After the U.P. defined the performance gravel category and the WI.DE. took that to the extreme, many people were surprised to see the MIN.D. - a "classic" road bike with high-tech DNA - as our next project. The model we introduce now may surprise even more.
This project has taken such a convoluted route that it's hard - even for Andy and I - to figure out how we got here:
- There were two earlier projects we had to produce a frame in Europe and which unfortunately stopped for tragic reasons
- There was the MIN.D. project that took forever to get into production and we were jonesing for an even lighter version of it even though the possibilities seemed maxed out
- There was my good friend Don Guichard who I have worked with when I was the co-founder/owner of Cervélo. Don ran the Project California R&D lab/factory that created and built the crazy light & stiff Cervélo R5CA and RCA. After the frame projects stopped, he continued with other parts such as carbon fiber prosthetics but he really wanted to make a frame again
All of this led to Andy, Don and I saying "hey, why don't we make a super light version of the MIN.D. at the Project California facility? Turns out there are many reason why not, but none of those came to mind at the time! As simple a that decision was, it turned out to be excruciatingly difficult to get this project across the finish line. When you work on the edge, you tend to fall over a lot.
But this time we were determined to make it a success and the advantage (or some would say disadvantage) of our OPEN structure is that Andy and I don't really have to justify any of our investments and expenses to anybody. So we simply kept this Californian MIN.D. going until it was done, despite the commercial sense of it evaporating along the way. I know that may sound a bit crazy or even arrogant, but it's not that we enjoy spending too much on a project, it's just that we really wanted to finish it and we are in the fortunate position that we can. After endless testing, rethinking, retesting, redesign, new custom tools and new processes, here we are.
One thing on the name, you would think that with a project taking this long, we'd have had enough time to come up with something catchy. But no. There were some neat options (like MIN.D-less, offered up by our key SRAM contact) but for one reason or another, everything got shot down. In the end, it will simply be known as the MIN.D. California.
More photos on the production process and the frame itself plus all details on availability coming in the next days
, here are a few photos and videos to start it off.