It's the middle of summer, and as they say in industry parlance, 2010 bikes from all manner of manufacturers are dropping right now. That doesn't mean that some sort of industrial stork is literally dropping them in from the sky above as if by magic -- these bikes have been on the drawing boards for at least 12 or even 18 months, were in welders' shops at the start of this year, carefully assembled and slapped on to ships at the start of summer.
Building a complete bike range takes a lot of work -- it's meetings, rider feedback, re-designs and then a serious amount of number crunching.
So to that end, we decided to find out more about the process from the guys who run the bike companies we know and love -- rather than merely copying and pasting bike pictures and a link. We'll be featuring a bunch of companies in this series, but first up, we have Ryan Sher from Subrosa -- their impressive 2010 bikes have already been out for a while now, so they're pretty much first out the gate: and this year, they have even brought some colors to the table.
How long have you guys been making complete bikes for?
Subrosa's 2010 complete line just arrived at distributors worldwide as we speak and 2009 marks our third complete bike collection.
Do you still have any of the original range still around your office?
I believe we may have a few, but we sell most of our samples after tradeshows, and the stock sells out pretty quick.
What are your thoughts about those old original bikes, now?
We are just as stoked on the first collection as our current models. When we set out to create our own complete bikes. the plan was to make bikes that were the best we could do at that time. A lot of time and effort go into everything we create and with any project we have learned a ton over the past three years, and feel that each collection has only gotten better. But all in all, it is so amazing to look back three collections ago and to see how far we have come in a such a short period of time.
So when it comes to your completes, who does what at your company?
Greg Lanthorne, Ronnie, Chip and I do most of the work that our end consumer will see. Ronnie and I create colorways, graphics, themes, model names, basically control how the end result looks. G.L. is in charge of dealing with Taiwan as far as spec, frame details, and pricing. We use our sales staff, Super Dave, Mike, and J-Rod for feed back from the distributors and shops to find out how they feel about the line and what changes they would like to see.
Does the team get involved along the way?
Yes, from parts spec and graphic details down to frame spec and geometry. We feel it's important for our complete bikes throughout the entire line to look and feel just like a pro level after-market frame.
And how many bikes have you got in your range this year?
18, damn that's crazy when I actually counted it out. Ha ha.
Do you have more or less bikes compared to 2009?
We've added and changed a lot! First off we added a new 'Guest' color, Red to the line-up and increased the color options of a few models. We added extra colorways in the Tiro, Salvador, and Letum ranges. Then we also added a Fixed / Single Speed to the line up. With all the additions we have more bikes in the 2010 collection. We also added even more after market products on the 2010 l bikes, from top name companies like The Shadow Conspiracy and Odyssey.
Can you run us through your range, starting out at the base through to the pricier stuff?
The 2010 Subrosa's have five model series within the collection. Tiro, Salvador, Letum, Malum, and the Novus series. All of our frames have Pro level geometry, sealed Mid BBs, custom seat stay bridges and rear dropouts. All forks have tapered fork legs with 30mm offset custom dropouts. All bikes have 3-piece chromo cranks, custom Subrosa slim seats, and Shadow Banger grips. Starting with the Salvador you get 25-9 micro gearing, integrated headsets, CNC headtubes and BB shells, 8" rise / 28" wide bars, custom stems and oversized tires. Once you get into the Malum and Novus series, the frames are full cro-mo and double butted tubing respectively – add in Shadow Interlock chains, Shadow tires, Shadow Alfred clamp, double wall rims and sealed hubs and a Shadow Attack stem on the Novus. Our goal has always been that Subrosa complete bikes have as many of the details that the aftermarket frames and forks have. When you walk into the shop you'll know it's a Subrosa at first sight. We want the quality to be clear! Attention to detail is what we all here at Subrosa really get into.
Which single bike took the longest to figure out?
I guess the Malum Fixed Gear bike took the longest. We had one factory working on this project, but were not happy with the quality so we changed factories. That put us a bit behind on this bike, but the end result was so worth the delays. We approached the Malum Fixed Gear bike how we always do -- create something that we like and functions -- definitely BMX inspired. Ronnie and G.L. wanted a fixed gear that could handle a little more abuse than a normal road bike, and I just wanted to haul ass around town and commute on a bike when my BMX wasn't the best choice for riding multiple miles. So we came up with a fixed gear with slightly beefed up full cro-mo frame and fork, and clearance for bar spins, but it also comes with an extra freewheel and front brake for set up as a commuter. That's how mine's set up.
Which is your favourite bike, which one are you most proud of?
As I was saying before… that it is so much more challenging, designing and working on the entry level bikes, that I would have to say the Salvadors are my most favourite bike projects in the collection, as the details compared to price is just amazing. This bike is so cool for entry-level riders, and really amazing considering its price range, how nice it looks and rides. I actually rode one these for a bit to test its quality and spec. I wish I could have had had a bike like this when I started riding.
It blows me away each year how far in advance you have to start working on the next year's collections.
When did you start working this year's range -- how long does it take?
One year and two months ago. It takes about 365 days from design to production.
Which of the whole line would you ride straight out of the box?
The Novus for sure, it is spec'd to the hill and comes right out of the box really dialled.
Have you got anything else in there? Cruisers? Kids' bikes?
Well we actually have all three. We have an 18" version of our Salvador and a Letum Cruiser.
Have you already started work on next year's 2011 bikes? Anything you can tell us about those yet?
It blows me away each year how far in advance you have to start working on the next year's collections. It messes me up so much as far as knowing what year we are in.
For more information on Subrosa, or to check out a lookbook on their 2010 line, check out Subrosabrand.com