BREAKING NEWS: Wiggle Set To Buy Chain Reaction Cycles

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News from Bikebiz today is that these two competing giants of the bike retail world are set to become one as Wiggle moves to buy Chain Reaction Cycles.

Chain Reaction Cycles was born in 1989 as a small bike shop in Ballyclare, Northern Ireland with a £1500 bank loan and remains family owned by the Watsons.

Wiggle Ltd. company records date back 24 years and was sold to Bridgeport Capital for £180m in 2011.

chain reaction cycles singletrack magazine
The original CRC shop


chain reaction cycles singletrack magazine
It’s come a long way since then

Bikebiz reports that the Watson personal fortune is valued at £200 million.

40% of CRC’s business now comes from outside the EU.

We reported on their 25th anniversary back in 2010.

This is a breaking news story – More details as it comes in



Comments (20)


    Guess that’s not going to be particularly great from a competition point of view

    Blimey indeed! The internet says that Wiggle was founded in 1999 though..

    Wiggle were definitely around before 2009.

    Updated with our own researched dates now

    Have they also purchased Hotlines distribution?

    Wiggle went more road bike, CRC mountain bike so Wiggle ends up the biggest.

    I’m not sure if this is something to be proud of or not but I was a really early customer of both of them when they became online entities. I kid you not but my first purchase from Wiggle was a big box of condoms.

    In the early days of bike e-tailers the real big guys were in Worcestershire and I think they were called Singletrack? I bought loads of stuff from them.

    I use both I think it would be a shame if they are all under one management!

    Blimey, I remember Wiggle when it was Butler’s Cycles in a crappy location in Portsmouth. Come a long way!

    Bridgeport Capital are investment VC. they own (amongst other things Oasis Dental Care and Pret a Manger) Easiest and quickest way to grow your business…Buy similar sized business in the same market, with Bridgeport finance behind them, makes perfect sense for wiggle.

    I do wonder just how much CRC ever recovered from that infamous website update a few years ago…

    My LBS ‘s are owned by some nice folk.

    Oh well I guess we can expect price increases across both sites ☹️

    I bought my Marin Team Titanium from Butler’s Cycles in Southsea in 1995. They were my LBS.

    Let’s get to the most important question…
    Does this mean more or less Haribo?

    tis a shame – less competition means less value! BUT CRC are no longer the discounters they once were so not a massive loss

    Refreshingly I bought can item from my LBS on Monday,walked in, paid, even got a discount off full retail & didn’t pay postage or wait X amount of days for it to arrive & then pick it up from the delivery office because it was too big for the letter box either.
    If you’re worried about working conditions for staff or giving money to conglomerates, try your local bike shop, they are struggling

    Not good for punters…might be good for LBS!!

    Not good news for the LBS.

    You know how that old local butcher, the one that gave great service, the one who you could ask if you needed advice… Yeah the one that closed down.

    You know how you now buy satisfactory quality meat in a poly packet from the supermarket, and the meat is prepared in a factory in Ireland.

    Not always the case, the LBS can go from strength to strength by offering good service and fair prices, don’t bemoan the shop that doesn’t that is the market for you, they choose not to compete on service or don’t have a plan. Same as pubs, car Dealers, butchers, bakers. Change, love it or hate it, it is still happening.

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