When you think about it, it’s pretty hard to believe that Mavic has been around for 125 years. That is, until you look at their list of firsts. At this point in cycling we take a lot of technology for granted, but there was a time when a rim that was simply made from aluminum was a big deal. It was such a big deal that in 1934 when Mavic first used the Duraluminum rim they actually painted it in wood grain to hide it from competitors. That year it won the Tour de France – weighing half that of comparable rims at the time may have helped. Those firsts continued as the years went on with the first aluminum clincher rim. The first complete wheel system. The first UST rim design. First full aluminum wheel system with the Ksyrium, and first Wheel Tire System with the Ksyrium K10.
Even though it’s still evolving, much of the bicycle wheel technology we rely on every day has Mavic roots. Naturally, when it came time to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the storied company here in the US, Mavic wanted to do something that would honor the brand’s heritage. In addition to opening the Mavic La Maison Jaune here in Newbury Park, CA, Mavic reached out to custom frame builders to build some truly unique bikes. Each masterpiece was centered around the Limited Edition Mavic Ksyrium 125 of which only 6000 sets will be sold. Ksyrium 125 Wheel Tire Systems are currently available and selling for $1850.
More than just wheels, the Mavic 125th bikes capture a century and a quarter’s worth of history in two wheel form…
Starting with Argonaut Cycles, Ben Farver the founder of the Pacific Northwest based company was on hand with this beautiful custom carbon bike made for Chad Moore the director of marketing for Mavic. Ben pointed out that when designing a custom bike he really bases the build off the rider’s power, experience, bike expectations, even material bias. Since Chad has been riding for years and on many different bikes, he wanted a bike that was able to be “driven” through the corners so it has a slightly less stiff upper half of the frame. While you may not end up with a paint job on the level of the Anniversary Argonaut, the attention to detail with designing the Spacebike 2.0 is no different that that for any of Argonaut’s customers.
Each of these bikes is an amazing creation alone, but where they really shine is the one off commemorative finishes. In this case the paint scheme was designed in California by Garrett Chow and painted in Oregon by Eric Dungey of Color Works. From a distance, the Argonaut looks to have a yellow fade that graces the top and down tubes of the bike, but get closer and you see that it is made up of individual panels that represent substantial changes to the Mavic brand. Corresponding the to down tube logos, the top tube panels feature the years of each graphic below.
Elsewhere you’ll find color matched parts on the stem, the seat mast cap, and matching paneling inside the rear triangle. If you look hard enough you’ll see just a tiny bit of the teal blue Argonaut is known for.
Another stand out was the stealth tinted Dura Ace crank. Ben felt that the polished portion of the crank would clash with the paint job, so Eric figured out a way to apply a tint over the polished metal. Even Ben wasn’t sure how it was done, and Eric is apparently keeping the technique to himself. Regardless, it looks sweet in person.
As a late addition to the party, this understated Independent Fabrication SSR showed up just before we left. Crafted in stainless steel, the SSR uses Columbus XCr seamless tubing and is offered with full custom geometry through IF. At first the paint job looks fairly simple, but when you get up close you notice that the yellow accents are glossy and created with negative masking. The white on the logos however, seems to be part of the same satin layer as the black making a really interesting contrast in texutres.
The chainstays and seatstays transition from Mavic Yellow panels to raw stainless steel with subtle IF branding on the tubes.
Mark Lynksey was on hand to represent the Lynskey Performance titanium family and brought with him a very different Mavic anniversary than the one shown in their teaser. According to Mark they wanted to make one very unique bike for the presentation at the Yellow House, and an additional run of 30 limited edition bikes to sell to customers. That means you will be able to purchase one of the slick black, yellow, and titanium paneled beauties if you’re not too late, but you probably can’t get your hands on this one off, “propane flame” Mavic Edition Helix.
Painted by renowned custom car and motorcycle artist Kenny Reynolds, the Lynskey certainly had aver different aesthetic than the other anniversary bikes. Mark said this was due to their desire to not necessarily look back to Mavic’s past, but to look forward to the storied brand’s future. While we think of Mavic as black and yellow, the company originally had quite a bit of red in their logos as well which helps tie in the flames to the overall theme.
Using the standard Helix twisted titanium tubing, this Helix also has a custom dropout featuring the Mavic logo on one side and Lynskey’s clover on the other. The Propane Flames taper into a black seat tube which is trailed by raw titanium stays.
Out of Boulder Colorado, Mosaic Bespoke Bicycles Founder Aaron Barcheck delivered another 125h Anniversary bike that was commissioned by Chad Moore. Based on their Rs1 Steel frame, the frame uses True Temper S3 tubing to create a custom steel road bike that is still sub 15lbs. The result as Aaron called it, is an old school design mixed with modern technology. Whatever you call it, this is a completely drool worthy steel beauty.
Certainly the most difficult to photograph bike of the group, the Rs1’s finish breathtaking in the sunlight. In addition to the “bass boat black” paint, the frame featured ghosted logos that look very similar to some of the graphics Mavic has used on some special edition products. You’ll even find the meaning of the Mavic acronym strafing the top tube – Manufacture d’Articles Vélocipédiques Idoux et Chanel (Idoux & Chanel’s Manufacturing of Articles for Velocipedes). You knew it was an acronym, right? The name stems from the two men who started the brand, Charles Idoux and Lucien Chanel.
The ghosted logos are also found on the seat tube. Mixed with the pinstriping that continued through the bottom bracket and the fork, this Mosaic makes for a gorgeous bike.
Whatever you want to call him (he told us he’s the Creative Driector), Spencer Canon is one of the main men behind Ritte Cycles. Not only did Spencer design the striking paint job for this 125th Anniversary Ritte Vlaanderen, he also hand painted it himself. In fact, Spencer is responsible for all of the incredible custom paint jobs that bear the Ritte name. With a history of designing and painting some incredible bikes, Ritte’s Mavic anniversary build is no different.
Using a standard Vlaanderen as a canvas, Spencer created a yellow and black masterpiece that incorporates Mavic red and Ritte blue in the pixelated transitions.
Spencer mentioned how much he loved the old Mavic fork decals, so he was hoping to find a pair for this build. Unfortunately, they’re no longer made and NOS couldn’t be found, so Spencer hand painted his own. Next to the originals one Greg Lemond’s 1989 TVT carbon fiber Tour bike, the hand painted logos are an awesome nod to the past.
No Ritte would be complete without a Flemish Lion or two. Red and Yellow – another nod to the original Mavic colors.
Seven Cycles rounds out the display with a 125th Anniversary Axiom SL. Another Titanium classic, the Axiom SL utilizes Seven’s Argen Double Butted 3-2.5 Titanium to build a fast modern road bike with clean lines.
Seven opted for a striking black with yellow pinstripe design that ties into most of the branding on the bike.
Extending to the seat post and the fork, the Seven is a study in lines with a naked titanium lower half.
After all the celebrating is complete, some of the 125th Anniversary bikes will be auctioned off with proceeds going to charity with the rest either remaining with Mavic or the companies who produced them. 125 years of innovations and support of the bicycle industry is hard to wrap your head around or capture with words. But bikes? Bicycles turn out to be the perfect medium, especially with custom builders as talented as Argonaut, Indy Fab, Lynskey, Mosaic, Ritte and Seven.