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Sanjeev Gupta's Liberty House group will launch first model under Trillion Cycles brand next month...

An Indian tycoon plans to revitalise Britain’s bicycle industry with the launch this year of a new range of bikes manufactured here in the UK.

Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty House group bought the Trillion Cycles brand last year.

The entrepreneur, who sold bicycles in Turkey during his gap year before reading economics at the University of Cambridge, told Telegraph.co.uk that its first bike will be launched at next month’s London Bike Show.

That debut model will be a single-speed commuter with a steel frame – a material Gupta is entirely familiar with, having spent £500m on UK businesses including parts of the Tata and Caparo steel firms.

Carbon fibre and titanium frames are also in the pipeline, with a price tag of up to £10,000, made in Leamington Spa.

He said: “My first job was my gap year in 1990 was selling Victor bikes internationally which my father’s company made.

“Because of my father’s business I was practically born with a bike in my hands - this is me coming full circle.”

“This is not a vanity project,” he continued. “We have an engineering plant at Leamington Spa to make the bikes and will increase the UK content of them as our manufacturing businesses expand the capability to produce the parts.

“Britain was once the home of the bike manufacturing industry - Raleigh was the biggest bike manufacturer in the world a century ago. In just one of its plants in Nottingham it had 10,000 staff."

The heyday of Britain's bicycle industry has long passed, although London-based Brompton and Stradford-upon-Avon business Pashley remain significant homegrown manufacturers.

“Apart from a few high end companies, bike manufacturing has all gone now," Gupta said.

“While we plan to make premium bikes as well, bikes are the sort of engineered products we see in our end-to-end strategy.”

He believes that Brexit will provide opportunities for British manufacturing businesses, and that his business model can capitalise upon that.

“Our company is looking at bikes as an example of the full circle of the sector in the UK,” he explained.

“We are producing the steel from which components for products can be manufactured, and then taking them all the way to the finished product.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

16 comments

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Freddy56 [280 posts] 11 months ago
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magic stuff Mr gupta

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Yorkshire wallet [1573 posts] 11 months ago
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It's a crowded market. Not sure the basic single-speed market is going to get you noticed, especially in steel. Just look in the back of Urban Cyclist and you'll see more fixed/single gear bikes than you ever imagine existed.

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danthomascyclist [347 posts] 11 months ago
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Quote:

 bikes are the sort of engineered products we see in our end-to-end strategy

Quote:

Our company is looking at bikes as an example of the full circle of the sector in the UK

Quote:

That debut model will be a single-speed commuter with a steel frame – a material Gupta is entirely familiar with

Quote:

This is not a vanity project

Quote:

While we plan to make premium bikes as well

Wow. Such revitalisation. Much bikes. Many inspiration

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Dr_Lex [464 posts] 11 months ago
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^ I'm liking your thinking - allow me to doge it.

//i.imgflip.com/1gxo5p.jpg)

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Rich_cb [487 posts] 11 months ago
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There has been a steady trickle of these stories recently.

Hopefully it will mark the start of a trend towards more home grown manufacturing.

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Kim [250 posts] 11 months ago
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An interesting story, however when I was at EuroBike last year (September 2016), was talking to a group of Indian business people on the bus back to the hotels one evening. They said very clearly they would rather do business on the mainland of Europe than the UK. This is because it was so much easier to get a visa for Schengen Area than to the UK, unless that changes there will be very difficult to get any increase in trade with other countries. The simple truth is many foreign business people don't feel they are welcome here, so will take their business elsewhere.

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Yorkshire wallet [1573 posts] 11 months ago
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I doubt any business is about feeling welcome. It's about profit and tax avoidance when it comes down to it. Look at Apple and Ireland. Apple just felt it was the Irish craic that was keeping them there, or maybe it was paying sod all tax. 

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clayfit [107 posts] 11 months ago
2 likes
Kim wrote:

An interesting story, however when I was at EuroBike last year (September 2016), was talking to a group of Indian business people on the bus back to the hotels one evening. They said very clearly they would rather do business on the mainland of Europe than the UK. This is because it was so much easier to get a visa for Schengen Area than to the UK, unless that changes there will be very difficult to get any increase in trade with other countries. The simple truth is many foreign business people don't feel they are welcome here, so will take their business elsewhere.

