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Inside ENVE MOG: A Look at the Newest Addition to the Gravel Bike Market with Neil Shirley

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Kandungan disediakan oleh Craig Dalton. Semua kandungan podcast termasuk episod, grafik dan perihalan podcast dimuat naik dan disediakan terus oleh Craig Dalton atau rakan kongsi platform podcast mereka. Jika anda percaya seseorang menggunakan karya berhak cipta anda tanpa kebenaran anda, anda boleh mengikuti proses yang digariskan di sini https://ms.player.fm/legal.

Hey gravel fans! πŸš΅β€β™‚οΈ Welcome to The Gravel Ride Podcast, where we delve into all things gravel. In this special episode, Neil Shirley joins me to discuss Enve's new MOG bike, a game-changer in the gravel scene. πŸš΄β€β™€οΈπŸŒ„ Enve, based in Utah, has been producing premium carbon wheels for various bike disciplines for 16 years. Their 2023 release, the MOG bike, showcases the company’s dedication to meeting evolving expectations within the gravel market. πŸ› πŸ”₯ Key features of the MOG bike include tire clearance for 50mm, achieved through creative narrow chain stay design, and different fork rakes available for each of the five sizes (49, 52, 54, 56, and 58) to ensure optimal handling. The MOG bike caters to racers and weekend bike-packers alike, offering versatile performance. 🎯🏁 Find out more about the Enve MOG bike, from tire width to custom frame builders, in this exciting episode of The Gravel Ride Podcast. Don't miss out; tune in now! 🎧🌟

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Automated Transcription, please excuse the typos:

[00:00:00]Craig Dalton: Neil, welcome back to the show.

[00:00:02]Neil Shirley: Thanks Craig. It's good to be back.

[00:00:06]Craig Dalton: I've been waiting a while to invite you back because you didn't have a gravel bike at Envy, and and now you do. So the wait is over. So welcome

[00:00:15]Neil Shirley: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. Um, well, good things come to those who wait as they say. So here we are.

[00:00:23]Craig Dalton: Exactly as I mentioned to you offline, like I was preparing to heap you a bunch of crap for not having a gravel bike until this moment. And then as like a step back and I thought about my. Um, understanding of the envy brand and how deep you are in all the other sectors of the sport. And I see from your marketing materials, like you're sponsoring pro tour teams in the tour of France and the Jro.

You guys are all over the world. And then I'm remembering back to my mountain bike days, we're having an envy wheel set was exactly what every rider wanted, so I need to step back and say I should have been more patient. Neil, you guys have a lot on your plate. But I'm glad the envy MOG is in the world at this point.

[00:01:03]Neil Shirley: Yeah. Well, uh, I will, I will say, you know, I, I, I felt your pain, um, the, uh, having. Having the MOG for me was kind of a long time coming and, uh, something I, I was anxious for, for quite a while. And so, you know, but the really, the, the iterative process and it's something we've been working on for quite a while.

Um, and that, that process to get to where we were and where we are today with this, with this bike, like it took a while to really work on some refining it and getting the exact product we wanted to come to market.

[00:01:41]Craig Dalton: Yeah, that makes sense. And I know you guys are very thoughtful about the product development process. And just to set the stage a little bit, I'm gonna refer people earlier in my intro to some other episodes we did together where we talked about the custom road bike and, and earlier when you first got there at Envy.

But just to set the stage, can you just talk about where Envy's located and what's the core competency of the

[00:02:04]Neil Shirley: Yeah, so, um, we're, we're in Ogden, Utah. Um, we've been here, this is our 16th year in business. And we started, uh, initially with producing, you know, we were the first ones to do full carbon mountain bike wheels, um, and really just grew the premium, uh, carbon wheel business for, for road and then gravel, triathlon, you name it.

Um, and then, Two and a half years, two years. Just over two years ago, we introduced the custom road, so our first envy road bike, um, and that, that that bike is made, uh, completely here in Ogden as well.

[00:02:46]Craig Dalton: And am I correct in recalling that prior to that you had been working on supplying some tubes or some technology to some other frame builders along the way to kind of earn some of your chops in the in the frame world?

[00:02:56]Neil Shirley: Uh, from the very early years we were, uh, we were rolling carbon tubes and selling them to, um, cal quite a few of the custom builders. Um, then we also worked on projects. Uh, we did, uh, You know, I don't know if you recall the Cervelo P five x, uh, triathlon, um, triathlon bike. We did, uh, we, we did the fork, uh, and front end, uh, design for Cervelo.

Um, we did, uh, a carbon rear end for Santa Cruz on one of their mountain bikes. So kind of the frame world. Um, We're we're not necess even though we hadn't produced a bike with the NV aim on it until two years ago. Like we were, we were not new in, in, in kind of the, the frame business.

[00:03:42]Craig Dalton: Yeah. And then on the buildup of the product, uh, products that envy produces, starting from the wheel set, then you then obviously built a name for yourself in carbon forks, later stems, handle bars, seat posts, kind of everything around the cockpit.

[00:04:00]Neil Shirley: exactly. The, the component world. And I, I mean, we learned, we learned so much with, with wheels, um, especially when it came to the roadside with, you know, just aerodynamics. How, how, um, You know, how to make the fastest wheels in the world and, you know, uh, support world tour, uh, race teams. And so we took a lot of those learnings and that's, that's what we really started applying to our frames.

How, uh, aerodynamically, how, how a frame and the wheels can work together.

[00:04:32]Craig Dalton: And if you could talk a little bit about carbon and carbon layups. I think one of the things I found interesting in going to your facility there was the multitude of ways in which you can kind of produce the base material and then think about how it goes into any one of these products from a wheel

[00:04:48]Neil Shirley: Yeah. Um, there's, you know, there's always, in the industry, there's, there's a lot of marketing spin on a particular type of material or the modus of, of that material. And the reality is, um, pretty much everyone in the bike industry has access to the same, to the same materials. Um, You know, a, a certain bike brand doesn't have access to anything that, that we don't have and vice versa.

So it's really not, it, it's not about the, the material itself that differentiates product. It's, it's what you put into the mold and basically the recipe and how, how that layup is designed. And that's really where it's where the engineering team comes in and you know, we have. 12, you know, a dozen engineers here, um, full-time at Envy.

Um, and that's really what most of 'em are, are looking at is, is what the, what the laminate is. And, and that's where, you know, Because we're, because we're making those rims right here in Ogden, um, we can really manipulate and change the ride quality through, through these, the development process. And again, it's a very iter iterative process where we can change, change the, the layup just slightly, um, go, you know, do a 45 degree angle, uh, for, for some of the material and.

Basically bake that rim and be riding it a couple days later and take that feedback and make another iteration if necessary. So, um, that happens. That happens a lot in the process, and I think that's really one of the things that has allowed us to get to where we are, you know, in the premium wheel category.

[00:06:33]Craig Dalton: So in 2021, as you mentioned, you guys introduced the custom road. Set up and that provided people the opportunity to order a, a custom bicycle for you. Kinda interesting, I'm curious to get the perspective is why go custom right away versus a a, a standard product line?

[00:06:49]Neil Shirley: Uh, I think it's because we. We could, um, it simply, it's because within the building we had everything we needed to be able to do that. Um, we felt that, we felt that there was a hole in the market in having a, you know, there's, there's a lot of amazing custom builders out there. Um, and there are a lot of really high tech, uh, integrated aero carbon frames out there, but there were not.

There wasn't really anyone combining those two. So we came up with, with a process where we could do custom geometry with, um, kind of a modern carbon road frame with aero shaping integration. Um, so we felt that the custom road, you know, kind of filled that void that was, that was out there on the market and, and really the process of how we build that bike, it makes no difference if you know it.

