EVAN TURPEN & HIS PATENT-PENDING
HIGH PIVOT PROTOTYPE
Occasionally we get some pretty random emails in our mailbox, however when we opened up this one from Evan Turpen we were pretty excited to dig in. Evan is a life-long bike geek who’s got a racing and tinkering background and wanted to share his latest passion project. After taking a look at his photos and bike design we reached out with a few questions to see what else we could learn about this new high-pivot machine.
Who are you?
My name is Evan Turpen, I am 34 years old from Aptos, California, and I’m a massive bike nerd.
What’s your background?
My background is in racing and wrenching on bikes. I started racing downhill in 2001, turned pro in 2005 and continued racing downhill up until 2011. I then dabbled in trail construction and maintenance for a year and that job led me to fall in love with riding my trail bike. I tried my first enduro race in 2012, loved it, and have been racing enduro on and off ever since. Between racing I’ve always worked as a bike mechanic to pay the bills, but in August of 2018 I felt I needed a change. I always dreamed of making my own bike, so I committed to the dream, and almost two years later I finally have something to show for it!
What was the defining moment that made you believe you could do this?
I don’t think that there was any one particular moment that made me feel like I could do it. There were a TON of struggles every step of the way! Early on I taught myself how to use Creo Parametric 3D design software. Using Creo I was able to create a very rough assembly of the bike in 3D that allowed me to move the suspension. I really felt like at that moment I was on the right track and the hardest part was over. Little did I know that I had barely begun to scratch the surface of making a bike…
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced getting this far?
Believing in myself was for sure the biggest challenge. Often I would feel like something was beyond my capabilities and I would have to hire somebody to do it for me. Eventually I learned that I was a lot more capable than I thought, especially with my background as a mechanic and attention to detail. The actual fabrication of parts was a massive uphill battle. I learned a ton because I couldn’t afford to pay other people to do it. I am very happy with how my design and fabrication abilities have developed because of this.
And what do you believe will be the biggest hurdles from here to the next phase?
Securing adequate funding to make it happen the right way, but also to protect my ass. I am just me and I’m worried about large companies trying to steal my design, especially after they ride it…
Tell us about the suspension design, your brand philosophy and who the bike is designed for? Where does it excel?
The suspension design (to the un-trained eye) simply looks like a linkage-driven high single pivot. And that is technically correct, but it achieves WAY MORE than what is believed to be possible with that design. First and foremost, it achieves 100% anti-squat at sag in every single gear. To the best of my knowledge, no other rear derailleur driven high pivot bike has achieved this yet. And it does this with very high levels of stability of the anti-squat meaning regardless of your sag setting and where you are at in the travel it will still pedal like a rocket ship! It also achieves 100% anti-rise at sag which means the bike’s geometry doesn’t get upset under braking. It is just planted and doesn’t require the rider to shift their weight far back or forwards in order to achieve balance while braking. The other big thing is drivetrain efficiency. The forwards orientation of the idler and larger 22-tooth size really helps make the drivetrain much smoother, quieter, more durable, and efficient than all other rear derailleur driven high-pivot bikes with an idler. The leverage ratio and axle path also makes this bike incredibly smooth in the rough and it carries speed extremely well. Better than any other bike I’ve ever ridden and who doesn’t want free speed?
As for brand philosophy…I’m not yet a brand, but my goal is to make the fastest bikes possible for their intended use. They won’t appeal to everybody, but people who want the most performance from their bikes and love to ride hard on proper trails will love what I make. For me fast is fun, so it will also be a very fun bike to ride. They will be very durable, good looking, well thought out and engineered, and incredibly easy to work on. Overall I want to make bikes that are designed to last and are well worth the money spent. Not some seemingly disposable over-priced thing made overseas.
When do you foresee these being available for purchase?
Right now I am riding the first steel prototype to test out the suspension design, learn from it, and see what specific changes I want to make for the next one. The second prototype of the bike will be made out of aluminum and be a lot closer to what the production bike might be. I am aiming to have the second prototype ready to ride sometime in the fall of this year. If it rides like the dream bike I believe it to be, then it will be time to discuss lab testing, field testing, and future small batch production. I don’t want to put a date on when these would be available just yet, but I can say that when they are, they will be very high-quality and made in the U.S. It will be well worth the wait!
We’d like to thank Evan for reaching out and sharing his unique bike and story with us. As his project develops we’ll continue to follow along and update you all.