PORTLAND, OREGON — Asylum Cycles has announced the crowd funding and product launch of the Meuse, a disc-brake, full-carbon cyclocross bike. With a Belgian river as its namesake, the Meuse pays homage to the early European origins of cyclocross. What’s particularly intriguing is that the Meuse is being launched on Crowd Supply, the first crowd funding site to support the management of pre-orders, fulfillment and e-commerce for new products.
“We know that there are a lot of carbon fiber bikes on the market today, but none put it all together for cyclocross at a reasonable price the way the Meuse does,” said Asylum Cycles co-founder Chris Currie. “The most performance sensitive cyclists expect a special ride quality from their bike that only happens when obsessive bike geeks design the end product. We’re building our bikes for the most demanding of riders. We think of them as our design partners, not just our customers.”
Asylum Cycles is using Crowd Supply to provide a more collaborative approach to the introduction of new bikes, involving racers, cycling enthusiasts and other potential customers in the design process from the very beginning. Using input from those riders and racers, Asylum Cycles has refined and tested prototypes of the Meuse. “Now that the Meuse is ready for release to production, Asylum is seeking backers to aggregate a large order so it can deliver its first bikes at the lowest possible prices. Our mission is to welcome customers into the design process to help us create the best bikes at the best prices,” said Currie. “Crowd Supply is the perfect partner to create long-term relationships with the people riding our bikes.”
The Asylum Cycles Meuse is made with lightweight, high-modulus carbon, with reinforced dropouts (weighing in at 1120g for the 54cm) and an integrated headset, and has a molded-in chainstay disc brake mount for what the company calls a “stiff and strong” rear triangle with plenty of mud clearance. Given that the company resides in Portland, Oregon, the company even increased its rear mud clearance from its initial prototypes to accommodate the mud that is so prevalent in the Northwest.
The oversized bottom bracket shell with PF30 system was selected for increased stiffness and power transfer and the ability to run an eccentric bottom bracket for singlespeed use. The frame utilizes a tapered 1-1/8” to 1-1/2” head tube, pretty much the standard nowadays, and a full-carbon Columbus fork with a taperered steerer handles steering duties. Asylum utilizes “vibration damping Flatbottom seatstays” designed for a smoother ride, and its “Powerflow downtube” and oversized chainstays are designed to resist flex. It comes disc brake-ready, and with internal shift-cable routing as well as external brake cable routing for hydraulic lines.
The Meuse will come in four sizes: S, M, L, XL. Asylum will also offer the bike with a crash replacement policy and three-year warranty against defects in manufacturing, a policy that rivals the larger companies’ policies.
Turning to the cyclocross community to get the company off the ground and get the first model funded is a novel approach, but one becoming popular for smaller components, such as the Kettle Cycles’ carbon disc brake rotors we recently reviewed. However Asylum maintains it’s a new business model, not just a one-time event. “The Meuse will undergo its full evolution on Crowd Supply, from launch to the acceptance of pre-orders to the sale of finished bikes,” said Lou Doctor, co-founder and CEO of Crowd Supply. “On other sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, the crowd funding campaign would have been a one-time event, but companies like Asylum Cycles are now using our platform as the foundation for a long-term relationship with their customers. We believe that Crowd Supply’s complete support system is the future of crowd funding and innovation.”
If funded by the end date of May 18, the company will be offering four options to customers and bike shops, including a $895 frameset, a $1595 singlespeed with eccentric bottom bracket, a $2095 SRAM Force-equipped geared version with Avid BB7 disc brakes, and a Force-equipped $2495 Rogue Brewery Team limited-edition build with upgraded Avid BB7 SL disc brakes, Thompson and Ritchey WCS cockpit, and SRAM Force crankset. Prices will increase after May 18 by 10% until delivery in October, at which point they’ll jump to “MSRP” pricing. All three models come with NoTubes’ award-winning Iron Cross tubeless disc brake wheelset, reviewed in Issue 20. All models are expected to be ready for delivery in October.
The company is already working with a shop in Portland, and hopes to expand its dealer network. If you happen to live in Portland, test rides are possible. We can’t pretend to guess how the bike will ride without throwing a leg over one, but studying the geometry charts carefully, we’ll go out on a limb and say the geometry can win national championships as it’s nearly identical to the geometry of Jonathan Page’s 2013 National Championship-winning mystery bike we profiled in January, with the exception of a slightly shorter head tube and seat tube. Of course the ride quality could be quite different, as tube shapes are different, and Asylum smartly avoids the mud-collecting horizontal shelf found behind the bottom bracket on Page’s winning ride and moves shift cables to internal routing.