Every, basically all the tubes are cut, cut to length, so there, there really is nothing stock where each, each frame is so, um, uniquely made that to be able to offer custom geometry didn't, didn't make it any more challenging for us.

[00:08:07]Craig Dalton: Yeah, it in some ways it's a brilliant marketing strategy just to kind of set the, the, um, riders, just look at those bikes out on the, on the, on the, on the roads with their custom paint jobs, the, the custom geometry with a great deal of lust, and then to later introduce the melee, which was a, a sta a standard frame sized road bike.

I think that was 2022. It just sort of made it more accessible. For riders who might have been lusting after the custom road

[00:08:37]Neil Shirley: Yeah, exactly. We, we really took, um, the learnings from the custom road, applied that, uh, to the melee. And when you look at the two side by side, I mean, you, you can obviously see how much, uh, d design cues they, they share. Um, but the, the melee, the stock geometry bike is really with the custom road. We, on a good week, we produce four.

Four of those, um, you know, just the, the custom nature, the, the paint job, everything takes a long time. Um, so, uh, that doesn't, the custom road doesn't really allow us to scale and be the bike brand that, that we. We envision being, and we, you know, our, our, our goal of, of being. Um, and it, it was really the stock geometry bikes that, you know, that allows us to do that.

They're, they're not made here in-house. Um, they're, you know, made by, uh, one of our overseas vendors. But we are the ones that, you know, controlled that process from, from design to layup through, you know, all the way throughout.

[00:09:44]Craig Dalton: Yeah, so even with that, that partnership, you guys are able to take your engineering, your, your desires as to how the layups are put into the mold, et cetera, and have them executed by a trusted

[00:09:55]Neil Shirley: Exactly. Yeah. And now, you know, the, the melee, um, and now the mog, uh, It allows us to, you know, have a, have a bike in our retail partners across, you know, not just across the country, but across the globe. Um, so you can go in, you know, to your local envy dealer and, you know, have a bike on the, you know, rated a ride right off the floor.

[00:10:19]Craig Dalton: And with, with the melee, was it introduced as a complete bike or was it sold as a, as a chassis?

[00:10:24]Neil Shirley: it, it was a, it was a chassis only. Um, and actually just this week, um, we're now introducing complete builds. Obviously for the end consumer that's dealing with their, their local retailer. You know, that for the most part they're, they're buying a. They're working with their dealer to buy a complete bike.

We're now offering, uh, a few different build options for the dealers. So get, it just allows us to be a little more competitive with our pricing.

[00:10:53]Craig Dalton: Yeah. Got you. So for just a little clarity for the uninitiated, a chassis would include the frame fork, stem bar seat post. Am I getting 'em? All right. Yeah. Yeah. And then as you mentioned, like chances are your local shop is gonna be filling in the details and getting you your dream bike, but as you mentioned, you've now added on the ability for dealers to purchase a, a completely built up bike to put on the showroom floor rather than them taking that step of getting the components, et cetera.

[00:11:25]Neil Shirley: Yep. So, so yeah, we're just kind of starting to slowly chip away and grow growing into a real bike brand.

[00:11:34]Craig Dalton: So the MOG has been on your mind for a while, but it took till 2023 for that to come out. You know, why? Why wait, why, why sequence it in this way? And what were some of the advantages of

[00:11:45]Neil Shirley: Um, I think with gravel or I know with gravel, it's, it's progressing and changing so quickly. Um, not just how, not just how people are riding the bikes, but I think what the expectations are in, in the bike that you get, um, and. It's capabilities, it's versatility. Um, so we, we really did our homework on the mog and you know, we had a few, you know, there were a couple of us in the building that had like some very firm, uh, things that we wa features of the bike.

And so we kind of laid those out and took it over to the engineering team and said, okay. You guys are the smart ones. You figure out how to, how to do this. But these, these are the key elements we want on the bike. And they were able to, to achieve that. Um, I get, you know, tire clearance, tire clearance for 50 millimeters.

It was, was a, was a big one. We don't, you know, the trend is bigger, bigger, bigger. I don't see that slowing down anytime soon. I think you will get to a point where, You know, you might as well be on a mountain bike, but, um, I felt like 50. Being able to run a 50 millimeter tire right now is, is pretty sweet.

Most of the time you don't ever need that, but it's nice to know that you can. So,

[00:13:08]Craig Dalton: Absolutely. I'm actually curious to get a little bit of your opinion on this, cause I know your, your experience in Gravel goes way back and riding Franken bikes at Crusher and the Tusher and just riding what you got. And I know you're a very capable rider and you probably have ridden your. Custom road on gravel roads at this point without much issue, kinda where do you stand personally on that?

Like as someone who like made do, let's call it that, like it was, we made do with the tire clearance we had. Now that you have that massive clearance, where do you find yourself most excited to ride from a tire width

[00:13:42]Neil Shirley: I, I'm typically, you know, between a 42 and a 44 for most of the riding I'm doing, um, here in, you know, here in, in Northern Utah. And, you know, you've ridden the groo course, our, our gravel event that we put on here. And so, you know how rocky and kind of gnarly, even just like the, the forestry roads are, you know, A mountain bike is probably better suited to it.

Um, so for some of that stuff, you know, 44 is, is really nice. Um, you know, I could, I have ridden with a 50, but you know, I still, I feel like kind of that sweet spot of performance and capability is kind of in that 42 to 44 range.

[00:14:27]Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah, I know, and I, I think you said you guys have like a lunch road ride over at Envy, and I'm sure it gets quite spirited and you've got a background riding on the road. So I, I was just curious to get your perspective on that, whether, you know, when you have the fifties on there, it, it feels as spunky as you want it to feel.

[00:14:45]Neil Shirley: Yeah. Um, I think for Forio this year, I think I'm gonna run, I'll plan to run 48, um, because. When you're in a group and they're, uh, they're fast guys that you, you want to try and keep up with through, through technical sections, you take, you know, you take bigger risks and, uh, you know, with gravel bikes for so many years, we, we've been underbid most of the time when we're, when we're descending or you're on, you know, technical train.

And I think the, the MOG and kind of like these. These latest generations of some of the, the other gravel bikes out there, all of a sudden are, are kind of bridging that, where you really can ride up to your level, you know, within reason. Of course, if it gets too rocky, obviously you don't have suspension and all that, but, um, just with the volume of tires that we can run now, uh, it's, it's incredible what you can do with tire pressure and I feel, I feel so confident now on, on big tires.

[00:15:46]Craig Dalton: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's interesting. I've got a set of fifties that I've just been too lazy to put on the bike, but the, the current bikes, uh, the current 44 s are well worn past their date. And I, I just need to find the time and remount these tires so I can experience what a 50 feels like. But I do, I agree.

Like, I think that's the interesting thing, uh, about this moment in time with gravel bike and gravel bike design now that you are achieving. High performing frame design around a 700 by 50. I don't think you need to talk about six 50 B anymore. It's just not part of the conversation. As I was mentioning to you earlier, my first set of gravel bikes, like I needed two sets of wheels because I just couldn't have the range that I was looking for.

But I, I don't envision for me even bike packing that I would ever want more than a, than a 50

[00:16:36]Neil Shirley: Yeah. And, and that's kind of what we settled on. I mean, one of those, one of those key things we really wanted, um, we, we did, uh, There are a couple of us that spent a lot of time between our 700 C, you know, 700 by 40, 700 by 42, um, and six 50. And we really liked, you know, we liked it when we were writing six 50, but then as we stepped back to really think, what did we like about it?

