Start Up Focus: Temple Cycles

From vintage bikes to adventure discs

Our Start Up Focus this week is on a business that is only a handful of years old but has already managed to make an impact on the incredibly competitive market of custom bikes. Matt Mears began Temple Cycles after having moderate success renovating vintage racing bikes whilst studying Engineering at Bristol University. The young entrepreneur had little to no business experience but decided to create his business after seeing a gap in the market for modern, durable bikes that have vintage appeal. Matt’s success has led to two shops opening in the south, in addition to partnerships with other independent bike shops throughout the UK.

Opening up shop in Bristol

Although Temple has expanded considerably in the last few years, all the bikes sold by the young start-up are still put together in their Bristol shop. Matt’s team of engineers all have a passion for cycling in common, so a day’s work spent putting together new machines with some of the best components on the market can hardly be seen as tortuous. There is a constant buzz of activity in the Bristol workshop, which also offers services to non-Temple owners. Once bikes are completed they are either sent to their new owners who have ordered them online, or they’re shipped off to the London shop for sale.

Pop-up shops across the UK

Temple first started selling their bikes online Matt soon realised the demand from customers to see the product in person. In response to this, Temple began organising and promoting Pop Up shops in places where they knew their fans were. The brand’s Instagram feed acted as the perfect platform for promoting these pop-up shops, and soon the Temple Cycle was becoming a well-known name amongst cycle enthusiasts and also amateurs looking to buy their first road bike.

Expanding to London

After a successful push for investment Temple opened up shop on the fashionable Brick Lane and have since seen an explosion of interest in their bikes. The shop is small but has been fitted out with a clean Scandi-style that matches the chic appeal of the brand. Gleaming bikes hang from the wall and glossy parts are proudly displayed on workman cork boards. In the basement, you can find a hardworking mechanic who deals with any technical issues that might crop up.

A focus on brand & story

Whilst Temple acolytes will attribute their success to quality building materials and expertise, this startup is really a shining example of the power of brand and story. Having built and designed the product, Matt’s role has now largely shifted to marketing and spends a great deal of his time building the brand’s reputation through striking video and imagery. In addition to commissioning this creative work, he’s also busy creating valuable partnerships with like-minded cyclists, fellow businesses and influencers. Temple is now in a position where the business is ready to expand once more, all they need is the brand awareness to do so. With regular features in the Guardian and the Observer, to name a few, it won’t be long before this startup grows even more.


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