Rad Bicycle Company's The Grizz fatbike

What do you get when you mix a lifetime of automotive manufacturing, years of bicycle racing experience and a newborn child? We get Rad Bicycle Company, the new passion of Michigan’s Matt Craig. Two years ago when his son was born, Craig decided to shift his focus away from racing and use his extensive manufacturing knowledge to start building bikes instead.

Rad Bicycle Company seeks to put people on high quality USA hand-made frames at a competitive price to overseas manufacturers. Craig’s 4130 chromoly frames are designed and welded in-house, with a balance of race-able light weight and daily thrashing durability in mind.

Check out more of Rad Bicycle Company’s craftsmanship after the break…

Rad bicycle company, frame in assembly jig
Matt Craig knows his jigs, welders and mills after growing up in the auto manufacturing industry.

For over a year, Craig has been designing and machining his own tooling while converting his barn into a workshop. He’s currently assembling his sixth fat bike frame and has orders for four more. Working as a weld engineer by day, he builds his frames after hours and can currently produce one per week.

As a supporter of USA-made product, Craig is focused on keeping all steps of production as close to home as possible. All his frames are painted locally, the chromoly frame tubing comes from a Michigan steel mill, and the laser cuts for yokes and bridges are done within 20 miles of Craig’s shop. Frame components like BB’s, dropouts and head tubes are purchased pre-fabricated from Paragon Machine Works (Richmond, CA).

Rad bicycle company's The Grizz fatbike chainstay yoke
Rad keeps it local, with all American parts and hand fabrication.

Rad builds their front triangles with double-butted 4130 tubing, and rear ends from straight gauge 0.35” tubes. Their frames are back-purged with pure argon to allow for less contamination and stronger welds. Craig equips his bikes with routing for full cable housings to keep snow, sand and grime out, an ideal setup for fat bikes.

The brand is more concerned with making affordable bikes than catering to the high-end boutique market, so custom frame geometry is not being offered. However, non-standard paint schemes can be discussed, and Rad offers the option of purchasing frames only or complete builds. It won’t all be fatties in the future, Craig also plans to build 29ers, and a few 29er+ and gravel bikes.

Rad bicycle company's The Grizz fatbike in the snow Rad bicycle company's The Grizz fatbike, snow ride

Their first fat bike model ‘The Grizz’ is in production now, weighing in at 4 pounds, 10 ounces for a size large. Frames will be available at a limited time price of $750 to start, and Craig plans to keep the eventual price of all his future non-custom frames under $1000 USD.

For news updates and photos of the building process check out Rad Bicycle Company’s Facebook page, or for more information visit their website.

radbikeco.com

22 COMMENTS

  1. I like the local sourced, USA made aspect of these frames, and $1000 would be cheap if customization was available, but you can buy a Ritchey frame for less, and whilst those are not USA made, you couldn’t fault their performance or heritage.

    If RAD can keep the price at $750 I think they’ll sell a bunch more frames.

  2. If he could make the investment into the tools to laser cut the yokes and bridges it might help keep the cost down. For a USA Made and Sourced 4130 bicycle this is a good price. Does it compete with a Taiwan built steel frame price wise? No it doesn’t but it comes pretty dam close. Respect to this guy and I hope he turns a profit. Good luck

  3. Surly frames are more expensive than $750 and made with crap steel in Taiwan and you guys are complaining about the cost.

    Kudos to this dude. I hope it works out.

  4. Um, White Mike most certainly did NOT nail it. Surly’s 4130 tubing isn’t “crap”, and most of their frames WITH fork are under $700.

  5. Well maybe not the tubing part. Agreed with ya there aaron. But everything else yes. I’m a little biased as I’m starting a frame building company in the US as well, and I’m aware of the grim financial realities of it. For this guy to offer the prices he is… impressive, and very competitive.

  6. If someone GAVE him all that tooling, he could keep the price his bikes at $750. But if he doesn’t want a ton of employees and wants to be in control of everything, he’ll never be able to have such low prices while making a living. Also, plenty of people don’t want to have so many automated processes in their production. The result may be similar but for many people, the process is very important. Also, plenty of artist/craftsman don’t care to have huge production numbers, even if they could do it on their own. Great to see what he’s doing. I’m sure his hands are full as it is.

  7. That steel fat-bike looks beautiful. Can somebody explain to me why “hand-built” is in the title as though it’s an unusual feature? I was curious to know if most bicycle frames are being welded by robots today, and discovered that the vast majority (for example, everything from Giant factory) are hand-welded by humans. Is a hand-welded frame by a person in Asia somehow not “hand-welded” because they are from Asia? I don’t get it.

  8. wheel-addict, maybe the title should of read “hand-crafted”, then the difference would be self explanatory. Many Asian frames are robotic cut & welded (a couple titanium frames I bought were), but I don’t know the %.

  9. Skill comes with practice. With that in mind, Taiwanese welders from big bike brands weld more frames than their American counterparts in boutique brands. If the Taiwanese follow international standards, I don’t understand how their work can be considered ‘crap’.

  10. Wait, okay so people who live in the USA give other people a hard time for not making stuff in the USA, then a guy starts making something in the USA at a competitive price with what appears to be great workmanship and he gets a hard time. WTF?

    Okay so this is not as cheap as a Surly. I guess it comes down to what people value. I value products made in my home country and am prepared to pay a bit more for that. Especially when we are only talking a few hundred dollars.

  11. jm – it’s ridiculous to compare Ritchey to Walmart, and this guy might have 100 years of auto manufacturing experience, but has he built a bike that was ridden to a WC victory?

    If you want my honest opinion, that weld; drive side chainstay to yoke, would look more at home on a Walmart bike than a $1K “handbuilt”.

  12. Regardless of all the debate of USA handmade vs. overseas made, I think it’s great to see one more option out there that’s reasonably priced. There’s a lot of more expensive options and of course some cheaper ones, but personally I don’t think the pricepoint is all that rough for a fatbike. It’ll be interesting to see what the 29er frames come in at and what other items will come out of their shop. Keep up the good work!

  13. It’s great to see more mid-priced options on the US market. I think people are missing the point with the debate over a few hundred dollars price difference compared to surly or salsa.

    Smaller producers like Rad give you something surly never could- more choices! It’s true that most people can’t afford $2k for a custom built US frame, which is why you don’t see many out there on group rides. But suppose you don’t like the geometry or the color of the mass produced frames from taiwan? Choice in the market is always a good thing. It makes for more happy riders, who can (for just a few hundred dollars more) buy a bike that was made by a hard working american who they can talk to on the phone, who has as much passion for cycling as they do.

    Yes, I’ve seen beautiful welds and craftsmanship on steel bikes from Taiwan, but to me there is some extra value in knowing that the guy who welded my bike chose do to it (on top of his day job even!) for the love of it.

    Lastly, a sub 5lb frame and a Surly are not the same animal. There is a light and lively feel to lighter tubes that lighter-weight riders like myself can’t get from an everyman’s overbuilt production frame.

    The bike industry is big, with room for lots of different options. There is a place for good bikes made oversees. Not everyone can afford $200-400 more for a frame built in the US. But for those who can, I’m glad to have the option.

    Keep up the good work at Rad cycles, I hope more people follow your example.

COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.