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Mavic celebrates 125 years with custom bikes

  • By Addie Levinsky
  • Published Jul. 13, 2014

THOUSAND OAKS, California (VN) — What do you get when you combine five creative custom frame builders and 125 years of French cycling history? A room full of fantastic bikes.

A fleet of five custom bikes from frame builders around the U.S. was commissioned as a tribute to Mavic’s 125th anniversary. Each builder had complete freedom over the build and art, but each bike was inspired by the limited edition Ksyrium 125 wheelset.

In 1934, Mavic invented the first rim constructed from an alloy made of copper and aluminum. It weighed 750 grams, rather than the 1.2 kilograms that most rims in that era weighed. Ridden by Antonion Magne in the 1934 Tour de France, the Mavic rims were painted to look like wood, to remain secret, lest the peloton became suspicious of his new technology. Magne won the Tour de France that year.

The French component manufacturer has come a long way from its days of disguising new technology — nearly any Mavic product in recent history stands out with a blaze of yellow color.

The featured builders were Argonaut Cycles from Portland, Ore., Independent Fabrication from Newmarket, N.H., Lynskey Performance from Chattanooga, Tenn., Mosaic Cycles from Boulder, Colo., Ritte Cycles from Venice, Calif., and Seven Cycles from Watertown, Mass.

Aaron Barcheck, the man behind the torch at Moasic Cycles, told VeloNews that his steel RS-1 featured an “old school frame design, with new school graphics.” The RS-1 is built with True Temper S3 tubing and comes in in at just around 15 pounds without pedals. Painted black, splashes of Mavic’s yellow logo around the frame made for a clean, classic design.

Ben Farver from Argonaut echoed that same philosophy with his build. The design, by Garrett Chow from Mash S.F., featured a timeline on the top tube, representing the history and milestones for Mavic. Farver, who started building steel frames and made the switch to carbon a few years ago, said that his builds are modern while maintaining a sense of classicism.

The Lynskey and Seven Cycles bikes were the two titanium bikes featured. Kenny Reynolds, a custom car and motorcycle artist from Tennessee, painted the Lynskey. Its loud paint stood apart from the more subdued look of the rest of the frames, a choice made to “represent the future of Mavic, rather than the past,” said Mark Lynskey.

Seven struck a more classic tone on its Axiom SL, featuring Argen double-butted 3-2.5 titanium. The all-black paint was a tribute to Mavic not with logos, but with yellow pinstripes.

Ritte Cycles lived up to its reputation for fantastic custom paint. The carbon Vlaanderen is Ritte’s flagship bike, but the design by Spencer Canon really stood out. Pops of pixelated color were added to a yellow and black base, and the result was fantastic.

Chad Moore, Mavic marketing director, said “This project was an opportunity for Mavic to connect with brands in the U.S. who are innovators and standouts in the industry. We couldn’t be more pleased with the partners we’ve had in this endeavor, and we hope this drives interest in their work. We also hope it helps to remind Mavic fans of our long history in the sport of cycling.”

The Ritte and Seven will be auctioned off to charity this fall. Both bikes will be sold through The Pro’s Closet on eBay, and the proceeds will benefit the World Bicycle Relief. The other bikes will stay with the builders to be ridden and remembered.

Like Mavic’s first Dura rims, the builds by these framebuilders display some traditional features such as tube design and classic paint schemes, while still pushing the envelope in ways unique to each builder’s methods. Ultimately, it was an impressive marriage of timelessness, beauty, and innovation.

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Addie Levinsky

Addie Levinsky

Addie Levinsky joined VeloNews as an intern in January 2014 after studying philosophy at University of Colorado at Denver. She has a soft spot for handmade steel frames and is happiest when shredding flowy singletrack. Riding bikes, writing, and drinking too much coffee, not necessarily in that order, sums her up quite nicely.

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