Orange Bikes Resumes Trading Under Owner Ashley Ball

Jan 26, 2024 at 9:31
by Jessie-May Morgan  
Orange Bikes has announced that, after a restructure of the business and its associated companies, trading is set to continue under the ownership of Ashley Ball. This follows recent turmoil for the company that saw administrators take over the business, with a view to selling the brand and its frame manufacturing company. Now, it seems Orange Bikes itself has somehow been able to acquire its UK frame manufacturing partner, which will allow them to unify the entire production process in one location.

bigquotesThrough the streamlining of our business, we have been able to preserve jobs and reinforce the stability of the Orange brand. This strategic decision ensures a promising future for British bike manufacturing in West Yorkshire for at least another 35 years.Orange Bikes

Happily, the Orange Bikes website appears to be back up and running. The full press release follows.

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Press Release

Our Heritage

Orange Bikes has a rich history that spans over three decades. Since our establishment in 1988 in the north of England, we have always been a hub for talented athletes and have produced some of the most iconic bikes in the industry. Over the years, our bikes have become synonymous with quality and performance.

We know that Orange Bikes holds a special place in the hearts of cycling enthusiasts. Whether it's the aspiration to ride one of our bikes or the pride of owning one, we're aware that everyone connected to cycling has their own unique Orange Bikes story.

We are grateful for the support and loyalty of our customers throughout the years. The passion we see for our brand has been instrumental in our success.

We remain committed to delivering exceptional bikes and continuing to be a driving force in the cycling community.


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Our Future

As part of a restructure, Orange Bikes has successfully acquired its UK frame manufacturing partner. This is a significant development that brings us one step closer to realising our ambitious plan of having the entire company exist under one roof.

With this acquisition, we will be able to streamline our operations and create a more efficient production process. The new facility, just 2 miles from our current headquarters, will serve as the new home for Orange Bikes. It will house both frame fabrication facility and bike assembly, allowing us to unify the entire production process in one location.

This integration will enable us to have greater control over the manufacturing process, ensuring the highest quality standards for our bikes. From the delivery of the aluminum for which we are famed, at one end of the factory, to the shipment of complete bikes from the other, we will have a seamless and efficient workflow.

We are excited about this new chapter in the Orange Bikes story and the opportunities it presents. This move not only strengthens our position in the industry but also demonstrates our commitment to British bike manufacturing.

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Through the streamlining of our business, we have been able to preserve jobs and reinforce the stability of the Orange brand. This strategic decision ensures a promising future for British bike manufacturing in West Yorkshire for at least another 35 years.

We are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead and remain dedicated to producing high-quality bikes that meet the needs and expectations of our customers.

We’d like to thank our customers, friends, colleagues and peers for all their support during this challenging time and welcome them along for the ride in this next great chapter of Orange Bikes.


