Cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy has flown to Taiwan to oversee the final production stages of a new range of bikes named after him.
The six-times Olympic gold medallist, who celebrated his 37th birthday on Saturday, took to Twitter to post photos from the Asian factory where the high-spec bikes are being built.
His self-titled brand will be released by Evans dealerships from May in a venture tipped to turn Sir Chris into a multi-millionaire.
The track cyclist has worked closely with product designers James Olsen and Joel Natale to develop the first seven bikes.
Evans said Sir Chris had scrutinised every aspect of the project from putting the prototypes through their paces to making design suggestions based on his own experience.
And that has even extended to the packaging – instead of the usual “handle carefully” signs, each bike-box is stamped with the legend ”If you damage this, you answer to Chris.”
Mr Natale said: “Chris has many ideas about the bikes as well as a willingness to let James’ design experience take over in other areas. He is very conscious that not everyone wants to ride in the way that he is conditioned to.”
The road bikes have been designed not to be “back-breakingly aggressive”. Testing has been completed and Sir Chris has signed off the first batch of models.
The three road and four city bikes in the range have all been built using aluminium rather than carbon frames, with prices ranging from £550 to £1350.
Sir Chris’ bike range is expected to outperform former Tour de France rider Chris Boardman’s brand, which is sold in more than 80 countries.
Businessman and fitness guru John Laurie previously predicted that customers would flock to Sir Chris’ products on the back of his “everyman” appeal.
He said the cyclist could end up being worth £15 million, adding: “Hoy’s the right personality at the right time in the market when people are looking to get more active.
“I think the best thing about him is his personality. He seems approachable.
“With 70 per cent of the UK market being classed as under-conditioned or obese, that’s the real business market.”
Special “Hoy Lanes” for cyclists around the Capital could still be created under plans being considered by the city council.
Tom Pickwell, assistant manager for the Edinburgh Bike Co-operative, said amateur and casual cyclists looked to professionals such as Sir Chris when deciding what gear to buy. He said: “He’s held in very high [regard] for the athlete he is.”
Mr Pickwell described the cycling market as a difficult one to crack in the existing economic climate, but said: “We’re still getting a lot of new people taking up cycling, especially with the situation of bike-to work schemes, which give people a great opportunity to get on a bike without having to pay for it up front. We seem to be doing a lot in terms of road bikes and hybrids.
“Whether that’s just a trend or whether it’s a kick back from the Olympics and the Tour de France, I don’t know.”