There are a lot of different carbon fiber rims on the market these days, but there's only one brand manufacturing their own mountain bike rims in the great white north: We Are One. Their first product, the Agent, was released back in 2017 and they've since added many more to its catalog... as well as a highly-regarded enduro bike that's also made in their Kamloops factory with domestically sourced ingredients.
Brian Park and I sat down with Dustin Adams, We Are One's founder and retired World Cup downhill racer, to talk about the challenges (and advantages) of doing it in Canada, locally sourced parts, knowing when to ask for help, if We Are One has plans to make a downhill bike or e-bike, and many other things.
THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 115 - WE ARE ONE'S CEO TALKS FUTURE DH BIKE, E-BIKES, & DOMESTIC MANUFACTURING April 9th, 2022
Dustin is an open book about the challenges (and advantages) of domestic manufacturing.
Featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.
I seem to nuking wheels pretty fast these days (latest an Ibis S35 which I liked til they died). This is mostly enduro style / pedal up for a 2-3 hrs then down the steepest stuff usually w/ chunk / drops but also park riding (mostly east coast / western NC stuff). Ive been thinking Is shatter carbon so I just havent bothered but given my 1 set a year I seem to be destroying, and after hearing this interview, Im def double thinking
Also curious if u considered or have ridden I9 or other carbon wheels, thots on those?
Anyway - what're the specs on your wheelset & how long have you been on 'em now and are you still on the Hydra (and saying that's pretty much the deal?) ...I appreciate any input.
These were around $1700. I was going to go with the I9 aluminum wheels (Enduro 305) for about the same price, but they were talking at least a 12 week wait. The I9 carbon wheels would have been around $2400-2600, I think. Too rich for my blood. So I went with the carbon We Are Ones
The more affordable wheels (around $900) most likely have the I9 1/1 hubs. The difference is the points of engagement. Fewer points of engagement compared to the Hydras, but still a lot more than most hubs out there. Also only come in black, which is obviously no big deal. And maybe some insignificant amount heavier. The front hub should basically be the same.
Anyway, I am 165 pounds, maybe 175 with my riding gear. I’m riding a Kona Process 153, so longer travel. I ride a lot of technical stuff — rough, rocks. They hold true like a mother, and I haven’t cracked anything, but I can’t vouch for your riding style. Sounds like you put wheels to the test. I like the responsive hubs and the stiff rims — makes the bike feel alive and poppy compared to the wheels I replaced. I’m pretty satisfied.
For reference, I've been a machinist for 16 years. These guys have their shit absolutely dialed. Great work Dustin and crew. And their customer service is top notch. Special shout out to Josh and Tyler.
Yes, it's expensive, but everything Dustin places priority on has a price in dollars, but a far greater value in the long run. Thanks for being awesome and doing what you're doing. Keep it up
His comment regarding E-Mtb is spot on. I don’t see value in it either.
This isn’t just some guys in a small workshop making a small number of core products anymore - it’s on track to be a big player.
Doesn’t bother me one bit, more power too em but we’ll see if the cynicism gets turned on them or not.
As a company grows, so to does it's logistical, financial, and regulatory obligations. These are NEEDS, so that a company can grow and not get disjointed, inefficient and ineffective. A company of 100+ people need structure, organization, and direction. ESPECIALLY if they are expected to make consistently good product.
Personally I couldn't care less but I feel like pinkbike community holds WAO as one these core, small, local brands who can do no wrong when in reality they're ascending to become another medium sized brand bike maker s/t evil, transition, pivot etc.
I'm not sure what other way there is around it. Due to popularity alone they have to scale up - that or customers will wait years for rims because they would be capacity constrained. That or they would have to jack prices up to ENVE levels to curb demand, and still ENVE has had to scale up and ass similar roles so does that even work?
I get that the relationships between CFO, COO, and CEO (Dustin) is indirect - none of them are touching the rims on a day to day basis. But the all ultimately the DO, indirectly add value, I think. Especially as the company grows. They ensure product consistency, availability, and cost control.
To expect them to maintain at half a dozen employees is unrealistic. And there is something VERY good about bringing this production to Canada, creating jobs for cyclists in BC. If that's what it means to become a medium sized bike brand then what is wrong with that? Especially if they are making a good product people want. I don't see how people can fault them really.
Too much because I have no desire to buy a new bike for the foreseeable future. Keeping my bike on the trails as long as possible, and I suspect that means I can't buy a WAO frame for a LONG time. Maybe wheels, but I am hoping my current fancy carbons hold up for a while (also not light weight).