In this episode of our Inside the Outdoors, I interview Steve Kaczmarek, Founder and CEO of Fat Bike, LLC, maker of the Borealis brand of fat bikes.
Steve formed Borealis Fat Bikes in 2013 by utilizing his track record of successful start-ups to implement operational procedures that drove the Colorado Springs-based company through exponential growth during the first two years.
1. Their product line-up expanded a ton this year
Maintaining its rapid upward growth trajectory, Borealis has added two new bikes and a high-end carbon fiber fat bike wheel to its product line-up. The Crestone is the company’s self-proclaimed “state-of-the-art” carbon fiber fat bike frame aimed at giving riders the best possible riding experience thanks to fun-inspired geometry tweaks and lower overall weight. Borealis says it challenged staffers to utilize an entirely new computer generated design process, which helped reduce waste in manufacturing along with reduction of the frame’s heft.
2. Quality control is extensive
Like all but the smallest of bike makers these days, Borealis’ bikes are made in Asia. Obviously that can be problematic when a company resides so far from where its products come to life. But Borealis stresses vigilance at every step of the production process, as witnessed by their extensive quality control checklist that guides the staff at its Colorado Springs workshop.
3. They sell a lot of wheels
Judging by the stacks and stacks of rims, fat bike wheels are a significant portion of the Borealis business plan. Indeed, the Fat Bike Company sells both house brand carbon and alloy wheels, along with HED’s high-end Big Deal wheelset. Good wheels, of course, are integral to the fat biking experience, both providing adequate width to allow these wide tires to realize full traction enhancing girth, and keeping weight down. The difference between a carbon wheel set up tubeless and a budget alloy rim plus tube is huge. Tubes alone can weigh a pound apiece.