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Otso Cycles is Born!

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The same crew that founded Wolf Tooth Components are launching Otso Cycles, which is a new bike company focused on bringing innovative bikes to the mountain bike and mixed surface road markets. They’re coming out with 2 bikes and the one that we’re going to focus upon is the Voytek. The Voytek is a carbon fiber hardtail mountain bike designed around the exclusive Otso Plus-Fat™ concept. It is a 27.5+ or 29+ trail bike that can also accommodate up to 26×4.6” tires. Using the 83mm bottom bracket standard Otso was be able to create the narrowest Q-factor of any production fat-capable bike! Otso also engineered their own patent pending adjustable drop out system called the Tuning Chip™. They say that it feels like a mountain bike, not a fat tire specific bike and opens up a whole new dimension in summer or winter riding. We see some similarities to the Pivot Cycles – Les Fat. It’s the old one bike fits many different sets/sizes of wheels trick with a sliding drop-out and normal Q factor.

Otso™ Cycles — Spirit of the Bear

Otso logoOtso is the spirit of the bear in Finnish mythology, the most important, revered, and respected animal of all. Otso is the noble king of the forest and a symbol of strength and courage. The bear spirit is also a relative, an ethereal forest cousin or brother. He can be seen in the freezing snow and blowing leaves or the bright sunshine and moonlit skies of the wilderness. On forest trails, gravel roads, or urban streets, an Otso™ bike will inspire you to achieve your best in whatever way you ride.

 

Otso™ Cycles — Company Genesis

There are so many bike companies already — why start another one? The short answer is because we wanted bikes that did not exist. Most people would just keep dreaming and hoping somebody would make their ideal bike someday but if you are the slightly crazy mechanical engineers and innovators from Wolf Tooth, you start a new bike company and spend every free minute making those bikes a reality.

It sounded easy when we were first brainstorming over a couple of beers but we quickly learned that it takes a ton of work to do it right. We had to become experts in many topics including carbon molding, stainless steel tube welding, investment casting, and ISO fatigue testing to name a few. Along the way we developed a new patent-pending adjustable dropout system and carbon frame design.

The results of our efforts are two groundbreaking new bikes: a fat-capable bike that feels like a nimble trail bike and is equally fun to ride in snow and dirt; and a drop-bar bike that transcends all the usual labels and is a joy to ride everywhere from gravel to CX to your favorite urban singletrack.

Otso is focused on bringing new and innovative ideas to the bike industry and so far we’re pretty damn proud of the results. All of our test riders are amazed by these bikes, and you will be too from the very first ride to the last mile of an epic race. Enjoy the adventure!

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Who is Otso™ Cycles?

  • Mike Pfeiffer — Mechanical Engineer, frame designer
  • Brendan Moore — Mechanical Engineer, brand manager
  • Dan Dittmer — Mechanical Engineer, creative director
  • Jack Hinkens — Operations, stunt rider, everything else
  • Chris Fisher — Inside sales, assembly, shipping
  • Tim Krueger — Consultant

Collectively, the Otso™ team has over 100 years of riding and racing experience. Dirt, snow, gravel, CX, pavement; we’ve done it all and we know what makes a bike fun to ride. Otso™ bikes are passionately engineered to work as well on the trails and roads you ride every day as they do on epic adventures and races.

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Voytek™ — The ultimate hardtail mountain bike for plus and fat tires

In the midst of WW2, the Polish army discovered a stray bear cub alone in the wild. This bear, named Voytek, grew to become a valiant soldier. Voytek drank beer, smoked (or ate) cigarettes, wrestled with the troops, and even helped carry ammunition in battle. Just like the legendary bear, our Voytek bike can be playful or serious — always ready for any mission.

Voytek is a carbon fiber hardtail mountain bike designed around the exclusive Otso Plus-Fat™  concept. It is a 27.5+ or 29+ trail bike that can also accommodate up to 26×4.6” tires. With the narrowest Q-factor of any production fat-capable bike, it feels like a mountain bike, not a fat bike and opens up a whole new dimension in summer or winter riding. Also featuring our patent pending Tuning Chip™ rear dropout system, the chainstay length can be adjusted from a fun and nimble 430 mm to a fast and stable 450 mm. Voytek blurs the line between plus and fat and it will change your perception of what’s possible in this class of bike.

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Voytek™ Key Features

●       Designed in Minneapolis, Minnesota by a team of engineers with extensive mountain bike and fat bike riding and racing experience. It’s like riding your favorite hardtail trail bike but with the added capability of fat tires.

●       Narrow Q-factor crank arms — the narrowest pedal stance of any production fat bike by a wide margin. Uses the 83mm bottom bracket standard (implemented as PF107) to provide an actual Q-factor as narrow as 183 mm. The result is the pedals are spaced only about 10 mm wider than a normal mountain bike whereas other fat bikes are typically 30-50 mm wider. The wide Q-factor of all other fat bikes adversely affects both pedalling efficiency and bike handling.

●       Exclusive Otso narrow Q-factor fat tire capable design provides benefits in biomechanics.  A narrow Q-factor reduces knee and hip strain while allowing proper/normal cycling muscle recruitment. Simply put, this means more efficient pedaling and painless/seamless transitions between fat biking and mountain biking.

●       Narrow Q-factor also improve bike handling making the Voytek handle like any other top of the line hardtail. Weight shifting, which is how riders generate much of their steering, causes a torque about the center of the bike based on where the rider’s foot pushes down.  With a narrow Q-factor this torque is not only familiar but is also smaller with the foot being closer to the center of the bike. With a wide q-factor, this torque is much larger and creates an unwelcome and abrupt turning transition feel that all wide Q-factor fat bikes have.

