Stan's NoTubes Sold to an Investment Company as Founders Retire

Jul 7, 2022 at 4:03
by Ed Spratt  
Stans Arch MK3

Stan's NoTubes has been sold to an investment company after the founders Stan and Cindy Koziatek retire.

Stan and Cindy Koziatek have owned and run the company for 21 years, but this week it has been announced that North Carolina-based investment company Zabel Companies LLC has bought the brand. The current president and CEO, Mike Bush, will be continuing with the company following the sale. Stan's NoTubes marks the first sports-based acquisition for Zabel Companies.

bigquotesWe feel incredibly fortunate to have found Zabel Companies after a diligent search for the right fit.

Their emphasis on sustainable, long-term growth, building a strong brand, and preserving company staff and culture are values Stan, Cindy, and I have long shared. Zabel's expertise and experience building businesses for long-term, sustained growth are a perfect fit for the continued growth of Stan's.

I'm incredibly happy that Stan and Cindy were able to exit the business on their terms and they leave behind an amazing team to continue their legacy. That team includes not just our outstanding employees, but our incredible distributors, dealers, OEM partners, our talented athletes, and most of all, our dedicated customers. We are so grateful for the support that has allowed us to grow the brand, celebrate so many athletic achievements, and save countless rides over the past twenty-plus years. We are also more excited than ever about the future as we start this new chapter together with Zabel
Mike Bush, President and CEO of Stan's NoTubes

bigquotesStan and Cindy created a category, built a market leader, and have the preeminent brand in the industry; most importantly they surrounded themselves with great people and a strong leader in Mike Bush.

We look forward to preserving Stan's and Cindy's legacy and what has made the business successful to date as we partner with and provide support to Mike and the Stan's team to continue building and growing this great business.
Rich Jones, a partner with The Zabel Companies


  • 155 1
 Wish Stan and Cindy a happy retirement, they've earned it. Always ready to sponsor an event and were instrumental in making Windham happen. Stan was also a hoot to talk to, knew a lot about a lot. All the best.
  • 83 28
 Nothing spells oncoming correction and/or recession more clearly like a whole bunch of insiders selling out of their companies in a hurry.
  • 57 1
 They all wanna make some money with their huge growth rates during the pandemic before the shit hits the fan again
  • 21 0
 They sold at peak bike. It has already begun with the graphics cards. I hope MTBs will follow soon.
  • 93 0
 You're not wrong in general, but in this case I'd say Stan and Cindy are simply at the age when they'd like to comfortably retire and not worry about a business anymore (and of course the business was successful/worth enough to do that). My guess is they'd have done it regardless of the economic climate. Not everyone wants work until they die Wink
  • 13 2
 @bashhard: Oh no, shit is gonna grow even more for bicycles. With Lithium prices going through the roof, petroleum companies greedy as hell could've only imagined, people will turn to bicycles more and more.
The movement to walkable and cyclable cities has already begun and will be stronger and stronger.
  • 5 1
 @SickEdit: Graphic cards sky rocketed because of Ethereum mining. Took a tumble because of ethereum mining too. This was telegraphed 4 or 5 years ago, with the GTX1000 series.
  • 11 0
 @Notmeatall: Possibly in the long run. But the short term pandemic-related spike in recreational cycling demand is likely to subside. If it hasn't already.
  • 3 4
 @Notmeatall: Not necessarily. According to Nvidia´s CFO the GPU outage was not due to mining.
  • 10 0
 @bashhard: I think 'shit hitting the fan' isnt an appropriate description for bike companies that probably made good profits before the pandemic and would go on to continue to to so after the pandemic.

Big companies dont buy smaller companies that are not profitable and they are smart enough to factor in the pandemic effect - it isnt a PB comment section secret.

