When we shared the first Rodeo Labs Show Pony prototype last summer, it garnered a fair bit of attention. Its steel frame, sliding dropouts, various mounts, and clearance for 29 x 3.0″ tires had everyone excited for the final product. This week, Rodeo Labs teased two more prototypes, this time based around aluminum frames that Scottie and Ernie Lechuga will be riding at this year’s Silk Road Mountain Race in Kyrgyzstan. We reached out to Rodeo Labs founder Stephen Fitzgerald to learn more about the latest prototype. Find his thoughts and photos below.
Words and photos by Stephen Fitzgerald (@stevetheintern)
It’s both exciting and very challenging to move this project forward in the current bike industry environment. But at least we’ve got a fresh batch of 2.0 frames to keep the development going, and Scottie and Ernie will be fantastic for putting them through the next round of paces at Silk Road. We have one more XL frame here for local duties (eying the Colorado Trail…) that’s about to be built up. We’ll run that frame in flat-bar and drop-bar configurations to evaluate the feel of the bike as a singletrack toy or long-distance drop-bar bikepacking rig. Stay tuned for photos of that build.
These new frames are aluminum instead of steel, and they’re made in Taiwan instead of being made in Philadelphia. We designed our own yoke and slider system for these, instead of using parts from the Paragon catalog. The sliders are pretty chunky and squared off for these prototypes as we focus on function over aesthetics. If we move forward with aluminum as our material of choice, we’ll circle back on smoothing out the rough edges of the design.
We hadn’t yet made the geometry public because it has been evolving over the last 18 months. But the latest prototypes are built around this:
After this second round of prototypes, we have to take a good look at how we’ll finally put the bikes into production. Bike demand has peaked, we think, and there are signs that capacity at factories is improving. There are some MUSA options for aluminum and steel as well, and if we can go that route while keeping the cost of the bike within reach, that would be a far more desirable outcome than producing overseas given how tenuous anything with the word “global” is these days.
People keep asking when this bike will be done and if they can put a deposit down, but we’re just not at the point where we want to get into that. In a way, it would be easy to take advantage of the excitement and grab some cash, but after two years of absurdly late production runs of our bikes, we’re simply not interested in holding more people’s money before we can give a real-life delivery date for any given bike.
Keep an eye on the Rodeo Labs’ Instagram to see more of Scotti and Ernie’s SRMR rigs.
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