Things started coming together while out on a ride.
"The idea first came to me when I was sitting on a chair lift in Crested Butte,” Will Montague said.
Montague wanted more from his mountain bike, and maybe he could just do it himself.
“We always say it’s the rule of 3 when starting your first business," Montague said. "It’s going to take 3 times as long and cost 3 times as much.”
That was the case for Will and his two partners who started Guerrilla Gravity.
“Guerrilla is a community driven effort to spark change," Montague said.
“And, Gravity is the fun part of mountain biking," added co-founder Matt Giaraffa. He and and Kristi Anderson started the bike shop with Montague, and Matt’s role is pretty clear when you hear him speak.
“When we came up with the idea, I had designed enough race car parts and suspensions and frames and things for automated material transports and air craft and tooling, that it was just another thing to make,” Giaraffa said.
He previously held jobs in race car engineering and aero space manufacturing, so it was natural he became the shops chief engineer. All three co-founders had to hold down full-time gigs while starting the company. Will was working for a dental lab.
"I was selling crowns and bridges and that sort of thing. So I used to say I was slinging teeth,” Montague said.
After three and a half years, they had bikes on the market and were able to make Guerrilla Gravity their one and only job. It's one of the few mountain bikes made in the United States.
“The mission of the company is 'to make mountain biking more awesome,'" Montague said.
Their fast growth is thanks in part to two different grants they’ve received. One was a national competition and the other came from the city. That money has helped them double production for three straight years.
“Each year it gets a little better and it feels a lot more real,” Montague said.
The bikes aren’t cheap, but a quality one never is. A Guerrilla Gravity product starts at $2,000, but averages close to $4,000. The entire build kit is up to the buyer, which is rare, and the bikes have a reputation for climbing and descending well.
“It’s been an exciting ride, one foot in front of the other," Montague said. "We have to keep our heads down but every once and a while you look up and say ‘wow, we’ve really come a long way."
This American Dream is about building an awesome and American made mountain bike. It started on a chair lift, and rode its way to Denver.