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From the Top: Gavin Michael Vos

Nov 26, 2015 at 4:32
by Paul Aston  

First things first...

I'm Gavin Michael Vos, President of Spank Industries and Fratelli Industries. I'm from South Africa, and have been living in Taichung for 20 years.

How did you first become involved with the MTB industry?

Actually, I started BMX racing as a kid. I got out of that at about the age of ten when I got heavily into surfing. Surfing led me to retail sales work in the watersports and outdoor pursuits arena. One thing led to another and we had the windsurfing industry crash in the early 80's, mainly due to the rigs becoming too expensive. Following this, a lot of the windsurfers went over from sailing to triathlon, that was when triathlon had just started budding. At the time I was working for a lifestyle sports store called Beachbreak and we started up a bicycle division that was selling triathlon wetsuits and time-trial bikes. This led to building a bike workshop in order to service the products. Then, in 1987, I bought an 18-speed ‘fat tire’ off-road bicycle that was on display at a booth at a surf retail show in USA. I thought, "Hey, cool, a big BMX bike with gears!"

bigquotes A lot of the guys that were surfing began riding mountain bikes when there was no surf - and that's how it all started.

Gavin and staff at Beachbreak
Gavin and staff at Beachbreak

I brought it back to South Africa with me and I was riding it to work and back every day to our surf shop. There was so much interest from people that we started importing Wheeler and Cats mountain bikes. A lot of the guys that were surfing began riding mountain bikes when there was no surf – and that's how it all started.

From there, it led to the first South African mountain bike company being started, where together with my partners Neil Dorward and Steven Adshade, we grew what was a surf shop into Beachbreak Pro MTB. We also started up the first MTB club called Fat Tracks, which is still going today! Together with fellow bikers Robbie Powell and Brandon Els, we started the 'Beachbreak Summer Series' MTB events which then led to the first national event called the Sedgefield Fat Tire Festival.

After a little break from surfing and biking, brought on by my two years of conscription in the Marines, we affiliated with NORBA and the South African Cycling Federation and eventually began staging the four-leg annual South African National Mountain Bike Championships.

The sport of MTB quickly began developing to the point where we took a team to the 1993 World Championships in Métabief, France. We competed there under the South African flag that was highly illegal at that time.

That initiative spurred on the formation of SAMBA, the South African Mountain Biking Association, which I started with Brandon Else, Robbie Powell and Angela Stockley. All of this was basically run out the back of the surf and bike shop.
Gavin M. Vos – TIMELINE

1975 - 1978: Raced BMX as a kid

1979: Switched to surfing

1986 - 1997: Extreme sports pioneer in South Africa (first South African bungee jumping operation called KingSwing, paragliding, power kiting, MTB racing, and in-between death defying pursuits, buyer and marketer for outdoor and adventure importer, distributor and retail chain called AST / Beachbreak)

1988: Pioneered first import and distribution of mountain bikes and components into S. Africa

1988-1990: Two years conscripted national service in the S. African Marines

1990 – 1995: Established and pioneered first SA mountain bike club (Fat Tracks), SAMBA (South 
African Mountain Bike Association), SA Mountain Bike Champs, management team for first SA MTB Team to participate in World Champs (France, 1993)

1997: Moved to Taiwan to pursue his interests in design and manufacturing with Zokes Suspension (Marzocchi), Wheeler, Hayes

1998: Established FUNN Components and VOG Designs

2000: Initiated iXS Sports Division with Intercycle Switzerland, leading design/development/production team

2001: Established Spank Industries with Sven Mack

2011: Established Fratelli Industries and Anvil Industries

2012: Established The Gravity Cartel (Sales/Service/Promotion for Spank and iXS) in Washington, USA

2015: Still Stoked

After being rapped on the knuckles quite hard for unsanctioned use of the new South African national flag, we set our sights on a bid to stage a leg of the Grundig DH World Cup in South Africa – a dream we realized in 1997 in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Man, what a buzz to see the likes of Shaun Palmer, Missy Giove and even Hans ‘No Way’ Rey descend upon the slopes of our home country.

South African bike culture was thriving at this point and I turned my focus toward the design and manufacture of the products we had been selling. Next step was heading out to Taiwan, where it was all happening.

early years

You competed at the World Championships?

I was a team manager at the time, so… I mean I was still racing, but I was way more involved with the administration, mostly taking care of the guys actually. For a long time I was into the racing aspect, walked the path as commissar, event organizer and everything that goes with it you know. Running that World Champs team also marked the beginning of a relationship with Greg Minnaar. At the time, Greg was a youngster. We were sponsoring the entire Two Wheels Inn race team at the time (a bike shop in Pietermaritzburg, owned by Greg’s mother who was one of our dealers). We heard that this kid had just jumped a ridiculous line of cars on an 80cc motorbike. So that's how I got to meet him and make him the youngest sponsored rider in South Africa at the time, bringing him on board with full sponsorship on our team. Greg has of course made his own incredible history since, and it’s really nice to know that his parents passed the baton on and today Greg owns the bike store where it all began for him.

bigquotes Man, what a buzz to see the likes of Shaun Palmer, Missy Giove and even Hans 'No Way' Rey descend upon the slopes of our home country.

Gavin Michael Vos - early days before Spank

When did you start Spank?

Spank was started about 13 years ago now. We were developing during 2001 and we launched in 2002.

What were you doing in Taiwan before Spank?

I started to travel to Taiwan with Wheeler as a distributor, and when I became involved with the product and marketing side of the business I got drawn into design and development with Zokes Suspension. Interestingly, while working with Zokes the inspiration for the first cartridge suspension system came to me while sitting in my adjustable office chair. I ripped the chair apart, and fitted the cartridge to a set of fork legs and the first working (albeit poorly) prototype was born! Supply chain challenges, or rather opportunities, in the mid-90’s prompted me to start my first component company, FUNN, in 1997, where we brought such innovations as shorty stems and the oversized (31.8m) handlebar standard. Around that same period, I established VOG – a marketing and design firm, and moved to Taiwan full time. I eventually sold my shares of FUNN to my silent partners at that time and turned the page in my development in the industry. Through an involvement with shared distribution brands (Wheeler, Marzocchi, Schwinn), a relationship was fostered with Peter Hostettler and later Pascal Haf, when we teamed up to develop iXS Sports Division, where I still participate within the management team.

bigquotes Interestingly, while working with Zokes, the inspiration for the first cartridge suspension system came to me while sitting in my adjustable office chair. I ripped the chair apart, and fitted the cartridge to a set of fork legs.

