Morgan Nicol is the founder of Ritchey International. Oval Concepts is based in Switzerland and produces top-end bars, stems, and seat posts for road bikes and MTBs. However, Oval is seen more of a road brand than MTB so the fit with WTB, one of the 'original' old-school mountain bike P&A brands, is a good one.
WTB and Oval have reached an agreement that gives Nicol's company the exclusive licensed rights to market the WTB brand in Europe. Oval Concepts will be responsible for all aspects of WTB’s European brand development. This includes product planning, distribution and account development, marketing and OEM sales.
Oval was founded in 2002 by Morgan and Simona Nicol. The brand consists of stems, bars, and seatposts for both mountain and road bikes. Their line also features an patented aero fork designed by John Cobb, Lance Armstrong’s aerodynamics consultant.
“Morgan and Simona have proven themselves as experts in brand development. Their knowledge of the European market is unparalleled,” said WTB President Patrick Seidler.
“This past success, coupled with their keen eye for product development was the key reason for WTB licensing the WTB brand to OVAL.”
“With Oval’s strength lying in road components, WTB provides Morgan and Simona a premier mountain bike range to offer customers,” said Seidler.
Morgan Nicol said: “I am consistently told by US distributors that WTB is the highest value added mountain bike brand in the USA. WTB has been involved in innovative mountain bike product design from the beginning and their reputation for high performance off-road tyres and components is second to none. We are proud to lead the WTB efforts in the European market."
Mark Slate, WTB's director of product design said: “WTB products are currently tailored to the aggressive trail riding favoured by Americans. Oval will undoubtedly temper WTB’s European focus with a fresh approach to the needs of European riders.”
Oval will also lead the development of WTB road products and a high-end line of mountain bars, stems and seatposts, which will be integrated into WTB’s 2004 product range. Stems and seat posts will be 100 percent one-piece, net-shape forged and include Oval Concepts' reverse-bolt stem design. Bars will be available in both carbon and aluminium.
Daniel Sherwood, former manager of WTB’s European operations, has established a WTB office in Boston, Massachusetts.
WTB products typically get rave reviews in bike mags. WTB's Werewolf MTB tyre got a 10 out of 10 in the latest edition of MBUK, a rare accolade.