company employed about 70 people.[6]

In the 1960s club cycling declined, but Davies designed a child's bicycle with telescopic rear stays and a telescopic seat tube which could be adjusted as the child grew, rather than buying a series of new cycles. This model eventually accounted for three-quarters of the company's business.[6]

The company closed in 1967.[6] It was bought by two Americans, who established Viking Cycles, a bicycle assembler in Derry.[8] This encountered financial problems and in 1981 Merseyside County Council considered buying the brand and opening a company to be headed by the bicycle racer and designer Frank Clements.[9] In 2001 the Viking Cycles brand was bought by Avocet Sports, of Manchester; the trademark was registered to them in June 2002.[10] In Aug 2015 Hero Cycles of India bought over Avocet Sports and thus the brand went to them. Hero Cycles launched Insync Bikes in May 2018 to sell the entire range of bikes and also started the revival of Viking Cycles.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hero Cycles acquires majority stake in UK's Avocet Sports", Business Standard News, retrieved 12 Aug 2015.
  2. ^ "Hero Cycles breathes fresh life into Viking Bikes label", Cycling Industry News, retrieved 7 Aug 2018.
  3. ^ "Viking bikes are back - thanks to Manchester", Manchester News, retrieved 9 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Indian owned Hero Cycles unveils new Insync bike range for UK market", Business Standard News, retrieved 4 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Hero Cycles unveils new Insync bike range for UK Market", Brandequity, retrieved 5 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "The Viking Cycle Company", Wolverhampton History and Heritage Website, retrieved 17 November 2014.
  7. ^ William Page and Laura M. Midgley, ed. M. W. Greenslade, Victoria History of the County of Stafford, Volume 2 Oxford: Oxford University, 1967, OCLC 625890588, p. 152.
  8. ^ According to Joey Brew, Wolverhampton Sporting Heroes, Chalford: Amberley, 2010, ISBN 9781848684850, initially the company was moved to California.
  9. ^ Frank Clements, A Bike Ride Through My Life, Trafford on demand, 2011, ISBN 9781426963179, pp. xiii, 283–98.
  10. ^ "Case details for trade mark EU002141034", UK Intellectual Property Office, retrieved 17 November 2014.

External links[edit]