By Daniel Hunter

Evans Cycles has been bought by private equity firm ECI for a reported £100 million.

The cycling retailer had been the subject of interest from Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley and Halfords, which also sells bikes and cycling equipment.

But Evans' suppliers raises concerns over the possibility of those deals, and its owners, Active Private Equity, entered exclusive negotiations with ECI.

Active also owns healthy food chain Leon and members' club Soho House.

Evans Cycles' has a range of bikes designed by six-time Olympic gold medalist Sir Chris Hoy and provides 1,500 HOY bikes to the Go-Ride program, organised by British Cycling.

Nick Evans, partner at Active, said: “Evans has accelerated through the gears under Active's ownership during which period the business has been transformed.

"In the early years we established the necessary operational and technology platforms. We then hired experienced and ambitious management to lead the fabulous teams at Evans who have delivered sustainable and profitable growth in a fast-evolving marketplace."

Nick Wilkinson will continue as chief executive of Evans Cycles. He said: "Today’s announcement marks the start to an exciting new phase in our journey. It will enable us to deliver our brand promise in new ways and to more people".