61 Traildonkeys aren’t far out now. Tooling is done and frames are in production. If you’re lucky enough to be 6′ 4″ Drew you happen to work at Rodeo and you get advance access to our 61cm prototypes. It’s good to be Drew.

61 CM Rodeo Labs Traildonkey 3.0 x Cerakote winter camo

Over the years Rodeo has been offering custom paint on all of the bikes we make and we’ve found it to be one of the most rewarding aspects of being a custom bike builder. The idea that the frame is the canvas that the owner can use to represent their personality is itself an opportunity to elevate a bike from function to functional art.

In 2019 our curiosity led us towards Cerakote as a painting option. Cerakote is a a ceramic and polymer coating material made in Oregon that replaces traditional wet paint across a wide range of applications and industries but it is still in a lot of ways considered quite niche compared to traditional paint. We had seen Cerakote used on bikes and bike parts in the past but had assumed that it was cost prohibitive or incompatible with our carbon bikes because we quite simply didn’t see it being widely adopted across the cycling industry. We could have stopped there with our incorrect assumptions, but soon after Drew re-joined Rodeo Labs in August 2019 I assigned him the task of simply learning more about the material and finding out just why we couldn’t or shouldn’t use it on our bikes. Within a few weeks Drew brought back his findings. There were some specific technical details that we needed to consider when it came to using Cerakote on our bikes, but there were no show stoppers or reasons that we shouldn’t use it.

But why SHOULD we use Cerakote? A quick run down the list of the qualities of the material was enough to get us excited. Cerakote is thinner than liquid paint at .001 inch thick. That is incredibly thin! So thin in fact that you can coat actual threaded interfaces on our bikes and Cerakote wouldn’t inhibit the function of the threads. Thin coating also means a bike coated in Cerakote will be 100-200g lighter (on average) than the same bike painted with traditional paint. Cerakote is abrasion / wear resistant, corrosion resistant, chemical resistant, and impact resistant – which makes it ideal for the tough environments our bikes are ridden in. Thick paint is quite prone to chipping. Thin is good as long as it is strong and durable, which Cerakote is. Cerakote is also friendlier on workers and the environment with its exceptionally low VOC characteristics. Imagine coating bikes without the hugely dangerous fumes that are inherent to liquid paint? We love that!

After some very close collaboration with certified applicators and the folks at Cerakote proper we were able to coat an exceptional range of frames, forks, and parts for the sake of testing the material qualities of the coating. And after months of being really hush about our work we’re excited to start sharing the results. The first of these bikes is Drew’s Traildonkey 3. You’ll have to stay tuned to see what is next!