They might have been the butt of all motoring jokes through the 80s and into the nineties, but since the cold war thawed the reputation and fortunes of Skoda Auto have been steadily improving. Now not only do Skoda provide the official Tour de France course cars as part of their race sponsorship deal, but the company is returning to its cycling roots with a new bike range .
It was as a bike manufacturer that Skoda was founded under the name of Laurin & Klement in 1895. Ten years later the company moved over to car production and the bikes were forgotten. But a century later, as with several other car manufacturers recently, involvement with pro-cycling has been followed with its own bike range. Strangely enough though, the five bikes from Skoda are all mountain bikes, not road bikes. The bikes range from the £198 Junior Ride to the £1,797 Cross Country, weighing in at 11.55kg and featuring Shimano XT, Columbus Airplane alloy frame, Manitou Skareb forks and Ritchey Girder Pro rims.
If you’re interested, the bikes are only available through Skoda dealers and we somehow doubt they’ll be a rush on stock.
Skoda will also be sponsoring the Tour’s white jersey for the best performance by an under-25.