Lichen Bikes, Cascadian Handbuilt Steel Trail Bikes

Mar 20, 2016 at 10:55
by Devin Bodony  
Lichen Bikes

We are pleased to announce that Lichen Bikes will officially be opening its doors for business, following the culmination of our successful Kickstarter campaign on March 24th. Lichen bikes is a small shop specializing in handbuilt full suspension bikes that cater to the modern rider, built in steel, and built to order. We design the parts, machine all the frame components, fit and weld the tubes, all in-house. This allows us to customize all aspects of the design for each individual customer.

Lichen Bikes

The Matchstick is our first model that we're offering for sale. The third iteration of our Drop Link suspension concept. Available with custom geometry, paint, decal color, and parts spec.

-150mm Travel
- 650b Wheel Size
- Aggressive Contemporary Geometry
- All American Steel
- 6.9 Lb Frame Weight (Size XL w/o shock)

Why Steel?

Our goal is to bridge the gap between the handbuilt bike community, and the mountain bike community. We want to offer customizable frames that cater to the needs of the modern mountain biker. This means working on a built to order model, which doesn't allow for the batch heat treating that aluminum requires. We believe that steel is a very appropriate material for modern bikes, it's incredibly strong and durable, and can be quite light when used thoughtfully. They call 4130 aerospace grade Steel for a reason.

For more information on frame specifics, process, or pricing, please see our website lichenbikes.com


MENTIONS: @devin-bodony



53 Comments

  • + 20
 This is a bike where it would really help to see the suspension compressed slowly on video so I can wrap my head around how those links work.
  • + 2
 Imagine an SB66 aluminum version, but instead of rotating bearing they just used a link...
  • + 24
 www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgmxJOIecsw

Take a look at 0:47 onward.
  • + 4
 Or just watch that video lol^^^
  • + 3
 Wow, that bottom link rotated the complete opposite direction of what I'd thought. Thanks for posting that!
  • + 1
 It took me a while to realive that there wasnt a third stationary pivot point! I thought those pivot arms were pointless lol
  • + 9
 I for one think this thing looks pretty awesome. Looks beautifully made, and I'd love to take one for a spin to see how they do. Steel is a really lively material, so hoping the suspension design matches the natural energy of the frame material! I'm always wary of steel in wet environments like the PNW, so curious if this has an internal coating on the frame...
  • + 18
 In summary, you're lichen the way it looks, but not lichen rust
  • + 10
 From one business to another, I wish you great luck. Hard work is all you need.
  • + 1
 Good words my friend!
  • + 9
 Looks like an awesome frame and design. I love to see handmade steel bikes being made!
  • + 3
 I agree its a sweet frickin ride!! I would like to see it with a chrome finish.
  • + 2
 Like their Facebook page. He posts pics of stuff all the time
  • + 1
 Watch out Xprezo someone is full steel now
  • + 5
 I've ridden it. It's awesome. Pedals better than anything else I've ridden, plush at high speeds, and super poppy/playful.

www.kickstarter.com/projects/1106708179/lichen-bikes/community
  • + 2
 Wow! I am ordering one right now!!!! Thanks for the tip!!!
  • + 3
 The sarcasm is not lost on me, but I'm not exaggerating. It's a super fun bike.
  • + 9
 Still have to find a bike that is not fun.
  • + 3
 This one is a "super fun bike" not a regular fun bike.
  • - 5
flag THE-GUNT (Mar 23, 2016 at 19:32) (Below Threshold)
 Mongoose
  • + 4
 The RAW front triangle on their webpage is FREAKEN awesome!!! (with a white rear triangle not so much, but more raw or black/some other color in back maybe?) RAW is REAL! Smile

CRAZY that they can get a STEEL Full Suspension frame as light as Turners Carbon Full suspension frame...

I'll be watching this develop for sure, love to see more testing reviews of that suspension design. I finally got into carbon FS just in time to to think about going to steal FS...?
  • + 7
 Steel is real Smile I miss the 80's and 90's
  • + 7
 Kate Beckinsale would destroy this bike.
  • + 2
 I see what you did there
  • + 3
 So they build a steel bike in about the same weight as hydroformed aluminum. That could either be a really impressive feat, or rather noodly - but that should be easily figured out by having these tested by some reputable people. If it's nice and stiff where it needs to be, it should also have pretty good longevity, steel being pretty good at that sort of thing (as long as you keep corrosion under control - another key thing, especially for something that's ridden in muck and scratched/banged up a bunch). Again, though, that would be easily figured out. And whether the suspension design works well is also easily established by testing it against something comparable.

