There are many people asking why UNDERDOG has not been launched yet, so we decided to share the details of its development. But first, we want to share a little bit of RIVA's philosophy and our motivation for the UNDERDOG concept.
RIVA Cycles is a brand that proposes to make only durable, beautiful, cohesive and low maintenance urban bikes.
We chose steel alloys for our bikes because we believe it is the material that makes the most sense for this purpose. In the beginning, we even made some prototypes in aluminum. And despite some aesthetic gains, the results were always favorable to the use of steel. Unlike what the urban bike market expects, we chose the material that offers more comfort, durability, safety and allows better quality control.
It's no secret that our framesets are produced in Asia. One of the reasons for this is that it is almost impossible to produce Chromoly bikes in the country due to the lack of material available at reasonable prices.
Maybe what most people don't know is that all the development is done here. From geometry, pipe and weld specification, stress and fatigue simulations in CAD and finite element software to component specification and paint and finish preparation.
With Basement, our best selling bike, we invested 10 months in its development. Geometries and components were tested, simulated and compatibilized. The Steampunks, for example, took even more time, were 14 months developing.
Another important aspect of our philosophy is that we have always believed in competition as a tool for development and learning. And here aluminum and carbon make sense. As an urban brand, we find in Criterium the possibility to develop our bikes, test new materials and generate learning.
ABOUT THE UNDERDOG:
From a prototype piloted by Marina Richter, we had the opportunity to understand the dynamics of a bike that needs to be light, rigid and yet durable. It is not an easy process, nor fast. The stiffness of aluminum, so desired in a bike for the purpose of competition (unlike bikes in daily use), can make the bike fragile and dangerous if not dimensioned and built the right way. The production process depends on several stages, such as welding (and its preparation) and thermal treatments of solubilization and tempering to ensure the properties of the crystalline structure of the material. Each stage must respect an extremely strict quality control, or the result may be someone seriously injured or at least a bike with little durability and low performance. Controlling this process is complex and expensive.
To ensure that all these processes are done correctly, a number of standards and requirements must be met. We use the EN 15194 standards and the latest update to ISO 4210 for Road & Race bikes. But that's just not enough. You have to test the result. The tests are conducted in Waldorf, Germany, in an independent laboratory. And it was in one of these tests, in the first production lot of UNDERDOG, that we found a small design flaw that made us go back to the drawing board.
According to the standard, a frame must withstand 100,000 cycles in various fatigue tests, such as pedalling force, horizontal forces, vertical forces and side loads. Besides impact tests and static tests. Our UNDERDOG aluminum frame passed the horizontal force tests with clearance, reaching 150,000 cycles without suffering any damage as in the other tests, but failed the pedaling test. A failure in the design of the chainstay, in the depression that accommodates the crown (the depression was very aggressive), ended up generating a point of tension that resulted in the break (see photo) at 97 thousand cycles (so close!!).
Unfortunately, the entire batch, which had already been produced, packed and imported, will be destroyed. (The carbon forks were saved). We know how frustrating it is for those who were waiting for the painting, but safety first.
The good thing is that we will take the opportunity to make small improvements to the project, using the test data, making the picture even harder and lighter. UNDERDOG's frameset will take a little longer to reach the market, but it will arrive even better.