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Creation Process: Gorilla Monsoon

Creation Process: Gorilla Monsoon

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   Last modified: March 5, 2018

Creation Process: Gorilla Monsoon

Above: the author outside Joshua Tree testing the prototype Gorilla Monsoon in January 2017

​With the release of the Gorilla Monsoon, and because folks love getting peeks behind the curtain, we figured that now would be a great time to talk a bit about our design process and how we go about creating a new model.

How do we decide what we’re going to make?

We work ahead. We’ve already planned our models through 2021, because depending on the scope of the project (new dropouts, how many prototypes does it take to get right, etc) it can take anywhere from 2 to 2.5 years for a model to make its way to our dealers. This forces us to be creative and imagine what and where our riders, ourselves, and our dealers will want to be riding several years in the future.

For the Gorilla Monsoon, we’ve had plans to build a monster cross that would take our love of riding cross bikes to the most trail worthy, shreddy conclusion for the last six years. We’ve long known that fat tire drop bar bikes were awesome, but we never quite got around to the project as there was always something else that seemed more important. Then 2016 rolled around and we decided that now was the time.

A few things were happening at this moment that greatly shaped the outcome of the GM, namely that dropper posts were becoming ubiquitous and everyone wanted to start pushing their rides further and further out into the wilderness on bike camping and exploring missions. We like fun and are down with those things, and after our experience touring through the backwoods and fire roads of Tahoe on the Space Horse and our cross bikes (peep the video), we had enough of a great time to convince us that the monster cross needed to be exceptionally capable at long off-road endeavors in ways that those bikes were never intended to be.

We looked at our geometry plans and realized we could easily accommodate three water bottles, front and rear racks, fenders, and mounting for Surly’s great 8 and 24 pack racks without making any compromises to the handling of the bike. So boom, it got all the features.

IMG_0018


Nate Choma and Chris from Defiance Bicycles in the Tahoe Area. It was rad, but we could have used more mounting options for our gear and bigger tires

How do we pick paint?
This also happens at the time of initial inception, and is the domain of our Art Director Saisha. She looks at what we’ve done, in the past, the use case and user profile for the bike (who, what, where, why), what is trending (so we can aim to potentially avoid it), and what was popular decades ago. As with many things All-City, we wear our influences on our sleeves and often look to the past for inspiration on creating the future.

DSCF2885

Prototype Testing
aka, the fun shit….
It varies from bike to bike, but we basically toss all of our other bikes aside and ride the new thing. Ride it in every circumstance we can, in as many setups as we can, to figure out what’s wrong and what’s right.

For the Gorilla Monsoon, we received the protos in December when MPLS is snowbound, so I headed off to California to put this thing to action on some dirt. In all honesty I was pretty skeptical of the whole dropper thing, which the engineer and product manager were insistent about, and in one ride in California my mind was changed.

AC-78 (1)
Climbing out of the city in the Verdugo Mountains, photo by the Radavist

To my great surprise I was actually using the dropper on long climbs in order to work different leg muscles and on the descents the low seat height allowed me to comfortably sit in the drops, where I had the most control, for extended periods of time. I was both sold and hooked. The dropper was well worth it.

AC-80
Descending in the drops, photo by the Radavist

The hope is always that the bike is good out of the gate and no changes are needed before we can place our orders and get them out into the world. it takes somewhere around 3-4 months for us to have a prototype produced so if a second round of protos are needed, it greatly extends the development time line. Fortunately on this one, we felt like we nailed it and were ready to work on spec and get it ordered.

Spec
Spec is our Product Manager Max’s territory, and is based on intel from Nate our Sales Manager who sets the pricing targets based on feedback from shops, his own instincts and some market research. Max then takes that info and builds the best bike he can for the price target. Our litmus test is always “would I ride it,” “would a bike shop mechanic ride it?” The answer must always be “yes”.

This is often a very difficult job as we invest so much into the frame itself that it can be very difficult to compete on paper with bikes from companies whose frames cost way less to make because they don’t do the things we take so much pride in such as designing our own dropouts, frame parts, E.D. Coating, wet paint, etc. We’re not saying that our bikes are better or worse than any others, it just that each company must make choices based on what they believe in. Our goal is to bring beauty and detail back into production bicycles, this is our guiding principle. We don’t make Shimano or Sram, we make All-City’s. The frameset is what our riders invest in when they buy one of our bikes. That is where the heart of the money goes.

Marketing
This is also the fun stuff, where we get to decide how to best present this bike to the world. We knew we wanted to get back to Tahoe and we knew we wanted to launch it with a rad lady. So we hit up our team rider Christina Peck, she brought her party shirt, and voila. Photo magic. We decided to shoot the bike naked, so that the frameset wasn’t obscured by bags, racks, or fenders. Also, as this is our shreddiest drop bar bike, we wanted to present it in its most ripping form.

20170731_ACT_GorillaMonsoon_SD17_23657_007

And that our friends is how a Gorilla Monsoon is born. We hope that you are as stoked as we are about it.

Hitting stores early April.

