Our partner in podcasting, The Gravel Ride Podcast, presents Episode One of a compilation of chats with builders from the MADE handmade bike show in Portland, Oregon. Builders include Rodriguez Cycles, Destroy Bicycles, Battaglin, Argonaut, Wren Sports, Velo Orange, Rizzo Cycles, WH Bradford, Speedvagen, Celilio Cycles, Wheatfall, DeSalvo, Larkin Cycles, Sage Cycles, Wolf Tooth, and Onguza Cycles.
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Automatic Transcription by The Gravel Ride (please excuse all errors)
[00:02:24] Alder | Rodriguez Bicycles: My name is Alder Keld and I work for Rodriguez Bikes Alder. Tell me about Rodriguez and where you’re from and what you, what your vibe is on the gravel scene. Rodriguez’s bike shop over in Seattle on, on the Ave and we’ve been around for 50 years. I feel like only recently.
We’ve really kind of tap, started tapping into maybe in the past like three years or so, the, the gravel market. You know, a lot of our disc brake bikes have gone like really popular now. As the road bike trend, kind of like, you know, starts to fade away. But we have our gravel models of Finney Ridge and the Bandido.
That’s Bandido. There’s also Bandido and that’s, that’s a Finney Ridge right there. Let’s talk about the differences between those two models. I mean this, this one looks pretty amazing with that old kind of GT inspired rear triangle. Yeah. Triple triangle there is is really nice. The, the line gets a little blurry between the two models.
You know, it’s mostly the way the break mounts. So the Finney Ridge is gonna be post mount, is post mount, and then the bandidos gonna be flat mount. But you know, we are completely custom. You can choose whatever tire, tire clearance you want, either one. And if you put a carbon fork on it, you’re generally gonna get a flat mountain up front.
So the, the line gets very blurred between which one is which. It’s kind of, they both come through axle if you want, so. Gotcha. And does one have more of like a, a bike packing orientation and the other, more of a kind of race ride orientation? I would say the Bandido is definitely kind of on the race here, side of things.
Just like the, the fitting of ridge, you know, I mean it’s again, like this is a bandido, but it has three pack bounce on the fork. Yeah. And that’s Finney Ridge and it has three pack bounce. You can really do whatever you want. And what, what frame materials are you building out of? So we do, for our lowest end one is 7 25, which is still much better than a lot of production bikes out there.
And then we do velo spec and then we have like an ultralight blend that we have. And we do, we actually velo spec makes a lot of our tubing custom for us. So we get our specific Rockwell hardness and budding and tomb shape that we want out of everything. Okay, so what’s the best way for people to discover the bikes you have an Instagram that they should follow?
We do have an Instagram. It’s at Rod Bikes on Instagram. You can see a bunch of, you know, cool, cool stuff there a lot of fun photos. We do also have a website we, rod bikes.com and you can see all the models. As well. And what does that ordering process look like for customers? Is it a long lead time or what’s, what is it?
We have a six to eight lead turnaround time. Okay. Usually, and then in the slower season, it could be four to six weeks. Okay. So pretty quick to get this dream bike underneath you. Yeah. We do full fittings and everything, so we have 20 stock sizes. So if one of our 20 stock sizes does not fit you we’ll, measure your body parts, put it into our.
Fit machine that we developed called Next, next Fit, and it’ll spit out numbers. We’ll double check those numbers and build a frame for you. We weld and paint in-house, so the turnaround time is very fast. Sweet. Thanks for that overview. No problem.
[00:05:22] Sean | Destroy Bicycles: Can I get your name and brand? Yeah. My name is Sean Eagleton and I’m with Destroy Bikes. Sean, can you tell me a little bit about Destroy, where do you build out of and what’s your philosophy about Gravel? We are out of Portland, Oregon and we actually just got the c l o, the old c o factory with inside of Chris King.
And Gravel has been, has been growing this last year a lot. Sorry. That’s all right. And what about this bike that we’re looking at? So this bike is a personal friend of ours who wasn’t really riding the last couple of years. She just started racing this last year. And a few of the races that I worked, she came in a good 10 minutes ahead of her husband.
And it was, a friend that has just been killing it every time she goes out on a race and was. Basically a easy choice to say that this was gonna be our next cross racer, gravel racer. Her husband’s known for being in the bicycle world already and doing a lot of really long extended gravel rides.
And it was just a, perfect opportunity. Someone that we’re very picky about our riders. We like people who aren’t necessarily the typical racer. We like a little bit Grier and people with a little bit of attitude. So hence the, that matches with the Destroy brand name. Yes.
That’s why we wanted to go like super colorful with this thing. So the lights don’t do it justice in here, but the full rainbow sparkle with the gold detailing really shows who she is as a person too. She’s just a bit out there, a bit wild. What kind of frame materials this one built out of?
So this is all Chrome, Molly and I like to do, tend to do a mix of stuff. I prefer Columbus seat stays and chain stays on a lot of things. The seat tube is a Tonga seat tube and the down tube and top tube are both Columbus as well. And do you like that from a ride performance perspective or how they weld together or what do you like about them?
The Columbus in particular, like their seat stays, they’re one of the few brands that make something that’s bendable. I believe a lot of pre-made chain stays and seat stays aren’t supposed to be used directly right out of the package. They still should be modified in some way to better fit the ride, better fit the bike and they’re one of the few companies that I have, without a doubt, I can always modify them whichever way I want to.
The bends come out clean. There’s a lot of tubing that they do, certain hardening processes that it’s just almost impossible to manually work them after. And just like to leave no tube left untouched, basically. What, and what does the customer journey look like if they are interested in a destroy bike?
What do they do? How do they reach you? What does the timeline look like and what is the kind of experience of working with you? So it’s a fairly simple process. We have. We now have a submission form online on our website, and you basically go on the website. We do a lot of batch stuff as well, so you’re gonna choose between one bike or five bikes.
And the whole process is getting to know you, getting a fit for you. And then I like to go a little bit crazy with the tubing talk, which most people get a little bit weary of. But everything is style as well, right? And when I’m choosing tubing, it’s what do you want the bike to look like and how do you want it to ride?
Ride, ride quality is just as important to me as how the bike looks. I’m very big on the geometries that we build. I tend to do things a little bit differently than a lot of people. But it’s all based on my riding experiences and how I want the bike to handle. Yeah. And what’s the best way to get more information about Destroy destroy by co.com.
Instagram, destroy by Co, and TikTok as well. Right on. Yeah. Thanks Sean. Thank you.
battaglin bicycles Okay. Can I get your name and the brand? Hi, I’m Marco from OA Battlin and I’m the marketing manager. We are a small company based in Italy making handcrafted custom still bikes. And how long has Baten been around? Battlin has been around since 1981. That’s the year when our founder, Jovanni Battlin won the Jalia and Walter Espania.
It’s a legendary grantour double achieved which was achieved only by Eddie Merckx. That in 1981, our founder right after his grand tour victories launched his autonomous bike brand. Amazing. And I know the gravel scene has been slower to take off in Europe, but now it’s catching fire over there.
When did you as a brand start to explore building gravel bikes? We started exploring building gravel bikes two years ago. Obviously. The company has been, has always been focused on road bikes because that’s that’s what our founder used to ride as a professional cyclist, obviously back in the eighties.
We knew that the gravel scene was growing. And we knew also our customers were asking for gravel product. But we wanted to find the right product, not just launch a random random gravel bike. And two years ago we started designing the port of energy which is a sort of gravel variant of our flagship product of the Portofino.
So basically our port of energy has the same shares with our with its road counterpart, the same construction, the lag construction with the oversized logs and the oversized tubing. Yeah, I think that’s very, a very striking element of the bike we’re looking at is these lugs. Yes. It very much has the feel of a of a race oriented gravel bike.
Yes. Which seems to be the front end of where European gravel is right now. This kind of more racy oriented bike. Would you, is that accurate? Yeah, it’s accurate to say that and also you have to consider that our founder Giovanni and his son Alex, who is the c e o of the company right now wanted to.
To design the port of energy went back to the old bikes the company used to make for the professional ra racers of the eighties who who raced in competitions the per rube. On on the pave on rougher roads. Yeah. Back back in the day, the roads were rougher than.
