Factory Tour: How Guerrilla Gravity can bring carbon manufacturing back to the States

Tips & Reviews

A stone’s throw away from Mile High stadium in Denver, CO, the team at Guerrilla Gravity is hard at work manufacturing high-quality carbon and aluminum frames. Their headquarters’ footprint has been expanding as they continue to grow and innovate within the industry. We met up with Will Montague (President), Matt Giaraffa (Chief Engineer), and Bobby Brown (Marketing Manager) for a behind the scenes look at how the new GG bikes come to life.Advertisements

A bit of background

Guerrilla Gravity Shop

Guerrilla Gravity has been designing aluminum hardtail and full suspension frames since 2011. But thanks to their innovations with carbon fiber, the team can manufacture carbon bikes in the U.S. for a price comparable to aluminum. So, they no longer build aluminum full suspension frames, the idea being if the carbon and aluminum options are similar in price, most people will reach for the carbon one. By blending just-in-time manufacturing and time efficient processes the team is able to offer American Made quality and customizable products for a reasonable price.

Producing the hardtail and aluminum rear triangles

Guerrilla Gravity MachiningGuerrilla Gravity Aluminum assembly areaGuerrilla Gravity Chop RoomBefore a hardtail or seat stay kit can be built, the tubes are milled and cut to the appropriate size. They’re then stored in racks and organized based on frame size. The Chop House, where they cut aluminum tubes to size, also shares a sanding station for the carbon frames.

Guerrilla Gravity MTB Frame Jig

When an order comes in, the tubes are mounted in their custom jig that pivots, rolls, and twists allowing the welder to easily access each joint. Their Pedalhead hardtail frames are then prepped for paint, graphics, and final assembly.

The proof is in the build

Guerrilla Gravity Carbon Shop

The secrets behind the team’s composite manufacturing are guarded by Ben Bosworth, Director of Composites Engineering. GG isn’t quite ready to tell us the true secrets behind how they manufacture their Revved carbon frames, but we do know that the secrets lie in the layup process and the resins they use. This isn’t the usual run-of-the-mill resin we’re used to seeing. It handles high temperatures significantly better than others which allows frames to be brought up to temperature, cured, and cooled significantly faster than the competition. That time savings is one of the ways they’re able to produce frames at a lower price.

Baking on the color!

Guerrilla Gravity Decal StationGuerrilla Gravity Decal Station

Since the resin can handle significantly higher temperatures, frames can be powder coated. Underneath that is a nearly flawless frame right out of the mold, so there’s little clean up needed before coating. This reduces the usual finishing time from an industry norm of ~10 hours to just 30 minutes! Plus, the powder coating holds up better against scratches and nicks. To help further cut down on manufacturing time (and ultimately cost), the frames are only available in a grey color. But you do have a choice in decal colors. Their water slip decals go through a multi-step curing process. Again, thanks to the high-temperature capabilities of the resin, the decals are baked on which creates a stronger bond between the paint and the decals compared to other application methods.

A closer look at the products

Guerrilla Gravity Decal StationGuerrilla Gravity Gear StrapGuerrilla Gravity Shock Mount

The GG team are experts when it comes to efficiency. Each full suspension model is based on the same main triangle design that gets a bottle and a tool wrap mount. The front shock mount is bolted on and is not removable. The defining factor between models is in the seat stay kit. Each kit varies in length which opens up options for running 27.5 or 29ers and in a range of travel options.

Guerrilla Gravity Seat Stays
The bottom end holds a rear pivot and thru axle. The top end of Shred Dogg and Megatrail have 2 different rocker mounting positions allowing riders to tune the bike to each trail (before riding).

The seat stays are where all of the magic happens. Each model gets an aluminum rear triangle designed around the wheel size and suspension length. Their Megatrail and Shred Dogg have Trail Mode and Gravity Mode travel adjustment mounts. Trail Mode is ideal for flowy, smooth, and fast trails. While Gravity Mode is ideal for when the trail gets ragged and gnarly. The different shock mounts change how the suspension feels and will make the geometry slightly more/less aggressive. Crush Mode and Plush mode for The Smash and Trail Pistol are ride adjustments and don’t have an impact on geometry or suspension travel.

