Indian-owned bike manufacturer Hero Cycles is breathing fresh life into one of Britain's most famous bike brands - Viking.
Hero Cycles, the world's biggest bicycle manufacturer by volume, is following fellow Indian companies by buying up much loved British manufacturing power brands such as Royal Enfield and Jaguar Land Rover. Hero Cycles bought the 110-year-old Viking brand when it purchased Manchester based bike distributor Avocet Cycles in 2015. Now this month after a nearly 40-year absence the first range of bespoke British designed Viking bikes is rolling into cycle shops across the UK.
Avocet CEO Sreeram Venkateswaran said following decades of ownership changes and neglect Viking is back with a range of bikes â€˜fit to wear the badge'. â€œWhen Hero Cycles bought Avocet we wanted to make an impact on the UK market,â€� he said. â€œViking is a brand which fires the imagination and captures our ambitions. Viking has heritage, it has passion and in its glory days, it was one of the finest bike manufacturers in the world with one of the best racing teams in Britain.
Viking shot to fame in Britain after the war from its manufacturing base in Wolverhampton. With production reaching a peak of 20,000 bikes a year in the 1960s Viking was firmly positioned as one of the country's leading bike makers. The company cemented its position by forming its own road racing team which became hugely successful riding its Master Series SS and Severn Valley lightweight racer bikes with notable victories in the Tour of Britain in the 1950s.
Mr Venkateswaran said, â€œThe new Viking bike will see the return of the classic Viking logo (see attached picture) with minimal retro graphics for a contemporary urban look. The bike frames further include a badge naming Viking's tour of Britain wins in 1951, 1955, 1958 and 1959 (see attached picture). The new Viking range will include city, touring and road bikes."
Mr Venkateswaran said the Viking range is a key part of Hero's new Insync range of bikes launched in the UK in May 2018. â€œAs well as Viking Hero has taken the brands of Riddick, Ryedale and DeNovo and totally redesigned the range to operate under the new Insync masterbrand which is very much aimed at the family and leisure market.
Viking bikes will be available to the public to try at no charge at this year's StreetVelodrome tour, a free to attend bike event hitting Wigan July 12-15 and London August 14-16. Professional riders and members of the public will take part in the races with famous riders like BMX world champion Shanaze Reade and freestyle rider Patrick Robinson offering tutorials for families.