In the latest in what is becoming a string of acquisitions, SRAM has today announced the acquisition of Velocio Apparel, the cycling clothing brand hailing from New England, USA.
The move will see Velocio join other recent acquisitions, Hammerhead and Time, alongside more established brands in Rockshox, Quarq, Truvativ and Zipp, beneath the umbrella of the SRAM LLC group, which is headquartered in Chicago.
In a statement released by Velocio, the move was first instigated by Velocio itself, rather than the other way around.
"There’s a unique challenge to running a business that often gets overlooked," the statement read. "Succeed and your reward is a deeper expectation to grow. Grow too large, too fast and the risk is the often-lamented loss of brand, the dilution of product, and corner-cutting changes to boost profits."
In a bid to avoid being forced to do this, the brand decided that selling Velocio to a larger brand or group was the solution, and so it approached SRAM, a company that it had collaborated with on numerous occasions ever since the two brands co-sponsored the Velocio-SRAM women's team in 2015, then home to riders such as Tiffany Cromwell, Tayler Wiles and Lisa Brennauer.
Velocio will undoubtedly gain the scaleability that it seeks, but today's announcement points out that little will change in how Velocio is run.
"Our supply chain, manufacturing, and product design will not fold into SRAM’s manufacturing arm. All the Velocio policies and campaigns that have defined our brand, from the Signature Guarantee to the Unity Campaign will remain unchanged. The customer service team that serves our customers well will continue to do so."
When Velocio launched in 2013, its three cornerstones were to create "a better cycling product, a better cycling culture, and a deeper commitment to responsible manufacturing," and according to today's release, it appears that those core values will also remain unfiltered.
"We’ll now have SRAM’s backing for more independent product design and development, including a still bigger push towards sustainability in our product offerings and how we deliver them."
Today's announcement marks the first foray into clothing and apparel for SRAM as a company. To many, it will be a surprise acquisition that doesn't appear to fit directly into the direction that the business is travelling. For example, the purchase of Time pedals appeared to be tactical: SRAM could provide its expertise in hardware manufacturing to allow the Time brand to re-establish itself as a competitor to Shimano and Look, while also adding Quarq and PowerTap's knowledge in power meters to create a viable contender to Garmin Rally or Wahoo Powrlink Zero. The same can be said for the Hammerhead acquisition: the direct integration opportunity with SRAM's AXS groupsets would be a unique selling point that other brands couldn't match.
It remains to be seen what direction, if any, SRAM could take the Velocio brand, or whether this is just another string to its evergrowing bow.
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Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.