by Marc Basiliere
May 12, 2014
Hardtails, fatbikes, and even full suspension!
The host of the first-ever mountain bike world championship race and home to a number of legendary riders, Durango has faded somewhat as a bike industry hub. With Yeti having been sold and relocated some time ago and 3D Racing remaining a small operation, it’s been some time since anyone was building in any real quantity in the southwest Colorado town.
Durango Bike Company aims to change this- bringing a bit of hometown pride to their range of fun-oriented trail bikes. Rather than taking the comparitively inexpensive and forgiving steel route, Durango’s bikes are hand built of aluminium and titanium in a facility powered entirely by solar power. All models are backed by a lifetime warranty and tuned on trails just out the front door.
Durango’s Ti offering, the Pucker, is designed around a 68º head tube and 140mm Revelation trail fork. Wheels are 27.5 for their combination of rolling characteristics and performance on technical terrain.
The Moonshine is a 160mm trail bike. Designed to be ridden all day, the aluminium model is welded in Durango and heat treated in Phoenix before being returned home for finishing. Owner Jeff Estes is enthusiastic about the suspension tuning support that the young company has received from RockShox, which has allowed them to tailor the bike’s ride characteristics rather than settling on an off-the-shelf rear shock. Despite chunky looking linkages, this Moonshine is said to weigh in at 26.2lb, Pike, sensible tyres, and all.
Given Durango’s long winters, the inclusion of a fatbike in the range is no surprise. The Hooey intended to be more playful than the competition (are we seeing a pattern here?), with a 67º head angle, low bottom bracket, and the ability to run 29+ wheels come summer. Hub availability is simplified by the 150mm rear hub spacing and 83mm bottom bracket shell, both borrowed from downhill bikes.
The versatility theme continues with screw-through sliding dropouts, making the Hooey singlespeed compatible. Current bikes are available with a Taiwanese-made, house-branded fatbike fork suspension, but look for RockShox Blutos on future builds. Aluminium seems like a good material choice for a bike that can expect to see a lot of moisture and road salt. As it sits, this Hooey hits the scales at under 30lb.
“We are not rushed to finish, we will not mass produce, and we will not overcharge for quality.”
Durango (the bike company) is putting its ideals front and centre in this new project, minimising environmental impact while emphasizing craftsmanship and durability.
They may not measurably change the world, but hope to at least give things a nudge in the right direction. Here’s to a group of riders working to make their vision a reality.