Interbike 2011: Foundry Bikes Debut Carbon Fiber Road, Mountain & Cyclocross Bicycles

2012 Foundry Cycles Auger disc brake cyclocross bike

Foundry Bikes, like the Whisky Parts Co. that also launched out of QBP this summer, is based around the idea of honest parts for hard working riders.

In the spirit of that honesty, brand manager Jason Grantz isn’t hiding the fact that these bikes started life as an open mold frame. But that’s just the beginning. Each of the models – road, cyclocross and 29er mountain bike hardtail are on tap – gets its own tweaks to make them special, and some of them are exclusive to Foundry.

UPDATE! Clarification on the open-mold issue listed after each model below…turns out the Ratchet 29er is their own mold, and details on the others added. QBP spent three years vetting suppliers and manufacturers in the lead up to creating the Foundry brand and says they work with two of the top five contract manufacturers in the world. Then, the products are third-party verified for CEN safety testing to exceed standards by 10% to 20%, which lets them give the frames a 10-year warranty with generous crash replacement program.

The Auger cyclocross bike gets two models, one with disc brakes (shown) and one with standard cantilevers. The frames are either one or the other, there are no disc tabs on the canti version, and no brake bosses on the disc version. They’re spec’d with the appropriate Whisky tapered carbon fork. It’s made with high modulus carbon fiber with a UD finish, PFBB30 bottom bracket shell and comes in four sizes: 50, 53, 56 and 59.

2012 Foundry Cycles Auger disc brake cyclocross bike

The frames are matte carbon with subtle glossing details and logos for an overall understated look. Two build kits are available on each version, one with a SRAM Red/Force mix ($3,399) and a mostly SRAM Rival build ($2,999). Given the minimal price difference, we don’t see much reason not to upgrade to the higher end spec. Oh, and each build is the same price, whether you get the canti or disc brake version. If we were betting folk, we’d say the disc models outsell the cantis.

2012 Foundry Cycles Auger disc brake cyclocross bike

2012 Foundry Cycles Auger disc brake cyclocross bike

The disc brake model gets Formula disc hubs, DT Swiss spokes and Alex 32h CX26 rims on both models, and that’s with 135mm rear spacing. The canti version’s wheels are the same except with regular Formula hubs.

This tube-to-tube frame is also available in Europe under a couple other brands, but Foundry has the exclusive for the U.S. market and switches from an English thread BB to the PFBB30. They’ll also add a 61cm size in a few months, and in about a year’s time they’ll have an entirely new ‘cross frame that’s designed from the ground up as their own.

Grantz says just the tooling for a full monocoque carbon frame is $30,000 to $50,000 per size. So, as the brand gets started, they chose to start with existing frames and tweak them to suit the U.S. market and meet their standards.

RATCHET ROAD BIKE

2012 Foundry Cycles Ratchet carbon fiber road bike

Foundry has the worldwide exclusive on the mold for the Ratchet road bike. They found a manufacturer that had a design they liked. They changed the rear triangle and geometry a bit and worked with the manufacturer to design the layup for the ride and feel they wanted. It’s a hi-mod monocoque carbon frame and fork but with a tapered 1-1/8″ to 1-1/4″ fork. It’s available in a wider variety of sizes: 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58 and 60cm.

2012 Foundry Cycles Ratchet carbon fiber road bike

Two build kits are available, a higher end SRAM Red kit with DT Swiss R 1700 Tricon wheels and Ritchey WCS cockpit ($4,199) and a SRAM Force, DT Swiss R 1800 wheels and Ritchey Pro build ($3,199). I didn’t get a chance to weigh any of these, but just lifting them by saddle and stem suggests they’re respectable…especially for the price.

2012 Foundry Cycles Ratchet carbon fiber road bike

ROUTER 29er HARDTAIL MOUNTAIN BIKE

2012 Foundry Cycles Router 29er hardtail carbon fiber mountain bike

The Router is also a UD-finished hi-mod full monocoque carbon frame that’s their own closed mold designed through a similar process as with the road bike. It has internally placed rear brake mounts and a top tube that bends just in front of the seat tube to give the seatstays a slightly more horizontal angle. Generally, that provides for a bit more compliant rear end without sacrificing lateral rigidity.

2012 Foundry Cycles Router 29er hardtail carbon fiber mountain bike

The Router uses a tapered headtube and comes in three build kits that trickle down from a Rockshox SID 29 to Reba RLT to Reba RL and drivetrains moving from XX to X9 to X7. Prices are $4,999 to $3,499 to $2,899. All three use 15mm thru axle forks, and they all get the same wheels and tires: Stan’s NoTubes Arch rims laced to X9 hubs with Continental X-King 2.1 rubber.

2012 Foundry Cycles Router 29er hardtail carbon fiber mountain bike

We’re trying to get a couple of these in for review. At a first glance, they look pretty good, but only time on the trail and road will tell if they live up to the non-hype that is the Foundry brand.

More at Foundrycycles.com

Comments

Workx - 09/27/11 - 4:05pm

I have been looking forward to seeing these. I like the ethos and I think they have done a good job with the look of these bikes, but it seems like the pricing is out of line.

For open mold frames with run of the mill parts kits, it seems like there should be a greater price differential when compared to the big guys. I am pretty sure that I could spec an purchase an open mold 29er with XX and better wheels for around $3,000. Why would I pay a $2,000 premium for this?