●       Accomplishing this narrow Q-factor has not been done before on a production bike because it requires a custom offset chainring (not easy to do unless you make your own chainrings), a commitment to 1x drivetrains (Voytek is designed exclusively for 1x drivetrains), and some creative engineering with the chainstay design (we can be very creative).

●       Tuning Chip™ system developed by Wolf Tooth Components provides 20 mm of chainstay length adjustment and subtle changes to the bottom bracket drop and head tube angle.  Choose a shorter-higher-steeper the 430 mm position, the shortest chainstays available on any production fat bike, for a fun and nimble ride. Or choose a longer-lower-slacker 450 mm position for more stable handling in deep snow and sand.  as well as making subtle changes to bottom bracket drop and head tube angle. A middle position chip is also available. Swapping between the positions is very simple and can be done in about 2 minutes.

●       Tuning Chip™ system is the lightest, most compact and best looking adjustable dropout on the market. This patent-pending design uses two interchangeable chips to select one of three possible axle locations. There is no possibility of axle misalignment and it is very secure for a creak-free ride.

●       Plus-Fat™ design delivers great handling as a 27.5 plus or 29 plus trail bike in the dirt and as a fat bike in the snow and sand (or dirt). Our bike’s geometry is simply more fun to ride than other fat bikes.

●       Modern geometry — longer top tube, short chainstays and slightly slacker head tube angle.  Simply put, shorter rear center and longer front center for more speed and more fun.

●       Proportional sizing — all important dimensions are changed for each frame size.  We put the extra time and money to do it right. It is becoming commonplace to take shortcuts and share carbon lugs between sizes (e.g. L and XL having the same head tube length) leaving the smallest and tallest riders with a poor fitting bike.

●       Accommodates internally routed dropper post.

●       Suspension-corrected geometry is compatible with an Otso™ carbon rigid fork or up to 120 mm travel suspension fork.

●       Possible wheel/tire sizes include: 26×4.0” up to 26×4.6”, 27.5×2.6 up to 27.5×4.0, 29×2.2 up to 29×3.0. Notes on tire clearance:

○       26×4.0” tires will fit on any rim up to 100 mm width but 26×4.6” tires fit only on narrower rims such as our Lithic Rhyolite with 64 mm internal width.  May fit wider rims, but user is responsible for verifying adequate clearance on all non-factory builds (too many factors with tire manufacturing, wheel trueness and dish, rims, and tire pressure).

○       Frame inner seatstay/chainstay clearance is 117 mm and tire+rim combo must have adequate clearance to this .

●       177x12mm rear hub spacing, 150x15mm front rigid fork or Bluto hub spacing, and 110×15 with a Plus specific fork.

●       EPS molded carbon fiber provides smooth interior walls and optimized carbon compaction.

●       100% carbon fiber frame. No aluminum inserts or structural fiberglass. Light weight, high strength, Otso™ quality.

●       Single speed capable with optional dropouts.

●       Patent pending frame design.

●       Tested to exceed all ISO frame safety standards.

●       Available for pre-sale now at otsocycles.com.  Medium and large bikes ship starting mid-September. Small and XL frames ship in October.

●       Color options: matte black/gray/white and gloss metallic-platinum/blue/white.

●       Build options:

○       Frankset (crankset included with frameset since 83mm BB cranksets are not yet widely available) – $2299 – includes frame, custom carbon fork, Race Face Cinch Aeffect crankset, Wolf Tooth CAMO™ chainring, headset, and seatpost collar. An upgrade to Next SL crankset is available.

○       Fat bike complete – $3899 – Shimano XT build, DT Swiss 350 hubs, and our Lithic Rhyolite rims that we developed for the perfect combination of width, weight, and durability.

○       Plus bike complete (27.5+ or 29+) – $4199 with RockShox Reba fork or $4599 with Fox F34 Factory fork – Shimano XT build, DT Swiss 350 hubs, and Race Face Aeffect 40mm internal width rims.

●       All bikes can be customized with upgrades and add-ons from companies including Industry Nine, Thomson, Wolf Tooth, Enve, SRAM, Whisky, Schwalbe, and Shimano.

●       Complete build spec, frame geometry, and other details are available at otsocycles.com.

There’s a chance that we’ll get to test one of these highly versatile Polish Bears somewhere down the trail. We’ll let you know how that goes.

7 Responses to Otso Cycles is Born!

  1. Trailpatrol August 23, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

    I thought “Karhu” (like the skis) was Finnish for “Bear”?

    • Kainuun Trail Mesikämmen August 24, 2016 at 1:47 am #

      “Karhu” is offical name for “Bear” in Finnish language and “Otso” is a mans name in Finland and means “Karhu”. Word “Otso” is an euphemism for word “Bear”. Other euphemisms for “Karhu” are also: “Kontio”, “Mesikämmen” etc…

  2. thub August 23, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

    Is Dan rolling a Voytek in the ITI this year? Sweet looking do it all bike. Any chance Fat-Bike.com is getting a test rig? I think Gomez would look awesome riding this bike in the White Mountains of interior Alaska.

    • Otso Cycles August 24, 2016 at 8:26 am #

      Dan completed both Arrowhead 135 and ITI this past winter on a Voytek prototype! It would be great to have Gomez test one soon — we will try to set that up.

  3. Lars Danner August 25, 2016 at 10:18 pm #

    Why no rack mounts?

  4. Ernest Glasgow October 3, 2016 at 8:29 am #

    Do you sell these bikes online?

    • Gomez October 3, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

      Complete build spec, frame geometry, and other details (like where to buy one) are available at otsocycles.com.