Brad Hodges grew up steeped in early mountain biking culture in the hills around Cupertino, California. After committing himself to a life of building bicycles for a living at an early age, Brad began his career heavily influenced by BMX bikes and still finds himself coming back to trick bikes.
These days, Brad has been flexing a broader repertoire. We can expect to see a full range of road, mountain, cyclocross, and touring machines at this year’s show. While he builds mostly in steel, rumor has it that a certain ‘Tytanium’ bike will ‘steel’ the show in the WH Bradford booth this year at NAHBS…
BIKERUMOR: What is your origin story? How did your company get its start?
BRAD: I grew up as a kid in Cupertino (yeah, that town your iPhone is designed in) riding my bike in the back trails of parks and up in the hills above our town. There was always a strong cycling scene in town so I just naturally thought that was normal. This was during the heyday of the late 80’s hardtail mountain bike craze. Our local shops had some amazing bikes from builders like Fat Chance, Klein, Mountain Goat, and others.
Yea, I was a mountain bike grom kid who dreamed of building frames like Keith Bontrager , Tom Ritchey and the rest of the builders I saw in magazines .
The turning point was when my grandmother took me to the “Mountain Bikes as Art” exhibit at the Braunstein-Quay gallery in San Francisco in ’88 . That show blew my mind and from that day on the only thing I wanted to do was design and build the best bikes possible.
For the past ten years, I’ve been building and designing bikes for my other brand, Nemesis Project, which primary sells more youth-oriented bikes designed and intended for Trick riding . That was always my strong point, taking existing forms of the cycling market and adapting them for trick riding.
I’ve always felt that I could do more than just building “trick bikes” so over the past few years, while building bikes for friends, I perfected my craft and designed a new line of bikes. The bikes I’m bringing to NAHBS this year reflect my past years from steel production bike design and fabrication experience, while offering my take on the current accepted forms of the steel frame market in Road, Mountain, Cyclocross, Track and Adventure touring.
BIKERUMOR: Why did you decide to make a living out of it?
BRAD: It was always a life goal to be a fully employed bicycle designer and frame builder and I made that dream a reality for better or for worse. I’m not sure if I’d call this “making a living,” but I pay the bills and the lights are still on at the shop.
BIKERUMOR: How has your style changed from your first year? Are you still building what you initially set out to build?
BRAD: Yes and no.
I first started out making BMX-influenced mountain bikes intended for trick riding. Currently I’m building more road and off-road road bikes with a few mountain bikes mixed in . The one bike we have been working on that sadly won’t be making it to the show this year is our Enduro bike.
Available machine time at the shop that’s doing the 3D/5-axis machine work got loaded up with some last minute jobs and our parts got pushed back . That was the bike I initially set out to build over ten years ago and during the past year I’ve been quietly working on it, finally making that happen.
BIKERUMOR: What gets you really stoked about what you do today?
BRAD: Good question – The new resurgence in steel bikes and frame building is really refreshing to see in the industry , and NAHBS coming to my town have all gotten me really stoked over the past year. I think this will be a really epic show this year and know a lot of the builders and craftspeople will be showing some of their best works to date.
BIKERUMOR: What’s the cool thing you’re bringing to the show this year?
BRAD: Besides our custom made fortune cookies from Golden Gate Fortune cookie company?
I’m really pleased with the B+ mountain bike I built for the show , I really pushed myself in a few areas of that build that I had not attempted before on a bike like that and feel it turned out really well. I was stuck at the shop on Christmas working on that one! I’m also building a very cool one off bike for my friend Ty Hathaway (Tytanium ) that will have to be seen to be fully appreciated .
I’ll just leave it at that and hope you come by our booth to check our bikes at NAHBS in Sacramento!