Deep in the heart of the southern Utah desert, the world’s most outrageously talented mountain bikers will gather for this year’s Red Bull Rampage. Never seen the event before? It’s just as crazy as it sounds -- forty-foot drops onto bone-crushingly solid rocks, insanely large custom-built features designed to launch grown men to unimaginable heights and some of the world’s most crazed mountain bike riders willing to push the limits of gravity, speed and human capability.
Red Bull Rampage was first seen in 2001. It’s been a highly anticipated big mountain event ever since and Oakley is proud to be an integral part once again. Falling in line with Oakley founder Jim Jannard’s famous statement, “Everything can and will be made better,” the Oakley design team has prepared a one of a kind, new-and-improved Oakley Icon Sender to make this year’s Red Bull Rampage that much more interesting. Also keeping with Oakley tradition, the design plans were created in-house, by the same talented designers who invent the world-renowned technologies that make Oakley glasses far and beyond the most innovative product on the market.
The team of 6-10 designers were responsible for creating the Oakley Icon Sender, from initial design drawings to the actual materials build and finally the aesthetics, including an immense wooden skull and antique lantern features. When asked what makes designing this feature different than designing eyewear, Vice President of Oakley Design Peter Yee talked about how unique the Icon Sender is to build compared to Oakley eyewear.
“It is a little different in that there aren't the same technical requirements for optical superiority and frame innovation and integrity,” Yee said. “However, there is the same depth of creative thought and expertise that goes into any project my team tackles. These projects are fun and rewarding in their own right and offer a nice change for the team to express their creative expertise in non-eyewear related projects and helps as another creative outlet.”
At the 2010 Red Bull Rampage, riders were sent off a remarkable Oakley Icon Sender featuring a large wooden ramp overlooking a gutsy 40-foot drop. The structure was highlighted by a massive tower, watched over by “Josh,” an intimidating wooden skull structure created by Oakley eyewear designers. Nothing was more memorable from the 2010 event than Oakley rider Cameron Zink throwing a breathtaking 360 off of the Icon Sender, ultimately leading him to victory.
2012 is a whole new ball game, as the new Sender packs a punch that will have the riders’ heads spinning. Josh and the Oakley Icon Sender are back and better than ever for this year’s Red Bull Rampage. The updated feature will include three sender options combined into one structure to create variety and leave it to the riders to decide how to attack the Sender. The tower will have an upper and lower deck as well as a side sender that can be used by those looking for a nice smooth drop without all the flair of the two tower ramps.
Based on the event’s natural surroundings, the Oakley Icon Sender is designed to mimic an old mining car station that you might find at the entryway of a mine. It features a corrugated tin roof, train trestle bracing on the ramps and old rusty lanterns. Josh has been given a facelift this year, with the addition of two 3.5-foot horns on each side of his head, wrapped in a variety of Kenda mountain bike tires generously donated by Oakley mountain bike legend Brian Lopes. Further improving the look of this year’s feature, Josh has also undergone some dental surgery.
Finally, the Oakley Icon Sender will feature two antique mine lanterns, containing state-of-the-art JBL speakers, which will be used to pump out music aimed at keeping the riders and the fans entertained. This year’s Oakley Icon Sender is bound to be a stand-out feature in what is slated to be yet another epic Red Bull Rampage.
When presented with a challenge, the Oakley family responds. A design philosophy to push the boundaries of what are “normal” expectations led to the impressive feature to be seen in southern Utah this summer. There is no doubt that when the riders reach the finish line, amidst the blur that was their adrenaline-pumping run, an imprint will have been made and the Oakley Icon Sender will live firm in their memory as a feature they could never forget.
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