It was, it was the tire size, it was the volume, not necessarily the wheel size. And so we're like, okay. We really want to be, ultimately 700 is what we want to be. It's just the current frame designs limited that size. So if we could do 700 by 50, you'd get the best of both worlds.

[00:17:25]Craig Dalton: Was it a, was there some sort of magic design bullet that people arrived on? Was it dual drop stays? What was the unlock that made it possible that we weren't thinking about four years

[00:17:36]Neil Shirley: Um, yeah, that's a really good question cuz you see, you know, if you look at some of the most popular, you know, gravel, gravel bikes on the market right now that do achieve decent, decent amount of clearance, you see everything, you know, from the, from the drop stay, um, to the elevated to the elevated stay.

Uh, we wanted, we really wanted to keep a traditional looking. You know, chains stay designed. Um, and that's, that's where our engineers had to get creative and uh, they were able to, to maintain standard looking Right. Chains stay, but what, what they. To, you know, to get the tire clearance and chain ring clearance, they made the right chainstay, um, incredibly narrow, um, so narrow that you wouldn't, you normally wouldn't be able to achieve it.

But, um, they made it solid carbon, so it's a solid carbon stay from the, from the bottom bracket shell for, to the next, you know, six centimeters or so. And then, um, That allowed us to get the stiffness and the strength needed, you know, for it to be that narrow, so,

[00:18:49]Craig Dalton: Yeah, that makes sense. That's exactly what I arrived at with a custom tie frame I had built. I just needed to have like a little solid piece of titanium to give me that little bit extra room that I needed to make it all come together.

[00:19:01]Neil Shirley: So then, you know, routing the. The derailer, the rear derailer cable gets, you know, gets tricky. So what they, you know what the, the design they came up with was popping, popping it out, um, just behind the bottom bracket. And our chainstay cover actually covers it until it goes. Until it goes back into the frame.

So, um, it's really, really clean. You can't, you have no idea until, you know, until you listen to the podcast or, or you pull off your chain, stay protector and realize, oh, the, the cable's external there for, you know, for a section. But yeah, I mean, those are, those are kind of some of the fun things that the engineers, the engineers are able to achieve when you're just like, Hey, this is, this is what we want, you know, go to work, make it happen.

[00:19:46]Craig Dalton: I love it. I love it. Um, let's talk about some of those other neat features that they were able to build in, into this bike, cuz I think there's a few ones that are out of the ordinary or maybe becoming ordinary, but they're, they're not on everybody's bike. Certainly if you've had it in your garage a few years,

[00:20:01]Neil Shirley: The, um, the storage, you know, uh, internal storage was, was something. It, it's not, you know, we, we didn't invent it. There are a number of, uh, brands that have done it. You know, executed it very well before we did. Uh, but I will say it took our hatch design. So basically the, uh, the water bottle cage, uh, is on a door on the down tube.

So you have a hatch, uh, hatch door that you know can. Just pulls off and then you have access to the entire down tube. Um, that whole door design took one of our engineers about six months to, to design, um, because it was one of those things like if we, we, we really wanted this feature in the frame, but it's really easy to make it a nightmare or six months down the road.

You know, it's rattling or it's just, it's not strong enough. So, so that was something we put a lot of attention into. Um, and they did a, they did a phenomenal job on it. So, uh, with, with the entire down tube is storage. I fit personally on my bike. I fit my flat tire, all the repair stuff kind of in the lower portion of the down tube.

And then the upper portion, I usually have a, you know, a thin windbreaker or, you know, you could, Jam some bars or whatever you wanted up there. So it's not like you have room for a full bike packing set up in the down tube. Um, but for the essentials, like I don't, if I'm going and doing a normal four or five or six hour gravel ride, like I have everything.

I don't even have a seat pack. So the bike looks clean, it's nothing bouncing around, it's just all contained.

[00:21:48]Craig Dalton: I love it and I'm gonna acknowledge I'm jealous. Super, super cool. And you know, I think one of the other things about that design is like, obviously you need to think about, as a frame designer, you no longer have a, a complete tube at that point. So what does that do structurally to the design? And how do you, how do you make compensations in the amount of carbon you have in that

[00:22:09]Neil Shirley: Yeah. Um, I, I don't think that. I don't, I really don't think it needed to be reinforced in any way. Um, one of the reasons we decided to kind of keep, keep it open for the whole down tube rather than adding, um, any barriers it was, was really about weight. Um, but strength-wise, structurally, uh, it, it, there wasn't additional reinforcement that needed to be added there.

[00:22:35]Craig Dalton: And are there cables going through there that needed to be protected or, you know, so your, your jacket isn't messing with

[00:22:41]Neil Shirley: Yes. Um, and we, we kind of have a really nice, uh, cable hose containment, containment system so that they don't, they don't mess with anything that you're sliding in and out. So just kind of, it, it's really all about those details because yeah, if you had, you know, wires and your, your rear brake hose flopping around in there, rattling and getting, getting caught on other stuff, it, it would be, it would be a mess.

But yeah, all those details have been minded.

[00:23:12]Craig Dalton: Nice. So let's get to some, some details on the bike, how many stock sizes are available.

[00:23:18]Neil Shirley: so we do 49, 52, 54, 56, and 58 for the gravel bike. So five sizes.

[00:23:28]Craig Dalton: Okay. And are there, are there any details that change proportionally as you go from a 49 to the largest

[00:23:35]Neil Shirley: Yeah, so kind of with our, with our background as a fork manufacturer, um, we, we really believe that, um, the fork r is, is important, so, uh, and, and different fork rs for different sizes. And so with the melee, um, we, we provide, I think we have four. Four different fork raks for the different sizes of the melee.

And for the, for the mog, we have three different fork raks, so that when you get to the, the smallest sizes, um, middle and and largest sizes, that they truly handle how they're designed. And we're not just. Getting cheap and we're, we're doing one mold for the fork and it has to accommodate the whole, the whole size, the whole size range.

So we're not, we're not kind of optimizing geometry around a 56 and then everything on either end of that is, is compromised. So that's something we're, that's something we're proud of. Um, we really think that, you know, I think most, most consumers probably don't, don't realize really what that does, but it.

For us, we're confident and when we're selling these, you know, this vast size range of bikes, that that really, the handling is we're delivering. The handling it was designed for,

[00:24:53]Craig Dalton: Yeah. You're doing it right. You're not cutting any corners. We talked a little bit about, a lot about wheel size going into as a design input and a few other things, but as you guys set off to spec the vision for this bike and who you're gonna sell it to, what kind of bike were you trying to make?

[00:25:11]Neil Shirley: Yeah, that's, uh, it is funny, you know, around the, around the launch of it or, or leading into the launch when, you know, we're coming up with the marketing materials and, you know, a bit of the story as I, I asked myself that a lot and I kind of kept coming to the. The sense that it seemed really generic in a way because we're trying to say like, this is, this is the bike for, to kind of check off all the types of riding you want to do.

Um, but at the end of the day, that's kind of where we're still coming in at because, you know, we, we have, we have a, a geometry, um, and the level of integration on the bike that it's, it's a fast, it's a, it's, it's a. It's a bike that literally could win, unbound it, you know, it could be raced at the front, you know, the pointy end of any of the biggest gravel races.

Um, and then,

[00:26:11]Craig Dalton: And I know, and I just to pin on that, I, and I know you have athletes that are expecting that

[00:26:15]Neil Shirley: Yeah. Yeah. And, and that, that was it. I mean, we, we, as a performance brand, like that's, that's a big part of our dna. And we, we do have the athletes, you know, we have Alex Verlin, you know, Whitney Allison, both, both athletes that are at the front of, you know, these fastest gravel events. So we wanted to deliver, you know, the, the tools they needed to, to be competitive.

