Frostbike Preview: When Frame Candy Takes Too Long
One of the hardest aspects of being a Rockstar Bike Design Engineer, aside from the non-stop parties and the hoards of superfans recognizing me everywhere I go, is showing off new product. By the time we drop new stuff on the public, like at Frostbike in a few weeks, I've been looking at it for a really, really long time.
Sometimes, a project goes on for way too long. This can happen because of performance issues, or tooling issues. Sometimes, though, it takes too long because the All-City team, a passionate and opinionated group of people, agonizes over how pretty it is. And sometimes, this agony is over a part of a frame that most people will never think twice about.
Enter: The All-City Seat Collar
It was a blustery day in July, 2011, when we embarked on The Seat Collar Project. We were so young... Jeff didn’t even qualify for Masters Category Cyclocross yet.
I was fresh off of designing the Space Horse dropout as a stand-alone piece.
… we didn’t really understand that we would want it to kick off a family of All-City frame parts when I was working on it. Suddenly, I had a vertical dropout system and a seat collar on the docket.
The dropout was a piece of cake. We narrowed in on what we wanted pretty quickly… the one you see on the Mr. Pink and Macho Man Canti.
(Though, it came pretty close to looking like this:)
The seat collar quickly became a pain in the ass. Originally, we just wanted pretty frame candy that we could braze on all our models.
But then we shifted direction because we thought it could be cool to have something that we could sell aftermarket (that people could just stick on their collar-less frames). We split the back of the dropout and started moving in a new direction.
And, for some reason, the concepts kept coming out looking like championship belts:
Or Viking Helmets:
We arrived at this theme:
So we went to tooling. We decided that we would debut it on this sweet model I was working on at the time, The Macho King Canti (see: http://allcitycycles.com/blog/product_development_when_things_dont_make_it).
When that model stalled in testing (a crying shame... I love that thing) we had a moment to reflect on the collar design. It didn't feel right... it was too big on the frame.
We ended up with this cutie:
Look for him at Frostbike where he'll be debuting on several models.