A history of the highly-respected MAVIC bicycle components company.
Manufacture d'Articles Vélocipediques Idoux et Chanel (MAVIC) started by Charles Idoux and Lucien Chanel; the company is formed for manufacture and the sale of spare parts for bicycles. The main product line is bicycle mud guards.
The 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. Gormand is also the President of Etablissements Metallurgiques du Rhone (EMR) with the brand name of AVA, which makes aluminum handlebars.
On July 26, the circular Mavic logo is registered.
Mavic has twenty employees: polishers, welders, turners, enamelers, millers and laborers. Around 1939, the staff is forty.
The first ever aluminum bicycle rim.
Mavic expands into the manufacture of much-appreciated pedal cars for children in the thirties. The Company makes two models (the "Championnat" and the "Tout Temps") that are outstanding for the period with spoked wheels fitted with decorative hub-caps, chain drive to the back axle, hood and trunk. In a catalog of the period Henry Gormand's children can be seen at the wheel.
Mavic and AVA combine their brand name advertising campaigns which continues till 1964.
Rim eyelets shaped like thimbles carry the stress of the spokes on the lower and upper wall of the rim. An Italian, Mario Longhi, perfects the same technique at precisely the same time and registers his patent on January 5, 1934 - two hours before Mavic! The Italian allows Mavic to exploit the procedure under license until 1947.
In the 1934 Tour de France, Antonin Magne tests the new duraluminum rim in secrecy - they were banned by the rules, so were painted in wood colors. Antonin Magne wins the yellow jersey. Dura rims weighed 750g compared with 1.2kg for steel rims.
All the 1935 Tour de France bikes are fitted with 'Dura' rims. In the Galibier downhill stretch the Spanish cyclist Francisco Cepeda is killed and Mavic is accused. Although cleared by the inquiry that puts the blame for the accident on the gluing of the tubulars, Mavic is hurt by bad publicity and reacts with a headline story in the professional press.
The original circle-shaped logo is changed to the diamond-shaped logo.
The son of Henri, Bruno Gormand takes over the company - the Mavic passion for performance is born from the enthusiasm of Bruno.
Mavic perfects the principle of a crimped washer on the rim and registers the patent.
Mavic moves to Saint-Trivier-sur-Moignans; there are approximately thirty employees.
Introduction of the distinctive Blue anodized "Bleu SSC" tubular rims for the 1972 European racing season, made available only to riders in the peloton.
Wheels become Mavic's main concern, inspired by the first aerodynamic studies. In 1973, the Study Bureau examines a glass-fiber lenticular wheel. This is the first Mavic-signed wheel. Although track and road tested it is against the rules and is never used in a race. Aerodynamics however is in the air and Mavic continues its research.
At races, Mavic makes available to all competitors a "neutral and free" assistance. Mavic's two key ideas are: a well-equipped car in front of the main body of riders to give immediate breakdown assistance to the leaders, and a complete radio liaison service between the vehicles (organizers, doctors, sports managers, journalists, etc.). The first Mavic assistance race was Paris-Nice. It was when he lent his car at the last minute to a Sports Manager whose vehicle had broken down during the Criterium du Dauphine Libere in 1972 that Bruno Gormand had the idea of making available a completely innovative "neutral assistance" better suited to both racers and organizers.
A new logo - a yellow diamond inside a red rectangle with rounded corners.
The birth of the grey SSC Paris-Roubaix (SSC Grey) hard-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. As of this point made available only for professional use.
The Module E clincher rim. The first rim with double 'hook' bridge to seat a high-pressure tire developed by Michelin: the Elan. With this patented concept, Mavic started developing a new generation of rims for tires that rapidly benefited from all of Mavic's technological innovations. In the cycle-racing world the use of tubular tires gradually declines in favor of tires. Mavic commercializes their original "Bleu SSC" rims, now making them generally available for purchase by the public at large. Mavic introduces their Clear anodized and Silver hued "Argent 12 SSC" tubular rims. As with their "Bleu SSC" and "Grise SSC" predecessors, these "new" version of SSC rims were initially made available only for select use by professional riders.
Mavic commercializes their Silver "Argent 12 SSC" tubular rims, thereby offering same for sale to the general public.
The first Mavic Neutral Support in the Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix races. The concept started by chance when the Director and Owner, Bruno Gormand, offered to lend his own car to a directeur sportif who had crashed his. It eventually became what it is today - making it official and very professional, giving not only cars, but also highly qualified drivers and mechanics. Now, it not only provides assistance to pros, but also to amateurs in all disciplines, whether it's road, triathlon, or mountain biking.
The 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.
With 4,000 rims produced per day Mavic holds 65% of the world market and equips 25 professional teams. (Le Cycle, April 1978)
Mavic begins to manufacture bottom brackets, handlebars and derailleurs, including the first models which could be easily disassembled.
