When someone develops something new it almost always comes on the back of another innovation. Once something has been around a while we tend to take the original version for granted and begin to modify. Pneumatic tires over rubber, gears over fixed ratio, brakes that worked over ones that didn’t. You get the idea.
As a bicycle frame builder my journey has been just a little bit different. Prior to my first “professional” job in the bike business welding Mongoose BMX frames, I worked on bike related projects in my folks garage during the long summer days and endless nights. I started by cutting apart old, used frames and reconfiguring them for my prototype suspension or gear changing systems or whatever was on my mind. Making parts from metal takes time, tools and patience which are in short supply when the smell of sun tan lotion and FM radio waves reformed my priorities and reinforced the notion that you can want more than one thing at a time.
I soon became frustrated with the compromises, limitations, and restriction one places on him (or herself) when relying on components manufactured elsewhere or by other people with different priorities. There are many who prefer to adjust their priorities to fit what others have done before them and others who feel comfortable finding a happy medium and not “over thinking” the task at hand and just doing what was done before, finding the only unique item they have produced is the position of their logo when compared with last week. It’s good being able to nail the same target week after week but it’s really not my goal. One also has to realize that not everyone wants to chop trees on the side of an existing path when we don’t need more room on the sides.
It’s all and none of these reasons that I choose to make bikes in my own style. I don’t always want to make things harder on myself but honestly, it’s hard for me to find a part of your frame that doesn’t deserve my full attention and almost always something better than what can be found elsewhere. Besides, there are so many wonderful things that take priority over something as simple as a vehicle, like finding the source of that wonderful scent and the feeling you get when you find it.
There are times when, for one reason or another, you want something completely unique or there simply is no room for compromise or variation from the plan and it’s those times that it is often all or nothing.
The photo I posted on Instagram is a small story or a series of clues that reads left to right. I started with a bar of standard size, turned it to the correct inside and outside diameter, polished the surfaces, annealed (that is a temp sensing crayon) that will be followed with mitering to fit another tube and then welding. 100% of this frame will be made from scratch. Stay tuned.
Have a happy 2015! FTW and son