Ever been curious about what goes on at e*thirteen, how it started, and what they’ve been working on?
Well we were curious and paid them a visit. Inside we have video interviews, pictures, and a little bit of history all wrapped nicely.
Additionally, within striking distance of the e*thirteen office is numerous lift assisted mountains. e*thriteen teamed up with us to bring you updates to our course pages with some nice helmet camera footage and more. Stay tuned this week to see the helmet camera of some sweet riding locations!
e*thirteen components started as a company early in the 21st century boldly going where no chainguide company had gone before…
e*thirteen components was founded in 2001 by a couple of friends in Boston, Massachusetts. The company started small with just a few employees and has remained that way ever since. Over the years e*thirteen doubled its staff and now boasts a lofty six employees. As e*thirteen began to grow they found their Maine facility (little more than a friend’s apartment) to be too small and the company moved to Leominster, MA (pronounced “Lemon-ster”). Leominster was chosen because of its manufacturing heritage, ideal riding geography, and accessibility to Greater Boston.
e.13 office entry (click to enlarge)
e*thirteen moved to its current location in Leominster about a year ago in an effort to increase work space and better organize its office environment. The building they reside in is a refurbished factory that once produced landing gear for aircraft during World War II. The interior and exterior have been restored while leaving much of the original structure intact. This includes expansive exposed timbers, large windows, and lots of exposed brick. It’s a classic example of New England’s approach to recycling the vacant factories of small industrial mill towns. The current facility includes a warehouse and production space in back, and a separate office space in the front. Compared to their old facility, the new space allows for more expandability and provides a more modern feel.
the e.13 offices are decorated with various signed memorabilia from their riders (click to enlarge)
Who is e*thirteen?
e*thirteen is a very small company. The total employed staff for e*thirteen is seven, which includes the owner, Dave Weagle. Everyone at e*thirteen has their specific responsibilities but, like all small companies, everyone often wears more than one hat in order to keep the company functioning. e*thirteen’s employees understand this well and work together quite often relying on a team effort to get the job done.
Everyone at e*thirteen gets along well with each other. It’s hard to go more than five minutes without someone cracking a joke or playing pranks. It keeps the atmosphere light and helps keep everyone in check. The employees at e*thirteen as you might have guessed are also very competitive. This comes from the very top with Dave challenging others to see who can build chainguides the fastest or fold the most boxes in a given amount of time. Everyone at e*thirteen pushes each other to see who can be the best. This shows in the types of products they create, pushing the competition beyond what they thought was possible.
Michael was greeted with a nice present during the morning of our visit (click to enlarge)
The employees of e*thirteen are a diverse group, all offering the company something different. Everyone at e*thirteen rides often and they’ve all been affected by the performance of e*thirteen products in some way (many used e*thirteen products before they worked for the company). To give you an idea of who they are and what their responsibilities are, read on and check out some of our interviews with the crew.
Dave Weagle – Owner / Designer
Watch the video below to learn more about Dave, e13, and more.
the shadowy leader of e.thirteen - Dave Weagle (click to enlarge)
Dave Weagle is the founder of e*thirteen components. Dave provides the vision for e*thirteen and designs the products they offer. His background in engineering, racing experience, and creativity drives the innovative products that e*thirteen provides. His energy, humor, and competitiveness are always in fifth gear pushing everyone to keep up with him. This translates into a work environment in which everyone is constantly looking for an edge in everything they do.
Dave riding at Highland MTB Park (click to enlarge)
Dave riding at Highland MTB Park (click to enlarge)
Michael Tobler – Manufacturing / Team Management
Watch the video below to learn more about Michael, his roles, how he came to work for e13, and more.
Michael assembling some Turbochargers (click to enlarge)
Michael has been employed by e*thirteen the longest of all of the employees. He started shortly after e*thirteen was founded and initially handled tech support, race events, and general customer service. Michael eventually transitioned into his current position of manufacturing coordination. His background in bike shop management has proven to be invaluable to the company as it allows him to better understand customer and business needs. He works with all of the manufacturing partners to make sure production is on schedule, meeting quality requirements, and developing new production procedures for their innovative products. Michael also manages all athlete and team sponsorship relations. He insures that they receive e*thirteen product and offers support for any issues they might be having.