The roads, the professional erasers are riding now. Basically for the port of energy we went back to the old geometries, to the old frames the company used to make, and we wanted to find this gravel variant, but with still with a road racing feel. Yeah, it’s super interesting.
I’ll make sure to link to this bike in the show notes, ’cause I think people need to see this one. If people are interested in finding more out about the brand, where would you direct them to? They can visit our website, officina battalion.com and they can find us also on YouTube. We have many videos where we share our best builds.
And for a US based customer, how would they get their hands on one of these bicycles? Actually the US is probably our most important market and we sell directly. Okay. We have a direct relationship with the consumer. We build our, all our bikes from scratch, so they send us their body measurements, their specifications.
And we build we start from there. And would they be buying a complete bike with a groupo or are they just buying a frame and fork from you? It depends. All our bikes are custom made it depends on the customer’s requests and specifications they can buy just the frame or we are more than happy to build a complete bike.
Got it. Thanks. I appreciate the time. Thank you very much for coming and enjoy the show.
[00:13:30] Ben | Argonaut: Okay. Can I get your name and brand? My name is Ben Farber. I’m the founder and head of r and d at Argonaut Cycles. Ben, where is Argonaut based? We are based in Bend, Oregon. Right on. I think I knew that and I’d seen the bikes for a number of years, but it seems like over the last few you’ve both expanded the line and added some small batch production.
Can you talk about like the brand a little bit as it spec specifically to gravel cycling? What the custom bikes are all about and what the super knot’s all about. Certainly. Yeah. So we are fully vertically integrated production facility based again in Bend, Oregon. We’ve got two models, the RMM three and the GR three in terms of the style of bike.
So the RMM three is our road bike. It’s a fairly racy, generally designed road bike, but it comes in custom geometry as well as proven geometry. With custom layup as well. So our big thing is how we engineer the carbon inside the bikes. And that’s true for our gravel bike as well. So our gravel bike is the G R three.
The idea behind the G R three is that it’s a go fast up, go faster down, a gravel bike where the geometry is pretty progressive in terms of the front end with a 68 and a half degree head to Bengal. But then also a really nice tight rear end of a 415 millimeter chains stay with clearance for a 700 by 50 C tire.
I think we’ve seen Sarah Max go quite fast on that bike this year. Yeah, absolutely. Sarah is our is our top racer that’s been out there and doing the lifetime series. She was just in Steamboat and then getting ready to go somewhere in the south again. Pretty soon think so. Yeah. Yeah.
Awesome. And then tell me about the Super Knot. I hadn’t seen that before. Super Knot is our non-custom production line, essentially. So it’s the same technology that is in our custom bikes in terms of the layup pattern of the frame and where and how they’re made. They’re just not custom to the individual.
So we make these for in two different build, two different. Models. Essentially there’s a super knot RMM three, the road bike and the super knot, g R three. And they are the build kit that they’re outfitted with is essentially what we at the shop. If we could ride anything, it’s what we would ride.
It’s if I would build myself a bike tomorrow, this is what I’d put on it. And that’s the ethos behind these. And it’s for a customer who doesn’t necessarily need or want a custom bike, but just wants a really great riding, super high performance, really well made bike. That’s what the Super knot is.
Where they’re cheaper in terms of relative to the custom bikes. So it’s fif 14 nine for a complete RM three and then 12 nine for a complete g R three and lead time’s about four weeks. So we’re able to reduce the lead time. Got it. And is this bike, does it have a similar kind of race orientation or are you going for a broader applicability of a gravel bike?
It’s more of a go fast gravel bike with ample clearance. Essentially. And what does that mean, ample clearance for you guys on this bike? 50 C tire. Okay. 7 0 5 50 C. Perfect. Yeah. Yeah, it’s interesting to see like over the last few years that size become commonplace, whereas four or five years ago it was a little bit tricky, I think, for a lot of frame builders to make that work.
Yeah. And that’s the art. And the cool thing, the magic in the G R three is having that short chain stay length with enough clearance for a 50 C tire. It makes it really capable, but also really fun to ride. Bike. A lot of times with the geometry of clearing that big of a tire, you burden it by having a super long wheel base, especially the rear center.
And what, that’s what really concentrate on the G three is that tight rear center makes the bike just so much more lively. Nice. And if customers are interested in learning more about Argonaut, what’s the best way to find out about what you guys are doing? Argonaut cycles.com. And then follow us on [email protected] as well.
And I think you mentioned already the timelines for these various spikes, but if someone was coming to you for a custom build, what does that look like? I realize like the back and forth about getting the custom geometry right with the customer takes some time. Yeah. But yeah. What does it generally look like?
Turnaround time? No. Good question. So we’re about 12 to 14 weeks on the full custom bike. Okay, so it’s still not too bad. Yeah. Right on. Thanks, Ben. Absolutely. Thank you.
[00:17:29] Cameron | Wren Sports: Okay. Can I get your name and the company? Yeah. I’m Cameron Sanders. I’m with Rinn Sports. Cameron, let’s talk about this handlebar you have in your hands. I know this is a little tricky since we’re on audio, but let’s do your best to describe it. Awesome. Yeah. So this is our perseverance drop bar. We have a perseverance flat and drop bar.
The flat bar. We actually have on a number of gravel bikes out there as well. What it is, it’s a one piece integrated arrow accessory alt bar. Think. If you’re thinking like Jones or Redshift kitchen sink, you’re in the right space but let’s say the box that showed up on your doorstep was twice the size.
Yeah. So what we’re looking at, it’s a, drop bar handlebar with an arrow extension kind of built into it. Correct, yeah. And a lot long as you said, a lot more longer and extended than you might be visualizing with sort of the short stubby extensions that we see on other handlebars. Yeah.
It’s not just for a psyching. Cycling computer or just resting your palms on this is like a full other position to get into. And from a manufacturing standpoint, we have not just like one loop, there’s multiple angles here. So it’s going out, it’s flaring up, it’s going, it has a nose that it goes around.
And that definitely makes this a harder bar to manufacture. Basically we have enough material out front to make a whole nother bar. And where, what type of athlete, gravel athletes are you seeing kind of gravitate towards this bar? What type of events in your mind as a designer, are they? Is it intended for?
Yeah, so the people that I think are benefiting the most from this are bike packers and like hyper endurance athletes. This was a. I jotted down notes about what I wanted after riding the Baja divide. And then I went and did a thousand mile gravel tour of Eastern Oregon. And between my mountain bike and my drop bar bike, I wanted something that felt at home on either one of them.
But we also are getting a lot of riders and racers that are doing a hundred to 300 mile like ultra endurance days that are really enjoying the bar. Yeah, I bet. I’ve just recently been, Watching from afar, peri breast, Paris. And thinking like you need to get in an arrow position to finish an endurance run today like that.
We have had a few people that there’s some gravel events that don’t allow you to a add on the arrow like clips, but because this is integrated, it’s like this weird loophole where you can run it at some of those events. And I’ve had people that bought it just for that, which was not something I intended or thought of whenever I built the bar.
But Even for the weight weaning, because it’s integrated. It I’m also not a weight weaning myself. I’m bike packing with a hundred pounds of gear, but because it’s integrated, it actually is very lightweight because you’re minimizing the amount of stuff you have to use to attach an arrow position.
Yeah. Offline, you were telling me a little bit about the armrests. Can you just describe them a little bit? Yeah. We wanted something in the aftermarket. We talked to profile design and a number of different companies and we just. Couldn’t find what we really wanted for the bars. I wanted something that had a very tiny footprint on the bars so that you’re not losing any real estate for hand positions or mounting things or shifting or whatever.
And the armrests will clip onto the flats or the drops and either where the bars are themselves on along the top of the plane or in the loop itself, and they fully articulate and rotate so that you can. Just really fine tune your rest position in a way that you can’t on a normal clip on. Because they are integrated into the arrow loop, there’s only so much you can do with playing and moving them around.
So ours are a lot more adjustable. And if people want to find out more information and or buy your products, where do they go? So they go to rin sports.com. Super easy. That’s Ren Sports with a w r e n sports.com. Right on. And Cameron, thanks for the time and congrats on finishing the Oregon Timber Trail just in time to join us here at Maid.
Yeah, thank you so much. Yeah, it was a great 18 days of riding. Awesome.
