Currently, Minestone Limited owns Marin Bikes. Robert Buckley, the company's founder, no longer owns the business he founded.
Minestone Limited is a European Investment Firm that has helped Marin Bikes continue to grow. Many new mountain bikes, city bikes, and eBikes have been released since Minestone Limited bought the company.
Marin Bikes was founded by Robert Buckley in 1986. He owned it until 2012, after which he sold it to Minestone Limited. Minestone Limited continued to design bikes in Marin County, an old center of mountain bike culture.
Marin Bikes was one of the first companies to use titanium to make lighter and stronger mountain bike frames. The company has invented and patented many variations and improvements on bike parts. Hundreds of people have competed in world-class events using high-end bikes made by the company.
I used to work for their company in California, and I know about the company's history. While the bikes are now manufactured overseas, they are still designed and tested in the United States.
The Marin Bikes Company
Marin Bikes offers bicycles all over the price range, from reasonably cheap bikes for beginners to professional competitive bikes that cost tens of thousands. They make mountain bikes, road bikes, street bikes, women's bikes, and children's bikes. The company currently makes 68 different types of bicycles.
Who is Robert Buckley?
Marin bikes founder Bob Buckley started biking after he hurt his knee waterskiing. His doctor recommended a bicycle to help him recover from his knee injury. Buckley bought a 10-speed and met a bike mechanic that would help him build his business.
His bike mechanic, Joe Murray, was passionate about bicycles before Murray was and was a racer. When Buckley, who already sold leather fashion accessories, suggested selling shoulder straps for carrying bikes, Murray convinced him to build and sell bicycles.
Because of his leather goods business, Buckley already knew manufacturers in Taiwan. Murray drew a bike he knew would sell, and Buckley took the drawings to Asia to have them manufactured and shipped to the United States.
Marin Bikes Was an Independent Company
Buckley's first 160 bikes arrived too late for the people who originally wanted to buy them, so he lost his first deals. However, the bikes were good, so he offered them to target, who wanted to buy many of them. He decided against it and took his bikes to trade shows in Europe, where people were impressed by them.
Although Buckley believes his business would have grown faster if he had taken target's offer, the business took off. He sold 1300 bikes during the first year, 3500 in the second, and 7000 in the third. He started at the right time - mountain biking was exploding in popularity, so it was a great decade to start his business.
Buckley faced a number of serious challenges even though his business found early success. One of his employees stole $500,000 from him through fraudulent checks. While he got some of the money back, it was still stressful to be stolen from and betrayed.
Marin Bikes Ownership and History
The company started in 1986 and was originally owned by Bob Buckley. He hired the famous mountain biker Joe Murray to help him design innovative mountain bikes that would make the company stand out. Their first bike, the Madrone Trail, sold for $199.
Marin bikes specialize in mountain bikes even though they produce many types of bicycles. Since the 1990s, Marin Bikes has built full suspension mountain bikes. Many bikes are inventive and contain technology not seen in earlier bikes.
Marin Bikes' Innovations
Marin Bikes developed a new single-pivot rear suspension in the 1990s. The suspension was created by John Whyte, an inventive engineer working for the company at that time. Later, innovators at Marin Bikes developed a quad-link suspension and the TARA (travel and ride adjustable).
1990s and 2000s
People have repeatedly used the company's mountain bikes to win world-class events. In 1993, Jurgen Beneke won a world championship riding Marin Bike's new Titanium FRS. The 1993 Titanium FRS included new Manitou Suspension Components and was an extremely light bike, especially for the time.
In 1996, professional mountain biker Paul Lasenby won the UK national title on a full suspension bike from Marin Bikes. Bob Buckley, who had formerly stepped down as president, went back to leading the company in 2003. The company also used its quad-link suspension technology to launch its first quad-link bike in 2003.
In 2004, Marin Bikes moved to a new 32000 square foot building in Novato. The grateful dead band formerly owned the building, and the recording studio remained in use by living members of the band until 2007. A smaller second building, used for product design, was built in 2008.
In 2012, 66-year-old Bob Buckley decided to sell the company to a private holding group. The business remained in Marin County, as it has always been, and continued to be managed by CEO Tom Herington. Herington worked with Buckley for 25 years before becoming the CEO of the company.
In late 2012, Matt VanEnkevort became the new CEO, with Tom Herington remaining but becoming the COO. Matt VanEnkevort had been in the mountain bike business for a decade, formerly at Full Speed Ahead.
Why Did Buckley Sell the Company to Minestone?
In a press release, Buckley said that the sale of his company to Minestone would allow for more investment in innovative new products and more investment in marketing.
Many things about the company remained the same after it was sold to Minestone Limited. The company is still based in Marin County, California. People still test the bikes on the same local trails they have since the 1980s.
Marin Bikes After 2012
In 2012 and 2013, the new management did everything they could to help the famous old brand reach new heights. In 2014, two innovative new trail bikes, the "mount vision" and the "attack trail," hit the market. 2015 saw the release of the Rift Zone 29er, a powerful new bike with 110/120mm of wheel travel.
In 2016, the company celebrated its 30th anniversary by re-releasing two classic models that had been discontinued. The new versions of the classic 'four corners' and 'pine mountain' bikes use cromoly frames and use graphics inspired by the company's early bikes.
One of the most impressive new bikes released by Marin is the Hawk Hill trail bike, which performs amazingly well for its price. This new trail bike was released in 2017 and is Marin Bike's top-selling model.
Marin Bikes in Recent Years
In 2018, the company was praised by reviewers for introducing new suspension technology. During that year, Marin Bikes introduced the all-new B-17, plus some new Hawk Hill models.
More new models were introduced in 2019 and 2020, such as the Presidio and the Riff Zone Carbon. In early 2022, the company introduced the Alcatraz dirt jump bike.
Does the Company Make eBikes?
Yes, the company offers a lot of different types of bikes, including bikes with electric motors. Marin eBikes are somewhat high-end, ranging from 1650 to 6300 dollars as of May 2022. While Marin Bikes continues to specialize in mountain bikes, eBikes are increasingly popular, and Marin Bikes offers several models.
What Other Kinds of Bikes Does the Company Offer?
Marin Bikes offers many kinds of mountain bikes, city bikes, and eBikes. They have hardtail bikes, full-suspension bikes, fitness/transit bikes, drop bar bikes, and kid's bikes.
What Technology Do Marin Bikes Use?
Marin bikes use MultiTrac suspension for a smooth ride. MultiTrac suspension achieves a good balance between smoothing out small bumps and allowing the rider to pedal efficiently.
The suspension is sensitive enough that you don't feel the bumps but not so sensitive that there is unwanted suspension movement. Unwanted suspension movement slows you down by making it harder to transfer power from the pedals to the ground.
The company has also always been ahead of the curve in using high-tech materials. In the 1980s, they used titanium before it was common. Today they use advanced carbon fibers.
About THE AUTHOR
Mountain biking is more than just a hobby for me - it's a way of life. I love the challenge and excitement that comes with it, and I'm always pushing myself to go faster and ride harder. Some people might think that mountain biking is dangerous, but I see it as the only way to live.Read More About Danny Lawson