Encouraging signs for the UK's bicycle manufacturing trade; And figures probably only scratch the surface

Bikes made in Britain double in 2011

According to new statistics, the number of bicycles produced in Britain have jumped from 23,000 in 2010 to 40,000 in 2011 – almost doubling the total created on these shores.

While a far cry from past glories – 1,200,000 bicycles were made in Britain in 2000 – the figure will provide some cheer.

The number of bikes made in Britain hit a nadir in 2009 (20,000). 2011’s 40,000 total is the highest since 2006, when 94,000 bikes were produced in GB.

Put in a wider context, however, bicycle production in Britain is a very small part of the numbers produced in Europe. Trailing in the European bicycle production chart at 19th, only Finland (31,000) and Slovenia (5,000) lag behind Britain. At the top is Italy (2,310,000 units), Germany (2,288,000), the Netherlands(1,200,000), France (900,000) and Poland (892,000). Next are Portugal, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Slovakia and Spain. Then Austria, Greece, Sweden, Belgium and Denmark.

The figures have come from COLIBI and COLIPED’s annual joint BIMP report – the European Bicycle Industry & Market Profile. The figures are based on those provided by members of those two organisations, as well as data from non-member countries. The Bicycle Association of Great Britain is one of those members.

The figures are, however, up for some debate and according to some only scratch the surface of the UK bicycle manufacturing sector – probably severely underestimating the numbers of British-made bikes. According to Brompton, for instance, the firm is set to produce around 35,000 cycles in 2012.

In the same report it was revealed that bicycle sales fell slightly in the UK in 2011.

COLIBI is the Association of the European Bicycle Industry. COLIPED is the Association of the European Two-Wheeler Parts and Accessories Industry.

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