Manchester’s Hero Cycles appoints new CEO for UK and Europe

Danny Evans has been appointed the new CEO of Manchester-based Avocet Sports, the UK subsidiary of Hero Cycles.

Evans, 30, has been promoted to the role from head of finance and will now be responsible for growing Hero’s operations in the UK and Europe.

Evans said he takes charge at an “incredibly exciting time” for the company and the cycling industry.

“Our new vision for the company is to give it a clearer identity and market focus,” he said. “Last year saw us launch the Insync range of bikes for the family market and we have now worked very hard to fine-tune and improve this range which covers, mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, ladies bikes and junior bikes. In the autumn we are excited to report we will be unveiling a newly designed range of Insync bikes featuring more than 40 different models. The Insync range will be an online-only brand available through the Insync website.

“Separately the autumn will also see us launch a new range of Coyote branded bikes, this range of 13 bikes has been developed with IBDs to sell at their shops only and not online. The Coyote range will include mountain bikes, hybrids and a folding bike. We believe the Insync and Coyote ranges are among the best-designed, best-looking bikes on the market, in the junior bike market up to £100 and adult bike market up to £250.”

Evans said Hero has decided to focus on its strength as a mass-market manufacturer of affordable family bikes with the new Insync and Coyote ranges.

“The future for Insync and Coyote is about quality and affordability,” he said. “We have been able to achieve this standard of bike through the calibre of Hero Cycles’ supply chain in India, which drives our operation making around five million bikes a year. The breadth of our supply chain, harnessed with our buying power, enables us to make very high-quality bikes at a low price that few of our competitors can match.

“We are also streamlining the Insync brand and dispensing with sub-brands including Riddick, DeNovo and Ryedale so our entire online bike range will be branded Insync. An exception is the iconic Viking road bike brand which we will continue to invest in and grow. Last year we launched the first range of bespoke British-designed Viking bikes in 40 years and see a big role for Viking in the future. Viking will be available at high street IBDs only.

“We are particularly excited to grow our exports market via the Insync website. Together with The Hut Group, our e-commerce partner we have developed the Insync website to be specially optimised to operate across Europe. This move shows Hero Cycles’ ambition to totally transform a UK company in Avocet, into a pan-European operation.”

Evans said a prime objective of the company, under his leadership, will be to strengthen relationships with IBDs.

“We are very fortunate to have long-standing relations with our IBD network,” he said. “We have listened to their feedback and created the Coyote range to provide them with a quality bike at the right budget ensuring there is a clear distinction between our online offering and our IBD offering. It is very important that our customers are supported nationwide and can receive face-to-face advice as well as support for repairs on their local high street, which is a critical part of the buying and aftercare process.”

He added that a key factor for the Insync and Coyote brands is to engage the family audience.

“As a company, we are absolutely committed to promoting cycling as a force for good,” he said. “There is a wealth of evidence showing how cycling can dramatically improve mental and physical health from defeating stress and heart disease to preventing Type 2 diabetes. Meanwhile, in older people, there is research showing that cycling can improve immunity protecting from arthritis and cancer (notes to editors 1).

“Locally and nationally we are seeing cycling being promoted hard. Here in Manchester the mayor Andy Burnham, is promoting the ‘Beelines’ plan, a £160m scheme over four years to create thousands of miles of interlinked, Dutch-style bike lanes to encourage more cycling. This is supported by the cycling charity Sustrans which says more than 10,000 cases of life-threatening illnesses would be prevented across Greater Manchester over 20 years if cycling participation increased on a par with London. There are also huge environmental benefits by replacing car journeys with active travel alternatives like cycling with Sustrans saying 120,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions could cut by 2040 in Manchester (see notes to editors 2). This is the bright healthy future Insync wants to help create by providing affordable high-quality bikes for families.”

He added Avocet is further developing its inclusive, progressive ethos by looking at e-bikes and bikes for the disabled.

“E-bikes clearly have a big part to play in the future of healthy, environmentally friendly cycling,” he said. “We launched our first range of Manchester-designed Indian-made e-bikes this year with a 50km battery life. We see a major market with research suggesting the global e-bike market is already worth $16.34 billion and is set to be worth $23.83 billion by 2025 (see notes to editors 3). In the e-bike market we will sell an Insync version of the bike online while the IBD network will sell an e-bike branded Lectro. Meanwhile, in the disabled bike market our design team is working with Manchester inventor Les McMahon on a trike prototype Les has made for his neighbour Lewis Flint. We would like to create a trike for the general market so that more families with children with special needs can benefit. Our trike is set to be much cheaper at around £500 compared than alternatives which start at around £5,000. We are planning to create a ‘flat-pack’ kit that will enable families to assemble it at home or alternatively we will offer a free download design so people can create their own version of the trike.”

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