This is probably a genuine retirement story though.
  • 40 0
 I didn’t see a single reference to all the synergy that’s gonna be created. Is this even a corporate takeover.
  • 2 0
 @justanotherusername: big companies are constantly trying to grow even bigger and they make many wrong decisions along the way.
  • 3 1
 Oncoming correction was spelled out as a direct result of keynesians worldwide printing fiat. Selling business to buy assets is a smart move, things will get weird.
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername: I dunno man with the number of really small bike manufacturers that have cropped up in the last 5-6 years I think shit is about to hit the fan. There's no way a sport as small as ours can support this many boutique makers of bikes and parts, with consumer spending back down a lot of them are going to fold. The industry will see these closures, have itself a little freak, and the poop flies.
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername: the "shit hits the fan" statement was meant as a description of the general situation of the market, not the company. E.g. if we get a recession now, that would be shit hitting the fan that will likely also cut the growth of bike companies
  • 2 1
 @gotohe11carolina: Like a breath of fresh air.
  • 2 0
 @SickEdit: if Backcountry having a bunch of Santa Cruz’s at 20% off for the first time in a couple years isn’t a sign that it’s already starting, I’m not sure what is.

The last couple weeks we’re the first time in a long time that I got sale ads in my inbox from several bike brands. It’s far from over, but I think it’s starting.
  • 2 0
 @atourgates: I think so too. Supply chain issues have improved and people already spent what extra savings they accumulated during the lockdowns. Prices will come down.
  • 2 0
 @bashhard: Yea sure, growth will reduce but wont stop - The bike industry has seen constant growth prior to covid and this will continue into the future, no doubt slowed / temporarily halted by any recession but the same is true with almost every sector.

Growth rate is expected to be 8% per year from now until 2030 taking the bike industry from around 63 billion to over 110 billion.

@ryanandrewrogers: I disagree, for starters the sport is no longer as small as you might expect (see above, its a multi billion dollar industry) secondly business come and go in all sectors, this will be the case in the bike industry but I highly doubt we will see a disappearing act of small companies in large numbers though of course some will go.

MTB / High end road cycling are predominantly sports participated in by people with spare cash, they will still have spare cash during a recession, just less of it.

There's a reason venture capitalists etc want to hoover up bike companies - its a growing sector and it will make them money, it isn't recession proof but nothing is.
  • 3 0
 @zamanfu: Prices coming down soon you say? We just got a re-quote on aluminium raw material and we have our 5th price rise over the past 18 months.

As an example, one bar of material we used to buy for around £18.00 is now just under £50.00, fuel prices are high, we are increasing wages to cover inflationary costs and our energy bills just doubled.

Our prices are going up soon, not down - It may be different in China / Taiwan where most of this stuff is made though, I cant answer that.
  • 3 0
 @justanotherusername: The company I work for has US domestic manufacturing and China manufacturing. Prices are gong up everywhere for raw materials. Our aluminum extrusion vendor sends out a new price increase notice about every 3 months.
  • 2 0
 @jonemyers: I thought as much - as aluminium production is pretty much a global affair.

The price increases are eye watering, you certainly don't want to be scrapping work right now...
  • 2 0
 Yeah but what is up with these investment companies buying things up at the absolute peak.
  • 2 0
 @jonemyers: @justanotherusername Agreed. I'm on the west coast US, we have a large plant here and one in China. Our raw material prices are going up all the time. To be fair, a lot of it is "surcharges" for fuel etc. Bottom line everything is going up across the board.
  • 1 5
flag kingbike2 (Jul 7, 2022 at 9:14) (Below Threshold)
 @Notmeatall: the ebike revolution is coming
  • 5 1
 @ryanandrewrogers: I’ve noticed the Covid bikers are gone and trails less busy, back to normal numbers.
  • 9 4
 @kingbike2: It sucks that people are too shortsighted to realize the whole "ebike/ecar" thing is barely a band aid on the climate issue. Plus there are MAJOR environmental issues with making and disposing of batteries and all the charging equipment and making the electricity for them in the first place. They are NOT the answer.
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername: No argument about aluminum, but oil prices just dipped back below $100:
  • 2 0
 @atourgates: Great, let me know when that translates to a reduction in price at the pumps.
  • 3 0
 @justanotherusername: Ha! That's the dream. But like the article notes, at least in the US, refinery capacity is still maxed out.
  • 2 0
 @Notmeatall: Curious about how you would define “petroleum” greed? Please tell me of one item you can see (aside from what God made) that does not rely petroleum to be made?
  • 2 0
 @justanotherusername: the 3kgs of Aluminium and the other raw materials are what makes bikes expensive? Sure.
  • 1 0
 @gotohe11carolina: either all marketing folks were on a holiday during the takeover, there really isn't any possible way to call synergies even for marketing folks, or this might be the first takeover with actual synergies (since most takeovers that talk about synergy provide none)
  • 7 10
 Welcome to Joe Biden's America.
  • 1 0
 @JohSch: Aluminium frame tubing, bolts, linkage, headset, bb, rims, bars, stem, seatpost and the list goes on.