Author Info:
jessiemaymorgan avatar

Member since Oct 26, 2023
53 articles

151 Comments
  • 263 7
 Kudos to Orange. They identified the financial risk with sufficient time, used due diligence and took measures required, saving people's livelihoods. Very honourable behaviour. A human company that gives a damn.
  • 18 4
 Agreed. Good on them. Hope to see them make strides with frame improvements too and really get back to being a truly premium manufacturer.
  • 26 4
 Apart from the supply chain of creditors left with bad debts.
  • 2 1
 @hg604: for sure, there’s an opportunity here to innovate and advance their market share. Time will tell if they can capitalize.
  • 17 24
flag hot-beef-sundae (Jan 26, 2024 at 18:52) (Below Threshold)
 @loftyuk: eat the rich, they can afford a loss
  • 3 3
 Amazing news and definitely a time for innovation and maybe so new frames and layouts but also keeping the shapes and monocoque designs some die hard fans love and will continue to buy for years to come. Would love to see Orange back in DH also no one can forget that single pivots clearly work and are fun from animal PlayStation, to the orange global team, Steve peat for many years and Brendog!
  • 11 1
 said no creditor...
  • 8 5
 @jjhobbs: the creditors now have an above zero of being repaid, which is more than if they simply shut their doors…
  • 6 4
 @loftyuk: exactly this basically f*ck everyone we owe money to
  • 4 1
 @hg604: maybe, but seen as they made a loss in COVID boom, I'd say they f*cked them all over
  • 93 2
 Phew, for a minute there I read "Mike Ashley"!
  • 5 1
 You're not the only one!
  • 23 5
 Turns out is Chris Ball's sister, you can now rent your orange ebike from them for a monthly subscription of $199 payable by euro or bitcoin to Disney+
  • 9 30
flag ThatEbikeGuy (Jan 26, 2024 at 10:25) (Below Threshold)
 Shame it wasn't. The tearful blubbering on stw forums would have been delicious.
  • 9 14
flag Mayzei FL (Jan 26, 2024 at 11:14) (Below Threshold)
 @ThatEbikeGuy: omg that is devious but so true
  • 3 0
 @browner: No its not the whole bike, you buy the bike, then have to pay a monthly subscription to have the suspension turned on
  • 2 1
 @mulv1976 Same buddy, I am not a Brit but I have been a Newcastle fan since the Shay Given, Alan shearer years and on my first read I said oh not him, then oh thank god is another mike!
  • 6 0
 I read "Rick Astley."
  • 11 3
 @jackhawk9000: at least with him, you know he wouldn’t, y’know…
  • 69 35
 Dear Orange;
Happy that you survived to fight another day. However, if you just keep doing what you’ve been doing, even with your new “seamless and efficient workflow”, you’ll be back in administration in a couple of years. As the rare American who has actually owned an Orange, I was underwhelmed 12 years ago. Having just ridden a new-ish Orange on a recent visit to the UK, I was again underwhelmed but also sort of disappointed that so little had changed in 12 years when it wasn’t so great back then. Once you were innovators, then you decided to wallow in “tradition” as innovation in the bike biz went on without you. I respect tradition, but in no way does it move me to buy an MTB. Innovation does move me. (and no, making e-bikes isn’t innovation) Good luck and looking forward to a fresh crop of something new.
  • 13 3
 There is only so many ways you can build a single pivot bike I guess!? I'm just happy they still exists with their simple 2 bearing swing arm design.
  • 9 11
 @theboypanda: I was under the impression that there would not be new Orange bikes with just two bearings?

The electric motorbike in the picture also has way more than two bearings…
  • 2 1
 after all these years, do you think they will add a pivot to any of their plans???
  • 8 0
 Defy all expectations and be the first to 10 pivots
  • 4 5
 @theboypanda: they're not single pivot anymore, they have some sort of linkage hidden under the "filing cabinet" as people like to call it lol I love them though I hope they don't change the asthetics I'd love to own one at some point.
  • 4 4
 If you want to ride Yorkshire mud all year the bikes make sense. The Zero trials bike and the Five in Cadburys Purple are still great looking bikes.
  • 1 1
 Maybe now logo will be in green, whadayaknow
  • 1 4
 @Beeco: I wouldn't say not a T7 if the opportunity ever arose. I keep mulling over a P7, but I'm not sure my knees are up to a hardcore HT these days
  • 6 0
 What do you actually want? The geo and designs have progressed. Single pivots are rad, it's a core part of their brand. Maybe the bike doesn't mesh with you, that's cool. When I rode them they were insanely fast. My only issue with them is that in Australia they're really expensive.
  • 2 0
 Good points. There’s interest in the brand in North America, primarily among older riders who remember Orange in its prime. Innovation is crucial to growing a whole new clientele.
  • 3 2
 I agree. I've owned 2 Orange bikes over the years. Their customer service was absolutely exemplary, but the folded aluminium frame is too labour intensive and doesn't offer enough performance advantages to be worth the cost of UK manufacturing. They need to readdress this process if the business is to survive (which I hope it does).
  • 5 2
 @peterknightuk: I think they should keep single pivot for the short travel bikes, but for longer travel focus on the Stage 7 / Switch 7 / Patriot multi link suspension design.

In the flesh they're amazing looking bikes, they're light and they're made in the UK. The multi link bikes still look like orange bikes, whilst improving the suspension performance for longer travel bikes.

