Sea Otter Classic

Nick and I got to piggy back off 5Dev’s booth to show one of our bikes at Sea Otter:



Big thanks to 5dev for hosting us. I got to roam around the show chatting with companies and learning more about the mainstream bike companies.

Show personal highlights of the show:

  • Forum growth: pro builders are taking notice and finding the resources valuabe (No 22, Stinner, Reeb). Also got to meet @KenyonBikes IRL
  • Seth from Berm Peak
  • Steve from Hardtail Party
  • Nolan from Bike Sauce
  • Calvin (park tools mustache man)
  • Chatting with smaller companies that had a lot of pride in their design and engineering
    • Fulcrum wheels
    • Outbound Lights
    • Reeb
    • 5Dev
    • No22 bikes
    • Fairdale bikes

Also, Neko Mulally in a hot tub :rofl:

No22 bikes

It was great seeing these bikes in person. The level of industrial design and finishing detail is next level. They have a team of 9 people (iirc). According to Bryce, they set out to make a bike that is competitive against mainstream carbon bikes, and I think they accomplish that.






They also use a lot of titanium 3D printing:

  • seat mast toppers
  • stems
  • dropouts

According to Mike, printing the dropouts is like having a part-time employee. Having printed the dropouts for our MTB’s, I totally agree.






I have more pics, but my brain is too dead to write it up. I will do it later in the week!

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More Metal Bikes

Got a chance to meet with Adam of REEB. They (have been/ are) fully embracing 3D CAD, printing and laser cutting to optimize their workflow. Pretty cool to see this mindset being applied by a small company.

This was their new bike: a 170mm (?) Pinion gearbox bike with a 3D printed gearbox cabinet and lower pivot.



Here are some more photos of their SST, featuring sheet metal tab and slot construction and 3D printed dropouts:




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I saw so many things that were SUPER RAD but, unsurprisingly, I saw very little evidence/support/marketing around producing greener products.

There were three conversations/ideas that stuck out

  • Repairability: A lot of consumers believe that products can’t be repaired. So how do you design/engineer something that can be repaired easily and hints to the customers that it’s possible while making sure the product is still sexy AF.

  • Packaging: There’s a wide variety of materials available but a lot of assembly factories don’t want to change. 2nd and 3rd tier brands are starting to work together to force this change.

  • Cost: Expensive top tier stuff (aka “aspirational purchases”) are being used to justify price increases at the low end. That makes growing cycling (bottom up or top down) increasingly difficult.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Tocsen Crash Sensor – the tech and cost make so much sense I bought 2 with my own money with the hope that I can make the biz case to partner with them in the future.
  • Silk as a replacement for EPS (tests better than standard EPS)
  • CSS Composites/FusionFiber’s offerings beyond rims/wheels. (recycled CF!)
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I often wonder why environmental impact isn’t spoken about more often even among the companies making admirable strides.

I thought Paul Component did a great job talking about the Sierra Recycler and explaining their stance on sustainability. I know other companies with similar stances in the bike industry but, I’ve never seen them publicly talk about it. :thinking:

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I walked away with similar feelings. Its really cool to see all the new engineering, manufacturing, and designs of the products, but very few things were positioned to make bikes last longer or be more accessible to people.

Fairdale had my favorite bike of the show. For those who don’t know, they are a small branch of Odyssey BMX. They make some well designed, low cost steel bikes. They also have some amazing character art done by Taj Mihelich.

The Elevator is their new $800 (!!!) steel hardtail frame. They told me the reason why they are able to produce such high-quality frames at low prices is the connections they have built-in Taiwan from the BMX business.

Investment cast chainstay yokes for 416mm chainstays and an offset seat tube:

19mm SS miter into the downtube:

UDH dropout cast DS dropout and machined NDS dropout. I love how simple the brake tab is.


