Hero Cycles has revived the Viking brand after a near 40-year absence.
Viking, now 110 years old, was purchased by Hero in 2015 when it bought Manchester-based distributor Avocet Cycles in 2015. Three years on, the famous brand has been revived as Hero looks to make waves in the UK market.
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. It 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 £2 million 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 £1,500 price range.”
Viking shot to fame in Britain after the war from its manufacturing base in Wolverhampton, sith production reaching a peak of 20,000 bikes a year in the 1960s. It's own road racing team became hugely successful riding its Master Series SS and Severn Valley bikes, with notable victories in the Tour of Britain in the 1950s.
The brand 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.
Venkateswaran said the new Viking bike will see the return of the classic Viking logo with minimal retro graphics for a contemporary urban look. The new range will include city, touring and road bikes.
“The Viking bikes will be one of the most competitive in the range,” he said. “The new Viking bikes have a full Shimano groupset, they are lighter and have a tighter rear triangle enabling better power transfer. The Viking range is more responsive and better for cornering and has a great, lively performance which is suited to families of all ages.”