India-based global cycle major
Hero Cycles is breathing fresh life into one of Britain’s most famous bike
brands - Viking. Hero Cycles, the world’s biggest bicycle manufacturer by
volumes, bought the 110-year-old Viking brand when it purchased Manchester
based bike distributor Avocet Cycles in 2015. Now this month after a near
40-year absence the first range of bespoke British designed Viking bikes is
rolling into cycle shops across the UK.
Avocet CEO Sreeram
Venkateswaran said following decades of ownership changes and neglect Viking is
back with a range of bikes ‘fit to wear the badge’. “When Hero Cycles bought
Avocet we wanted to make an impact on the UK market,” he said.
“Viking is a brand which fires
the imagination and captures our ambitions. Viking has heritage, it has passion
and in its glory days it was one of the finest bike manufacturers in the world
with one of the best racing teams in Britain. We have invested more than
£2million (approx.. Rs 18.25 crore) in moving our Global Design Centre from
India to Manchester so we can embrace brands like Viking and recalibrate them,
restoring the quality they were famed for. Our new range of Viking bikes is the
first designed in the UK for 40 years. We believe the new Viking range of bikes
can really connect with people, particularly families looking for a
well-designed bike in the £250 to £1500 price range (Rs 22,811 to Rs 1.37
lakh),” he added.
Viking shot to fame in Britain
after the war from its manufacturing base in Wolverhampton. With production
reaching a peak of 20,000 bikes a year in the 1960s Viking was firmly positioned
as one of the country’s leading bike makers. The company cemented its position
by forming its own road racing team which became hugely successful riding its
Master Series SS and Severn Valley lightweight racer bikes with notable
victories in the Tour of Britain in the 1950s. Viking later further diversified
into children’s bikes which eventually made up three quarters of its trade. The
company ceased trading in 1967 and went through ownership changes and
disappeared entirely from the 1980s until Avocet bought the trademark in 2002.
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