Singletrack Magazine MTB Podcast
Podcast: Bowhead Corp – making bikes for life
A life changing spinal injury is one of those things that we really hope never happens to us – but as mountain bikers we know it’s a risk. When it happens, as well as all the obvious and potentially major health, work and accessibility implications, it can also mean we lose the ability to socialise with our friends like we used to. What happens when you can’t ride with your ride buddies?
For Christian Bagg, the life changing injury came from snowboarding, not mountain biking. Thankfully, due to some incredible ingenuity, he’s managed to regain the ability to get out and ride his bike with friends. The tool that makes this possible is the Bowhead, and having realised that it wasn’t just him who could benefit from it, he’s turned this creation into a business. The bike might not look much like a normal mountain bike, but the reasons for riding and some of the technological challenges are just the same.
Sit down and listen to Christian talking about the bike’s development, its features, and the benefits it can bring, in this podcast.
We’ve a huge selection of images of the bike, so let’s take a closer look at the bike and some of the points we discuss in the podcast.
There are a lot of parts! The frame is made and assembled in Calgary, but wherever possible Christian uses readily available standard parts, so that there’s less chance of local maintenance difficulties or obsolescence. It also means there’s room to upgrade your shock etc, if you’ve still got the upgrade itch! And like many dream bikes, you can opt for a titanium frame too, for a lighter option.
The key piece of technology in this bike is the front parallelogram, which allows the bike to stay stable on off camber or rough trails – the wheels move independently of seat, so that the wheel goes over a rock without tipping a rider out. You can also lean into turns. If you check out other adaptive trikes and cycles, this tends not to be the case – and limits the options of where you can go.
Something else which helps make this bike go further is the width. It’s no wider than your own mountain bike’s bars, meaning you can ride singletrack trails rather than needing wide and groomed bike park paths or doubletrack. Christian designed it not just to let him get out mountain biking, but also let him get out with his family on hikes – where trails tend to be narrow.
The upright ride position means you can look around and chat to your friends as you ride – whereas the forward position favoured by many trikes makes this more difficult. Christian also thinks that with the bike’s ability to lean, upright is actually the best position.
Riders sit in a seat, held in by a harness.