Besides working with iXS, VOG was doing some design projects for Hayes Brakes and FSA, actually the brand logo still comes from me. We did a lot of product design, graphics, packaging and marketing with companies such as SRAM, Trigon, Token and Giant. Those were the pioneering days! I was also involved in those early days with Atomlab where I sort of helped to bring it from a backyard machine shop in the USA, to Taiwan. I guess my surf and bungee background led to a natural progression to the gravity-style brands I’ve been developing from the beginning, you know.

Where did you start out with Spank?

We started off Spank in Germany, together with my partner at that time, Sven Mack, who still is our German distributor at SportsNut GmbH. I did the design, development and production and Sven handled marketing and sales in Germany. We later expanded into regional territories - France, Austria - and then broadened globally from there. As Sven’s focus turned to the demands of distribution, I became sole proprietor of Spank.

You mentioned earlier that the UK and Australia were particularly difficult markets to get into?

That's right. I think... probably the primary reason was that our exposure in the States was low back then, and a lot of the UK and Australian companies at the time were highly influenced by the American market. Add the cheekiness of the name 'Spank', combined with a misconception that we were focused on the struggling dirt jump market, together with the challenges of working with weak, early day distribution in new English-speaking territories, and you have a tough market to crack. Admittedly, we were so involved at such an early stage, I think we were part of starting the dirt movement in most territories. It was a tough sell. It didn’t take us long to realize that DJ wasn’t the future for us and we moved focus to DH, trail, freeride and enduro.

Over 25 of the production staff are dedicated to quality control inspection.
Over 25 percent of the production staff are dedicated to quality control inspection.

Can we talk about the Fratelli Factory?

Yeah, the Fratelli factory was born mainly due to frustration after going through the five big rim makers in Taiwan and realizing that we couldn't create what we were looking for – wide, lightweight, tubeless rims that can stand up to the requirements of the gravity genre.

Despite the sense of what we put on the table, we always ended up having development issues with the factories. The final straw that broke the camel's back was working with quite a well-known rim factory where we ended up having a lot of products cracking. We discovered that the material that they were selling us was different to what we had been paying for. This, and a lot of other issues eventually pushed me into starting Fratelli Industries.

So, Fratelli produces Spank wheelsets. Does it make products for other brands?

Yes, we produce all of our Spank wheelsets, from scratch. I won't say our customers’ names, just because I don't think that they would like you to know. There's no secrecy, but we're making a lot of things for some of the world's leading mountain bike and road brands. We handle the high-end alloy production and we help to design, develop, and engineer products specifically to their needs.

Why do you think those brands like to come to Fratelli?

We consider ourselves very different from the other factories. At Fratelli, we pride ourselves in hand-crafted rim production with industry leading tolerances and controls. We understand the market and the competitiveness, we try to be selective and exclusive with whom we work, and strive to deliver a unique quality product to our partners. We are a manufacturing partner, not just a supplier. This is evident in our encouragement for other brands to utilize and benefit from our facility in order to produce rims that are unique and different. We limit who we work with so we don't compete against ourselves. We make sure that we don't work with too many players, or offer too many similar products. That's why our open-model product offering is very limited. It’s designed to give people a taste of what we're capable of. We end up putting a lot more energy into original design and manufactured goods for customers than we do into our open models. The same commitment to authentic and innovative world-class quality is evident at Anvil Industries, our in-house handlebar facility.

So, Anvil is a separate manufacturing facility?

It's a similar setup to what you saw at Fratelli, just very different machinery. Anvil Industries is noted for innovations in manufacturing processes, specifically CNC bending and Dual XGT (extreme gradual tapering). To explain briefly, it may surprise some to hear that where most high-end alloy handlebars are butted around three to four times, at Anvil we’ve developed a process mechanically refining the grain structure of the base material. Despite the extended production lead times and added investment this approach results in, we don’t rush. Our commitment is to a precision process that delivers the best result.

Anvil Industires is another inhouse manufacturing facility started by Spank President Gavin M. Vos and produces Spank s top-tier Vibrocore handlebars.
Anvil Industries is another in-house manufacturing facility started by Gavin, and it produces Spank's top-tier Vibrocore handlebars.

Was there a point where you felt the Spank brand starting to take off? Did it snowball, or was it slow and steady?

I would say in the last three seasons it's begun to take off. I think a big reason for that is growth outside of our traditional territories, growing in the English speaking territories like the USA, UK, Australia and so forth. Product innovations, a lot of time and energy and investment into the North American markets, these things all have paid off in notable growth. We established our own office in Washington, USA, which in itself was a four-year process. We geared up quite significantly about a year ago with warehousing and infrastructure and an ERP system. I also really upped our marketing budget and rider sponsorship, which has helped to open more new territories as brand awareness has grown. The growth and evolution of our in-house manufacturing facilities has allowed us to offer lightweight, World Cup level products at even more affordable prices. I think that also gave us a boost. All these factors are straightforward evidence of the returns being directly related to the inputs.

After-butting-and-swaging. Spank bars will move onto the CNC bending process.
After butting and swaging, Spank bars will move onto the CNC bending process.

Let's talk about Spank products. After visiting the factory today, I was amazed by the quality and craftsmanship taking place compared to my previous vision of the brand. Do you often get bundled together with lower quality, off the shelf companies that just buy, brand and market?

Yes, I think we do get incorrectly bundled there, and there are a few reasons, hinged on stereotyping, that have led to that misconception. Maybe an ‘old school’ perception that shiny and colorful equals cheap and low quality. Due to the mass-market power of the big brands, there is also a misconception that your product is not ‘up to scratch’ if it’s not spec’d on complete bicycles. Then there’s also the age-old misconception that excellence must be expensive. Spank breaks all those ‘norms.’

The audaciousness of our brand name, and the choice of our color ranges reflect our energy and passion. Our products are also uniquely affordable for technology of this standard. We’ve invested hugely over the years in being able to deliver in-house design, production and quality control of, literally, the highest standards for exactly that reason – so that we can deliver World Cup level product at affordable pricing structures.

bigquotes Then there's also the age-old misconception that excellence must be expensive. Spank breaks all those 'norms'

Stiff QC controls are implemented at every stop during the manufacturing process
Checking a rim during the manufacturing process.

Spank has strategically stayed away from OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for industry customers. Our goal is to retain the authenticity and innovation of product for our consumers, for the riders out there. OEM leads to all manner of risks including reduced control of design and production integrity, loss of brand authenticity, and various other factors that come into play in a high volume, mass-market environment. And, that’s not even getting into the potential damages of grey market concerns. It’s just not for us. It’s not what Spank is about. We do, however, do some very selective OEM business, and with that we try to do special bike models with brands that we feel are a good fit.

What's your most popular product to date, and are there any products you regret making?

