Friday, October 30, 2009

Got 150 mil?

Mavic is for sale. As many companys these days a once monolith has been sold and transfered several times in the past decade. Probably most of you have or had Mavic rims/wheels at some point. If you are interested in the history, it goes way back like many things cycling related do. If you have $150,000,000 laying around I'll bet you could have a lot of " free" wheels to try out. Thanks to History of MAVIC 1890Manufacture d'Articles Vélocipediques Idoux et Chanel (MAVIC). The main product line is bicycle mud guards. Also later, the manufacturing of pedal-cars for children. 1920The company is bought by Henri Gormand because of his interest in the innovative mud-flap invented by Mavic. He sets about a diversification--the manufacure of aluminium bicycle rims. 1926The first ever aluminum bicycle rim. 1931Becoming more and more accepted, Mavic rims appear for the first time in the Tour De France. 1964The son of Henri, Bruno Gormand takes over the company--the Mavic passion for performance is born from the enthusiasm of Bruno. 1967Mavic moves to St. Trivier-Sur-Moignans 1971The arrival of the famous blue anodized "SSC Blue" rim reserved for racers and professionals. 1973The arrival of "Neutral Support" and the famous yellow cars in the Tour De France. 1975The birth of the grey "SSC Paris-Roubaix" (SSC Grey) hard-layer anodized rim. The first time that this treatment has been used on bicycle rims, it would be seen later that no high-end bike would be seriously considered that did not offer this type of rim. 1977The perfecting of an innovative hub with cartridge bearings, and the first monobloc bottom bracket. A new factory of 1000m2 adjacent to the original unit making a total of 3500m2. Mavic plays host to the Tour de France where the start of the day's stage is from the Mavic factory. 1978Mavic begins to manufacture bottom brackets, handlebars and derailleurs, including the first models which could be easily disassembled. 1979A new concept: "Tout Mavic" (All Mavic), a set of equipment that includes rims, derailleurs, hubs, cranksets, etc. Since then this set is fitted to cycles at the very top of the range and especially for racing. This year also bares the fruit of several years' development of an aerodynamic cycle in collaboration with Gitane. This revolutionary cycle is used by the Gitane-Renault team in the 1979 Tour de France. 1980The first professional team to be equipped with "Tout Mavic": the Boston-Mavic team. 1983Mavic equips 26 professional teams throughout the world. 1984Sean Kelly wins Paris-Roubaix on a Mavic-equipped machine. Mavic working with the Aerotechnical Institute in St. Cyr, France, developes the disc wheel for commercial use. A new factory at Chavanod, near Annecy for the machining of components other than rims. The first CNC (Computer Numeric Controlled) machines arrive at Mavic, quickly followed by several others. 19857th December, a black day for Mavic. A tragic car accident claims the life of Mavic's owner Bruno Gormand. Madame Cécile Gormand is named the new President and leads the Mavic team in the same enthusiastic way. 1986The arrival of the first CAD-CAM (Computer-Aided Design, Computer-Aided Manufacture) system at Mavic. 1988A new sport and new products, this time for mountain bikes: cranks and chain rings, head sets, pedals bottom brackets, rims and handle bars. 1989Greg Lemond equipped "Tout Mavic" wins the Tour De France and the World Championships. 1990On the 30th of November, Madame Gormand agrees to a management buy-out and the company passes into the hands of four key members of staff with the aid of a financial partner, a holding company is formed. 1994Mavic joins the Salomon Group (Salomon, Taylor Made, Mavic, Bonfire). French wintersports group Salomon becomes the 100% owners of Mavic. In an agreement which will permit the Mavic brand to grow and to have sufficient investment to launch a drawer full of new ideas, the rebirth of the company is assured. In the same year, ZMS (Zap) is launched--the world's first electronic shift derailleur. 1995Mavic launches the Cosmic wheel, aerodynamic and highly innovative. The decision is taken to focus Mavic's energy on a line of complete wheel sets and rims, thus all other components are withdrawn from sales, including the innovative ZMS. 1998The announcement in September that the group "SALOMON WORLWIDE" is joining forces with Adidas to form the No. 2 sporting goods company in the world, "ADIDAS-SALOMON". I am always amazed at the history of a huge organization that starts with something very common (the bicycle mudgaurd!) and lasts over a century. What companies will be around in a hundred years? I would greatly appreciate any assistance you the reader can offer in updating this timeline as this is the only way the accuracy of this timeline can be improved. Chuck Schmidt


  1. 20 years ago my first set of racing wheels were a set built up by a local shop in KY. They used Mavic GEL280 rims for the front 14/15 butted radial laced spokes and GEL330s for the rear with two cross lacing on the drive side.

  2. Ah yes those were the days, a very light comfortable wheelset. Todays wheels are not so complient, but a lot more responsive. I still have some Ambrosios from the 90s I like to ride.
    Thanks for reading

  3. Very interesting Howard. Thanks for the post. I'm on a set of Ksyriums that have thousands of miles both on and off the road. I've used them for road season and cyclocross season for the past 3-4 years. Yep, I'm cheap that way.
    My knowledge of wheelsets is very limited but I can attest to how great this set of wheels has been. Hope your 'cross season is going well. We miss you out here.