All of the parts need to be manufactured, processed, surface finished, assembled and transported using fuel, labour, other materials.

So no, not just aluminium, plenty of other increasing costs too, it’s on the list though.

I suppose better explanation is ‘evil bike industry cartel all working together in secret to extort the customer’? Sure.

(Just ignore other non bike related products increasing in price world over too)
  • 1 0
 @atourgates: I bought a Giant MBT in July 2019 at 30% off and they could not move them. Fast forward 18 months the dealers can't get them. Fast forward to today and a couple of large Giant dealers are now offering MBT's at 30% off. You could be onto something.
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername: we use $ in canada
  • 1 0
 @mr-fabio: thank you for this, i hate when people blame the shortage on miners. it’s like they don’t understand that there was and is shortages for literallly thousands of products containing silicone.
  • 2 0
 @SickEdit: bitcoin crash and russia cutoff from global markets (hard to purchase a gpu with rubles) is not likely going to drive availability of bikes anytime soon like Gpus
  • 2 0
 @birddog69: Mounbike Tain?
  • 1 0
 @mr-fabio: It's like trusting the wolf to take care of the sheeps. He says that because of prices and ludicrous revenue and record money.
  • 2 1
 @ajaypate1: (.)(.) Contain silicone. Circuit boards contain silicon.
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername: so much of the recent price increases were due to supply shortages and increased demand for new leisure activities during covid. Reduced demand and increased availability of bikes will have a downward effect on bike prices. Whether that is offset by material prices, I can’t say.
  • 1 0
 @zamanfu: Come back to me in a year when prices are a little higher than they are than now.

Much more to the price increases then just material costs as I did say - we won’t be seeing prices go down.
  • 40 0
 But your picture on my wall It reminds me, that it's not so bad It's not so bad
  • 13 0
 Dear Stan, I meant to write you sooner but I just been busy
  • 1 1
 You got some issues Stan, I think you need some counseling
  • 29 0
 Did they negotiate to get an inflated price?
  • 25 0
 So the can have a long retyrement?
  • 34 0
 Sounds like they sealed the deal before the market goes flat.
  • 12 0
 I spoke with Stan and Cindy, and they’d been under so much tension these past few years they’re just ready to decompress.
  • 4 0
 @kennyE: I'm sure they wanna release the pressure valves a bit now that their retirement account has inflated. So would I!
  • 1 5
flag mi-bike (Jul 7, 2022 at 6:45) (Below Threshold)
 Stan's YouTubes will reveal the answer.
  • 2 0
 these puns deserve a rim shot. i said shot, not job. don't get too excited.
  • 2 0
 Stan really sealed the deal
  • 3 0
 @fraserw: They couldn't Stan working any more...
  • 28 1
 "Zabel Companies LLC's NoTubes" doesn't quite have the same ring to it.
  • 12 0
 Fair, but with that label I won't have to worry about lining up my air valve.
  • 22 0
 Stans has been good to me, my family, my racing. Always supported me. Much success forward to all those that carry the torch
  • 12 1
 If my own personal experience is a barometer, good for Stan’s founders, not so good for any remaining employees. Be wary if the parent company starts bringing a bunch of inexperienced MBA’s on board.
  • 6 0
 Based on their statements, it sounds like this parent company is run differently. Not all take-overs are are bad.
  • 15 6
 But can they make the hubs not blow up?
  • 6 1
 I know that's their rep especially with the fragile Korean-made Chosen rear hub, but I have one 3.30 rear hub with over 20,000 miles. It went from Shimano HG to XD and now Microspline thanks to a South African company. Only one set of bearings replaced about 4 years ago. A fantastic backup wheelset built on the first year of LB carbon rims (a whopping 23mm inner).
  • 4 0
 Their new m-pulse hubs are quite nice.
  • 4 0
 I should preface this by saying I love my Stan's rims. I've ridden Flows (in all their iterations) for most of the last 10 years, and side-load issues aside, the rims are great value. I also destroyed so many 3.30/Neo hubs that they basically flowed (heh) me wheels for 5 seasons. I would blow up at least 3 per season and every time I'd talk to a rep who'd say some version of "oh yeah, we know about the problem and we've fixed it, these ones will last forever" and then 2 months later I'd be sending them back in pieces. They never made a fuss, and always rushed replacements, but it was still a frustrating situation. Eventually I just got fed up and built up a set with DT hubs, and have thrashed them for the last two years with no issues beyond some truing every once and a while. Great sealant!
  • 7 0
 Is that why they haven't restocked anything for the past year? New owners new prices?
  • 7 0
 Thank you both for your service to making mountain biking better. Hope they enjoy a long and happy retirement.
  • 5 0
 Good for them. Regardless of what you think about their products, Stan & Cindy changed mountain biking for the better and pushed the rest of the industry to improve. Happy retirement!
  • 3 0
 I feel like the bike industry is following the trend we saw with… coffee.

