When we were thinking of how to launch Spork 2.o we knew pretty quickly that we wanted to make this about more than just Rodeo bikes. We wanted to have other builders involved. We posted a simple message on Instagram asking builders who’ve used our forks in the past to get in touch if they wanted to work on a special project with us. It was important to me that everyone we collaborated on this project with had previously built with our Spork 1 as a way of keeping the project “in the family”. A number of builders responded, but in one case a test rider for a builder reached out to us instead of the builder. He said:
“My name is Lanier Nichols and I test ride frames for Jay Sandefur, creator/owner/builder/brain/
We don’t do product launches without first telling a story. Rodeo’s products are and will always be a result of our story. So if you came here to see Spork 2.0 I hope you don’t just scroll down to the photos. I hope you stay for the story.
Daniel Schauman is a frame builder hailing from Chicago, Illinois who as history would have it was the first ever builder to buy a Spork 1.0 from us and include it in a bike he build for himself. This was 2015 which to me seems like a million years ago but is in fact not that long ago at all.
How much of a bike’s design and build spec is hype and how much of it is function? Those sorts of questions get discussed endlessly on the internet almost by default every time a new product or specification is launched. “Gravel” is a hot word these days. Is it marketing or is it popular because people are having fun? Is 1x hype? Is 650b hype? Are dropper posts on drop bar bikes an incredibly desperate attempt to sell people new gizmos they don’t need?
It is very personally important to me as the founder of Rodeo that our bikes be grounded in function, not hype. But I’ll never be an impartial voice in the matter because by nature I want to sell bikes therefore I may be biased towards sales and profit. That said I sleep great at night knowing that every bike we sell is built exactly for each customer and that we only recommend how to build our bikes after we’ve had a great conversation with each customer about how they want to ride their bike and what they want it to do. You build a great bike not by telling a customer what they need, you do it by listening to the customer describe who they are, how they ride, and what their goals are for their bike.
Words by Jack Potter // Photos by various (thank you!)
How do you sum up something in words when the emotions associated are so much bigger?
I have been dreaming and talking about doing Dirty Kanza for about three years. I was fascinated with the idea of doing a ride that was so huge, so monumental, so crazy that it would completely scare me and keep me wondering if I could finish the task I had undertaken. This all stemmed from an article written by Chris Carmichael that said something like “..don’t be afraid to fail, do something that scares you”. I thought about the events I had been doing and it struck me that in each case I was confident I would finish the race. My goals were either beating my previous time or finishing under a certain time. There was no unknown about if I would actually finish because I had enough experience with mechanicals, flats, weather or mistakes with nutrition or preparation to know that if I stayed calm, fixed the problem, I could get to the end. I wanted to challenge myself to try something that was out of my experience, something that I might fail at. Enter my obsession with Dirty Kanza.
Every bike that leaves ends up being such a cool expression of it’s new owner. We don’t make the decisions for you. We ask you how you will ride the bike, we ask what your goals for the bike are, and we let your personalize as much as you’d like. This approach keeps us passionate about every bike that we build because each bike is built for a single person. Enjoy your new bike Joel!
By now Imogene probably doesn’t need much of an intro around these parts suffice to say that we love it. It is one of the more difficult climbs we’ve ever done but also one of the most beautiful.
We left the camera rolling for a bit on our most recent ascent so we could bring home some of the feeling of what it is like to be up there.
Writing the story of Rodeo is about writing a story of constant striving for new challenges and milestones. This year that striving took us back to the Leadville 100, this time with four Traildonkeys in the mix and ambitions to see how quickly we could complete the race aboard them. Taking a gravel bike to a mountain bike race is an arbitrary challenge on paper, but to us it is exactly the sort of challenge that we strive for on an existential level.
You can buy a bike off the shelf, with a brand-complete gruppo and cockpit. Or you can get the bike you want that does what you want it to. That’s the bike we like building and before we suggest mixing and matching parts you can be sure we’ve tried it on our own bikes and ridden it for thousands of miles.
It has been a very busy year at Rodeo and that in itself has been exciting and exhausting at the same time. We haven’t quite had the time resources to plan Rallies or Roundup this year but we did kick off a weekly Tuesday night ride in Denver called Table Top Tuesdays. The rides are open invite to anyone who wants to go wring themselves out on the local roads and trails in and around Denver, Golden, North Table, and South Table mountains.