Banner
Stainless Steel
Tuesday | 09 October, 2012 | 8:50 am

Beyond the trail

By Gretchen Salois

American-made bikes propel one small business forward, providing an innovative and ultra-light option for riders

October 2012 - Where iconic sleds comb through a snow-covered Alaskan landscape pulled by packs of dogs, lone bicycle enthusiasts use stainless-steel bicycles to push through treacherous terrain on a solitary quest for a finish line crossed by a select few.

At 616 Bicycle Fabrication in Grand Rapids, Mich., a small but capable team brings an American-made innovation to a tried-and-true mode of transportation. Fat bikes allow riders to ride along terrain other than ready-made pavement, no matter what the season. Snowfall or sandy beaches are streamlined under the carefully designed frame which is equipped with thick tires.

mm-1012-stainless-interior1
Because the majority of bikes sold in America are made in China or Taiwan, 616 Fabrication relishes its American supply chain. “To bring jobs back to the U.S. is one of our goals, especially right here in Michigan,” says John Muenzenmeyer, co-owner of 616 Bicycle Fabrication, a name inspired by Western Michigan’s area code. He runs the shop, along with co-owners Aaron Joppe and Robert Gaddis.

After displaying its fat bikes at the Iceman Cometh Challenge in Traverse City, Mich., the company discovered a growing interest in this niche market. “We’re getting known for our fat bikes. Our Snow Cat wheels are a pound lighter than competitors’,” he adds. “A normal fat bike might weight 32 to 36 pounds total—ours are approximately 27 to 31 pounds—a four pound difference altogether.”

Detailed differences
Using stainless steel provided by KVA Stainless in California, a company that works on metals for a number of industries including medical and aerospace, 616 Fabrication’s fat bikes give riders a plush ride. “Stainless doesn’t corrode easily and gives a smoother ride than stiffer aluminum bikes,” Muenzenmeyer says. “An aluminum bike beats you up when you pound through the trails.”

The company’s CNC work is completed by Micro Manufacturing in nearby Dutton, Mich. “There are 20 or so different components that go into our designs,” he explains. “Outsourcing locally to Micro allows us to make running changes and check the quality more often than if we outsourced overseas.”

The tube kits 616 Fabrication uses have a lot of technology behind them. True Temper OX Platinum 4130 chrome moly tubing is pre-hardened and comes in double-and triple-butted tubes specifically designed for high-end bicycles, Muenzenmeyer says.

mm-1012-stainless-interior2

The tires fat bikes need are unique in that the rims and tires are wider than conventional bicycles. Compared to other fat bikes, with rims measuring 80 millimeters wide, 616 Fabrication’s are 45 millimeters wide. “That’s half as wide but still using the same 4 inch tire,” he explains. “Using our Snow Cat wheels compared to the alternative brands drops the weight of wheel one pound each, making our Rims-Hub combination the lightest on the market.”

The wheels’ rims currently come from Alaska and originally were extruded in Indiana. Going forward, they will be extruded in Florida. The rim originally was designed for the Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska. The concept of the fat bike originated when competitors started coupling two bike wheels together to improve traction through the tough, snowy terrain. “That opened the door for people like me to start making these thicker tires for these types of bikes,” Muenzenmeyer says. MM

 


 

RELATED MATERIAL

MF38488

RETRAINING RETURNING WARRIORS
Making good use of one potential employee pool through mission-oriented training for veterans

flawless-fab

FLAWLESS FABRICATION
Handmade titanium bicycle company perfects its craft with U.S.-sourced tubing

welding-cycle061112-lead2

CYCLE OF PERFECTION
As the handmade bicycle industry grows, so too does fabrication quality

 

Current Issue

MM-Cover-10-14-current

October 2014

ON THE COVER: 
Gearing up for 2015
Tackling foreign policies, regulations, trade balances and capital plans, here are forecasts for virtually everything.

MM-Digital-button-current1

Subscribe: PRINT/DIGITAL MAGAZINE - eNEWSLETTERS

Midwest-MM-home-ad-5

Advertisement

Modern Metals on Twitter

White Papers

More White Papers >
Banner

Industry Partners

Alloy Bar Products

Custom Rubber Products

Metals Distribution

Service Centers

Sierra Alloys Royal Rubber Co. ThyssenKruppnMaterials NA Heidtman Steel Products

Aluminum

Cutting Software

Perforated & Expanded Metal

North American Steel Alliance
Channel Alloys SigmaTEK Systems McNichols Co. Reliance Steel & Aluminum Company

Bar

Cutting Systems

Plasma Technology

Thickness Gauges

Gerdau Messer Cutting Systems, Inc. ESAB Welding & Cutting Products Compusource Corporation

Bevelers

Drilling

Plate

Enmark Systems, Inc.
Steelmax Hougen Manufacturing, Inc. Allor Manufacturing Inc.

Stainless Steel

CNC Cutting (Plasma, Waterjet, Laser, Router)

Financial Services

Artco Group Stainless Sales Corp.
Multicam Inc. BMO Harris Bank Churchill Steel Plate Ltd Straub Metal International

Coated Coil

GE Capital Finance Ranger Steel

Stainless, Nickel, Aluminum, Pipe, Tube & Bar

American Nickeloid Metals

Investment Banking

Precision Grinding

Prudential Stainless & Alloys, L.P.
Centria Coating Services Brown Gibbons Lang & Company Joco Precision Grinding

Steel

Metal Coaters

Laser Technology

Profiling Software

ArcelorMittal

Coil Processing

AltaMAR, Inc. FastCam Pty Ltd. Central Steel Service, Inc.
Bradbury Group Amada America, Inc.

Rolled and Extruded Aluminum Products

Parker Steel Co.
Braner USA LVD Strippit Aleris Rolled Products SSAB
Burghardt + Schmidt GmbH Mitsubishi Laser-MC Machinery Systems, Inc.

Sawing Technology

Summit Steel Corporation
Butech Bliss

Machining Centers

Behringer Saws, Inc.

Steel Fabrication

Formtek-Maine Handtmann CNC Cosen International, Inc. Voortman Corporation
Herr-Voss Stamco

Material Handling

Cut Technologies Metal

Titanium

IMS Systems, Inc. Canrack Metal Center Systems DoALL Sawing Products TSI Titanium
Leveltek Samuel Strapping Systems HE&M Saw

Tooling

Machine Concepts Steel Storage Systems Inc. Kasto Carlson Tool & Manufacturing Corp.
Red Bud Industries The Caldwell Group, Inc. Metlsaw Systems

Tube & Pipe

Tishken

Metal Alloy Analysis & Verification

Sawblade.com Independence Tube Corp.

Copper & Brass

Thermo Scientific Niton Analyzers Scotchman Industries, Inc. National Tube Supply Company
Christy Metals Inc.

Metal Finishing & Deburring

Wikus Saw Technology Specialty Pipe & Tube
Farmer's Copper Supermax Tools

 

Turnkey Finishing System

 

 

 

Intellifinishing

 

 

 

Waterjet

 

 

 

TECHNI Waterjet

TrendPublishing

twitter facebook linkedin rss

 

MM-10-14-brandingcovers