The History of Merlin Cycles

Take a look back at the history of Merlin Cycles – from our inception in 1993, to sponsoring Team GB and Paralympic riders Bex Rimmington and Jon Gildea. 

One of the longest established online bike stores in the whole of the UK, Merlin Cycles has come on in leaps and bounds since our inception in 1993.

To celebrate our 21 years (and counting) in the business, we’re taking a look back at our successful and prestigious history.

Strap in with us for the journey as we rewind back to the ’90s and start from the very early days of Merlin Cycles.

The Beginning

1993 is where the story begins. Founded by John Moss, Merlin Cycles started in a small spare bedroom in a village called Whittle Le Woods near Chorley.

The one-man one-phoneline approach soon started to gather speed. A decent reputation began to spread as a result of our low prices, reliable service and canny adverts in the right places.

Within a short space of time we decided to open a shop in Ormskirk, West Lancashire. Soon after that we then moved to Leyland with much larger premises.

It was in Leyland where Merlin Cycles introduced the hugely popular Rock Lobster and Malt series of mountain bikes.

Check out the picture below of a Rock Lobster series bike from back in 1997 – pretty old school hey!

1997 Rock Lobster Expert AL Merlin advert


Malt Frame

And here’s a picture of an early Merlin Malt 1 frame

The bikes that Merlin created received plenty of positive reviews in the press. Our wheel building service achieved numerous awards too. Progress was certainly being made and the business was going in the right direction.

After a series of relocations, Merlin Cycles decided to move onto the Buckshaw Village development, just outside of Chorley. A stone’s throw from where it all started.

The Merlin Cycles Ethos

Merlin Cycles are always looking to supply the best possible products at the cheapest price for our customers, as well as delivering an efficient and reliable service.

As we “buy big” it enables us to get the best discounts and ensure that our customers take full advantage of these savings too.

From the early beginnings, right up to the present day, we continue to tell our customers – “we say what we stock and stock what we say.”

The Modern World

In recent years the market has altered slightly. Changing tastes have had a direct impact on the products we stock.

With the uptake and popularity of road cycling (remember Mr Wiggins and the Tour de France anyone?) we started to add more road products such as these to our range.

With a wider selection of different bikes for different riders, the business has continued to expand and move forwards with the market and consumer tastes.

Sensa Advert

During 2012, Merlin Cycles also teamed up with Dutch-based company Sensa to supply their road bikes in the UK.

Sensa have been in the market for almost as long as us and we share a similar attitude. Both businesses relished the opportunity to work together.

Positive reviews continue to come in from all angles thick and fast for Sensa road bike range.

Plans also look good for the future.

A new store (our biggest to date by far) based in our palatial Buckshaw Village HQ.

The store sells products from all the renowned brands we stock, such as Castelli, Colnago, Oakley, Ridley, Camelbak, BeOne, Morvelo, Catlike and more.

We have an extended selection of women’s and children’s cycling gear in the store and online these days too.

Achievements and Sponsorship

Merlin Cycles sponsor a women’s road team,. Below is a photo from their successful ride in the 2013 CTC National Cycling Charity.

Lydia Merlin

Merlin Cycles also sponsor Jon Gildea. Jon is currently training for the Paralympics.

We also sponsor Team GB rider Bex Rimmington (she also works at the Merlin Cycles).

From the early days of a small bedroom in Whittle Le Woods through to the grand opening our largest store yet, the company really has come a long way.

Thanks for reading about our history.


  • Christian Moss

    Christian is the Social Media manager at Merlin Cycles. Christian brings an air of levity to the blog, coupled with a generous splash of irreverence. As part of his responsibilities, Christian manages the Facebook and Twitter accounts. Christian is also the resident photographer here at Merlin.

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