Um, but then we added in features, uh, like the fork mounts, um, Different eyelets that if you want to use it as a, as a weekend, you know, bike packing getaway, like those are, those are kind of, when we talk about the versatility, like those are the add-on features that don't diminish the performance in any way.

It's not gonna keep you from winning any race, but you know, for. For 99% of us that use, you know, one bike or you know, one gravel bike to kind of do everything, like, it just allows you to, to do, do more with it, not, not be limited in what you want to do. So,

[00:27:21]Craig Dalton: It. I hear you. You know, it's, it, it's interesting and I appreciate your comments on it because I, I think you, you guys did deliver a bike that works across that entire spectrum. I struggle to think if you were working with Alexi and you said, Alexi, we wanna build you your dream bike.

Possibly, there's eyelets that come off, pos possibly. There's a few things on the margins that make it a a little lighter weight.

[00:27:48]Neil Shirley: But at the end of,

[00:27:48]Craig Dalton: But at the end of the day, that's such a rarefied space in gra in the gravel world, someone who just can afford to have a, a kind of a throwaway race bike that says light everywhere as it possibly could be.

That's just simply not practical for the average person who's gonna buy a

[00:28:03]Neil Shirley: yeah, exactly. And then, you know, on the, you know, the other end of it, it, it was like, you know, we didn't want to compromise, we didn't want to add additional weight in terms of like, uh, extreme arrow shaping that you, that you see on some bite on some gravel bikes. Um, compromise Ride quality. So we really tried to, to get.

You know, get the MOG to achieve. Again, everyone has their own ideas of what the, the, you know, the priorities are, but for, for us internally and working with our athletes, uh, we really, we really did look at what the priorities were and that's, you know, the MOG is a result of that.

[00:28:51]Craig Dalton: Yeah, it makes sense. It's such a great time to buy a gravel bike. Whenever I get asked by people these days, I'm like, fortunately now it's harder to go wrong. When I first started the podcast, I think one of the whole reasons I started this podcast is I did get it wrong in my first gravel bike purchase, and you were always forced to make decisions around.

I. Tire width and different things that just are non-issues today, which is wonderful.

[00:29:16]Neil Shirley: you're, you're totally right. I, I think I, I remember, you know, and you referenced it, you know, do. Building a custom bike, you know, because gravel bikes weren't on the market yet. For my first crusher in the Tusher event I did. And to think back like the, I knew what I wanted. Well it, it's, you know, I wasn't even thinking big enough cause I would've never imagined, you know, the equipment that we have today.

But I knew I wanted more at that time. And that was only 11 years ago, 12 years ago, something like that. Um, but. The, there were such limitations on what you, what you could get, you were dealing with, um, cyclocross tires, or if you went with something bigger, it wasn't Tube bliss and it was just, you know, and then if you did get, uh, uh, the actual size of tire you wanted, you were limited on the frames.

They would, they would, it would work on. So you're just compromising, you know, pretty much everywhere. And so today, like new riders getting into the market, like. It's amazing because everything there are, there is so much good equipment out there that truly is like purpose-built for gravel.

[00:30:26]Craig Dalton: Yep. Yeah, and that whole spectrum, you know, you put a pair of 32, you see tires on. An env mog, you're, you can go and do your group rides and be entirely proficient, and then you can go up to fifties and you can put the bike packing bags on

[00:30:41]Neil Shirley: Yeah.

[00:30:42]Craig Dalton: and everything in between. Nice. As, as listeners are looking to, to learn more about the bike, what, what's the best place to go and what's the shop network?

How can people find where they might be able to throw a leg over one and take a look at it more in more

[00:30:56]Neil Shirley: Yeah, so on, uh, on our website, nv e n v e.com. Uh, we have the, the MOG there, so all the, all the information if you want to read about it, you know, some of the design design elements, um, the features of the bike, it's all there. Or if you wanna just look at some cool photos of people riding MOGs. Um, but we also have a dealer locator.

Right on the website. So you can go through, um, you can select envy, you know, envy bikes, and it'll show, it'll pull up retailers, uh, near you. And, and honestly, pretty much all, you know, envy, envy ride centers, which are kind of our premium shops across the country, which I think we have about 60 of those. Um, everyone has, everyone has MOGs in stock, so yeah.

[00:31:44]Craig Dalton: And you've also doing, doing a bunch of events this year. I know I saw you guys at Sea Otter and sounds like you'll be out at Unbound at a few other

[00:31:51]Neil Shirley: Yeah, we'll be at Unbound. Um, we'll be at Crusher, uh, if anyone's interested in coming to Envy and, uh, taking part in the rodeo, our own, our own event. There are still some entries left for that as well. So

[00:32:05]Craig Dalton: Awesome. And is that in June again

[00:32:07]Neil Shirley: June 24 and 25.

[00:32:10]Craig Dalton: Awesome. And you additionally held one in Jer,

[00:32:14]Neil Shirley: Oh, yeah, yeah. Last October we did the Jero. Um, so Oh,

[00:32:19]Craig Dalton: that go?

[00:32:19]Neil Shirley: it was great. Um, anyone that's rid, have you ridden in Jer before?

[00:32:24]Craig Dalton: Yeah. It's so funny, Neil, I missed it by one week. I had a pre-planned trip and I was like, I, I caught wind on social media that you were doing the event. And I was like, I will lose my mind if the event I've already booked a ticket for coincides with the gro deal. I would love that. But unfortunately I was like a week displaced.

But to answer your question, yeah, I did a week of riding in Jer last

[00:32:46]Neil Shirley: So you, you know how special it is. I mean, whether you're, whether you're riding on the road or gravel or mountain biking or just, I mean, the, the town, you, you can't beat it. It's really like, it, it's a dream. I, uh, Told my wife, I, I might not come home, but yeah, no. So, so yeah, that was a, that was a great event.

We're doing that again this year. Um, so late, late October.

[00:33:10]Craig Dalton: Awesome. And you were teamed up with the service course. Is that one of your premier shops over there?

[00:33:15]Neil Shirley: So they did, they actually have, uh, MOGs as part of their rental fleet. So someone's going there for vacations. It's, it's a hot bed for, um, you know, cycl cycling tourists coming in. So yeah, they can, you can rent a MOG and go, go check it out.

[00:33:33]Craig Dalton: Cool. And just so it's not missed at the GRIO event in Utah, envy does an open house. They bring a bunch of frame builders in. It's just a totally magical weekend of great eye candy, great riding, great people, and a whole lot of fun. Did he try to achieve a similar kind of custom builder vibe in

[00:33:52]Neil Shirley: Yeah. Yeah, we tried to take that same model. Um, here, here in Ogden, we typically have about two dozen custom frame builders in Jerron. I think they had about, I think there were. 12. Um, mostly, mostly European focus, although we did have Argonaut in Mosaic out there as well. Um, cuz I, I mean really for a lot of us in the industry, like we just do these things as an excuse so we can go ride our bike in super cool places.

And so yeah, we had, we had some good, uh, we had some great builders out there. Um, good food killer riding, good time.

[00:34:29]Craig Dalton: Yeah, awesome. I got to see a few of the leftover custom bikes in the Service Core shop while I was there, so yeah, you guys do it right over there.

[00:34:38]Neil Shirley: Yep.

[00:34:40]Craig Dalton: Yeah, I appreciate all the time Neil. I appreciate getting back up to speed on the mog. I love how it turned out and I, while I was impatient, you guys delivered.

