Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

UK bike sales explosion

Posted by Matt | August 3, 2010 | 13 comments so far

Since we’re so involved in buying new bits and pieces for our bikes – a never ending opportunity to make our bikes better, lighter, faster or just plain bling – it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that cycling appears to be in a kind of golden age.

Stepping back a bit soon throws up bits of news and information that makes you realise that for cycling we’ve never really had it so good, at least in the UK.

Bike Europe recently reported that Accell Group (which includes Lapierre, Loeke and Ghost amongst it’s brands) has specifically named the UK as one of the countries where ‘sales of bicycles significantly increased in the first half of 2010’. Shimano too have seen their profits recover strongly over the past year. Then just today I read on Bikeradar an article titled ‘Cycling on the up in UK‘, citing the UK Department for Transport’s recently published National Travel Survey that shows the average cyclist now rides more than he/she ever did fifteen years ago. Not exactly earth shattering news but welcome all the same.

What’s driving this increase? An increase particularly noticeable among high earners apparantly. Well, no direct correlations are drawn but if I had to name one thing that’s driven bike sales more than anything else I’d say it was the government supported Cycle2work scheme which offer sizeable discounts to anyone buying a new bike.

These discounts are more marked if you happen to pay higher rate tax – in effect you can buy a £1000 bike for around £600, and pay for it over a year interest free. Exactly the sort of thing to appeal to higher earners who can afford to ‘maximise their savings’.

This isn’t a bad thing but a favourable tax-break helps explain the sales boom and long may it continue. Add in the ‘green halo’ of bicycle riding, some considerable sporting success in all disciplines (road, track and mtb), the rising cost of petrol and the much-vaunted health benefits of cycling and it’s clear there’s much positive pressure for bicycle ownership.

There’s more to come too. Those pressures mentioned above are unlikely to go away anytime soon but with the launch of bike-hire schemes similar to the Paris Velo system in UK cities such as London, a growing interest in e-bike technology and a developing network of leisure and commuter based routes across the country things are looking promising.

And it could be good for us, the hard pressed bike enthusuiasts who have selflessly carried the Uk through recession by buying more and more bling. The anodising retro craze couldn’t have come at a better time for the world economy after all.

At least this way there’ll be plenty of under-used, ‘previously loved’ (no, not in that way) stuff turning up on eBay!

Filed under 2010, News in August 2010


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 13 comments on ‘UK bike sales explosion’

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  1. StevenD says:

    Matt, I think it is a combination of all the things you raise. The disappointing thing is that when I was young most children had a bike but sadly that is not so true now. Many reasons; cars, ‘safety’, PS3s etc but even worse when I went to junior school (in the 1960s) everyone took cycling proficiency tests yet neither of my children had that choice, and their primary school still does not have a bike shed ‘for safety and insurance reasons’, and we live in a rural community. WTF !

    On a side note: Pace have an ex demo RC506 up for sale at £1500, what a bargain.

  2. Dandy says:

    Noooo, don’t tempt me, you Beelzebub.

    I can’t ressit a little peek though, just in case.

  3. Cathie says:

    Steven, I came across this a while back I don’t know if it is of interest?

  4. StevenD says:

    @Cathie, thanks. I have taken my children out on rides (on and off road) and taught them the basics myself, eg my 11yo is quite proficient at riding on the road and even using roundabouts. I am just disappointed that the schools around here no longer actively promote either the cycle proficiency type of course or even cycling to school in this supposedly more environmentally aware age.

  5. paul901 says:

    Maybe the RC506 comes in more than one spec as the google hits and reviews I found said RRP for 2010 of £1395?…

  6. paul901 says:

    Ah, looks like RRP is frame only so that demo bike has the kit thrown in for free (or the cost of 21 months warranty in effect as 2 years reduces to 3 months)

  7. PIJ says:

    Huh! I was quite literally checking my bank balance regarding the Pace when it sold! And I mean literally at the same time. Too much of a bargain that one.

  8. Dandy says:

    Phew, temptation removed. Children will have shoes next month, after all.

  9. pij says:

    …..I’d worked out that I could have bought that, swopped out the wheels and forks from my existing Pace [straight swop as they are the same size], then sold my bike plus the newer bits for pretty much £1,500. By the time I’d done the maths [about 10 minutes] the bike sold. Hey ho, opportunity missed.

    Actually in reality I’d have bought it on the never-never, kept my existing bike and been in a negative brownie point situation with SWMBO, and faced years of red letter days from the bank.

    So a heartfelt thanks to the lucky boy that blagged that one.


  10. DaveW says:

    It is great how many cyclists there are on the roads now.

    When I first moved to London in ’89 I felt like I was the only one mad enough to cycle to work, but now there are great bicycle traffic jams at commute times.

    Power to the cyclist!

  11. JamesPro says:

    I bought the on-one on the ride to work scheme, almost paid for it now. I now use the car more to get me to mole rides!!!!

  12. Tony says:

    The bike business is booming. Well according to my bike shop owning friend. Bike-to-work is partly the cause, road bikes being the “new golf” for IT consultants (aka the MuddyMoles) doing the Etape and young urban hipsters riding fixies. Noticeably the growth in biking isn’t particularly mountain bikes like the last cycling boom. It’s all good though!

  13. PIJ says:

    According to the Telegraph 10/08/10 cycling for men is the new mid life crisis. All you 35-45 year old’s are going out and buying zippy £1,000 steeds. Luckily I’m past that age, so my toys are just pure unadulterated greed. Joy!

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