ShockingBarack – Smartest Roadie: Aaron Bland

I’ve already covered Rider #1 — Brian Wismann— and Rider #2 — Dave Schiff (thanks again to guest blogger Zach Myrow note to ZM: you’re better off w/o her) of the ShockingBarack tour (if you don’t know what ShockingBarack is, click on their link, do some research, and hurry up–today is a big day).

Aaron Bland – Lead Engineer at Brammo

Aaron Bland is riding in the support vehicle for the ShockingBarack tour.  We’ve seen his boyish grin in a few pictures:

"World's Smartest Roadie"

Aaron talks to a reporter in Adrian, Michigan

And we know a few tidbits from the Brammo website:

A University of Wisconsin graduate, Aaron has designed successful downhill racing bicycles for PDC Racing as well as his own line of bicycle racing components. Aaron was also instrumental in his involvement with the engineering and productionizing of the Ariel Atom for the US market.

How can we reconcile the badass with the buzzcut in the picture directly above with the smiling, hoodie-wearing Opie Taylor-lookalike in the earlier pictures?  Answer: we don’t have to.  Obviously, Brammo needed to show the serious, scowling Aaron in order to assure buyers and investors that its lead engineer was … well, serious.

They certainly did not want to show these pictures:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

(Thanks to Robin, Aaron’s little sister, and to their mom, for these wonderful family photos!)  From Robin: “Aaron has always been innovative and funny. He would creatively booby trap the water hose so when someone turned it on, water would squirt them in the face.”

Aaron Becomes a Badger

Aaron went to the University of Wisconsin and majored in Mechanical Engineering.  One of his greatest achievements while he was there was winning the Tong Prototype Prize in 2003.  From the UW Website:

Full Suspension Bicycle Frame, the AB-1

First Place

Full Suspension Bicycle Frame, the AB-1: a bicycle frame with a shock-absorbing system for the rear wheel. The design improves comfort, safety and handling for high-end mountain racing bikes.

Aaron Bland

Aaron Bland won first place in the Tong Prototype Prize competition for his full suspension bicycle frame. He also won a fourth-place prize in the Schoofs Prize for Creativity competition.

Aaron Bland

Aaron Bland holds his Full Suspension Bicycle Frame, the AB-1: a bicycle frame with a shock-absorbing system for the rear wheel. The design improves comfort, safety and handling for high-end mountain racing bikes.

Prototype bicycle frame

The full suspension bicycle frame, the AB-1.

“I learned tons about the manufacturing, machining, welding, materials and the cost of making a bicycle,” says Aaron Bland, who received a $400 Tong grant to help him build his mountain bike prototype. “I realized how much fun it is to build inventions, and that it makes the engineering worthwhile. The Tong loan helped me fund the project; without it, my prototype would have been difficult to afford” — Aaron Bland, $2,500 Tong winner

Aaron at Brammo

Brian Wismann, Lead Designer at Brammo, took time out of his busy day searching for Obama contacts, to write this tribute about Aaron:

Aaron is the young and extremely gifted mechanical design engineer
that has led the engineering on or personally engineered nearly every
mechanical component on the Enertia. As equally as Craig and I get
credit for the concept and idea of the Enertia, Aaron deserves credit
for the physical manifestation of that idea. He was the first person
in the company to start full-time work on the project, and has
maintained a greater than 100% commitment to it ever since. Aaron’s
background in downhill racing mountain bikes, successful projects to
improve the Brammo built Ariel Atom, and a passion for motorcycles
made him an obvious choice to lead the Engineering effort on the
Enertia. For those that have met Aaron, many would agree that were
there a “nicest person in the world” award, his sunny disposition and
good nature would make him a leading candidate.

Aaron also led the mechanical engineering efforts on the Brammo TTR
that raced at the Isle of Man this year.

His value to the company is immense and even better… He’s just
getting warmed up!


Aaron pushes #26 and Brian pushes #11 at the Isle of Man TTXGP motorcycle race, June 2009.

Aaron the Roadie

Aaron’s talents as an engineer have come in handy as the ShockingBarack tour made its way from Detroit to D.C.  In Aurora, Ohio, one of the bikes had an issue with an overheated controller.  They were able to get a new one over-nighted, and Aaron installed it.  As Brian said in the video, below, “What if I buy an Enertia, and I don’t have an Aaron Bland to repair my bike?”  The answer, of course, was that Brammo is partnered with Best Buy, and their trained technicians will provide service.

Aaron has, thus far, been the focus of videos for the ShockingBarack crew, filled with his observations and insights into the mission.

-Aaron Reflects, Vol 1.

– Aaron Reflects, Vol 2.

From Volume 2: “We put thousands and thousands of miles on our engineering test bikes . . . to prepare the bikes to be well-suited for the urban environment we wanted them to be used in.  But nothing would have prepared us for this kind of a cross country trip.  The great thing is, we’ve been driving them every single day, charge after charge, mile after mile, through the rain, the cold, the street grime, the potholes, and it’s been awesome.  We’re really happy that we’ve been able to under-promise and over-deliver with these bikes.”

So there you have it: the takeaway is that Brammo seems to have snagged yet another gifted, creative, and visionary employee to help it attain its goals.

Aaron helps the four-year-old son of a Sandusky Register reporter discover what it means to sit on an Enertia.



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  1. #1 by Mike Wright on October 28, 2009 - 8:01 pm

    Hey Aaron, keep riding and smiling. And don’t forget to mention your early Waldorf days now and then, now that you are one of our ambassadors out in the big world. Looking forward to seeing you one of these days. Thanks to Bruce, I’m keeping up with your travels. All the best, Mike Wright

  2. #2 by Ed on October 29, 2009 - 8:40 am


    Nice bike but at $12K that is way too high, if you sell these at $6k i would buy one

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