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We Are One is known for their carbon rims and cockpit components. They are also known for manufacturing them in Kamloops, BC. So, when the news dropped this morning that We Are One is adding a frame to their catalog, it meant more than just another geat-looking, hopefully great-riding bike for us to get on a waiting list to buy. It’s a step towards seeing what manufacturing carbon frames in the western hemisphere might look like. Of course, it looks expensive, but let’s talk about the bike first.
Dubbed the Arrival, We Are One’s new frame stacks 150 millimeters of rear travel and 160 up front. In Kamloops, you would call it a bit of an “all-rounder,” but in the rest of the world, it appears to have a serious enduro focus. 64-degree head tube, 180mm-specific rear rotor mount and coil-shock compatibility. It’s also built around 157mm rear spacing, but with a twist, We Are One designed the Arrival to work with a standard crank meant for Boost 148 spacing. This optimizes the chainline for the easier gears where you’ll be spending more time under more torque, it doesn’t limit you to 157mm-specific crank options, and—for those who can tell the difference—it has a narrower, more traditional q-factor.
The frame itself floats on alloy links, which is where the bearings are housed, not in the carbon frame. Similarly service-friendly is the threaded bottom bracket. Less service-friendly is the non-internally tubed hose and cable routing. This has become the dominant method for internal cable management, and is achieved by embedding pathways between layers of the walls of the carbon itself during manufacturing. We Are One tested frames with this feature and found failures associated with it. Another feature missing is a geometry flip-chip, but this is also intentional. We Are One clearly didn’t want to compromise on design or durability, and the multiple components and eccentric linkage elements were just distractions from the Arrival’s ultimate purpose.
Similarly focused are the two build kits available on the Arrival. Of course, they are kitted with We Are One’s own rims and their own Da Package bar/stem combo. And the rest is equally boutique, with a Fox Factory 36 fork, Factory Float X2 rear shock (with a Push 11/6 coil upgrade available), and a Chris King headset for good measure. Aside from one build getting i9 Hydra hubs and the other getting 1/1, and one getting Magura MT7 brakes and the other getting MT5s, the primary difference between the two build kits is that one runs on SRAM AXS and one on SRAM X01. Clearly, the Arrival is meant as a premium offering, with the X01 build going for $8,900 and the AXS build for $11,000.
This is in line with the prices we saw from Ibis when they released details on the Exie last week. For now, Western carbon frame manufacturing will likely be something aimed at those who are prepared to spend a couple extra $K for a frame made closer to home. But this isn’t as trivial as just an expensive status symbol. We Are One, for example, offers custom paint, made to order on the new Arrival. That’s paired with the beauty layer of woven carbon impeccably laid over the whole of the frame. We Are One is also famously conscious of the impact their business has on the environment. All of We Are One’s packaging is recyclable, and none of it is plastic.
But most impressive, and possibly unprecedented, is the fact that We Are One includes a repair program with their frame warranty. If you ever need to take advantage of their lifetime warranty against defects, it will not mean your frame will go to waste, followed by another frame and all of the excess material that was associated with its production.
“One significant difference we will be offering is the ability to repair our frames. With our ability to make frames, we can also repair them, keeping our products from needing to be recycled.
Our repair process will take damaged frames and structurally confirm they are back to new when the repair is complete. This process is more labour intensive than building a new frame. However, the result isn’t about labour and costs; it is about our impact on the environment and keeping our products rolling longer than others. The repair program will assign a cost to repair the frame or rear triangle and will be not-for-profit, meaning our costs will be covered, and the customer gets to keep riding the product after the repair.
As a manufacturer, we feel the planet has given us the materials to build these bikes it is our job to make sure that they last, and are not taken for granted.”
So, yes, the bike is hovering around $10,000. It won’t do anything to bring new riders to the sport or solve the availability crisis. But it’s fighting on a different front. As more brands conduct more experiments with making carbon products at home, it will introduce more new ideas to the industry. Hopefully, more brands will try it, and maybe it will grow to a scale where prices can be competitive. But even if not, and these experiments produce bikes like the Arrival, we won’t complain.