August 26, 2012

Welcome to one of the biggest weeks on the bike industry calendar - it's time for the Eurobike show! Located in the small, tucked-out-of-the-way, hard-to-find-a-room town of Friedrichshafen, Germany on the shores of Lake Constance, this bike show is hands down, without a doubt, no kidding, all hyperbole aside, the world's biggest bike show. No really, it is! This is the ONE show where all the heavy players show up to exhibit their latest two-wheeled wares.

And as is common for the days leading up to the show, bike journos the world over get inundated with press releases for all kinds of new bikes and new bike companies. Of all those that I've been privy to, none were as exciting as the note I got from Joshua Colp at Culprit bikes. Yeah, like you I'd never heard of the brand before either, but one look at the bikes quickly convinced me that I needed to chase Joshua down and find out more about his new bike bike brand.

                            The TRP/Parabox disc brake equipped Culprit hits the scales at 16 lbs. Photos: Daryl Carey

RBA: Who the heck are you and what's the story behind Culprit bikes?
Well, I grew up in Ventura, California and went to college in Santa Barbara while I was chasing hotel career in business. I got unhappy working hotels, and then I learned about jobs teaching English in Taiwan and I gave that a go. In my first year here my friend got me started competing in triathlons. We went to the Taipei bike show and I started emailing companies/brands asking for free product and a few responded and with that my door to the industry was magically opened.

Eventually I became very close with a company called Trigon. As a decent triathlete  and occasional road racer in Taiwan. I followed the trends and was able to  give product feedback and push them in their development. I have helped them with their shapes/outer designs. Of course, since they have been producing carbon frames and components for the worlds top brands,  when it comes to knowledge about internal carbon layup, they are the professionals. But the Trigon brand isn't famous and I attribute it to their lack of marketing history combined with a preference to build for the OEM companies.

Backside mounted front brake and underside mounted rear brake, the Culprit is as contemporary as they come when it comes to aero brake mounting.

This last January I married a local girl who was aware of my passion for cycling and together we decided to give the Culprit brand a go. With our saved money and a bank loan she took out for us, we started the company and began a focused R&D effort. I chose to work with Trigon for the carbon parts due to the brands they already produce and most importantly, for the good relationship we already enjoy. Luckily, despite being a “nobody”, I have a lot of weight in the factory and they have worked hard to produce my dream in a relatively short time for carbon bikes.

I am close to TRP and good friends with them. When I heard of their Parabox hydraulic unit I was already thinking of road bikes with disc brakes. When I saw Colnago's bike at Taipei show I was a bit frustrated because I realized that I had been beat to a disc brake road bike. But if anything, it just proved to me that my early idea was right. So I worked even harder to get things moving.

Things have happened so quickly and we aren't fully ready but we are entrusting God to provide, get all the suppliers on board and make the brand the next Cervelo. We only want to compete against the likes of Trek, Cervelo and Specialized.

          The proprietary Croz fork mates perfectly with the rear mounted TRP side-pull brake.

                                           Yeah, Culprit has a full-tilt tri bike as well.

I have one service center already arranged in the U.S. for my carbon bikes since I am going consumer direct. I am looking for shops to work with for doing a bike fitting. A lot of direct brands cut out shops, but I want to engage the brick and mortar guys all bikes to get a fitting, so this gives them guaranteed money if they sell culprit, albeit not as much as usual).


Besides the frames that Culprit frames and bikes that Joshua wants to bring into the States, he also has a duo of ready to roll hi-tech kids bikes that he wants to bring in as complete bikes.

"Culprit Bicycles is still seeking distributors for the Culprit Junior bikes and components in countries around the world Brick and Mortar shops with bike fitting can contact: service@culpritbicycles.com for further information."

And that my friends is the Culrpit story as I know it right now. I plan to meet up with Joshua in the halls of Eurobike later this week and he says that the Culprit Bicycles website should be providing a full retail price list later this week once the bikes go public in Germany.

Look for more from Eurobike later this week, or if you feel so inclined, head to the show this week as the last two days are public days and you will never see more new bikes in a single place anywhere in the world.

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