Riding is Life


Behind the Curtain: Bridge Bike Works

Carbon fiber bikes made in Canada, eh?

James Huang
by James Huang 18.03.2024 Photography by
James Huang
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It perhaps goes without saying that if you’re in the market for a nice carbon fiber road or gravel bike these days, there are so many choices that it can push anyone into full-blown analysis/paralysis. So if you were to make the bold – one might even say borderline-foolish – decision to start up a new bike brand, what on earth can you do to stand out? 

One would be to claim you’re going to make them better.

Another could be to make the matching fork yourself, too.

You might also strive to still offer those new bikes at comparatively reasonable prices.

Oh, but you want to actually manufacture them in Canada? Now wait just a minute here.

Despite all of those things seemingly not adding up, that’s exactly what upstart brand Bridge Bike Works is trying to do – partially because co-founders (and proud Canadians) Frank Gairdner and Mike Yakubowicz believe it just makes more sense to keep all of your operations under one roof instead of spreading them across multiple continents and time zones, but also because they want to prove a point.

“I think it’s really important for every country to build skill sets,” explained Gairdner, who was born and raised not far from where Bridge is headquartered, in an industrial corner of Toronto, Ontario. “A lot of people are growing up just behind computers, or basically just learning how to direct other people to do things, whereas I think it’s absolutely incredibly important to build those skill sets locally. Aside from that, it’s about quality control. It’s about being able to understand what you’re making, how you make it. And I think you can – almost by definition, and assuming you’re doing things right – make a better product because you know everything about it. There’s no other possibility of a better outcome in my mind if you control it all. Again, this all assumes that you’re doing the right thing and making the right choices. But if you have a team and you have leadership that’s dedicated towards making the best thing possible and are obsessed with it, the outcome is going to be a better product. I think the industry deserves that. And I think people want it.”

Interestingly, Bridge being based in Toronto didn’t just boil down to it being a convenient location for Gairdner and Yakubowicz. Cervelo was headquartered in Toronto just a few short years ago, and not surprisingly when the company relocated to California, not all of the company’s talent went with it. Fun fact: You know the Caledonia all-road model from Cervelo, right? Well, Bridge is located on Clarkson Rd – which turns directly off of Caledonia Rd, from which that model derived its name.

Bridge’s lead engineer, Thanos Drivas, is formerly a senior R&D engineer at Cervelo. And Bridge senior engineer Richard Matthews was apparently one of the driving forces behind the Cervelo R5ca and P5x. Bridge also employs a few folks from Multimatic, one of the foremost leaders in the motorsports world in carbon fiber composites, and which is barely a half-hour drive away.

Currently, Bridge offers just a single bike model: the do-it-all Surveyor, featuring a sub-1 kg frame and burly fork – both made start to finish in Toronto – and designed to work with tires from 28-40 mm. Is it “the best” bike in its category? That depends on your definition of the word, of course, but regardless, I don’t think Bridge would even claim that. Best-riding? Best-looking? There are certainly lighter options out there, ones that are more aero, less expensive, and so on. But regardless, there’s an interesting story to be told here, and my guess is it’ll resonate with someone. 

Stay tuned for a members-only Geek Warning podcast from Bridge’s co-founders (I promise it’ll be a good one), as well as a full bike review – whenever they get around to making one in my size. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at how the company is doing things.

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