If you sit down and talk with Stephen Fitzgerald about how and why he created Rodeo Labs, his nonchalant delivery leads one to believe it was kind of a goof. Make no mistake that Fitzgerald completely intended for both the Flaanimal the Trail Donkey to exist, but more for himself and friends to enjoy in the mountains of Colorado. The fact that they are available for sale to the masses and that both bikes are into their third and fourth iteration respectfully, Fitzgerald himself will likely be the first to admit it’s nothing short of astonishing.
So what does one do when they inadvertently created a bicycle brand that has caught the eye of the bicycling world at large? Well, for Fitzgerald you just keep doing what you have always done, make interesting bikes for the purpose of exploring the backroads and trails often left unridden.
With the Trail Donkey version 3.o, Rodeo Labs has refined its carbon adventure machine to handle almost anything you can throw at it. For this year’s Philly Bike Expo they decked one out to let your imagination take you to where you would want to pilot this all-terrain beauty.
There are quite a few interesting features on this TD3.0, for starters the custom bags from Exile Designs are decorated with the topography of Silverton, CO. a favorite riding destination of the Rodeo Labs crew. The D1x trail electronic shifting from Archer attached to a 12-speed Shimano derailleur was certainly worthy of a conversation all on its own. Last but not least the discontinued Fox Factory SC Fork with Kashima upgrade instead of the Rodeo Labs Spork up front had trail riders stopping to take another glance.
The Trail Donkey from Rodeo Labs is hard to nail down, part gravel, part cross-country, all adventure it would seem that this bike is only limited by the riders’ creativity.