Word spread, and Felt established a name for himself in the industry for custom frames.
It wasn’t until Felt met Duehring and Michael Muellmann 12 years ago that Felt Bicycles began to design and sell full bicycles.
Duehring had racked up several years in the business, beginning with his high school days, working at his father’s Florida bicycle shop.
He is the third generation in his family to work in the bike industry.
Duehring went into the U.S. Marine Corps—something his grandfather, father, sister and brother also did—but left early due to a knee injury. When he got out, he went back into the bike business to help his father, who he credits with teaching him the value of working hard.
He later worked at Cycles USA, which later became Northvale, N.J.-based Jamis Bicycles.
In 1987 he moved to California to work at Madison, Wis.-based GT Bicycles. He left GT about 12 years ago to start his own company, designing bikes.
At around that same time, Muellman was in Germany about to lose the rights to a bicycle brand that he had carried.
“He needed a new brand, I needed a customer—and Jim had a very famous name called Felt that had a high-end image, and so we partnered 12 years ago to make Felt Bicycles,” Duehring said.
Felt works with the company’s sponsored athletes and teams, and he is also a part of business decisions.
Muellmann is the president of Felt Bicycles’ European business.
After the three relaunched the new Felt Bicycles business, the company expanded with multiple bike lines and then got into apparel and accessories, racking up growth with more athlete sponsorships and new products.
“We want to be the best,” Duehring said, “and we want to design and deliver the best bikes in the world.”