It’s a fun idiom to say someone has reinvented the wheel. It’s even more fun when someone actually does, and that’s what friends Bobby Sweeting and Shawn Gravois, who both happen to be pro road cyclists and engineers, are looking to do.
“It’s been a year in the making, but it really started in college,” says Sweeting. “Both Shawn and I were racing professionally and would finish rides and have bearings failing, wheels flexing and just generally underwhelming experiences with the options available.”
It was December 6th, 2013, which happens to be Shawn’s birthday, and the two agreed that if they were ever going to make a go of it, that was the time.
“I pitched it to him as becoming a product manufacturing company, not a wheel company,” he said. “We didn’t want to come to market using just a bunch of open mold products with no real point of differentiation. So we took a hard look at what part we could design that would have the biggest impact, and have improvements or designs that we could patent.”
Their viewpoint was informed by more than just racing and an unrelated job in engineering – Sweeting was in rigid frame engineering at Cannondale, having designed the CAAD8, Trail SL and others, plus helping on the brakes for the Slice RS. And they had proximity to another cycling brand in Florida, where they went for winter training, that let them use machinery for prototyping. That shared equipment is what made it possible for them to get started on a shoestring budget while using advanced testing and research…
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