25th May 2012

Revolution – A Short History

Revolution logoRevolution is the exclusive brand name of Edinburgh Bike Co-op, the UK’s original workers’ co-operative bicycle retailer.

The name was inspired by the slogan we adopted in 1999 The Revolution Will Not Be Motorised.

It’s a slogan we still stand by. It’s our proclamation that, for most people in most circumstances, the bicycle is the smartest way to get around.

True to our co-operative ethos, our Revolutionary ambition is to make quality bicycle equipment more affordable.

Whether you’re looking for a road bike, or a track pump to keep its tyres hard; a hybrid bike, or a set of lights for safe commuting after dark; a mountain bike, or a rucsac that’s light enough for all-day trail riding: if it’s called Revolution we will make every effort to ensure that it is built to the best specification for the money.

Two factors inspire the creation of every Revolution bicycle or piece of kit. We keep abreast with the most interesting developments in cycling and we listen to our customers’ suggestions. The evolution of our Revolution Courier range is a perfect example of this process.

Revolution Courier Single

Revolution Courier Single

In the late ’90s some of our mechanics got into cobbling together ‘hack’ bikes. A hack bike would typically start with a discarded mountain bike frame and wheels. Then it would be built into a street bike with narrower slick tyres and a simpler transmission – 8-speed or even single speed rather than 24 gears. The result was the perfect urban machine: one that married mountain bike-like strength with close-to-road-bike speed. The hack bike might be the mechanic’s sole do-everything bike. Alternatively, it might complement the more bling road or mountain bike that he or she wouldn’t dare to leave locked outside the pub.

We had a hunch that a fast, tough, low-maintenance bike wasn’t just for bicycle mechanics and couriers. It might be the perfect bike for normal people too. We therefore set about creating a good, honest, stripped-down bike – not with discarded parts this time – but with a brand-new lifetime-guaranteed mountain bike frame, stout wheels, 26×1.5″ tyres and an 8-speed Shimano Rapidfire transmission. The Courier was born. That was in 1999. The bike was an instant success. So much so that over the following decade, many of the bigger bike companies brought out similar (but significantly more expensive) hybrid bikes, the best example of which is probably the Cannondale Bad Boy.

Over the years, the Courier concept has evolved from a single model into a range of bicycles to reflect the varying requirements of our diverse customer group. Today, every Revolution Courier model rolls on faster 700c wheels. Then, depending on your needs and your budget, you can opt for singlespeed, 8-speed (like the original Courier) or triple-chainset multi-geared Couriers. Similarly, you can choose between rim and disc brake options. Whichever Revolution Courier appeals to you most, we are confident that it will be the best-equipped commuter / hybrid bike you will find in its price range.

Great Value and Environmentally Sound

We understand that everyone appreciates great value for money. This doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest prices (though ours often are).

We are a BSO-free zone. BSOs are ‘bicycle shaped objects’ frequently found in large supermarkets. You wonder, ‘how can they produce a bike that sells for only 50 pounds’. Then you pick the ‘bicycle’ up and realize that’s what it weighs. It won’t be professionally assembled so the gears will most likely misfire and the brakes barely work. The poor purchaser swiftly comes to the conclusion that cycling is too much like hard work and not for them. The sorry result is that this year’s £50 bargain becomes next year’s landfill.

At Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op we understand that our environmental responsibility begins with supplying safe, sound cycling equipment that you will enjoy using and that you can totally rely on, year after year.

We back up this commitment with a lifetime frame warranty on every Revolution bicycle and an industry-leading 2-year guarantee on all Revolution cycle accessories and clothing.

Furthermore, in tune with our commitment to reduce waste, we are working with all of our suppliers to reduce the packaging of Revolution accessories to the bare minimum.

Tried and Tested

It’s easy for us to say that our bikes and bike bits are wonderful. If you’re looking for a second opinion, the national cycling press seems to love our Revolution range too. Click here to read reams of Revolution rave reviews.