I think they can do well if they cut down their SKU count and focus on the right stuff.
  • 6 12
flag Compositepro (Jan 27, 2024 at 2:24) (Below Threshold)
 @Beeco: no one actually wants to ride in yorkshire mud i want it sunny and dusty
  • 5 2
 @curtiscycles: a link driven single pivot is still a single pivot.
  • 5 0
 @thenotoriousmic: just like the Nukeproof Giga, Forbidden Dreadnaught, Deviate’s and most Kona’s to name but a few…
  • 6 4
 5 bellends from yorkshire then
  • 25 1
 Glad it didn't go pear shaped for orange.
  • 3 2
 File this under Close Calls
  • 9 1
 But they were taking the pith
  • 18 0
 So frame maker aquires Orange in 2015, both orange and frame maker go into administration in 2024. Both companies are sold to the person that owned both companies that were in administration. Got it!
It’s like photoshop for business, one wave of the Mouse and the debt is gone.
  • 4 0
 I used to work in insolvency in the UK and these pre-pack administration sales to restructure were common place and not always the easiest to swallow. I dealt with a sole trader engineer guy who was on his 6th time around, still in the same building knocking out the same products to the same people and no one seemed to care that every couple of years they all had to write off a debt and go back to the start again.
  • 2 0
 Yes, this. Bullshit.
  • 20 3
 Holy shit - I just looked at the website - thats a lot of options of bikes without much differentiating between them! No wonder they went bust. Better consolidate your stock and reduce the number of bikes you sell.
  • 4 15
flag ROOTminus1 FL (Jan 26, 2024 at 11:39) (Below Threshold)
 You're not wrong that too many sku's are a problem for efficient business. That's something that should change if they want to make Orange competitive again now they've had this reprive, but you don't have to be a dick about it
  • 9 0
 @ROOTminus1: I didnt think I was being a dick about it - hadnt looked at the Orange website in years (since I had a Patriot in about 2005) and had no idea what their current product range was - when I looked I had a lightbulb moment.
  • 13 0
 @paulskibum: You weren't being a dick about it. You stated the problem and came up with a solution and didn't pussy-foot around the problem.
  • 13 6
 Not a fan of Orange bikes these days, but Im stoked they are back in the game.
  • 4 0
 Unless Ashley Ball is willing to admit that he is the reason the business went into administration and learn from his mistakes then the metaphorical can has just been kicked down the road.

Yes the cycle trade is having a hard time, other business’s are managing to keep there head above water though. In 2015 when Ball purchased Orange the bikes were getting good reviews in the media, they were sponsoring WC Dh’ers and most importantly had a huge dealership network in the UK. The business has been on a steady decline since then.

I believe Ball purchased Orange because it was an opportunity for him to take control of his biggest customer and therefore secure business for Bairstows. Without Wade & Noble at the helm though the brand seemed to stop developing/evolving. I might be wrong but I believe Bairstows/Ashley Ball had no experience in bike frame manufacturing until Steve Wade approached them with plans for a swing-arm made out of sheet aluminium. It seems to me that Orange became so committed to folded aluminium sheet construction not necessarily because it was the best thing for Orange but because it was the best thing for Bairstows.

You only need to look at the materials and manufacturing techniques Orange had used before Ball bought Orange to see that the brand was not tied to any particular material/technique. I’m pretty sure that just before Orange was sold to Ball either Wade or Noble said that Orange were about 2 years away from being able to manufacture out of carbon in the UK.
  • 2 1
 100% they need to move on from this manufacturing method in aluminium and agree they have stuck with it for non-technical reasons.
  • 8 1
 Now we need a new shop tour video by Guy Martin !
  • 4 1
 I would watch Guy Martin make a cup of tea.
  • 8 1
 I am glad they are still in the game.
  • 5 0
 Who were the previous owners of Orange? Does anyone in the UK know: will details of the restructuring be made public at any point?
  • 74 1
 Minute maid
  • 15 0
 You can sell a business to a connected party under uk bankruptcy law (Ashley ball was a previous owner). The speed of it all suggests it was a "pre pack".

It will all be on our statutory company register ("companies house") in fullness of time.

