Great minds from two iconic Michigami MTB Brands joined forces to form 616 Bicycle Fabrication last July. John Muezenmeyer , founder of Nuke Proof, and Aaron Joppe of Slingshot bicycles wanted to create a hand-built-in-the-mitten bicycle company that leverages the manufacturing might of western Michigan. 616 makes fat-bike frames, forks, hubs, and soon they’ll have their own line of rims, all of which get made in the 616.
I made my way through a driving rain storm to visit their manufacturing facility in the scenic countryside, just outside of Grand Rapids. The first thing to catch my eye, after entering the shop, were three 616 fatties lined up against the far wall. I noticed that one of the bikes had, what looked like, an old set of snow-cat rims, as well as, a sleek uni-crown fork that said prototype on its legs. John and Aaron went on to explain that 616 is introducing two new products. First up a 616 drilled 45 mm rim that mimics the old snow cat design. The new rim will give riders another choice to significantly lighten up their fat-bikes for all season utility and racing. John also mentioned that they would be developing a similar 29 size rim to allow 616 owners the option to swap out the 26″ fat light rim and run half fat for trail riding or the 26″ fat lite rims front and rear for full fat lite flotation on snow or sand. (This is starting to sound like a fancy coffee drink order.) The new rims can be laced to 616′s beautifully machined hubs to create a wheelest that they plan to sell as part of their custom frame program or as an after market upgrade for 170/135 symmetrical frame owners.
The next new product is a two pound uni-crown style fat-fork, featuring true temper fork legs. The new fork will be available ala carte or part of a custom 616 build.
616 offers a full custom fat-bike build. They hit all of the right notes on sharp details like a laser etched seat stay bridge and a forged head-badge. The dozen frames that I’ve seen all have classic distinctive frame darts, painted in two tones of black/red or black/cream. The frame graphics are painted on, so no decals are used.
It didn’t work out that I could test ride a half fat/full fat or fat lite 616, but were planning a test camp to take place in the next month so we can get some saddle time in on these gorgeous works of art. Our crew will put together a full report of how the 616′s ride on the sandy singletrack and squeaky sand beaches of the wolverine state, so stay tuned for that!