Michael riding at Highland MTB park (click to enlarge)
Jonas Mikolayunas – Sales
Watch the video below to learn more about Jonas, his roles, how he came to work for e13, and more.
Jonas hard at work (click to enlarge)
Jonas started working for e*thirteen about six months after Michael joined the company. Jonas’ first role was providing technical support to customers. This was a job the Jonas really enjoyed because it allowed him to directly interface with customers and make sure they were getting the most out of e*thirteen’s products. Jonas also foresaw the important impact of the Internet and has always made sure that e*thirteen support was available not only in the physical realm but also in the virtual environment. Jonas used to actively browse 20+ domestic and international forums looking for users with issues in order to make sure customers were having the best experience they could with their e*thirteen product even if they weren’t contacting e*thirteen directly.
Jonas riding at Highland MTB park (click to enlarge)
With more growth, e*thirteen eventually needed a full time sales person in order to interface with all of its customers. Jonas moved into this position coordinating sales for OEM partners, managing international and domestic distribution, and overseeing dealer accounts. This involves working with distributors and bike companies across the globe to insure they receive e*thirteen product for sale to individual customers as well as for installation on production bicycles. With over 50 combined domestic and international distributors worldwide and their guides spec’d on almost every major bicycle company in existence, you begin to see how big Jonas’ job becomes.
Jonas riding at Highland MTB park (click to enlarge)
Derek Jacob – Design
Watch the video below to learn more about Derek. He’s a shy fellow at first but he opens up once you get to know him.
Derick hard at work (click to enlarge)
Derek, an avid park and street rider, began his relationship with e*thirteen testing prototype parts. As with most employees at e*thirteen, Derek started his company career in the support department. He has since moved into a design role for e*thirteen and is responsible for creating various types of media for the company. This ranges from clothing design to advertisements and even includes the current sleek instructions accompanying all e*thirteen chainguides.
John Buckley – Production Coordinator & Quality Assurance Manager
Watch the video below to learn more about John, his roles, and more.
John assembling chainguides (click to enlarge)
John is responsible for making sure all of the chainguide parts received are within quality and build specifications. Most parts used to create e*thirteen’s chainguide products are actually made right in Massachusetts. It’s not uncommon for John to be making a run down the road to pick up SRS+ backplates freshly laser etched with torque specifications. John works closely with Michael, Jonas, and Isaac to make sure that they have the correct amount of chainguides available to fill orders and shipped on time.
John assembling boxes (click to enlarge)
Philip Welsh – Technical Support
Watch the video below to learn more about Philip, his roles, and more.
Phillip hard at work (click to enlarge)
Philip is the current technical support representative for e*thirteen. He manages all support issues received by e*thirteen from its customers. By talking to customers directly on the phone as well as via the Internet, Philip is able to help customers across the globe make sure their e*thirteen product functions correctly. Philip travels to many races offering free support to competitors to insure they don’t have a problem during the event.
Isaac Hill – Shipping / Team Management
Watch the video below to learn more about Isaac, his roles, and more.
Isaac working on a shipment (click to enlarge)
Isaac is the chief employee responsible for all shipping and receiving for e*thirteen. Isaac fills orders daily and ships them off to customers across the globe. He also manages receiving and inventory, making sure that product is stored efficiently for assembly and quality control. Isaac also works with Michael on team management, interfacing with sponsored riders and teams.
e*thirteen strives to be at the forefront of innovation in the bicycle component industry. After talking with e*thirteen about this, we’ve outlined a few of their key contributions that have helped to make downhill safer and more fun today.
First impact absorbing thermoplastic bashguard – prior to e*thirteen’s release of their impact absorbing Supercharger bashguard all chainguides used aluminum constructed bashguards. If you ever used one of these metal bashguards you can attest to their lack of reliability, durability, and performance. Once e*thirteen produced the first impact absorbing design, the bike industry and riders were able to do things they had never been able to do with previous products. Since then almost every chainguide and drivetrain company in existence has introduced a thermoplastic type bashguard.
