What's happening at 50 Cycles?

Tallbiker

Pedelecer
Nov 16, 2013
28
30
Farnham, Surrey
So my question to KSA and the IP in particular would be

1. What was the trading period agreed at the 24 jan 2019 CVA ?
2. Did 50c accept orders after that date ? If so why is that not wrongful trading and have KSA considered their duties to make a report on the company site directors
3. And if ksa have been intructed to wind up then they have now fully stepped into the shoes of the outgoing directors. In which case why the hell are THEY still taking orders

I am not a legally interested party (basically I didn't order a bike) but others who have been caught up in this would have a legitimate to claim to getting these questions answered
I'm unaware of the trading period agreed, in any case the company is now being wound up.
Any company can continue trading if a CVA has been agreed: it's a way in which a company can try and trade their way out of a situation such as this, rather than go into immediate liquidation.
The potential loophole here, as explained to me this morning by the KSA Group, is that having instructed solicitors to wind the company up, there is a 6-8 week period before the directors have to appear in court in order for the company to be put into liquidation.
KSA also explained that they may not ultimately be handling the liquidation: it could go to a government official receiver.
Note through all of this in the last 48 hours, the Snaith Brothers have refused all contact withe the KSA Group, which will not go in their favour either.
I did ask as to why on earth 50cycles can still be selling bikes via their website, and was told that they can still keep doing that until either the insolvency solicitors or the court appearance stops them in their tracks.
 

Tallbiker

Pedelecer
Nov 16, 2013
28
30
Farnham, Surrey
I'm unaware of the trading period agreed, in any case the company is now being wound up.
Any company can continue trading if a CVA has been agreed: it's a way in which a company can try and trade their way out of a situation such as this, rather than go into immediate liquidation.
The potential loophole here, as explained to me this morning by the KSA Group, is that having instructed solicitors to wind the company up, there is a 6-8 week period before the directors have to appear in court in order for the company to be put into liquidation.
KSA also explained that they may not ultimately be handling the liquidation: it could go to a government official receiver.
Note through all of this in the last 48 hours, the Snaith Brothers have refused all contact withe the KSA Group, which will not go in their favour either.
I did ask as to why on earth 50cycles can still be selling bikes via their website, and was told that they can still keep doing that until either the insolvency solicitors or the court appearance stops them in their tracks.
I have alerted all Cycling Industry magazines as to this scenario, as well as business outlets in the Loughborough area and BBC Watchdog.
 
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KirstinS

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 5, 2011
3,120
845
Brighton
I'm unaware of the trading period agreed, in any case the company is now being would up.
Any company can continue trading if a CVA has been agreed: it's a way in which a company can try and trade their way out of a situation such as this, rather than go into immediate liquidation.
The potential loophole here, as explained to me this morning by the KSA Group, is that having instructed solicitors to wind the company up, there is a 6-8 week period before the directors have to appear in court in order for the company to be put into liquidation.
KSA also explained that they may not ultimately be handling the liquidation: it could go to a government official receiver.
Note through all of this in the last 48 hours, the Snaith Brothers have refused all contact withe the KSA Group, which will not go in their favour either.
Hiya. I get all that and wasnt aiming anything at you !

Its just I'm an investigator (or used to be) in a financial sphere rather than anything police related. If I was investigating this I'd have serious questions over the actions and timings of the directors of 50c. They may have acted anywhere between sharp practice and illegal

And potentially IP too who may have been asleep at the wheel here and acted against industry protocols

No way is there enough information to be sure of anything at all
 

Tallbiker

Pedelecer
Nov 16, 2013
28
30
Farnham, Surrey
No, I knew that, don't worry ;)
I agree with you totally, and it would seem to me that the KSA Group may have taken their finger off the pulse with this case, or at the very least been presented with an excellent case of subterfuge by the Snaith Brothers :rolleyes:
I really appreciate your input, given your expertise ...
I suspect however that none of these concerns will be raised until the court hearing, whenever that may be.
Inter alia, Scott Snaith was in contact with Mark Sutton @ Cycling Industry News again this morning (who wrote yesterday's article previously posted on this thread), and Scott was quite happy to announce that exciting changes were coming to the business o_O
I can only assume that this means they will carry on trading with the new company 50cycles distribution ltd and leave the old company and all its debts behind.
Meanwhile, bikes are still being sold on the 50cycles website and back orders unfulfilled.
 

