Inside Story – Why did Mavic buy ENVE?

why-did-mavic-buy-enve

Often times, acquisitions are made to either bring in technologies one company didn’t have, or quickly move into new markets. With Amer Sports’ (Mavic’s parent company) recent purchase of ENVE Composites, the reasoning was less clear from the outside. Both companies have strong wheel programs as their foundation, so our immediate concern was a future of Mavic branded ENVE rims or some other unnecessary mashup. Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to be on their roadmap.

I sat down with Mavic’s President of Cycling to discuss the deal…

“It’s about agility and stability,” Bernard Millaud told us. Until a few weeks ago, Millaud was president of Mavic, now he’s in charge of both brands under the new “President of Cycling” title.

“ENVE is now where Mavic was 10 or 11 years ago. They’re established but they’re still young and energetic. I feel that same energy and enthusiasm when I visit them that we had at Mavic a decade ago.”

Millaud shared that he enjoyed 10 years of solid growth when he first took over Mavic in 2002, but business has been up and down over the past few years. It’s no surprise – Mavic’s rims have remained narrower than is popular, and from the outside looking in, their innovation in the wheel segment hasn’t grabbed riders’ attention the way some newer brands (ahem, like ENVE) have.

But with such a long standing brand comes some legacy. And as they’ve grown (there are now about 200 employees, 16 of which are in carbon wheel development), things have been compartmentalized and regimented. Necessary evils with so many people and so many projects – they make helmets, clothes and shoes, too – but also potential roadblocks to aggressive innovation.

enve-carbon-rims-get-upgraded-brake-track01

ENVE, by contrast, is a small company that’s quickly pumping out products to meet all the latest standards and trends. Think shallow lightweight cyclocross tubulars to deep aero triathlon, plus a four-deep collection of mountain bike wheels for various widths in various wheel sizes for various disciplines… many of which have come to market in just the last five years. Add in flat mount disc brake mounts and 12mm thru axles on their forks and you get the idea.

That’s one difference.

The other is less obvious but more tangible. Millaud says if you took their latest rim, a road carbon clincher that’ll be revealed soon, and asked ENVE to duplicate it, they couldn’t. There are major differences in the way each company makes their wheels. The processes are different, the designs are different. ENVE has a penchant for UD carbon fibers, Mavic likes the woven fabric (with some UD used in non-cosmetic sections to tune the ride, stiffness and strength).

Basically, each company has their own culture and their own way of doing things, and there are no plans to mess with that. So, what exactly are they going to do with ENVE?

Millaud says they’ll share ideas and technologies where it makes sense. Not everything will – for example, ENVE has a patent on molded spoke holes, which means they don’t need to drill the rim. They’ve also patented the bead and rim bed construction so there’s no need to machine the bead hook, leaving complete fibers intact for a stronger rim. Millaud says the former doesn’t allow for angled spoke holes, though, so it’s not something they’re going to use as-is because Mavic’s focus isn’t really on rims, it’s on complete wheel systems. And more recently wheel-and-tire systems. For the latter, Mavic might be working on a rim that achieves the same end goal as ENVE’s, but that doesn’t need ENVE’s patent.

mavic-enve-collaboration-could-be-inevitable

It’s not like Mavic’s hurting for ideas. They’re in a sort of rebirth of their own, bringing several major redesigns and new wheels to market in 2016 that have been a few years in development, well before the ENVE deal was a twinkling in anyone’s eye. And we’ve seen a prototype project that solves some serious road pro peloton problems that is nothing short of brilliant and amazing…we just can’t talk about it yet. But it’s a great fit with ENVE’s product line.

So, in the short term (think six to eight months), it seems there aren’t immediate ways we’ll see the two sharing tech.

The more immediate benefits to each party could come on the sales and distribution side.

“ENVE has a strong brand in the U.S., but they struggle with sales internationally,” Millaud says. “And many European brands have a hard time in the U.S. So that’s one area where we think we can help each other quite a bit.”

Huge thanks to Mavic for bringing us over to see their new road wheels (that story coming early Tuesday AM) and giving us access to Millaud and his team!

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

34 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kernel Flickitov
Kernel Flickitov
6 years ago

A request to the “President of Cycling” ‘[sounds like a monarchy]; make it your own personal mission to keep Mavic’s atrocious FTS hubs well away from ENVE business and we’re cool.

Adam
Adam
6 years ago

Would you guys “media” quit saying Mavic bought Enve. Amer bought Enve. They are both under a corporate umbrella along with several other brands.

Nick
Nick
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

How about “President of Mavic is now president of both Mavic and Enve, since the company that owned Mavic nows owns Enve too.”

edge
edge
6 years ago

The lack of innovation usually comes from a lack of investment…hope they don’t do that to Enve.

riley martin
riley martin
6 years ago

Mavic seems to be that “red headed stepchild” role in certain US cycling usage. While I have owned many mavic wheelsets and are great in their own right. they do seem to be missing something along the way. skinny rim widths vs wider rim depths continues to fuel wheel development. mavic needs to do more full carbon wheels: both road and mountain. I mean full carbon wheels to take things to that next level (and mavic is on a pretty good level)….

Enter ENVE!

I really hope that ENVE flourishes here…..Mavic too. This’ll be neat to see.

Sugarkane
Sugarkane
6 years ago
Reply to  riley martin

50mil for a company Turning over 30mil a year.. Sounds like a bail out and not the first time either

mike
mike
6 years ago

Anyone looking at the numbers would say they probably acquired Enve because they were selling for a song.

