Cachet Bicycle Co. are a Canadian hardcore hardtail company fronted by Ryan Melnyck, producing dirt jump frames for some of the best riders out there.
With riders like Jordie Lunn and Kirt Voreis on their books, Cachet Bicycle Co. are definitely living up to their name with their own brand of Cro-Mo and alloy hardtails.
Pete had a chat with Cachet Bicycle Co.‘s main man Ryan Melnyck to find out where the brand came from and where it’s headed.
Who is Ryan Melnyck?
I am a 40 year old that was born and raised in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. I did however spend about 10 years in the mountains of British Columbia in the town of Nelson. Cachet Bikes is my company that I developed and brought to this point. I am newly married to my spouse after dating for 9 years. I have one daughter, a cat and a new puppy.
What’s your background in cycling?
I began heavily biking around 11 or 12 years of age. I come from a very strong and competitive sports background but cycling became my passion. My first race was the Provincial Championships in North Bay , where I took first in cross country by 6 minutes, I also came in first in downhill as well as second in dual slalom.
From this I was able to pick up sponsorship from companies such as Rocky Mountain Bikes, Oakley and others. By age 15 I had designed my own pedal for Club Roost Components. The pedal was named the D2. I was a member of the Ontario Provincial Team as a junior after I won the Cadet Nationals at the age of 14 by 10 minutes. I also won the downhill by 1 minute and a half. I continued to race until 17 years of age and after a family tragedy I was forced to stop competing.
I never fully left the bike world, I was still cycling frequently on my own time and designing parts in my spare time. This led to me being apart of designing a tyre and pedal with a well known company that cant be mentioned due to confidentiality agreements. I was in my 30s at the time.
How did Cachet Bikes come about?
I have dabbled in other companies and as many other entrepreneurs know it takes many ideas before something is grown to fruition. The idea for Cachet Bikes came to be because as I was involved in other bike ventures I would be in attendance at bike events I noticed that the dirt jumping market seemed forgotten by many major companies.
There seemed to only be one size dirt jump bike to fit all riders of differing heights. Through contacts at bike events I had attended I found the proper avenues to bring this company to life.
How did you choose the factories you work with?
I made sure that first off quality came before cost when searching for the right factories. I use 3 separate factories because each gives the best quality in each material used. The frames are made overseas however I have tried several factories which were garbage before deciding on the 3 factories I use now. Many frames had been sent to me that had very low quality from the previous tries, which helped lead me to the 3 factories I use now.
Did you have frame materials in mind before you started designing your frames?
Yes I did. Each frame is designed around the material used. Like most riders I have a love of titanium. Its light weight, incredibly strong, and yet had a lively and unique ride that helps the trails come alive. I knew I wanted all flagship models to be made out of titanium, but I also knew realistically the majority of people can not afford titanium frames. This is why I decided to create aluminum and cromoly versions.
How many people make up Cachet and what do they do?
Cachet currently includes :
Ryan (me) – owner, designer and imagineer.
Chad Lynch – creative director which includes making ads, photography, social media, and digital editing. Expect some big changes in these areas.
The wife – She has been sucked into the business inadvertently. She is a counsellor, investor and handles logistics.
Our sponsored riders: Jordie Lunn, Diego Caverzasi, Griffin Paulson, Kirt Voreis, Alex Alanko
What did you have to sacrifice to get to this stage?
I spent 2 million trying to be a millionaire at this point (classic bike joke… but seriously its true) I have designed over 100 + bike parts to only then come to reality through other companies which is hard to see. Mostly thought sacrifices are with family and my wallet.
Did you have day jobs that you had to give up?
Although I do odd jobs I am lucky to have a very supportive wife that works full time which allows me to focus so Cachet Bikes can be my priority.
Are you working alongside to make ends meet?
After 20 hour days and many hours planning, meeting and releasing the frames, I hope this company becomes like any other small boutique brands. At the end of the day my bills are all payed, I am still attending bike events to meet new people, and allows me to have some fun. I’m all in.
How did you learn what you needed to know to get your own company off the ground and the bikes in hand?
Massive amounts of trial and error over several years, decades even.
How many prototypes did you have before getting to the production first production frame?
Henry III is the first frame to be released. The III refers to it being the third version made of the frame.
How much did having the first frame under your belt help with the rest of the range?
Quite a bit. It allowed me to know the quality and limitations of the factories. I was able to gauge material, tube diameters, and thickness. Also ride quality.
Beyond the development of prototypes, what form did your testing take?
First thing I did was get the biggest, baddest, MF on a bike, Jordie Lunn to ride the frame for me (actually he approached me) Nothing has been broken yet either titanium or aluminum.
In fact, his first prototype frame the XX has been passed on to Bryce Starling who continues to use the frame even after an evening on Nitro Circus. Some prototypes have been passed on to other riders and so far there have been no concerns.
A huge part of research and development is the riders themselves that I chose because their riding is harder than the average costumer. Research and development will continue to be the biggest cost to the company.
Where next for Cachet? How do you plan to go about getting extra helpers etc. etc.?
Next for Cachet is to continue to develop the hardtail line. We would also like to look for a third person in the office that can handle sales, has a background in working with distributors and can handle paperwork without pulling their hair out. The company would like to focus on Crankworx and FMB tour events.
We will introduce contingency payment plans for people that purchase Cachet products, go to events and do well. They will have an opportunity to win back money by simply choosing our product to race with.
Anybody to thank at this point in the Cachet journey? Long suffering spouses/parents/friends?
My riders for believing in my dream and vision. Also putting up with my moments of craziness. Also a thank you to Chad Lynch my creative director for coming on board. I look forward to working with him to polish the companies image. And to Howie and Zink from Sensus for all the help and knowledge.
And lastly, my Mom, Dad and wife. For everything that they put up with. My parents for allowing my to chase my dreams as a racer when I was a kid, and my wife for supporting my dreams of starting a company… and a shout out to Ray-Ray.