'Brexit to blame' as yet another UK bike distributor closes

Distributor of KTM road and mountain bikes shuts citing Brexit red tape as a major factor

KTM Revelator Prestige
(Image credit: Future)

People who voted for Britain's exit from the European Union in 2016 bear the brunt of the blame for the collapse of UK-based cycling distributor FLi Distribution, according to a LinkedIn post from the company's owner.

Writing on the business networking site after news of the former distributor of KTM bicycles ceasing trading was reported by Cycling Industry News,  Colin Williams said: "If you voted for Brexit, please realise this is 90% because of your decision back in 2016."

Huddersfield-based Fli Distribution was formed in 2008 as Fli Race Team Management before distributing KTM's road and mountain bikes between 2012 and the end of May this year.

Fli joins fellow distributors Moore Large and 2Pure, as well as online retailer Probikekit and clothing brands Presca and Miltag to fold in a brutal year for the British cycling industry.

Speaking to Cycling Weekly, Williams said that while his post was a 'bit of a rant' he realised that the leave vote could be fatal for FLI as soon as it was announced.

"I woke up in Austria [where KTM is based] on the morning of the referendum result and really felt then that if we left the Single Market it would spell the end for my business," he said.

Rules governing Britain's relationship with the EU came into force in January 2021 and, says Williams, it's taken two years for the true impact to emerge from the cycling sales boom, and subsequent contraction, following the Covid-19 pandemic "Once we we realised it simply wasn't possible to offer the service we wanted, there was no option other than to close."

"I'm done fighting, I'm done with the red tape and the barriers to trade," said Williams. "It hasn't been fun for some time, so the time was right to end it now, life is too short."

Williams used his post to thank everyone who'd supported his company over the years: "It would not have been possible without all of you who've helped out in thousands of ways, making 99% of my time running FLi so much fun."

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