I was all ready to photograph this wooden bike at the Cal Poly Bike Builders booth when I saw this small-tubed downhill rig chilling front and center. We at Element.ly don’t cover much downhill but a downhill bike is also not a common sight at NAHBS, either. So I decided to take a look.
Cal Poly Bike Builders is a mechanical engineering club out of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, an uber-competitive public university known for its excellent engineering program that happens to be surrounded with plenty of good riding. I know this well because I really wanted to attend that school.
According to Chris Fedor, the club’s vice president and a 4th year mechanical engineering major, this downhill rig, named D.A.V.E for Downhill Assault Vehicle Extraordinaire, was conceived one week after the 2018 NAHBS.
With about 3,000 man-hours of work done by as many as 25 members of the club to manufacture much of the bike from scratch including the use of 3D modeling, FEA, running the CNC machines, and brazing the steel frame together at the fabrication facilities on campus that would make some full-time builders very jealous.
Needless to say, D.A.V.E is one hell of a student project. The bike has yet to see any trail action, per the members’ agreement of not riding the show bike before NAHBS, but perhaps the lead welder will get first dibs? There’s also rumored to be a long waiting list.