Padrote
Padrote
6 years ago
Reply to  mike

yes, there isn’t anything magical about the technology either companies’ products. ENVE’s patents are pretty worthless.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
6 years ago

Hopefully Enve doesn’t try to incorporate anything from Mavic in terms of design/engineering. All their updates simply updated them to where others were going 10 years ago, not what’s really being done today. Their wider rims are still narrow and they talk crazy about tire widths on rims

Demetri
6 years ago

Its all about distribution in the USA, Mavic needs it.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
6 years ago
Reply to  Demetri

Mavic still sells more rims than ENVE. That’s never going to change unless Enve starts making wheels under $600

justsomedude
justsomedude
6 years ago

Sure Mavic seem to have next to no innovation and I cannot comment on the quality of their hubs, having not used them. All said, I can’t help but think that they are still awesome due to the fact that my A319 rims seem to be immune to any problems, They have never lost true once and I haven’t gone easy on them. Some of that might be due to the fact that they are 36h. The ever shrinking spoke counts on wheels nowadays, makes me sad.

Myke
Myke
6 years ago

I have mixed feelings about this. Could be great if component manufacturering comes to the us or goes to France!

But find it interesting Enve was in the middle of a recall that started to draw more attention to where they manufacture some parts.

Kernel Flickitov
Kernel Flickitov
6 years ago
Reply to  Myke

The only people who care about where ENVE forks, bars, stem, and handlebars are made was the peanut gallery on internet forums. Making such a big deal out of it as if it were some sort of conspiracy theory come true. Invariably, these people never owned a single ENVE anything. You know, the experts.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
6 years ago

When it comes to quality, sure, it doesn’t matter. However, keeping jobs local matters to people. What I hate is that their components are priced like their wheels. Their wheels are spendy because they’re made in Utah. Why are their bars, stems and forks so expensive if they’re made in different parts of Asia?

Kernel Flickitov
Kernel Flickitov
6 years ago
Reply to  Veganpotter

Ritchey Superlogic carbon bars, stems and seat posts are almost the same price as ENVE. And also made in SE Asia. (deleted)

Myke
Myke
6 years ago
Reply to  Myke

Wow Kernel, no one said anything about conspiracy! Everything to do with what VeganPotter said! The perception Enve projects is they were all USA made although they stated otherwise. But that not the issue. Where is value when everything is produced alongside competing companies products?

Kernel Flickitov
Kernel Flickitov
6 years ago
Reply to  Myke

The notion that ENVE tried to fool people into believing that their non-wheel goods were made in-house is BS. You are a victim of urban myth propagated by forum trolls.

Kernel Flickitov
Kernel Flickitov
6 years ago

…. and to address your main point; tell me which of those competing brands not only send their CAD files overseas, but tooling and raw material as well? ENVE does. It would seem that would be a lot of trouble to add all those logistical costs. I know why ENVE does it that way, do you?

Gil
Gil
6 years ago

two negative make a positive, thats what im guessing, mavic used to make great rims, but velocity put a hurting on them……..

Kernel Flickitov
Kernel Flickitov
6 years ago
Reply to  Gil

Mavic’s main focus for the last two decades is complete wheel systems, even stated in the article. They could care less about stand alone aluminum rims and it shows. In that time the only thing Mavic has done to their alloy rim line is redesign the decals every few years. Your statement is textbook apples vs oranges.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
6 years ago
Reply to  Gil

Velocity sucks, far worse than Mavic.

Kernel Flickitov
Kernel Flickitov
6 years ago
Reply to  Veganpotter

Totally agree, we dumped both brands at our shop. Velocity and quality don’t walk hand in hand, and Mavic couldn’t design themselves out of a box for the last 20 years. I choose to build with neither.

Richard Goodwin
Richard Goodwin
6 years ago

“ENVE is now where Mavic was 10 or 11 years ago. They’re established but they’re still young and energetic.”
Does Millaud even know how old Mavic is? In the 9 years I was there, there was plenty of energy and that was 60 years after their founding.

Loki
Loki
6 years ago

Mavic have long since fallen off as an aspirational brand, they don’t have anything one could label ‘best in class’ in the current market. Arguably their 2 best products (Io/commet wheelset and open pro rims) were introduced pre-1986!

What is telling is if you read the history page on Mavic’s own website, (1999 Ksyrium Fore concept, 2007 R-Sys etc.) which stops at 2010 with the wheels system marketing.

Chefdog
Chefdog
6 years ago

Wait a year or two and see if either company changes, then we can have opinions on it. Until something actually happens, this is all just speculation.

Allan
Allan
6 years ago

Two things I found funny. “The President of Cycling”, what a genius title. Do they also have a King of Bikes or Wheel Emporer too?

Also, his comment re: ENVE is where Mavic was 10 or 11 years ago, young and energetic. So do I infer that Mavic is old and tired, and out of ideas?

Allan
Allan
6 years ago
Reply to  Allan

*emperor

ginsu
ginsu
6 years ago

There would be a lot more innovation in the cycling industry if everything weren’t run like a exclusive club.

NoBo
NoBo
6 years ago

I have Mavic on a Pina and Enve on a C60. However the next bike will have Lightweight wheels. No need to worry about the God of wheels.

rodegeek
rodegeek
6 years ago

I nominate Chefdog for the Supreme Court of internet comments.

Bob Miksche
6 years ago

Mavic was the company that DID NOT BELIEVE in full carbon clinchers.. Go figure. The wheel designs are nice, but hubs (cassette body) has too many issues.

coolegadj
6 years ago

Fellas Mavic is more commercial than ENVE but we already know when ENVE starts to lower their quality, we wll know the reason. Anyway we all know that MAVIC having ENVE ON ITS SIDE ti is like having one less contender jajajajaj the same FOX did buying MARZOCCHI, the netherlad company did buying SANTA CRUZ, and outside the bike’s topic MICROSOFT did buying SKYPE

Nathan Caulford
5 years ago

Mavic DIDN’T buy Enve. They are now sister companies.