Monday, August 08, 2011

Branding with Iron - The WMD

When we started walking through the concept and design of our first three bikes, we ended up in a strange place with the second bike. We knew exactly what we wanted it to be, how we wanted it to ride and what we wanted it to be when it grew up.

The only catch... we couldn't think of a name for it.

On the surface, it seemed like it should be a piece of cake. We've seen so many of our friends turn their cross bikes into commuters that the need seemed obvious. The design elements of taking a race worthy rig and simply adding just enough 'bits' to make a transformation to a commuter smart and efficient quickly feel into place. We wanted this bike ourselves, so our confidence was high enough.

The branding spark simply lagged behind, if it was there at at.... We quickly went through the bad and the obvious. I searched the web for a bit of inspiration, made lists, really did write on napkins and still had nothing worth using.

Once the Fascist Killer arrived. I mentally set the CX/Townie 'challenge' aside, but the night Sam, Hoss and I gathered to build and take pictures of the frame, things started to take shape for the story of bike number two.

As we were chatting, it became clear we'd already confused Chad. We already had a name for bike #3 and for a while Chad thought it was for the CX/Townie. As we clarified, I remember saying that we didn't have anything for #2, so if Chad had any ideas, please let them fly.

The next day, Chad emailed us with a few quotes to consider for the chain stay. They were all good, inspiring and, in a flurry of Google searches and emails, we arrived at a winner.

"I am become death, shatterer of worlds."

The philosophy major in me was instantly happy. The words come from the Bhagavad-Gita, which I originally read in a late night reading bender with the Upanishads after finishing Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge. We also selected the less commonly used translation of "shatterer," as opposed to "destroyer." Why? Because in my read, to be destroyed is finite, to be shattered, while close, keeps a glimmer of hope.

Of course, most people know the quote from J. Robert Oppenheimer and his reaction to the "success" of the Manhattan Project. Watching his reaction to the result of the project made me consider throwing the line and subsequent name aside completely. I decided to lighten up a bit instead.

With that decided, we still needed an actual name to reference. We were using "Death" for about 24 hours, then the ah-ha response took over and it was clear, the WMD. And there it was, full circle.

Our first WMD is set to arrive back from paint tomorrow. I know the owner is looking forward to building it up and we're looking forward to having bike number two out in the world.

As for the name WMD, I'm looking forward to hearing the word play people come up with around those letters. I already have one for CVO or Eric Brunt, Wheels Making Deliveries.

Has a nice ring to it.

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