A history of CORIMA,
from 1973 to todayInnovation, Aerodynamics...Family
CORIMA’s story began in 1973, amongst the craggy peaks and lavender fields of the French Drôme region. The company name stems from the contraction of COoperation RIffard MArtin in reference to the names of the founders Jean-Marie Riffard and Pierre Martin. From the very beginning, they set character and innovation as key principles The firm’s activities were originally centered around the production of moulds and prototypes for the foundry, automobile and aeronautic industries.
Though it was a far cry from carbon cycling wheels, the values they established and their attachment to their roots and land remain true to this day. Our factory in Loriol is a testament to these strong foundations: our products are conceived, tested and hand-crafted on site; our design teams have but to cross the car park to talk to their fellow engineers; our products stand out, because we craft them with passion.
Where it all began
In 1988, inspired by their love of the outdoors and the technological advances in the cycling world at the time, the two founders began applying their extensive know-how to carbon fiber technologies. To say CORIMA entered the cycling industry with a bang would be an understatement: we entered with nothing less than a disc. That first “paracular” wheel was not only impressive, it was fast. Hours of further research and development to optimise stiffness and aerodynamics soon led to a full range of wheels destined for the upper echelons of cycling performance.
Setting the pace for aerodynamic research and performance
Our mission has always been to innovate. To choose the unbeaten track, and go the extra mile to produce something special. After the first range of wheels came more, including a radical design with 4 carbon spokes. Our ground-breaking torsion box technology uses aerospace foam and a specific torsion bar to drastically increase stiffness-to-weight ratio and reliability. It is still instrumental in our wheel designs today.
Yet to cycle one needs more than two wheels… By the mid-1990s, our pioneering carbon technologies had extended to carbon monobloc frames. Their graceful curves and wind-beating profiles were the forerunners of the aerodynamic bikes we see today.
Complementary components such as the profiled Ellipse seatpost and the avant-garde Manta handlebar (ridden to success by Laurent Fignon for the CASTORAMA cycling team), also contributed to the reputation of the CORIMA name.
Optimising aerodynamics was and still is the focal point around which all revolves. The properties of our chosen material, carbon, allow us to offer unparalleled stiffness at minimal weight and ultimately, provide riders with the tools to aim always higher.
In July of 1993, Chris Boardman set a new world hour record of 52.270km aboard a Cougar frame with integrated cockpit, propelled by a pair of full carbon 4-spoke wheels.
A few years later, Catherine Marsal repeated the feat on the feminine front. The Fox “I-beam” frame she rode was designed with a full composite approach that set the technological standard for our frames right through to the next century.
In 2004, Pierre-Jean MARTIN took over the leadership of CORIMA from his father, keeping the firm’s values and passion burning bright. The last CORIMA track bike was built in 2011, before we moved away from frames to focus on even higher levels of wheel performance. Engineers and designers working relentlessly, hand in hand with professional athletes and the French National Track Cycling Team to reach the summit in cycling, triathlon and parasports. Our flagship MCC was born in 2010, winning the Parisian “Etoile de l’Observateur du Design” and JEC awards, and continues to innovate and evolve to this day.
A wheel looks great in a workshop, yet it is nothing without a rider. Boardman and Fignon were among the first champions to showcase the CORIMA know-how, and the stars of today are rolling in their slipstream. We are immensely proud our long-standing, successful partnerships with two Pro Tour Teams – Astana (10 years) and Delko Marseille (12 years!), triathlete Denis Chevrot and former-pro Laurent Jalabert, wheelchair tennis player Stéphane Houdet, the French Track Cycling Team amongst others…
From Olympic and world championship medals to Grand Tour and Classic victories, our athletes have taken us right to the top. We consider their performances our greatest reward, and they allow us to look toward Tokyo 2021 and beyond with the highest confidence and hopes.
The new era
There is no doubt the cycling scene has evolved dramatically over the decades. New trends emerge, new technologies come to the forefront, new disciplines take the stage.
In 2016, CORIMA joined forces with another leading light of the carbon fiber industry: LOOK Cycle, inventor of the clipless pedal and designer of high-performance carbon frames. Together, we have developed strong synergies, sharing our goals, knowledge and expertise to keep growing and innovating.
The full-carbon, 12-spoke MCC DX launched in spring of 2020 is our high-performance answer to the rise of disc brakes. And as gravel becomes a trend-setting cycling discipline in its own right, our G30.5 tubeless-ready wheelset is ready to take CORIMA beyond the tarmac
We have for over 30 years, developed technologies to ensure maximum reliability and trueness of our wheels, even under pressure. Yet while we constantly strive for innovation and results, we also take pride in another, more intangible element that shines bright and unwavering throughout our history: TRUST.
The exceptional relationships we have built and maintained with our suppliers and athletes are an integral part of what CORIMA is today: we are a family. We are immensely proud that our brand can rely on the strength of such long-standing partnerships, allowing us to continue designing the best wheels on the market, and above all to stay true to ourselves.