Proudfoot Cycles is a steel-loving boutique bike brand building a variety of bikepacker-friendly rigs. Don’t be fooled, though. These aren’t just any steel frames. Jon, the man behind the brand, is an aerospace engineer and a direct descendant of the Wright Brothers. Making things is second nature to Jon, and he has combined his passions of aerospace engineering and bikes. Their philosophy?
“From our experience in aerospace, we are confident in our performance driven design and weight-to-strength ratios. And hence we’ve developed geometry, using aerospace-grade engineering software, that inspires confidence on the descent but is still comfortable climbing.”The welder and fabricator at Proudfoot, Derek, is an experienced craftsman whose family heritage also brought him into the aerospace industry, where he worked in the US Airforce as an F-16 crew chief on missions in Italy, Iraq and South Korea.
We went out for a ride with Jon to test out the fit on the North Table Mountain trails which are located 100 yards from their backdoor. My first impressions of the MTB_148 were positive. Since then, I’ve put about 200 miles on the bike.
The 148 is spunky and quick to climb. Equipped with a Fox Transfer dropper, it’s comfortable while descending technical terrain, too. From the first ride, I knew I could sustain long days in the saddle on this bike. From North Table Mountain singletrack to rugged 4×4 roads in eastern Utah, the 148 handles anything from rough terrain to smooth gravel and sand with ease. Proudfoot has tiered levels of build options for the MTB_148, however, all bikes from Proudfoot are custom built to order, so like our tester, you can pick and choose what components you want. It is confident and capable, and with the ability to accommodate plus-sized tires, this could be your one-bike-quiver ride.
Although Proudfoot claims a utilitarian design, their frames are, simply put… beautiful. I have a keen eye for designs that achieve functional simplicity. This is one of them. As they state on their website, “ the simplest solution is often the most effective at solving a problem.” Proudfoot uses straight steel tubing for the front triangle and fabricates all of their chainstays and seatstays in house using aerospace grade steel so that they can control the outcome. The MTB_148 comes in 5 different color options.
Stay tuned for a long-term review of the Proudfoot MTB_148 later this summer.