Onix is a relatively new British bike company founded in late 2009 by Craig Middleton who packed up his print job to launch his own bike brand.
Coming from outside the industry, Middleton decided that he was going to do things differently and started up “with no backing, no savings and an insanely small amount of money. But a lot of passion.”
Based in Lancashire, Middleton designs the frames with input from ex-pro Rob Hayles who stepped in as chief tester when he retired from Endura Racing. “Before that I had other riders testing the bikes but they were contracted to other brands, so I couldn’t publicise it or they’d get into trouble!” explained Middleton.
The four carbon frames currently in the Onix range are manufactured in Taiwan using Japanese-sourced Toray carbon fibre of various grades (depending on the frame).
“I go over there and cherry pick what we need – from different geometries, carbon grades, forks – then we assemble the parts to get the best ride we can for the job. We don’t take the easy route because the factories over there want you to source everything in the one place but that’s not what we are about, we’re looking to be the best.”
Materials are hand picked
After fraught beginnings, Middleton points to the arrival of Hayles as “a massive turning point” and that the product has “definitely taken a step forward” since the former British Olympic ‘Secret squirrel’ team member brought his input to the project.
Onix has recently – last week – secured external investment. “It’s going to allow us to do things that we wanted to but didn’t have the funding,” explained Middleton.
In the meantime, you can do some cherry picking of your own by building a bike to your spec on the Onix website onixbikes.co.uk or visit the showroom.
With four models in the 2012 Onix line-up, the bike you see here is the range topping RH/Pro, which as a frameset retails for £1,399.99, the RH denoting the input from Rob Hayles. Below sits the £1,199.99 Black RH, the Azzuro comes in just under a grand and then the entry point, the Aurious, at £849.99.
Attention to detail is obvious
Plans are afoot to increase the range to six frames for 2013. Onix sells its frame builds as complete bikes to suit most tastes and budgets. Our demo bike comes with Shimano RS80 wheels, full ultegra groupset, Fizik saddle and FSA SL-K components. The frame is made from unidirectional Toray T800 carbon fibre.
This article was first published in the September 20 issue of Cycling Weekly. You can also read our magazines on Zinio and download from the Apple store.