Take a look at your daily grind. The alarm goes off at some unreasonable hour and you scramble for the snooze, knowing you are only putting off the inevitable. Like a zombie, you walk to the kitchen for the caffeinated rush of life. You shower, get dressed, feed the dog/cat, and get ready for the commute to work. You step into the car, put the key in the ignition, and….stop. Before you turn that key and pull out of the driveway, have you ever asked yourself if there is something else you would rather be doing?
“I took to that grind for 20+ years and it was alright ― but just alright. If I had settled, I might still have been somewhat happy to this day. I can tell you one thing for sure though, I would not be as happy as I am now.”
Matt Nunn is a welder by trade but a cyclist at heart. It was not until he combined the two that he was really happy. To him, cycling was never a hobby, it was his life and now it’s his vocation. This business he created is a product of his passion, ingenuity and craft.
For thousands of miles, Nunn rode production bikes cranked out of big factories in Asia. But he found himself criticizing their quality. Why was this positioned this way? How could this have been done better? Why was he still settling for poor fit, performance and handling? Finally, he had enough and decided to build something better.
“The male equivalent of giving birth for the first time,” is how he describes that first build. From over 20 years of production welding, he knew the technical aspects of what he was undertaking, but he had no idea what it was going to be like from an emotional standpoint. In the end, the belt-driven, single speed mountain bike that he brought into the world changed him forever.
The frame building would not stop there. As he was seen on the new bike by other riders, the requests started to come. After a few builds, he began to realize the magnitude of what he was producing. His bikes were taking people to places they had never gone before.
After two years of building frames part time, consumer demand “forced” Nunn to take the business full time. He chose the name “Samsara” for his bikes which means “the cycle of suffering”. It was Nunn’s way of paying homage to his passion for ultra-endurance mountain bike events.
Samsara sustains itself as a business but is more focused on the customer experience than the bottom line. Matt does well for himself but it is certainly a modest lifestyle. “The business pays the bills, and I can take my wife, daughter, and son on a vacation, but beyond that what matters most is happiness. I can say confidently, that I am truly happy with what I do.”
The entire fabrication process takes place in Frederick, CO but the stamp of American-made goes further. Nunn chooses to use U.S. made, butted steel tubing for his frames. The Lincoln Electric Precision TIG 275 welder in his shop was manufactured in Cleveland and the painting is done by a local professional. Matt wants his bikes to be made with integrity all the way around. It is just another aspect of the brand to feel good about when purchasing a Samsara bike.
After the frame is built, Matt takes the time to work with the customer to select every component that will be installed. With his extensive riding experience, he can point customers to products that can best suit their riding style. This additional aspect of customization takes the build process to a personal level most custom builders are not willing to go. Despite how in depth the build process gets, the end price remains reasonable. In most cases, a Samsara bike retails at the same price point of mass production bike brands.
For quality assurance purposes, Nunn is also “forced” to spend ample time on the Colorado trail system “testing” the bikes. It is a burden every frame builder must undertake. You build awesome bikes and then you have to make sure they work. Poor, poor Matt.
When someone has a real passion for what they do, the term “grind” is no longer applicable. The work is meaningful and the products are genuine. Every bike that rolls out of Samsara Cycles has a specific person in mind. That person will be taken to new places on their new ride because it was specifically designed for them. Maybe riding that bike will become the escape from their daily grind.