Many companies had their own 'in house' parts long before cannondale and many did it far better. A great example being Trek who's Matrix brand was visible on bikes long before c'dale did coda, and they did it with far more style: cooks cranks rebranded as matrix, answer handlebars with the same branding treatment, they used grafton brakes and bullseye hubs on their top bike at the time, even their rims like mount aero were mavic beaters. Likewise Kona, amongst others, had many in-house parts in the form of their headsets, brakes, brake levers and so on.
Theres certainly no argument from me, on who did it first. i think trek introduced matrix as early as 88, cannondale with coda late 93.
would never have thought it cool to rebrand boutique components like grafton bulleye etc though.
what would be the need,? to me if you are just rebranding a small boutique U.S manufactured component, thats already in a current product range, this would merely cheapen the product... the already well desired part...? much like you have suggested with your coda 900 crankset ..?
Kona on the other hand, licensed/took a good product, like Curve and went to the far east, and copied a brake set, added the Curve name, (and subsequently "also" avoided having to buy shimano), but instead they give us a brake set as well performing as soggy cheese in comparison to the original companies original product.
Marin, did it with there mid level spec"d bikes and White Industries chainsets, not the real deal but a far-east version that look the same, (again less shimano,) and yet a brand name.. on a far-east product.
As far as Shimano having a stranglehold, no one ever expected shimano on their bikes until the mid to late nineties when Suntour and Campagnolo finally gave up. Go back to the late eighties and Suntour was the group of choice. Diacompe were the brake of choice in the early nineties, SRAMs grip shift eclipsed most of shimano's push-push shifters, sugino cranks were the most common cranks on bikes such as Specialized, Marin and Kona in the 90s, either as themselves or as cranks like the Strongarm or WI crank.
Sorry Pete i thought we wer talking about the 90"s ....my mistake.
The 80"s were different, compaines were using suntour/campagnolo etc, bearing in mind, the early 80s, when companies were adding "the new mountain bike" to there portfolio, (trek for example already doing well with there road bikes... mountain bikes came in 1983). I dont think shimano intoduced Derore XT untill 83? there was competition, soon to fall by the wayside, even your point with the gripshift, again a cheaper alternative to shimano, as seen by the purchaser, (the bicycle company) only to eventually also fall by the wayside,. (except prehaps for all the bso"s we see in the mainstream today)
The mid nineties was a time rife with buying licensed parts from other companies: Kona with Curve, Marin with White Industries, Avid and WTB. C'dale went down the route of rebranding existing (often easily available) products as Coda rather than using the original name. Personally they missed a trick with Magic Motorcycles as that name had far more appeal than Coda, and I'd rather have dia-compe SS-5s than the coda branded ones!
I think it was Mr Pong From magic cranks was the instigator of negotiations
with cannondale ? And the plan was much bigger than just cranks, the original intention (if even plausible
) was to give "SHIMANO" a run for its money with a complete U.S owned/branded groupset/name and compete for market share?
It clearly didnt work, but they gave it a good bash...?...im no more a fan of branded in house products than i am of the dominance of shimano,.
Sram had to take Shimano to court, over the massive 15% discount it gave manufacturers for buying and not splitting/brake and gear sets.
Sram won, and went on to buy other companies (AVID/truvativ etc) to continue ther fight for a market share of Bicycle component supplies to manufacturers.
Today even with the presence of sram and all the big cycle manufacturers choosing to use there own branded product, "Shimano" still control 50% of the golbal market. (FACT)
With regards the forks, the headtube suspension fork is even older than Browning, Actiontec or Headshok. Alex Moulton used them years or decades earlier. No doubt many of the ideas in the three mountain bike forks come directly from the Moulton forks, negating many patents due to the age.
I remember the moulton Mono shock fork on dinky little wheels, ...lol.