Identity Crisis? Hardly
It seems as though this little beast I created has developed a bit of an identity crisis. Not the kind you might have gone through in middle or high school... or both. You know, do you dye your hair to piss your parents off and fit in kind of identity crisis, although I guess there is a bit of that.
Insert Howard Deutch/John Hughes moment.
Before I go any further I need to stipulate that in my career racing bikes which started way back in the mid-80's on a 20" BMX bike, I have never owned, ridden or raced cyclocross. Certainly I've been intrigued by the culture that surrounds the discipline and in some ways a bit envious of it at times while engaged in other events. I have a lot of friends and coworkers who race cross, love cross and swear by it, but that's about where my experience with it ends.
So what happens when a handful of guys and gals buy your new gravel racing frame, enter a few events, get stoked and then tell you they're selling or in one case - already sold - their CX bike and are planning on racing your gravel frameset?
Honestly, my first thought was "fuck!" Did I screw something up? Did I miss something in the geo numbers? I mean, I personally have put well over a thousand gravel miles on the Peacemaker so far this year and compared to other brands I've owned prior to creating Boltcutter I feel as though the frame is more than perfect for gravel racing and long distance gravel and mixed surface riding. I even have a tall geared road set up with 700x38's I use for quick after work canyon road and mixed surface (yes, groad *sigh*) rides.
Respect the non-drive side.
Once I got over it and was reassured by diehard gravel guys that the Peacemaker is a dyed in the wool gravel racer I settled down a bit.
But the cross guys kept persisting... And then I find out that one even went so far as to sell their custom CX frameset from an indie brand whose owners I consider friends. Ouch.
Fast forward to the HiFi crew. Mind you there are two HiFi crews - one in Portland and one out of Albuquerque - both of whose styles are drastically different. Albuquerque is pure gravel. Hardcore gravel with a smattering of road flash. Whereas the Portland gang dabbles in gravel and epic rides in the deep cuts (as Dustin Klein would call it) during the off season and then go into full cyclocross frenzy mode come fall.
And then I receive this email from Josh Liberles, the owner HiFi and one of the Portland cyclocross guys, the other day, "The bike is ideal for cross. It's so so so so good for CX. BB height is just about perfect, and geometry is dialed."
I sat on this for a few days. Not sharing it with anyone. I've heard the same thing in various forms, but seeing it in writing made my heart rate jump. So I share it with one of our local pros and Boltcutter Bike Collective team guy Michael Nunez and he all but confirms it, but then continues to tell me he's planning on racing the bike in Rebecca's Private Idaho and the UnPAved gravel race on the bike this fall. He already put the bike through the paces at this years Crusher in the Tushar gravel race.
Michael Nunez neither graveling nor cyclocrossing.
So there you have it. I guess if as a business we were going to have any sort of a crisis this is the kind you would want to have. And it does solve a short term goal of what to add as our second offering. I guess we already have two.