With the new impact absorbing design, riders were now able to take lines they had previously shied away from. Rocks were very hard on the old bashguards causing failure quite easily upon impact. With the thermoplastic bashguard a rider was able to strike objects and keep going without fear of failure or getting hung up. The thermoplastic offered nice sliding properties upon impact and absorbed the force without transferring it into the frame or the chainring. Many riders can give testimony to e*thirteen’s game changing properties, offering riders a much more varied array of line choices and speed to be carried into their race runs without fear of damaging their equipment.
With the ability of riders now being able to hit their bashguard with more force and added reliability bike companies began to use this to their benefit when designing bikes. For years riders were looking to lower bottom bracket heights for better handling performance but were not able to due to impacts. With the thermoplastic bash this request was now more feasible. This singular innovation allowed designers to use sub 14″ BB heights, run more sag, and use slacker head angles.
e*thirteen’s latest bashguard innovations take this concept even further. Patented in 2006, the impact flexure design of the Turbocharger bashguard (released in 2009 on the SRS+) was the first bashguard designed to direct impact forces away from the chainring. This new impact flexure design Turbocharger gives all of the strength of the original Supercharger, with a sub 100g weight!
Direct Mount Bashguard – Another groundbreaking idea was brought to the sport of downhill by e*thirteen when they applied for patents on the concept of a direct mount bashguard chainguide in 2006. Tested in secret on the World Cup circuit, e*thirteen’s direct mount concept won two World Championships and multiple World Cup races and podium spots before its introduction on the 2008 LG1 and 2009 LG1+. This revolutionary design is well known to downhillers today and was used by Steve Peat in his historic 2009 World Championship win.
Slider type chainguides – Before e*thirteen, all other popular chainguides used two metal plates that sandwiched the chain along with mud, debris, and anything else that you can imagine. e*thirteen’s simple design introduced thermoplastic sliders that kept friction at a minimum and let mud pass through the guide rather than clogging things up. Today almost every chainguide sold follows the e*thirteen archetype.
Direct Mount stem – e*thirteen was one of the first companies to offer a direct mount stem that supported the Rock Shox standard. Their Ali stem was by far the lightest option at the time of release. With 3 stem lengths and 2 bar diameters it offered more adjustability than most products even offered today. It’s wider stance created a stiff interface for more direct handling especially when paired with longer and longer handlebars that were being offered. Many of today’s products show design aspects of this stem many years after its initial release.
Headset reducer cups – e*thirteen was the first company to offer headset reducer cups for 1.5 headtubes. With the e*thirteen reducer cups companies were able to lengthen their headtubes while maintaining the same stack height. This allowed companies to created stronger frames without sacrificing handling. With this lower stack height they were also able to take advantage of geometry changes (changes needs explained better) which weren’t previously available. e*thirteen was also the first company to build angle changing headset reducer cups. In 2007, 2008, and 2009, many World Cup factory teams used e*thirteen angle changing cups to change the head tube angles on their production bikes. Considered a World Cup only product, as of yet, e*thirteen has not offered this product to the riding public.
1×9 guide (XCX) – 1×9 drivetrain setup’s are becoming much more popular in recent years. We are just recently seeing companies come to market with products in order to offer riders more options for 1×9 chainguides. e*thirteen has had working prototypes for 4 years using carbon backplates and an LG1 upper slider. You may see a variation of this product make its way to production in the future.
Made in the USA – Another facet of e*thirteen that may not seem that innovative on the surface but for the biking industry is rather unprecedented in this day in age is the fact that all e*thirteen products are made entirely in the USA. Everything from the bolts to the shipping boxes are made in the United States. What’s even more impressive is how much of the components are actually made in Massachusetts itself. By the end of the year everything e*thirteen sources will be made within the state. This allows them to better facilitate quality monitoring, allow cheaper and faster shipping, as well as give back to the local economy. In fact their injection molding partner is just down the road from their office. This really allows e*thirteen to have a better face to face relationship with their partner for quicker product turnaround if needed, improved processes, and faster prototyping.
A peek at one of the many e*thirteen East Coast Chronicles helmet camera videos to come on Wednesday!