How We Got Started
It was 2001. I was working in a bike shop in Georgetown and as a messenger in D.C. After-hours at the bike shop, drinking a beer, watching Allen repair yet another damaged, stripped out, fixed gear hub, I said, "Hey, why don't they bolt the cog on like they do the chainring?" Allen dropped the chain whip and said, "Holy shit, you better follow through on that one!" So I did. In 2003, I found myself in Cape Cod during winter with no job (long story). I revisited my design notebook and found the "Bolt-on cog" pages. With a quick search on the web, I discovered a machine shop. Richards Design Inc. was right around the corner from where I was living! We met. And things went/are awesome....
Ten years in and we were still producing hubs out of the same machine shop. It was nice to be near the shop and actually help with the machining/manufacturing (My commute to work was through a beautiful patch of woods near Otis Airfield. If you get a chance to go there, I highly recommend it. Trail map and description linked here--> NEMBA.) But, life changes. Now, I’m in Central California, but that doesn't matter in this day and age. I get the bits and pieces from the machine shop, then polish and assemble them for each order that comes in. With love. The first one that went out the door is still going today, with the same bearings!
And now, after almost 20 years there is more! A bolt-on freewheel! I am expanding on the philosophy of my first idea by designing the components on the bike to eliminate the need for "special" tools. The product line is growing. A bolt-on freewheel. Never been done before! There it is, the secret is out! How many bike companies will start doing that now?