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Slidepad wraps up 'Save Your Teeth Tour'

Published November 30, 2012


LAGUNA HILLS, CA (BRAIN) — Nine out of 10 dentists would likely approve.

Brian Riley and Kyle Jansen stopped in at BRAIN’s offices this week on the final stretch of their "Save Your Teeth Tour," a 40-day road trip that stopped by 90 bike shops. The pair visited shops that stock and sell Jamis bike models spec’d with Slidepad brakes. The toothy tagline plays up the Slidepad’s biggest professed benefit — no more over-the-bars face plants due to slamming on a bike’s front brake.

The Slidepad is a one-lever system that uses a sliding rear brake pad to modulate the front brake. Riley, 25, and Jansen, 24, met while attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and launched the brake along with engineer and fellow Cal Poly alumnus Andrew Ouellet close to two years ago. Ouellet machined earlier versions of the Slidepad for his bike. He came up with the design after endoing to avoid crashing into a car.

The Silicon Valley trio eventually secured funding from a couple of angel investors and, after several trips and time spent in Asia looking for a supplier partner, outsourced manufacturing to cable, brake pad and housing supplier Jagwire.

With the Slidepad, no matter how hard the brake is pressed or how slippery the road conditions are, the front wheel doesn’t lock or skid. As a rider applies the brake, the rear brake pad slides, pulling on a cable connected to the front caliper. This mechanism makes braking smooth and controlled, said Jansen, who compares the Slidepad to the anti-lock brake system in cars.

“Many shops don’t know how it works and the benefits,” said Jansen. "Now as some of the 2013 Jamis Hudson and Commuter bikes start hitting, we wanted to visit shops to do some tech clinics and show how it works.”

Riley and Jansen racked up some 11,000 miles on the road, starting from company headquarters in Palo Alto, California, on Oct. 22. They leased a Ford RV and mapped out a route to shops spanning from Idaho to New Jersey, cooking breakfast or lunch for the retailers they visited. They spent many nights at Wal-Mart, where they could park their rig for days with no complaints.

The trip was originally planned for 32 days, but the duo was delayed as they reached New Jersey and New York right as Hurricane Sandy hit, extending their trip by about a week.

Jamis spec’d the Slidepad on some model-year 2013 bikes and Jansen said two other bike brands will spec the Slidepad on 2014 models. The Slidepad also is sold as an aftermarket kit for $49. It’s an easy upgrade on any bike with direct-pull brakes, Jansen said.

More about their tour on Slidepad’s Facebook page.

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