Well done Cy..
The time has come! I can finally reveal why we had to go all quiet on the Rocket for these last few months: Today we are announcing the from now on all Cotic full suspension frame production is happening in the UK, built at a new production facility I have co-founded. This factory is Bicycle Manufacturing Limited, or BML for short. Does what it says on the tin!
About 2 years ago I met Mike McDermid, who is my partner in BML and the manufacturing brains of the operation. We began working on this project after it became clear to Mike that using the latest automated techniques and equipment combined with high skilled hand made production, it would be possible to be competitive on price with Far Eastern supply on high end products with a flexible, high quality UK operation. Mike's experience with all areas of manufacturing are extensive, right up to designing carbon composites for F1 and Le Mans cars, (Williams F1, Wirth Research, Red Bull Racing) as well as some of the top names in the Aerospace and bike industry.
As you know, Cotic - like just about every bike brand in the world - sources frames and parts from the Far East. Some of the reason for this is price, but in most cases it's also to do with expertise. The Taiwanese and Chinese have factories and companies that just build bikes. Not aircraft, or car parts, or motorcycle frames as well, just bikes. They have expertise and make it very easy to source parts. They're very good at what they do. When we figured out that, if done carefully and correctly, we could be competitive on price for mid-to-high end products using the processes Mike had in mind, we were suddenly in a situation where the price was good and cutting edge manufacturing and material expertise was in the UK. So, all things being equal, I decided I would prefer to make some models in the UK. The pricing is similar, but the flexibility of production and the speed of development for new product tips the balance in BML's favour.
I realise that quite a few of you have been waiting a long time for Rockets, and we have been fairly evasive on the subject up to now. I can only apologise for that. I really hope you understand that whilst we were completely committed to success with BML all last year, until we got to this point - having pre-production frames in build - we couldn't be sure when we would be ready. We didn't want to put more pressure on the build up of the factory by putting some arbitrary production date on it. For those of you who have been patient with us; thank you so much. For those that decided to buy something else; I totally understand and would probably have done the same in your shoes!
We're very close to completing the first pre-production UK made Rocket frames, so look out for more on this in a couple of weeks. And before you ask, they are 26" wheel!! Once they've been finished there will be a brief lab testing and sign off period to dot i's and cross t's on the UK construction methods and we're aiming to be in build in early March.
If you want to see the full press release and some pictures of our production kit, head over to the Bicycle Manufacturing webpage to have a look.
I'm so excited about this project; the possibilities, the potential for new and interesting products, learning to weld myself! So much to look forward to. Welcome to our latest adventure!