[00:34:49]Neil Shirley: Well, thanks Craig. And, uh, you know my number, if, if you want to jump on one and, uh, take, take some time on it.

[00:34:58]Craig Dalton: Of course, man. I hope to see you

[00:34:59]Neil Shirley: Thank you.

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Hey gravel fans! πŸš΅β€β™‚οΈ Welcome to The Gravel Ride Podcast, where we delve into all things gravel. In this special episode, Neil Shirley joins me to discuss Enve's new MOG bike, a game-changer in the gravel scene. πŸš΄β€β™€οΈπŸŒ„ Enve, based in Utah, has been producing premium carbon wheels for various bike disciplines for 16 years. Their 2023 release, the MOG bike, showcases the company’s dedication to meeting evolving expectations within the gravel market. πŸ› πŸ”₯ Key features of the MOG bike include tire clearance for 50mm, achieved through creative narrow chain stay design, and different fork rakes available for each of the five sizes (49, 52, 54, 56, and 58) to ensure optimal handling. The MOG bike caters to racers and weekend bike-packers alike, offering versatile performance. 🎯🏁 Find out more about the Enve MOG bike, from tire width to custom frame builders, in this exciting episode of The Gravel Ride Podcast. Don't miss out; tune in now! 🎧🌟

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Automated Transcription, please excuse the typos:

[00:00:00]Craig Dalton: Neil, welcome back to the show.

[00:00:02]Neil Shirley: Thanks Craig. It's good to be back.

[00:00:06]Craig Dalton: I've been waiting a while to invite you back because you didn't have a gravel bike at Envy, and and now you do. So the wait is over. So welcome

[00:00:15]Neil Shirley: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. Um, well, good things come to those who wait as they say. So here we are.

[00:00:23]Craig Dalton: Exactly as I mentioned to you offline, like I was preparing to heap you a bunch of crap for not having a gravel bike until this moment. And then as like a step back and I thought about my. Um, understanding of the envy brand and how deep you are in all the other sectors of the sport. And I see from your marketing materials, like you're sponsoring pro tour teams in the tour of France and the Jro.

You guys are all over the world. And then I'm remembering back to my mountain bike days, we're having an envy wheel set was exactly what every rider wanted, so I need to step back and say I should have been more patient. Neil, you guys have a lot on your plate. But I'm glad the envy MOG is in the world at this point.

[00:01:03]Neil Shirley: Yeah. Well, uh, I will, I will say, you know, I, I, I felt your pain, um, the, uh, having. Having the MOG for me was kind of a long time coming and, uh, something I, I was anxious for, for quite a while. And so, you know, but the really, the, the iterative process and it's something we've been working on for quite a while.

Um, and that, that process to get to where we were and where we are today with this, with this bike, like it took a while to really work on some refining it and getting the exact product we wanted to come to market.

[00:01:41]Craig Dalton: Yeah, that makes sense. And I know you guys are very thoughtful about the product development process. And just to set the stage a little bit, I'm gonna refer people earlier in my intro to some other episodes we did together where we talked about the custom road bike and, and earlier when you first got there at Envy.

But just to set the stage, can you just talk about where Envy's located and what's the core competency of the

[00:02:04]Neil Shirley: Yeah, so, um, we're, we're in Ogden, Utah. Um, we've been here, this is our 16th year in business. And we started, uh, initially with producing, you know, we were the first ones to do full carbon mountain bike wheels, um, and really just grew the premium, uh, carbon wheel business for, for road and then gravel, triathlon, you name it.

Um, and then, Two and a half years, two years. Just over two years ago, we introduced the custom road, so our first envy road bike, um, and that, that that bike is made, uh, completely here in Ogden as well.

[00:02:46]Craig Dalton: And am I correct in recalling that prior to that you had been working on supplying some tubes or some technology to some other frame builders along the way to kind of earn some of your chops in the in the frame world?

[00:02:56]Neil Shirley: Uh, from the very early years we were, uh, we were rolling carbon tubes and selling them to, um, cal quite a few of the custom builders. Um, then we also worked on projects. Uh, we did, uh, You know, I don't know if you recall the Cervelo P five x, uh, triathlon, um, triathlon bike. We did, uh, we, we did the fork, uh, and front end, uh, design for Cervelo.

Um, we did, uh, a carbon rear end for Santa Cruz on one of their mountain bikes. So kind of the frame world. Um, We're we're not necess even though we hadn't produced a bike with the NV aim on it until two years ago. Like we were, we were not new in, in, in kind of the, the frame business.

[00:03:42]Craig Dalton: Yeah. And then on the buildup of the product, uh, products that envy produces, starting from the wheel set, then you then obviously built a name for yourself in carbon forks, later stems, handle bars, seat posts, kind of everything around the cockpit.

[00:04:00]Neil Shirley: exactly. The, the component world. And I, I mean, we learned, we learned so much with, with wheels, um, especially when it came to the roadside with, you know, just aerodynamics. How, how, um, You know, how to make the fastest wheels in the world and, you know, uh, support world tour, uh, race teams. And so we took a lot of those learnings and that's, that's what we really started applying to our frames.

How, uh, aerodynamically, how, how a frame and the wheels can work together.

[00:04:32]Craig Dalton: And if you could talk a little bit about carbon and carbon layups. I think one of the things I found interesting in going to your facility there was the multitude of ways in which you can kind of produce the base material and then think about how it goes into any one of these products from a wheel

[00:04:48]Neil Shirley: Yeah. Um, there's, you know, there's always, in the industry, there's, there's a lot of marketing spin on a particular type of material or the modus of, of that material. And the reality is, um, pretty much everyone in the bike industry has access to the same, to the same materials. Um, You know, a, a certain bike brand doesn't have access to anything that, that we don't have and vice versa.

So it's really not, it, it's not about the, the material itself that differentiates product. It's, it's what you put into the mold and basically the recipe and how, how that layup is designed. And that's really where it's where the engineering team comes in and you know, we have. 12, you know, a dozen engineers here, um, full-time at Envy.

Um, and that's really what most of 'em are, are looking at is, is what the, what the laminate is. And, and that's where, you know, Because we're, because we're making those rims right here in Ogden, um, we can really manipulate and change the ride quality through, through these, the development process. And again, it's a very iter iterative process where we can change, change the, the layup just slightly, um, go, you know, do a 45 degree angle, uh, for, for some of the material and.

Basically bake that rim and be riding it a couple days later and take that feedback and make another iteration if necessary. So, um, that happens. That happens a lot in the process, and I think that's really one of the things that has allowed us to get to where we are, you know, in the premium wheel category.

[00:06:33]Craig Dalton: So in 2021, as you mentioned, you guys introduced the custom road. Set up and that provided people the opportunity to order a, a custom bicycle for you. Kinda interesting, I'm curious to get the perspective is why go custom right away versus a a, a standard product line?

[00:06:49]Neil Shirley: Uh, I think it's because we. We could, um, it simply, it's because within the building we had everything we needed to be able to do that. Um, we felt that, we felt that there was a hole in the market in having a, you know, there's, there's a lot of amazing custom builders out there. Um, and there are a lot of really high tech, uh, integrated aero carbon frames out there, but there were not.

There wasn't really anyone combining those two. So we came up with, with a process where we could do custom geometry with, um, kind of a modern carbon road frame with aero shaping integration. Um, so we felt that the custom road, you know, kind of filled that void that was, that was out there on the market and, and really the process of how we build that bike, it makes no difference if you know it.

Every, basically all the tubes are cut, cut to length, so there, there really is nothing stock where each, each frame is so, um, uniquely made that to be able to offer custom geometry didn't, didn't make it any more challenging for us.

