Thursday, March 17, 2011

Breaking News: Competitive Cyclist Buys Merlin

From Bicycling Retailer:

CHATTANOOGA, TN (BRAIN)—American Bicycle Group has sold its Merlin Metalworks brand to Arkansas-based online retailer Competitive Cyclist.

A pioneer in the production of hand-crafted titanium frames starting in 1986, Merlin will reach a wider audience at Competitive Cyclist, according to a press release. As part of the sale, ABG will retain the rights to manufacture and sell Merlin products to buyers in the Asian markets through 2012.

Brendan Quirk of Competitive Cyclist welcomed the addition of Merlin. "Like many, I fell in love with Merlin in the mid-90s," he said. "In my case, I was beating my head against the wall trying to become a real bike racer back then. My racing career stalled out, but I never lost my feelings for the simple elegance and precision of Merlin frames. We look forward to the endeavor of re-creating that magic."

Peter Hurley, CEO of ABG, added: "While Merlin has been a great brand for us, this is a strategic decision to consolidate and apply our focus and capital to two brands, Quintana Roo and Litespeed, that have shown incredible sales momentum in the past year.

"Competitive Cyclist will make a fantastic new home for Merlin by providing greater audience exposure and, at the same time, I'm certain the arrangement will allow us to better serve our QR and Litespeed customers," Hurley added.

Thanks to Steve Shepherd for tipping me to the article. This is a strong move by locally-owned powerhouse Competitice Cyclist. Merlin is a premier titanium bike brand that has languished somewhat in the carbon fiber frenzy, but the fact remains that ti is a near-ideal frame material with its light weight, remarkable strength and resistance to corrosion and metal fatigue. I am certain that CC will grow the brand. This looks like a win for all  involved, especially riders who will discover the sweetness of ride afforded by a ti frame.

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