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Dave Weagle interview

| Blog, Mountain Biking Uk | 18/11/2011 09:00am

Whether you ride one of his several suspension platforms or not, Dave Weagle is important. He’s a great example of one of the many bike designers committed to finding the ever-elusive ‘better’.

I got to interview Dave a few weeks for our Pulse section’s Industry Insider (MBUK 271 in shops now) and got an insight into just how much work he pours into his designs. One of the coolest parts of what I do is getting to talk to the people who’ve designed bikes that I love. Having owned (well, ‘had custody of’) a Pivot Mach 5, Iron Horse Sunday and my current Pivot Mach 5.7, it’s fair to say that I’m a big fan of the dw-link.

Unfortunately, we don’t have loads of room in the tight confines of the Industry Insider ‘box’ so I thought I’d put the fill transcription of our chat up here for all you Weagle fans to have a ganders at. Enjoy and if you get a chance to ride one of his bikes – do it, you won’t be disappointed.

MBUK:  Name and job title?

DW: Dave Weagle, no job title!

What does the average working day involve for you?

DW: Ususally up and working before 7AM, many days I start off with SportsCenter for a few minutes while I get dressed, then it’s coffee and e-mail for as long as it takes. Hopefully by mid-morning I’m working on some actual projects. Major projects could include anything from data acquisition or shock dyno work, to developing new geometry or kinematics for bicycle partners, or working on fabrication of my linkage motocross suspension prototypes.  After lunch I’m typically back to projects, then test riding on the trails, mostly ride evaluation and damper tuning, I do all of the damper tuning for all of my partner bikes, from XC to DH, so it’s a time consuming part of what I do. Then more time in the office chair until it’s time for dinner.  Sometimes I hit round 3 as well, but after a solid 10-12 hour day 6 days a week, well… Rest is not the worst thing. Of course the best workdays are like the ones I had last Friday and Saturday, where I spent the 2 days testing dampers for DH bikes up on the mountain. There’s nothing wrong with that!

DW-Link must have (and must still be) massive for you – what has been the highlight for you personally of it? All the World Cup and World Champs wins must be huge?

DW: Absolutely, dw-link is still a huge part of what I do, and I couldn’t be happier with the group of partners that I work with today. The World Cup and World Championship wins were really great, and I enjoyed travelling the world, meeting so many new friends and just taking it all in, but for me the best part of it all has really been hearing from everyday riders how the products I’ve brought to market have improved their lives. It is always incredibly rewarding to hear a rider talk about how they tested this product and that, and that their actual impression of the product on the trail is what pushed them to choose one over another, that’s awesome. I love that the application of math and physics can improve the quality of life.

Tell us a bit about how long Split Pivot was in development for?

DW: The Split Pivot design has been in development since the mid 2000’s. It was a pretty constant workload over the years going from designs to patents, to prototypes, to new partners, to production bikes. For sure there is a lot of work involved. I probably could have worked harder on bringing bikes to market in 2008 and 2009 when I was concentrating on e*thirteen, but it’s really taken off in the last couple of years since then. The Devinci and BH Split Pivot bikes have been really well received by the riding public and have proven themselves as formidable weapons on the World Cup DH and XC circuits as well, so I am excited about the future. With Morewood showing product at Eurobike and the BH and Devinci product lines expanding, there is some cool stuff happening. I’m especially excited about the Devinci Atlas 29er with its 428mm long chainstay length. It’s one of the first 29ers I’ve ridden that with a more classical mountain bike geometry and it’s something I’m hoping to implement on many more bikes.

What and where do you currently ride yourself?

DW: Most of my XC riding and testing is done here on the trails of Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the south coast of Massachusetts ,USA. I have about a 20 mile loop that I do right out of my yard here, and it’s littered with square edged rooty bumps on the trails. There aren’t many long sustained climbs, pretty much you are pedaling constantly. It’s a fantastic place to test trail bikes.  My second “office” is Highland Mountain in New Hampshire. It’s a great place to test bikes and people there are very cool about not taking pictures etc… of the prototype bikes and parts that I usually sport. I love it up there. I just got back and I can’t wait to go again! Bikes, well, basically everything that I had a hand in I have at least one here, plus more than a few that I had nothing to do with, just to keep tabs on where the rest of the industry is.

Can you tell us what you’re currently working on or is it masked in secrecy?

DW: hahahaa, Believe me, there are so many things that I would like to talk about but I can’t. The ones that I can talk about are, hmmmm… The last year has been a real push with building a completely new shop. It’s a state of the art facility complete with energy efficient geothermal heating, a very sophisticated computer controlled shock dyno, separate auto and bike work areas, a fabrication area, and a full suspension rebuild area (bicycle and moto). I am pretty excited about it. Morewood, the Sukuma 150mm travel bike is moving well, I’ll be testing with some new BOS air shocks on the bike soon, and the FOX and Rockshox tunes are already totally dialed. Also the new 170mmm Morewood Split Pivot should be here any day as well. I’m testing a new Turner DHR with some radical geometry; we will see how it goes. I don’t see it becoming production but you have to push the boundaries to learn. All new dw-link and Split Pivot websites are on the way, that is so time consuming, and I really have to say I don’t love working on the content side of things but it’s a necessity I guess! They will be a really great portal for dw-link, Split Pivot and Delta system riders to find setup info for their bikes. Also, my moto suspension project Orion should be launching next year, no specific timetable though, when it’s ready it’s ready!

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