There are three production plants: Saint-Trivier-sur-Moignans for rims, mudguards, handlebars and stems; Chavanod for the machining of hub parts, pedal and derailleur assemblies; and lastly Villeneuve, a village near Saint-Trivier, for parts assembly.
Mavic commercializes their superlative "Grise SSC" type Paris-Roubaix rims for public consumption.
Mavic is already making hubs, pedal assemblies, headsets, pedals and chain ring cranks and now develops the famous "Tout Mavic" (All Mavic) units. The 1000 Special Service Race unit thus brings together the Gray SSC Paris-Roubaix and G40 hubs, with which Sean Kelly won the 1984 Paris-Roubaix. This year also bears the fruit of several years development of an aerodynamic cycle in collaboration with Gitane: Bernard Hinault's Profil bike. This revolutionary cycle is used by the Gitane-Renault team in the 1979 Tour de France.
The first professional team to be equipped with "Tout Mavic" - the Boston-Mavic team.
Introduction of G40 hard-anodized clincher rim.
Mavic equips 26 professional teams throughout the world.
Off road. For some time company thinking has been turning toward wheels as complete creations rather than assemblies. TTM 560 hub derived from the famous 550 Service Courses. At the same time some young sensation-seeking Californians knock over traditional cycling and launch the BMX (Bicycle Motocross) and the Mountain Bike. Mavic swiftly realizes that these off-the-beaten-track disciplines are not just passing fancies. The Company adopted them. The first Mavic wheel to be marketed: the TTM 504 for BMX with 20-inch TTM 4 rims and TTM 560 hub derived from the famous 550 Service Courses.
The first Mavic Neutral Support motorcycle: a yellow Honda XL 600 in the Paris-Nice race.
Sean 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.
Mavic Air Department is created to market ultra-light motorized planes (ULMs) ready made or in kits. Two models are available: the Avid Flyer, of American origin and the French-designed Airplume. The French planes are assembled in Villeneuve, near Saint-Trivier-sur-Moignans but only a few units are sold. The sudden death of Bruno Gormand in December 1985 puts an end to this activity. The Cessna plane acquired by the Company however continues to assure radio links over races until 1986.
Marketing of Comete carbon fiber paracular wheels and light alloy Challenger wheels. The following year the Comete "+ and -" appears: 12 cells situated around the edge that can hold steel weights of 130 to 780g. The riders add more or less ballast to the wheel depending on the event.
Mavic creates a subsidiary in New Jersey. First Mavic Neutral Support in the USA at the Professional Championships in Philadelphia.
7th December, a black day for Mavic. A tragic car accident claims the life of Mavic's owner Bruno Gormand. Madame Cecile Gormand is named the new President and leads the Mavic team in the same enthusiastic way.
The arrival of the first CAD-CAM (Computer-Aided Design, Computer-Aided Manufacture) system at Mavic. Introduction of the Open 4 CD aerodynamic profile and double stainless steel eyelets.
Mountain bike assistance during the Paris-Gao-Dakar. In the following years Mavic assisted cyclists in the Mountain Bike World Cup, and in triathlon competitions.
The Mavic name is placed in a parallelogram with a yellow background, the italic letters giving added movement.
A new sport and new products, this time for mountain bikes: cranks and chain rings, head sets, pedals bottom brackets, rims and handle bars.
Greg Lemond equipped "Tout Mavic" wins the Tour De France; an unhoped-for victory that added a page to the Tour's glorious history: he was just 8 seconds in front of Laurent Fignon. Lemond also wins the 1989 World Championships.
Fat Chance builds ten, neon yellow-green "Slim Chance" Mavic Neutral Support bikes for use in the Tour de Trump (1989-90). They are repainted black for use in the Tour Du Pont (1991-1996). The TIG-welded steel bikes feature a sheet-metal "box" fork crown; the TIG-welded steel fork weighes in at 560 grams with a 1-inch steerer.
The 646 LMS pedal made in partnership with Look.
On 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.
The second edition of the Mavic Technical Manual is released for the Fall Bike Shows. Largely the work of Adam Micklin, it is more concise with better diagrams and more components.
Mavic goes dealer direct. The Sand City, California warehouse is closed and all operations are moved to West Chester, Pennsylvania.
3G wheel with 3 profiled spokes for front or rear, with interchangeable cartridge-hubs. It is the hot talking point at the Barcelona Olympic Games with Chris BoardmanÕs ride.
Mavic develops an electrically-controlled derailleur that is tried out by the Once and RMO teams in the Tour de France.
KL on snow: Christian Taillefer, Anne-Caroline Chausson and Eric Barone dream of pulverizing all speed records beyond 200km/h by hurtling from the top of an almost vertical track in the snow. Mavic wheels. Studs are compulsory.
Mavic 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.
