We’ve been following Scott Robertson’s escapades with these bikes for a while now. He first got in touch while running Hammerhead Bikes, which saw a rebirth in 2012 with an alloy full suspension 29er frame. We rode it and liked it, but the company got to a point where the financial backing sorta lost its spine.
Rather than throw away all the hard earned knowledge he accrued helping to resurrect the brand, Scott broke clean and launched Switchback Bikes. The design is essentially the same, but will now be offered in both alloy and carbon fiber models, for 29ers and 27.5″ wheels. Beyond the new wheel size and frame material, he’s taking a novel approach to launching. No, not the crowdfunding campaign that’ll kickoff on Monday. Rather, he’s laying out the entire process on his blog. So, yes, these are “catalog” bikes from a Taiwanese manufacturer, but there’s so much more to it than that. Fortunately, Scott’s taking us along for the ride…
The carbon fiber version is called the Reveal, with 7 and 9 indicating wheel size. It’ll launch with the three colors (seafoam, gray and pink) shown as a frameset and with complete bike options. Launch pricing starts at just $1,799 for the frame and runs up to $4,199 for the 27.5″ and $3,999 for the 29er, both with XX1 groups.
Why the the price difference? The 650B bikes get 150mm travel and the Monarch RC3 Plus with high volume can and piggy back reservoir. The 29ers are 120mm travel and use a standard Monarch shock.
Sales of the Pink send 10% of the frame price to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
The Unveil is the alloy model and gets slightly different geometry and travel but keeps features like a thru-axle rear end and Inset/Zero Stack headset spec. It swaps in a standard threaded bottom bracket shell, too, which some people may prefer anyway. The 650B gets 150mm travel, and the 29er has 130mm.
Launch pricing will start at $1,099 for a frame and shock and run up to $3,799 for an X01 build with the piggy backed Monarch. All frames come with a three year transferable warranty, crash replacement program and an extra derailleur hanger.
The “Launch Pricing” is their way of getting things off the ground by offering a solid discount. It’s essentially a pre-order, which gives them the funds to hit their minimum order from the manufacturers. Rather than run it through a crowd funding site and have a cut taken out, they’re simply giving you the chance to jump in early and help get a new brand off the ground. If they don’t hit enough pre-orders to get it started, everyone’s funds are returned.
Scott reiterated that Switchback has no relation to Hammerhead, it’s a completely new company. His approach helps him stay in control and not at the mercy of outside capital. We always applaud those willing to go for it, and Scott’s going for it again because, as we’ve learned, once you’re in the bike industry, you never wanna leave. It’s a great place to be.