Our early fame came from our wide rims, such as Spike and Oozy, although it was our first flat pedal, the Spike, which I think opened the eyes of the world to what Spank is doing. Most recently, our Vibrocore handlebar-damping technology has made waves as an innovation that seems to be setting a new standard in what a handlebar should be.

Hooping an Oohbah profile Spank rim
Hooping an Oohbah profile Spank rim
Rims must be inspected and cleaned at multiple points throughout production.
Rims are periodically inspected at multiple points throughout production.

You seem reluctant to make the change towards carbon products. What's the reason for that?

Well, I've been in and out of factories in Asia since carbon really took off about 15 years ago. I've seen the level of production capability, and I feel that carbon as a product is under spec’d in the bicycle industry. There is a place for carbon, but I think it's on the elite two to five percent of professional-use products.

bigquotes It's not that I'm anti-carbon, but I'm 'anti-the-way-that-it's-being-used.'

I think the problems are in the way it's used now, it's become a work horse material, it's become cheaply produced and in unsustainable ways. I feel that you can get a better cost-to-performance ratio out of alloy than you can get out of carbon today, and with a readily recyclable material. The environmental and ethical concerns raise a major red flag. It's not that I'm anti-carbon, but I'm 'anti-the-way-that-it's-being-used.' It's become a low-cost material and not an exclusive material.

I also feel that the industry is being irresponsible in the way that it's promoted and pushed carbon for mass-appeal. For an industry like the bicycle industry, which is considered to be relatively 'green,' I believe it's time to start educating consumers about the consequences of their purchases, and address the relevance of high volume carbon manufacturing in light of ethical and environmental impacts.

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Very interesting...

Yeah, I mean there's a second part to that, and that's the cost implication. As I said before, I feel that carbon played a detrimental role in the windsurfing industry because the product became too expensive. I feel that we are potentially losing new and young consumers because they might not be in a position to afford carbon, therefore they may choose not to participate in biking because they can't get what's perceived to be a cool product. I think that's a secondary concern, that we might be alienating ourselves from new consumers.

You said that happened in windsurfing?

That's my personal opinion, and I share that stance with quite a few other opinion leaders in that area, but it definitely had a massive negative effect on the board sailing scene.

It'll be interesting to see if the same happens in the mountain biking industry.

I think it's already happening to some extent and that is why we have had an agenda at Spank for some time now to ensure that we can deliver responsibly manufactured, safe, affordable alternatives in alloy.

You reinvest a lot into sponsorship programs, does this help with development and building the brand image?

It helps with building brand image, yes. But even more so, the relationships with our sponsored riders and events allow us to develop product responsibly and innovatively. We sponsor World Cup teams, FMB athletes, enduro racers and ambassadors globally. This affords us the opportunity to engage and to get direct feedback on where the market is going, and what demands are placed on the products.

We try to learn as much as we can from that. I'm personally visiting a lot of events now: Crankworx, iXS Cups, iXS Dirt Masters, Sea Otter and so on. We work closely with our riders to isolate what problems they have with components, what desires they have for product development and we get them directly involved with that development. We see it as a very essential part of our brand’s requirement to stay ahead. But even more so, to give back by ensuring that we're growing the sport.

It's good to see some companies putting the money back at different levels, rather than supporting few of the elite.

Yes, aside from our impressive World Cup teams such as United Ride, legends of the sport like Darren Berrecloth, and FMB rising stars like Nicholi Rogatkin, we also have quite a substantial grassroots program, where we provide affordable product to young, aspiring riders that we feel have got potential but maybe need a little bit of support to get off the ground. Actually, a lot of our grassroots riders have evolved into professional competitors and we've been supporting some of these guys for ten to twelve years. It's actually helped to foster new talents. We maintain relationships with these guys specifically to help grow our industry. We see that a big part of what we do is involvement and participation.

bigquotes We encourage any brands to get involved and participate in growing the scene and nurturing new talent into our sport.

But equally as important as rider support, is event development. The Spank sponsorship profile today includes being the presenting sponsor of the Official Whip-Off Worlds, Oceania and European Championships at Crankworx Whistler, Rotorua and Les Deux Alpes, (or now Les Gets as it will be in 2016). As a premier sponsor of the iXS Downhill Cup, we’ve also seen over the last 14 years of this event how it's evolved, and we see that as a fantastic vehicle that’s brought European downhill racing back to the top. Most of the World Cup riders are coming directly out of this series. Without these kinds of activities, there wouldn't be that market segment, which in turn wouldn't have led to the new enduro segment either. So we encourage any brands to get involved and participate in growing the scene and nurturing new talent into our sport.

Spank pedals
Pedal production on a custom-made, 4.5 axis CNC machine.

Let's talk about moving to Taiwan and building the whole business from here. What's the biggest challenge you faced so far?

The biggest challenge I would say is learning to live in a very different culture, to find a compromise on what my expectations were as opposed to trying to adapt. How can I put it? ...Trying to change a culture rather than to adapt to it. I think it took me a long time to realize that I'm not going to change Taiwan, nor should I try, but I needed to learn how to work with it. Once I changed my attitude in that way, things became easier. I think it's like any relocation; it takes some time, especially in a completely foreign language and in a very traditional culture. Yeah, it takes a while to adapt.

Any thoughts on moving elsewhere as economics change?

No. I think that Taiwan is going to always be the major role player in bicycle production.

It seems like everything you need is here.

It's incredibly established and it's improving and always getting better. I see potential for smaller machine-shop manufacturing coming back to Western markets like in the UK and USA. I'd like to see that happening over time. But, I don't think that they're going to be able to compete with the mass production to the extent, quality and competitive pricing that the Far East does. I don't think that’s going to change in the short term. I think that if high-end bicycles stay carbon, it's certainly not going to move away from Asia – just to be able to do the volume at the pricing that's required. In actual fact, a lot of production seems to be coming back from China to Taiwan purely for quality reasons. The Taiwanese have proven over time that they make a better product at a more cost-effective price than any other market. And that's been the trend for 30 years.

Why do think that is? Is this supported by their culture and work ethic?

I think a large part of it is culture and work ethic. I have massive respect for the focus my colleagues and business associates here in Taiwan put on work as a priority and lifestyle as a benefit. This is very different to the perceived lifestyle focus of the West in general. Which is right or wrong, is another question. I think somewhere between what Taiwan is today, and what the Europeans and Americans do, there's an answer that will satisfy everybody.

I also feel the work ethic here is collaborative in nature in contrast to where Westerners seem to be more closely guarded with what they do and how they do it. I think it's sometimes to their detriment, but I don't see it changing in the short term.

PCD diamond cutting CNC tooling from Germany s leading automotive supplier.
Final finishing is done with diamond-faced CNC tools from Germany.
Swiss-made CNC bits custom made for Spank pedal production.
Swiss-made CNC cutting tools, custom-profiled for pedal production.

