IRVINE, CA (BRAIN) Thursday May 10 2012 3:25 PM MT—Design engineer Tim Lane is best known for his work developing Felt’s DA and AR aero road bikes, so his latest project may raise a few eyebrows.
Lane has developed DirtBaggies, a bib short designed specifically for mountain bikers. He started working on the concept a year ago, about six months after leaving Felt, to solve a problem he’d experienced often as a lifelong dirt rider.
“I’ve never found the comfort I wanted from mountain bike shorts,” said Lane, a Brit who also worked for GT and RockShox and spent time in the aerospace industry during his career. Often, he’d pair road bibs with baggies in search of an optimal set-up, but it was never quite right. DirtBaggies is his solution. He put together a thick, roadie quality chamois designed for long distances with an ultra light shell short. The two are held together by removable tethers that keep the outer short in place and allow for a looser waistband.
The premium pricetag—$180 for the bib and $70 for the shell—speaks to the performance of the high-end bib and mesh-paneled shell, Lane said. The chamois is made by Italian pad pros CyTech and the shell is sourced from a factory in Santa Ana, California.
Lane is selling DirtBaggies online at dirtbaggies.com, and through select retailers. The first to sign on was The Path, a Tustin, California, shop with a loyal following of mountain bikers. Initially, Lane’s plan was to sell only consumer direct as he was concerned about investing in the inventory required to stock brick and mortar shops, but a recent trip to Utah’s famous Gooseberry Mesa area changed his mind.
“I realized my business model is to be selling online, but people go on vacation to places like Gooseberry Mesa, Moab, all those places. Whether you buy or whether you don’t, you get a lot of traffic through those stores,” he said. By selling product in destination area regions, he can benefit from impulse buys from last-minute shoppers.
Lane also wants to expand internationally, and is primarily targeting popular mountain biking countries like Germany, the U.K. and Australia.