Wyatt Bikes was founded in 2011 by a 21 year-old named Wyatt Hrudka. Originally selling asian-manufactured singlespeeds, he now manufactures high quality, fully-customizable, 100% made in USA bikes near La Crosse, Wisconsin. Today we share his bike manufacturing story and take a look at his fat bike, the Maverick.
From Loading Docks to Local Bike Shops
Wyatt Hrudka learned to ride a bike when he was 4 and would soon be jumping off loading docks with it. As he got older, he worked in a local bike shop in Manitowoc and later attended The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where he worked in the outdoor recreation department. Working in the outdoor recreation department, he noticed that gear was often out of tune and that a lot of people didn't take good care of their bikes.
This inspired him to start his own bike company that focused on providing a solution to these problems: a brand, "Wyatt", of single-speed bikes that were affordable and easy to maintain.
Perfect for college students.
Starting Wyatt Bicycle Company
While studying Business Information Systems in college, Wyatt chewed on this dream to build his own bike and start his own bike brand. But the complications that come with manufacturing were enormous, and the minimum order quantities for bike frames were really high. But with some light connections to overseas manufacturing (thanks to another previous job), Wyatt was able to source manufacturing options and place an initial order for half of a shipping container, 150 single-speed bikes.
Despite being turned down for loans from every lender, Wyatt did what any scrappy college student would do. He went to his parents for a loan. With a small loan, 150 bikes, and an unheated storage facility with no electricity, he set out to sell single speeds for $350 apiece.
To oversimplify the long, arduous process of figuring out the heck he was doing, he slowly but surely got some bike shops on board as well as made a website to sell direct to consumer.
Made in Asia to Made in USA: The Journey to American-Made Bikes
Wyatt always dreamed of building his bikes in the USA, but it was a long and difficult journey to get there. After a failed Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a USA manufacturer, Wyatt was forced to design and build a new fat bike, the Driftless Fatbike, in Asia. But after years of working with Asian manufacturers and the inability to control the quality of the product and ensure ownership of his designs, Wyatt was ready for a change.
He bought a welder, a mill, some belt sanders, and a frame jig, and began to look for welders in La Crosse. With the help of a local manufacturing partner, Wehrs Machine & Racing Products, Wyatt was able to start building frames start to finish right in La Crosse. He even switched his tubing to 6061 aluminum, which is manufactured right in the USA.
While most other "Made in USA" bike companies only assemble in USA their foreign imported materials, Wyatt gets American-made tubing, American-made filler material for welding and then does all of the manufacturing and welding right in the USA (Bangor, WI) as well.
Quality and Customization
Wyatt bikes are for people who care about where their bike is made and want the most capable and fun bike that they can ride year-round, even in the winter and on the beach (more on Wyatt's fatbike later). Every part of Wyatt Bikes are designed with the highest quality in mind. No cutting corners. Wyatt Bikes doesn't use model years just for the sake of putting out an annual update. Instead, they view their bikes as constantly improving and are small enough to just make things better and better and constantly improve. Wyatt's goal is to make as many bikes as possible, as efficiently as possible, without waste and added cost.
With competitive pricing and the ability to customize every aspect of the bike, from color to any components you want, Wyatts are are thoughtfully designed and constructed to be the most capable and customized bike you can get.
Meet Maverick, Wyatt's Fatbike
Wyatt makes two bikes: The Maverick and the Vista. The Maverick is their fat bike and is designed to handle any terrain, from the snow-covered forests of winter to the sandy beaches of summer. It can be equipped with the largest tire on the market, the 5-inch V-tire 2XL, making it possible to conquer even the toughest terrain with ease. The bike is designed to be lightweight, yet durable, ensuring a smooth and comfortable ride no matter the terrain.
According to Wyatt:
"The Maverick is different from the rest of the pack. It is an American-made fat bike with modern trail geometry and massive tires. It is the missing tool to keep your free riding spirit alive when the snow hits the ground. The Maverick’s roomy cockpit is made for short stems and wide bars for better control over the big front tire. The slack head tube angle, low bottom bracket, and optimized chain stay lengths make for a balanced ride to keep you feeling confident on the steep downhill sections and allow you to climb like a mountain goat on those daunting hills. Maverick is designed for having fun whenever and wherever you ride."
A Purposeful Adventure
Wyatt's journey to starting Wyatt Bicycle Company and building American-made bikes was full of complex logistical challenges and is an ongoing labor of love. Making bikes in the USA that have so much quality and capability at a competitive price point can't be easy. But it sets Wyatt apart from other other companies and puts a lot of passionate riders on his bikes. Want to learn more about Wyatt? Check out WyattBikes.com and go peek at the Maverick while you're over there.