Let’s discover David Folch today, founder of DirtySixer, manufacturer of the largest bikes in the world!
Hello David, who are you?
Hi, I’m David Folch, 6’6″ tall and wear a size 14 shoe. I grew up in the south of France and pursued a career in journalism. I specialized in sports and automotive journalism for magazines such as Auto-Moto, Moto Journal, VSD, Paris Match, GQ, and FHM. After 10 years in France I became a foreign correspondent and moved to the US in New York City for three years in 2007. Being at the forefront of electric vehicle innovation for cars and motorcycles on the west coast where I moved in 2010, I was fortunate to be one of the first journalists to report on Tesla and any other electric vehicles with two and four wheels.
It was at this time that I got back into cycling, to enjoy the mountain bike trails around San Francisco, known as the birthplace of mountain biking. And it was a simple cycling accident that sparked the idea for the creation of DirtySixer. Trying to jump a curb on the streets of San Francisco, I fell and fractured an ankle. The hospital presented me with a $25,000 bill to insert screws to fix it. The next day I was on a plane to Paris, much to the chagrin of the French doctor who saw me… This simple accident, followed by several months of recovery, caused me to lose the freelance contracts I had in France and Europe. And it left me with a lot of time to reflect, partly on the reasons for my fall. The explanation was simple, the bike, although “made” for tall people, was not correctly designed for people of tall stature, and the same was true for all bikes for tall people, given the limitations introduced by wheel size and tubing used in manufacturing.
At the same time, I found work in other fields, and I even joined Google Maps. The idea of turning DirtySixer into a real business was taking shape, although meetings with small custom bike manufacturers and designers were not always very conclusive. Few understood the design errors of bikes for tall people at the time. But I kept moving forward. I started studying the matter very closely with renowned custom bike engineers and manufacturers and finally produced a first prototype. Given the difficulty of producing it in California, I had to turn to a Russian company for its fabrication! The manufacturer even took the opportunity to come to California with the frame in his luggage to assemble it on-site. This was the first DirtySixer bike, and even more rare, it was made of titanium! It was not perfect but it would evolve very quickly.
How was DirtySixer born?
Thanks to my local journalist network and the American kindness, I contacted Mr Bill Holland, the manufacturer of NBA legend Bill Walton’s bicycles, and then the basketball champion himself. Some time later, the meeting was organized, and Bill Walton was able to test ride the DirtySixer. On my 36-inch-wheeled model (compared to 29 inches for traditional bikes), the 7’1″ giant quickly understood the benefits of the bigger bike. Following this successful test, Bill proposed to show it to the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA). And thanks to these new connections, I had the opportunity to talk to Shaquille O’Neal’s coach, Dale Brown of LSU. I showed him a photo of Bill Walton on the prototype, and he understood the value of my bike for Shaq. Five months later, Shaquille O’Neal himself sent me an email to organize the delivery of his bike. The adventure (and the hardships) were about to begin.
I now needed to produce more bikes, which was not a given with the difficulties encountered in making the first model. The Californian frame manufacturer kept pushing back the work, and delivery times kept dragging on. But the bike was eventually made and delivered to Shaq in Atlanta. He loved it so much it took it for a spin in the hallways of the Turner studios. The production of small, high-end series was then set up next to Sacramento for a few years. Soon after, Kevin Durant and LeBron James joined Shaq in the list of VIP customers. Thanks to the introductions of the NBRPA and specifically with the late Mark Eaton (retired center from Utah Jazz), I also met Rudy Gobert, who was so impressed with the DirtySixer test bike that he ordered sixteen of them to give to his Jazz teammates!
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The DirtySixer bikes are now manufactured in Taiwan where all the small batches of high quality bikes are made. The latest version of the All Road Mark II is now available and shipping worldwide.
How will DirtySixer evolve?
The interest of the DirtySixer 2021 range will mainly be in all-terrain bikes (AllRoad) around $5000. There is also an electric model with an integrated battery for 2024 at around $9000! There might also be a very high-end model made entirely of titanium and carbon wheels for around $10000.In the future a new range of full suspension mountain bikes will be introduced. New models will be launched with pre-orders sales prices to help start the production.
Previously only reserved for the very tall (3XL, 4XL, 5XL), the frame sizes of the new models will also be offered in XL and 2XL sizes. While the wheels will still be 36 inches, this new range will be suitable for people from 5’10” and up. As a reminder, the largest frame size, the 5XL, is suitable for people up to 7’4″ like former Utah Jazz center, late Mark Eaton.
DirtySixer has many projects, including associative and charitable ones. But the primary goal of the company is to allow all the giants of the world to ride on bikes adapted to their size with better comfort and safety, especially to avoid silly curb accidents…
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