The latest version of the Knolly Delirium has been on trails (and in the park) for just over a year, and the model has avoided true classification throughout its 10 year lifespan. To dig into the true roots of this amazing bike, you can harken back to a PB article found here:
Since this bike was designed for and inspired by the shore, we wanted to create something unique to reflect its gritty roots. For this project we teamed up with someone who also draws her inspiration from the majesty that is our west coast, Kate Zessel. Kate is a local artist from Whistler who does a lot of stunning work, inspired by mountains, nature and outdoor living/adventures. Kate’s work has garnered worldwide attention, and she has collaborated with brands such as Patagonia, Lululemon, and Whistler Brewing Company.
Knolly is keen to cultivate local partnerships in and out of the bike industry, so we knew that working with Kate would be a great fit. Knolly Product Manager, Cavan Brady, just happens to be friends with Kate, so they started discussions about a possible collaboration which ignited this project.
“The organic nature of Kate’s style made for a great contrast against the stark lines of a mountain bike.”
- Noel Buckley, CEO Knolly Bikes
As the design started to develop we had to make a decision internally to determine what frame finish would compliment Kate’s artistic style the best. This process took all of about 30 seconds since the answer was so obvious….
RAW! Our raw finish is a best seller for a myriad of reasons: It’s our most durable and looks great for years (which is perfect when you’re slapping a work of art on the side). The raw finish also puts our premium welds and craftsmanship on full display; we have nothing to hide under paint. Finally, the buffed raw aluminum is the perfect backdrop to contrast and highlight Kate’s stylings. If you wanted to buy the limited ‘Zessel’ edition and hang it on the wall, no one would blame you.
With Kate's design in hand and a raw frame we started working with our factory to turn a bike frame into a canvas. The process was far more time consuming than expected but our factory was excited to make the project a success. Dozens of “tweaks” later we had our first sample to approve and then it was off to production.
Only 50 units of the frame are being produced and they are available now for pre-order with delivery in late September.
During the process, we asked Kate a few questions about the project:
Knolly: First off - Do you ride mountain bikes?
Kate: Yes! I initially learned on a downhill bike in the whistler bike park and then as I got more confident took up cross country riding.
Knolly: Does your riding inspire your creativity?
Kate: Anytime a sport brings me outside, to new places or pushes me I feel inspired. Biking incompasses a lot of the same attributes as illustrating. It can be slow and methodical or fast and flowing. It allows me to experience the outdoors at a different pace and a lot of the places I visit end up in my pieces.
Knolly: Have you ever painted anything on a friend’s bike before?
Kate: Haha no! I have designed top tube decals before but a whole frame was definitely new for me.
Knolly: Why aren’t there any cool animals on this frame design?
Kate: We decided to stick with the North Shore mountains to show Knollys roots. This company was built here and some of the best riders come from these hills. On the technical side, the frame itself isn't an extremely large canvas and because the piece is a decal it couldn't be overly detailed.
Knolly: Did this design come together quickly?
Kate: The design came together pretty quickly after Cavan and I had figured out what direction to take it. It only took a few minor tweaks to adjust the frame layout and logos. The actual project started over 3 years ago so it really cool to see it finally come to life!
Knolly: What projects do you have coming up?
Kate: This year my focus is going to be on opening a store front next Summer. I would love to get a collective of artist together and have studio where they could work and sell their products. I am also working with Whistler Blackcomb this year as their feature artist so there is a lot of fun projects in the works!
For 2018, the Delirium will also come kitted in an all-new purple with chrome graphics, along with the ever-popular orange with white graphics.
The Kate Zessel limited edition Delirium is available now.