Headset Cups

GUerrilla Gravity Headset CupsGuerrilla Gravity Headset Cup Profile

Riders can also choose between different headset cups to tweak the geometry based on the cockpit setup they want (longer/shorter reach, taller/shorter stack – seen on the Mega Smash). We see a 10mm difference in reach and 15mm in wheelbase.

Wrapping up an order

Guerrilla Gravity BuildGuerrilla Gravity Parts

All of the parts are ordered and organized in bins when a build is closing in on 2 weeks. Once the order is up to bat, an experienced assembler grabs the matching bin and gets the bike ready to ship.

A quick look at the bikes

Remember that the main triangle is the same for each model. The difference between each frame is in the seat stay kit. Each model comes in sizes ranging from 1 – 4 (S-XL). Frames come with a 30.9mm seatpost and stealth routing, external cable routing, a 37mm seatpost clamp, ISCG05 chainguide mounts, a 73mm BSA threaded bottom bracket, and Boost 12x148mm rear spacing. Don’t forget the water bottle mount and an integrated tool wrap mount. Frames weight in at 6.5lbs for a size 3 (large) without a shock.

Megatrail – The long travel 27.5

Guerrilla Gravity Megatrail

In Trail Mode, the Megatrail gets 155mm of travel, a BB height of 13.5in, and a 65º headtube angle. When kicked into Gravity Mode, it has 165mm of travel, a 13.2in BB height, and a 64.5º headtube angle.

Its build includes an adjustable fork from 160-180mm and a max tire size is 27.5×2.8″.. Purchasing options for the Megatrail include frames starting at $2195+, Ride 2 for $3,695, Ride 1 for $4,595, and Race for $5,995. Visit the Megatrail’s page and input your size for geo, here.

Shred Dogg – The mid-travel 27.5 | +

Guerrilla Gravity Shred Dogg

Just like the Megatrail, the Shred Dogg has Trail Mode and Gravity Mode rocker adjustments. This makes space for its adjustable 130-140mm rear shock. Its shorter travel and 27.5 wheels open up space for a plus size option.

A standard build includes a 140-160mm adjustable fork and a max tire size of 27.5×2.8″. Build options include a frameset ($2,195+), Ride 2 ($3,695), Ride 1 ($4,595), Race ($5,895). Visit the Shred Dogg’s page and input your size for geo, here.

The Smash – A mid travel 29er

Guerrilla Gravity The Smash

The Smash offers a fixed 145mm of travel in the rear that gets ride quality adjustments. Again, Crush Mode will have a responsive mid-stroke for flowy trails, while Plush Mode is soft off the top for gnarly beatings. There is no change in geometry between the 2 modes.

It includes a 150-170mm adjustable fork and a max tire size of 29×2.5″. Build options include a frameset for $2,195+, Ride 2 for $3,795, Ride 1 for $4,595, and Race for $5,995. Visit The Smash’s page and input your size for geo, here.

Trail Pistol – The short travel 29er

Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol
photo c. Guerrilla Gravity

Similar to The Smash, the 120mm Trail Pistol has Crush Mode and Plush Mode which adjust the back end’s responsiveness for different trails. These adjustments have no impact on geometry.

The usual build includes an adjustable 120-140mm fork and a max tire size of 29×2.6″. Options include a frameset ($2,195+), Ride 2 ($3,695), Ride 1 ($4,595), and Race ($5,895). Visit the Trail Pistol’s page and input your size for geo, here.

Shhhhhh it’s a secret… kinda’

Guerrilla Gravity Mega Smash

Rumor has it there’s a secret menu with the MegaSmash, Mad Dogg 120, and Pistola on it. Each gets a little bit of special sauce that sets them apart from their standard issue. The MegaSmash gets a 29er front and 27.5 rear wheelset along with a 150-170mm fork and 155-165mm shock. The Mad Dogg 120 is a short travel 27.5 with an adjustable 120-140mm fork and a 120-130mm shock (Sweet & Zesty Modes). And the Pistola is a beefier Trail Pistol with a 130-150mm fork and a 130mm shock. You might find the secret menu by clicking the photo above.

So, will we ever get to see behind the curtain? Maybe, but until all of their patent ink is dry, they’re protecting the trade secrets used to take an aerospace tech and bring its rapid manufacturing and finishing to the cycling market. For now, they have the exclusive on it, and they’d like to keep it that way.

RideGG.com

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