The board of California-based Marin Bikes have agreed to sell the company to a European investment firm, they announced this morning.
Founded in 1986 in Marin County, California – the place widely regarded as the birthplace of mountain biking – the business is currently owned by its staff and the family of founder and president Robert Buckley. No date has yet been announced for its acquisition by Minestone Limited.
“The acquisition of Marin by Minestone will allow us to strengthen our brand through increased investment in product innovation, marketing and human resources," said Buckley, via press release. "We'll continue to operate from our Novato headquarters, designing and testing on the trails and back roads that have inspired us for over 25 years. I greatly look forward to accompanying our talented and dedicated staff during this exciting new phase in our company’s history.”
Britain has always been a big market for Marin, and many of the company's full-suspension bikes have been designed on these shores. Ross Patterson, sales and marketing director at Marin's UK distributors, ATB Sales, said: "This is excellent news. The investment this acquisition will strengthen Marin's position globally and we look forward to the exciting times ahead for Marin in the UK."
It's not yet known how much Minestone are paying for the business, or when the sale will go ahead. We'll bring you further details as soon as we get them.
Marin Bikes timeline
1985: Bob Buckley teams up with Joe Murray, who's working in a local bike shop, to start a bike company. Buckley had been working in the fashion industry but was inspired to change career after trying a mountain bike on his doctor's advice to help heal a nagging knee injury.
1986: Marin Bikes launch their first bike, the Madrone Trail hardtail. They go on to become big players in the late '80s and early '90s mountain bike scene.
1992: The company unveil their first full-suspension bike. The Ti FRS used a titanium front triangle mated to a Manitou twin shock rear end. It squatted badly under acceleration and sported negligible damping but was still one of the better designs of the early ‘90s.
1995: At a time when Marin are losing ground to rivals like Specialized, Kona and Trek, Bob Buckley meets Formula 1 suspension engineer Jon Whyte at a UK dealer presentation. Impressed, he contracts Whyte and Marin's UK distributors ATB Sales to produce a new full-suspension range.
1996: Paul Lazenby wins the UK cross-country championships on a Whyte designed single-pivot Marin Mount Vision, silencing the full-suspension sceptics for good. The long-travel B-17 also proves a success.
2006: Jon Whyte retires from the bike industry and hands over the reins to Ian Alexander, his apprentice since 2002.
2008: Marin's latest four-bar full-suspension bikes garner high praise from the cycling press, with What Mountain Bike naming the Mount Vision as their Bike of the Year.
2011: Marin unveil a new suspension platform for 2012, Quad Link 3.0. You can see it in action on the new Mount Vision XM8 in the video below: