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The Hive offices in Petaluma, CA is one busy place. Days after the huge Sea Otter festival ended, gear and equipment was scattered everywhere. But it seemed to work perfectly for this small team of designers and engineers. Studies about creative people’s desks always being messier than left brained folks seem to be true here.

The Hive is a collection of mad scientists, tinkerers, and really smart designers. They’re constantly improving the cycling experience through improving what we ride. Engineering and better design is always on their minds.

The Hive is a collection of labels that were started at different times, but now are under one ownership. Originally started in 2008 by bike industry vets, coming from companies Truvativ, Formula, and Mountain Cycle, among others, the Hive has built a really solid line up of products. In their own words, we’re “committed to improving cyclists experience through the relentless application of engineering and design principles.

E*Thirteen is probably the most well known brand. Having been started by suspension guru Dave Weagle in 2002, as part of his Evil Bike company, the first product was the “chain retention system”, or chain guide. Wanting to spend more time with his growing suspension design work, Weagle approached Chris Costello and the Hive about transferring ownership of E*Thirteen. They worked out the details and things have grown steadily ever since for both parties.

Currently, the Hive has a handful of employees and a couple business partners that are investors in the company. They’re privately held and appear to be a small, cozy group. They like doing their own thing, on their own time frame. As it turns out, it’s a fairly furious pace.

Todd Bischoff’s workspace spills over with tires, wheels, cranks, bearings, tools, and a sick large print of some crazy fishing boat. Constantly working and creating doesn’t leave a ton of time for cleaning up.

The Hive and E*Thirteen have sponsored many of the top downhill riders over the years. Signed jerseys are everywhere. This one from Eric Carter, now Team Manager for Aaron Gwin and Team Specialized.

The Burdell Building in Petaluma, CA is home to the American offices for The Hive. A significant part of the Petaluma city history, it was constructed to house the Petaluma Ice and Cold Storage and Burdell Creamery, becoming a major hub of the local dairy industry.

Renovations in process make getting to The Hive offices a small adventure. The building houses artisans and craftspeople such as photographers, custom cabinet makers, and galleries. Surrounded by constant hum of activity, The Hive is flourishing.

Gus the shop dog is a super sweet little fella until you turn the air compressor on, then he wants to kill and eat it! Apparently this provides his owner hours of entertainment. And guests.

Aw, poor Gus. He just did a full round of sprints and is now ready for a break. Or treat. Probably both.

Stickers, very often off color, are the the currency that runs through every bike shop, factory, design firm, or anywhere you find bike people in full swing, doing their thing. Keep your eyes open, they’re everywhere.

The office section has a very comfortable, living room type atmosphere. Kick your feet up on the table, have some coffee, ride your bike through, it’s pretty relaxed around here. Running shoes and flip-flops are the footwear of choice. Another reflection on the casualness. The guys here are all pretty easy going and get along well. Which might be a big reason they’re in business together. As soon as you sit down, Gus the office dog will come over and say Hi. The greeting crew.

Directly next to the office is the warehouse and shop. Pretty much every guys dream set up. Big comfy leather couches next to the beer fridge, then go through one door and you’re working on your bike in an oversized shop that not only has all the tools you could use, but lots of extra power tools, like you had your own machine shop or something.

A completely custom, one-off, never to be repeated, festival-cruiser-pixie-race-beer-carnival-freakshow-dragster. Something to do with the last day of Sea Otter and the industry race around the expo area. You just don’t see enough Tioga dh saddles anymore.

Bischoff showing how simple it is to break down, lube, and put back together one of The Hive’s new hubs. It took about a minute for him to do the entire process.

The warehouse. Not huge by any means, but plenty of space for what needs to happen here. More signed jerseys on the wall.

Sea Otter is an intense four days for all the brands and industry personnel involved. Long days, usually followed by just a bit of partying leads to everything being thrown in a large box to be sorted out when you get home. Luckily for The Hive, it’s only a couple hour drive down to Monterey from Petaluma, CA.

Dennis and Sebastian do it all for the Hive's European friends. Based in Traunstein, Germany, they certainly get around.

A slightly different crisp and clean look for the German offices, but the same high quality end result.

Getting ready for a ride. With a full shop, one component or another is changed for every ride. Constantly testing. The German team visited just in time to see the American Enduro MTB Magazine crew.

Riding in Annadel was dark at times, and wide open at others. Turkey, deer, lizard and turkey vulture sightings made it seem like Wild Kingdom at times. The park is also a major post work exercise spot for many locals.

All those large boulders were at times directly in the single track, making for some rugged, and fun, rock gardens to blast through. The riding here is diverse.

Keep your eyes open, as the Hive is constantly coming out with new product and fine tuning existing gear. They’ve recently updated their website and added a lot of genuinely helpful information about their own offerings, but also general educational bits such as “Chainline Explained. What is chainline and why does it matter?” If you enjoy keeping your bike in tip top running shape, or maybe you don’t really know anything about chain guides, and are considering one because your chain came off a few times during your first enduro race, then the website might be helpful to you.

If you weren't aware, we're believers in what the Hive is doing, and have reviewed a number of their products. Need a great enduro tough wheel set, check out the TRS+ wheels. Want a tough, durable, and stiff crank, maybe going with one chainring up front, look at the TRS Race Crank. We liked them both so much, we gave them our Design and Innovation Award in 2013. Check out issue #4 to read more.

Every good ride should end with a cold beer. Russian River Brewing Company, maker of legendary Pliney the Elder, was the destination in Santa Rosa post ride. The beer is extraordinary and the brewpub is worth a trip on it’s own.

You can read the full article and other great bike related stories over at EnduroMTB Magazine

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