The Interviews: Cade Mangelson, Twigs Woodwear
Starting with a Kickstarter campaign, Twigs Woodwear, the family run, motorcycle inspired range of watches and sunglasses has quickly gained traction within the moto scene. Hailed from the current home of moto Utah USA, continually rubbing shoulders with the likes of crowd favourite Biltwell and featured on the wrists of prominent photographers Aaron Brimhall & Kaycee Landsaw, the brand has gone from strength to strength.
The face of the brand (see what we did there?) is Cade Mangelson, a family oriented, good soul who happens to ride one of the sickest Sportsters around. We sat down with him to chat about life, bikes, brands and family. Check it out below…
Cade, good to chat with you man, how are things?
Yeah you too! Good to finally catch up. Things are great, can’t complain. It’s like that feeling when you’re hikin’, you’re tired but fulfilled because of the what’s surrounding you. That’s the best way I can describe it.
I feel ya there. Tell us about you.
I grew up in the vast lands of Sandy, Utah. Among my many travels I came to find myself long from home in a town called Draper. I could never leave these mountains. My wife and I met when we were 12, grew up in different cities, found our way back to each other, and have been married for a year now. I grew up with the spirit of an entrepreneur, and do a little bit of everything. I like to get really good at things push myself. I’ve played guitar for 15 years and currently own 6 stringed instruments. Fitness/nutrition is a big part of my life. Yes I have a large beard, no it doesn’t bother me, and no I don’t plan on shaving it soon. Would you plant a beautiful garden and then take a lawn mower to it?
I enjoy studying human behaviour, photography/filmography (just like every other kid with a camera and Instagram nowadays), intriguing movies, technology, outdoors/camping, Fairview, Utah, and the most recent addition is the study of space/time. I’m a complicated thinker who takes pleasure in the simple things.
Let’s talk moto’s, when did you first kick your leg over an engine?
Dang, good question…takes me back to when I was just a kid putterin’ around the yard. My dad was always into motos so I always saw them around. He grew up climbing Widowmaker (look that up) and riding Olympus hills on a Bultaco Persang. I think I really caught the bug around 14 years old. In this picture he is 17 and he’d been riding for a while so I think our motorcycle timeline is pretty closely aligned. The last couple years have been more significant where I’ve had the means without limitations.
What was the first bike you ever owned?
1977 Kawasaki KE 175, a vintage classic and I still have it. About 10 years ago we were at our family cabin and found it wasting away in my grandfather’s shed. We got it runnin’, cleaned it up, and it became my first build. We kept it pretty close to stock to keep the classic feel. Kicks over every time without trouble now. Baby Blue, we call her.
And what are you riding now?
An ’08 1200 Sporty, actually the Roadster model. Harleys man, what else can I say? I try to keep it unique. It’s fast, mean, and provides that unparalleled sense of freedom that most people yearn for. If too much is going on in my head, or just need a second to breathe, a quick canyon run usually clears it up. Anyone with a bike usually can relate.
As far as my family is concerned, my wife picked up an 883 recently, and my dad finally took the plunge and got his first Harley about a month ago. Our “go to” ride is to a park near a mountain here where hang gliders launch right off of the side, it’s awesome to watch. All in all we have the 3 Harley’s, a Honda XR 650L, my old Kawasaki 175, a Husqvarna 250 (yeah, another classic), and another Honda XR 650L owned by my brother-in-law. It’s a good line up for us.
That looks sick, talk us through the modifications.
It all kind of came together in the last 6 months. Looking at it you’d think it is an old junker, a sort of rat bike, when really it’s fairly new. First credit goes to Biltwell. They have supported us (our team) from the beginning without question. Independents supporting independents.
The bars are what cause most people to scratch their heads, but most throttle junkies get it. I wanted a very narrow / straight-arm feel without looking too small. I designed them and went through a few renditions. Seth from Salt City Builds captured my vision and fabricated the end result perfectly. Paired with forward controls it puts you in a very unique riding position. Carving through mountains is a dream on this thing.
Rev rewired the whole bike and cut out all the unnecessary crap, a hell of a job. Some of that is for pure aesthetics, and some complete functionality. I did the complete breather system on it myself (more than just the typical cleaner).
Tyler made my 2-1 stainless exhaust per my request. Sounds like being deep in the throat of a roaring lion.
