We caught up with CrushCore founder Adam Krefting to learn more about how he came up with the idea, why he moved his startup from Texas and what he’s learned from his entrepreneurial ventures, or rather, adventures.
One of the most common questions that CushCore founder Adam Krefting gets from mountain bikers who hear about his invention is ‘When can I try it?’ The enthusiasm for Krefting’s patent pending product is understandable. The CushCore inner-tire suspension system promises to prevent flats, in addition to offering more stability, traction and a smoother ride.
A foam injected mold insert that sits on the inner radius of your mountain bike tire, CushCore serves numerous functions, but acts primarily as inner-tire suspension that dampens impacts and provides a smoother, more consistent ride. It also improves durability by preventing impact-related rim damage and the dreaded pinch flat.
CushCore began selling its products in March, and you can find them in many Bend bike shops, as well as online.
You noted that you’re a natural tinkerer. What was the process for inventing CushCore?
I started with a hacksaw, and I just cut foam into a trapezoid shape, glued it into a ring, and inserted it into my tire. After I realized that worked, even in a primitive form, I set about trying to find the ideal material. I wanted something that was super lightweight but could also handle repeated impacts. I probably tried fifty kinds of foam, and all sorts of different ways to shape it. At one point, I brought a giant piece of foam to a woodworking shop to see if they could mill it. It disintegrated. It was a two-year process to get where we are today. Now we use an injection molded foam.
CushCore began selling its inner tire suspension system in March. What’s the response been?
If we can get people to try it, they love it. We’ve received lots of positive reviews from pro riders across the country who have tested it. We get some concerns on our Facebook page from people who are worried about adding 250 grams of weight to their wheel. But you can often offset that with a lighter tire or wheel. More significantly, riders say our product increases ride quality and overall speed. That’s something we’ve also been able to back up with demos and tests.
You moved Kreft Moto and CushCore to Bend from Austin last year. What brought you here?
We were interested in living in a smaller community, and the strength of the startup programs here were a big draw. My wife is a physical therapist; she got a job at St. Charles and that made our decision. So far, it’s been a great fit. I’ve found excellent techs for Kreft Moto and EDCO connected me with CushCore’s first employee, who used to work in Honda’s R&D department. We also ended up winning $18,000 in grants from the Bend Venture Conference and the Venture Out Festival.
In addition to Kreft Moto and CushCore, you’ve launched a couple other businesses. What have you learned?
You have to be willing to try and fail. It’s easy to look to people for advice about what kind of business to start, whether it’s a good financial risk, etc. But at some point you have to get comfortable answering those questions yourself. If you think you have a good idea, give it a try—you’ll know in a short time whether it will work.