Most people know Wilderness Trail Bikes or WTB as an aftermarket component manufacturer. While this has pretty much always been their MO their catalog once included a lot more than seats and tires. In the early days WTB products were further developments of the work done by founding partners Charlie Cunningham and Steve Potts.
Jumping back a bit here, to this Steve Potts that was on display at the Chris King Swarm event in Bend…
Bikes like this stir the turd that is cycling purists’ perceptions about a lot of things. Take for instance, what the definition of “comfort” means, and truthfully, there is no finite, objective definition of the word “comfort.” Look at everyone from Grant Petersen to Coppi and you’ll see various approaches to cycling fit and enjoyment. Some road racers are more comfortable with enormous stems, slammed to the head tubes. Endurance bikepackers and record breakers often prefer the aero TT-style bar extensions for long hours on the bike. Meanwhile, even in mountain biking, bike fit and comfort varies from 110mm drop stems to 35mm ill lil shorty stems. What I’m trying to say is this is Steve Potts‘ personal titanium all-road bike and this is comfortable to him.
Now I have no idea how old Steve is, but he is one of the original 1970’s Repack renegades who is largely responsible for the sport known as “mountain biking.” He’s been building for over 35 years and to this day, develops some of the most intriguing designs I’ve seen to date. At first glance, this bike might look “weird” but when you lower your broad scope and refine your vision, you can see some truly unique and beautiful details here. Bear in mind, Steve’s fit is probably different than yours, and if you’re like me, I wonder what this bike would look like with a more race-fit geometry and sizing. Even the fork is a thing of mystery. Ask Steve about it next time you see him, he rambled off so many engineering numbers to me that I could barely wrap my head around his design process. In short, it flexes just enough to make even the most washboarded roads a little more comfortable… Hell, when I’m Steve’s age, I hope I’m still riding and I hope my bike looks like this!
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Whisky Part’s Private Stock: Ben’s Rock Lobster and Steve Potts
Photos by Kyle Kelley, words by John Watson
Private Stock. A term reserved the best of the best when it comes to distilling American whiskey, Scotch whisky, and bourbon. For Whisky Parts Co, a brand within the umbrella that is Quality Bicycle Products, their aim is to design the best parts possible and get the most people using those parts as possible. Part of that comes from OE sales and the other brands within QBP using Whisky Parts when it makes sense, yet there is a growing demand from Domestic and International frame builders, to create products specifically for niche market requests. We’ve seen Whisky do so with their road, cross and mountain forks, as well as their wheels and components over the years.
For Ben Witt, Whisky’s marketing and sales director, he felt the need to not only embrace the niche market of frame building, but to use the parts for two of his own bikes; a Rock Lobster all-road and Steve Potts dirt drop mtb. We’ve seen a number of Private Stock builds from the Whisky team here on the Radavist over the years, but these two are some of the best.
Thanks to Ben for taking the time to let us showcase these bikes and Kyle for the great photos! My fingers are cold just typing this up!
Each year at NAHBS, I like looking for innovative design solutions and this year, the bike that really resonated with me was this Steve Potts Silk Ti soft tail mountain bike. It’s got S&S couplers and a rear rack for touring. These days, you see nothing but bikepacking rigs for MTB tourers at NAHBS and on the internet, so seeing a ride like this is almost out of place. Then you look closer. Yes, the chainstays are made from a piece of laser-cut titanium, but check out the rack! Steve engineered a leaf-spring stabilizer on this rack, so when you hit a rough patch, the 1.75″ travel rear “shock” absorbs the terrain and this rack, due to its design, remains free of any jostling that might jettison your panniers onto the road or trail.
It’s hard to even begin to display how it works, but when you sit on the bike and compress the shock, the rack, with or without weight, keeps its normal height. Kooky? You bet. Smart? Uh huh. After all, this is NAHBS…