Bad Otis at the Grodeo, the ENVE Builder Roundup Recap
Posted on: July 13th, 2021
“You’re a bad boy, Otis. Breadwinner’s flagship rowdy hardtail continues to impress. This year’s build features a supergraphic quad-color paint coat and a stance that commands your attention. Well done, team!”
– John Watson, The Radavist
Photos by John Watson
Journal by Alex Roman
It is rare that one ventures to the arid Utah deserts to escape a Portland heat wave, but Tony and Alex did just that as they packed up (motorcycles?) and journeyed to the Enve Composites HQ in Ogden, Utah for the Enve Grodeo and Builder Roundup – a weekend assemblage of riders and craftspeople celebrating the creations of custom framebuilders from all across the planet. We reunited and rode with long time friends and colleagues as we tested our designs on perfect pavement, chunky g-roads and sublime ribbons of singletrack in a region that absolutely earns its sea salt as one of the best cycling destinations on earth – regardless of your preferred riding flavor.
Sending It Into the Ravine
Friday’s festivities started early with multiple rides departing from Enve’s impressive headquarters in the heart of Ogden.
Kevin, our faithful Enve representative and friend guided us up the side of Ogden’s imposing backyard mountain range for a couple hours of underbiking on the spiciest out-your-front-door singletrack the SLC metro has to offer. The loose, dusty, and exposed bench cut was a sketchy contrast to the loamy neighborhood firelanes that we test our bikes on in Portland’s Forest Park – Tony on his G-Road sporting a dropper post and a Sugar Wheel Works-built pair of Enve G27s and Alex on his racy Holeshot with a pair of Astral Wanderlust Carbon wheels. Breadwinner tallied the only crashes for the large group of framebuilders on the ride with Tony confidently sending it into a ravine and Alex stylishly flipping OTB. The bikes came out unscathed; you know what they say about steel.
The Very Bad Otis
Enve’s doors opened to the public in the evening for hours of ogling the most minute details of the impressive bikes on display. You can see all the bikes presented in the galleries on The Radavist and BIKEPACKING.com.
We brought our brand new Bad Otis with about as much attitude as the cassette has teeth or the fork had millimeters of travel. Full Sram XO1 Eagle with the new Chris King two tone hubs, headset and bottom bracket, a 160mm Rockshox Lyrik, 200mm of dropper travel, and a finishing kit dripping with Enve’s sublime carbon cockpit and M635 rims that were hand-crafted in that very building just weeks before and laced by Sugar Wheel Works, of course.
The seat tube angle has been revised to 74.5 degrees, which moves the saddle over the bottom bracket to make it climb better with the dropper post fully extended. Once the seat drops down, it’s in full shred mode. Truth be told, the slight adjustment from our last Breadwinner Bad Otis update is mostly because Tony wanted a bike that would wheelie even better.
The Bad Otis has plenty of front end stability with an agile back end. The short 415mm chainstays keep things tight, nimble and make it fun to rip around and quickly switch direction on technical trails.
This ultra-modern update of the Bad Otis design is the metallic manifestation of the memories Tony made flying down the very trails of the Salt Lake City metro-area. The mountains that made the man continue to inspire the design of Breadwinner’s mountain bikes today.
The Grodeo: Northern Wasatch Mountains
Let’s just say waking up on time for Saturday’s 7am rollout wasn’t even close to being the most painful part of the day.
Enve’s monstrous route came just short of a century, with well over 8k feet of climbing on comically steep road, gravel and singletrack through canyons, over towering peaks and across idyllic fields of wildflowers through the local Northern Wasatch Mountains. With climbs and descents like those, it’s easy to see why Enve is so skilled in making rims with unbelievable strength:weight ratios. Sometimes the combination of altitude and steep grades felt like a cruel joke, other times it felt like an aesthetic privilege so picturesque that we couldn’t possibly have done anything to deserve it.
We were pulled out of our dazes of fatigue and acute mountain sickness by luxuriously stocked aid stations and fun side quests that included a Wild West-themed roulette wheel and an axe throwing competition. The bikes and wheels carried us to the finish with freshly emblazoned memories of the unreal views and new friendships we made along the way.
The Sunday Singletrack Pilgrimage
All weekend long, Tony had plans for a Sunday morning shuttle up Big Cottonwood Canyon on his mind. Kevin, our fearless facilitator from Enve, shuttled all framebuilder friends up to the top of Wasatch Crest for what was to be an emotional day.
After a quick dropper-post bleed in the parking lot, Tony and his lifelong friend Andy guided the group up the exposed and vertigo-inducing lungbuster of an access trail to the summit where they visited the memorial of their beloved friend and namesake of the Breadwinner JB Racer, Jeff Bates.
After absorbing stories of Jeff’s epic riding talents and the friendship bond, we began our descent back into the canyon where Tony put the updated Bad Otis to the test on familiar, nostalgic dirt. He led everyone out and even the most skilled of the group on ultra-techy full suspension bikes had to push to keep up. Words like “stoke” and “rad” and “epic” don’t even begin to do the Wasatch Crest justice.
For us, the Grodeo weekend was the perfect reimmersion in-person events that we most missed about making and riding custom bikes. Weekends like Enve Grodeo are where that confluence of offbeat personalities and experiences – the makers, enthusiasts and riders – meet to make and share philosophies and perspectives. Indeed, the very inspiration for the beautiful bikes they continue to create.
Thanks for showing us around, Enve. We can’t wait to come back. See you next Grodeo!
Photos by John Watson