Caliente - 09/27/11 - 4:16pm

Did he just say open mold frame? I’m surprised more trolls haven’t been hanging out underneath this post…

Workx: the 2k premium goes to support the LBS. They could sell on shorter margin, sure, but someone’s got to pay the bills. I assume Foundry also has a warranty. Ebay made in china carbon frames… eh, well, they say they do. Try calling them to ask about it.

wvcycling - 09/27/11 - 7:01pm

@Caliente – I bought a frameset from Itsall4sports on ebay in 2008. One of my dropouts started getting aesthetic cracks in the resin where the aluminum plate was bonded to the carbon. I contacted them, sent photos, and for $49 (shipping), I had a new bike to me in 3 weeks. Two year warranty on a $500, 950g frameset! I’m still rolling on both of them!

I think the company’s mantra and manifesto is going to get them everywhere they want to be. if I say I am a hard working american who likes a good product while unloading a conex box full of frames that just came off a shipping boat from taiwan, people still may think I’m holding a proud product.

I’m betting these frames are structurally sound as anything, but look at Pedal Force. Oh man…. or Neuvation…. Or well… there are a dozen and a half other companies you could look at to get deals better than Foundry’s.

The bikes are understated and pretty, they have a great way of distribution through QBP, but are they really worth my money when I get to choose where my bottom dollar goes?

Mike - 09/27/11 - 10:17pm

I tend to agree with the general sentiment around here. The pricing is off the mark at Foundry and Whiskey. I was very interested in both of these QBP brands until the pricing was released.

The brand persona is clear, if contrived, with booze and tools echoing the company’s decidedly blue collar positioning of “hard-working parts for hard-working people. . .made with a ton of pride. . .” The problem is that the price point is too high given the trend towards commoditization of carbon frames (Pedal Force comes to mind) and the fact that Foundry and Whiskey are selling undifferentiated and openly traded frames made with pride in (insert Asian country here). The frames are probably great and they probably are made with pride, but QBP’s language is very clearly aimed at conjuring images of craftsmanship and the notions of pride that surround American manufacturing (not knocking American manufacturing, I used to work there).

If anything, the pricing and hollow positioning is a bit of a slap at the honesty that is usually relied and traded upon among their fictitious 9-5 target consumer who is going to drop $3-$4 large on a bicycle. If this consumer exists, I would think they would be better served by buying a local handmade frame from a local craftsman. . .made with a ton of pride.

Speedy - 09/27/11 - 10:23pm

*Yawn*

Franco Balcom, $3300 for a full force build, plus a full bike fit. Even if it is an open mold frame (not sure on that one) it’s still a better deal.

http://www.francobicycles.com/bikes/road/balcom/balcom-6-0.html

ShopMechanic - 09/28/11 - 12:34am

Majorly disappointed with the pricing here. Far too much for a generic carbon frame. Working man’s bike? Um, right.

gear - 09/28/11 - 5:18am

I like the look of a bike that doesn’t have advertising plastered all over it, get rid of those stickers on the wheels and this bike would be near perfect.

J. Fohrman - 09/28/11 - 1:47pm

Ditto, on the Franco Balcom being a better deal. I bought one. It was a good experience for me. I worked on the component selection with them. Picked my crank length, cassette size, bar size and bend, and my saddle. I got a Force build and then upgraded the bar and wheels. It shipped to my door complete and then they sent me in for a fit locally.

Bad Bender - 09/28/11 - 4:39pm

I talked to the Foundry guys at Interbike and I have to tell you, I think they’re spot on. The brand makes sense in a sea of bikes that all look the same. The hard-working attitude is cool and unique, and they have the test reports to back-up their claims. Talking to Jason at the show I got the sense that the brands toughness and work-ethic is more about the rider, not specifically the product. And he did explain that the bikes are not for the working-man, but rather for people with a working-man’s sensibility. He talked about where is own work-ethic comes from, I think he said his grandfather was a coal miner. I think its cool they’re talking to a specific subset of riders in this way.

As far as the pricing is concerned. It’s pretty good actually. A Balcom with Force is $3300, the similar Ratchet is $3200. The Balcom with Red is $5000, the similar Foundry Ratchet is $4200 – an $800 savings! For something backed by QBP, a company that goes out of its way to take care of me, I think the bikes are worth the piece of mind should anything go wrong.

Me, I’m interested to see where Foundry goes from here. I suspect they’ll be a hit with the crowd they’re after, which includes me.

I'm with the them - 09/28/11 - 6:07pm

I agree with others that pricing seems too high. Yes, of course there will be a need to create a higher margin for the bike shop in the middle but as QBP, a gigantic bike parts supplier, they should be able to leverage lower prices than a company like Pedal Force. A 10 year warranty is nice sounding and all, but very few roadies ride a bike for 10 years; 2-6 is probably more average.
For $3200 I can get a C’Dale Supersix or Felt F4 or Trek 5.2 with Ultegra. Or for under $2500 I can get a Pedal Force with Force components. I don’t see anything about Foundry that would make me go with the price of the first option and the design quality/brand recognition of the second.

If they really wanted to make a “tool”, why not follow the Gary Fisher lead and make it have sweet hidden fender mounts and work with slightly wider tires?

Jimmythefly - 09/30/11 - 2:21pm

Looks like the Auger will only take a 160 rotor in the back, and can’t be used with a 140 because of the post caliper mounts. Correct?

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