On my way to Eurobike I met up with my friends from Misspent Summers at Leogang World Cup. James and Ben were going to Eurobike, too. They had a bed in the Air BnB in Leogang that needed claiming and I was more than happy to oblige. There was also rumours of free food and drink in the press areas at both the World Cup and at Eurobike. The deal was, if I wrote a tech article or two, they could get me in. An added bonus of going to the world cup and then road tripping to Eurobike was getting a chance to meet one of my best customers, Chris Mutlitz – owner of Gasser MK2, and a few other BTR’s, too.
I wanted to visit the Eurobike to check what the current situation is on ebike motors because I have plans to build two kinds of ebike (more on that another time). I also wanted to get some backing for a YouTube series I’ve had rolling around in my brain since 2020. This YouTube series has something to do with the bike this blog is about…
This right here is the BTR Gasser, the only one in the world, built just after lockdown 2020 in a mad rush so that Chris could take it on a roadtrip with his friends. We had been talking for years about building him a DH frame and it was his threats of buying a Starling DH frame that finally put the rocket up my back end.
Rona tried to put a spanner in the works, though. The whole world shut down and it didn’t look like The Man was going to let Chris and his friends out of the house for the trip. I couldn’t get anyone to make anything for me and I couldn’t source any tubing, so things got put on the back burner for a bit. But lockdown ended with just enough time to get the project done before the road trip deadline – 29th of June 2020.
The frame needed to be designed from the ground up and the design was ready for parts to start being made on the 19th May 2020. I needed to source the highest quality steel tubing available and custom tooling was required for the build. The swingarm needed a custom fixture making.
The seat tube needed a custom form, die and mandrel to create a bend at the bottom for the main pivot position.
The suspension linkages need to be machined from airspace grade aluminium and I needed to find someone who could do that in a hurry.
Finally, I needed a new batch of rear axles turned as well. There were many hurdles during the build, it felt like suppliers were just letting me down left right and centre when I really needed them to pull through, and the stress of the tight deadline was pretty intense, I even cried at one point.
The last two days of the build resulted in a 36hr shift to get the frame to the powder coaters in time. Once the build was done and the frame was at the coaters I was totally buzzing and couldn’t go to sleep, I documented the build on Instagram ‘stories’ and I had a tonne of messages, so I read all of those and the amount of support for the build and the stories was incredible. Many people said it was better to watch than most TV shows. It was bitter sweet to have the frame boxed up and out the door on 22nd June 2020, DH is where my heart is and I definitely wanted to keep the frame for myself but it was a good feeling to have the project done on time and knowing it was going to be put straight to work on a European road trip with stops like Shaldming and Morzine made it all the sweater.
Finally meeting Chris in person has been fantastic. We have been speaking over the internets for many years so it felt like we knew each other pretty well already. The hospitality his family showed Winder, McKnight and I was extremely welcoming and heart warming. To see the two houses and workshop Chris and his family built themselves was seriously inspirational for me. Chris even has a set of dirt jumps in his garden. That’s one of life’s dreams right there.
The plan was to build myself one of these beasts and go ride with Chris in Shaldming, Austria. Just because it’s an iconic place to ride and it would be insane to ride with Chris there. Many more hurdles were to come my way since 2020 that have meant it hasn’t been possible to make this happen just yet, but things are starting to look up here at BTR head quarters.
I want to focus more on YouTube videos and less on producing frames for the general public and my hope is this will allow me to get projects like this out of my brain and into the real world.
My trip to Eurobike was a great success and the backing I was looking for was forthcoming, so I just need to pull my finger out and make it happen now. If you would like to see projects like this come to life on YouTube you can subscribe to my channel here. You can also send me motivation to actually get some editing done (I have trouble getting edits finished…) via email, Instagram or Facebook. Comments are turned off here on the blog because the spam is too much to deal with.
Keep ‘er Sideways