The beginnings of bicycle manufacturing in Rokycany date back to 1922, when entrepreneurs Swetlík and Kastrup (owners of ES-KA Cheb) and Franz Hering founded the production under the brand Tripol Hering. From 1934 to 1948, the city of Rokycany had two producers, Tripol and Tudor.
The popularity of the cycling sport began to rise after the World War II. However, it developer at such a pace that it was decided to start our own production of racing bicycles. A factory in Rokycany was chosen, as it had the necessary prerequisites, including its size and expertise. In addition, bicycle production had a long history of in this area.
After nationalization in 1948, the two companies, Tripol and Tudor, merged into one. There has been a specialization of enterprises for specific components and final assembly plants were limited. After a subsequent reorganization in 1950, the Rokycany factories fell under a new independent national enterprise Eska-Cheb.
In the same year, a special workshop, in which the newly established group of designers produced the first 15 bicycles named F1S destined for the Czechoslovak national team, was founded.
As Czechoslovakia did not have enough foreign currency to import bicycle parts from Italy and France, the management decided to produce a full bicycle here. This proved to be a good solution. Thanks to our own development and skills of the staff, we were soon able to produce bicycles that met all the parameters of top racing bicycles.
In 1950, a cycling club TJ Favorit, where all the new products for road, track and indoor cycling were tested, was founded. As our representatives gradually brought back medals from the Olympic Games, World Championships and other international competitions, the Favorit brand gained more and more respect and recognition among professionals.
Demand for Favorit bicycles was huge and so production continued to grow. In the first year (1951), 5148 bicycles were produced, four years later it was 13 531 bicycles and during the season of 1961, even 31 175 bicycles. In 1978, a millionth Favorit bicycle was produced in Rokycany. Labour productivity continued to grow and between the years 1968 and 1981, it increased fourfold. Towards the end of 1981, production expanded up to 65 328 bicycles a year.
Favorit bicycles’ fame soon reached far beyond the borders of Czechoslovakia. Export took on increasing importance in the eighties and has been implemented in 38 countries. These included not only the countries of the Communist bloc, as was customary at the time, but also the US, Canada and West Germany, this demanding markets with a focus on high quality.
The production of a special racing bicycle F1S for the national representation also increased. Besides our cyclists, representatives from Finland, SSSR, Bulgaria raced on it from 1956 and in the following years, they were joined by teams from India, Albania, Cuba, Hungary, Romania and individuals from other countries. This was huge advertising for the Favorit brand.
After the revolution, the company was privatized and a new company, Favorit Rokycany, Inc., was founded. However, it has never produced more than 40 000 bicycles per year. With the opening of the borders, the enterprise did not catch up with the trend of mountain bicycles, sales declined and long-time employees were laid of or left voluntarily. After a few changes to management positions and problems with sales and production came a period of complete liquidation of the company and in 2001, the enterprise went bankrupt.
The factory, production technology and the Favorit trademark were repurchased in order to manufacture mountain and trekking bikes. Production was moved from Rokycany to Kunovice, where an assembly plant of cheap Asian components was located. In May 2004, this production stopped and in 2006, it went bankrupt again. The bankrupt company’s assets were transferred to another company with unclear ownership structure, which soon ended up in bankruptcy too.
In 2011, an entrepreneur Ing. Richard Galovič bought the original Favorit trademarks and founded the FAVORIT CZECHOSLOVAKIA company. In cooperation with experts and former employees, he restored the original production of Favorit bicycles in the Czech Republic between the years 2012 and 2014. He soon presents a new collection that continues the original tradition of high-end, handcrafted bicycles, but also fulfils demanding criteria of our time.