See the Complete Revolution Range

Revolution Bikes
Revolution Accessories
Revolution Clothing

Revolution Timeline


    • 1977

      Our 3 founder members open a bicycle repair shop in West Crosscauseway, Edinburgh, called Recycles Co-operative.

    • 1979

      Move to shop in Alvanley Terrace, Bruntsfield – our Edinburgh shop to this day. Introduce bike hire and cycle sales.


Recycles is renamed Edinburgh Bicycle
Co-operative. Launch own-brand Edinburgh Bicycles.

  • 1986

    Produce first Edinburgh Bicycle catalogue in-house to showcase our bikes: a tradition we continue to this day.

  • 1996

    Always one step ahead, launched one of Europe’s first cycle shop websites – www.edinburghbicycle.com

  • 1999

    Adopt The Revolution Will Not Be Motorised slogan. Launch Courier street bike and Cadence women’s MTB.

  • 2000

    Continental road bike voted Budget Bike of the Year by Cycling Plus magazine.

  • 2002

    Acquire a new branch in Aberdeen – another bold revolutionary step
    for the Co-op.

    Courier street bike voted Budget Bike of the Year by Cycling Plus.

  • 2003

    Acquiring Newcastle shop in Byker encourages us to regenerate our own brand.

    Launch Revolution global bicycle, accessory and clothing range to supersede local Edinburgh range.

  • 2004

    Revolution Blade Sunglasses and Air Trackpumps receive rave reviews.

  • 2006

    Revolution Cargo Trailer recommended by Singletrack. Their advice: ‘Go get one today.’

  • 2008

    Introduce Revolution Track – best buy in singlespeed/fixies.

  • 2009

    Revolution Compact folding bike reviewed by road.cc. Verdict: ‘Great value folder for the short hops – why pay more?’

  • 2010

    Continue to spread the Revolution with the opening of a new shop in Sheffield.

  • 2011

    Launch completely revamped Revolution clothing range.

  • 2012

    Develop the bike range with more deluxe Courier, Cross and Heritage models.

  • 2014

    Launch completely redesigned Revolution bicycle range. Give the Revolution logo a makeover.

6 comments on “Revolution – A Short History

  1. steve wheeler on

    Been riding a Revolution Courier Race since 2006.. Like ‘Triggers broom’ it’s a bit different now but handles the 130/150 mile weekly commute easily. Whenever it needs a part the Edinburgh staff know what fits! I have only ever seen 2 other Revolution Bikes in London, the sooner you move even further South the better..Well done People..

    • Edinburgh Bicycle Coop on

      Dear Mr Wheeler,

      With a name like that, you were born to ride. Delighted to hear you’re doing so on a Revolution Courier Race. Sorry we haven’t opened a shop in London. Yet. Until then, tell your chums we’ll be delighted to send bikes and kit from Auld Reekie to The Smoke via our online shop.

  2. Graeme Wilkie on

    Your timeline shows the Revolution Cargo Trailer getting a good review in Singletrack in 2006. I’ve used one for touring for several years now and think it’s great particularly in terms of value for money yet you seem to have stopped selling them. Why?

    • Edinburgh Bicycle Coop on

      Dear Graeme,

      We are delighted that your Revolution Cargo Trailer has offered you years of good service.

      The honest answer to your query is that our manufacturer can no longer supply the Cargo Trailer at the industry-leading best quality at the best price that we demand for all Revolution bikes and equipment.

      I’m sure we will re-introduce a trailer once we can source one that meets our remit.

      All the best.

  3. Derek Reid on

    Are Revolution bikes still produced? I have a Courier Race 2008 I still ride and a Cross 2014. I’m thinking of buying a new bike would like another Revolution bike if possible

    • Web Master on

      Hi Derek, I’m afraid not. We stopped producing them in 2016. Delighted to hear yours is still going. Many thanks.


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