In search of connection, inspiration and knowledge building, the DUST team made the pilgrimage this week to the mecca of motocross, Southern California (SoCal). And while those initial objectives were certainly met, we also walked away with a deeper appreciation for the rich history of innovation and taste-making in the region.
It’s no secret that the West Coast, and more specifically, Southern California, has historically been the cultural epicentre for lifestyle sports movements. From surfing in the 50s and 60s, to motocross and BMX in the 70s, skateboarding in the 80s and so on, it's clear the area holds something special to facilitate these phenomena.
Sending it back to WWII, institutions such as CalTech and Hughes Aircraft Company at the Hollywood Burbank Airport catalyzed the growth in engineering and fabrication trades within the Los Angeles and Orange County regions which powered the US military’s technical might. At the close of the war, the southern California region had been transformed into a vibrant economy, further energized by the baby boom, enriched via numerous notable higher education institutions and heaped with creativity from a flourishing art, music and film industry. This diverse knowledge economy quite literally provided the key components needed to grow counter-culture ideas into full-blown cultural movements.
Out of this well-cultivated soil grew On Any Sunday, the cult motorcycle film released in 1971 by creator Bruce Brown (of Endless Summer fame), catapulting a niche pastime to the forefront of popular culture. Through all of this, we can now fully understand why influential brands like Oakley, Fox, Troy Lee Designs, 100% and Pro Circuit were built in the area, while other iconic global brands like Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Alpinestars have chosen to call it their home in the US. This gravity continues today as ever more innovative brands pop up to leave their mark on powered two-wheel recreation.
Drawn by this magnetism back to our roots in California (two of our founders grew up there), we made a trip this week to connect with friends in the industry, spread the DUST gospel, and gain further valuable insights into how the industry is evolving. We were able to connect with friends with histories at stalwarts like Honda and Kawasaki to the fresh upstarts, Cake, Super73 and Ryvid. The passion and knowledge run deep across the scene.
Some of the lessons we are taking after an amazing whirlwind few days:
- Time and time again, we received the feedback that the timing has never been better to jump in with two feet and participate in the progression of this amazing industry. The general consumer is aware of electric as the technology matures, the core customer has their interest piqued as to what potential benefits electric might offer, and there is an immense gap in the market for a dirt-focused American Brand.
- There has been an explosion in the popularity of powered two-wheel riders locally driven by Surron and Super73, and this group will soon be looking for “whats next?” We see this as an exciting harbinger for the future of the power sports industry, if it can embrace this audience as one of its own, and provide the products and experiences to build off their entry into the sport.
- The industry, its knowledge, and its passion-driven culture were not built overnight. Being tightly coupled with this scene will be key to building something that is embraced by the industry, and ultimately has the possibility to grow into a movement of cultural relevance.
Nuggets from the DUST team, friends and colleagues this week:
- Electric Cycle Rider 'Introducing DUST moto: American-made electric dirt bikes' (here).
- Deus 12 minute short film 'Painted in Dust' with photography from Harrison Mark inspired the naming of DUST moto (here).
- FIM E-Xplorer championship's first race of the first season took place 13 May in Barcelona Spain. Showcasing 16 riders with 1 woman and 1 man per team. With teams from USA, Austria, France, Japan, UK, and Spain. The series has no limit on power output, stipulating only that competing motorbikes weigh over 75kg and less than 130kg (here).
- Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki & Suzuki moto stalwarts announce tech research association HySE (Hydrogen Small mobility & Engine technology) to develop hydrogen-powered engines for motorcycles (here).
- >100 people subscribed following inaugural newsletter '#1 Colorado Calling'!
Please share this newsletter with anyone who is passionate about 2 wheel culture, motorsports or technology. It's with this engaged community that we will build the best product and brand possible!
See you all next week, when the dust settles again!