Co-founder Jesse Carlsson explains his motivation to help form Curve Cycling.
So you know; Jesse was an age-group BMX world champ as a kid, he had his PhD in physics at the age of 24 and if you are a MTBer would know of Jesse's amazing solo and endurance racing prowess. This year he finished second in the Tour Divide, the worlds longest MTB event, a 4,400km race from Canada to Mexico.
How I got involved with Curve Cycling
I absolutely hate shit products. There’s just no excuse for them. I've seen so many of them in my time riding MTBs… Drive trains that go straight into chain suck mode with a just few globs of mud. Head tubes that flare after a couple of rides. Supposedly robust MTB tyres that get torched after a few hours of rocks. Tool canisters with lids that eject throwing your tools into the scrub. MTB hubs that require maintenance every 100km. I could go on, I'm sure you get the point.
I work hard to pull together money to keep my bike running. I have bugger all time to ride. So when a ride is destroyed by a crap product, I take it as a personal insult - a major kick in the nuts. I can see the folks behind these products now, their ugly grins, having never touched a bike in their lives, dishing out crap to suckers like me and laughing more and more with every dollar stolen from my wallet... Ok maybe I sound like a bit of a psycho, but shit products seriously piss me off.
That's why I got involved with Curve Cycling.
Steve, the man behind Curve, and I have been good mates for a long, long time. We grew up riding BMX bikes and building trails in Adelaide. In our 20’s and 30’s we found ourselves in Melbourne riding MTBs, mostly cross-country endurance stuff. Steve mentioned his idea about carbon wheels during a ride one day and together we kicked the idea around, wondering why the average punter had to pay so much for a carbon wheelset. The technology was mature, so why did we have to shell out mega-bucks for a set of tough carbon wheels? It just didn't make sense. We were happy to pay for a quality product that was tested and endorsed by riders like us, but we weren't happy paying for expensive magazine ads, big-budget pro teams, margin-upon-margin for importers-distributors-agents. We know what we want, so why do we do we have to pay for all this other crap?
Steve has, what seems like forever, been sourcing products from a variety of companies in China and Taiwan. It was a hobby for him at the start, and then it became an obsession, and he developed a process of working out which factories produced a quality product and which produced rubbish. It took a while, but eventually he settled on a handful of quality manufacturers, the same factories that produce a lot of the big name products. Be warned though, there are plenty of factories serving up cheap rubbish out there and their number is only going to increase.
As Steve was getting it right, I was getting seriously addicted to “going long” and I figured the multi-day rides would be a good test for the first Curve wheels. Teaming up with another mate of ours, Liam "the engineer" (the best wheel builder we know), we hand built up some sets and I started to try to break them.
I was nervous at first. I didn't want to use a front wheel. I had nightmares of a front carbon rim exploding, leaving me digging around for my dislodged and smashed up teeth amongst the rocks. Looking back, it seems funny. I quickly built up confidence in the product and was soon running front and rear wheels. I did a few thousand kilometres on them, covering all sorts of terrain, mostly on a fully rigid bike. There was one occasion that I rode a few hundred kilometres of single track after blowing a spoke nipple and just twisting the free spoke around another. No problems. The rims were strong.
Having convinced myself we had a quality product I was ready to jump on board and help Steve grow the Curve Cycling idea and launch it along side my Tour Divide ride. Early on we made a commitment to only sell products that we would use ourselves; products that we could happily recommend, I didn't want to sell a shit or over priced product. That market was already flooded.
So when I headed off on my Tour Divide adventure I was totally confident in the Curve Cycling wheels beneath me. There is no way I would've staked my whole trip, thousands of dollars, and months of preparation on a product I didn't have absolute confidence in.
Will our wheels survive 100-foot drops? Will they do your dishes? Will they clean your bathroom? Hell no. They do the job for us though and I'm happy to be part of a squad committed to supplying a well priced and high performing product.