[00:08:07]Craig Dalton: Yeah, it in some ways it's a brilliant marketing strategy just to kind of set the, the, um, riders, just look at those bikes out on the, on the, on the, on the roads with their custom paint jobs, the, the custom geometry with a great deal of lust, and then to later introduce the melee, which was a, a sta a standard frame sized road bike.

I think that was 2022. It just sort of made it more accessible. For riders who might have been lusting after the custom road

[00:08:37]Neil Shirley: Yeah, exactly. We, we really took, um, the learnings from the custom road, applied that, uh, to the melee. And when you look at the two side by side, I mean, you, you can obviously see how much, uh, d design cues they, they share. Um, but the, the melee, the stock geometry bike is really with the custom road. We, on a good week, we produce four.

Four of those, um, you know, just the, the custom nature, the, the paint job, everything takes a long time. Um, so, uh, that doesn't, the custom road doesn't really allow us to scale and be the bike brand that, that we. We envision being, and we, you know, our, our, our goal of, of being. Um, and it, it was really the stock geometry bikes that, you know, that allows us to do that.

They're, they're not made here in-house. Um, they're, you know, made by, uh, one of our overseas vendors. But we are the ones that, you know, controlled that process from, from design to layup through, you know, all the way throughout.

[00:09:44]Craig Dalton: Yeah, so even with that, that partnership, you guys are able to take your engineering, your, your desires as to how the layups are put into the mold, et cetera, and have them executed by a trusted

[00:09:55]Neil Shirley: Exactly. Yeah. And now, you know, the, the melee, um, and now the mog, uh, It allows us to, you know, have a, have a bike in our retail partners across, you know, not just across the country, but across the globe. Um, so you can go in, you know, to your local envy dealer and, you know, have a bike on the, you know, rated a ride right off the floor.

[00:10:19]Craig Dalton: And with, with the melee, was it introduced as a complete bike or was it sold as a, as a chassis?

[00:10:24]Neil Shirley: it, it was a, it was a chassis only. Um, and actually just this week, um, we're now introducing complete builds. Obviously for the end consumer that's dealing with their, their local retailer. You know, that for the most part they're, they're buying a. They're working with their dealer to buy a complete bike.

We're now offering, uh, a few different build options for the dealers. So get, it just allows us to be a little more competitive with our pricing.

[00:10:53]Craig Dalton: Yeah. Got you. So for just a little clarity for the uninitiated, a chassis would include the frame fork, stem bar seat post. Am I getting 'em? All right. Yeah. Yeah. And then as you mentioned, like chances are your local shop is gonna be filling in the details and getting you your dream bike, but as you mentioned, you've now added on the ability for dealers to purchase a, a completely built up bike to put on the showroom floor rather than them taking that step of getting the components, et cetera.

[00:11:25]Neil Shirley: Yep. So, so yeah, we're just kind of starting to slowly chip away and grow growing into a real bike brand.

[00:11:34]Craig Dalton: So the MOG has been on your mind for a while, but it took till 2023 for that to come out. You know, why? Why wait, why, why sequence it in this way? And what were some of the advantages of

[00:11:45]Neil Shirley: Um, I think with gravel or I know with gravel, it's, it's progressing and changing so quickly. Um, not just how, not just how people are riding the bikes, but I think what the expectations are in, in the bike that you get, um, and. It's capabilities, it's versatility. Um, so we, we really did our homework on the mog and you know, we had a few, you know, there were a couple of us in the building that had like some very firm, uh, things that we wa features of the bike.

And so we kind of laid those out and took it over to the engineering team and said, okay. You guys are the smart ones. You figure out how to, how to do this. But these, these are the key elements we want on the bike. And they were able to, to achieve that. Um, I get, you know, tire clearance, tire clearance for 50 millimeters.

It was, was a, was a big one. We don't, you know, the trend is bigger, bigger, bigger. I don't see that slowing down anytime soon. I think you will get to a point where, You know, you might as well be on a mountain bike, but, um, I felt like 50. Being able to run a 50 millimeter tire right now is, is pretty sweet.

Most of the time you don't ever need that, but it's nice to know that you can. So,

[00:13:08]Craig Dalton: Absolutely. I'm actually curious to get a little bit of your opinion on this, cause I know your, your experience in Gravel goes way back and riding Franken bikes at Crusher and the Tusher and just riding what you got. And I know you're a very capable rider and you probably have ridden your. Custom road on gravel roads at this point without much issue, kinda where do you stand personally on that?

Like as someone who like made do, let's call it that, like it was, we made do with the tire clearance we had. Now that you have that massive clearance, where do you find yourself most excited to ride from a tire width

[00:13:42]Neil Shirley: I, I'm typically, you know, between a 42 and a 44 for most of the riding I'm doing, um, here in, you know, here in, in Northern Utah. And, you know, you've ridden the groo course, our, our gravel event that we put on here. And so, you know how rocky and kind of gnarly, even just like the, the forestry roads are, you know, A mountain bike is probably better suited to it.

Um, so for some of that stuff, you know, 44 is, is really nice. Um, you know, I could, I have ridden with a 50, but you know, I still, I feel like kind of that sweet spot of performance and capability is kind of in that 42 to 44 range.

[00:14:27]Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah, I know, and I, I think you said you guys have like a lunch road ride over at Envy, and I'm sure it gets quite spirited and you've got a background riding on the road. So I, I was just curious to get your perspective on that, whether, you know, when you have the fifties on there, it, it feels as spunky as you want it to feel.

[00:14:45]Neil Shirley: Yeah. Um, I think for Forio this year, I think I'm gonna run, I'll plan to run 48, um, because. When you're in a group and they're, uh, they're fast guys that you, you want to try and keep up with through, through technical sections, you take, you know, you take bigger risks and, uh, you know, with gravel bikes for so many years, we, we've been underbid most of the time when we're, when we're descending or you're on, you know, technical train.

And I think the, the MOG and kind of like these. These latest generations of some of the, the other gravel bikes out there, all of a sudden are, are kind of bridging that, where you really can ride up to your level, you know, within reason. Of course, if it gets too rocky, obviously you don't have suspension and all that, but, um, just with the volume of tires that we can run now, uh, it's, it's incredible what you can do with tire pressure and I feel, I feel so confident now on, on big tires.

[00:15:46]Craig Dalton: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's interesting. I've got a set of fifties that I've just been too lazy to put on the bike, but the, the current bikes, uh, the current 44 s are well worn past their date. And I, I just need to find the time and remount these tires so I can experience what a 50 feels like. But I do, I agree.

Like, I think that's the interesting thing, uh, about this moment in time with gravel bike and gravel bike design now that you are achieving. High performing frame design around a 700 by 50. I don't think you need to talk about six 50 B anymore. It's just not part of the conversation. As I was mentioning to you earlier, my first set of gravel bikes, like I needed two sets of wheels because I just couldn't have the range that I was looking for.

But I, I don't envision for me even bike packing that I would ever want more than a, than a 50

[00:16:36]Neil Shirley: Yeah. And, and that's kind of what we settled on. I mean, one of those, one of those key things we really wanted, um, we, we did, uh, There are a couple of us that spent a lot of time between our 700 C, you know, 700 by 40, 700 by 42, um, and six 50. And we really liked, you know, we liked it when we were writing six 50, but then as we stepped back to really think, what did we like about it?

It was, it was the tire size, it was the volume, not necessarily the wheel size. And so we're like, okay. We really want to be, ultimately 700 is what we want to be. It's just the current frame designs limited that size. So if we could do 700 by 50, you'd get the best of both worlds.