Have you got any favorite business books or courses that helped you along the way? Anything that you'd recommend?

Actually, you know earlier today I mentioned Richard Branson, and one of the few non-technical books I've read is a book he wrote called 'Losing My Virginity.' I actually read that book cover to cover during the 1999 earthquake in Taiwan; I was stuck in a car for two to three weeks because everybody was advised not to go into their apartment.

bigquotes You know where Spank comes from? It's basically when you're born and get your first slap on the butt which kick-starts your vitals and gets your heart and lungs going; that's the first sort of adrenaline rush that you get!

The 7.3 earthquake basically shut the island down. I happened to pick up a copy of that book on the way into Taiwan just before that incident. I found the book highly motivating, inspired that the music that he had produced was music I had grown up listening to. The attitude that he had, that you can take on anything and do anything that you put your mind to, really inspired me to get deeply involved with manufacturing. If I had not read that book, I probably would never have entered into this…let’s call it 'risk.'

His branding of the business 'Virgin' somehow even inspired me to some degree to the brand name Spank. You know where Spank comes from? It's basically when you're born and get your first slap on the butt which kick-starts your vitals and gets your heart and lungs going; that's the first sort of adrenaline rush that you get! Considering the fact that we've all won the biggest race we're ever going to race – you against billions of fellow sperms and we cracked the egg, and therefore - we are. You know, I think…[laughing]...it doesn’t get any bigger than that, yes, therefore, Spank. I think Branson was quite inspirational.

Looking back, is there anything you'd have done differently?

Well, I think in retrospect you can always say you could've done a lot of things better. I try to use that in going forwards and I think the important thing for me at this stage is to develop a management team that can take on some of the philosophy we have. In the last few years, I've gathered a group of young guys that are motivated and enthusiastic, to try and give these guys an opportunity to make the company a part of their own to some degree, and to be able to take it forwards. I think that's an important thing, sharing in successes and also in failures, trying to bring a strong team of people together because at the end of the day I think everything requires people with passion. You can't buy passion, you have to reward passion.

Spank employees

That's just something that I'm trying to do now, trying to think about when I was a young and aspiring businessman. What made the difference to me? I think it was an opportunity. Somebody needs to open a door for you, you need to go in yourself, but there needs to be a door. I'm trying to facilitate door access.

With Spank specifically, it is to get more deeply involved with manufacturing and to find more cost effective ways to produce a wide range of quality products, at an affordable price. That's a big part of what we are and what we stand for, to keep on pushing the envelope with what we can do, you know, whether it's design, engineering or production. To grow the business at a steady pace and to maintain a level of exclusivity that we've managed up to this point and to go forward step by step.

We need to cover manufacturing costs and the cost of investment in machinery, and we're trying to share our capabilities with people that we think are like-minded, brands where we like what they are doing, and who are not necessarily direct competitors. I see a big part of our future is that we don't particularly have to own and do everything ourselves, there's a lot of other people doing good things and you know everybody likes a slightly different flavor. With Spank we want to maintain our love-hate relationship. Some people are going to love us, and some people are going to hate us, and that's the way we want to stay.

Every Spank pedal is hand inspected to ensure the highest standards of precision machining have been met.
Measuring the bearing sockets in a pedal.

What trends do you see coming in the future?

I think the way that the bicycle market is going, customization is becoming more and more important – bar lengths, rises and sweeps for example. Stem lengths, rim widths, pedal platform sizes, we've got something new in the pipeline which is going to be quite exciting along that line. We're trying to become a true aftermarket brand where you can get the right size product for your height, your geometry, or your discipline.

More choice makes it inherently more difficult as a brand, because it means that you're producing less volume and more options, which is opposite to the direction you want to go with manufacturing. We are trying to gear up everything we do in our manufacturing process to allow us the flexibility going forwards to be able to deliver multiple specifications and smaller volumes. This is a challenge that we're working on now to try to find cost-effective solutions for smaller volume, more specification, manufacturing techniques. That's kind of where we see our future with the brand, getting away from the mass produced model and focusing on boutique, exclusive, manufacturing.

I think Spank has come out of its most difficult years as a developing product and brand. But I think that the industry itself is heading for a few difficult years now, as I believe the industry is way overtraded. I think that's a little bit of a concern at the moment, that there's too many players that possibly aren't putting enough back into it to sustain their involvement. That's what we're trying to communicate at Spank now - that we've been a player for many years and the people behind Spank have been for here for a long time and are really trying to be a long term participant in our industry, for the benefit of our industry and the consumers that support it.

Hopefully with the investments that we're making now, at design, manufacturing, rider and event development levels, that's going to give us a certain strength to sustain through what I think is possibly going to be the doldrums of the bicycle industry in the next three to five years.

Spank employees

bigquotesAt Spank we're blessed in the partnerships and friendships that define our business environment.

Anything else you would like to talk about?

Well really, the health and strength of this entire eclectic industry, and Spank’s place in it, is rooted in relationships and collaborations. At Spank we’re blessed in the partnerships and friendships that define our business environment. We have great respect for iXS Sports Division and their ethos that resonates soundly with ours. Likewise, synergies with Pinkbike is an excellent example of how it takes many diverse, but like-minded players to keep the growth of MTB an upward curve. We see Pinkbike, for example, as a media partner doing a very, very similar thing to what we've done. What we're continually striving for to modernize platforms in the design and manufacturing sector, you guys are doing with media and internet technology.

One of the biggest benefits of our industry is that it's filled with a bunch of enthusiastic individuals, which is fantastic. The negative side of enthusiastic individuals is that there's not necessarily the top-level professionalism that an industry demands. That is why we champion authentic and innovative product, independence, and non-corporate rider-owned companies in our industry.

So yeah, we encourage competitors and people that are willing to be around for a long time to get more involved and make stuff. Don't just brand and market stuff, you know, get your hands dirty and make something, because that's the future.

