As promised, here it is: The MIN.D. California. My previous update
explained how this project wouldn't have happened in a rational company but I guess every company has its strengths and weaknesses :-). It's here and we love it. However, because of where and how we produce this frame, it won't be for everybody. For a lot of our customers, the regular MIN.D. will make more sense as I will explain below.
First off, what is the MIN.D. California exactly? Like the original MIN.D., it is a road frame with an old-school aesthetic but high-tech DNA, offering racing performance combined with extra-ordinary comfort thanks to its continuous seattube, unique geometry and beefed up tire clearance. The California-made version takes this but uses a completely new layup, new production tools, and a whole bag of different tricks to eke every last bit of performance out of the frame. Every gram of carbon represents at least one headache in developing this frame.
The end result is a lighter, stiffer version of the regular MIN.D. To be exact, the RAW MIN.D. California is 775g including the full seatmast. Obviously that's also the weight if you leave it RAW. To add a finish, you could add as little as 30g but of course depending on your desired paint scheme, it can also be more.
As for the stiffness, we perform a lot of different stiffness tests, not just BB and headtube stiffness as is the standard, but what you will notice most from the way the California's stiffness increase is distributed over the frame is its handling. The way it climbs and corners just has a different feel to it than you're used to (and I don't like saying that as it's such a cliché and in many cases, it's very tough to feel the difference in layup between frames. But here you really can). I'm not a poet so I can't really put it into words, it's just very different from the original (which I like anyway).
Before we continue, it's important to understand RAW. The MIN.D. California is delivered almost "out of the mold" with only minor finishing. This means what you see is what you get, it is a very industrial carbon finish (whereas RTP frames have a primer finish that show less of the actual carbon structure) with also some filler where needed. Some will like this and may even consider leaving it untouched, for others this look - showing all imperfections - is not for them.
Either way, the RAW look definitely polarizes. We already shipped the first frames to a handful of retailers around the world and one contacted us the next day saying he really didn't like the RAW finish (I'm putting it mildly, there may be children reading here :-). A week later, we talked again, he loves it and he plans to leave his personal MIN.D. California completely RAW.
The RAW finish also means that getting the frame custom painted is a little more more work for the painter than the RTP finish is. Not a problem for any of the custom painters we or our participating stores recommend, but it's something to keep in mind (no pun intended). In fact, because this is such a special frame, Andy and I decided that we should only offer the frame RAW; that way they will all end up being ridden RAW or custom painted which would be pretty cool. In order to not make it too complicated for our customers, we will offer some "standard custom options" for the paint, just contact Andy
Three more points. First sizing. The geometry is unchanged and the MIN.D. California will be available in 4 sizes. Large is available at select retailers and from Andy now, Medium follows next month, S and XL shortly thereafter.
Secondly, there's no way around this, pricing. It won't come as a shock that the MIN.D. California is expensive. The frameset including frame, fork, headset is USD 7,500 (plus sales tax) or EUR 7,500 (including sales tax).
Thirdly, how do you get one? The retailers below have all agreed to stock the MIN.D. California (so right now that means the Large and other sizes to follow) and equally important, they can arrange the custom painting and shipping for you. Of course you can also contact Andy
for more information.
R&A Cycles: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contender Bicycles: email@example.com
Cyclefit (UK): Phil@cyclefit.co.uk
Mohawks (France): firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy Your Bike (Germany): email@example.com
All that remains then is the photo gallery
of the Californian production
followed by Andy's MIN.D. California prototype (in RAW finish)