As one lawyer once said to me "I can't believe this is still legal, but it is".
  • 3 0
 some info on the previous owners and current owner
bikebiz.com/new-owner-for-orange-bikes
  • 3 0
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz: please explain like Im 5
  • 9 16
flag bigtim FL (Jan 26, 2024 at 10:27) (Below Threshold)
 @mtmc99: poo poo wee wee. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.
  • 17 0
 @mtmc99: you can effectively pre-arrange the sale of the business (without the debts) to a "new" owner that can include the current owner(s).

There is a minimal amount of effort required to try the sell the business to other buyers but they are at a disadvantage as their time window to decide is small.

So you can basically carry on as you were without the debts. Not quite as simple that in practice but that's the main reason it's done.
  • 6 0
 @mtmc99: won't know for sure whether this is what happened here till the docs are on companies house but when "new" owners appear quickly (especially connected ones) it's a sign of it
  • 11 0
 @mtmc99: I should also say not passing judgement. Its better something carries on with jobs etc and creditors screwed than nothing carries on, jobs are lost and creditors are still screwed.

Just explaining how the new owners can be very much linked to the old owners
  • 2 0
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz: thanks for the explanation, makes a lot more sense now. And yeah, bit surprised thats allowed but happy folks can keep their jobs
  • 2 0
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz: what happens to the debts?
  • 7 0
 @Franziskaner: basically “what debts?” Everything essentially starts again for the new company. However, suppliers that got stung might not be offering the same terms this time around!
  • 5 0
 @Franziskaner: they go.

In practice though if you want to keep working with someone you previously owed money to you would need to come to some arrangement.

It's not without other hangovers but you keep the good bits of a business and drop the debts.

It's there to preserve businesses that are otherwise viable but have become overcome with debt.
  • 2 0
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz: in that case any business can be defined as viable, that goes under. Loved my 01 Superlight, still have it. The Orange bikes always remind me of it. If they were closer, lighter, probably would have bought one.
  • 3 0
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz: good insight into the seemingly speedy transition. Thx
  • 2 0
 Super informative
  • 12 5
 Start doing some R&D and bring the designs up to date.
  • 7 0
 Guaranteed for another 35 years...??? That is some confidence lol
  • 6 1
 In my head there’s a “ - “ in there
  • 5 1
 Always liked orange bikes but they’ve got a little too pricey. It about time they went to a direct sales model and slash there prices and then I think they would be able to compete again against everyone else.
  • 5 0
 Surely you could do this in a less dramatic public way - glad their staying around but still
  • 9 0
 What a rollercoaster. Actually, you could probably build a decent rollercoaster out of Orange frames tbf.
  • 4 0
 So. Company keeps going with no debts. But the creditors are all out of pocket? I know its legal but for f*cks sake that's brut move.
  • 1 0
 Actually
This isn't Fair. I've assumed there are debts rather than just plain old "not enough money" to operate the business. Ie, cash flow issues.
  • 2 0
 This is no surprise to me, if anything I'm amazed they managed to survive so long with such a bland range and just brand loyalty. I and many others used to lust after Orange bikes back in the 2000's and 2010's with bikes like the Ms Isle, 224, Patriot but they just stopped making some of the best bikes on the market to just building bikes that look very mid and bland with eBay quality decals.
  • 1 0
 Creditor's list -