You will be able to find the Gorilla Monsoon at the following partner shops:

REDBIKE INC EDMONTON AB redbike.ca
THE COMMUNITY BICYCLIST, INC LITTLE ROCK AR thecommunitybicyclist.com
TRANSIT CYCLES TUCSON AZ transitcycles.com
KISSING CROWS CYCLERY VANCOUVER BC www.kissingcrowscyclery.com
LIONS CYCLERY KELOWNA BC www.thelionscyclery.com
HUCKLEBERRY BICYCLES SAN FRANCISCO CA huckleberrybicycles.com
GOLDEN SADDLE CYCLERY LLC LOS ANGELES CA goldensaddlecyclery.com
KING KOG OAKLAND OAKLAND CA kingkog.com
PEDAL LLC LITTLETON CO pedal-online.com
ELEVATION CYCLES HIGHLANDS RANCH CO http://www.elevationcycles.com/
BicycleSPACE WASHINGTON DC bicyclespacewdc.com
CITY BIKE TAMPA LLC TAMPA FL citybiketampa.com
GOLDFINCH CYCLERY CEDAR RAPIDS IA WWW.GOLDFINCHCYCLERY.COM
GRAVEL CITY EMPORIA KS WWW.DIRTYKANZAPROMOTIONS.COM
CAMBRIDGE BICYCLE CAMBRIDGE MA cambridgebicycle.com
FREDERICK VELO LLC FREDERICK MD http://www.frederickvelo.com/
JOES BIKE SHOP BALTIMORE MD joesbikeshop.com
ANGRY CATFISH BICYCLE SHOP + COFFEE MINNEAPOLIS MN http://angrycatfishbicycle.com/
OUTDOOR MOTION HUTCHINSON MN outdoormotionbikes.com
HUB BICYCLE CO-OP MINNEAPOLIS MN thehubbikecoop.org
MICHAELS CYCLES PRIOR LAKE MN michaelscycles-mn.com
OAK CITY CYCLING PROJECT RALEIGH NC oakcitycycling.com
MONKEY WRENCH CYCLES LINCOLN NE monkeywrenchcycles.com
PONDEROSA CYCLERY OMAHA NE WWW.PONDEROSACYCLERY.COM
BELMAR BIKE SHOP BELMAR NJ belmarbikeshop.com
KING KOG BROOKLYN BROOKLYN NY www.kingkog.com
CHAIN RING RHYTHM EAST AURORA NY www.chainringrhythm.com
DIRTY RIVER BICYCLE WORKS CUYAHOGA FALLS OH dirtyriver.bike
ROLL: DEVELOPMENT CO. LLC COLUMBUS OH roll-online.com
PARADISE GARAGE LLC COLUMBUS OH paradisegarage.com
DISTRICT BICYCLES STILLWATER OK districtbicycles.com
URBANE CYCLIST TORONTO ON ucycle.com
SWITCHBACK CYCLERY TORONTO ON switchbackcyclery.ca
WESTERN BIKE WORKS PORTLAND OR https://www.westernbikeworks.com/
UNIVERSAL CYCLES PORTLAND OR www.universalcycles.com
RIVER CITY BICYCLES PORTLAND OR rivercitybicycles.com
JOE BIKE PORTLAND OR joe-bike.com
CAT SIX PORTLAND OR www.catsixcycles.com
FAT TIRE FARM PORTLAND OR 21stbikes.com
HUB CYCLERY LLC BEND OR thehubcyclerybend.com
METROPOLIS CYCLE REPAIR PORTLAND OR metropoliscyclerepair.com
BICYCLE REVOLUTIONS LTD. PHILADELPHIA PA bicyclerevolutions.com
THICK BIKES PITTSBURGH PA thickbikes.com/
CITY CYCLE SUPPLY JOHNSTOWN PA citycyclebikes.com
REVOLUTION BIKURIOUS MONTREAL QC bikuriousmontreal.com
CYCLEAST AUSTIN TX http://www.cycleast.com/
RACE READY REPAIR CONROE TX WWW.RACEREADYREPAIR.COM
WEST END BICYCLE COMPANY HOUSTON TX westendbikes.com
TRANSIT BICYCLE COMPANY DALLAS TX transitbikes.com
BIKENETIC LLC FALLS CHURCH VA bikenetic.com
SAINT CLOUD PTY LTD FITZROY VIC www.saintcloud.com.au
DEFIANCE BICYCLES TACOMA WA defiancebicycles.com
DESCHUTES RIVER CYCLERY OLYMPIA WA deschutesrivercyclery.com
COUNTERBALANCE BICYCLES SEATTLE WA counterbalancebicycles.com
RIDE BICYCLES SEATTLE WA ridebicycles.com
REVOLUTION CYCLES MADISON WI revolutioncycles.net
Comments image
kimbo305

kimbo305

March 5, 2018

There’s a couple little typos:
“How do we decided”
“in it’s most ripping form.”

avatar

Jeff

March 5, 2018

Kimbo, thank you, typos fixed!

Jeff

Jeff

March 5, 2018

Kimbo, thank you, typos fixed!

Danimal

Danimal

March 8, 2018

I’m looking at the shop list and the only shop in New Orleans that I thought sold ALL-CITY isn’t on there? Do I need to contact one of the shops in Texas? I really wanna grab a frame!!!

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