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Children of Dan Hanebrink continue business following his death

Published January 23, 2019

BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. (BRAIN) — Two children of innovative bike designer Dan Hanebrink, who died of natural causes in late December at age 80, are continuing to serve Hanebrink Bikes' existing customers with service and replacement parts, and might take on building new bikes at a later date.

Rani Hanebrink-Figueroa has served as operations manager for Hanebrink Bikes the past 10 years. Her brother, Jared Hanebrink, is a highly trained machinist who has worked on and off in his father's shop since a young age.

"There are parts that my dad made that my brother knows how to make and can continue making — the wheels, which are a pain in the butt, but he said he'd do that for customers. Also the triple-clamp forks. If it's other stuff, we can order things like batteries because we still have contact with all the people we've worked with. So it's easy to get them random parts," Hanebrink-Figueroa said.

Those wheels are the monocoque aluminum tubeless 20-inch hoops built for the 8-inch-wide fat tires Hanebrink's extreme-terrain bikes are well known for. Hanebrink also makes its own inverted 8-inch adjustable-travel triple-clamp suspension fork.

Widely regarded as a pioneer of fat bikes, Dan Hanebrink was also an early adopter of electric assist in the early 2000s, partnering with father-and-son duo Fred and Kane Fortune to form Fortune Hanebrink. That relationship later soured, Figueroa-Hanebrink said, but Hanebrink Bikes continued to build e-bikes up until Dan Hanebrink's death. His last project, which son Jared finished up to deliver to a customer after his father's passing, was designed to house a pack of six batteries on the frame.

"Luckily the friend who was working on it with him offered a lot of information, so Jared was able to get the battery pack on there, connect it and get it to the customer," Hanebrink-Figueroa said. "We've also stayed in touch and are friends with all the mechanics we've worked with on the electric work before. People have already reached out and offered their help."

Dan Hanebrink was also in the midst of redesigning his X2 electric mountain bike. Hanebrink-Figueroa said her brother will attempt to build one of them as a test case for perhaps restarting bike production.

"My brother is the only one who knows how to build the bikes because he used to build them with my dad. He works at a machine shop, and he's busy but would like to make them. He told me he's going to make one just to see how it goes on his own. Then maybe he'll take some orders," she said.

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