Down an inner suburban laneway in Northcote, Melbourne, is the home of Australian bike company Curve Cycling. Designing wheels, forks and frames, Curve was started by Steve Varga as a hobby 7 years ago, it now has three Directors Steve, Jesse Carlson and Adam Lana, who are all passionate about cycling. I met up with Adam recently to find out a bit more about Curve.
Steve and Jesse grew up together in Adelaide riding BMXs, doing big jumps and back flips when they were first on the bmx scene. Jesse went on to win an age group world championship in BMX in the mid ’90’s. Steve was involved in mountain biking and after moving to Melbourne started working in bike shops. “There used to be this mentality, that all bikes were made in the same factory in China, he started researching to see what the truths were. It was quickly apparent that all bikes were not made in the same factory. He started researching and exploring his own products, found some good factories and started testing some wheels,” Adam tells me.
In 2013 Jesse raced the Tour Divide from Banff in Canada to New Mexico in Southern USA! On a mountain bike with wheels designed by Steve and bike he helped build. Through the Rockies, it was 95% off road and it was the first real proving grounds for the wheels, putting them through a 4,800 km ride. Jesse came 2nd in that race and Curve launched their road and mountain bike wheels on the back of that.
Adam became involved after seeing a facebook post from Jesse about the wheels. Adam bought a set, thought they were amazing and wanted to get involved. The three sat down and agreed that this is what they want to do, “offering a really good product that they knew and loved.”
The grovel steel was Curve’s entry into bikes. The first production model had a bottle opener on it and was launched after Jesse did another ride, 6,800 km east to west USA, the Trans Am, in June 2015. He rode the Belgie and Curve’s frames were then launched on the back of that.
Curve design the spec for the wheels. They found a really good open mold that they were happy to use. Due to the expense of designing a completely exclusive product, they helped design the product with the factory, but then couldn’t retain exclusivity. They are now finalising the design on their exclusive mold.
The titanium bikes, made out of a factory in China, are designed from the ground up by Steve. There is a road frame, disk and rim version, a grovel CXR; a cyclo cross bike which is pretty much go anywhere, a mountain bike in two versions; the outrock, and they’re just about to release a road endurance, and the grovel monster, basically big fat mountain bike tyres on a cross bike.
Later this year in September Curve are hosting ‘Race to the Rock’. A ride from Adelaide to Uluru, 2,600 km, mainly off road. “It’s going to be on another planet territory where we’re heading” according to Adam. “Jesse has plotted a route using the Oodnadatta track and Morsons trail, it’s remote, but not too remote.”
Curve are popular with cyclo cross riders. “The CX community, it’s pretty tight and growing, it’s a good crew,” Adam tells, “in a way what mountain biking used to be like many years ago.” Curve currently have the Australian women’s CX champ Lisa Jacobs on their wheels. She is in Belgium and will be contending in the world championships early 2016. They’ve also got two former CX Aust champs on their wheels.
As well as CX riders, they also have Scott Nicholas, winner of the single speed 24 hour world championships in California in October last year, and Tobias Lesteral who is aiming for the world championships in February in Rotorua.
“We’ve managed to get these really amazing riders around us riding our wheels which has been a big help. For us Curve gives us a great opportunity to go out and do things like Race to the Rock. That’s what’s really nice about what we do, we take our product and go out and have fun with it, taking them on adventures. The product will stand up to it, it’s been proven, we try to be as fairly priced as we can and to be able to deliver that to people is a nice feeling to share our fun. We just hope from a business point of view, that we can replicate that throughout the world.”
Not focusing on one discipline, Curve do everything from BMX racing, which is 40 metres, to 7,000 kms and everything in between. Mountain biking, road riding, it’s all based around having fun on two wheels.
“We’re not highly tech with what we offer, we just offer good fun products. A lot of cycling is extremely tech focused. As long as the safety and approvals are met, it’s about designing something that is more about the fun. Titanium isn’t the lightest bike around, but the reason we chose titanium is because they’re fun, we can do a lot with them and we can impart how we like to ride in our frames and so far the reviews have been excellent.”
Check out Curve’s great products and adventures on their web site www.curvecycling.com