WELL-known Keighley motor dealership Colin Appleyard Ltd has sold the motorcycle branch of its business.

The company – which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary, making it one of the longest-established dealerships in the north – intends focussing on the sale of four-wheeled vehicles.

It will continue to deal in new and used cars, as well as providing automotive parts and servicing, from its five showrooms.

The motorcycle arm has been sold to MotoGB, the UK’s largest independent importer and distributor of two-wheeled vehicles.

MotoGB will carry on operating the Wellington Road premises as a motorbike dealership, retaining the staff.

Colin Appleyard opened as a motorcycle dealer in Keighley in 1971, with Suzuki cars being added eight years later.

Although it remains a family-run business, the firm has grown into a £46 million enterprise with branches across West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester – plus well-established partnerships with some of the world’s leading motorcycle and car manufacturers.

The company has also been behind one of the most esteemed teams in the British Superbike Championship, Appleyard Macadam Racing, which has won 11 British Championship titles over the years. The team will continue with its commitments this year, having signed young stars Bradley Perie and Rhys Irwin.

Robin Appleyard, the firm’s managing director, said: “Our foundations were built in motorcycles but over time it’s actually become a relatively small percentage of our business as a whole, so we have made the decision to focus on our well-respected car group. It’s not something that was decided lightly but it is the right decision for the whole group and the staff.

“We believe MotoGB will be able to showcase all of its brands with the help of our experienced existing staff at the motorcycle dealership. We would like to thank all our staff and motorcycle customers and wish them and MotoGB every success for the future.”

MotoGB has 12 of its own retail showrooms as well as an extensive network of more than 300 dealers across the UK, retailing its own imported brands.

The Chorley-based firm has over two decades’ experience in the industry.