2nd wave coffee got commercialized, grew big then sold out. Served their purpose and while their current product isn’t considered bleeding edge or spectacular, it’s still a vast improvement from what people were consuming even a decade ago and ushered the way for a higher standard of product we now expect from today. Now 3rd wave “craft” and local brands are stepping up and providing more nuanced and modern offerings.

Ok. Time to stop waxing caffeinated.
  • 9 5
 Well damnit! We had a good run boys, pack it up, it's time to go home. RIP Stans!
  • 1 0
 I had some Mavic 819 UST rims. The shop loved them cause they had to basically be 'built twice'. Tape and slop make it dead simple and until that was brought to the table tubeless was annoying and expensive. I couldn't careless who invented tape, I only care that someone allowed me to buy it easily and get tubes outta my tires. Thanks Stan!
  • 3 0
 I always go for Stan's when I need to a new rim and I've never been disappointed.

Over the years, I ran:
26": Arch EX, Flow, Flow EX
27.5": Flow MK3, Flow EX3
29": Flow MK4
  • 2 0
 Agreed. I've never had a problem with any of the MK3 flavors! Love them. And they work super well with Maxxis.
  • 3 0
 End of an era. Love Stan's wheels as they've been good to me. Hoping for the best for the future and congrats to them!
  • 4 0
 As long as the sweet, sweet milky sealant keeps flowing……
  • 3 0
 is this why a bottle of Stan's has gone up like 20% in the last 6 months? at least in my neck of the woods
  • 6 0
 What has NOT gone up in the last 6 months...?
  • 12 0
 @mybaben: Stocks and crypto.
  • 1 0
 love my stans. any rim that can put up with my shite line choices and jump casings and still not need to be trued is quite an amazing rim, indeed
  • 2 0
 10 years ago a bottle of Stan's was $18. Now it's $34. Next year it will be $50.
  • 5 2
 Ah, the American dream
  • 24 6
 Hell ya baby......put everything you have on the line, grind and earn a big pay day if you're not a dip shit.
  • 7 0
  • 2 1
 TL;DR: we're cashing in right now and enjoying our lives.

RIP Stan's and what it used to stand for.
  • 2 0
 Good for them. They deserve it! RIP Stan's.
  • 4 3
 Hopefully no more cracked rims and spoke holes that are useless.
  • 5 0
 Never had a problem with any of mine. Can't say the same for some other manufacturers.
  • 4 0
 I'm on my third set. I've never had to replace any either. Just automatically put them on each new bike. It's been ten years of Stan's. Love them.
  • 1 0
 I get about a year plus out of a Flow rim before half the spoke holes are cracked. I'm neither thrilled or disappointed by that. With the beating I give them that seems about right. Also when I needed a replacement last time I couldn't find anything different in stock. Oh well.
  • 2 0
 Good for them!
  • 1 0
 I guess Rich Jones was in a position to buy.
  • 1 0
 Does Bob get to keep his job?
  • 3 3
 They have never sealed a flat anyway
  • 1 1
  • 2 3
 What a cracked news. Thanks.
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