Wow, would you look at the calendar…it’s already been two year since I visited the Mosaic Cycles factory in Boulder, Colorado. Back then I was in town to cover the Cyclocross National Championships and figured it would be a good opportunity to visit the craftsman builder as the days were soon leading up to another run of the North American Handmade Bike Show.
Well, here again, we find ourselves once again just weeks out from another NAHBS show (February 26-28 in Sacramento, CA.) and so we decided to check in again with Mosaic founder Aaron Barchek to find out the latest goings-on in his frame shop and what he has in store for everyone lucky enough to attend the show.
RBA: So in the two years since we stopped by, what have been some of the more exciting things going on with Mosaic?
Aaron: Since we’ve seen you last Mosaic has continued good steady growth, branched out into new partnerships around the world and added new models to our lineup. It’s been a fun couple of years for the brand, we moved into a new production facility and added a few new members to the team that have made the difference in how we operate, all of which I couldn’t be more excited to see come to fruition. More good things to come in 2016!
RBA: I saw quite a few Mosaic bikes at this year’s ‘Cross Nats in North Carolina; how is the ‘cross market going and what kind of impact has the growth of gravel bikes had?
Aaron: There is a definite shift in some of our cyclocross bike sales to gravel bikes, but I wouldn’t say that has slowed down the cyclcross market at all. It continues to be an area that riders want to participate in and like the idea of a handmade bike for. Also cyclocross is just so much fun, it’s not surprising that we have such a good presence in the cross scene, we like to have fun riding bikes too!
RBA: How do you set up the two different types of bikes?
Aaron: The gravel market seems to still be defining itself as there are still many different ideas of what a “gravel bike” is and it’s intended use. Mosaic has settled on a version that is essentially a road bike with a wider tire, the “roadies dirt bike”. Faster handling front end steering with a gravel specific fork, low BB, as short chainstays as will allow clearance for a 35-38 tire and rack and fender mounts if you want them. don’t forget disc brakes!
More than likely we’ll have another, more adventure oriented, version of our gravel bike that will allow for even more tire clearance ready at some point this year. One of the biggest contrasts from CX to gravel is the tubeset choice. With gravel we shoot for a more compliant tubeset that won’t beat you up on those long dirt road days. The cyclcross models have kept their race bike roots with stiffer, more oversized, tube sets, cyclocross specific fork and race geometry.
RBA: What percentage of Mosaic bikes sold are fully custom and what kind of timeline are you fulfilling orders?
Aaron: 100% of our bikes are custom right now and our turnaround is six weeks from when we get your finalized order. I’m really proud of how our team’s process has been able to keep that lead time six week or less and maintain our quality standards. It has really made the custom process more approachable for many riders.
RBA: What the latest in steel frames?
Aaron: This last season our GS-1 gravel bike hit the roads and quickly became very popular, this year you’ll see that model integrate thru axle and flat mount as well as our steel cyclocross models. Then there is our RS-1 which I’m proud to say hasn’t changed at all. It’s still a kick ass, light weight, performance steel road bike that continues to impress and changes perceptions about what a steel road bike can be and do. You must check this bike out, we’ll have two at NAHBS Sacramento.
RBA: You also do travel bike
Aaron: Almost all of our models can be built with S and S couplers for a bike that can be traveled with as a piece of luggage. It requires a bit more disassembly than a bike bag but is easy traveling and low cost. I’ve built travel bikes for a long time and they seem to becoming even more popular recently.
RBA: Do you have anything special in store for the NAHBS show?
Aaron: This year at NAHBS we are doing a special project with our dealer base. The bike shops that we work with across the world are an incredibly important piece of the Mosaic process and something we wanted to highlight at this years show. They are one reason why we can make such a high quality small batch product with a dependable delivery time. You’ll see bikes at the Mosaic booth representing some of the finest shops around and the great partnerships we’ve made with theme. These shops deserve a lot of credit for what they do in promoting the handmade badge and we couldn’t be more proud to work with and give them recognition along side Mosaic at the handmade show.
And yes you’ll see new bikes, new components and more. There’ll be bikes representing each Mosaic Series: Road, Mountain, Cyclocross and Gravel.