The custom piece, though - that's the key thing here. If you're a discerning rider and you know exactly what you like and need, and those likes and needs are a little different than what's common on the market, that could be rather awesome. Sure would be cool if these guys could carve out a niche for themselves!
  • + 2
 I think it looks like a super fun bike. Wish I had the coin to find out. As far as the dropping rate linkage..... I cant really imagine that. Does it pack down like a domain DC does under heavy chatter? I guessing not, as who would design something like that if it were a trail bike?
  • + 0
 Falling rate shock linkage? I used to have a Super 8 and remember how much that feeling sucked. An airshock crammed with volume reducers won't fix that. Combine that with a steel rear triangle... No thank you and Caveat Emptor.
  • + 1
 How do you know it is continually falling and not a slight bathtub curve? I don't really feel like doing a bikechecker linkage sim on it - but I'd wager it's not a progressively falling rate - probably linear at most.
  • + 0
 That's how Lichen described it. No mention of curves, Regressive-progressive or barely falling = mostly linear rate. Without running it through Linkage there is no way for either of us to know how it actually behaves. If it's not a falling rate like you are willing to wager on, why don't you run it through the program and prove it.
  • + 0
 He said the linkage is falling rate. Why is it so hard to believe that a rising-rate shock plus a falling-rate linkage adds up to a linear overall rate?

I don't doubt that your Super 8 sucked. But it's ridiculous to assume that one bike with a massively falling rate somehow implies that a different bike with a different suspension design must therefore also suck.

If you want to be taken seriously, bust out Linkage and give us a reason to take you seriously. If you can't say with numbers, it's only an opinion, and it's probably wrong.
  • + 0
 Ok. but first, I didn't say I don't believe his claims. A regressive leverage ratio like the super 8 gives an overall linear force characteristic too, even with a coil, which sucks. It's also not a "massive" regressive rate like you claim - linkagedesign.blogspot.com/2014/06/santa-cruz-super-8-os.html - so it's not just my opinion. I'm probably correct if what he claims is true, and have real life experience to back up my beliefs that this suspension will be a let-down compared to progressive designs.
  • + 2
 I've ridden it, the rear wheel seemed pretty glued to the trail, but there was plenty of platform for popping off lips, etc. I didn't take any massive hits, but never felt close to bottoming out on the trails at Tiger.
  • + 1
 Excellent!! Best wishes on the go and I will be contacting you soon!! Love handmade steel!
  • + 3
 Looks rad- best of luck!
  • - 2
 Odd you have to pay so much on the KickStarter to get only a frame, shock, fork combo.

You would think, not trying to be greedy here, that if you paid $1,000-$1,500 to help get them up and running you could get a toned down complete bike.

If they had a $1,000-$1,500 option, which I think makes sense for a bike you don't trust, I was going to buy it right now from my desk at work.

Too bad for me Frown
  • + 3
 Sorry to disappoint. Unfortunately $1000-$1500 would just barely cover materials and suspension cost. The unfortunate reality of buying high quality made in the USA materials and parts.
  • + 1
 That makes sense - I just really want one, hahaha!
  • + 1
 Right on! Hopefully someday I can make that a reality for you!
  • + 1
 It would be amazing if you made a freeride rig!
  • + 2
 DH bike is coming
  • + 3
 Say what? DH bike in full steel and as light as aluminum, say it ain't so... Ok, I think what Lichen bikes are doing is sick. I remember several bikes that I rode back in the days that used full steel or versions of steel in their builds (Balfa, BMW, Xpreso, SuperCo, etc...) with great success from an engineering standpoint so I wish Lichen bikes a great journey...

What i noticed in the recent time is that most boutique builders doing custom bikes with steel not to mention high end steel like supertherm is pricing themselves out of the competitive market. I know it's tough to stick your neck out and try to bring to market a product that needs some education but if you get it dialed and can keep your cost reasonable people will come and learn. Good on ya...
  • - 1
 The chainstay shortening is opposite of what I want, and no gear box.I don't mind the steal frame and I think it looks good. I would have to ride it to actually see if it would be good or not.
  • + 6
 Chainstay doesn't actually shorten (though I can see how it looks that way). Arc is pretty similar to a single pivot for first part of the stroke, and then slightly more rearward than a single pivot for the rest. So actually more chainstay lengthening than many bikes.
  • + 1
 @joelsman No gearbox? Good thing it's custom!
  • + 3
 Yea Devin! Good job bud!
  • - 1
 If they double but the whole thing instead of just the front end they could probably lose another 1/2 pound.
  • + 1
 Hard to find butted square profile tubes.... not impossible but hard.
  • + 0
 rather have a half pound of weight than a super flexy rear triangle.
  • + 3
 I thought it was pretty unusual to see butted tubing on a steel FS frame. Typically straight gauge supertherm or something like that is used. How big could the butts be with that seat tube buttress and the shock mount in the middle of the downtube?
  • + 1
 looks dope. would ride.
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