[00:21:22] Igor | Velo Orange: All right. Can I get your name and brand? Sure. My name is Igor Stainbrook and I’m with Velo Orange. And where is Velo Orange located? We are in Glen Burnie, Maryland. The Maryland’s not a name you often hear it’s such, there’s such great riding there, but you don’t often hear about a lot of bike brands out of that area.
That’s right, yeah. There’s a lot of really good riding, especially out of DC like you mentioned earlier, there’s the c o canal and the gap trails, and a lot of our customers do long distance touring or random earing events. And so those kind of trails are perfect for our style of bikes. Yeah. What was the origin story behind the brand?
So we first started in 2006. We were basically importing stuff from France and Japan and UK stuff that was more vintage style. And since then, since those sources dried up of new old stock stuff, we started developing our own things, improving on those designs. And now we do a lot of both classic style.
But also more modern stuff too. Gotcha. So that was the inspiration that kinda, I see it in what I’m seeing around the booth here that, yeah, those classic styles and classic lines. As you started obviously it appears to be a touring reveering vibe, some of the stuff you’re doing.
As you started to see more kind of off-road riding, popularized in the us, what have you developed from a product perspective? So obviously tires are getting bigger and bigger. Since we first started, everybody was riding like 20 threes and 20 fives, but now we have a number of models. We have one that has, that’s the rando that’s coming out that has 30, that can take up to 30 eights.
And then we also have the P L A, which is our kind of bike packing style bike. But it lends itself really nicely to, if you wanted to do two point fours, but you could put 45 millimeter tires, two point ones. It takes racks and fenders. You can put drop bars on it. It’s a nice frame that has a lot of versatility.
Yeah. You’ve got. The two ends of the gravel cycling world here. Exactly, yeah. Your road plus and then the bike backing side and not in the middle. It’s interesting. Yeah. On this bike you were just describing with the bigger tires, can you talk about the rear end? It looks a little bit unique.
Yeah. So the p l a, it’s actually been in our stable for a number of years now. It’s gone through a couple iterations, the most recent one. We now have through axles. And it has a new paint, but the geometry that everybody really likes is still the same. It has a wishbone rear end and it has a lot of custom stuff that goes into it that maybe a lot of people don’t really, maybe not notice, but it’s basically the rear end is a segmented wishbone that has, it’s a bent tube and then there’s plugs that are custom C and seed inserted and then braised in.
And so it’s a lot of. Technical stuff that goes into something that people may not even necessarily notice. Yeah. I think with a brand like this, it gives it some unique, beautiful details. Absolutely. Yep. Which always makes owners super proud to show off their bike. For sure. And you were mentioning that this one can be built up as a drop bar bike or a flat bar.
Yes, absolutely. Yeah. We have a lot of people will build them up with drop bars. They most of the time they’re one buys. We’ve seen some two buys as well. And it just lends itself nicely to a variety of build styles. So we don’t really say, oh, it has to be this way, because they come as frame sets so you can build it up as you want.
And so we also designed the geometry and the fit to really fit the rider nicely. So the larger sizes are 29 er and the smallest size of 26. Got it. So you don’t have to compromise on frame bag size or kind of having weird fit on a very small bike with really big tires. So it’s a nice, it’s a nice rider.
Gotcha. And Igor, what’s the best way for people to learn more about Velo Orange? Go to velo orange.com or on Instagram. And what are you on Instagram Velo orange. Got it. Thanks for the time. Absolutely. Anytime.
[00:25:17] Reuben | Rizzo Cycles: Can I get your name and the brand? My name is Ruen from Uhha Cycles from Spain. Ruen, can you tell me a little bit about the bike we’re looking at? Yeah. We have gravel a gravel bike with a big tri freelance up to 750 with a new MV fork that they are actually selling on their mocks.
But now it’s available for the builders. And I have built a fulled titanium gravel frame with the with the full cable integration. We have some three D printed parts the dropouts which are U D H standard compatible. A joke for the chaining credence and the upper part of the head tube for having the custom cable integration without a, without having a super heavy and big head tube.
It’s a very clean look. Yeah. It’s very You building out of Spain? Yeah, I’m building in Spain. I have the workshop in the near the City Center of Madrid. I’m a one band, one man band operation. I do everything but the paint and the finishing. Yeah, that’s pretty much everything about the main things about the bike.
Yeah. Tell me a little bit more about the dropout in the rear here that’s using. The newer kind of mechanism of attaching the rear rail. Yeah. I developed my own dropouts for the to match my style and have a custom product my own aesthetic. And yes, we, I recently, this is the second bike I build with the U D H.
We are, we were all forced to embrace this new standard. So I have been pretty reluctant. But now I have developed all this new platform with the dropouts. I have both C N C machine for the steel and three D printer for the titanium. Yeah, you can see it’s I achieve because the main problem with the U D H is the symmetry of the dropouts on the rear end.
I kindly achieve the symmetry with a few touches on the sign. And they are three D printed. We have a drive side with for the U D H power. And then Onri side has the flat mount brake mount. So everything is in line and easy to build. And are you able to three D print in Madrid as well?
No. The three D printer is is made somewhere else. It took me a long time to find a supplier that meets my quality standards in terms of finishing overall, because the main problem with the three D printer is this grainy finish you, and you can click easily tell the difference between the three printed part that the rest of the tubes.
And as you can see in here, if you touch the yolk, the finish on the yolk is pretty smooth and yeah, super clean. It’s almost seamless with the rest of the tube. That is what I wanted to achieve. So it took me some time, but now I’m starting to use in this so that this technology that give you so freedom for design and so many options.
And how did you get your start building? I start building almost seven years ago when I wanted to occupy all my free time between jobs and I started looking at the I, by that time I started to meet all the builders and see some custom bikes around. So I went into deep into the knowledge of first of all knowing more brands and builders and.
Be aware that we’re still people building bikes by hand. So I started really slowly and then I was pretty much self-taught in my workshop and making bikes for friends and for myself and doing this trying and error thing constantly and trying to get better and better in welding and building and everything you do at the sub.
Amazing. And for a US based customer, what’s the best way to learn more about the brand or ultimately order one of these bikes? First of one you can visit my website and my Instagram. If you look for Rho cycles in the web, it will be easily appears at the first of one of the first results.
It’s r a said O. And it’s pretty easy to get in touch with me via Instagram or or mail. I try to keep a quick responses on all the direct messages and mail and yeah, the talk for a custom bike. Start straight away with me and we can talk about all your dream projects.
Awesome. Thanks for the time. I appreciate it. Thanks to you.
[00:29:35] Brad | W H Bradford: Can I get your name and brand? Hi, this is Brad from w h Bradford Designs. Brad, where do you build out of Sacramento, California. Right on, right up the road from me. I’m in Marin County. Oh, awesome. I ride Mount Tam quite a bit. As naturally you would from that area, it’s like Mount Tam is amazing and not too far from you.
This bike actually would be pretty good on Mount Tam, given that we’re looking at a gravel bike with a suspension fork and dropper post, which the listener well knows. I’m a big fan of. It is actually the bike that I designed to do the alpine dam loop on. You called it out. This is our Gazo gravel frame.
This is the bike we build the most of primarily double butted air hardened c molly for the front triangle Columbus rear end. We’ve made a few aesthetic changes for the bike this year. We’ve allowed integrated dropper post routing for 27 2. So it adds a second internal line to the frame.
And then it is designed to work with the fox ax suspension fork, or you can switch it back to an envy, gravel fork if you wanna stay rigid. And so that’s like a slight adjustment in the axle, the crown between those two forks, is that right? It was actually. Thank you so much. The axle of the crown is so close and given the fact that you probably want the front end a little slacker and a little higher, I didn’t adjust the axle of the crown, but what I did adjust on the geo.
Was the actual forward seating position of the rider. So the seat tube angle was increased forward by half a degree. We offset the seat tube at the bottom bracket by 7.5 millimeters, and then I actually made the top tube longer by like quarter inch and slacked the head tube angle out by a half a degree.
Putting the rider more forward in the riding position and now allowing him to actually actuate the suspension fork better. Yeah, it’s interesting. I’m totally with you on that, that, a small difference in actual axle to crown when swapping those forks actually positions the bike more oriented towards a rigid fork versus the suspension forks.
