DENVER (BRAIN) — Niner co-founder Steve Domahidy is launching his own company with the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. Domahidy Designs is offering two 29er hardtail models: an $899 Reynolds 853 frame and a $1,799 titanium version. If his Kickstarter launch is successful, Domahidy will ship those bikes in July and be off and running his own company.
"Now that that's done, I have the time to get my own company launched," Domahidy said.
Given Domahidy's design portfolio, which includes Niner's CVS suspension and the carbon aero Vis Vires, the return to metal hardtail 29ers seems a step back. But Domahidy is quick to point out he has carbon suspension designs pending if the launch is successful. But he also said he loves hardtails, especially made of steel and titanium.
"It's not like the market needs another 29er hardtail, but at any Wednesday ride there are always quite a few hardtails from a handful of brands. It's still a popular segment, and I'm doing a few things with my designs and geometry that are a bit different," he added.
While at Niner, Domahidy worked with Reynolds to develop an 853 tubeset for 29ers that's used on the Niner SIR 9. So he knows the material very well. The Domahidy Designs Reynolds bike features larger-diameter tubing than the SIR 9 to increase steering precision and stiffness at the bottom bracket. It also has a machined tapered headtube. The titanium bike also focuses on the same areas, with a beefy front triangle for steering and stiffness. Both bikes have breakable rear dropouts for belt drives.
If everything goes as planned, Domahidy Designs plans a dual-channel strategy next fall. The brand would sell consumer direct over the Internet and work with a select group of bike shops. Domahidy is not sure which bikes he will be launching next, but a cyclocross and a disc brake road bike are on the short list. Not too far behind may be a carbon fat bike, some full-suspension designs and a kids' line.