I have worked in European and global business for nearly 3 decades and interacted with many people from India, as coworkers, customers and suppliers.  I can confirm what Kim says.

The difficulty of getting a visa is a home-grown problem, quite separate from any EU bureaucracy.  If post-Brexit Britain looks like this to the rest of the world, with an equally closed door to the rest of Europe, we are really up the duff.  Britain open for business?  Sure, but with visa issues, customs barriers and the rest of it, will anybody be interested? They'll go somewhere where they don't have to go through an demeaning obstacle course first.

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beezus fufoon [956 posts] 11 months ago
1 like
Kim wrote:

An interesting story, however when I was at EuroBike last year (September 2016), was talking to a group of Indian business people on the bus back to the hotels one evening. They said very clearly they would rather do business on the mainland of Europe than the UK. This is because it was so much easier to get a visa for Schengen Area than to the UK, unless that changes there will be very difficult to get any increase in trade with other countries. The simple truth is many foreign business people don't feel they are welcome here, so will take their business elsewhere.

I was living in Poland about 10 years ago and people told me they would rather trade with Germany than the UK - why? - simply a basic level of competence.

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davel [1987 posts] 11 months ago
4 likes

Well, at least we lead the world in moaning about your own country.

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ktache [627 posts] 11 months ago
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I don't know about that, those amerikuns elected that tyrump fellow to make 'merika great again.  That's got to be desperation.

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Leviathan [2868 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

Suggestion for the prototype above. Why not have some kind of framework between the seat post and crank to deflect air in front of the rear wheel. Just an idea.

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PaulBox [679 posts] 11 months ago
1 like
beezus fufoon wrote:
Kim wrote:

An interesting story, however when I was at EuroBike last year (September 2016), was talking to a group of Indian business people on the bus back to the hotels one evening. They said very clearly they would rather do business on the mainland of Europe than the UK. This is because it was so much easier to get a visa for Schengen Area than to the UK, unless that changes there will be very difficult to get any increase in trade with other countries. The simple truth is many foreign business people don't feel they are welcome here, so will take their business elsewhere.

I was living in Poland about 10 years ago and people told me they would rather trade with Germany than the UK - why? - simply a basic level of competence.

I have to deal with German businesses on a daily basis; their level of competence is greatly exaggerated.

Regarding Kim’s points, there are a lot of downsides to doing business in continental Europe, getting visas can also be difficult, but the level of protection offered to staff in Europe can make it a nightmare for an employer. 

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PaulBox [679 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
Leviathan wrote:

Suggestion for the prototype above. Why not have some kind of framework between the seat post and crank to deflect air in front of the rear wheel. Just an idea.

I'm no aerodynamicist, but could it be more efficient for the air to hit a spinning tyre directly than a stationary seat-tube? It would also depend on what the downtube has done to the air, if that deflects it slightly downwards could the air actually be used to help spin the rear wheel?

[genuine questions, I don't know what I'm talking about]

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matthewn5 [1083 posts] 11 months ago
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.

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beezus fufoon [956 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
PaulBox wrote:
beezus fufoon wrote:
Kim wrote:

An interesting story, however when I was at EuroBike last year (September 2016), was talking to a group of Indian business people on the bus back to the hotels one evening. They said very clearly they would rather do business on the mainland of Europe than the UK. This is because it was so much easier to get a visa for Schengen Area than to the UK, unless that changes there will be very difficult to get any increase in trade with other countries. The simple truth is many foreign business people don't feel they are welcome here, so will take their business elsewhere.

I was living in Poland about 10 years ago and people told me they would rather trade with Germany than the UK - why? - simply a basic level of competence.

I have to deal with German businesses on a daily basis; their level of competence is greatly exaggerated.

Regarding Kim’s points, there are a lot of downsides to doing business in continental Europe, getting visas can also be difficult, but the level of protection offered to staff in Europe can make it a nightmare for an employer. 

for sure, I think it's as much a matter of perception as anything.