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Orange Bikes put up for sale and deemed “unable to continue trading” by administrators

The company has insisted that it will still continue to provide customer service, adding that “good news is on the horizon”

Orange Bikes, the brand integral to the UK mountain-biking scene, has become the latest victim of the turbulent times within the cycle industry, with the company and its other assets being put up for sale by administrators, who have deemed it as "unable to continue trading" owing to its financial position. However, the company has offered a glimmer of hope, asserting that that it will still continue service operations and there might be some good news to come soon too.

At the beginning of this year, road.cc had reported that the Halifax-based off-road specialist brand had issued a notice of intention to appoint an administrator. The news came just weeks after the company announced that it was winding down its Orange Factory Racing outfit due to prohibitive costs and the "uncertainty" surrounding the bike industry.

According to the litigation seen by road.cc, Orange Bikes had indicated that it was working with a "specialist business rescue advisory firm" on December 22. Since then, it has been revealed that BDO business restructuring partners were appointed as the administrators of Orange Mountain Bikes as well as P Bairstow, Orange's frame manufacturer since the company's foundation.

Mark Thornton from BDO told Pinkbike: "Despite the considerable efforts of management and their teams given sector-wide challenges, the financial position of the companies means that they have been unable to continue operating.

"The joint administrators will seek to maximise realisations for creditors in line with their duties and are hopeful that a sale of the business and certain assets will complete shortly, safeguarding as many jobs as possible."

> Orange Bikes set to appoint administrator – weeks after folding racing team citing bike industry “uncertainty”

Orange RX9 - Eurobike 2013

Orange RX9 - Eurobike 2013

It's suggested that the company's financial performance was adversely impacted by supply disruption, increasing costs and the current difficulties facing the cycling industry. The combination of these issues harmed the company's cash flow and financial position which could not be resolved.

The administrators also added that they are hopeful of protecting as many of the 44 jobs currently at risk and are aiming for a quick sale of the business.

A spokesperson for Orange Bikes, meanwhile, told Pinkbike: "We're still here and our customer service team are still at Orange to take any calls or enquiries from the public or dealers and they have been doing so since we entered administration.

"There’s good news on the horizon and hopefully we’ll be able to update everyone soon. We appreciate everyone's support throughout this process and we’re looking forward to getting back to normal ASAP."

> What the hell is going on in the bike industry? Wiggle Chain Reaction turmoil discussed

Founded in 1988 by Lester Noble and Steve Wade, Orange has gone ahead to cement a somewhat mythical position in the British mountain biking folklore.

With the production of the iconic Clockwork hardtail (a play on the Anthony Burgess novel and the subsequent Stanley Kubrick film), Orange established its reputation as trusted, reliable, and successful, boosted by a glittering CV of top mountain bike race wins, including a number of downhill world championships.

2021 Orange Crush

2021 Orange Crush

In 2015, Wade and Noble sold the company to Ashley Ball, the owner of Halifax-based Bairstows Sheet Metal, Orange’s frame-building partner since the company’s foundation.

> “This is not the end for Orange Bikes”: Popular mountain bike manufacturer releases statement after filing notice of intention to appoint an administrator

Just days before it issued the notice to appoint administrators, Orange Bikes had announced the demise of Orange Factory Racing, the brand’s in-house off-road race team founded in 2020, which they said at the time would enable the company to refocus on "our main goal of creating world-class bikes". 

The company said: "With so much uncertainty in the bike industry, challenges around the future of the Enduro World Cup Series, and the sheer cost of running a competitive Factory-level team, we’re pressing pause.

"We’ll return when the time is right. But for now, we’re ending on a high and will take a break to focus on our main goal of creating world-class bikes.

"All that said, our passion for racing isn’t going anywhere and neither is Orange Bikes. We’ll continue to support a number of talented athletes around the World – look out for more news on that in the new year."

> Rapha announces loss of £12 million, citing cost of living and supply chain concerns

However, the news of Orange Bikes' continuing woes has indicated that the UK bike industry's misfortunes, which have beleaguered it for much of the last couple of years, appear set to continue in 2024 too.

In October, Wiggle Chain Reaction Cycles plunged into administration amid "severe liquidity and profitability challenges" for its parent company, with the extent of the money owed by online retail giant to brands across the bike industry laid bare in an administrator’s report published this week.

And earlier in the year, FLi Distribution ceased trading with immediate effect, as the Huddersfield-based distributor’s director blamed the "red tape and barriers to trade" currently affecting businesses for his company’s demise, which came just two months after Livingston-based distributor 2pure entered administration.

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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4 comments

Avatar
ROOTminus1 | 5 months ago
2 likes

Well this article was unfortunately timed, Orange have been saved through some structural jiggery-pokery and it seems Ashley Ball the former head of Orange's patner company Bairstow's sheet metal, has control of Orange, whilst Barstow's has taken on the debt and wound up.
If you're getting lazy and referencing PinkBike, let me do the hard work for you

Avatar
don simon fbpe | 5 months ago
0 likes

I guess people just don't have the money...

Avatar
Secret_squirrel | 5 months ago
1 like

Its very worrying that they have stopped trading, unlike Wiggle who continue to bring cash in the door.

I wonder if this is connected to the fact that the Metal Company who owns them and makes the frames is also in Administration.

Its going to be materially harder for Orange to come back if some/all of the Manufacturing IP is tied up in the parent company.  Effectively means half the assets are in a different company.

Avatar
Patrick9-32 | 5 months ago
4 likes

This is a very dark time for the bike industry. I hope that things can pick up quickly. We may never get back to 2020 pandemic levels of bike excitement but the pictures of london commuters we see on here at least gives some hope. Those people will need new bikes at some point and the cycle (har har) of sales will continue.  

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