The Shadow Conspiracy is made up of quite a few interesting individuals.Ron Bonner is somewhat the point person, but the team of Byron Anderson, Alistair Whitton, Ryan Sher, John Jennings, and Joe Simon all have equal parts in every aspect of the company. When asked to describe Shadow, Ronnie B. had a lot to say, so I’ll just let him explain:
“We’re trying to do something that is different with Shadow, not with just creating image and picking the best team, but also with innovative products that riders can afford. Riding is really tough and parts wear out, and we don’t want the riders to have to spend every last dime on overpriced parts.
“Also, something that I think is really cool about Shadow is that it’s the first BMX company to give profit-sharing. That on its own is groundbreaking for BMX. I want to make sure that our team is taken care of as the company grows. By doing this, our team is so dedicated to Shadow that we speak on a daily basis, constantly pushing our ideas to the limit and refining our old ideas. We’ve only been selling Shadow products since May 2003, and we’ve already redesigned some products and come out with a ton more.
“I just hope that all the riders out there can see what the Shadows are trying to do for them and BMX. During a lot of product discussions with the team we’re more worried about the rider and the quality and price he needs to enjoy riding than we are on us making a ton of cash. But that’s why I feel we are going to be successful at what we do, because our priorities are straight and our team rules!”
So, the reason this story came about was from seeing some of the new products Shadow had on display at the Interbike tradeshow. I was pretty impressed, so I asked Ron a few specific questions, and he was happy to break it down.
With so many people involved, how does a Shadow product go from idea to finished item?
The cool thing is that the team is fully involved in all aspects, from the products to the marketing. They either have the ideas and/or they have to approve all ideas. With that being said we can take an idea and have five different opinions going into each product. My job is to dig through it all and make sure the final idea is a little bit from each team member, but also make sure that the riders are getting a quality product that they can afford.
No one has really given the patch kit a lot of thought in years. How did you come up with the idea for the credit card-size version?
Byron Anderson is our mad scientist and he came up with the idea. From there, Byron and I tried to make the patch not only functional, but have a cool novelty idea to it. The cool thing about the patch kit is that they fit in your wallet and they only cost around $2.00 retail for six patches in a cool case. And as we all know, we need patches all the time and rarely have them on us. Now you can.
How did you approach your aluminum seatpost?
The big thing right now is weight, and everyone is looking for ways to save it. The team feels the same way, but they also feel that you shouldn’t be taxed a high price to save weight. So we worked on doing a really simple, super-lightweight design, and it only weighs 7.6 ounces and comes at a price that is a fraction of most mountain bike posts.
Explain the new Shadow chain design and how it came to be?
Again, Ol’ Dirty Byron had this idea. We wanted a design for a chain that would keep the weight down and increase the strength. It makes so much sense that the most common thing I heard at Interbike was, “Why didn’t we think of that?” That ruled!
The design of a normal chain has the outside links exposed, so when you grind something and the chain hits the ledge you can easily pop off the outside links. But, with our Interlock chain, the design brings the links in and then outside of each other, so you would have to pull off multiple links in order to make it come off. So, it makes it a stronger chain while still offering weight savings. We have a few more revisions with the pins and a few other details that are going to blow people away.
What’s coming next from Shadow?
We mainly want to have fun, and we want to keep pushing BMX into more tech products, but with our kind of vibe. Shadow couldn’t be made up of a better crew of guys, and it’s only going to keep pushing all of us further in design and riding.