Cycling’s big business

I’m quite proud of how cycling and cyclists manage to never quite conform to the mainstream. There’s been a recession, the economy is still struggling, yet three bike companies have burst into The Sunday Times Fast Track 100.

For those who don’t know, this is reckoned to be the definitive league of Britain’s private companies with the fastest-growing sales. Now among household names including Jack Wills, All Saints and Cath Kidston we have Rapha in at number 50, Wiggle at 91 and Endura at 97.

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Rapha divides opinion like no other cycling brand. It’s either over-hyped nonsense or, as increasingly seems to be the case, the best bike gear on the market. With sales up 72 per cent a year from £1.4m in 2007 to £7m in 2010, it seems the doubters are now in the minority.

If you’ve ever purchase anything for your bike online, then chances are you’ve bought something from Wiggle, who now has customers in more than 70 countries. It’s not just cycling, the Portsmouth company also sells running and swimming gear with a near 47 per cent sales lift.

Just behind with 45 per cent growth is Endura, the Scottish bike wear company, established 18 years ago and the people currently behind the successful Endura Racing team.

In fact all three companies are big time sponsors of the UK cycling scene. It’s great to see the supporters of our sport doing so well.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly