Manchester-based bike brand Insync is starting production this month of a new state-of-the-art racing bike for the company’s elite mountain bike racing team.
Insync, owned by India-based Hero Cycles, the world’s biggest bike manufacturer by volume, sponsored a team of three riders as ‘Insync Racing’ in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup this year, one of the leading events of its kind in the world.
The six-month event, which took in Spain, France, the US, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Austria, saw the Insync team make a solid performance during their first season together. Harry Molloy, 27, from England, Veronika Widmann, 26, from Italy, and Northern Ireland-based 16-year-old Chris Cumming competed on the Mountain Bike Eliminator, a fast mountain bike format which sees four riders at a time race over a technical course featuring natural obstacles such as jumps, bridges and rock gardens. Courses are typically between 500m and 1km, with racing lasting from 1.5-2 minutes.
The Insync sponsorship enabled Molloy, a former two-time English champion, to pull together a team with complementary skills and invest in bringing young rider Cumming into the team. Now the Insync Racing team riders have been working with designers at Hero’s Global Design Centre, in Manchester, to come up with an even better bike they can compete on next season.
Steve Bridgeman, lead designer at Insync, has been working with the trio on the new downhill racing frame.
“All the design decisions about the new frame have been informed by their experience as riders riding a variety of downhill bikes and drawing conclusions from their likes and dislikes about each one. We’re coming up with a bike for Insync Racing that suits the team’s technical preferences.”
Steve said one of the main focuses of the design sessions has been refining the leverage ratios of the suspension to produce a suspension that gets progressively stiffer throughout the ride.
He said: “The harder it is hit, the more resistance it will offer in order to give a ‘bottomless’ feel to the suspension that inspires confidence. The geometry of the frame has also come under the microscope, which has included moving the seat tube to a different position to allow the rider much more freedom of movement. ”
Steve said prototyping will begin in October, with more testing done to refine the model. Although it is not intended for mass production, it is expected that some features of the bike will trickle down into other Insync bikes.
Danny Evans, chief executive of Avocet Sports, the UK subsidiary of Hero said: “Harry, Veronika and Chris are all seasoned professionals brought together as a team this year and they’ve been extremely successful given that it’s their first season. We have been delighted with the impact they have made as riders under the Insync Racing brand. We’ve seen some standout performances from our three riders this year and we couldn’t be happier with their progress. Veronika has been involved in some nasty crashes but she’s got straight up and back on the bike, on one occasion still managing a podium finish in third place. We’re working hard on the new racing bike design looking at features and components that can make their lives easier. The ultimate aim is to then introduce these innovations to our mass market bikes under the Insync and Coyote brands. With the new bike design, we hope Insync Racing will be even more competitive next season.”
Harry Molloy, who is also the Insync Racing team manager, said the opening season had been more successful than he had first thought was possible, with Veronika becoming a familiar feature on the World Cup podium, coming third overall and winning the European series.
He said: “Overall, the team had a welcomed place into the race scene and shone in the light of the media. I was personally very pleased to have the opportunity to compete in Red Bull Hardline and I feel the whole team has stamped Insync Racing very positively on the map.”
Of the trio’s work developing and prototyping with the design team, he added: “This is an incredible opportunity to collaborate our knowledge from the height of the sport, directly with the height of design and manufacture. For us all as individuals, and with our future results in mind, this is the best partnership we could ever want.”
Notes to editors
1) UCI World Cup background: https://www.uci.org/mountain-bike/events/mercedes-benz-uci-mountain-bike-world-cup
2) Hero Cycles background
Hero Cycles Limited was founded in India in 1956. It is the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world by volume producing 19,000 cycles per day and 5.2million per year. This represents one out of every 20 of the world’s bicycles. Hero Cycles has manufacturing units in Ludhiana (Punjab), Bihta (Bihar) & Ghaziabad (UP). It is part of the Hero Motors Company which has revenues of $400million and $1.2billion in assets employing circa 8,000 staff.
The company exports to more than 70 countries through a network of circa 250 suppliers and 2800 dealerships. Its bike range includes road bikes, hybrid bikes, children’s bikes, electric-bikes, mountain bikes, BMX and roadster models. Hero in India also manufactures automobile components like chassis for cars, safety components and transmission for motorcycles.
In August 2015, it acquired British brand Avocet Sports with 51pc stake targeting high-end bicycle market in Europe and now has full ownership. In 2015, it also acquired Firefox Bikes – India’s largest premium bicycle brand with an established presence Pan-India through a network of 160 outlets. In 2016, it acquired a majority stake in Sri Lanka’s leading bicycle manufacturer BSH Ventures, further boosting its manufacturing capacity. As part of major expansion plans across Europe it launched the £2million Hero Cycles Global Design Centre (HGD) in Manchester, UK, in January 2017. The design hub is led by creative minds from across the world including innovators from India, Taiwan and Denmark.
Hero Cycles is ISO9001 & ISO14001 Certified from BVC of UK and recognized by the R&D department by the Govt. of India.