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Orange Bikes set to continue after acquiring frame manufacturer and “streamlining” business

The beleaguered mountain bike company, which was put up for sale by administrators this week, says the move will “preserve jobs and reinforce the stability of the Orange brand”

In the same week it was revealed that Orange Bikes and its assets had been put up for sale by administrators, who deemed the company “unable to continue trading”, the beleaguered mountain bike brand now appears to have been saved from permanent closure, after announcing on Friday evening that it is set to continue after acquiring its frame manufacturing partner.

Orange says the development, which comes just over a month after the company entered administration, will bring the iconic brand “one step closer to realising our ambitious plan of having the entire company exist under one roof”, while also “ensuring a promising future for British bike manufacturing in West Yorkshire for at least another 35 years”.

Yesterday, road.cc reported that BDO Business Restructuring, the administrators for both Orange and Bairstows Sheet Metal, announced that the financial positioning of the companies meant “that they have been unable to continue operating”, and that the administrators were hoping for a quick sale to safeguard as many jobs as possible.

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

Halifax-based Bairstows has been Orange’s frame building partner since its foundation in 1988, and is owned by Ashley Ball, who bought the mountain bike brand from founders Lester Noble and Steve Wade in 2015.

With both companies facing a perilous financial position – Orange’s debts, including money still owed to Wade and his wife, are believed to be around £4.4 million – that relationship between bike brand and frame builder has now appeared to have enabled Orange to “streamline” its business and purchase Bairstows, unifying the firm’s production process under one roof and allowing it to continue trading.

“Thanks for sticking with us!” Orange said in an Instagram post on Friday. “After restructuring of the business and its associated companies, we are pleased to announce that Orange Bikes is set to continue under Ash Ball.

“What does this mean? In simple terms, we’ve strengthened our position to make us more stable, we have plans to move the entire team to its own bespoke location – from welding to marketing and everything in between, we will be under one roof for the first time in our history.”

2021 Orange Crush

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

In a more detailed press release, the Halifax-based company – which currently boasts 33 different bike models on its website – said: “As part of a restructure, Orange Bikes has successfully acquired its UK frame manufacturing partner. This is a significant development that brings us one step closer to realising our ambitious plan of having the entire company exist under one roof.

“With this acquisition, we will be able to streamline our operations and create a more efficient production process. The new facility, just two miles from our current headquarters, will serve as the new home for Orange Bikes. It will house both frame fabrication facility and bike assembly, allowing us to unify the entire production process in one location.

“This integration will enable us to have greater control over the manufacturing process, ensuring the highest quality standards for our bikes. From the delivery of the aluminium for which we are famed, at one end of the factory, to the shipment of complete bikes from the other, we will have a seamless and efficient workflow.

“We are excited about this new chapter in the Orange Bikes story and the opportunities it presents. This move not only strengthens our position in the industry but also demonstrates our commitment to British bike manufacturing.

“Through the streamlining of our business, we have been able to preserve jobs and reinforce the stability of the Orange brand. This strategic decision ensures a promising future for British bike manufacturing in West Yorkshire for at least another 35 years.

“We are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead and remain dedicated to producing high-quality bikes that meet the needs and expectations of our customers.”

> “You have to dig in for the next three to five years”: What lies ahead for a struggling bike industry in 2024?

Since its establishment in 1988, Orange has cemented its place in the folklore of British mountain biking – while occasionally dabbling in road and cyclocross bikes – producing the iconic Clockwork hardtail and going on to establish a reputation as trusted, reliable, and successful, complete with a glittering CV of top mountain bike race wins, including a number of downhill world championships.

However, in December Orange issued a notice of intention to appoint administrators, just days after announcing the demise of Orange Factory Racing, the brand’s in-house off-road race team founded in 2020, which they said at the time was a result of the ongoing uncertainty in the bike industry, and which would enable the company to refocus on “our main goal of creating world-class bikes”.

The company said in December: “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.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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8 comments

Avatar
espressodan | 5 months ago
4 likes

People seem pissed at them ditching creditors - the alternative is just that Mike Ashley , some Venture Capital outfit or an Asian manufacturer acquires the name and then just "Marin's" the brand - churning out cheap bikes with a historic name and headtube sticker on them. The creditors would still get ditched.

For all the damage a restructuring does to Creditors, I'd rather see Orange bikes remain a British manufacturer with a strong identity and local employees.

I've always had a soft spot for Orange. I've never owned one, but a bare-metal steel Clockwork was the bike of my 1990's teenage dreams. Living overseas now, it seems unlikely that'll change.

 

 

Avatar
Sredlums replied to espressodan | 5 months ago
0 likes

With regards to Marin, I get what you are saying, but i think it's a bit too harsh.
All reviews I've seen of their bikes lately (mostly gravel bikes and non-race oriented mtb's) were pretty positive. Well executed, no nonsense bikes at affordable prices.
You could have chosen far better (or worse, if you wish) examples of brands that are now merely a shadow of their former self.

Avatar
Skimpy1 | 5 months ago
1 like

Well done! 

Orange and their framebuilder appear to have ditched all their creditors. Trusted and reliable as stated in the article.

Avatar
Secret_squirrel replied to Skimpy1 | 5 months ago
1 like

It says that nowhere in the article .  Bizarre interpretation.
 

mind you the whole statement is.  How can a bankrupt firm afford new premises?

This is all deeply Strange. (Which appropriately was/is an Orange sub-brand)

Avatar
Skimpy1 replied to Secret_squirrel | 5 months ago
0 likes

What do you think has happened to their debts then? It's certainly not a bizarre interpretation that in the process described in the article, the creditors have been somewhat shortchanged. While Mr. Ball who previously owned two apparently insolvent companies, now has a shining new one with new premises.

Avatar
kil0ran replied to Skimpy1 | 5 months ago
1 like

Would be interesting to know what they owed each other, I suspect it's substantial. If each is the others primary creditor then the exit chosen makes more sense.

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mikethebikes | 5 months ago
0 likes

I remember Orange making my windsurfing sails from a loft in Headingley (Leeds) then moving a hundred yards and selling bikes!

Their sails were great, their bikes were too dear then! That was late 80's early 90's, they went high end prices right from the off! 
Their sails were value for money and good quality back then, their bikes were good quality but far too expensive! 
It's still sad to see another one go, but too many bike companies  ripped us off during Covid, and what goes around comes around!

on the bright side, what great deals on Wiggle for us all👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

Avatar
mark1a replied to mikethebikes | 5 months ago
6 likes
mikethebikes wrote:

It's still sad to see another one go, 

The headline of this article is:

Orange Bikes set to continue after acquiring frame manufacturer and “streamlining” business

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