So it’s a natural compromise. Exactly. And w given the 45 millimeters of travel that the ax has, it doesn’t raise the bottom bracket hype that much, but then you’re still gonna be descending into your perfect pedaling position. Instead of having it drop down into a lower pedaling point and possibly smacking, roots and things like that.
And that’s a major concern in Marin as well, because you have Nice, those, all those nice polished roots on all your trails. Exactly. For customers, is this a custom bike or are you doing stock sizes? Pretty. So as a builder I offer three separate models. Our gravel bike, our adventure cross, which is a flat bar, gravel bike.
Bike packing bike and our mountain bike. And then we do custom geo custom sizing on all frames, but we don’t really venture out of those three designs currently. Gotcha. And how did you get your start building? Oh wow. I fell into this life. I sold my first bicycle design when I was in eighth grade to Alan Brown at Ozone Bikes, and it’s just been a never ending process since then.
And I got to this point and I’ve always wanted to do really high-end, road mountain bikes and I think that I’ve gotten to that point in my career. Nice. And for a customer looking to learn more about the brand, what’s the best way of finding out more? Go to our social media page our Instagram, w h Bradford Designs, or just shoot me a message and ask me any questions you have.
’cause I’m always available. And what does the purchasing journey look like for a customer when they contact you? They fallen in love with what you’re doing. How long does it take? What is the experience? Feel like I, I am a working builder, so you’ll contact me. Basically, we figure out what bike you want sizing.
I work with you. We produce a cad drawing of the bike and then small deposit down once we’ve gotten to that point. And it’s usually 30 to 45 days for delivery. Okay. Right on. Thanks for the time. No problem. Thank you very much.
[00:33:13] Richard | Speedvagen: All right. Can I get your name and brand? I am Richard Poole. I am the creative director at Speed Bogging. I couldn’t come to Portland without talking to speed bogging. For sure. So let’s talk a little bit about this bike. Yeah, just gimme a little bit of the details of the gravel bike we’re looking at.
Alright, so we got a pretty traditional custom rugged road for us. What we do with our rugged roads are, since they’re all custom, they’re built specifically to the tire size you want We’re good and firm believers in short chain stays and more playful bikes. So if you never plan on running a 45, we’re not gonna build you a bike that’s gonna clear a 45 if you know you’re only gonna run a 35.
That’s what we’re gonna build it to. That makes sense. All these bikes from speed wagging, they’re always Super tight and clean on the rear end. So that makes a lot of sense. Yeah. But if I did come to you and say, Hey, I’m all about a 50 C tire, you can deal with that. We can do that. We actually have the upgraded model of this called the rugged or road.
And that will use, like any of the new suspension forks on the market, like the gravel forks, or we could use the envy adventure fork on that to clear about a 50. Gotcha. And tell me a little bit about the c o situation here on the svi. All speed vs. Have integrated seat masks. The seat post head is made by NV for us.
We’ve been partners with NV since the launch of both brands. Seriously. They just keep making ’em, we keep using them. What does that translate to? So if I get one of these out of the box and I’ve ordered it from you, do I need to cut anything down to, to get the right seat post size?
No. No. So the way one, we prefer, everyone that gets a bike from us gets a fitting from us too. That way we can get all the measurements dialed. We will have everything ready to go by the time your bike’s built. And then, so we’ll cut it down. It’ll come as you see it right now. And those seat post heads have 30 millimeters of range.
Okay. So if you do, it’s made for 30 millimeters of range, just in case you swap a saddle or something like that. It can go up or down. Yeah. I gotcha. That should be plenty. Yeah. And then what type of tube set are you building with on the gravel bike? Oh all of our tubes are custom to us.
A mixture of two true temper Columbus. And yeah, that’s about it really. And what does it look like for a customer looking to get one of these bikes? How, what’s the process look like and what’s the turnaround time? We start with the fit. The fit is the most important measurement. We like to say we can get your bike 95% there if you’re gonna send us your fit numbers from someone else.
But we’re big believers in being balanced on the bike and our fitting process incorporates that into each bike we build. And that’s proprietary to us. No fitters really do that besides us. They tend to focus on comfort and like body angles and that sort of stuff. And is there a little bit of a sort of customer exploration conversation that goes on when I come to say, Hey, all I do is ride rowdy gravel.
Could be mountain bike trails, but I want a gravel bike. Yeah. We’ll walk you through that entire process. It all starts with that fit and at that fitting process, we will try and get you your entire build spec confirmed, your geocon confirmed, and then your paint scheme confirmed. It’s about a three hour process, sometimes more.
And by that time, like after the fitting, your bike’s going into the queue and getting ready to be built and what does that sort of build process looks like after we’ve. Got the geometry ironed out between the two of us. Oh, that’s a wild question just given the last couple years in the pandemic.
But typically speed volumes are designed to be turned around in three months or so. Sometimes it’s three to six. And then during the pandemic it was quite a bit longer, but we’re pretty much back from that. Nice. And what’s the best way for people to get more information about the brand? The website www.speedbogging.com.
Awesome. Thanks for the time. Yeah.
[00:36:43] Ross | Celilo Cycles: Can I get your name and the brand? Okay. My name is Ross Hatton and I’m with s Lilo Cycles out of Corvallis, Oregon. I’m looking at something rather unique here at Made. Can you describe this bike and the material you’re building out of? Yeah, so our bikes are made out of wood reinforced with carbon fiber.
So the outside shell is either hardwood or soft wood, depending on the material properties we want. And then it’s reinforced in the inside with a full carbon fiber. Shells. We’ve got all the riding strength of carbon fiber frame, and a much smoother ride from the wood, which I acts as a damper on the frame and takes up some of the sting of the vibrations.
Fascinating. So can you tell me a little bit about that process as I’m visualizing it? Obviously I’m seeing the, the wood exterior. Are you crafting the wood and then inserting sort of the carbon fiber after the fact inside that? Or does it start with the carbon fiber? So it starts with the wood, and we basically make two bicycle frames, so as if the frame is butterflied open.
So we cut every tube twice, then we hollow them out after joining them together into the frame shape. And then we do a lined layup with the carbon fiber. So we’ve got all the directional layup inside the tubes. Then we put them together and we do a bladder supported circular layup on the inside.
So there’s no seam. It’s a continuous circle on the inside. And then the we take the two halves of the wood, we put it together. And we machined down the outside to get the bicycle shape part of the machining process. We set up a we set up spaces for carbon fiber inlay, and then we overmold the carbon fiber and sand everything down.
And so we get a clean fusion between the carbon fiber reinforcing tapes on the outside and the wood appearance. That’s most the outside. I think I gave you a basically impossible task to describe how complicated that process is. If someone’s interested, and I think they should be to, to sort of discover more about that process and what, what it actually looks like.
Where would you direct them to? It should go to celilo cycles.com. Celilo is spelled c e L i L O. Okay. And you, you mentioned that adding the wood on the exterior of the carbon fiber kind of interior adds this dampening element to it. If you could describe like maybe how this bike might feel different.
Than a, a standard carbon bike. What would you say? It’s gonna be a lot smoother. If you can think about the difference between a wooden baseball bat and something so I don’t think people do carbon fiber baseball bats, but you can imagine like aluminum versus wood. Yeah. The wood’s got, takes a sting out of the impact.
Okay. And so carbon fiber’s gonna, would have the same kind of sting if you would make a carbon fiber baseball bat. And the wood is gonna have that less sting. So the carbon fiber frame when you get a hit is going to buzz a little bit. And so the wood really takes that buzz out. So this bike. I take it over like small chattery stuff.
Just you don’t feel it all, it just floats. Okay. And are, are you guys in production on this model? We’re this is so we are, we are in production. Scott’s working on various bikes. We’ve got a number of different models. Okay. One of the nice things with the with the setup is that it’s customizable so that when we come in there’s various hard points.
So like, this is our. Showroom flagship model. It’s got hard points all around the inside, so you can do different mounting pieces. It’s got internal routing for generators, and depending on what you’re looking for, the you can, we can tune the, the specific construction to what you need on the bike.
