January 11, 2017

We Have No Business Building A Bike

With the launch of the CIVIC Collection, we decided to pause for a moment, think about our commute, and make a bike we not only want to ride but also a better tool to move through the city the way we envisioned. We had ideas and certainly a concept of what it feels like to ride into work and the reward that comes from experiencing our community in the visceral. That said, we sew, cut, and stitch—we don't know how to build a bike.

With all this in mind, we reached out to our friend Aaron Stinner from Stinner Frameworks, a craftsman and savant of geometries and construction. Given only a lofty design statement—"To make a bicycle that follows you through the most demanding city commute"—Aaron conceptualized The Dash. With the perfect combination of agility and stability, the end design includes fatter tires for rough streets, a timeless silhouette, stealth styling, and a utilitarian 2-speed automatic coaster brake drivetrain—one might suggest Arron designed the archetype of the American city-commute bike.

If getting Stinner on board wasn't a win in itself, to realize the design we approached our friends at Heritage Bicycles. Based in Chicago, Heritage has been welding bikes in the good ole U.S. of A. and producing the first Chicago-made bicycles since Schwinn left the city in the 70s. The folks at Heritage are committed to carrying the tradition of American manufacturing, not to mention they make a killer cup of coffee. So with the pass-off from Stinner to Heritage, we're proud to say each Dash is being fabricated and assembled in The Windy City.

To cap off the project and add that special touch, we worked with Brooks Saddles to make a limited edition B17 saddle in a color only available with the Dash—Civic Green. With heirloom quality and the fact that it's handmade, we simply couldn't think of a better way to top off the design of The Dash.

At the end of the day, we're excited to have realized a product we weren't even sure how to make, but knew we had to—a bike suited to make the chore of commuting a bit more enjoyable and ultimately easier. Simple, straightforward, reliable, and fun. Designed by the best and made in the U.S.

At the culmination of the project, we asked the key players a few questions:

Aaron Stinner (Stinner Frameworks)

Why did you get involved in this project?

"I love getting people on bikes, and I love the idea of more people moving through our communities by bike. I believe the bicycle is the most efficient mode of transportation that we have on this planet. The idea of getting more people to see that motivates me and keeps the fire burning. Most of the time, at Stinner, we are focusing on building competition style bicycle frames. It was nice to be able to work on something that was more utilitarian."

Derek Lewis (Heritage Bicycles)

When manufacturing bikes, what do you do differently?

"We’re uniquely nimble, and we run lean. To keep things affordable, we work with a skilled fabricator who does other metal work, which helps us avoid the overhead of heavy tooling and facility costs. My head mechanic is also a skilled frame builder and welding nerd, and he comes in handy when dealing with new frame parts or prototyping new models. Michael (owner of Heritage) is also crafty as hell when it comes to predicting customers wants and running a lean ship."

Jason Norton (Brooks England)

What is your favorite part about your position with Brooks?

"I was a fan of the brand [Brooks] before I took a position with them, I had always admired their history and culture. When I came aboard, I learned they were still developing new products. A couple of weeks after I started Brooks launched the Cambium C17 saddle, it was amazing to see this product take off and have so much success. The best part of working for Brooks is that they keep inventing great products for cycling."