Following distributors Moore and Large, and 2Pure, another UK bike company, FLi Distribution, has ceased trading this year. The news was first reported by Cycling Industry News and confirmed on social media by company owner, Col Williams as he cites post-Brexit issues as the main reason for the company closure.
In a post published yesterday on Linkedin with the words, "FLi is done", Williams writes, "If you voted for Brexit, please realise this is 90% because of your decision back in 2016." Later in his statement he adds, "I'm done fighting, I'm done with the red tape and the barriers to trade. It hasn't been fun for some time, so the time was right to end it now, life is too short."
Speaking to our sister site, Cycling Weekly, Williams said he realized that the British referendum vote to the EU could have big repercussions for FLi as soon as it was announced in June 2016. "I woke up in Austria [where KTM is based] on the morning of the referendum result and really felt then that if we left the Single Market it would spell the end for my business," he said.
January 2021 saw statutes regarding the UK's interactions with the EU come into force. But given the Covid-19 pandemic, it took two years for the full impact of Brexit to be revealed – given the lockdown boom in cycling sales and the contraction that followed, Williams says. "Once we realized it simply wasn't possible to offer the service we wanted, there was no option other than to close."
Based in Huddersfield, FLi Distribution began trading in 2008 and had a long-standing relationship with KTM, acting as the brand's UK agent for its bikes, e-bikes, and e-MTBs until April of this year.
FLi Distribution grew from FLi Race Team Management where Williams worked with the likes of the Yeti Europe team on the UCI World Cup circuit in the early 2000s. As well as KTM, FLi worked closely with German brand Reverse Components, PUKY Bikes, and Ursus Cycling.
There's been no announcement as yet on the fate of FLi's staff, but we wish everyone involved well for the future.