Job losses at UK bike plants

Concept Cycles is to close its wheel-building unit in Newtown, Wales, losing up to 30 jobs in the process. And, citing cheap imports and Shimano gruppo shortages, Professional Cycle Manufacturing has made ten workers redundant at its Cradley Heath assembly factory.

Concept Cycles of Oldham is to leave the Mochdre Industrial Estate in Newtown, the latest in a long line of bicycle businesses to quit the town.

Company execs say they will comment on the closure in due course.

The Welsh Development Agency, which helped Concept set up in Newtown, must hate bicycle companies.

In the last 10 years, Newtown has seen more than its fair share of bike companies, most of them working from units on the Mochdre Industrial Estate. British Eagle was there. The same unit was later taken over by the Taiwanese-owned A&J Europe, which started assembling bikes in the factory. A&J's is still in Newtown but its unit is now for storage not assembly.

Richard Taylor's RCA was also based in Newtown, building wheels and assembling bikes for third-party clients. RCA evolved into Kaos, assembling bikes, and then Taylor, ex of British Eagle, partnered with New Zealander, Frank Clavis. See the links below for how that story developed.

So, if you want to score some grant-aid for setting up a bike factory, you may want to steer clear of the WDA execs with responsibility for Newtown...

Over in the Midlands, Nick Thake has made ten workers redundant at the former Hawk Cycles plant.

"It was with great regret that for the first time in my 10 years of ownership, Professional Cycle Manufacturing, has had to make ten of their factory workers redundant," said Thake.

He said the reasons for the lay-offs were "the increasing competition from cheap imports and the terrible shortage of Shimano components."

However, Thake says rumours that the plant is closing are far from the truth.

"The good news is that our factory is continuing to produce top quality bicycles, although in fewer numbers. We are even continuing to paint the vast majority of our frames at Cradley and are committed to producing 'Bicycles built in England.'

"We hope dumping stays on China bicycle imports and that the Shimano delivery situation improves, then maybe we may be able to increase our factory staff once again."

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