Islabikes, the children’s bike brand that changed the face of bikes for kids, has taken delivery of its last batch of bikes and will cease selling at the end of the year.
Tim Goodall took over as Managing Director nearly three years ago as part of a management buyout that saw Isla Rowntree – the founder – stepping back from the company. Now, amid tough trading conditions in the bike industry, neither Tim nor Isla wants to continue with the business. While Islabikes remains solvent and there are no creditors, the decision has been reached to close the business, rather than seek new ownership or management.
Islabikes has always operated a direct to consumer business model, and will continue to sell existing stock until the end of the year. After that, spare parts will continue to be available, and guarantees will be honoured. If an Islabike is on your shopping list, it’s now or never (well, there’s always the flourishing second hand market!). Head to the website to check out the stock.
Islabikes was the first major company to look seriously at the proportions of children and design bikes around them. Until Islabikes changed the idea of what was possible, children’s bikes were invariably heavy, with brake levers out of reach of small hands, and gears designed for adult thumbs. Along the way, Islabikes sought to be an ethical and environmentally friendly company, with a diverse workforce, and recruitment practices held up as standards to aspire to.
This ethos also led to the Imagine project – one which, although ultimately unsuccessful, sought to create a ‘circular economy’ bike with a lifetime hire arrangement so that a fleet of long lasting bikes would be circulated through subscribers as they grew. Nothing thrown away, long life spans, and recyclable products at the end of life.
Islabikes also introduced the Icons range of bikes, aimed at older riders with restricted mobility, and expanded its main range to meet the needs of adults between 4’11 and 5’9. It also produced prototype bikes for people with restricted growth.
Safe to say, it wasn’t your typical big bike company – and the decision to close is a sad one but a typically unconventional one. We’ve always enjoyed our interactions with the Islabikes team (and no, we haven’t been swayed by Tim’s ‘Basse Kage Cake’ – recipe here!), and know that the inevitable redundancies that will come with the closure will weigh heavily on everyone. We wish all the staff at Islabikes, plus Tim and Isla, well in whatever comes next for all them. Their legacy is surely one that all our kids are glad of.
Here’s the official press release from Islabikes:
Islabikes is to cease production of bikes
Islabikes has revealed that it will cease sale and production of bikes, once remaining stocks are sold.
- There will be ongoing supply of spare parts and existing guarantees will be honoured.
- The company remains solvent and has no outstanding creditors.
- There are still lots of models available to buy while remaining stocks last.
Founder Isla Rowntree stepped back from the day to day running of Islabikes via an MBO in January 2021, handing majority ownership to current MD Tim Goodall. Since then, it has been a turbulent and difficult time for the cycle industry as a whole and neither Tim nor Isla wish to continue.
Since starting her eponymous company in 2005, Isla Rowntree has improved the cycling lives of hundreds of thousands of children. Her innovative designs for smaller hands and bodies have revolutionised children’s bikes.
“Today, it’s easy to forget just how bad most children’s bikes were when I started Islabikes 18 years ago”, said Isla. “They were monstrously heavy, fitted with outsized components and had dreadful brakes that were out of reach. They were so poor I believed they had the potential to put many children off cycling for life and I founded Islabikes to change that – to give children a better experience of cycling with the many benefits that brings.
“Islabikes’s early success gradually gained attention from other and bigger cycling brands and, as a result of them following our lead, today good quality, well thought out children’s bikes are available from multiple places, and for me, that is a wonderful thing.”
“Tim and I would like to thank our many loyal customers, colleagues and suppliers who have contributed to the Islabikes story over the last 18 years.”