California Cruisin': Marrs Cycles Have Electric Attitude
October 23, 2013
Founder Kacy Marrs and business partner Brad Fanshaw own and operate Southern California-based Marrs Cycles
. The locale inspires their vision, culture and American-made craftsmanship. In an era where many companies manufacture products overseas, Marrs Cycles takes pride in handcrafting the frames, front ends and handlebars a few short miles from the infamous Pacific Coast beaches.
Marrs’ influences come from a long history of riding bikes from BMX and motocross to Harleys. While recovering from an injury sustained doing a halftime freestyle motocross show for the NHRA, he began to hone his fabrication skills and also enrolled in a welding course at a local community college. His innovative spirit and drive to be original led him to create Marrs Cycles. While others build hot rods and custom motorcycles, Marrs saw an opportunity to incorporate the same styling and lifestyle into electric bicycles. He soon found that integrating motorcycle components (like the ones he used while growing up) into his bikes further gave them the look and feel of perfection — the ultimate cruising experience.
Co-owner Brad Fanshaw, who also owns and operates Bonneville Worldwide Inc. with famed Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, took notice of Marrs’ work and quickly joined him as a business partner.
“When I found the bike the first time and Kacy and I became friends, it was one of those things where California culture converged with the whole green movement,” says Fanshaw. “This is the hot rod of electric bikes. I mean, that’s really what it is. California culture and hot rod ingenuity rolled up into the new green movement.”
The electric bicycle, featuring motorcycle-quality components, can go up to 25 mph on flat ground with an average 175-pound rider and starts at only $7,500. Every component of the bicycle is hand-built with the highest quality tools, components and materials.
- Frame, front-end and handlebars constructed from 4130 chromoly tubing
- Lithium battery (48v/20ah base system)
- Brushless, three-phase DC rear-hub motor
- Motorcycle-quality components (e.g., wheels, tires, hubs, controls, seat and grips)
- Hydraulic disc brake
- 3-piece crank set
- Weight: 140 pounds
- 36 inches tall from ground to handlebars
The shop exclusively relies on Miller welding equipment for the fabrication of the electric bicycles, using a Diversion™ 180 TIG welder for the majority of welding and fabrication needs. Other products used include a Millermatic® 212 Auto-Set™ MIG welder, Spectrum® 375 X-TREME™ with XT 30 torch plasma cutter, 60 SX ArcStation™ workbench with accessories and a variety of Arc Armor® welding protection. The plasma cutter has recently become a go-to product for cutting prototype filler panels. While the panels are laser cut on production bicycles, Marrs counts on the plasma cutter to quickly and efficiently test prototype options internally at the shop. The ArcStation workbench with X-pattern tabletop and X-clamps has also improved Marrs’ ability to measure and secure hard-to-position, hard-to-weld objects like the bicycle handlebars.
Watch the Miller equipment in action in these how to videos:
TIG welding prototype frame using Diversion 180
Plasma Cutting: Setup and cutting prototype filler plates
Prototyping Z-Style Prototype Handlebars for Marrs Cycle
“It’s all about the products you use, both in building (the bicycles) and on the product itself,” says Marrs. “And that’s really what we’re about and why we are proud to be doing what we’re doing. Very few people do that.”
“You know we might bleed red, but we weld blue. It’s one of those things — we’re really excited to be associated with Miller,” says Fanshaw. “And wouldn’t you say that the better the shop, the better the equipment, the better the final product?”
At the base level, the bicycle comes with a 48 volt, 28 amp lithium ion battery pack (featuring 1,500 recycles); meaning that on flat ground, and averaging 20 to 25 mph, the rider will get about 20 miles on a charge.
“If we put it in California-speak, you can leave Huntington Beach and cruise this bike down the water, all the way to Laguna, turn around after you had lunch, come back, and the only time you’re going to stop at a gas station on your way back to Huntington Beach is to talk to the girls that are pumping gas in their convertibles, because you passed them on the road,” says Fanshaw.
Their goal is to someday be able to ride from Anaheim — where the shop is headquartered — down to San Diego on a charge, which is about 70 miles. In addition to extending travel time with advanced battery options, the shop is also working on innovative prototypes — making them leaner and lighter — and really setting the trends for what’s to come.
While Marrs admits the bicycle was originally intended for enjoyment, more and more are taking notice and looking into a Marrs bicycle as a sole source of transportation. The shop is currently building a bike that’s going to London and others for customers in Germany and Asia.
“We see the world is moving forward — I mean, there are limited resources — but guys still want to have a cool mode of transportation, so we’ve looked at what the laws are and what’s going on with gas-powered bikes,” says Fanshaw. “A Marrs Cycle is user-friendly and it’s where America is going. It’s where the world is going … and you know what? We want Marrs to be ahead of that curve.”