This is the second report from a Road Trip to points west of the Mississippi last month. After spending a rainy weekend in Fruita, to visit some friends, I made my way to Carbondale Colorado to get a peek behind the Titanium Curtain at Why Cycles. It poured rain all the way there and my truck was hydroplaning all over the place but once I got off of I-70 at Glenwood Springs the clouds started to break up a little. This would be my first trip to Carbondale and I found it to be a great little mountain town. My compliments to Why Cycles, founder Adam Miller for choosing such a sweet location for the Why Cycles World Headquarters.
My friends in Fruita (Hola, Tom & Michelle) recommended that I go to the Village Smithy when I shared my plans to visit Carbondale. I give the place five stars (or gnomes). I had some of the best chorizo and eggs that I’ve had for a while. I got to see a little bit more of downtown Carbondale on my way to finding the Village Smithy. Carbondale has two breweries…Carbondale Beer Works and Roaring Fork Beer Company (which is about 50 yards from Why’s front door) and everything else one might desire (wellness centers), including beautiful singletrack and sick gravel routes that go all the way to Leadville and beyond.
I met up with Adam at Why’s metal and glass space that has a clear view of 12,953′ Mt. Sopris. Even though it was his day off, Chris Reichel, Why’s marketing czar, came in to welcome me to Why HQ. I think that Adam and Chris are two of the brightest young stars of the bike business. Between these two they have all of the right experience and industry knowledge to make Why Cycles a highly respected and sought-after bike brand. These two guys are the real deal.
Adam’s deep roots in the Anchorage school of fat-bikes and Chris’s D/C desert days coupled with his time as the marketing director at I9 have woven a web of relationships with the best people in the bike industry. One of the original Enve Composites Founders, Jason Schiers helped Adam get Why started and still maintains engineering oversight of their product development process. When the new team at Enve Composites decided to jump into the fat-bike market, Adam consulted on the design of the new Enve Fat Fork and Wheels. Even before Chris joined the Why team, he was building a direct connection between Why and the crew at Industry-Nine. A bunch of the folks at I9 bought Why’s critically acclaimed S-7 adventure bike and that rider union is still thriving today. Check out the S-7 below with the I9 rainbow spokes and Cane Creek Ti eeWing Cranks!
On top of all of that positive JuJu, six-time ITI winner and the co-founder of the Great Divide Race, Pete Basinger rides and consults Why on product development. I can’t think of a better person to troubleshoot a fat-bike than Pete Basinger. Adam and Pete’s friendship goes all the way back to when Pete coached Adam’s mountain bike team during his high school years in Anchorage. Adam was there when Fatback and 907 were born and he’s had the last three years to research and conceptualize the ultimate Titanium Fat Bike.
The Why Cycles Big Iron is the result of all of that Alaskan Fat-Bike Heritage coupled with three years of planning and manufacturing bikes like the S-7. Many of the lessons learned during the development of the S-7 were then improved and applied to Why’s first fat-bike. The Big Iron brings all of that to life with a double butted, bi-ovalized main triangle that takes advantage of the supple nature of Ti in the verticle axis while it also bolsters the frame’s lateral stiffness. I hear it over and over again from the folks that have ridden Why’s Titanium bikes…”Supple (vertically) and Stiff (laterally)”. This summer Becky & Bryon Vorderman rode a pair of Big Irons on a nine-hundred plus mile epic bikepacking trip in Alaska. When they got home, they liked the Why Cycles Big Iron so much, they bought the demo bikes that they had tested. This is what Bryon shared when I asked “how the Big Iron rides?”
The Big Iron rides like a dream. We have had the opportunity to ride ours in sand, snow, dirt, and on pavement and they handle like mountain bikes on steroids, yet still nimble like a sports car.
The Big Iron has fully sleeved internal cable routing for brakes, derailleurs and dropper post for a classic clean silhouette. The Big Iron was designed to run 27.5 Fat rims. Adam shared that they are going to spec Terrene Tires moving forward into the 2018-19 season. The Big Iron has sliding drops so you can stretch it out for loaded touring and steepen it up for ripping tight singletrack. It also has a machined gate in case you want to run a belt drive. No Alaskan would ever design a fat-bike without Rack and Cargo mounts, so you can check that off of the list too.
Adam and Chris shared that they’ve already sold through the first two batches of Big Irons and the third batch is already on the way. Adam predicted that the Big Iron will be their largest selling model and I can see why. From the experience-driven detail-oriented design and high tech materials to the subtle media blasted graphics the Big Iron is an instant classic. Why media blasts a variety of quotes on the inner chainstay of each of their bikes so each bike maintains a little, rugged individualism. Folks looking to put together custom builds can choose from the best components available. I saw things there at Why HQ, that I’ve never seen before and I’m pretty jaded when it comes to bike jewelry.
As I’m typing this into my computer, The crew at Why Cycles are putting the final touches on a Big Iron with the full Enve Composites Rally Sport Package that we’ll be riding this winter. We’ll be writing a full review of the Enve Wheels and Fat Fork. If you ever find yourself in Carbondale stop into the Village Smithy for some Huevos Rancheros and then maybe drop in and say hello to the crew at Why Cycles!
For more information about Why Cycles visit – www.whycycles.com