MENTIONS: @spank-bikes

Author Info:
astonmtb avatar

Member since Aug 23, 2009
486 articles

  • 117 10
 A very interesting read and great interview with Gavin! I just learned a lot! After riding the same brands components since 1998 and doing much research I have just switched to using SPANK products and couldn't be happier! The Vibrocore bars alone will blow your mind on how they minimize arm pump riding rough terrain! Go SPANK!
  • 66 1
 Sponsored by spank tippie?
  • 45 17
 Tippie - you just spanked the fragile, virgin objectivity of so many of us here, you violated the bike internet. I feel like you just put your tongue into my ear and whispered: ssssSpank... I never thought... that I... would enjoy such things. Call me - and talk to me dirty about spikes and vibro cores! YEA! Smile
  • 28 0
 Tippie gets spanked for money !
  • 8 1
 Vibrocore sounds like a relatively cheap/smart way to get the carbon dampening characteristics without worrying about crashing and shredding carbon. I just wish they had some sort of test to show its effectiveness.
  • 9 2
 Just got some Spank 800 vibrocores to match my Spank wheelset, the finish looks great, only 1 ride and I realized I belong at the 777 mark. I've had the Subrosa wheels and now the Spoon 32s, these things are bulletproof and for an inexpensive price. Hats off to Spank I'm a customer for life!
  • 6 19
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 14, 2016 at 4:35) (Below Threshold)
 What carbon? I can easily get a night sleep before riding the ENVE or Syntace carbon bar but I'd never get on that 110g Tune pish or sht you can buy at Ali-express. Be it Carbon or Aluminium, it means nothing since it comes in so many variations. Spank 777 light bar wasn't the stiffest thing out there.
  • 6 0
 Awesome informative article. I've got a lot of Spank gear on my bikes and I can't say enough about the quality and tech you get for the price. Rims especially take a beating. Spank rims can take a beating. I've never damaged one, but when I do I know a replacement isn't going to bother my pocket.
The Vibrocore bars are a great idea too.
I hope this article opens more people's eyes on Spank as a manufacturer, not just a brand that pays someone else to make their product.
Any ideas who else has rims made by Fratelli?
  • 2 0
 Spank Vibrocore bars are indeed awesome. I put some on my wife's bike simply because they matched the green Spank Oozy wheels (which have been bombproof thus far). I ride my uber expensive carbon bars back-to-back with them and honestly prefer the feel of the alloy. The test is in the consumer who for half the price and the weight difference of bowel movement have a great product. Also that bling!
  • 4 0
 I was already curious about getting some vibrocore bars this season, and after hearing the manufacturing philosophy and amount of in-process inspection, I think I the new 29" trail wheelset might be on my list, too.
  • 4 3
 Imagine if they decided to put Vibrocore into their rims. For some reason, I feel that concept eluded many...

@spank-bikes Have you tried this Gavin?
  • 11 0
 I was curious about getting vibrocore bars, then Tippie said they were good. Now I NEED them.
  • 9 2
 I'm glad for you Tippie. I also am a lucky guy cause eventually found the ultimate remedy that's made me happier. My life was a living hell before, I barely slept at all and had to take large doses of Cialis to work properly. At first thought it was due to the front wheel size of my Reign, but no, then thought that might be a matter of hub size, but no again. Since I use spank, especially the vib bars...... oh man, just threw the Cialis out with the bath water
  • 3 1
 To be honest I find the rims a bit on the soft side. Dings more often than my DT rims
  • 7 0
 Great article, one of the best on PB. Its very interesting what he had to say about carbon. And big props to the wire Paul Aston for an impressive write-up.
  • 8 0
 I could be wrong, but I would guess the Tip could ride anything he wanted and get paid for it, or get it for free. He probably chose a product he really likes. He's always been free of BS when I talked to him.
  • 2 2
 looking for to try the vibrocore system... -core is ok as long as it's not pro~
  • 2 0
 Regarding carbon bars, renthal said they mimicked the exact feel of their metal bars when they went carbon. So I'm that case, it is just weight and bling factor you're paying the extra for, not the ride feel
  • 3 2
 @jaame Have you tried a carbon handlebar or rim yet? They ride very differently and feel extremely different (talking about raceface atlas to raceface sixc). I personally think carbon when I'm buying a new handlebar because they absorb impacts/vibrations while having a stiff/accurate steering at the same time.
  • 2 0
 this is interesting....many pros have been switching back to aluminum rims because carbon were too stiff. yet for a handlebar, it seems opposite. probably why i'm not an engineer...
  • 1 0
 No I haven't tried one. I'm just repeating what Ian Collins from renthal said in an interview about the fatbar light carbon
  • 2 1
 @SeaJay I've had carbon rims and bars... I'd say you're right to be confused but the main thing to remember is that carbon is stiff but absorbs vibrations. The big difference in application is carbon wheels being super stiff affects how they track between obstacles like rocks and roots etc. They track great and absorb vibrations but tend to get pinged off the obstacles due to their stiffness.
  • 1 0
 I believe it is referred to as the "stiffness profile". For example, carbon can be quite flexible under tiny loads, but become very stiff under large loads. Again, I'm not an expert, simply repeating what I've heard.
  • 3 0
 This should be read by leaders in any industry. Gavin's approach to his business through his understanding of the ethos of the industry is the recipe for success. Go Spank!
  • 1 5
flag jespinal (Jan 18, 2016 at 12:25) (Below Threshold)
 Eyyyy fuck spank Sincerely a dirt jumper
  • 1 0
 I swear some people must have spider senses when it comes this stuff. I swapped to carbon bars on one of my bikes and could feel no appreciable difference between them and the alloy bars on another bike. They both felt like nice stiff handlebars. There were two differences I did find. Weight, which would be very mildly noticeable, and price, which I found was extremely noticeable.
  • 2 0
 ninjatarian - I've said it many times about carbon bars but I am genetically deprived of post purchase rationalization.
  • 1 0
 I believe that genetic condition is called Inter-Motor Neruo Optic Disconect Ulternate Memory Blindness, more commonly known as "IMNOTDUMB."
  • 36 1
 I certainly wish more people in the mtb industry would share his opinion on Carbon.
  • 6 0
 Agree. Personally haven't ever owned anything carbon, not that comes to mind anyway. Was in my LBS the other day and there was a KTM carbon full sus XC thing, don't know it's model, with a snapped rear triangle. Apparently the rear was only two rides old and that was the third replacement, front had been replaced once too. Ouch!
  • 16 0
 I also wish more in the industry would share his concern with pricing themselves into an industry recession. It's hard to get new riders interested in mountain bikes when they see the cost of mid to upper mid level gear. There's older riders who have adjusted and are willing to still spend the money, but they won't be around forever.
  • 4 8
flag Alias530 (Jan 14, 2016 at 6:13) (Below Threshold)
 @ridethree @sessrider ... as usual, people speculating on things rather than forming an opinion after using them.
  • 18 1
 Glad someone in the industry has the balls to speak the truth about carbon. As someone who has some experience in carbon manufacturing (not in cycling industry), it baffles me that the price of carbon products keep going up while the raw material and labor costs are dropping. Why aren't the prices dropping? Because the industry doesn't have the next big thing so the industry must maintain carbon as "exotic" to keep the prices up. Simple economics for an undereducated (on the particular topic) market. Human nature is to want the best and the industry has done an excellent job of marketing and pricing carbon as the best.

