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We really stuffed up with the Maker AR

Anyone who has followed the cycle industry knows that to be a successful company you need a specific product for a narrow niche of cycling.

Gravel? Adventure? Groad? All-Road? Can’t we just call them “bikes”?!?
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We really stuffed up with the Maker AR.

Anyone who has followed the cycle industry knows that to be a successful company you need a specific product for a narrow niche of cycling. Bonus points are awarded if you can make a new “standard” specific to this niche, or if you can incorporate a TLA (Three Letter Acronym) to convey the featureset of your widget.

We’ve gone about this the wrong way. We’ve got one wheelset, the Maker AR, which covers everything from Elite level road racing to exploring gravel roads to cyclocross adventures.

The Maker AR living up to it’s “All Road” title
How did we get here? We actually used to have three distinct wheelsets:

  • The Maker DR (Disc Road) was for disc brake equipped traditional road bikes.
  • The Maker CX (Cyclocross) was for, you guessed it, cyclocross.
  • Later we introduced The Maker AR (All Road) for road and gravel use. It was the last to the party but it showed up late with a smokin’ hot date, a fancy car, and juggling rubix cubes while reciting poetry. Everyone was impressed.

Over time bike manufactures finally caught up with my views about wide tyres and started producing road bikes which could fit rubber wider than 23mm. That meant the DR’s turf was attacked by the AR.

At the same time we did a bunch of impact testing and tyre bead retention tests on the Maker CX and found that the Maker AR was just as strong and that it’s tubeless ready hooked bead was just as safe and secure while being easier to install those stubborn tubeless tyres (more on this topic in a later newsletter.) Another win for the AR.

So, as of today, we’ve decided to go against the typical bike industry marketing and to focus all our love and attention on the AR and try to explain to customers that, yes, one wheelset really is amazing at all three uses.

Late to the party but gawd it’s a looker

So what makes the Maker AR amazing?

  • 35mm and 50mm depth options: If you’re using these wheels on a training bike, a CX bike, or a gravel bike you don’t want some stupid deep front wheel which gets blown all over the (gravel) road, climbs like a lead balloon. You want a light, responsive wheel which wants to be accelerated, braked, and turned so the 35mm rim is perfect. If you’re going to use the AR for Wednesday Worlds then a 35/50mm mullet is the way to go, and if you’re going to be road racing then a 50/50 (or a second 50mm front wheel) gives you aero speed without killing your climbing. Never go full-aero.
  • Tubeless ready: Skinny tubeless tyres suck but once you get above 28mm they start making sense. The latest crop of tubeless-ready all-road and CX tyres are simply awesome and we include light-weight CNC valves so you’re ready to go.
  • Hooked bead: A hooked bead allows you to run ‘normal’ tyres and tubes, allows you to pump your fat tyres up harder for road use, and provides a super safe rim/tyre interface. When done right there are zero downsides to a hooked bead other than the missed opportunity for the marketing department to convince you otherwise. Incase you haven’t figured it out by now we don’t have a marketing department: just a bunch of employees who actually love riding their bikes and who want to make them more fun.
  • Variable spoke count: While we use the same 35 and 50mm rims across the wide range of uses we will use a different number of spokes for different riders and uses.
  • Built for you: Our customers come in all sizes and their bikes range from tarmac-bound Cannondales to Niners destined for racing UCI World Cup cyclocross rounds. Between the two different rim depths and three different spoke counts we’re able to tailor the Maker AR to have the right amount of stiffness for any bike+rider combination. Every wheel is handbuilt to order – we don’t have a pallet of generic wheels to sell you.
  • Durability. The Maker AR laughed at the UCI impact test and with plenty of riders riding plenty of stupidly rough gravel roads and racing rocky CX courses we know the Maker AR isn’t afraid of a fight when the going gets tough. Hey, they cost a lot of money so they’d better last.
I asked on Facebook and Instagram what “category” these types of bikes and wheels should be under on our website and would love your feedback – should these ultra versatile go-anywhere bikes be listed under Road, Adventure, Gravel, or something else?!?
Thanks to Lewis for the bulk of photos for this newsletter. His Open UP in limited edition Yeti turquoise came out brilliantly and does a great job of showing the versatility of the Maker AR.

So there you go: The Maker AR debunked. If you have any questions give me a call but if I don’t answer it’s because I’m busy designing a new axle standard for gravel bikes and thinking up Three Letter Acronyms for it’s features….

Till next time,
Tristan
+64 27 494 5967
tristan

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