Super interesting. And, and as a customer, if I come to you, are you building something custom from a geometry perspective? For me, we are. Yeah. We, we can do custom geometry. The process has a CAD pro, we have a CAD program that is parametric, so you can put in your reach and stack and all of that. And then the files from which we d cut the different tubes that’s all driven by that geometry.
So we can very easily customize that geometry for every given frame. Super interesting. And how long does it take for a customer to get a bike after ordering? It’s gonna be several weeks. We can, so that’s very quick. Yeah, we can, we, our, our process goes through very we, we’ve got, we’ve got a process set up so that you can put that, put that into your into our.
Take. Take your measurements, put them into your production. Into production and manufacture that frame. Yeah. And you mentioned the website, that being the best place to get more information? Yes. Awesome. And then again Celilo Cycles, c e l i l o. Perfect. Thanks for the time. Thank you.
[00:40:52] Ming Tan | Haley Cycles: All right. Can I get your name and the brand? Hey, this is Ming Tan from Haley Cycles. Ming Tang. This is a pretty cool looking bike with a special fork on it. Can you describe what we’re looking at? Yeah, so this is one of our gravel bikes. This is outfitted with the cannondale lefty olive gravel fork.
So it’s got 30 millimeters of travel up front. This one’s built with our standard oversized straight gauge tube set. So basically we offer. Three different tube sets you can choose from when you decide to configure a bike, and then we can build it however you like it. So fully custom geometry and fully custom geometry.
All of our pricing is inclusive of custom and it’s inclusive of your choice of paint and finish. Amazing. These bikes, the paint jobs are always gorgeous on these ha’s, thank you. Really appreciate it. I mean it’s, we really take pride in the fact that almost any bike that you see on our feed is different.
Not all, some of them are similar, but. We really encourage our customers to go and make it unique to them. And are you working exclusively with Titanium? Only with Thai. Okay. Yeah. Gotcha. And what does the customer process look like? If someone wanted to get a Haley, what is what, how do they come in the door?
What kind of consultation do they get and how long does it take to get a bike? It’s a pretty organic process and usually it starts with a dis, a general discussion of what they’re looking for. Whether it’s a. A road bike or an all road bike or gravel bike or a hardtail, anything that doesn’t have a rear suspension, no problem.
But it usually starts with the type of bike they’re looking for and then we start talking about fit and whether or not the customer has fit data or if they need to get fitted, or if they just want to duplicate their cockpit, fit off their current bike, we can help build that CAD geometry file for them based on the information that they have.
And then, we get deeper into the weeds when it comes to. Tire clearance and gear choice. ’cause it’s all interrelated in terms of how the bike gets built. Yeah. And then once the customer decides to move forward and the geometry looks good and the spec looks good, it’s about a 16 week, 16 to 18 week lead time to get the frame done Okay and finished.
And then if it, if the customer’s looking for a complete bike, the complete bikes are all custom quoted considering that you can customize bikes to the valve stems these days. So everything is custom quoted at that point. Nice. Amazing. Thanks for sharing. Thank you. Appreciate it.
[00:43:14] Julio | Wheatfall Cycles: Can I get your name and the brand? Yes. Julio Burino from wheat Fall Cycles. Julio, where is Wheat Fall building out of? Santa Cruz, California. Okay. He’s currently designing there. We are having them made overseas, but we are now currently looking for someone stateside in either Oregon or California.
Nice. And is it a completely custom process with the brand? Right now they’re made to order, but we are working out sizes within our Within our bikes, either the gravel or the mountain or the cruisers. This bike we’re looking at, what’s the frame material? It’s titanium. All of the bikes are currently titanium.
Gotcha. And what’s super unique for you listeners out there about this bike? It’s actually got dual top tubes, the two thin top tubes rather than one across the top and a little bit of a sort of asymmetry and where they hit the C tube. What’s the story behind that? It’s something that my partner and I have been talking about for a long time to do something a little bit more unique.
Make an asymmetrical bike that is aesthetically pleasing for the eye, but has a compliance that feels really well on the trails and on the road. Yeah. You nailed it on the aesthetically pleasing part here. I love it. That was the emphasis. Certainly for a show like this, it gives you a chance to stand out with a, titanium finished bike.
Oh, thank you. Thank you. So what does it look like for a customer interested in finding out more about the brand? Where should they go and what does the process look like in creating their dream bike with you? So essentially this is our first show. We’re just gathering ideas. We have a webpage that we do need to still work on Instagram and the maid show is catapulting our Success to get the name and the brand out there, but you we are at ww dot wheat falls cycles.com and you can get information and email us from there.
Fantastic. Great to have another brand outta Santa Cruz. Awesome, thank you.
All right. Can I get your name and the brand? I am Jeff Fra, and I am with Wild Bikes. Welcome back to the Pod Jeffrey. Thank you for having me. Can you tell us about what you brought to Maid? Yeah, so today at Maid, our big, our kind of big reveal is that my business partner Andy, is a huge Schwinn Paramount fan, and we have a Wayfinder fork, right?
So what’s cool about our carbon Wayfinder fork is that it’s an inch and eighth straight steer. With all the modern gravel functionalities, dynamo routing, three pack mounts, fender mounts, rack mounts, all that good stuff that we like as gravel folks. Yeah. And what we wanted to really showcase is to other builders really what you can do with this fork.
And so we build a lugged bike and we chrome the lugs. So it would be that, Schwinn Paramount homage. Yeah. Painted the main tubes, painted the fork. And this is the first lug bike that Wild has yet created. And it’s this very classic looking thing with all the modern gravel capabilities.
It fits 50 C tires has all the, has three bottom mounts, top two feedback mount. And we just wanted to really lean on our love for the past and bring it into the future and show people what was possible. Yeah, I love that juxtaposition of the kind of old visual styling. But as you’re describing all that modern gravel performance, and it’s super lightweight and it’s a really cool lug set.
So the lugs taper, so if you notice the tube actually tapers down to the C tube. Got it. ’cause you want the stiffness here and you want a little more flex in the seat area, cluster area for comfort. And so it’s a really cool, well-thought out lug set designed by Chris Bishop of Bishop Bikes. Okay. And the carbon fork, it’s super light.
It’s just, it just happens to be lug. And in, you may not know the answer to this question, but I’m gonna ask it anyway. In terms of lugged bike manufacturing experience, is that an art that sort of was at risk of disappearing and are fewer and fewer people understanding how to make a bike that way?
I’ve been shocked at how few lugged bikes there actually are at this show. So it, it maybe seems to be waning. I think the problem is just the lug sets themselves present physical limitations. So this lug set is cool ’cause it has a sloping top tube, whereas most lug sets have a very horizontal Strat tube.
So the lug itself actually dictates the geometry of the, to a large extent. You have a couple degrees you can play with, but it’s set. So when you start building large tired bikes with a 700 by 50 C and then a straight top tube stand over becomes an issue. And so it’s cool because we have products like this emerging that actually allow you to build that.
Traditional logged construction with modern gravel features. And so I think our obsession with big comfortable tires has made the old lug sets a bit obsolete. So yeah, I think until we have more things like this available, it is gonna be a little bit of a dying art form because people just aren’t building road bikes like they used to.
Yeah. And if you are building a road bike, chances are you wanna fit 30 twos, 35. That makes a ton of sense. And is this a bike that a customer could come and buy from you today? Oh, we would love to. We are so hoping that people, we, we’ve loved this process and we love the outcome and so yeah, we would love to sell a customer this bike.
We’d love to build more. And is that, is it a longer process for building and design or about the same? No, it’s about the same. About four to five months is, what it takes for us from the project kickoff to when we are able to deliver a finished to product. Okay. Awesome. I hope I see more of these beauties on the roads and trails.
No, thank you, Craig. Cool.
[00:48:36] Mike DeSalvo | DeSalvo Cycles: Can I get your name and the brand? Yeah. My name is Mike DeSalvo from DeSalvo Cycles. Mike, can you tell us a little bit about the Scrabble bike we’re looking at? This one I built was, it’s actually for a customer. It was a fun project. He just wanted to go for a steel bike. Wanted to clear a tire, about 48 to 50 and keep it pretty classic.
Unlike some of the really crazy stuff here with all the integrated hoses, lines, everything he wanted, all external mechanical shifting. It feels a little like blast from the past in a way. And is this a typical like tube set that you build with, or do you build with other materials as well?