Babsbike

Finding my (electric) wheels
Sep 29, 2019
11
7
So my question to KSA and the IP in particular would be

1. What was the trading period agreed at the 24 jan 2019 CVA ?
2. Did 50c accept orders after that date ? If so why is that not wrongful trading and have KSA considered their duties to make a report on the company directors
3. And if ksa have been intructed to wind up then they have now fully stepped into the shoes of the outgoing directors. In which case why the hell are THEY still taking orders

I am not a legally interested party (basically I didn't order a bike) but others who have been caught up in this would have a legitimate to claim to getting these questions answered
 

Babsbike

Finding my (electric) wheels
Sep 29, 2019
11
7
Having somewhat naively kicked off this thread I am amazed where it has gone! Something that has not been commented on are the retail stores. I got a replacement motor ( my 2nd! ) from the Twickenham store in May so they at least were operating then. Subsequent attempts to reach them by phone have failed. Are the retail stores still trading and taking peoples money I wonder? If nothing else I hope this collective endeavour has provided some warning for other customers. Many thanks to those whose expertise has advanced this cause.
 
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Tallbiker

Pedelecer
Nov 16, 2013
28
30
Farnham, Surrey
Having somewhat naively kicked off this thread I am amazed where it has gone! Something that has not been commented on are the retail stores. I got a replacement motor ( my 2nd! ) from the Twickenham store in May so they at least were operating then. Subsequent attempts to reach them by phone have failed. Are the retail stores still trading and taking peoples money I wonder? If nothing else I hope this collective endeavour has provided some warning for other customers. Many thanks to those whose expertise has advanced this cause.
None of the stores is still operating: the one in Twickenham closed some time ago.

The current company: 50cycles Ltd, isn't open for business either, even though the website is still accepting and letting consumers pay for orders. The answerphone message at the warehouse states: 'regrettably, 50cycles ltd is now closed for business'.
Emails are bounced back. There is no way of getting in touch.
 

Tallbiker

Pedelecer
Nov 16, 2013
28
30
Farnham, Surrey
Having somewhat naively kicked off this thread I am amazed where it has gone! Something that has not been commented on are the retail stores. I got a replacement motor ( my 2nd! ) from the Twickenham store in May so they at least were operating then. Subsequent attempts to reach them by phone have failed. Are the retail stores still trading and taking peoples money I wonder? If nothing else I hope this collective endeavour has provided some warning for other customers. Many thanks to those whose expertise has advanced this cause.
I've just started another discussion thread in reply to your messages. Hope this is ok.
 

KirstinS

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 5, 2011
3,120
845
Brighton
I can only assume that this means they will carry on trading with the new company 50cycles distribution ltd and leave the old company and all its debts behind
Yes and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it inherently. Businesses go bust for good reasons without malicious intent. And new enterprises should not be precluded

It's just the system gets abused. And at the smaller end of the market it's more prevalent.

To prevent "phoenxing" of businesses takes action against individuals. There is a huge gap between anyones version of immoral and actively illegal in this arena

As before lots of questions and few answers . But the actions of the directors, timings and other facts as posted on here and companies house dont pass the intian sniff test imho
 

AL68

Finding my (electric) wheels
Oct 25, 2019
6
4
I too have had a bike on order since August this year, having paid up front to secure a reasonable discount. I too have consistently been promised that the bike i ordered is on its way from BH in Spain. Only last week I had confirmation from Mark that my bike would be here this week. I am still waiting I went round to their premises today at 11.30am banged on the door, rang all the bells i could see, checked the workshop and no answer. So, out over £2000 and no bike!
However their new site for Topa bikes (with a link to 50 cycles) states under construction but the count down timer at the top of this page shows open for business in 3 days time. So failing all else I shall return to bang on said door on Monday!!
 
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soundwave

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 23, 2015
9,782
4,026
“The CVA still left us serious in debt,” Snaith told CI.N, “and despite every effort to save the business in its current state, it has proved too big a hill to climb. Sadly, had we not encountered this motor failure situation, I think 50cycles Limited could have grown to become a £10 million business.”


they knew for years that the motors were not fit for purpose yet kept selling them regardless and has destroyed there business :p
 

vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
3,449
1,109
Basildon
“The CVA still left us serious in debt,” Snaith told CI.N, “and despite every effort to save the business in its current state, it has proved too big a hill to climb. Sadly, had we not encountered this motor failure situation, I think 50cycles Limited could have grown to become a £10 million business.”


they knew for years that the motors were not fit for purpose yet kept selling them regardless and has destroyed there business :p
... and what's worse, when we pointed out that there was still a problem, they were in total denial and they got very nasty with us. I received a very threatening private message from them just for pointing out that the evidence showed that their problem hadn't been fixed.
 
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sjpt

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 8, 2018
761
284
For those of us who haven't followed the history: are these motors you are talking about the Daum/Kalkhoff ones I have seen so many complaints about?
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
8,797
3,326
56
West Sx RH
“The CVA still left us serious in debt,” Snaith told CI.N, “and despite every effort to save the business in its current state, it has proved too big a hill to climb. Sadly, had we not encountered this motor failure situation, I think 50cycles Limited could have grown to become a £10 million business.
And as the saying goes if my Aunt had balls she would be my Uncle.
 

