Mountain biking was born in California, sure, but freeride was born in Canada. Even before the world recognized freeride as a distinct form of mountain biking, the Great White North’s rugged terrain challenged early equipment. Making bikes that could survive our trails inspired the first wave of Canadian brands, like Rocky Mountain, Race Face, Brodie and Devinci, many of which are iconic names in cycling now.
But the innovation hasn’t stopped. Canada continues to push the sport’s development, often through the work of smaller brands. These brands can be flexible enough to serve a niche market or specific demand as they grow. Some of these brands take local to the next level and manufacture their products at home, too.
Here are Six Canadian brands that are pushing mountain bike design with Made-in-Canada components. We’re limiting this to brands that actually make their wares, not just design them in Canada. We’re also focusing on newer entries to the market and non-custom work (there are a ton of amazing custom frame builders in Canada!). With so much incredible work happening here in Canada, this is just a start.
We Are One
Started in Kamloops, B.C. five years ago, We Are One pioneered Canadian-made carbon fiber in the mountain bike world with its rims, bar/stems and, now, Arrival frame. We Are One proved that it wasn’t just possible to make carbon fiber components and bikes in Canada, it is possible to do so competitively. In fact, the brand now manufactures rims for other U.S. brands in its Kamloops, B.C. facility. Since the Arrival, uh, arrived, Bridge Bike Works followed in We Are One’s footsteps to make its own carbon fibre all-road bike right in Toronto.
Pushing what is possible in adaptive mountain biking from its Calgary, Alberta. home, Bowhead Corp. doesn’t just design and build bikes, it’s helping push the development of the sport. Its Reach bikes are gaining attention internationally for their capabilities off-road. Different Reach bikes are being used for everything from gravel racing and alpine adventures to full-on downhill racing at the Dunbar Summer Series and around the world. Some parts of the Bowhead are made in the U.S., but design, development and assembly happen right in Alberta.
Project 321 might have started in California but it’s moving to Ontario – including production – as part of its bid to take its magnetic hub design to the next level. With a contract to supply Stan’s No Tubes with new hub parts, it’s already on its way. What comes out of the Mississauga factory next will be interesting.
Good work happens at all scales. Farside Components is new and it is still quite small. It started with the project of making a stem. A really good, and good-looking stem. From that one piece, the Vancouver Island brand added chainrings, including a high pivot-specific oval chainring. It also makes custom linkages for fellow Islanders, Forbidden Bike Co.
Designed and made right in Vancouver, NF started with jerseys before releasing high-end riding pants, shorts and, now, jackets. Made for B.C. riding, NF’s quickly become a staple at North Shore trailheads for its mix of quality and function and is raced around the world by some of Canada’s fastest enduro and downhill racers.
Trees Mountain Apparel
Quebec’s Trees Mountain Apparel has nearly 10 years of making ride clothing in the Laurentian mountains. In that time the line’s expanded to include trail standards and several more unique standouts but the apparel is still made locally right in the Laurentians.