Tuesday, May 1, 2007

What Brand Managers Do When We're Bored...

...our imaginations go wild! Thoughts start entering our minds like, "Hmmmm....what if I built up this frame with these funky bars? And what if I put those tires on it? Oh, and how about a set of fenders?". We're combining stuff in our heads that WE think is cool and will look cool in reality. Pretty soon, bike parts start flying around the shop area and an all-new bike is in the process of being born. The good news is it's looking as cool as the images you conjured up in your brain just moments ago. And then you catch yourself asking your co-workers, "Wow, do you think we could sell these things?".

I recently completed a bike project that's been in the works for several months that started out much like that. Well, the boredom part I just made up, but I started dreaming up a funky 29" wheel commuter/pub crawl bike built around our super-successful Mary XC frame. I've been noticing and getting inspired by some of these small builders who have been bringing nichy, fun bikes to market...I wanted to see what people would think of a funky 29er, Haro style.

It started with a Humboldt Green Mary XC frame. I decided since this would be more of an urban commuter bike, a rigid fork was in order. I also wanted gears...there are hills in my area. I went with an "M" shaped set of bars that I thought would be pretty comfy for cruising around town. Then, I found a set of one-of-a-kind handmade wooden fenders on eBay. Of course, you can't have classy wooden fenders and not have a classic Brooks saddle, right? That gave way to leather-wrapped grips (yes, I wrapped them myself) that matched the saddle. I even placed some of the leftover leather bar tape on the chainstay. Other notable cool bits include a Salsa CroMoto stem, SRAM X0 shifters and rear derailleur, and WTB tires and wheels.

I think the end result turned out pretty damn cool. I have to give props to one of our Product Managers, Pat Crosby, for his help with this project. He proved that putting fenders on a bike not designed for fenders is entirely possible!

So I'll stop babbling and let you all enjoy the pictures!


wrw said...

Keep on THINKING, good things do happen! :)
My June 2007 'Bicycling' magazine arrived and what do my eyes see?
An 'Electra' multiple page advertisement describing the express advantage of purchasing a specific product.
Depicts the rider directing this bicycle one-handed WHILE holding a 'Hot Latte' in the other. NO JOKE!
'Electra' suggests purchasing this product so you can ride holding (consuming?) a drink.
Awaiting a forthcoming accident and subsequent trial associated with this product.

Eric Stobin said...

what a sweet bike, Jill! I happen to commute on a Breezer Uptown 8 that has similar handlebars. They are comfortable and allow a more upright riding position.

i like the nice touches with wooden fenders, grips and saddle. it all pulls the theme of the bike together.

(have you seen those silver fenders with the 'mirrored' look? those fenders may be an option if the wooden ones are too much)

the humboldt green color is great. was there any thought about doing a 1X9 or 2X9 drivetrain? the lack of a front der. and shifter may help to keep the design looking clean, lightweight, or even a little less $$$ to the customer.

my other question was about having a chainguard installed? i have one on my Breezer, and it is excellent for allowing me to ride around in regular clothes without getting them greasy from the chain. i would love to see a minimalist chainguard on this bike.

lastly, i have seen really cool coffee mug holders from a few manufacturers....not sure if it was Sycip or Paul Components...but there's a few designs for some really nice lightweight and sleek looking coffee mug holders. this may or may not be a welcomed addition to the bike, but i'll let you make the call.

overall, the bike has great style and i'd like to own one!

Thanks for sharing the fresh design!

Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Pretty! It's kind of like my drop bar Mary bike or the carbon/ Campy bike or the TT track bike, or the flatbar carbon road bike, or the... the... other stuff...

Projects are the one of the best things about being a product person. It's the chance to bolt shit together and see what it looks like and rides like. This is the genesis of the birth of new products.

Thank God for busy minds and overflowing parts bins!

Eric Stobin said...

here's the info on the coffee mug holder


T-Guy J said...

You get to have way to much fun at your job...

Love the Ride :-)

Patrick said...

thanks for the props,
if you want I can add a "beverage" holder on the bars tomorrow.

iheartbikes said...

I want one... Very nice choice of colors and materials. I think you should look into making a 1x9 as eric said.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic, but you know that all of the black components are distroying the aesthetic. If you weree to equip the bike with natural aluminum finish bars, stem, spacers, rims, cranks, etc. you would have a really classic look. I think that there is a honesty in materials that is lacking today. If it's carbon, fine, but if it isn't, don't paint it to look like carbon.

jill hamilton said...

I suppose aesthetics are all in the eye of the beholder. I purposely chose black, actually, because it was how I envisioned this bike.

If we all liked the same things, this world would be pretty dull place!