Considering the fact that there’s been mentions online and a news blurb about it in the current issue of Ride, it’s not all that much of a rumor about a new company by the name of Cardinal Bikes. What there does seem to be a serious lack of, are details about it. To remedy this and squash any misinformation, I hit up Cardinal’s brand manager, Nate Moroshan about the new venture…

Boy and Nate… Photo: Subias

What is Cardinal?
It’s a bike company in the early stages and a way to ad something positive to the BMX community.

What was the motivation behind starting your own brand?
Well, I had the idea for Cardinal floating around since 2004. I always thought about starting something, it was just a matter of timing and knowing exactly what I wanted to do with it.

What sort affiliation does Cardinal have with Primo?
The only affiliation is that Tipplus is doing the distribution, so both Primo and Cardinal are coming out of the same building. Ironically, the whole Cardinal team is on Primo. That really wasn’t on purpose, but you spend enough time with certain people and you know who is capable of doing what.

Boy on a built up Cardinal Ambassador frame… Photo: Subias

Who's on the Cardinal team?
John Heaton, Anthony Flores, Manuel Cantero and myself.

Obviously it's easy to note that everyone on Cardinal was at one time on Volume. Is that a matter of coincidence or is there something more to it?
It was more than just a matter of coincidence. Heaton was off Volume for almost a year and everybody else was just up for a change. Boy quit at Interbike, I quit in December and Eman quit a short time after that. The pieces fell into place more or less.

How long has it been from the first idea of starting Cardinal to getting the actual frame?
I’ve had the idea for the Cardinal frame in my head for the past five years. When the ball actually started rolling, it was just a matter of drawing it up. After that, it only took a few months for us to get the four sample frames that the team is riding on.

Diggin’ into the archives…Eman rail hop to drop. Photo: Zielinski

You've been the brand manager at Primo for a couple of years now, what's been the major difference with jumping into making frames versus components?
Designing parts for Primo has been a collaboration between myself, the riders and the engineers. A bike part isn’t necessarily going to affect the way your bike feels when you’re riding, but a frame will make or break the way the bike feels. With this idea that I had for the Cardinal frame, I just wanted to make something that me and the rest of the guys would be excited to ride.

What's been the biggest hurdle to overcome?
The biggest hurdle so far has been making sure that the frame is in good standing before we put them on the market. We have been riding these four frames since the beginning of the year and there haven’t been any problems yet, so I think they’re good to go.

More archives…Heaton, bars in Long Beach. Photo: Zielinski

The most notable feature about the Cardinal frame is the dropout. It's not a new idea to bikes, but it is to freestyle BMX what are the positive aspects of it?
It’s an idea that I’ve had for a while. I always ran my wheel slammed into the dropout and had a difficult time taking my wheel off with the chain being so tight. I thought about this and the semi-vertical dropout just made sense to me. All you’d have to do was lift your wheel out of the bottom of the dropout while the chain was still on the wheel and you’d never have to shift the wheel back and forth to tighten or loosen the chain because your axle is always going to be slammed. You can even tighten the chain and center the wheel at the same time by sitting on your seat. You can run any gear ratio. I tried all of them. I run a 22-8, Boy and Eman run a 23-8 and Heaton runs a 28-10. 25-9 and 30-11 work too. A regular chain works with this frame, but a half link chain is going to give you more adjustment. This is what we’ve been using and strongly recommend it.

The semi-vertical dropouts on the Ambassador frame.

Are there any downsides? How has testing gone with the dropouts and the frame overall?
I put a lot of thought into the frame before having samples made. All of the Cardinal guys (me, Boy, Eman and Heaton) have tested the samples and are psyched on the dropout. However, I can see this frame not being for everyone. Since the chain stay length on this frame is 13.5, there’s a possibility of getting a little hung up on the vertical dropout slot when going pegless. But none of us have had any problems with this and overall, the frame has been doing really well.

What other products are in the works?
We’re going to start it off pretty slow. We want to make stuff that the team wants to ride. We’ll be doing a bar for Boy, We’ll also have some small parts and accessories, like grips and a seat, coming out soon.

Anything I've forgotten? You want to say any pre-emptive words to that muthafucka anonymous?
“If you aren’t going to say something directly to someone’s face, than don’t use online as an opportunity to say it. It is this sense of bravery that people get when they are anonymous that gives the blogosphere a bad reputation.” -Mena Trott

Archived Nate photo. Tight feeble. Photo: Zielinski