More art:


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I had a great time talking with @Neuhaus_Metalworks and @milesofkyle at the 5DEV booth on Saturday. Thank you both for being generous with your time and sharing your insight into the custom frame-building world. @Daniel_Y, I’m sorry I didn’t run into you this year, but I hope to in the future!

I brought my swing bike and tandem mtb that my friend Kevin and I made to race in the 40K Fuego XC. Our goal was to make the bike the week of Sea Otter and have it ready to ride by Sunday’s race start.

@Daniel_Y Wish you were here…

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That’s a great budget bike. Fairdale’s are very easy to sell at a bike shop too. That’s a great price for an entry level hardtail. I don’t see the MTB on their site yet, I’d love to see the specs. I’d personally prefer ~430mm+ stays, especially in hillier areas! I also like how the seat tube is on the down tube, it seems bigger companies are starting to do this.

Recently had a framebuilding student make a MTB with 412mm stays w/ 27.5"x3" tires and we used a straight seat tube offset a bit onto the DT! Could’ve gone even shorter if he wanted… No idea how well it would pair with a wide range cassette though, he wants it purely for SS.

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Agreed! But I won’t dare tell BMXers what to do, because they are all gnarlier than me :rofl:. For a BMXey hardtail for the younger crowd, I think it’s a cool bike.

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As long as they put a whole bunch of extra material in the bottom of the DT. If not, it WILL fail.

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What do you consider this to be?

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Devlin may be suggesting using a thicker butt (.9+) and to make sure that the seat tube doesn’t overlap the taper from thick butt end to thiner butt.

I wouldn’t be surprised if these are single butted tubes or even plain gauge. The bikes aren’t light, and they’re designed by BMXers.

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Agreed.

I’m sure Fairdale is using a nice thick down tube. But I wouldn’t butt a seat tube into a normal .9mm thick down tube unless it’s sleeved or internally reinforced. I tend to be conservative though with these kind of things because I’d rather avoid potential repairs.

A friend who used to post here cracked that exact joint. He guessed it was the pedaling forces that caused the down tube to twist away from the seat tube.

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As the others have said I’d be at least 1.0mm wall and even an external doubling plate. I have seen a couple pictures of failures. The twisting load in the BB shell is catrued by the bottom of the DT. Normally the seat tube helps to support that being attached to the BB shell as well. I can imagine a crack forming at the toe of the seat tube weld over time.

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I will reach out to the Fairdale people. Maybe they have a special butted tube. Small correction, that hardtail is a 406mm chainstay (!!!).

I forgot to mention, they gave me this amazing hat:

Outbound Lights:

I loved their lights when they first came on the scene. Two ex-automotive engineers. Chatting with them, I could tell they were super bright ( :rofl:). Rather than release new products, they are constantly improving and revising their designs.




Their original lights used cast magnesium. Now they are rolling in this really cool heat conductive polymer, molded domestically. I think it is some type of nylon with metal powder added. They told me that the thermal conductivity is not actually for the LED’s (which are happy running super hot), but rather to keep the human touchpoint temperatures lower. It is clear they do a ton of analysis and testing.

I really respect what they are doing:

  • releasing high quality, durable products
  • bringing in technology and ideas from outside the bike world
  • improving their products rather than making new ones
  • amazing customer support (they gave me a new bar mount on the spot)
  • A lot of their components are made domestically, not to have the MUSA label, but because they can have access to better materials, technology, etc…
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Got that pinkbike feature too!

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I’ve spent a few days trying to think of how to answer this. Ultimately its a really big + long chain that has to do with marketing, product management and business cases.

The biggest challenge is that customers aren’t actively asking or showing excitement for improvements in eco-friendly materials. And, a lot of customers almost feel scolded when a company goes hard into their environmental marketing. The solution, in my mind, isn’t to shy away from it though . . . marketing people need to figure out a better way to talk about it.

Hell, they all sold us stiffer + lighter for 20 years and then they reversed course.

It can be done.

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