In the ground level of a beautiful home in Los Angeles, Javiar Yanco makes bags, caps and other accessories used by cyclists of every kind. From randonneurs, to bikepackers, road cyclists, MTB racers and cross bike explorers, Yanco’s bags have a cult-like following. One product in particular, the Ramblin Roll, sold by Tracko, literally launched him into full-time production recently.
But his work doesn’t stop there. From packraft bags, musettes, bar bags, bikepacking bags, caps and yes, still a few top tube pads, Yanco makes products that he’s inspired to make slightly different than the rest.
Through using bright colors, unique zippers and yes, camo, lots of camo, these bags will always fetch the comment on Instagram: “what kind of bag is that?…”
I caught up with Yanco last week in Los Angeles, as he was in the zone making Ramblin Rolls, and asked him a few questions for a Ride Along.
Check that out below!
John: I first found out about Yanco through your top tube pads. Your URL is still YancoPads.com, yet you’re much more than that… Explain the evolution of your business and do you see any correlation between it and people’s growing interest in cycling?
Yanco: We, my wife Liz and I started making frame pads late in 2006. I was building up a sweet fixie and wanted a frame pad to protect my paint. I had taken basic sewing in high school and my wife is asian, not much more to say.
On the serious side, I’ve been riding a while and have seen a great shift in attitude amongst cyclist. Things were very b&w, not so much anymore.
John:What’s the most annoying thing you deal with on a day to day basis?
Yanco: Dirty diapers
John:What’s the most enjoyable thing you deal with on a day to day basis?
Yanco: My daughter
John:Tell us about the history of the Ramblin Roll.
Yanco: Ask Kyle b Kelley
John:Caps. Your caps rule. What makes them different from the rest?
Yanco: Caps are caps, just something that fits the way it should, gotta look good too.
John:I’ve seen so many prototypes of new bags, caps and other accessories, where do you get the ideas for these products?
Yanco: I’ve always been a huge fan of bags. I only make what I would use myself. It’s a really saturated market with allot of great stuff already being made. I just wanna refine what already works.
John:What’s the next “big thing” for small bag companies like yourself? Are you growing through social media?
Yanco: Hard to say what the next big thing is for small companies like myself. I think it’s gonna be more about sustaining the lifestyle you want. Focus on quality, make stuff you would use yourself then do it for a few years…
Social media is an interesting beast. Pretend like it’s not there, just a nice surprise.
John:You’re not just a cyclist, what are your other hobbies?
Yanco: Don’t wanna piss off the purists but I do dabble in mountain running. I live at the foothills of Angeles National Forest so venturing off by foot has been a natural thing.
John:Seriously, tell us about the 100 mile run you did where you lost your toe nails!
Yanco: I’ve run Angeles Crest 100 two times. Lost toe nails both times and pissed blood in 2012, good times!
John:If you had to summarize the work that Yanco does (as a company) using one word, what would that be?
John:Any advice to new bag companies, looking to break into the industry?
Yanco: Stay fresh. Think things through before you waste your time and burn out.
John:What are other bag companies you look up to?
Yanco: Always been a fan of ReLoad and Freight. More recently I love what Porcelain Rocket has been doing, amongst others.
John:Out of all your products, which one(s) are the most successful?
Yanco: The success of the Ramblin Roll has been nuts. That little thing has been huge for us. Thanks everyone!
Yanco: Whatever Kyle’s buying
John:If your brand was a song, what would it be?
Yanco: Do you even need to ask…Wu Tang’s C.R.E.A.M!