As for the seat, Biltwell sent me the pan / foam, Parker from Stock & Barrel did the leather, and I wrapped it. The peanut tank and chopped fender I keep raw to go with the bars, air cleaner, and exhaust.
My favorite part is my Daytona Twin-Tec auto tuner. It keeps all the EFI in check and up to its highest performance no matter what mod you throw on. Being able to plug a bike into a computer and adjust things is bizarre to me, but awesome. Rick is the king of American v-twins, and had a huge role it helping me tune it. A few other misc Biltwell parts and my Slammer Shocks from Burly Brand, can’t forget those.
Whew, did I miss anything?
Sounds like you know your way around an engine. Why not do it all yourself?
I read an article a while back about this stupid #builtnotbought fad that seems to be going around. What happens to the custom builders if everyone is so focused on doing everything yourself? There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, I’ve learned that heavily owning a business. I prefer the #builtwithfriends approach.
Well we love what you’ve done with it, the slightly ratted look looks awesome against the flat black. We all know bikes are never really ‘finished’ but how far off are you with this one?
Much appreciated. I’m finally happy with where it is for now. It’s a fun thing to ride and makes anyone who looks at it question if they could handle it. I did a lot of work on it, so there’s that sense of pride. I also know that I couldn’t have done it without all the talented friends I’ve been fortunate to have. I imagine down the road I’ll want to change it all again, of course.
Lets bridge the gap that people are wondering about. How has your life on two wheels influenced your work with Twigs Woodwear?
A lot of our success is due to our moto family. You’ll find them all over our Instagram (@twigswoodwear). It’s a community of people who want to see other people succeed, and will do whatever they can to make that happen. We’ve met so many people throughout the Twigs journey because of our love of motorcycles. Companies, builders, photographers, etc., have shared their talents and wisdom to help up grow. We hope that we have helped others along our way.
The range is so varied now, with such a vast choice of materials and textures. Does your amazing backdrop in UT influence your material choices?
How could it not? It’s like a dream here. We’re minutes away from multiple canyon escapes, isolated adventures, and some of the best sunsets you’ll ever get. Although we do try to regularly think outside of that. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from an LA-esque scene and try to cater to a niche market that appreciate rugged style. We continually remind ourselves that not everyone knows what it’s like to be in Utah, even if we think everyone should. As we grow, the products change and we experiment with different wood, metals, etc. It’s a really fun process for our small day-to-day team of 4 (me, Taelor (wife), Amy (sister) and Brandon (brother-in-law)) Did I mention it’s a family thing?
We mean it when we talk about his surroundings, just check out his video below if you don’t believe us…
That’s awesome that you keep it in the family. Every man needs a quality timepiece, how did the idea for the watches originally start?
The idea was to create/produce a high-fashion wood watch. Not a watch that is marketed as a hiking or camping watch. On that note, wood has that nostalgic feel for outdoor lovers, and our followers appreciate the unique feel. We use a Swiss Movement to keep them ticking, which has been a perfect companion to our watches. Others, let’s just say, don’t use as quality of mechanics. We started with a Kickstarter over a year ago and have been growing ever since.
Besides encouraging people to ‘show off their wood’, Twigs seems to have a very positive outlook and strong beliefs. Care to tell us a little about your brand ethos and values?
Haha there are too many “wood” jokes. We had the thought of creating a newspaper type blog with daily info and calling it: “Morning Wood.”
It’s cool that you say that because that means people are noticing the underlying values. Yeah we have really strong core beliefs that run Twigs: most importantly that there’s a lot more out there than our all too instantly gratifying world. We love technology but we put the hammer down on allowing social media statuses to govern us. It’s a cyber world, and we have to remember the simplistic past and not get too wrapped up in our immediately gratifying present or future. We wouldn’t be where we are without social media, Instagram specifically. Hell, we wouldn’t be doing this interview. But we recognize it as a springboard to better things, not the “end all be all.” We often take trips off the grid to our family cabin to get away from all of it, which everyone needs to do. We focus on people, positivity, progression, and passion. Those 4 things have always steered us right.
Mate, it’s be great catching up and checking out more of your stuff. It all seems to be working out well for you and it’s great to see a solid person following their passion and succeeding with it. Looking forward to seeing what comes next and more people showing off their wood (easy now!) all over the world.
Good sitting down with you man. Congrats on everything going on with ninetynineco and thanks again for the shirts!