Charge bikes, the very essence of a modern British bike brand, was today bought by Canadian compony Dorel Industries. "Is nothing sacred?", traditionalists might ask... well no it would seem, and anyway Charge have never been great ones for tradition, they are only a few years old after all.
Along with their parent company, Circle Bikes, and UK distributor Hot Wheels, Charge have been bought by Dorel which already owns Cannondale, GT, Schwinn and Mongoose – Hot Wheels were the UK distributors of those last three, and also distributed Charge. Dorel's strategy is "to get closer to the market" and it is doing this by buying up brands and successful distribution companies - that way it can compete with the likes of Trek and Specialized, which distribute in the UK via wholly-owned subsidiaries.
The management at Hot Wheels will stay in place and run its successor company, Cycling Sports Group UK (CSG) . They're going to be busy, because as of January 1 they will also be distributing Cannondale too.
As for Charge, the word from the top is that they will carry on as before with the probable added benefit that economies of scale will help with speccing of bikes. The Canadians are buying into success: the UK bike market is a bright spot in a gloomy world economy and Charge is one of its brightest stars so it should come as no surprise that some of the industry's biggest players should want a slice of the action.
President of Dorel's Recreational/Leisure segment Robert Baird said the creation of this newest subsidiary follows a similar initiative in Australia last month.
"We have developed a multi-faceted strategy to grow our bike business into a global force and we are moving ahead decisively with this plan by leveraging our excellent portfolio of recognized brands and by investing in leaders in their respective markets. CSG UK will now be that much closer to the market and will react quickly to both dealer and consumer demands."