Mavic launches ZMS (Zap Mavic System), the first micro-processor driven rear derailleur. Two strategically-placed buttons on the handlebar to change gear-up or down-then with a feather-light touch the microprocessor in the handlebar sends the information to the electromagnets in the derailleur, all in real time. Greeted by the media and riders as the best transmission system, the ZMS is awarded the Cycle Innovation prize in the USA.
The wheel as a "global system". With this approach and more work on aerodynamics the Cosmic wheel comes into being and is marketed in two versions: the aluminium Cosmic and the Cosmic Carbone. Sixteen stainless steel streamlined spokes at front wheels, crossed on the back wheels. They have different numbers, shapes and positions depending on the version. Through research and patenting, Mavic innovates spoke heads and shafts, their positioning and their attachment to the rim and the hub, thus constantly improving wheel behavior.
Mavic 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. A patent for streamlined eyelets. A new type of screw support, made of Zamac alloy is installed inside the streamlined rim. It strengthens the stress area and makes spoke fitting easier.
The end of the rectangle logo and the beginning of the ellipse logo.
The Atlanta Olympics. The birth of the Cosmic Expert, a built-in free-wheel hub with the FTS system; 18 spokes at the front, 20 at the back. From here on the back spokes are crossed in twos on the free wheel side, and radial on the other side.
The Crossmax wheel-specifically designed as a global "system". The lightweight resistant "outlaw" wheel with an oversized profile and ultra-thin rim wall, rear FTS hub and rapid blocking system. 26 spokes for the front wheel, 28 at the rear, crossed by 3s on the free wheel side and radial on the opposite side. It is used in the Atlanta Olympics.
Helium wheel, red rims and hubs.
The announcement in September that the group "SALOMON WORLDWIDE" is joining forces with Adidas to form the No. 2 sporting goods company in the world, "ADIDAS-SALOMON".
Mavic's overall system approach rewrites standards, leads to the development of the Fore concept, a technological innovation born of aeronautics, and Crossmax and Ksyrium wheels. The result is no more rim piercing, guaranteed airtight fitting, no need for rim tapes, fewer spokes, a lighter wheel, improved rigidity and resistance.
The Mektronic electronic derailleur is launched. No more wires; transmission was now by digitally-coded radio waves. Many control points were built into the hand-grips and a multi-function onboard computer attached to the handlebar shows speed, distance covered, elapsed time, sprocket positions, etc.
Next Mavic got the tire world's big two-Michelin and Hutchinson-round a table to talk about an objective: Tubeless. Result: the Crossmax UST Tubeless. On the profile of the rim, a channel receives the tire's beads during fitting. During inflating, the beads press against the groove walls then climb up and lock into place behind the raised ridges of the rim. Being able to ride with lower pressures and without blowouts caused by pinching considerably improves tire grip and road-holding in bends.
The Ksyrium. Leading-edge technology. Built with Fore technology that consists of boring a threaded tunnel in just one wall of the rim to insert the spokes, no need for rim tape. 18 spokes at the front and 20 at the back that are straight, highly streamlined in Zicral alloy with built-in aluminum screws.
Mavic files the patent ISM (Inter Spoke Milling), thus protecting the process of milling the upper surface of the interior of the rim in-between the spoke holes. This innovation reduces rotating mass (thus reducing inertia) and reduces the weight of the rim by between 10% to 20% without affecting strength, hence improving performance.
Mavic innovation is presented in the form of the cycle computer Wintech, which in its launch year, was awarded the first prize for innovation in USA. Its unique feature: the sensor is housed inside the quick-release lever of the front wheel and the digitally coded data is wirelessly transmitted and unaffected by interference.
Birth of the R-SYS, the third generation of wheels with tubular carbon spokes using the concept TraComp. TraComp technology inhibits the de-tensioning of spokes and maintains lateral rigidity of the wheel when it is subjected to high stresses. The tubular carbon spokes, immovably bound to the rim and hub, limit the deformation of the wheel, keep the wheel in true and minimises material fatigue (product longevity). All of this allows maximum weight reduction and maximises the performance characteristics of the complete wheel.
Mavic launches a complete range of cycling specific shoes, clothing and accessories. Mavic takes another step in its progression with the launch of a complete range of shoes, textiles and accessories. This extensive range of innovative items responds perfectly to the needs of the most exacting cyclists. Improvements have been introduced at all levels with innovations in material, technical features and function. The products are dedicated to all aspects of cycling including road, triathlon and MTB and meet the needs of both male and female cyclists.
The range of Mavic pedals follows on from the innovative 646 LMS of 1990, and comprises of three models dedicated to the road. On these models the focus is on energy transfer, the fluidity of bearings, and cleat resistance. The highlight of the range is the Race SL Ti with a titanium axle bringing the weight down to just 110 grammes.
For the first time, wheel sets are now designed with the integration of their specific tyre. By developing wheel and tyre technologies together Mavic can improve the wheel's responsiveness and reach a new era in wheel system design.
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