I've had both carbon and alloy bikes and am currently on an alloy Smuggler. Better than most carbon bikes I've owned and equal to a couple of carbon stand-outs. A couple of pounds does not matter to me (I like to drink beer) and while my wallet can comfortably afford carbon bikes, I'm not convinced of the price to value proposition.

Nice to see a company like Spank being innovative with alloy.
  • 3 0
 @Alias530; just because I don't or haven't owned anything carbon doesn't mean I haven't used or been able to evaluate such products. For the record I think carbon fibre is a fantastic material to be making bicycle products from, I only question it's relevance for, say for arguments sake, 90% of us.
  • 3 0
 It's YT to the rescue.
  • 5 0
 Someone i know who works in a Taiwanese bike factory told me four or five years ago that carbon is an accountant's wet dream because it is cheaper to make and sells for more than aluminium. I'm not sure this is true in all cases but I believe it is in some cases.
  • 5 0
 I also drink beer and have no interest is carbon bikes or bike parts
  • 3 1
 Think about the labor process too. No more skilled welders, just fabric cutters who couldn't hack it at Nike cutting crabon cloth and stuffing it in a mold... Lower cost.
  • 2 3
 Cause aluminum is such a treat for the environment, with the way it's processed and refined. Anyone making aluminum parts while casting down carbon is full of shit. Go make steel and bamboo if you're actually trying to take a stance. Furthermore, this dude forsaking DJ while saying it's dead. Yeah. It's dying because companies like yours are pulling the life support plug. Suspension companies ignore us and mostly do non-travel adjust, taper, 650b forks, wheel companies are building high end carbon DH wheels, while again ignoring DJ, SS, and general play bikes. I fucking hate this mentality. You made your company on us, and then you bail away from us to follow the newest fads. That and Tippie's advert above. Holy shit so much respect lost within this webpage. Spank you suck.
  • 2 0
 @sherbet You realize that there's tons of overlap with appropriateness of wheelsets? You can use CX wheels on road and vice versa, trail wheels have overlap with XC and AM... you don't need to come out with "DJ WHEELS" to be able to use them for DJ...
  • 1 0
 I'm using a hope front hub, fireeye rear, spank spike rim combo on my corsair play bike. I think they still do the spoon wheels too, and released a 24" version recently
  • 1 0

How can I use XC and AM wheels for a DJ bike if they're not the same size diameter? That's my point.

DJ is firmly based around 26 due to shorter chainstays and people wanting agility. All the parts are moving to 650 and 29er. I've been a long time advocate of running off genre parts as the selection in DJ is shit, but now that's turning into an non-option.

But please, ignore everything I'm saying and tell me to run AM parts I can't. Awesome.
  • 1 2
 Really? Then use 26" AM wheels, nobody is telling you to run 27.5 but you're acting like something needs a DIRT JUMPER sign on it to fit your bike. There is nothing short of a plethora of 26" stuff out there and some MAJOR bargains to be had in the used market.
  • 1 2
 What you basically said was "stupid torx bolt won't work with my hex tool, ugh!!"

Use the right tool for the job.
  • 3 1
 @sherbet A quick look on Spank's website shows that 100% off Spank's rims are available in 26" and is in fact the predominant rim size, some available as 559 only and 650B 29" options limited, two rims designed specifically for DJ. What's the whinging?
  • 1 1
 Exactly. All their stuff is 26". I wanted to buy some spike race rims in 29" and guess what? They don't make them. Someone needs to get their facts straight.
  • 2 2
 Yes, I am acting like DJ is it's own genre, with it's own needs.

Frame makers have backed off hard on the genre. There use to be dozens of good tire choices, now I can count the tires I'd actually want to use on one hand.

You guys are completely missing the point. If there were no AM parts on the market, no actual 160mm forks, for example, and everyone had to lower dual crown DH forks? Yeah. People would not be happy. The DJ segment is in a similar situation, and park/street bikes have even fewer options. Straight steerer forks, for example. Basically the only high end option is currently the 36, which is an arm and a leg. Most steel frames are still straight steerer, and there's really little reason for the swap, other than needing to keep with the rest of the industry.

Play bikes are another good example. Right now there's a bunch of examples of bikes getting hyper short chainstays and people are LOVING them. Two examples are the Following and the Riot. This mentality was never really applied to short travel (120ish) trail bikes. If it were, there'd be some INSANELY fun and agile bikes. This market is being ignored for some odd reason.

You say I need to get my facts straight. I said DJ parts are getting rare. You suggest AM and FR parts. I suggest you get your facts straight. Being the same size is only part of the problem.

Then you come by and say use the right tool for the job, after saying use parts from a different style of riding. You make no sense.
  • 2 0
 sherbet - with all due respect, there's plenty of 26" products out there for everyone an every riding style. There's lots of companies making DJ stuff. No other genre than DJ, created the anodized color customization madness releasing the most repressed narcissistic tendencies among bikers of all kinds. And that continues up to this day. I built a pump bike 3 months ago. It took me 5 minutes to find tyres for it. Also DJ got into performance game, lads are running XC racing tyres at very high pressures and laugh at Hookworms for being too heavy. Then the bit about forks. Sorry, since 2004 Dj specific forks were utter sht. Marzocchis were a joke (their last good DJ/Street fork was 2003 Dirtjumper series, it went down to garbage rather quickly afterwards). Argyle - really? Steel stanchions - I mean fkng really? Every DJ dude with a tiny bit more cash and sanity in his head, was putting on a regular XC fork like Reba or 32 Float, or eventually a 32 Pike which costed not much more than Argyle. So can you do right now - toss in a Recon and stop whining Big Grin Also many people were buying used 36 forks and lowering them quite a lot - it was the most sought after fork for DJ around my place. You don't need to buy that lowered PIKE for zillion dollars.
  • 1 0
 I bought an argyle rct three months ago brand new for a great price. 20mm axle, straight steerer. Also using rocket Ron tyres. Easy.
  • 1 0
 And the marzocchi slope fork was released last year
  • 27 1
 I enjoy these industry articles more than product reviews. Instead of reading about the food we find out what's going on in the kitchen.
  • 19 1
 These guys (Spank and IXS) are a great example of what the bike industry can be (and what many others are also embracing). Ethical, honest, innovative, supportive of their community, and realistic in regards to who their customer base is and what they can "afford". Good products, good people...can't ask for much more these days (well you could ask for a winning powerball ticket but that aint gonna happen).
  • 8 0
 I think it's great that companies have such strong beliefs and strategies:
"Spank has strategically stayed away from OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for industry customers"
do not become the clown of your client
  • 12 1
 Great interview! As a windsurfer and mtb'er, I can relate to what he says about the cost of equipment. Also agree with his take on carbon use...
  • 6 1
 I agree also with his alloy vs carbon views. Saving one pound on a frame is not something one would notice if they were honest about it. Usually alloy will deform before it fails while carbon pretty much just fails. Wheel sets in carbon don't save allot in weight but some say they are stiffer, I think a little flex in a wheel is a good thing but maybe that's due to me riding a hardtail.
  • 4 0
 Especially if you're particularly big and/or strong.
At 200lbs+ and extra lb in the frame won't make any difference to anything but your wallet.
But at 200lbs+ carbon 29er rims make all the difference in the world.
  • 2 7
flag Alias530 (Jan 14, 2016 at 15:04) (Below Threshold)
 Anyone who thinks carbon is only about weight has never ridden it. Carbon handlebars reduce fatigue, carbon frames are more comfortable to ride, carbon frames and wheels are stiffer and thus easier to point and shoot, carbon has no fatigue life like aluminum which will fail WHEN not IF.
  • 3 0
 I think there are plenty of affordable options that perform outrageously well so i do not believe carbon and it's pricing will be that much of a detriment to the future of mtb. However, I'd love to read some elaboration on the environmental impacts he mentioned. I have heard such things years ago but not much detail and assumed the industry had cleaned up it's act . I'd like to know what's going on and if carbon is an environmental cancer to produce and manufacturers don't care to make it otherwise, then fuck it. And i have carbon everything.
  • 1 0
 @rexluthor I can't speak to the hazards of initial carbon production, but the options at end-of-life differ do significantly. Carbon fiber is very difficult, if not impossible to recycle. Basically, it goes into a landfill 99.99% of the time. Aluminum, on the other hand, has possibly the most established recycling process of any major material worldwide. You almost have to go out of your way NOT to recycle aluminum these days.
  • 1 0
 On a similar topic, watching a bike brand's carbon lay-up process video left me puzzled. Let's just say that the procedure was far from sophisticated. In fact, if it was my company, I'd never allow a clip of the process to be publicly released. Definitely not the same way aerospace constructions are made.