So I build with steel and titanium. This one right here is a steel bike, mostly Columbus Steel is what I use. Okay. And is there a reason for that? Is it as far as just, as far as name, the branded tubing, Columbus has always just been my favorite when it comes to steel. Yeah. Most of the bikes these days actually are titanium, but this one is a steel bike.
Yeah. Okay. Gotcha. And you’ve been building bikes for quite some time now. Is there? Yeah, I’m sneaking up 20, 24. I’ll make 25 years of building for me. Amazing. Yeah, it’s a huge milestone. Yeah. It’s, I know I started when I was 26 and now I’m 51. Has the process, has it always been a custom relationship you had with customers?
Yeah. Everything I’ve always made is made to order. Okay. Yeah. I’ve never, I never worked in one of the bigger, or not bigger, but one of the, One of the smaller manufacturers or any of that just been a one man band and always made stuff to order. And how many bikes do you typically put out in a year?
These days it’s mostly titaniums and my numbers have gone down. I usually, I’m just in the 40 to 50 range is a comfortable spot for me these days. Is it titanium tube set? Just a little trickier to deal with? Yeah. More time consuming. Yeah. The whole process of building titanium bikes is just more time consuming than steel.
Way back when we were doing a lot of steel road bikes, I actually almost did 151 year. That was my record. It was like 147. It’s a crazy amount when you dig into like how much time it takes to make these bikes. Like it’s a lot. And they’ve gotten a lot more complicated over the years too, right?
We’ve got through axles and disc brakes and if you rewind 15 years or something when we were doing rim breaks and quick releases and things like that, but just a little more streamlined, a little quicker to do. That makes sense. So what does a customer journey look like? If I wanted to get a bike from you?
The interesting thing coming off of Covid right now, at the moment at the moment I’m probably still a year out and I’m actually not currently taking deposits. COVID was a really interesting journey for me because I got a whole lot of orders and got backed up. So about a year ago, I quit taking deposits and I just put people on a wait list.
So if you were to come to me today, what we would do is I’d put you on a wait list and unfortunately you’d have to be patient for, about 10 or 12 months. And then once I would get within a couple months of building your bike, I would circle back around with you and we would start then making the decisions.
As a one man band, it’s really hard for me sometimes to track all of the customer changes, shall we say, along the way. Yeah. So what I do with folks is I’m always happy to get excited and everything, but essentially, the gist of the way it works is I get a deposit and as the build gets closer to the top of the list, I circle back around with the customer.
And we go through all the final details. And I think some people are amazed because once they’re at the top of the list, that’s what I’m focused on. Yeah. And it’s gonna be that week or two or three, then I’m gonna build their bike. Versus the waiting, for the 10 or 20 or 30 in front of you Yeah.
To get done. Yeah. That’s a good way actually to handle it. Yeah. Master that excitement and enthusiasm and get ’em a bike pretty quickly thereafter. Yeah, exactly. Yeah it’s tricky. All of us small builders, it’s the battle we all face. Is just trying to get stuff done. When you’re wearing all the hats during Covid, was it a, an issue of getting the supplies you needed to make the frame or what, and I know obviously there was a lot of enthusiasm about buying bikes during that period.
Yeah. Covid was a really crazy thing because it was tons of orders. I’m still building bikes. I’m a little embarrassed to say, but I’m still building bikes that are some of the orders that were placed in during Covid. So I, for me, it was a ton of orders and then it was me being too optimistic about how quickly things might turn around.
So then we had the supply issues both. With parts, we had suppliers with raw materials and everything. So you know, what should have taken six months now took a year and a half kind of thing. So just trying to come off of that a huge demand with no supply was just a really awful combination.
Yeah. Gotcha. And if people are interested in learning more about the brand, what’s the best place to go to? I have a website, DeSalvo cycles.com. I’m on Instagram at DeSalvo Bicycles as well. And I’m still a little fashioned. If somebody wants to talk to me, gimme a call. I’d be happy to chat with you in the shop.
Perfect. Thanks, Mike. All right. Thank you.
[00:52:49] Darren | Larkin Cycles: Can I get your name and brand? Yeah. Darren Larkin with Larkin Cycles. Darren, where are you building out of? I’m in Deep River Connecticut right now. Okay, interesting. So not a lot of frame builders outta Connecticut. Strangely. There’s a couple really good ones right there in my same town is Richard.
Richard Sax lives about Mile Away from Me. Oh. And then Peter Weigel is about 20 minutes away. Got it. So it’s a nice, it’s like a nice little hub of sort of old school frame building. How did you get into Frame building? As a hobby. I guess I was always a tinkerer and it made sense to, it made sense at some point to build a bike for myself.
Got it. I was doing a bunch of messengering and riding and just made sense to build myself a better bike and then, built bikes for some other friends and got, I got really lucky getting a connection, helping out another frame builder in their shop, and learned a lot from that. Yeah. It seems like that’s where you get the reps, right?
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Can you talk about the sort of gravel models that you have and what are you building out of and what are some of the attributes you’d wanna highlight? Yeah so this sort of main stock model that I’ve been doing, it’s been calling it the Dreamer and I’ve been making it for, at this point, at round five years.
I’ve been trying to make just like a pretty light good general all around. Like affordable gravel bike, that is gonna ride really great and not cost a ton of money. So it’s all tig welded, like Columbus, a mix of zona and life tubing. I’m trying to use like American made, like Paragon Machine Works, dropouts, bottom bracket.
I’ve been getting fork blades made on my own, like getting those sort of custom fabricated different places. And cool. Yeah. And what does that, what does a sort of customer journey look like? How do they find you and what does the process look like? Are you building stock frames or custom frames?
The, my, my goal is to have this particular model be a stock frame that is just available on the website, but over the past few years, between pandemic materials, availability, and then sort of me moving and resetting shops, it’s been a couple years where I haven’t been able to do that and I’m. Very much hoping once the dust settles after this show to get stocked back up again and focused on that.
Nice. And so how can customers find out more about you? Larkin cycles.com or Larkin Cycles on Instagram. It’s the best spots. Perfect. Thank you. Cool.
[00:55:07] Dave | Sage Cycles: You, Dave from stage. Hey Craig. Good to see you again man. Good to see you too. And super stoked to hear about the updates on the Storm King. It’s a bike. I love the original version of Yeah. And this thing is gorgeous, so why don’t you tell me about it? Sure. No, yeah, it’s the Storm King. The original Storm King has been such a good, fun bike.
It’s so versatile. It just, you can do so much with it. Racing, bike packing, adventure riding it just really allows you to do a lot. And as time has gone on from the original bike to where we are now, I’ve really developed the geometry and the design of the bike to improve it for future proofing, if you will.
So from a tire clearance perspective and a tow overlap perspective, those were things from a custom standpoint have always plagued customers. And so I wanted to go about. Fixing that issue that I want somebody to get on this bike, and no matter what size tire they ride, they’re gonna have tow clearance.
How are you achieving that? So what I did was I redesigned the geometry, and what I found is that if I push the front end of the bike out by two centimeters and then shortened the stem by two centimeters, your handlebar stays in the same place for where it should be. But because I’ve pushed the front tire out, now you now have toe clearance that you wouldn’t have had before.
So technically speaking, the bike with the shorter stem will steer quicker than the original version because the, if you think of the stem as a lever and as you turn that lever, the shorter lever turns quicker. But the longer wheel base, because I’ve pushed out, the front end, actually is more stable at speed.
So if you’re going down high speed gravel road, it’s chunky, washboard, big stuff like that kind of thing. The bike is actually way more stable in a straight line, but when you have to turn in tight corners because the steering is quicker, you can still turn around corners kind of thing. So it’s this really nice improvement of being able to stretch out the rider and give a better ride quality.
It’s similar to mountain bike, but it’s not mountain bike. Like it’s just different in that way. Yeah. I think it’s been just this interesting journey for builders as gravel came about. Yep. To distance ourself from the original kind of maybe Road Plus Origins Correct. Of the design. Yep. And thread that fine line between two Mountain Bikey, but still fun to ride on the road.
