Backed by manufacturing powerhouse Liberty House, hand-built bicycle manufacturer Trillion is bringing premium cycle production back to the West Midlands…
It was once an industry that employed tens of thousands of people in the West Midlands. Today, the manufacturing of bicycles seems almost non-existent.
But that could all be about to change as Trillion Cycles, backed by manufacturing powerhouse Liberty House Group, looks to bring bicycle manufacturing back home.
Cycling enthusiast and engineer turned entrepreneur Lawrence Bryan founded Trillion in 2012 having spent 25 years working in the automotive industry.
As a keen cyclist himself, Lawrence had spent a significant amount of time researching the industry and was inspired by the bicycle manufacturing tradition of the West Midlands.
“Trillion prides itself in the fact that all its frames are hand-built in the UK and our bikes use only high-grade named components,” said Lawrence.
“We offer our customers a wide choice so they can create a bike as individual as themselves. Our products are of the highest quality, and we aiming to establish our reputation alongside respected brands such as Pinarello, Colnago or De Rosa.
“Our target customers are serious club riders, commuters and mountain bikers - normally riders who own several bikes already. We will soon have a range of products starting with the single-speed commuter bike, which we sell direct through our website and showroom.”
Lawrence originally launched the company in his hometown of Solihull but moved to Leamington Spa when the business became part of the Liberty Engineering Group, the engineering division of the wider Liberty House Group.
“Trillion was originally located in Solihull but moved to Leamington Spa when it became part of the Liberty Engineering Group,” he added. “I was born and bred in Solihull so wanted Trillion to remain in the Midlands, especially retaining a strong manufacturing connection with the region.”
Trillion became part of Liberty following a chance meeting in late 2014 at a charity dinner in Birmingham between Lawrence and Douglas Dawson, who is chief executive of Liberty Industries Group (then CEO of the old Caparo Industries which became part of Liberty in December 2015). Lawrence explained that he wanted more of the manufacturing process for his bikes to take place in the UK and they began talking about how that could be achieved.
Liberty has helped breathe a new lease of life into British manufacturing in recent years and proved to be the perfect partner for Trillion. Last year it bought out large parts of troubled Tata Steel in a bid to help revive the UK steel industry and just this month acquired Coventry manufacturer CovPress, which had been in administration since September. Now it is looking to breathe a new lease of life into cycle manufacturing.
Lawrence said: “The Liberty Group under the leadership of its executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta has a compelling vision to revive UK steelmaking, engineering and manufacturing and to build an integrated British supply chain that includes as many parts of the production process as possible.
“Sanjeev’s vision for the overall Liberty Group is to create a competitive, integrated and sustainable industrial business that encompasses everything from energy generation using renewable sources, through metal production and processing to downstream engineering and end-product manufacture.
“Trillion, as an integral part of the Liberty Group, is a good example of that business model in action. Though we will continue to source our materials and components from a variety of well-respected producers, being part of an integrated Liberty business gives us opportunities for fresh and competitive sources of supply. We need more manufacturing to come back to the UK.
“Around 50,000 people used to be employed in the cycle industry in the UK at its peak, most of them in the Midlands area. Trillion and the wider Liberty Group are looking to play an important part in re-shoring production to this region and bringing back employment and skills. Sanjeev has a particular passion for restoring bicycle production to the UK because it represents a return to his roots. He began his business life selling bicycles internationally on behalf on his father’s firm.”
As the company prides itself on manufacturing all of its cycles in the UK, using British materials whenever possible, it has so far not been affected by the result of the EU referendum. Looking forward however, Lawrence believes it will have some impact but the effect will be minimal.
He said: “We source a large proportion of our materials and components in the UK so that limits the negative impact of the weak pound. Where we do import components, due to customer request to use certain brands, we do see a small impact on price due to the lower exchange rate, but on the flip side that also means that we will be able to offer our overseas customers better value when we start exporting.”
There is currently only one Trillion bike model available to customers, the Tera Custom Single Speed , but this is set to change when the company releases its full range next month at the London Bike Show at the ExCel exhibition centre. Following the big launch, Lawrence is expecting the business to really gather momentum.
He concluded: “In line with the strategy of the wider Liberty Group, we aim to grow strongly in the UK and claim a larger share of the domestic market with our British-made products.
"In Trillion’s case that means bringing premium cycle production back to the UK using as many home-grown materials and components as possible, drawing from the strength of our corporate parent and the wider British supply chain.
“We only employ a handful of people at the moment, all based at Leamington Spa, but we expect that figure to increase significantly as production ramps up.”