They’ve just sent out their first 12 bikes to retail shops around the nation, but Colorado Springs’ startup Borealis Bikes Inc., a division of Fatbike LLC., has big plans for the future.
“We’re working on creating other models, and we’ll be shipping more of the model we’ve completed. There’s no way we’re going to be a one-model shop,” said Adam Miller, co-owner of the company, which moved into its location at 110 S. Weber St. last month.
Borealis is the dreamchild of Miller, who approached his partner – an entrepreneur teacher at Colorado College – Steve Kazmarek about starting a company that manufactured a different kind of fat-tire bike.
“I’d never ridden one,” Kazmarek said. “Once I tried it, I told him, ‘We have to do this!’”
Miller is originally from Alaska, and worked for a competitor in the fat tire bikes. The bikes have larger tires in order to absorb more shock and gain more traction during the winter months. The Colorado Springs version is also made of carbon fiber, which makes it very light.
“These bikes are faster than you can imagine,” Miller said. “And the tires absorb the bumps – you can go over tree roots, rocks. It’s more fun that you know, until you ride one.”
Miller is still taking a “few” classes at Colorado College and Kazmarek is a graduate. The two say the business will stay in the Springs.
“Where else would it be?” Kazmarek asked. “This is the most beautiful city, there are more mountain bike trails than you can imagine. We even put it in the letters of incorporation that the company has to stay here.”
Fatbike has five employees and plans to grow to 20 in the next four years. Due to the popularity of the fat-tire bikes, the company estimates sales this year to be around $2 million.
And the new headquarters had a lot of support from local businesses. The duo said UMB Bank financed the move into the location at 110 S. Weber, and officials at El Paso County helped them get enterprise zone credits to save tax money. The credits are given to businesses working in areas that need urban renewal.
And the two said the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance gave them assistance in getting the idea off the ground.
“We met with Dave White, and everything he said he would do, he did,” Kazmarek said. “They really gave us a ton of support.”
That’s because the company does everything the organization is seeking in a new business: it’s in the sports economy and it is a headquarters company.
“Those are so important for a thriving city to have,” said Alliance CEO Joe Raso.