The Pinkbike Podcast: Pivot's Chris Cocalis on Starting a Bike Company, US-Made Carbon, & High Prices

Feb 16, 2023
by Mike Levy  
Pinkbike Podcast
Art by Taj Mihelich

Pivot Cycles has been up to some interesting things behind closed doors, some of which we showed you earlier this week in the shape of their in-house carbon manufacturing. That's where they're making their own carbon tubes and joining them together via machined aluminum lugs, and the result is a stunning prototype that's definitely not for sale... But it might be in the future?

Today's show sees Pivot founder Chris Cocalis talk about the possibility of a limited production run of these exotic frames and why they're making them to begin with, and we also get into the early days of Titus, the time he wanted to buy an In-N-Out Burger location, e-bike sales versus mountain bike sales, and running a bike company during the pandemic. 

Pivot Cycles

Feb 16th, 2022

Chris also gets into leaving Titus and that the time he wanted to buy an In-N-Out Burger, e-bikes sales versus mountain bike sales, and running a bike company during the pandemic. 

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.

Subscribe to the podcast via your preferred service (Apple, Spotify, RSS, LibSyn, etc.), or visit the Pinkbike Podcast tag page for the complete list of episodes.

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 36 0
 That's got my vote for best podcast to date. Even the microphone levels were good!
  • 14 0
 100% agreed. It was a great history lesson of a company and the industry. Chris Cocalis is a fantastic spokesperson for the sport and @mikelevy as a fan and a journalist kept the conversation flowing. I am looking forward to a lot more like these.
  • 9 0
 Agreed! You knocked this one out of the park, Levy. Such an interesting interview, great questions and Chris’s story is really entertaining.
  • 6 0
 Yep, that was a great podcast indeed.

Good content and interaction between the two, it’s always interesting to hear all the problems bike builders had to work through to get the bikes where they are today.
  • 14 0
 Levy’s knowledge of 1980’s mountain bikes/parts is impressive. He’s like Kenneth from 30 rock: nobody is sure if he’s 250 years old or 14.
  • 13 0
 Definitely closer to 14.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: Mentally, right?
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: 14 Saturn years…
  • 12 0
 Seeing how Pivot Cycles is all about Arizona pride, I think they should offer an AZ locals discount. Jus sayin. Wink Cool
  • 5 0
 A week without the PB podcast is rugged but a 2-hr follow up makes up for it, esp w/ a genius mofo rider/operator like Cocalis. I left the cast thinking "man...all the shit I've done and I don't really know anything".

Just posting to say thanks PB and @mikelevy for all the casts since 2020.The pod re-defined the pandemic for me, and I end up streaming the pods 3-4 times to let it all soak's easily one of the highlights of my week, for years now. You guys might f*ck everything else up but even a shitty mic'd PB podcast is baller in my view. Lets just goto 3-4 casts a week ok? SWEET, thanks.
  • 2 0
 Yes @mikelevy and @pivotcycles, this podcast was one of my favorites. Retiring from the automotive manufacturing world (and the owner of 2 Pivots), I found Chris's story extremely interesting and I'm a huge fan of the brand. I've actually been in Arizona since November (getting away from the snow in Canada), riding and currently in Tempe so hopefully I can take a tour of the facility.
  • 5 0
 Hell Yeah! Shout Out to Culvers!
  • 6 0
 I love cheese so much.
  • 1 0
 As a Culver, I concur!
  • 4 3
 Great interview, Levy!
I think trail riding is so addictive because of the primal feelings of flying down (or up) singletrack is almost like being a cheetah, wolf, or rabbit. Compared to the sterile environment of a bmx track, paved road, or *gasp, the silly peloton.
  • 3 0
 wait until you find out how bombing on snowboards is and feels at 60 feels or how much nicer is to, basically, freeride of-piste, on mountain sides or in the trees.

I started snowboarding because I wanted to do some dynamic activity in the winter.. to not stay around and just watch at my bikes.. and now, some years later, I just pray and hope to have snow in the mountains until at least april; not that mtb-ing isn't fun.. but nowhere near as fun as real (free)riding.. which you cannot actually do on a mtb... on any mtb.
  • 3 0
 @eugenux: hi Gene.
I snowboarder for 7 years before getting into MTB, and I credit my quick progression to that and skateparks. The feeling of turns is like a pendulum. Similar weight transfer from board to bike.
  • 1 0
 @Chonky13: After 34 years of MTB,that is to me still the best definition of riding a bike in the woods,feeling like a fast moving animal and being in close contact with nature and where we came from.
  • 1 0
 Really enjoyed that interview! Now that I've finally finished it. Didn't help that your podcast stream confuses my player like nothing else... by the end it thought the episode was 7 hours long and it lost my place badly when I paused it. Is there anything technical going wrong on your end? Anyway, Chris is a legend and hearing his story makes me want to go build something ridiculous. I hope you poked him off-air though about the games Pivot plays with upspeccing derailleurs relative to the rest of the drivetrains on their bikes.
  • 5 1
 2 days of Pivot related content. New model imminent?
  • 3 0
 I was at ASU in the early 1990’s. I wonder if we crossed paths. Curious which dorm he lived in.
  • 1 0
 This was a very good interview. Couldn't stop listening after I finished driving. It's nice to hear a founder doing a long interview like this who is straightforward about everything. See if you can get Tom Ritchey!
  • 3 0
 Great podcast, very interesting!
  • 1 0
 It would have been cool to hear about if he had anything to do with ultimate machine company in biscuit sukka?!!. Prescott shredder dude!!’
  • 1 0
 Easy question for @mikelevy: When can we expect to see a(ny) PIvot model in an upcoming PB field test?

Great interview BTW!
  • 1 0
 Disappointed you didn't ask the big question. When does the Grim Don't v2 go into production???
  • 1 0
 Donut even!
  • 2 0
 This is screaming for a visual component/platform too!
  • 2 0
 Great podcast, brought back some great memories of early mountain biking.
  • 1 0
 Kevin Staab headbadge -Sick!
  • 1 0
 Excellent job on this interview Mike Levy!
  • 2 0
 Did you shred South Mtn?
  • 1 0
 Just a quick lap. I hadn't been on SM for years so it was nice to get back.
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