Repco Cycles

Repco (Replacement Parts Company) cycles was founded in 1922 by Robert Geoffrey Russell in Collingwood, Victoria (VIC) and originally focused on the manufacture of automotive parts which later branched into manufacture of cycles along the way.
By the mid 1920’s a trade supply store was opened specialising in replacement of auto parts.
With the 1930’s cycling boom Repco took advantage of this and began to sponsor many cycle events and presented their prize as the Repco Cup.
Their cycle range consisted of general ladies and gent cycle models.
Motor-spares, one of the divisions also built cycles branded as Master-Sport cycles. These cycles featured special lug-work and became popular with the sponsorship of Bill Guyatt.
With an abundance of cycle manufacturers around the country in the 1950’s, Repco bikes were kept up in the market and featured classic lug-work on their better than average racers, a brazed R incorporated on the head tube for easy recognition.
The bikes were generally fitted as single speeds with option of Sturmey Archer gearing, mudguards and sometimes upturned handlebars.
Repco continued to sponsor major events including the 1955 Warrnambool to Melbourne cycling classic which champion Hec Sutherland that year was firm favourite to take out the first prize sum of £600.
Repco had already begun to purchase a string of parts distributors in NSW and Queensland and by the 1960’s Repco moved into South Australia and Northern Territory with 14 factories throughout.
During this time Repco was heavily involved in Motorsport and with assistance from Jack Brabham, who proposed a design to build a 3L version of the 2.5L engine by using a longer stroke flat-plane crankshaft and from 1961 to 1965 Formula 1 cars were badged as Brabham-Repco.
In 1966 and 1967 Repco developed the engine which powered the Brabham Formula 1 cars to win the World Championship of Drivers titles with Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme taking honours. Brabham-Repco were awarded the International Cup for F1 Manufacturers in the same two years also entered in the 1968 and 1969 Indianapolis 500.
By 1975 Repco cycles was part of a cycling boom hitting the nation, world imports were soaring and flooding the market with a range of choices with the main firms dominating Malvern Star, Peugeot, Repco and Raleigh at this time.
The sales of new push bikes exceeded the motor car sales for the first time since the Model T Ford became popular and among the favourites were $500 lightweight cycles for aspiring cyclists.
Factories now were boasted to 38 in total.
Repco bikes were catered for all cyclists ranging from children and family commuters, BMX, Motocross style, unisex, ladies and men’s racers.
By 1985 Ariadne had an interest to acquire the Repco group and succeeded with later being purchased by Pacific Dunlop in 1988.
Repco were still very much sponsoring events and had also their own team, the Repco cycles team. The team entered many events including the Commonwealth Bank Classic with its top racers.
Scott Steward a Victorian track time trial champion and winner of the Warrnambool 100km road race represented Victoria in the Australian road cycling championships rode strongly as part of the Repco Cycles team.
by the 1990’s Repco bikes were available through major cycling outlets with base models ranging from $215 to $340 being above average quality racers.
Their 10spd Repco Traveller models were entry racers while their Superlight gained fame for its superior lightness, other models as branded Nishiki were fitted with top of the range alloy components. Department stores were also offering the Repco cycles for sales.
By 2001 Repco was renamed Automotive parts group and in 2002 celebrated its 80th Anniversary and by 2007 was Acquired by CCMP.
In 2009 Repco Group rebranded as Exego Group, and CCMP rebranded as Unitas Capital
2013 Repco had a new owner with Atlanta-based Genuine Parts Company announcing a $US800 million take over the privately held Exego Group
Nowadays Repco is the largest reseller and supplier in the automotive parts and accessories aftermarket in Australia and New Zealand with almost 400 stores across both countries employing approximately 4000 staff.
A revival of vintage bikes has made the Repco bikes gain popularity today with Superlight and Nishiki models being sought after especially clean non-abused examples.

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