The Cycle Show offers an opportunity to see smaller British brands that didn’t exhibit at Eurobike.
Lancashire-based brand, Onix, founded in 2009, but which grew significantly last year with Rob Hayles heading the testing programme, is set to expand again in 2013.
Founder, Craig Middleton, told RCUK the company had received significant investment from two investors based in the north west, which will allow Onix to launch six new models in April 2013, if the machines gain Hayles’ approval.
“We’re hoping to launch all the new models around April next year. It’s going to be quite a challenge. All that is subject to Rob giving us the green light on it. If Rob says it’s not good, we don’t do it. We’d rather not bring the bike out for next year than bring out a bike that doesn’t meet our standards,” said Middleton.
A time trial bike and an entry-level alloy road bike targeted at the Cycle Scheme market are among those planned.
Onix is exhibiting the Black RH, a model made from T700 Toray carbon and described by Middleton as ’70 per cent performance, 30 per cent comfort’, owing to Hayles’ ruling that his name would not be associated with a so-called ‘sportive’ bike.
The range-topping RH Pro pictured here is made from T800 uni-directional carbon with a claimed frame weight of 980 grams. It has a lower headtube than its sister model, internally routed cables, and an oversized bottom bracket shell, accommodated by chainstays that flow outside the seat tube.
Onix’ planned expansion follows the rapid growth of another British brand, Forme, which expanded its range from five to 40 machines this year. The continued success of Boardman is another indication of the popularity of British brands.
“The thing they like more than anything else is that they don’t rock up at the café and see another three, four, or five of them against the wall. They like riding something unique. The fact that it’s a British brand is another plus. People do want to support British brands.
“A few years ago everyone wanted a bike that they’d seen in the Tour de France. There is a definite change where people are looking for niche brands. As long as your product is good enough, people are happy to support you; the minute you take your eye of the ball and try to cut corners, that’s when you’re going to get into trouble, and that’s something we’ll never do,” said Middleton.
Onix is also planning to change its distribution model from selling only from its website. Middleton said he has ‘two or three ideas’ about how to make Onix more accessible to customers. He joked that the ideas were ‘top secret’ but ruled out independent bike dealers as a route to market.