The First of the New Frames

Sundown,  a cold December day, Portland, Oregon – is that the new Kinn Cascade Flyer frame?
Why, yes it is.  A pretty little thing she is too.  We picked it up from Zen Bicycle Fab this afternoon and now back at our workshop, and standing just 8 feet behind me Max is building it up.




Spoke Guards for Little Feet

One the the Kinn’s most appreciated features are the adjustable foot pegs.  But footpegs and younger children call for spoke guards (sometimes called wheel skirts),  because little feet caught in spokes can really hurt.

Below is Max showing off  Kinn’s spoke guards, mounted to a stone-grey frame.

Kinn's Max Miller modeling the Cascade Flyer's spokeguards made in our Portland workshop at ADX

Kinn’s Max Miller modeling the Cascade Flyer’s spoke guards made in our Portland workshop

Besides looking cool and protecting little feet, our spoke guards are double-sided. One side is brushed aluminum that matches Kinn’s aluminum fenders. The other side  is powder coated white,  perfect for painting or decorating. You could or even using as a whiteboard.  This is possible because of the  material we used which made of plastic sandwiched between two layers of aluminium. It’s stiff, light, durable and can bend to fit the frame. Awesome.

You can get a pair of Kinn’s high-tech, retro-cool, double-sided, Portland-made spoke guards for $42. Ask wherever you bought you Kinn. If you use the Yepp child seat you won’t  need spoke guards as they have foot protection built in.

Adjustable footpeg

Kinn’s adjustable footpegs

Adjustable Footpegs Too

Here are the Kinn’s footpegs with the spoke guard installed. Passengers are more stable and comfortable when they can use their feet to steady themselves, rather than just have them dangle. They also make it easier to mount and dismount the bike.  The wide adjustable range allows for anyone from Little Leon to Auntie Amy to go for a spin.

Footpegs are standard on all Kinn bikes. If you’ve somehow lost yours, just drop us an email at and we’ll get you a set.



What’s a Midtail?


Longtail bikes are long, regular bikes are short, midtails – well we think they are just right. Goldilocks would have loved them too.

The first modern longtails appeared 1998 when Xtracycle introduced thier attachment which extends a bike by about 1 1/2 feet. For a decade or so it that was the only choice, then in 2007/8/9   Yuba, Kona, Surly and Xtracycle themselves all produced dedicated longtail bikes and the boom began.

The name midtail was coined for the Kinn design by Joseph Ahearne, master framebuilder, no less.  I’d just finished the first prototype (with the help of Tom le Bounty) and was arranging for Joseph to build version II. The Bikes project name was the “Midtail Flyer“. Back then there were no such bikes on the the US market*. It was later that year when Kona introduced the Mini Ute and this summer Yuba introduce thier midtail.So with Kinn that makes three. I’d say the midtails have arrived.

* Of course the Dutch had always had such bikes


The Story of our Name

In case you are curious, our name Kinn was inspired by two words:

scrabble mug

  • kin – meaning family or clan, and
  • kinetic – meaning related to motion.

However KinKinectic was to much a mouthful and KineticKin was surely a cartoon character.  So, late one caffeinated winter evening we simply doubled up the ‘n’ in kin to represent the double meaning and …
… it looked good.

So we adopted kinn to mean “family in motion”, named our enterprise Kinn Bikes and drank the rest of our coffee in contented silence.

Of course it didn’t stop there, over the months there grew small vocabulary:

Kinnship   (noun)
— an uplifting fellowship with others (esp. families) travelling together by bike.

Kinnward  (adjective)
— in, or moving toward participation in family biking.

Kinnsong   (noun)
— the happy warbling of a child (or slightly tipsy adult) travelling on the back of a Kinn.

You get the idea.

Wood / Plastic / Bamboo Revolution

I like wood, the look, feel and smell of it. I like it alive and i liked it planked and planed. Turns out I like grass too, for bamboo (a giant grass) is the final winner for the rear rack deck.

So Many Choices

I went through quite a stack of materials.  High Density Plastic ,  plastic skinned with Aluminum, Marine and Aircraft grade plywoods of Birch and Maple, as well as two types of bamboo plywood.

But Bamboo it is: it’s hard (30% harder than maple), it’s strong (same strength to weight as steel), it’s beautiful (to me), it’s a fast growing sustainable resource, and we have an emerging local bamboo operation. Bamboo Revolution here in Portland is planting bamboo in central Oregon – amazing. They are also leading the way with some fancy ply’s, the 3/8th thick material I’m using is 9 ply.

The video here is quite inspiring, really worth viewing. If you are pushed for time start at the two minute mark.

Starting a Bamboo Industry in Oregon  (the road trip version)