[00:17:25]Craig Dalton: Was it a, was there some sort of magic design bullet that people arrived on? Was it dual drop stays? What was the unlock that made it possible that we weren't thinking about four years

[00:17:36]Neil Shirley: Um, yeah, that's a really good question cuz you see, you know, if you look at some of the most popular, you know, gravel, gravel bikes on the market right now that do achieve decent, decent amount of clearance, you see everything, you know, from the, from the drop stay, um, to the elevated to the elevated stay.

Uh, we wanted, we really wanted to keep a traditional looking. You know, chains stay designed. Um, and that's, that's where our engineers had to get creative and uh, they were able to, to maintain standard looking Right. Chains stay, but what, what they. To, you know, to get the tire clearance and chain ring clearance, they made the right chainstay, um, incredibly narrow, um, so narrow that you wouldn't, you normally wouldn't be able to achieve it.

But, um, they made it solid carbon, so it's a solid carbon stay from the, from the bottom bracket shell for, to the next, you know, six centimeters or so. And then, um, That allowed us to get the stiffness and the strength needed, you know, for it to be that narrow, so,

[00:18:49]Craig Dalton: Yeah, that makes sense. That's exactly what I arrived at with a custom tie frame I had built. I just needed to have like a little solid piece of titanium to give me that little bit extra room that I needed to make it all come together.

[00:19:01]Neil Shirley: So then, you know, routing the. The derailer, the rear derailer cable gets, you know, gets tricky. So what they, you know what the, the design they came up with was popping, popping it out, um, just behind the bottom bracket. And our chainstay cover actually covers it until it goes. Until it goes back into the frame.

So, um, it's really, really clean. You can't, you have no idea until, you know, until you listen to the podcast or, or you pull off your chain, stay protector and realize, oh, the, the cable's external there for, you know, for a section. But yeah, I mean, those are, those are kind of some of the fun things that the engineers, the engineers are able to achieve when you're just like, Hey, this is, this is what we want, you know, go to work, make it happen.

[00:19:46]Craig Dalton: I love it. I love it. Um, let's talk about some of those other neat features that they were able to build in, into this bike, cuz I think there's a few ones that are out of the ordinary or maybe becoming ordinary, but they're, they're not on everybody's bike. Certainly if you've had it in your garage a few years,

[00:20:01]Neil Shirley: The, um, the storage, you know, uh, internal storage was, was something. It, it's not, you know, we, we didn't invent it. There are a number of, uh, brands that have done it. You know, executed it very well before we did. Uh, but I will say it took our hatch design. So basically the, uh, the water bottle cage, uh, is on a door on the down tube.

So you have a hatch, uh, hatch door that you know can. Just pulls off and then you have access to the entire down tube. Um, that whole door design took one of our engineers about six months to, to design, um, because it was one of those things like if we, we, we really wanted this feature in the frame, but it's really easy to make it a nightmare or six months down the road.

You know, it's rattling or it's just, it's not strong enough. So, so that was something we put a lot of attention into. Um, and they did a, they did a phenomenal job on it. So, uh, with, with the entire down tube is storage. I fit personally on my bike. I fit my flat tire, all the repair stuff kind of in the lower portion of the down tube.

And then the upper portion, I usually have a, you know, a thin windbreaker or, you know, you could, Jam some bars or whatever you wanted up there. So it's not like you have room for a full bike packing set up in the down tube. Um, but for the essentials, like I don't, if I'm going and doing a normal four or five or six hour gravel ride, like I have everything.

I don't even have a seat pack. So the bike looks clean, it's nothing bouncing around, it's just all contained.

[00:21:48]Craig Dalton: I love it and I'm gonna acknowledge I'm jealous. Super, super cool. And you know, I think one of the other things about that design is like, obviously you need to think about, as a frame designer, you no longer have a, a complete tube at that point. So what does that do structurally to the design? And how do you, how do you make compensations in the amount of carbon you have in that

[00:22:09]Neil Shirley: Yeah. Um, I, I don't think that. I don't, I really don't think it needed to be reinforced in any way. Um, one of the reasons we decided to kind of keep, keep it open for the whole down tube rather than adding, um, any barriers it was, was really about weight. Um, but strength-wise, structurally, uh, it, it, there wasn't additional reinforcement that needed to be added there.

[00:22:35]Craig Dalton: And are there cables going through there that needed to be protected or, you know, so your, your jacket isn't messing with

[00:22:41]Neil Shirley: Yes. Um, and we, we kind of have a really nice, uh, cable hose containment, containment system so that they don't, they don't mess with anything that you're sliding in and out. So just kind of, it, it's really all about those details because yeah, if you had, you know, wires and your, your rear brake hose flopping around in there, rattling and getting, getting caught on other stuff, it, it would be, it would be a mess.

But yeah, all those details have been minded.

[00:23:12]Craig Dalton: Nice. So let's get to some, some details on the bike, how many stock sizes are available.

[00:23:18]Neil Shirley: so we do 49, 52, 54, 56, and 58 for the gravel bike. So five sizes.

[00:23:28]Craig Dalton: Okay. And are there, are there any details that change proportionally as you go from a 49 to the largest

[00:23:35]Neil Shirley: Yeah, so kind of with our, with our background as a fork manufacturer, um, we, we really believe that, um, the fork r is, is important, so, uh, and, and different fork rs for different sizes. And so with the melee, um, we, we provide, I think we have four. Four different fork raks for the different sizes of the melee.

And for the, for the mog, we have three different fork raks, so that when you get to the, the smallest sizes, um, middle and and largest sizes, that they truly handle how they're designed. And we're not just. Getting cheap and we're, we're doing one mold for the fork and it has to accommodate the whole, the whole size, the whole size range.

So we're not, we're not kind of optimizing geometry around a 56 and then everything on either end of that is, is compromised. So that's something we're, that's something we're proud of. Um, we really think that, you know, I think most, most consumers probably don't, don't realize really what that does, but it.

For us, we're confident and when we're selling these, you know, this vast size range of bikes, that that really, the handling is we're delivering. The handling it was designed for,

[00:24:53]Craig Dalton: Yeah. You're doing it right. You're not cutting any corners. We talked a little bit about, a lot about wheel size going into as a design input and a few other things, but as you guys set off to spec the vision for this bike and who you're gonna sell it to, what kind of bike were you trying to make?

[00:25:11]Neil Shirley: Yeah, that's, uh, it is funny, you know, around the, around the launch of it or, or leading into the launch when, you know, we're coming up with the marketing materials and, you know, a bit of the story as I, I asked myself that a lot and I kind of kept coming to the. The sense that it seemed really generic in a way because we're trying to say like, this is, this is the bike for, to kind of check off all the types of riding you want to do.

Um, but at the end of the day, that's kind of where we're still coming in at because, you know, we, we have, we have a, a geometry, um, and the level of integration on the bike that it's, it's a fast, it's a, it's, it's a. It's a bike that literally could win, unbound it, you know, it could be raced at the front, you know, the pointy end of any of the biggest gravel races.

Um, and then,

[00:26:11]Craig Dalton: And I know, and I just to pin on that, I, and I know you have athletes that are expecting that

[00:26:15]Neil Shirley: Yeah. Yeah. And, and that, that was it. I mean, we, we, as a performance brand, like that's, that's a big part of our dna. And we, we do have the athletes, you know, we have Alex Verlin, you know, Whitney Allison, both, both athletes that are at the front of, you know, these fastest gravel events. So we wanted to deliver, you know, the, the tools they needed to, to be competitive.

