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Cycle / August 21, 2016

Interview: Adam Miller of Why Cycles

Written by: Roxanne Trujillo

Adam Miller didn’t invent the fat bike. But when he founded the Borealis fat bike company, he helped start a bike trend that’s still going strong. So when Miller told us he had plans to start a new line of titanium bikes, our ears perked up.

He’s teamed up with former race pro Ben Craner to develop Why Cycles. The brand, which sells a small lineup of sleek titanium rides, launched early last week. We sent Giant Roxanne Trujillo to get the scoop.

Roxanne: First things first—tell me about Why Cycles.

Adam:  We started Why with the goal of creating products that best answer the question in our name: Why do we ride bikes?

Everyone has a slightly different answer to that question, with answers ranging from transportation to fitness to enjoyment to racing. But the core of just about every dedicated cyclist answer is the same: Bikes provide a level of joy, of freedom, of overcoming personal challenges and discovering oneself that no other athletic endeavor does for us.

For all of us here at Why, bikes were the first tool we had as kids to explore the world, set out on our own destiny, and get places. They still are that way for us, and the products we have made and are making here at Why embody what is really special about two-wheeled vehicles.

 

Roxanne: What’s in the lineup from Why Cycles?

Adam: We have a ripping fast all-mountain trail hardtail bike called the S7 that is built around 27.5×2.8” “plus” size tires and modern, comfortable, fast slack geometry. We also have a gravel-oriented road bike called the R+ which is an ultra versatile, durable adventure road bike made for riding on the rough stuff. (Cars are no fun, so we avoid making bikes designed to ride around cars).

Finally, we have a dirt jump frame called the T.F. This stands for Take Flight, of course, since it is designed as the best ever bike for hitting jump lines and playing on obstacles. One of our goals is to provide straightforward, honest, amazing bikes that use the right material for the application they are designed for. We have many more bikes in the works, including products that branch outside of our super fly ti bikes that you see here. This is just the beginning!

 

The R+

The T.F. (Take Flight)

The S7

Roxanne: That seems like an odd mix.

Adam: Don’t hate! Myself and the other guys I started Why with are a rather passionate, eclectic group when it comes to bikes.

I have ridden and raced every distance of triathlon, road and mountain bike national competitions, almost every type of fat bike event in summer and winter, and ride dirt bikes on the track and trail when I need a break from pedal bikes. One of my partners, Ben Craner, has ridden and raced bikes his whole life and even won the World’s Masters Downhill race a few years back.

Another one of my partners can rip up a trail on just about any bike, but has never raced and refuses to ever even get Strava. So, all that said, we decided to build bikes that we want to ride, and that we think will share the joy and passion of two-wheeled activities with others.

 

Roxanne: You were the first to sell a carbon fat bike to the market with Borealis. Why choose titanium for Why Bikes?

Adam: Right material, right application. Its easy to read magazines and watch the pros and assume carbon is best for everything. But its not. Fat bikes used to be very heavy and slow.

When I started Borealis, I wanted to solve that problem. Enter carbon fiber. However, hardtails, gravel bikes, and dirt jumpers aren’t all that heavy to begin with, and tiny weight gains generally aren’t what win races in these disciplines. Durability and comfort are larger priorities for most riders buying bikes for these disciplines.

 

Roxanne: Clever name. How’d you pick it?

Adam: Glad you like it! It was funny actually, we have the most stereotypical, seemingly false story of how we came up with that name. I was sitting at a bar with one of my business partners in the early days of this idea, and we were trying to come up with a name.

We had each started bicycle companies before, and had been relatively successful in our own ways. So we knew we wanted to make a high end bike brand, and we knew what products we wanted to make, but we could not think of a name that was emblematic of that desire. Finally, Ben said, “How about Why?” And I looked at him extremely confused. He started sketching on a napkin (enter extreme cliche, but it is true!) and there appeared our logo, round 1. We never questioned it.

 

Roxanne: What sets these bikes apart?

Adam: Ha, the list could go on and on! Just kidding. But not really.

These bikes are all handmade in arguably the best titanium factory around. Each bike will have a different quote that we found inspirational laser etched in small letters on the frame, and each bike has welds and tube shapes that were lovingly designed and then executed by hand. Each bike really is special and original in its own way.

 

Roxanne: You are only 24 and you’ve started two bike companies. Any tips on how to take an idea and make it a reality?

Adam: I really don’t think age has anything to do with it. My goal has always been to live my passion, and bikes are my biggest passion by a long shot. I like to think I have some ideas about specific bicycles that I can make that other people will want to buy, and so far I have been lucky enough that that has proven to be correct.

Advice? I’m a lot better a riding bikes than giving advice, but I would say to just embrace the craziness of life and make that idea a reality. Don’t wait. Don’t come up with excuses. Timing will never be perfect, the stars will never align perfectly for you to take the leap of faith, mentally and financially, to make your idea a reality. But if you don’t try you’ll never know, so just get up and do it.

Want to learn more? Check out WhyCycles.com. There, you can organize a demo event or buy a titanium bike of your own.

 

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about the author

Roxanne Trujillo

Roxanne is a Coloradical single track slayer, crux seeking, pow loving, thrill taking mom of a child that's comparably wild. Armed with enthusiasm and good coffee, she devotes herself to the outdoors and keeping pace with her adorable and energetic daughter. She is an ambassador for RaceFace, a V-something climber and goes by Birdy. She fantasizes often about throwing herself, daughter, friends and bikes in a Sprinter wrapped in #canvasthetoddler and peeling out to chase the mundo hermoso.

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