Camelbak(‘s owners) buy Bell, Giro and Blackburn

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We’ve just seen reports on the bike industry trade news sites (like BRAIN and BikeBiz) that Vista Outdoors, the owners of Camelbak, has just bought Bell, Giro and Blackburn for US$400 million.

camelbak, vista outdoors, giro, bell, blackburn, mergers, aquisitions,
What’s in your bag, dude? Is it $400m in cash?

Easton also used be part of that group, but it was sold off in 2014, and bought by RaceFace’s owner. Both companies were then subsequently bought by Fox Racing. There seems to be a lot of company trading going on at the moment – especially with Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles’ proposed merger. Are we going to see a day soon where there are only a few giant companies (no pun intended) that rule the cycling world? Or will this leave room for the smaller, nimbler companies to grow through the cracks in the corporate concrete? Our recent column by Charlie Bikemonger gives the bike industry five years – or rather it gives the consumers five years – to make enough of a difference in their buying habits before we all become part of the cycling mega corporation machine. Not only is retail changing, but the companies that supply the retailers are changing too.

We assume this won’t change distribution in the UK, but we’re investigating.

Good? Bad? Doesn’t matter? Get wading in in the comments section below.



Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

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