The fibers and resins used may be of excellent quality, but if the lay up, compaction, resin to fiber ratio are not above a certain standard, then the final product will be far from optimal and certainly not worth the asking price. It's very easy to make the finish super smooth and high tech looking.

On the environmental front, mining aluminium is not a "green" business either.
  • 8 1
 read the article
"You know where Spank comes from? It's basically when you're born and get your first slap on the butt which kick-starts your vitals and gets your heart and lungs going; that's the first sort of adrenaline rush that you get!"
  • 2 52
flag theminsta (Jan 14, 2016 at 5:37) (Below Threshold)
 Sorry(not sorry) to ruin your fun, but spanking *literally* makes people dumber when done to babies/children.

Don't do it as it makes people statistically more likely to commit crimes, infidelity, abuse loved ones, have lower IQ, vote left/liberal, etc.

"One of the most stress sensitive areas of the brain, he says, is the hippocampus, near the amygdala in the mid-brain, which is the center for emotional management and is used for learning, storing and retrieving memories. This part of the brain continues to produce important neurons after birth and stress can suppress this function, ultimately slowing down or impairing our ability to control emotions, take in new knowledge, and think at our best. When a child is exposed to trauma and stress (including spankings that don’t leave scars or other serious physical injuries), that part of the brain increases in volume and can alter a child’s normal brain development. The effects might not be apparent for years until after puberty."
Read more: www.forharriet.com/2014/05/dont-whoop-that-child-how-spanking-is.html#ixzz3xE21OUma
  • 21 2
 Minsta you dummy, he is referring to when babies were born and the doctor would give them a slap to get them breathing. No ones talking about spanking kids for punishment. Take your stupid political tirade elsewhere. Oh wait, you can't. Everyone banned you from their threads on the forums.
  • 6 22
flag theminsta (Jan 14, 2016 at 5:51) (Below Threshold)
 I haven't been banned anywhere...yet

And I came across the spanking stuff recently and just saw this comment Big Grin edit; wait, how was that political? being dumb is a matter of life/fact..
  • 2 1
 Spanking the baby makes him or her into a really rad rider.
  • 9 0
 Running two sets of Spank Subrosa Rims on Hope Hubs. Best combo I've run to date. Bulletproof
  • 4 0
 I'm running the same combo, and it's absolutely fabulous
  • 4 0
 Also running the same combo. I'm amazed when I hack my way through a section, with ohh F*** moments. Still spinning true
  • 8 0
 I had Spank Bitchstick bars on my Rocky Flow DJ, I always found it hilarious when someone would say how not PC that is.
  • 5 0
 Good point on the carbon products turning new riders away. I know that, if there wasn't such a good second hand market for used bike parts, I wouldn't be riding what I am today, simply because it is far too expensive for me to buy brand new.
  • 5 0
 I went through 11 hoops last year, mostly mavic 823 hoops and a few sun inferno's on novatec hubs. I bought the SPANK SPOON 32 wheelset and I am so impressed with the quality and performance for a 399$ wheelset. They still roll as fast as new, no hops, no dents, and stay true. Also they have an excellent profile for most 26" 2.3-2.5 dh tires and setup tubeless so easy if you decide to. I have rode them down hairball at Snowshoe and trails at TTC and Windrock many times with a completely flat tire after a pinch (not trying to gwin it, just focusing on a front heavy finesse style.....but still hitting all my lines and some of the features/drops) never had anything other than scratches and a gouge or two on the side. I will definitely be considering spank for many of the components on my next build. This article has only solidified my faith in the company! Good stuff for sure!
  • 4 0
 Really enjoyed this article. Not a brand loyalist whatsoever but have a set of Oozy Trail 295 that are boss rims and an old Funn stem from over ten years ago that still looks the mutts nutts! Will be showing the brand some more support in the future after reading this.
  • 4 0
Love your products!..Owned several of your rims and wheel sets-Best wheels/Rims for he money hands down!!!

