Mavic’s 125th Bikes

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Companies age less well than people. It’s a rule somewhere. Probably written by an economist. It’s rare that a company makes it 50 years to its Semicentennial. Naturally, it’s even rarer that a company survives for even 100 years. To celebrate a Centennial is a mark of distinction, one that carries with it the name recognition of a heavyweight. But what of the Quasquicentennial? Who among us has lasted 125 years? As unlikely as it is for a company to mark 50 years, flesh and blood will never celebrate such a difficult to pronounce birthday.  IMG_8919

Consider that Coca-Cola has celebrated its Quasquicentennial. In the bike world, only Bianchi and Raleigh are older.  IMG_8920

To mark the occasion, Mavic commissioned six builders to produce bikes with commemorative paint schemes that evoked Mavic’s branding and spoke to its history in the bike industry. Beyond that, the builders were left to their own devices. Recently, the bikes were unveiled at Mavic’s new Service Course West in Newbury Park. The builders included Lynskey Performance, Ritte Cycles, Independent Fabrication, Argonaut Cycles, Seven Cycles and Mosaic Cycles. IMG_8921

Each of the builders went to some lengths to create memorable bikes, but no one went to quite the lengths that Lynskey did with these custom-machined dropouts.

Lynskey is also making a limited production of 30 Helix frames with a custom 125 anniversary color scheme. The frame has titanium Helix DNA panels, covered in clear powder coat revealing windows of bare titanium and finished with black metallic and Mavic glossy yellow graphics, including Mavic’s own Edition Limitee’ 125 Ans anniversary graphic. A signed certificate of authenticity will accompany each of the numbered 1 through 30 bikes. The final home for this particular bike is TBD. IMG_8922

Ritte is known for eye-catching paint and this Bosberg was a stunner. IMG_8923

The accents inside the fork blades have been a notable part of Ritte’s look. IMG_8924 IMG_8925

I appreciated how the paint on the top tube announced 125 ans, rather than 125 years. Well played. IMG_8926

For me, the use of the checked border evoked French artist Piet Mondrian in a small way. I’ll call it French-ish. IMG_8927

The Mosaic was a titanium beauty from builder Aaron Barchek. The Boulder-based builder did serious time in the trenches working for Dean, but since going out on his own he has built a reputation for custom titanium work that rivals anything that can be found.IMG_8928

The Mosaic took a novel approach to its visuals. In addition to using the Mavic yellow, the bike used the interplay of gloss and matte black to practically cover the bike with phrases from Mavic’s branding. IMG_8929

It was hard to find a spot that didn’t offer some nod to the venerated manufacturer. IMG_8930

The bike’s other killer touch was the gold pearl that was added to the paint to make the bike positively glow in bright sunlight. IMG_8931

That some of the masking was reversed so that some of the brand touches were in gloss instead of matte was all the more impressive. And everything was sharp as a sushi knife.
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And that, boys and girls, is the genesis of the Mavic name. The Mosaic gets my nod for the most creative use of Mavic’s branding. 
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The yellow line found in so many Mavic graphics was put to excellent use in this bike from Seven. IMG_8934

The combination of brushed ti, black and yellow gave the bike a distinctive appearance that was well coordinated, but didn’t overdo the Mavic flourishes.

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This was a gorgeous interpretation, the bike I think I’d be most excited to ride day after day.

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Sometimes, the clean line is the best line. IMG_8936

It’s amazing what you can find on the Internet. For their bike, the folks at Argonaut went and researched the Mavic logo and like the Pepsi logo, it has changed, evolved, over the years. IMG_8937

The seat mast is a great place to add a colorful detail and Argonaut used it as a place to trumpet Mavic’s longevity.IMG_8939

On the down tube, Argonaut displayed each of Mavic’s logos used over the years.

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And on the top tube, they gave the year each of those logos was put into service. It was a terrific way to really think about milestones over the company’s breadth of existence.

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The bike from Independent Fabrication was arguably the most understated of the lot. IMG_8949

Without the Mavic logo, or its various tag lines, recurring throughout the frame, the Indy Fab bike was the most subtle of the bunch.  IMG_8950

And as with all bikes from Independent Fabrication, the welding on this bike was stunning.

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Mark Lynskey of Lynskey, Aaron Barcheck of Mosaic, Spencer Canon of Ritte and Ben Farver of Argonaut were all on hand for the unveiling. It

The Ritte and Seven bikes will be auctioned off through the Pro’s Closet for World Bicycle Relief and the Davis Phinney Foundation, respectively. Seven, Independent Fabrication and Lynskey are all offering limited-edition runs of these bikes; the Indy Fab will be in the pain scheme shown, which is why it isn’t quite as ornate as the schemes from Argonaut and Mosaic. The Lynskeys will be somewhat different from the one displayed here. I kind doubt either of those painters would want to repeat those looks.

The Argonaut and Mosaic bikes will continue to be displayed by Mavic at events they support.

 

 

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9 comments

  1. Waldo

    A pretty stunning collection. Interesting that Mavic asked only American companies for commemorative bikes. Great pictures and comments, Padraig. Thanks a lot. One nit to pick, Mondrian was Dutch, not French.

    1. Sidamo

      I presume that this is a Mavic USA operation, hence the US builders. I’m sure it would have had a more international flavour If it had been run by Mavic France.

  2. Jay

    The Seven is the cream of the crop, in my opinion. The graphics on their bike are understated, yet speak loudly at the same time. If I could choose any of these bikes, all of which are rolling pieces of art, I would choose the Seven. That is all…

  3. Gerb61

    Beautiful bikes. I’m thinking along the same lines as Waldo. Curious as to why Look was not commissioned to build one.
    Seems like they should have been the place to start. Perhaps they have something in the works?
    Anyway 125 years in business is truly an outstanding achievement.

  4. peter lin

    The argonaut is really stunning to me. Seven would get a second place, but they all look delicious. Not that one can eat a bike, but delicious is the best word I can think of to describe the feeling.

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