And I’m super excited about this moment in time because I think for buyers of bikes we’re, it’s great moment where, yeah, if you get a bike that’s produced in the year 2023, There’s so much thoughtfulness in the design that have just added versatility to what we were using a few years back. Yeah, no, I agree.
Gravel is, has really evolved over the last 10 years. If you think back to 10 years ago, seven years ago, something like that, a 40 millimeter tire was as big as you ever needed for gravel. Didn’t need anything bigger, you weren’t, nobody was pushing it. Now, with our new Storm King, for example, yeah, it takes 700 by fifties.
But we also have an option that you can run a six 50 by 2.4. Yeah. It’s huge. Yeah. That’s just the versatility of that range to go from a 40 to a 2.4 is huge. So you can very much have one bike. You can take bike packing. Yep. But you can also go to S P T Gravel and throw some forties on it and race hard.
Yeah. It’ll be great. Yeah. This would be a perfect S B T bike. I know there’s a lot of people at S B T that are using road bikes or modified road setups, but the reality is this, Will do the job just fine. Yeah. I think for those of us without a quiver of bikes in our garage to choose from, like you, you wanna be able to modify your bike with just changing tires or wheel sets if you have that opportunity.
Yep. You’re also doing some neat things with like three D printing right on this bike. You wanna talk about that? Yeah, sure. One of the things going back to the tire clearance issue, but now instead of tow overlap, now tire clearance on the frame one of the things we wanted to really standardize was chain ring size.
Crank sizing, if you will, but chain ring size in combination with tire size and how that we can make an, from an efficiency standpoint of building the bike. So what we created was a chainstay yoke. Yeah. That sits behind the chain rings. This is nothing new. Plenty of builders been doing it for years.
And. We made a three D printed version of it rather than a, we used to do chainstay yolks that were solid titanium plates. Yeah. And they’d be welded or bent and it was just a chunk of heavy metal. Going the three D route allowed us to really dial in from a CAD perspective using modeling software and and just other types of three d printing software and equipment.
We were able to really dial in. The specs that we wanted. So we knew this is the tire size. We knew this is the chain ring size. We knew this is the Q factor of the cranks. What fits, what do we want to do? And then, okay, it also has to be able to run. If somebody wants to run a mechanical shift line, you can still run a mechanical shift line through the yolk.
It’s, oh, really? Just big enough to be able to do it. Okay we worked on that one quite a bit. But it’s great because it allows you to From a building standpoint, it allows us to go, we have one chain stay design, and we can sit there and go, okay, this is how the chain stays, are shaped.
We’re good. We can repeat it every single time, and we’re guaranteed to have this tire clearance, this crank clearance. Yeah. Et cetera, et cetera. And it just it just works. And and the three D parts are actually lighter than the solid plate parts, so we’re dropping weight in that regard too. So it’s a best of bonus.
Bonus. Yeah. Yeah. Let’s talk about the rear dropouts. I know, sure. It seems from the mountain bike side of the world, obviously there’s new attachment Yeah. Strategies from various manufacturers going on. Yeah. Yeah. How are you thinking about that? Obviously like it’s something you can change in real time as the trends move.
Yeah. But what have you done with the dropout and just your thoughts on that? So the dropouts that we have on the bike that’s on display right now, these are technically version one. I actually have version two dropouts, which. Unfortunately as a podcast, nobody will be able to see. But if you take a picture, you can certainly share it.
But we’ve got a t type transmission specific dropout now that we’ll be replacing this one. So in general, going back to the original question the concept of how the derailer attaches and the transmission style attachment, I think it’s great because it eliminates that the derailer hangar, which is a weak point, Technically speaking, you have this piece of whether it’s aluminum or plastic, it can break.
It’s designed to break. Yeah. Whereas when the derailer attaches directly to the frame, you’ve got a much more secure connection. The shifting’s more precise. And the cool thing is the, in the case Ofra, the derailers are completely rebuildable, which is super. So I think it’s, I think there’s a good future for it.
I, from a future proofing perspective, I do see gravel bike. Going to transmission for going to transmission style drive trains, because it’s a one by transmission is designed for a one buy setup. So there’s already one buy on gravel bikes. So it just makes sense that would be future thing.
So in that regard, we are forward thinking about having our own gravel specific T type dropouts. It’s a mouthful having our own gravel specific T type dropouts. For gravel bikes so that when a customer orders one, they’ll be future-proofed for transmission, which I am pretty sure is coming kind of thing.
Yeah. Interesting. Super cool. I love that you optionally spec a dropper on this bike. It’s right up my alley. Yeah. You’ve got, and you mentioned that it’s got internal cable dropper routing, yeah. Cleanly integrated into the frame. Yeah. So this is the, this is our first fully internal, everything is internal routed.
Bike. So we’re using Envy’s New Adventure Fork, which is internally routed. I don’t think they’ve given it a new name yet, but it’s, they’re Adventure Fork, but it’s fully internal. We’re using the Chris King Aero set headset and then Envy’s internally routed aero stem. So we have our two break lines, and in this case it’s the NV dropper post on the bike.
And even though it’s Ara Drive train, While I would’ve normally used a wireless drive train, I wanted to show off the capability that we can run the mechanical dropper line internal. So we have three lines running internal of the bike and there’s, the only thing is where it pops out for the brake calipers.
That’s it, super clean look. How mechanically challenging is it for the home mechanic to kinda work on with these hidden cables? Let’s be honest, Dave, I have a little bit of fear. I would be scared. I would be scared. Fair enough. Okay. So unless you’re like a super competent home mechanic, get your local bike shop to work on the sport.
The good thing, at least I will say is that from a hydraulic brake perspective, the brakes have gotten so good. At this point, you don’t really need to work on ’em too much. Yeah. Once a year, do the bleeds or twice a year, depending on how much you’re using ’em. Changing pads is still easy. And the dropper post.
Yeah. It’s not the friendliest. Just internally routing ’cause you’re trying to put bends and kinks and cables. But once it’s in, once it’s in, like I’ve never had to adjust my Yeah. So it’s dropper, I don’t think it’s really as much of a challenge for the general home mechanic. There shouldn’t be things breaking Yeah.
On a regular basis. Yeah. And the plus being incredibly clean lines on this bike. Oh’s gorgeous. Yeah, it’s gorgeous. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Yeah. I mean it’s, yeah, it’s it’s tough to work on, but I can. Stare at this bike all day long. Great to catch up with you, Dave. Thanks Craig. Appreciate the time.
[01:04:39] Curt | Wolf Tooth: Cool. Can I get your name and company? Yeah. My name’s Kurt Staffy from Wolf Tooth Components. Good to see you again, Kurt. You too. I think Sea Otter was the last time I, I think so. Yeah. And I was super excited. I got a press release from you about the new gravel forks. Yeah. You wanna tell me about ’em?
Yeah. So lithic is our line of carbon forks that actually we developed for Otto Cycles, that’s our, our bike brand. And now they’re, you know, available for the first time. For people who aren’t buying one of the bikes. So this is great. Okay. So previously they weren’t available? That’s correct, yeah.
So that means it’s great for, you know, smaller like frame builders like we have like here at Made Bike Show. But also like, you know, for anybody who has a suspension corrected bike and they, you know, maybe want to swap in and out a rigid fork this is a new option for them. That’s, that’s what I think is the interesting part about it.
And when you look at the Sea of Carbon forks, You’re, you’re generally not thinking about suspension corrected sizes, and as someone who do, you know, dove deep into building a frame around a suspension fork, I quickly came to learn that a lot of the forks I was considering swapping it into, I would drop pretty substantially in the axle to crown.
Yeah. Length. Yeah. So it’s super cool that riders now have an option that it only has a subtle difference from like what a rock shock or a fox. Forks, gravel, forks axle to crown ratio is, yeah, totally. Yeah, our gravel fork it has a four 20 axle to crown and our mountain fork which is a completely new design.
Well, our gravel and fat forks are also like our own designs too, but we just also announced our mountain fork. But yeah, they’re, it’s super easy to swap in and out between, between a rigid fork and a suspension fork. So if you wanna save weight and go rigid, That’s an option. And ’cause the, the cable routing, which is a nuance people need to be considerate of if you’re, yeah.
