makers weareone composites ep1 1
VIDEO

Makers: We Are One Composites and Dustin Adams

Words Cam McRae
Photos Hailey Elise
Video Ollie Jones
Date Apr 25, 2022

Our Makers Video Series focuses on companies and individuals who are manufacturing products for mountain biking right here in British Columbia. The story of We Are One, and founder Dustin Adams, is a truly inspiring one. He delves deep into the emotional struggles that came after retiring from racing against the top DH racers in the world and talks about how that inspired and fuelled his business pursuits.

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Dustin Adams confided to us that he wasn't cut out for team sports, and yet the biggest asset of his business is the incredible team he has put together.

Dustin was once Canada's top DH racer, competing on the World Cup and Norba circuits. Unfortunately, before he reached his full potential, a car accident forced Dustin to retire. After some painful soul searching, Dustin started working in construction which led him to found a stone countertop business in his hometown of Kamloops B.C. He built a successful business through hard work and tenacity, and once the company became a lucrative and sustainable entity, he sold it and began plotting the next chapter in his life.

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Dustin had the goal of producing a Canadian-made Carbon frame by his fifth year of business. He managed to beat that goal.

Dustin hadn't touched a bike for years after retiring from racing but he realized he wasn't done with mountain biking. After a stroke of luck, he joined the team at Noble Wheels, a B.C.-based importer of overseas-made carbon rims. He became an equity partner in the company but after a couple of years it was clear he wasn't going to be able to do it his own way at Noble. After travelling to Asia and witnessing the manufacturing processes and working conditions there, Dustin saw another way forward and decided to move on. Noble had grown significantly while Dustin was part of the team but there was a clause in his contract; in order to cash out all of his equity, he would have had to honour his non-compete agreement. He settled for taking out his initial investment and started charting a course toward creating a business that would design and manufacture carbon rims, and eventually frames, in Canada.

It's clear Dustin's wife has a lot of faith in him because the next step was to bet it all on this new business. They sold everything – houses, bikes, vehicles, and anything else of value – and invested it in the business that would become We Are One Composites.

This part I. of the Story of We Are One Composites, leading towards the recent launch of their first frame; The Arrival.

For part II click here...

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Comments

Jotegir
Lu Kz
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+11 Cam McRae Mammal Gage Wright Pete Roggeman Cr4w Todd Hellinga Craig Ellis Niels grambo Speedster bishopsmike

When We Are One eventually comes out with the "rolling chassis" option or whatever incomplete build they choose to offer their frame in, I'd strongly consider picking one up. I like the message, I'm personal friends with a bunch of people who have worked there since the early days and love the company, and the bike seems excellent by all accounts. Bonus that Dustin seems to genuinely care about his employees, a quality truly lacking in many other companies growing at similar rates to WAO.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+4 Craig Ellis Lu Kz grambo Speedster

This aligns with everything I have witnessed first hand and heard as well.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+8 Pete Roggeman Cr4w Todd Hellinga Niels DadStillRides whotookit grambo Speedster

Starting something from scratch and getting it to a high level of quality, performance and business success in a few years is a big lift. Congrats Dustin. I'm looking forward to see what you do with the next 5 years.

Reply

Lowcard
Lowcard
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+6 Devin Zoller Cam McRae Geof Harries Pete Roggeman grambo bishopsmike

I'm proud of what you/we accomplished Dustin. We truly started out knowing absolutely nothing about carbon fibre to making great product within 6 months to market. I remember you coming into my place of work at the time and saying, "I have an idea". Although our stars didn't align, I'm proud to be employee number one.

Reply

monsieurgage
Gage Wright
3 weeks, 2 days ago
+5 Vincent Edwards Cr4w Pete Roggeman Niels DadStillRides

The more I read and hear from Dustin the more I think, "this guy gets it".  At least part of "it" which I think is starting to boil down to honesty.  There is minimal flash here.  Dustin doesn't seem to vomit marketing and talks through his reasoning process regarding design choices; the good, the bad and the unfortunate no tube in tube.

Dustin, if you can ever respond to this question I am dying to know.  What frames did you cut up as part of your research and can you elaborate of their failure points?  You've stated that everyone is doing something a little different but that no one is making horrendous mistakes.  I would ask about the subtle differences, what are their results in end outcomes and how WR1 is/will be different but...you know...probably a trade secret.

Also, why dual link VPP?  Climbing prowess in the search for that 90% bike?  This question partly comes from another NSMB article re. Cam's comment on square edge hits.  See link below.  Will the 170 travel coiled enduro Arrival feel better on the shore, specifically Le Côte Obscur?

https://nsmb.com/articles/ridden-2022-weareone-arrival/

P.S.

I realize this comment is partly a direct appeal to Dustin but I have faith that, despite the name, NSMB has reach.

Reply

Jotegir
Lu Kz
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+3 Cr4w Pete Roggeman Niels

Re: NSMB's reach

We Are One's multiple buildings aren't even on Kamloops' North Shore, so I don't know how effective the reach will be!

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+2 Niels Lu Kz

Actually the building we did the interview in was on the North Shore!

Reply

T-mack
T-mack
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+5 Mammal Lu Kz Cam McRae Pete Roggeman grambo

Unfortunately your average dumpster on this north shore doesn't quite have the same mystique as those found at the base of Seymour

Reply

craw
Cr4w
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+1 Mammal

Not to be pedantic but you mean vpp as in two links, or VPP the patented system with counter-rotating links, or Weagle DW suspension with two co-rotating links?

Reply

craw
Cr4w
3 weeks, 1 day ago
0

This comment has been removed.

PdxDevvy
Devin Zoller
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+4 Vik Banerjee DadStillRides Pete Roggeman grambo

If the Arrival was available as a frame only I would have gone for that last December, but went with a Guerrilla Gravity instead so I could build it up how I wanted. Some day I’ll own one of these- absolutely gorgeous and impressive ethics.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
3 weeks, 1 day ago
0

We've got two GG's in the garage and been riding them since 2018. Great bikes made in the US and a solid company that provides excellent CS.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+3 Cam McRae Todd Hellinga Pete Roggeman

As a machinist who's designed and built a few bikes over the years, I can't stress enough how amazing the WAO story is. Being able to compete in this market, and straight up beat the competition in such a short period of time is an incredible feat, and just goes to show the talent and drive in this company. I am super stoked on the continued success of Dustin and his team.

Can't wait for the bigger, badder Arrival.....

Reply

Ripbro
Ripbro
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+2 Pete Roggeman grambo

This guy is incredible and has way more risk tolerance than I will ever have. Doesn’t know anything about stone countertops, does research and starts a business. Knows enough about rims to be dangerous and goes all in. 

When that mold didn’t come apart, that would have been deflating given how expensive they are to produce (nor to mention the time they put in to designing and manufacturing it themselves).

I’ve seen in interviews that they don’t plan to sell frames alone, but I hope they change their mind. With what Santa Cruz is asking for the new megatower frames, I’d rather support the small local guy at WAO. The arrival frame price might just look like a deal in comparison (crosses fingers)

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+4 Cam McRae Todd Hellinga Pete Roggeman grambo

inspiring dude for sure; such a cool company / product. so good to see a local manufacturing success story.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
2 weeks, 2 days ago
0

Part II is live now.

This is a rare occasion when the sequel is better than the original!

Reply

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