We are here to launch Lichen Bikes into the world. Lichen Bikes is a small shop specializing in handbuilt full suspension bikes, built in steel, and built to order. By producing all of our own custom parts, and using a suspension design that is independent of front triangle geometry, we can build each bike to suit an individual riders needs and desires.
In our quest to be ever more prepared before opening up our doors, we've actually come a long way since the video was finished. In the intervening months we did manage to scrape together enough funds to buy an Anvil Journeyman frame fixture, and we also replaced our lovely but underpowered Bridgeport CNC with an aging but capable Fadal VMC. However, we're setting our sights even higher! We've got a two tiered goal outlined below.
Our entire business model is built around being flexible and able to adapt and iterate quickly. To that end, at present almost the entirety of our process is done in house, we'd like to take that to 100% so we can have complete control of each build, and not be dependent on other manufacturers. This will increase both our design flexibility and turnaround time on frames. At present there are four processes that have to be done outside of our shop.
1. Powder coating. We don't have the equipment as yet, but we'd like to bring this in house if possible. Currently we're allowed to use the equipment at another frame builders shop, but it's a couple expensive ferry rides away, and most of a day with travel.
2. Decals. Our decals are cut out of house. We want to bring this in house so we can customize the colorway and designs on each and every frame if a customer so desires.
3. Anodizing. At present we aren't doing any anodizing on our aluminum parts because the price is prohibitive for the small batches we produce, but we'd like to have the pivot hardware anodized for aesthetics and resistance to wear. We'd like to set up a small batch anodizing station. In addition to added wear resistance, this will allow us to do color matching to paint and decals.
4. Machining pivot hardware. Currently we machine the shorter parts on the VMC here in the shop, but the longer pivot pins have to be machined on a CNC lathe out of house. We have to order them in batches, which makes the build to order model more difficult. If we bring in a small CNC lathe we can speed up the iteration process and make one off bikes more of a reality.
If we can bring these four processes in house we'll have complete control of the manufacturing process, as well as lower production costs. Want to help us make this a reality?
- At least half of all money raised will go directly towards materials and costs for rewards fulfillment. Specifically, apparel production costs, shipping, and frame materials. - At least 15% will go towards taxes and fees.
- If we raise the minimum of $15,000, after expenses are paid, we'll be able bring processes one through three in house. This includes: Powdercoat spray booth setup, and the materials to build an oven. Vinyl Decal cutter. Small scale anodizing kit, and dyes.
- If we can raise an additional $12,000 over our first tier goal, we'll be looking to purchase an older but serviceable, small footprint, production oriented CNC lathe. Most likely a Mori Seiki SL0 or something similar.
THE MATCHSTICK FRAME
Since we finished the video, in addition to purchasing some more equipment, we began the pre-production process for our first model, the Matchstick. We machined all the bits and pieces for a test batch of eight frames, the first of which is done in preparation for showing at NAHBS 2016 in Sacramento CA. We're very proud of this bike, we think it's highly refined, super fun, and pretty decent weight to boot. We're opening our doors with the release of this first model.
650b, Aggressive Contemporary Geometry, 150mm Travel. Designed, Machined, and Welded In House
- Front Triangle in Double Butted True Temper 4130 Chromoly Steel.
- Swingarm in Straight Gauge .035" Box Section 4130 Tubing.
- All Welded Machined Parts from Normalized 4130 Billet.
- Linkage Machined From 6061 Aluminum Billet.
- Pivot Hardware From 7075 Aluminum Billet.
The Third Iteration Of Our Droplink Suspension Concept
Our Drop Link dual link suspension layout is unlike any other suspension out there at the moment. Centered around a falling rate linkage layout for use with air shocks. With the tune-ability of current air shocks through damping options and volume spacers, this bike can be set up to suit the gamut of riding styles. From a linear rate ground hugging straight line machine to a poppy progressive play bike.
Improvements over the second iteration include:
- Lightened and Stiffened Linkage
- Lighter Tubeset
- Completely Redesigned Swingarm
- Adoption of 650b wheels
- Custom Linkage Hardware with expanding collet lock
- Shed 2 Lbs from previous design
- DT Swiss through axles
- DVO Shock hardware
Aggressive and nimble, with very good pedaling characteristics, to get the most out of the ups and the downs.
All of the parts for the frame are machined in house, with a few exceptions: Our standard parts like head tubes, Bottom Bracket shells, and cable guides are from Paragon Machine Works, we simply can't justify spending the time making our own when they do such a good job for so little money. And the pivot pins that attach the swingarm to the swing links, which are custom parts, are machined out of our shop because we don't yet have a CNC lathe. We then add the Allen key relief and cosmetic features to the ends on our VMC. Here's some photos of the build process.
What can we offer besides Bikes? Schwag of course!
We're offering frames as rewards, both in standard sizes, as well as custom geometry options. We're offering frame only through the kickstarter, but if a donor is interested in a complete bike we can offer build kits separately at competitive prices.
All rewards include WA state sales tax.
Risks and challenges
The primary challenge we'll be facing is if we get substantial support, we'll have a huge amount of work to do, to get all the frames out the door in a reasonable timeline. However, to that end, we've been working on a few other large projects in the shop to build up some capital, and are walking into this campaign with an open schedule to build frames.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)