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With mass redundancies at WiggleCRC, what does the future hold for in-house brands Nukeproof, Vitus, and Ragley?

 Nukeproof Megawatt 297 Carbonbeing jumped off a cliff.
Nukeproof Megawatt 297 Carbonbeing jumped off a cliff.

The news of WiggleCRC's (Chain Reaction Cycles) administration status back in October and subsequently being put up for sale, threw the future of MTB brands Nukeproof, Vitus, and Ragley into the unknown.

WiggleCRC's in-house bike brands, along with component and clothing brands Prime, Lifeline, and dhb, have been an ever-popular presence in the bike industry, producing genuinely good performance products at an affordable price point.

Unfortunately, the purported mass lay-off of the entire WiggleCRC workforce also includes all the teams working behind the Nukeproof, Vitus, and Ragley brands.

Several members of the design team staff took to Linkedin, with one confirming, "WiggleCRC Group including Nukeproof will be winding down and all staff are being made redundant. A lot of my colleagues lost their jobs today, I will stay on for a short while longer to help with the final bits needing done but I am now actively looking for a new challenge."

Nukeproof Megawatt 297 Carbon RS X0 Eagle AXS Powertrain
Nukeproof Megawatt 297 Carbon RS X0 Eagle AXS Powertrain

The last four months have been a tumultuous time for the once-great cycling retailer. Wiggle and Chain Reaction once stood as two separate entities before their merger in December 2017. It all went wrong when Signa Sports United (the owners of WiggleCRC) lost €150million of financing guarantees from its parent company, Signa Holdings, last November.

When the WiggleCRC originally went into administration there were rumors of Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group (Sports Direct, Evans Cycles, etc) showing interest, although it appeared to go flat as we came to the end of 2023. A total of 24 parties expressed interest in purchasing Wiggle Chain Reaction Cycles ahead of a December deadline for offers. A source confirmed that a deal with an undisclosed private equity firm in December fell through at the very last minute.

However, a recently confirmed purchase of WiggleCRC followed by subsequent mass lay-offs, the rumor mill has fired back up. Most sources are speculating that Mike Ashley is the potential buyer, although this is yet to be officially confirmed.

The purchase, is only for the business name and the IP, which means the current stock and assets need to be sold off. A source confirmed, saying "we got a call from the CEO at 11:30 yesterday saying that the administrators had accepted a deal but that the offer only included the brands and IP not any of the staff, stock or overheads. So the business was closing and being broken up. Only a few of us were being kept on to provide support to the new buyer and to sell on what was left of the stock."

The collapse and fallout of WiggleCRC is likely to continue to send shockwaves through the wider cycling industry. While many are speculating on the intentions of the purchase, it's unknown whether we will see the return of WiggleCRC or any of its subsidiary brands (Nukeproof, Vitus, Ragley, dhb, Prime, and LifeLine) at this time.

For owners of WiggleCRC subsidiary products, it leaves many questions concerning after-purchase support. But here is one glimmer of good news for owners of the affected bikes though. It appears UK brand BETD has been contacted regarding gear mech hangers for riders of Ragley, Nukeproof, and Vitus bikes, with the first run of replacement Ragley hangers already available.

This is a breaking story and we will update as we get more information.