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  • 4 0
 What an oddly public piece of business drama. I'm hoping for a concise 'start-to-finish' write-up.
  • 2 1
 My thoughts exactly . Followed closely by WGAF
  • 3 1
 Good to see Orange back. I reckon brand loyalty has kept them going, mostly older English people getting another one. They need new young customers, can't see that happening with the current designs.
  • 5 0
 A surprise pivot from Orange, that no one expected.
  • 3 0
 It’s nice that they got their stuff together to avoid going under, but they’re gonna need to modernize that design, just saying…
  • 2 1
 Picky detail guy here… cough….sorry….
That welding photo has a frame jig with the lock nut not done up. This leaves the opportunity for the thread to take all the sideways load and wobble about. Which, you may agreed, is not a great thing to have when you want a straight seat tube.
  • 2 0
 The frame has to be cold set, heat treated and set again. It’s going to move a lot in all those steps.
  • 2 0
 He’s also welding in a short sleeve shirt. f*ck that
  • 1 0
 @markcorrigan: thought the same thing. Especially AC, so much heat.
  • 1 0
 @markcorrigan: all the light, UV, infrared, lots of good melanoma.
  • 2 1
 Really good to see Orange have navigated this successfully. They might not be everyone’s cup of tea but they’re great bikes to ride, also if you have ever ridden the uk you will soon realise that less bearings isn’t a bad thing. When I worked at a shop we had bikes coming in every 18 months or so due to quantity of rain and soil composition. Only way to get the mud off was a pressure washer, a couple of big bearings hold up a lot longer!
  • 2 0
 @jessiemaymorgan - it's great news that orange has saved a lot of jobs, but they've also avoided paying a bunch of freelancers who need this money and their riders.
  • 1 0
 @jessiemaymorgan - it's great they have saved all the jobs, but what about all the freelancers and the sponsored riders they haven't paid in full?
  • 3 0
 Marketing and up to date R&D is needed to succeed in todays world
  • 1 0
 So, as most brands use you ( read customer) to do the R and D ….!! For which you pay a lot, and then get crap warranty and customer service!!
What’s not to like?
At least as a customer, you can claim you had a part to play in the R and D as yet another frame / chainstay / BB Interface delaminates !!!
  • 1 0
 Can anyone explain what "trading" means in this context? In the US, I would read that as they were publicly traded on the stock market.
  • 6 0
 Selling bikes and things = trading
  • 1 0
 @steveh951: interesting, it's just not really used in that way here even tho the definition technically applies
  • 3 0
 Now all they need is a new designer.
  • 3 0
 You mean an entirely new product
  • 1 0
 Still the prices of bikes are expensive for what you get. Not just Orange other manufactures are the same.
  • 1 0
 Confused. How is just paying one less lease going to make the company profitable?
  • 3 0
 Oh it will be a write off for the sheet metal business.
  • 2 0
 When the juice is worth the squeeze!
  • 1 0
 That sounds like it is going a lot better than it sounded like it might be....
  • 1 1
 I am very happy that they have it all sorted out, they have been around since the beginning of this wonderful little hobby of ours.
  • 1 0
 Anyone know if there are more photos of their jig set-up online? That looks amazing.
  • 2 0
 Guy Martin is a damn treasure.
  • 1 0
 @Lanmtb: those sideburns - epic
  • 3 0
 Make em cheaper!
  • 2 0
 Best news, being able to preserve jobs.
  • 1 1
 Orange bike should take this opportunity to introduce a robotic welder to make the "monocoque" method, which is Orange identity, even better...
  • 1 0
 I wonder if Guy Martin has anything to do with the new structure.
  • 1 0
 Boy...That really escalated quickly.
  • 4 1
 Deescalated. you were this close
  • 4 0
 @emptybe-er: San Diego...go (bleep) yourself.
  • 1 0
 So dramatic and transparent. Time for some tea.
  • 1 0
 An Orange with reinforced stability will be Nukeproof!
  • 3 2
 It's that ebikes fault I swear.
  • 1 0
 Thank you Ashley BallER!!
  • 1 0
 Damn I was worried I wouldn't be able to order a new filing cabinet
  • 1 1
 Wow their future is private photo. :p
  • 1 1
 Long live the citrus king!
  • 1 0
 Good luck Orange!
  • 1 0
 love em
  • 1 1
 i’ve never heard of ashley ball
  • 2 4
 Single pivot with the possible addition of a rising rate linkage is how all human gravity powered motorbikes should be. It's what all the other motorbikes are doing.
  • 5 6
 Add them to Stanton and companies that I won't touch. People who were owed money have jobs and mouths to feed too.
  • 5 0
 Whether the company carries on or not the people owed money have lost it. As unsavoury as it is, its business. Sometimes people don't pay, or can't pay. Nobody does any insolvency process without going through a lot of pain themselves even if it seems on the surface its all win.
  • 2 3
 They saw what Stanton did to write off £2M and though they’d do the same then. Should be fraud really…
  • 3 4
 Is she related to Chris Ball? If so, I want none of it.
  • 1 3
 Is this and the last announcement by orange is just a tactical ploy at free advertising?
  • 1 3
 Ashley has big b_lls to do this. It’s crappier than Ellsworth. Jeez!
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