THANKS!..and keep up the good work.
  • 5 0
 I will always fly the flag for Spank products. Their customer service has been top notch and when I call The Gravity Cartel they are always stoked to help. Vic S. And Mike Dutton get a particular shout out.
  • 4 0
 I second that! Mike and Vic are awesome to deal with. I Spanked all of my bikes with the bars, stems and rims. I'm a proud patron!
  • 5 1
 Never knew he was the man behind Funn products! Been using Spank products for years and love their products, basically every new build gets Spank wheelset, stem, bars and pedals, don't even bother looking elsewhere.
  • 2 1
 Me too except the mallet dh.
  • 3 0
 My Spank Stiffy 40's are the bomb. They may be the funnest wheelset Iv owned. I think they may be bomb proof. They just stay round n true regaurdles of how whipped out I land on them. They have out lived 2 carbon frames and are working on the 3rd one.
  • 3 0
 Madness! I used to hang out at beachbreak when I was young, I bought my first mountain bike there. I am a member of Fat Tracks and have a Spank stem, if it wasn't for Gavin Vos I may not be where I am today!
  • 9 3
 Spank rims are the best rims i ever had...very tough and very reliable
  • 2 0
 How are the hubs? Please elaborate...
  • 1 0
 I've got about 6 months on a pair of Oozy 295 and they have been very solid. Time will tell of course but for the $400 I paid for them they are hard to beat.
  • 3 0
 I have almost 600 miles and 150,000 vert feet on the SPANK SPIKE RACE28 ENDURO WHEELSET. Hubs still roll like new and the wheels are straight and true. IMO they are the best value in a really good wheel on the market.
  • 6 2
 Looking back, is there anything you'd have done differently?

The answer we all no he was thinking:
I would have maybe picked a better name but that's probably about it.
  • 4 2
 And then ones like me would consider buying their parts.
  • 8 0
 Nah, I like the name. Different "strokes" for different folks I guess. A list of companies that make solid products with lame names include Specialized, Enve, and Giant.
  • 2 0
 Yeah, but none of those companies have any names quite like these: Spank Oozy, Spank Stiffy, or Spank Tuggjob (grips)
  • 4 2
 About carbon stuff being "cool" and that beginners want it is that they just want it. They don't know if it's better then alu parts. I'm riding my DJ bike for 2 years now and when I buy new parts they are alu or steel but mostly alu. All of my friends who ride keep telling me why I don't get carbon parts for that price. Well as i'm beginner I don't want to wake up in hospital after crash where carbon stuff failed me. Maybe I will get carbon after many years of riding when my riding will be really good but probably not because most riders want carbon and I'm different. Also beginners shouldn't buy carbon stuff as they are just learning everything and when you learn parts break! But this is really good article nice to read and know about how it all started. Keep it up guys!
  • 6 1
 I do love my spank spike pedals, good article. I am glad he knows that mountain bikers aren't people with unlimited funds.
  • 3 0
 So many things to say thanks for Gavin.. Grassroots support from Spank (with Mike), the foot in the door with iXS (Marco & Pascal) and the opportunity with The Gravity Cartel (Vic).

Long live the Cartel!
  • 2 0
 My experance with spank has been great, rims build up awesome and are durable, pedals have great feel under foot, bars look good and have good shape. All in all the brand is solid. What kept me from using spank parts on my own builds is the name, no good reason just didn't like it on my own bike. However this interview has given me new insight to the ethos of spank. I had seen may times that the products are made well and I am going to buy some parts for the next build.
  • 3 2
 I had a Wheeler with a Zokes fork in the late 90's, I also had Atomlab wheelset and pedals, then Spank Spike pedals. Now I realize that this man was behind it all. It could have been a great thing if this wasn't the bike parts I had the most troubles and breakage in my riding life. Only the Wheeler frame was a great product, the rest didn't last an entire season.
  • 2 0
 I had a Wheeler with Zokes fork too, my mate's Zokes forks actually came apart when he bunny hopped, the lowers came right off. We laughed about that for months.
  • 1 0
 What a great article, pretty inspiring. Gavin is right, you need an opportunity, a door to open at the right time. But you also need to spot it and take advantage of it. Sounds he's you have have worked hard, taken risks, and poured passion and drive into the mtb industry. Thanks! I also have ridden spank wheels and bars. Top products which easily meet and exceed the performance of stuff twice the price.
  • 4 0
 Insightful article/interview. Makes me a proud Saffer!
  • 3 1
 I'm also a SPANK fan. I like the looks, performance and value of their products. The carbon part of the interview is SO interesting...
  • 2 0
 Had the Spank Subrosa seat in brown, every ride I came in my pants. The thieves that stole my bike loved it too. I hope they get testicle cancer.
  • 1 1
 I recently picked up a new (to me) bike off the classifieds that was built with Spank parts. I wasn't really familiar with them other than the name, but i've been really impressed with the build quality. I really enjoyed the interview and will definitely be purchasing more of the same!

One minor tick though...I wish their products didn't all say "SPANK SPIKE" as huge as possible on them. Maybe we could drop the font size down a few? I hate riding a billboard. Smile
  • 2 0
 some 24inch kids mountain bike rims would be nice and smaller kids specfic pedals
  • 1 0
 Pedals would not be cost effective but I'm with you on the rims. It would be a simple case of adjusting the diameter on the hooping machine I think.
  • 5 0
 Hey Poah,
We're launching a whole line of kids 20" & 24" in rims and wheels 2016. Rims are shipping now... wheelsets are landing in Spring! We also have a new line of size specific pedals including a 90mm size for kids/ladies.
  • 1 0
 have you got a link to any more info?
  • 1 0
 Wow that's awesome news @spank-ind .
  • 3 1
 Spank race 28 is seriouly the best rim i never ride .. so strong for the price !!!
  • 1 2
 If having different colors and not being speced OEM is the reason for being "bundled together with lower quality, off the shelf companies that just buy, brand and market" why do companies like Hope have a better image? Or is that just my perception?
  • 2 0
 Very well spoken Gavin! All the best of success for the years to come. Cheers
  • 1 0
 I know NS Bikes Enigma Rims are made by Fratelli, (I think its no secret, its written right on the rims)
  • 3 0
 solid in-depth article. More like this please.
  • 2 1
 great interview and insight in what always seemed like a "dirt jump" brand to many in the UK
  • 2 0
 Interesting read. I should maybe give their stuff a closer look.
  • 2 0
 Too bad hes not stoked in 2016 though
  • 2 0
 Interesting read, Spank you very much.
  • 2 0
 I9 custom on Spank rims would be killer
  • 1 0
 spank is boss when it comes to bars and stems and pedals its cheap some what and the feel is perfect
  • 1 0
 Thats an amazing article from an amazing products. Thank and congrats to PB
  • 3 1
 south africa for the win
  • 1 0
 love my spank stuff! the new enduro spike 28's are sex....
  • 1 0
 Awesome .
  • 1 0
 Great read!
  • 1 3
 When will you break that Gwin is on YT?
  • 5 0
 I wonder why they havent done it YeT
  • 4 3
 Why Tea when Redbull hits harder? Now... You know how's winner in German? A "Gewinner" - check that shit out!
  • 5 8
 Why the name Spank...?
  • 5 0
 "You know where Spank comes from? It's basically when you're born and get your first slap on the butt which kick-starts your vitals and gets your heart and lungs going; that's the first sort of adrenaline rush that you get!"
  • 2 0
 Missed it Smile Thanx!
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