Jim Felt started building bikes in the late ’80s. In 1991, the year he started Felt Bicycles, Paula Newby-Fraser won the Ironman World Championship on one of the company’s bikes — she still feels that aluminum frame was one of the fastest she ever rode. Jim Felt was revolutionary in the triathlon bike world because he focused on the rider’s position first and foremost, capitalizing on the aero advantages made possible because of aero bars.
Felt has remained one of the iconic brands in the triathlon world, but also expanded to other parts of the cycling world and the company now produces road, tri, track, cyclocross, gravel and adventure bikes. In 2017 French ski company Rossignol bought the company. They have now sold Felt to an Austrian-based group – Pierer Mobility.
Pierer Mobility owns a number of motorcycle brands including KTM, Husqvarna Mortorcycles and Gasgas. Husqvarna and Gasgas also make e-bicycles, and the company also owns another e-bike brand, R Raymon.
“The acquisition of Felt Bicycles fits perfectly with the overall strategy of Pierer E-Bikes – that of becoming a global player in the field of two-wheel mobility, with both electric and non-electric bikes, across all cycling categories,” said Pierer Mobility CEO Stefan Pierer. “With Felt we are able to expand our bicycle portfolio and also strongly enter the North American market with an established, high-performance brand. The company is also heavily involved in competition, which brings an extra attraction for us.”
Felt gives Pierer an immediate foothold in the pedal-powered two-wheel industry to go along with its motorcycles, e-motorcycles, e-scooters and e-bicycles. It also allows the company easy access to North American retail outlets through Felt’s extensive connections.
KTM was long an off-road motorcycle specialist that specialized in enduro, motocross and supermoto bikes and had a rich competitive history. The company has expanded into the road motorcycle market and is now one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in Europe.
It would appear that the deal is good news for Felt, too – the company will likely benefit from Pierer’s manufacturing and research and development capabilities.
“Today is the most significant in our brand’s history,” Felt posted on Facebook. “We join forces with a new partner that, like us, has long championed cutting-edge innovation, obsessed over the world’s finest product design, and is, above all else, rooted in racing.”