This just in. Yorkshire bike company, Orange Bikes, has a new owner. It’s not going far, though, in fact it’s not going anywhere. The new owner is Ashley Ball, who runs Bairstows Sheet Metal in Halifax. This is also where the distinctive folded frames start life and are welded.
And, something that the press release neglects to mention is that, not only has Ashley been closely involved with every Orange frame design for years, he is also Steve Wade’s nephew, so there’s still going to be a strong family tie.
The full release is below:
Lester and Steve decided it was time to pass on the torch to new blood and a search for a suitable candidate began. It was important to find someone with the right belief and ability to continue with the Orange Bikes philosophy and build upon the solid company foundations they laid down in 1988.
Since the very beginning Lester and Steve have been hands-on in the design and marketing roles in the company. They have assembled a solid team within the company and also championed bicycle frame manufacturing in the UK when the rest of the world’s cycle industry were looking to the Far East. Establishing an iconic line of award winning high-performance mountain bikes also led them to success with World Cup Championship winners in Mountain Bike Downhill Racing. Their UK frame building partner in the endeavour has always been Bairstows in Halifax who, since 2000, has been owned and run by Ashley Ball.
After negotiations from several candidates it became increasingly obvious that Ashley Ball was head and shoulders above the rest to fill the criteria. Having successfully grown the Bairstows Sheet Metal business by 400% and moving the company to its new 35,000 square feet plant in Elland, just down the road from the Orange Mountain Bikes factory, it was clearly the right move.
Lester Noble said “We’ve been looking a for suitor to carry on the work we’ve done with Orange Bikes, and we did not want to go down the ‘Big Corporate Buyout’ route as so many others have done, it’s just not the Orange way. When Ashley made it clear to us he would like to take over at Orange, we quickly realised our search was over and began negotiating the details that these things always involve.”
To finalise the company acquisition Ashley worked closely with the teams from BHP Corporate Finance, HLW Keeble Hawson, who provided financial and legal advice respectively, and the HSBC Bank who were all indispensable to the final outcome.
Steve Wade commented “I am very happy that Ashley has taken on the role. He has always worked closely with me on the design, prototyping and manufacture of Orange’s UK frame production, Ash will now take the company on for the next generation.”
While this is unquestionably a business deal, this take-over runs much deeper and Ashley’s wide ranging knowledge of unique sheet metal and engineering techniques are now seen in the Orange Mountain Bikes signature look.
“The Orange management team and I already have a close working relationship and this will only be further strengthened now as we embark on a new chapter in the company’s history.” said Ashley.
“Orange and its manufacturing partner Bairstows have a long standing relationship and this deal strengthens that relationship as both parties interests are aligned under the same ownership.
“As one of Orange’s earliest fans it is important to me that the core values of the brand and its products are protected while embarking on a vision to broaden the range of bikes and establish the brand in new markets. To carry the mantle of Orange bikes is an incredible responsibility but also presents an amazing opportunity.”