Softride is located in Bellingham; high up in the northwest corner of Washington State, just forty five minutes south of Canada and an hour west of the reigning snow capital of the world, Mt. Baker. As one of the top ten locations in the nation for outdoor activities, Bellingham has proven to be an outstanding location to produce and test Softride's Suspension Systems.
Softride's Suspension System was the brainchild of Mike and Jim Allsop. Outdoor enthusiast themselves, Mike and Jim had been riding bikes for years. With a desire to produce a faster mountain bike they decided to reinvent the wheel. Mike and Jim shook up the bicycle industry with the introduction of the Softride Suspension Systems at the Interbike 1989 bike show in Anaheim, California during early October.
The original SRS systems consisted of two foam filled fiberglass boxes bonded together with a viscoelastic layer. As vertical shock is transmitted through the bikes frame, the beam deflects. Not only did this effectively speed up the bike but it also made for a much more comfortable ride. This new design allowed riders to have the benefits of suspension without the loss in power and efficiency in their pedal strokes. Dealers attending the show were so impressed with the idea that they nominated the Softride Suspension Systems as the most innovative and technically significant new product at the show.
Originally intended for the use in mountain bikes, Softride produced its first full-fledged mountain bike, the PowerCurve, in 1991. The PowerCurve was revolutionary and featured the beam working in conjunction with the first generation of the only true high performance suspension stem design brought to market, the "Frankenstem." This combination worked so well that Team Ritchey proceeded to win four Cross Country World Championships using it, proving that a properly designed and constructed stem could take on the myriad of complicated and flexy suspension forks on nose-to-nose and win. Softride was, after all, the first full-suspension mountain bike to win the downhill World Championship.
Softride later discovered that their suspension systems were even more well versed for road bikes and in 1993 Softride awed critics and fans alike when Gerry Tatrai crushed the competition at the Race Across America (RAAM) by over 20 hours on a Softride Beam. Softride celebrated their success by releasing the carbon fiber bike frame, the PowerV, on the multisport world, effectively taking the beam technology to the next level. In the first year of existence Softride became the "Big Kahuna" as Greg Welch became the World Champion in Hawaii in 1994. J_rgen Zack, Softride's leading sponsored athlete, road a PowerV in order to set a new World Record bike split in 1995.
During 1996 Softride released its first aluminum frame road bike, the Classic TT. The Classic TT was even more responsive than its predecessor and J_rgen road one to victory at the Australian Ironman that year while setting a new bike split record on the course yet again. The Softride beam is still the current World Record holder on the bike split.
The RocketWing was released in 1998 and brought the same amazing aerodynamics, performance and comfort of the Classic TT. The Rocket, however, featured a more aerodynamic frame design than the Classic that allowed for a more dedicated forward time trial or aero positioning. New Rocket Beams were better tuned to road suspension, relieving riders of the "bouncing feeling" of the Classic TT without the loss in damping of road vibrations. Once again, J_rgen Zack dominated the bike split by riding the Rocket frame to victory in the 1999 Wildflower Half Ironman.
Over the next year Softride is excited to announce the release of the FasTT and the FasTT7. A new innovation by Softride, the FASTT is the most aerodynamic production frame available. The new FASTT and FASTT7 were developed in the University of Washington Wind Tunnel Testing Facilities with assistance in frame design provided by the Aeronautical laboratory.
Beating out the competition, the FasTT came in 82 seconds faster than its nearest competitor the Cervelo P3 in wind tunnel tests conducted at the University of Washington. Built specifically for a dedicated forward time trial or aerodynamic position, Time Trial specialists and multi-sport athletes will agree that this comfortable frame design allows them to stay in the aero position longer and see faster times.
In addition to Softride's innovative frame designs, they also produce a sports rack that has become the benchmark for hitch mounted racks. The Access DX Rack is the most versatile and easiest to operate fold-away system on the market. With attachments for bikes, skis and snowboards, the Access DX is a truly four seasons rack.
Softride has long been an innovator in design, setting a new precedence in the biking industry. We look forward to a strong 2005 business year and hope that you are ready for the ride. As the most aerodynamic and comfortable bike on the market, Softride is performance guaranteed.