Thinking about swapping forks, if you’re me and you never wanna bleed a brake in your life, I love the idea that I can just kind of unclip it from my suspension fork and sort of clip it to the rigid fork and be good to go with a brake adjustment. Yeah. Brake bleeding’s. One thing I don’t even like adjusting brakes.
Same, but I don’t, there’s not a solution for that when you’re going between two separate forks, but. Yeah, you can just keep the brake line and because it’s externally routed, like you don’t need to disconnect anything. Yeah. And on the Wolf Creek side, I mean, I, I know, I know. I love, on my personal bike, all the accents of color you’ve been able to give me in my headset.
Yeah. On the center lock is it the bolts center? Lock rotor? Lock ring, yeah. And then you’ve got a new colorway to tantalize me with today? Yeah, it’s called Olive. It’s available across. A good selection of our, like, kind of more popular items, like we have a few different headset sizes and standards, kind of our most popular three seat post clamp sizes.
We have our like anodized color kit alloy bar plugs and our waveform pedals. Olive was first actually announced as like a limited color last year with remote and remote light action, and our customer service team was flooded. With requests like make olive in everything. Yeah. So it took a little bit of time.
But yeah, we have olive in a lot more things now and it’s, it’s a really nice, like kind of in the Venn diagram of green and brown. It’s kind of right in that, right in that middle. Yeah. I, I thought it would look really nice on my titanium frame. Just a nice, subtle accent. Yeah, totally. Cool. Thanks for the overview.
[01:08:06] Dan | Onguza Cycles: All right. Can I get your name and brand? Hi, my name is Dan Craven, better known as Dan from namm, and I am ZA Bicycles. So Dan from NAMM has a very specific meaning that you need to expound upon. What does it mean, Dan? Yes. So it’s got nothing to do with Vietnam. I come from Namibia which is the country at the bottom of Africa just next to South Africa.
And as I was just saying, it’s two times bigger than California and we’ve got a total population of two and a half million. So talk about wide open spaces. We’ve got them. Paint the picture of what, what does that wide open space look like? Are we talking about deserts? Mountains? It’s a lot of desert.
Like a lot. A lot. We have some of the biggest, I think the biggest sand dunes in the world. We have a canyon, the fish, river canyon that is, Just a little bit smaller than the Grand Canyon. It looks very similar to that. Parts of Namibia have very much Nevada vibes. If we could farm with rocks, we would all be billionaires.
Where I live is a small little town, two and a half hours from the capital city, and it’s very, it’s like bushland Savannah. The first time my now wife came to visit, we went on a bike ride and after five minutes, We saw zebras baboons live on the farm, other types of antelope. There’s a type of antelope called Aduk that is literally the size of a Jack Russell.
They’re the cutest things in the world. Sounds amazing. Absolutely. And yeah, lots of gravel roads, not so many tar roads. I’m an ex-professional road cyclist and it basically doesn’t make any sense how that happened. Yeah. That’s probably too long for this particular podcast to understand how that happened.
So maybe we’ll have you back on. Yes. But let’s get a little bit about the gravel bike we’re looking at in front of us, and how is it manufactured? Where is it manufactured? What was the sort of vision behind creating a brand out of Namibia? Okay. So just a little bit of background on my graveling.
I built my first handmade steel bike in 2012. And the second one in 2012 and I was wanting to build a gravel bike, but back then they were, didn’t exist. I was wanting to build a monster cross and I couldn’t find the correct fork until envy finally brought out their fork. And if I’m not mistaken, I got the first envy gravel fork in Europe and I built a, myself.
I built a bike that was in 2016, and the reason was because I was still a professional road cyclist at the time. But I hated the roads back home, so I wanted a gravel bike to be in the same position, but be able to actually ride and have fun. Yeah. So I’ve been monster crossing since 2016 and it’s just it’s like e-bikes.
It’s the future and it’s amazing. So we now are building bicycles in this town that I grew up in and the whole. There’s so much background to it, there’s so much juice. But in, in short, the people who come from Namibia are amazing at using their hands. They really are just magical, and that’s, it’s like top class manual capabilities, but very often the ingredients for the things they’re working with are not top class.
And I felt as a proud Namibian as a two-time Olympian. I was like, wait, if I can come from that tiny town and go to the Olympics twice, what about everyone else who’s not as privileged as I am, but who’s actually so much better than me with using their hands? So if you take beautiful Columbus steel tubing from Milan in Italy and stainless steel paragon dropouts from California, and we fly in a master frame builder, an award-winning frame builder, Robin Mather.
And teach these two gentlemen who’ve been working for my family since 2019. So it’s basically you. You take their abilities with their hands and then you give them everything else that’s on that level as well. Yeah. And see what comes out. And we were hiding our products away from the world first few years as we are slowly building up and learning the ins and outs.
And we reached a point where it was like, yeah. We are now building bicycles that I can walk into a venue like Maid and hold my bicycle high and be like, we belong here. These bicycles are amazing. They come from a place you don’t expect built by people you wouldn’t expect. But my little town builds bicycles and we believe in the power of small towns, be it in Africa, be it in America, wherever it may be.
But and going hand in hand with that, the world doesn’t need another bicycle brand, but Namibia needs this one. And it’s if my town can do this, what can your town do? Yeah. Amazing. I love that story. What’s the meaning behind the name? So My Town or Maru is basically if you are going to see Bushman paintings in caves, or if you’re gonna see the famous rock engravings in Namibia, a place called Twa Fontaine.
My town is where the tar road is. And so in two of the local languages, ZA means the vast expanse of nothingness out there. Okay. Short for, or the short form of that is the desert. So we live on the edge of the desert. Got it. Beyond us. Got it. What is the customer journey look like when they fall in love with your brand?
What does it take to get one of these? Is it a fully custom experience or do you have stock sizes? We tend to do stock sizes because as a professional, ex-professional cyclist, I never had a teammate who didn’t race on a stock size. So my personal experience is that 95 plus percent of the population is stock size is perfect, but every customer must have a bike fit.
And we start the conversation. We have like at least an hour long video call go through. What bikes have you ridden in the past? What bikes do you ride now? What did you like about it? What didn’t you like about it? What bike do you want in the future? I recently had someone who was ordering a road bike and we had a conversation.
It turns out that no, actually what he needed was the gravel bike, but you need a long conversation to be sure you get there. And then in that conversation we discuss the bike fit that they’ve had or about to have. And it becomes very obvious very quickly if someone is a. Is it in the must have category for a custom fit?
Like I have a customer who is as tall as I am, but his saddle height is about four centimeters higher. And for him it’s like under no circumstances is a stock geometry right. For you? Yeah. Whereas most people it is. Would you pursue that project or just refer them to another? Oh no. He needs a custom and he’s getting a custom.
Okay, got it. And it’s like, What the customer needs and what is right for them is what we build within our parameters. We are not a fully custom, you cannot come to us and say, I want a bent this and a squeeze that in a, it’s no, this is our bike. This is our color scheme. We stand for something.
Our colors mean certain things and they’re recognizable. And if you love it, fantastic. I love you too. But if you don’t love it, then well. There are so many beautiful other bicycles out there in the world, and I’d love you to go and support another local frame builder, small builder. That makes sense. If people wanna find out more about the bike, where should they go?
We have our website on gza.com, so that’s O N G U Z A and on Instagram it’s on Goza bicycles at on goza bicycles, and there’s a little, we have a two minute. Brand video that recently won an award at South Africa’s biggest advertising awards. So there’s nothing to do with sport or cycling, the advertising awards.
Yeah. So I’m relatively proud of it as you should be. So I recommend everyone please go and watch it. Do it full screen, full volume. It really rocks. Yeah. And for us dense Americans, go to get out your atlas, go to Google Maps, figure out what Namibia is. Yes. As I said, and my parents have been there, they said it’s an absolutely gorgeous country.
Absolutely. And amazing that you’re bringing the bike industry there and taking advantage of these craftsmen and showcasing the beautiful work they can do. Yes. And so just to add on to that America is our target cus our audience our bicycles, the price does not include tax, which is normal here, but it does include shipping to the US for a frame set.
Because of the difficulty of where we are, we prefer to sell frame sets. We can help with complete bikes, but it’s case by case. And yeah, come check us out. Got it. Thanks Dan.
Until next time here’s to finding some dirt under your wheels.