American Bicycle Group (ABG) began with two purchased brands: Litespeed and Quintana Roo. OCOEE is the newest brand, the home-grown brand, specializing in gravel and offroad carbon-framed bikes. That company’s owner, Peter Hurley, elected to the drop the brand name OCOEE after being made aware by a family member of a historic event associated with that place name. That event is known as the Ocoee Massacre.
First, if you own one of these bikes: ABG paints its own frames and makes its own decals. Accordingly, those who own OCOEE bikes now and who wish to have their bikes undergo the process of a professional rebranding may do so. This would involve a choice made by the consumer of the color of decal, along with the decal set matched to the paint scheme, and instructions on how to properly apply your new decal set.
What prompted the decision to change the name? I haven’t seen a public association of that dark historic event with the OCOEE brand. What moved Hurley to change the name was his self-education of the massacre, once he became aware of it. I asked Hurley earlier today how he intends to go about choosing a new name, and he hasn’t gotten that far. Now, if I might digress...
The frame in the image you see is mine, and I am partway through the build as I write this. I’ll almost certainly re-decal my frame, but to what I'm not yet sure. I’d like to take the counsel of people who have a primary investment in this (my Black friends) about this. It's just a bike. Still, I'm approaching this as an opportunity to do more than just re-decal a bike.
For those who don’t know one of ABG’s brands, Quintana Roo, was my brand originally; I founded and built that brand for its first dozen years, the baton taken by Hurley not long after my departure (to found the publication you’re reading). He and I share a history with the QR brand, and we share a common age: we’re both 63. When we spoke today we talked about growing up during the Civil Rights Movement, and how we both went back and studied that era as adults because neither of us were fully formed during the 1960s; there was a lot we both didn’t understand, even as our trajectories were bent by that era. (In fact, I wrote here about the Civil Rights era last week.)
We here at Slowtwitch have been criticized in some circles for not having written more directly, and more often, about today’s civil unrest. It has been my policy to resist bringing politics onto our front page, or onto our Triathlon Forum, when they are not germane to our sport. That said, the Ocoee Massacre is particularly topical in my opinion. If you choose to read about it, what triggered it, and why it's topical that this presidential election upcoming will mark the 100th Anniversary of this massacre, I think you’ll find it instructive (with striking parallels).
If you’re an OCOEE owner like I am; or you may want to own a bike that today carries that headbadge; or if you’re just an interested observer of the process; I will report on how ABG intends to choose the new name. I’ll report on that here as well as on the mechanics of rebadging your own OCOEE if you own one.