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Who says manufacturing in Britain is dead?

Cyclotricity set up ‘Built in Britain’ assembly line for e-bikes

 

And they’ll be making key components in the UK, too! Rami Akily of Cyclotricity explains why local manufacture can be as cost-effective as importing…

 

CycloTricity completes the first full assembly line for electric bikes in Britain

 

Cyclotricity today announced they have implemented the first ever assembly line for their full range of electric bikes in Britain. The project has been ongoing for over a year setting up facilities, processes and machinery to turn their premises in Aldershot into an assembly factory for electric bicycles.

Whilst many of the components in the bikes continue to be selected and bought from suppliers around the world, CycloTricity is taking the step to manufacture some key components in-house with the help of small British engineering firms, taking their assembly process to a deeper level of manufacturing.

 

The new facilities required an initial investment of £180,000 to set up and can be expanded into having a production capacity of 10,000 bikes per year. Although, the target for this first year is only 3,000 bikes, the company expresses great optimism for large growth judging by the undeniable shift in the e-bike market over the last few years.

“There is a misconception that ‘Made in Britain’ always comes with a premium price tag, which is true in the majority of cases. But in certain circumstances, it could actually be quite the contrary.” said Rami Akily, Managing Director of CycloTricity.

“We Brits are far more efficient in manufacturing highly technical and ‘clever’ products. The more technical and intricate the product is, the more efficient we tend to be at controlling its build process, which eventually translates into a reduced price tag compared to an outsourced manufacturing that’s only remotely managed (or sometimes mismanaged).

 

CycloTricity has a young management team of 8 individuals, and a clear vision of taking the ‘Made in Britain’ flag to the wider European market. Their first overseas branch was set up this year in Malmo, Sweden to cater for the Scandinavian market. Plans are in place to replicate their export model in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands as a next step to make room for a British made e-bike in those countries.

We knew that relocating our production to the UK made sense. And although we knew how to make it viable theoretically, getting the process to manifest itself practically was harder than first anticipated. One challenge we didn’t anticipate for example was how difficult it would be to hire the right skill set. It turns out that Britain is full of very talented engineers and bike mechanics, but due to the lack of factories here, the experience of running a functional production line was hard to come by. As a result, we had to design and optimize our own process from scratch. This took quite some time, research and a lot of trial and error.

We eventually managed to implement a very well structured process where we train new mechanics to seamlessly fit within the assembly process. They are trained to a level at which they can even run their own production line at some stage in the future if they so wished! We are incredibly proud to have perfected this process and help bringing the manufacturing skills back to Britain.

 

That said, it wasn’t all full of challenges. We also had a number of pleasant surprises. Since we do a lot of the research and development ourselves, we benefitted from significant tax savings for our R&D efforts. Which is a great incentive for us to carry on developing more, and we are now embarking on building our own crank drive motor made from parts 100% engineered in the UK!

We also realized the prototyping and engineering process is much smoother and more effective done here in the UK. With the advent of 3D printing and other rapid prototyping techniques, we can get a proof of concept fairly quickly without having to design and re-design costly moulds.

 

And it turns out that there are plenty of small engineering firms in the UK that will machine parts in various different specialties, so partnering up with a few of them to improve some of our components was a delight compared to doing such intricate work offshore.

 

Electric bikes have traditionally been riddled with technical problems for far too long. The quality control process has always been a struggle for manufacturers having their build process in the Far East. Especially for those with a long supply chain and too many parties involved. Not only does this add to the retail price of the end product, but quality issues tend to slip through the testing phase and only appear in the field when a customer is riding the bike. Problems such as dysfunctional motors, dying battery cells, connection short circuits and other mismanaged issues throughout the outsourced build process. This is the case in both the upper and lower ends of the market in various degrees.

We are determined to change that for good by providing our customers with bikes that have been assembled under our watchful eye.

 

Manufacturing in Britain is of course not for everyone given the usual challenges of high labour costs, scolding business rates and employer taxes. But in certain industries where the product needs a concentrated level of quality control throughout its production stages, there are in fact enough advantages in taking onboard more in-house and still neutralize the added costs.

 

CycloTricity is the only team of designers, engineers and mechanics that has taken the leap into proving this to be the case. We are now superseding the quality of most electric bicycles, and can in fact even compete with the readily imported electric bikes from the Far East pricewise!

We are hoping we can lead the way and be an inspiration for other companies to at least consider such a shift in thinking.

Post Comments

Ashok gangwar

posted on 03 Oct, 2016
Nice!!!!!!

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Client Testimonials

Hi Raj.
 
I just wanted to thank you for your kindness and help.
 
My dad who is 72 bought himself and his wife a kit each a couple of years back and he says it is the best thing he has ever done.  He stops and tells anyone who will listen that buying the bike has changed his life. He already had a bike but found it such a struggle to do anything other than ride around the streets so he didn’t really bother. He heard about electric bikes and went on a mission to find the best. He settled on Cyclotricity.  He started off cycling a short distance and then using his throttle to keep him going whilst he had a little rest.  Soon his fitness improved and now he goes out for miles and uses the throttle less but loves having the freedom to take on long distances. 
 
Best wishes
Shirley
Shirley
Dear Ben
 
I would just like to Thank you for the fantastic service that I received from your company. As you know I had an issue with my digital meter, I had a phone call from Ben at Cyclotricity the same day and this morning a new replacement had arrived.
This is fantastic service, I am so pleased that I purchased my bike through Cyclotricity. I will log onto your website and write a customer review and I am thinking in the summertime I may even purchase a electric bike for my wife, if and when I do I will certainly buy it through Cyclotricity.
 
Keep up the good work, I wish you all the success in 2017.
Normally people write in to complain but I feel that it's nice to tell people that they are doing things right.
 
Kind Regards
 
Christopher Mundy
Chris
Good evening guy's
What can I say ...
The service I have received from you both has made me feel sure that I have made the right decision in choosing your product and company to spend my hard earned money with, thank you both .. it really is very much appreciated . 
I have attached my signed De-restriction/ Throttle terms of use form to obtain the relevant information required.
I am looking forward to taking delivery of my new baby in the near future
Many thanks again guy's 
Kind Regards
Mark
Mark
Hi Raj,
 
I just want to thank you for all your support through this build. You were/ are a great help!! Thanks for getting the technical team involved where necessary!
 
I feel like I should hire a model to stand next to the bike, to be able to send you a very nice photo!! As it is I will be wise and you will appreciate it if the photo is only of the bike and doesn't have me anywhere near!!
 
Have a good day!
 
Fritz
Fritz
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