Um, but then we added in features, uh, like the fork mounts, um, Different eyelets that if you want to use it as a, as a weekend, you know, bike packing getaway, like those are, those are kind of, when we talk about the versatility, like those are the add-on features that don't diminish the performance in any way.

It's not gonna keep you from winning any race, but you know, for. For 99% of us that use, you know, one bike or you know, one gravel bike to kind of do everything, like, it just allows you to, to do, do more with it, not, not be limited in what you want to do. So,

[00:27:21]Craig Dalton: It. I hear you. You know, it's, it, it's interesting and I appreciate your comments on it because I, I think you, you guys did deliver a bike that works across that entire spectrum. I struggle to think if you were working with Alexi and you said, Alexi, we wanna build you your dream bike.

Possibly, there's eyelets that come off, pos possibly. There's a few things on the margins that make it a a little lighter weight.

[00:27:48]Neil Shirley: But at the end of,

[00:27:48]Craig Dalton: But at the end of the day, that's such a rarefied space in gra in the gravel world, someone who just can afford to have a, a kind of a throwaway race bike that says light everywhere as it possibly could be.

That's just simply not practical for the average person who's gonna buy a

[00:28:03]Neil Shirley: yeah, exactly. And then, you know, on the, you know, the other end of it, it, it was like, you know, we didn't want to compromise, we didn't want to add additional weight in terms of like, uh, extreme arrow shaping that you, that you see on some bite on some gravel bikes. Um, compromise Ride quality. So we really tried to, to get.

You know, get the MOG to achieve. Again, everyone has their own ideas of what the, the, you know, the priorities are, but for, for us internally and working with our athletes, uh, we really, we really did look at what the priorities were and that's, you know, the MOG is a result of that.

[00:28:51]Craig Dalton: Yeah, it makes sense. It's such a great time to buy a gravel bike. Whenever I get asked by people these days, I'm like, fortunately now it's harder to go wrong. When I first started the podcast, I think one of the whole reasons I started this podcast is I did get it wrong in my first gravel bike purchase, and you were always forced to make decisions around.

I. Tire width and different things that just are non-issues today, which is wonderful.

[00:29:16]Neil Shirley: you're, you're totally right. I, I think I, I remember, you know, and you referenced it, you know, do. Building a custom bike, you know, because gravel bikes weren't on the market yet. For my first crusher in the Tusher event I did. And to think back like the, I knew what I wanted. Well it, it's, you know, I wasn't even thinking big enough cause I would've never imagined, you know, the equipment that we have today.

But I knew I wanted more at that time. And that was only 11 years ago, 12 years ago, something like that. Um, but. The, there were such limitations on what you, what you could get, you were dealing with, um, cyclocross tires, or if you went with something bigger, it wasn't Tube bliss and it was just, you know, and then if you did get, uh, uh, the actual size of tire you wanted, you were limited on the frames.

They would, they would, it would work on. So you're just compromising, you know, pretty much everywhere. And so today, like new riders getting into the market, like. It's amazing because everything there are, there is so much good equipment out there that truly is like purpose-built for gravel.

[00:30:26]Craig Dalton: Yep. Yeah, and that whole spectrum, you know, you put a pair of 32, you see tires on. An env mog, you're, you can go and do your group rides and be entirely proficient, and then you can go up to fifties and you can put the bike packing bags on

[00:30:41]Neil Shirley: Yeah.

[00:30:42]Craig Dalton: and everything in between. Nice. As, as listeners are looking to, to learn more about the bike, what, what's the best place to go and what's the shop network?

How can people find where they might be able to throw a leg over one and take a look at it more in more

[00:30:56]Neil Shirley: Yeah, so on, uh, on our website, nv e n v e.com. Uh, we have the, the MOG there, so all the, all the information if you want to read about it, you know, some of the design design elements, um, the features of the bike, it's all there. Or if you wanna just look at some cool photos of people riding MOGs. Um, but we also have a dealer locator.

Right on the website. So you can go through, um, you can select envy, you know, envy bikes, and it'll show, it'll pull up retailers, uh, near you. And, and honestly, pretty much all, you know, envy, envy ride centers, which are kind of our premium shops across the country, which I think we have about 60 of those. Um, everyone has, everyone has MOGs in stock, so yeah.

[00:31:44]Craig Dalton: And you've also doing, doing a bunch of events this year. I know I saw you guys at Sea Otter and sounds like you'll be out at Unbound at a few other

[00:31:51]Neil Shirley: Yeah, we'll be at Unbound. Um, we'll be at Crusher, uh, if anyone's interested in coming to Envy and, uh, taking part in the rodeo, our own, our own event. There are still some entries left for that as well. So

[00:32:05]Craig Dalton: Awesome. And is that in June again

[00:32:07]Neil Shirley: June 24 and 25.

[00:32:10]Craig Dalton: Awesome. And you additionally held one in Jer,

[00:32:14]Neil Shirley: Oh, yeah, yeah. Last October we did the Jero. Um, so Oh,

[00:32:19]Craig Dalton: that go?

[00:32:19]Neil Shirley: it was great. Um, anyone that's rid, have you ridden in Jer before?

[00:32:24]Craig Dalton: Yeah. It's so funny, Neil, I missed it by one week. I had a pre-planned trip and I was like, I, I caught wind on social media that you were doing the event. And I was like, I will lose my mind if the event I've already booked a ticket for coincides with the gro deal. I would love that. But unfortunately I was like a week displaced.

But to answer your question, yeah, I did a week of riding in Jer last

[00:32:46]Neil Shirley: So you, you know how special it is. I mean, whether you're, whether you're riding on the road or gravel or mountain biking or just, I mean, the, the town, you, you can't beat it. It's really like, it, it's a dream. I, uh, Told my wife, I, I might not come home, but yeah, no. So, so yeah, that was a, that was a great event.

We're doing that again this year. Um, so late, late October.

[00:33:10]Craig Dalton: Awesome. And you were teamed up with the service course. Is that one of your premier shops over there?

[00:33:15]Neil Shirley: So they did, they actually have, uh, MOGs as part of their rental fleet. So someone's going there for vacations. It's, it's a hot bed for, um, you know, cycl cycling tourists coming in. So yeah, they can, you can rent a MOG and go, go check it out.

[00:33:33]Craig Dalton: Cool. And just so it's not missed at the GRIO event in Utah, envy does an open house. They bring a bunch of frame builders in. It's just a totally magical weekend of great eye candy, great riding, great people, and a whole lot of fun. Did he try to achieve a similar kind of custom builder vibe in

[00:33:52]Neil Shirley: Yeah. Yeah, we tried to take that same model. Um, here, here in Ogden, we typically have about two dozen custom frame builders in Jerron. I think they had about, I think there were. 12. Um, mostly, mostly European focus, although we did have Argonaut in Mosaic out there as well. Um, cuz I, I mean really for a lot of us in the industry, like we just do these things as an excuse so we can go ride our bike in super cool places.

And so yeah, we had, we had some good, uh, we had some great builders out there. Um, good food killer riding, good time.

[00:34:29]Craig Dalton: Yeah, awesome. I got to see a few of the leftover custom bikes in the Service Core shop while I was there, so yeah, you guys do it right over there.

[00:34:38]Neil Shirley: Yep.

[00:34:40]Craig Dalton: Yeah, I appreciate all the time Neil. I appreciate getting back up to speed on the mog. I love how it turned out and I, while I was impatient, you guys delivered.

[00:34:49]Neil Shirley: Well, thanks Craig. And, uh, you know my number, if, if you want to jump on one and, uh, take, take some time on it.

[00:34:58]Craig Dalton: Of course, man. I hope to see you

[00:34:59]Neil Shirley: Thank you.

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