KirstinS

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 5, 2011
3,120
845
Brighton
... and what's worse, when we pointed out that there was still a problem, they were in total denial and they got very nasty with us. I received a very threatening private message from them just for pointing out that the evidence showed that their problem hadn't been fixed.
I once went into the Shoreham branch to say Hi being a local ebike enthusiast. Reception was relatively indifferent until I mentioned pedelecs forum in passing....and the temperature in the room dropped by 20 degrees and conversation ended!
 
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vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
3,449
1,109
Basildon
For those of us who haven't followed the history: are these motors you are talking about the Daum/Kalkhoff ones I have seen so many complaints about?
As an objective observer not involved in any way, except that I received a threatening message for my comments on this forum, I would say that the problem goes deeper than just a motor fault. There were several forum members reporting that they were effectively blacklisted by 50Cycles for complaining about faults with their bikes in the wrong way. This happened long before the motor fault. It seems that at least one of the owners would turn very nasty if you crossed him. I believe that this is the root of all their problems. The motor fault just brought everything into the open.

Quite quickly, it was apparent that there were systematic motor faults after the launch of the impulse motors, which any observer could see, but when people took their bikes back to 50C, they acted as if the fault was a surprise and more likely the customer's fault. Some had to pay a lot of money to get their bikes fixed. Eventually, there were so many breaking that 50C had to admit the fault, but even then, some forum members were still treated as if it were a surprise. 50C then declared that the faults had all been fixed, but it was pretty clear that they hadn't. 50C continued to sell those bikes and their rebranded derivatives. Either they were really stupid or very arrogant. I suspect the latter.

If anybody asked me, I'd advise them not to go anywhere near anything that 50C is involved in. As I said, I believe that the problems are/were deeper than just a motor fault.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
44,149
20,275
As I said, I believe that the problems are/were deeper than just a motor fault.
They were indeed much deeper, commencing to my knowledge with a case of appalling service for a customer on their doorstep in Loughborough who had bought a pair of Sparta e-bikes from them. That was the first of a pattern over the years of taking on many makes, then abruptly dropping them and not giving adequate subsequent service.

In 2007 there was a bitter row with Ezee Kinetics, maker of the Ezee pedelecs which they were the UK agents for. In fairness that started with a major problem with the Phylion batteries the bikes used which caused 50cycles big customer problems during the long period until January 2008 when Ezee had sourced a battery able to deliver the high currents their bikes demanded.

By then though the two companies had parted and 50cycles had adopted the Kalkhoff brand, hitting the jackpot with two excellent models for that time. Sadly though Kalkhoff later dropped the very reliable Panasonic motor in favour of the home grown in Germany Daum motor which they branded the Impulse.

That first series was reasonably reliable but didn't compare with the power of the newly launched Bosch motor, so the Daum Kalkhoff partners upgraded the power and software functions of the motor, branding it Impulse 2. That turned out to be a mistake, making the unit very unreliable and subject to very early mechanical failures.

Kalkhoff didn't handle that well, failing to give an adequate response to their agents like 50cycles, in turn bringing out the worst in 50cycles as they struggled against an impossible situation of huge numbers of failures and inadequate backing from Derby Cycles gmbh, the Kalkhoff brand makers in Germany. Eventually Kalkhoff belatedly agreed a rolling two year warranty, meaning it transferred the two years free replacement to each and any replacement units indefinitely, but by then the number of infuriated customers were too great.

Again in fairness Kalkhoff and 50cycles did introduce Bosch and other power unit alteratives, but coming to those late when they were already in high demand elsewhere meant nowhere near enough of them. With hindsight both firms should have shrunk business to what they could get of those, but sadly they carried on persisting with Impulse 2 and the later Daum Evo sales as well.

As far as both companies are concerned, I'd say caveat emptor (let the buyer beware), since both have proven that they cannot always be relied on to give adequate service.

For 50cycles that is very sad, since they have been valuable innovators in the e-bike market. They were the first to bring good quality folding pedelecs here in 2002. Also in 2002 they were the first to bring in a high quality Lithium battery on an e-bike.

In 2004 they were the first to bring in really powerful moderate weight e-bikes, and in 2005 the first here with a high speed S class e-bike. But of course innovation brings risks and they suffered accordingly.
.
 
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georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
671
617
Surrey
I have to agree. The duff motor probably hastened their demise but there was more wrong with their business plan than that and for me it was the lack of any real customer care that put me off.

I bought my first electric bike from their Richmond store, a 2011 Oxygen Emate City that I still have, and ride a lot. It developed a motor problem (very unusual) a few months before the end of the two year warranty.

I contacted the store and was told that they no longer sold Oxygen bikes and would not be able to help me.

Before buying the bike I had exchanged emails with Andrew the then owner of Oxygen, and contacted him directly about the problem I had and he sent me a new rear motor wheel so I could swap over the inner tube, tyre and brake rotor etc and slot it in, plug it in and away I went.

Now, I can't say I haven't occasionally looked at 50 Cycles quite slick web pages, and sometimes been tempted by a bike they have, but after that first experience there was no way I was going to buy from them again.
 
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