Open model catalogue frames are no secret. While most bikes from major manufacturers aren't made in house, a catalogue frame is different from other bikes in that the manufacturer isn't supplying a frame exclusively to a brand. It's "open" and anyone is free to buy them, brand them, and sell them (sometimes even with a warranty). Usually they're priced much lower than brands who are doing their own R&D, testing, or manufacturing. The business model exists for aluminum and carbon components too; bars, stems, rims - you name it. Open models and white-labeling are everywhere, even the first Grim Donut
was a modified open model.
Among the big companies, open model frames are uncommon now, but many major bike brands have historically done some open models—especially in smaller markets or to react quickly to new categories. Think "oh man, fat bikes are blowing up this year, our dealers need us to deliver a fat bike quickly!"
Someone in the comments was asking about the Quest Cycles Karst
recently, and we recognized it as the Agogo FM-M06 frame we saw in Taipei back in 2018
. It's a 130mm trail bike with pretty progressive geometry for an open model, especially by 2018 standards.
There are plenty of companies branding up, selling, and doing after-sales support on bikes like these. Quest
, and Evolve
, all look to be shopping from the same catalogue pages, but does that mean should be scoffed at or aren't decent value?
On the flip side, many bike brands will point to more control over design, insight into quality, immediate intervention to problems, and the ability to be progressive with their bikes as reasons they don't do open models. Some are even investing in their own carbon factories. Going a step further, brands such as Antidote
, Hope Tech
, Atherton Bikes
, We Are One Composites
, and Guerilla Gravity
, and more have even built their manufacturing locally.
How do you feel about open model frames? Would you ride one?