Plenty has been written on this and other internet forums about the re-emergence of cult Canadian brand Off Road Toad. Michael Golinski, the Managing Director of Off Road Toad Bikes has agreed to speak exclusively to Retrobike about their current and future plans.
1) Retrobike: So, welcome back Off Road Toad. First things first, what sort of bikes will you be making? And perhaps more importantly can we see some pictures?
Off Road Toad: Thanks! We are glad to be bringing the brand back. Like the original Off Road Toad frames, we will be building hardtail chromoly frames. These will be available for both 26″ and 29er tires and no, at this point there is no plan to built Horny Toads (the elevated chain stay Off Road Toads)!
2) RB: There’s been a lot of discussion on the forum about who’ll be making the frames – here’s your chance to put the record straight. Who’ll be making your frames and what tube sets will they be using?
ORT: The first thing that we want to point out is that the reason somebody should be buying one of these frames is because they want an Off Road Toad. Each and every Toad is designed and built to our specs and we back up the quality and finish 100%. If you want a frame built by a certain welder, you should definitely support that frame builder by buying one of their frames. If you have always want a Toad, here is your chance.
When Rod originally started Off Road Toad back in ’86, he used a number of different builders to make the frames depending on who had capacity and the right price. We are using a similar approach. At the present time, we are using a contract welder who has built frames for Yeti, Strong, Ibis, Titus, Spot Brand, Control Tech amongst others. If you need to know exactly who it is, drop us an email.
Every Off Road Toad frame is built to our specifications, using our custom designed and machined dropouts, Reynolds 725 tubing and then powder coated for a high quality, durable finish. We inspect the frames once they are welded to ensure that they meet our quality standards and then once again, we inspect them after powder coat.
3) RB: It’s been a long time since the demise of the original Off Road Toad. What have you been up to in the interim and/or how are you connected to the original ORT?
ORT: Rod, who started the brand originally still retains full ownership of Toad. We (Michael and Mike) are licensing the brand and collaborating with Rod on ideas and direction.
Rod still works in the industry as the service manager for a shop in Vancouver.
Our connection is that Michael used to sell OEM parts to Rod while at Rocky Mountain Bicycles and both of us have always been huge fans of the brand and always wanted Toads!
4) RB: The original ORT had a very strong ‘Canadian’ design philosophy as seen in other brands like Rocky and Brodie. Is this something you’ll be carrying over into the new models?
ORT: We will definitely be carrying this design philosophy into the new models. As a former owner of Spot Brand, some of those design ideas will be brought in as well (like the new bolt on dropout that can be used to run either geared or single speed).
5) RB: What are your plans for production? How many Toads are in the wild already?
ORT: We will be building frames in small production runs (typically 6 at a time) to get some efficiencies of production but also ensuring that the frames still have that hand built feel to them. This also allows us to ensure that customers are getting their frames in a timely manner.
At present, there are 6 frames spread out all over the globe (Switzerland, South Africa, Canada, USA) with another production run set to start next week when the new dropouts are finished being machined.
Customer can get their name on the list for a frame by emailing us. All we require is a small deposit to hold their place in line.
6) RB: Are you still based in Vancouver? Is the scene out there still as strong as it was in the early 90s?
ORT: We are now based in Portland, OR. Michael Golinski moved down in early January 2011 and Mike Kloeppel was already based here. We hope to maintain that ‘Canadian’ feel to the brand. The scene in Vancouver these days is all about big hit bikes and lots of shuttling although there is still a pretty hard core group of riders that are still getting out there on their steel hard tails. We are definitely steel hard tail kind of riders and so appreciate that there is still a strong demand for high quality, built in North America frames.
We would encourage anybody that has questions to contact us. We would be more than happy to answer any questions that they may have.
Check out Off Road Toad Bicycles online here.