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My first stop of the show was with Ukrainian Tim Crossman. “I don’t like to do what others do. It’s boring,” he said during our talk. This attitude was completely evident by his choice of show bike, a carbon mini velo – a strange submission when compared with the other bikes in new builder row. “It’s a city bike that looks not serious.” That’s what’s great about Tim: everything about him is interesting, from the way that he came to frame building in the first place to his current approach. Tim Crossman is a mad scientist, and I couldn’t be more excited to see where he goes. Read the story behind the man with the carbon robots after the jump…

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Tim Crossman began his fabrication journey at 18 years old when he started a workshop making medieval weaponry and swords. He loved working with the materials, but soon found himself bored with the medium. He knew he wanted to play with composites… there just wasn’t any room for that in recreating medieval times. After working a few years in an office, he found himself unsuited for typical desk-job employment. A year and a half ago, fatigued by strife and ongoing war in Ukraine, Tim asked himself what job he would like to do for the rest of his life, if he were to “die any day.”  It was at this point that he got into composites and learned how to work with CNC production.

Photo by Tim Crossman

Photo by Tim Crossman

The answer was being a frame builder. Tim could not go the route of purchasing material or tubes because, frankly, the bicycle building infrastructure in the Ukraine isn’t as robust as it is in places in the west like the US. So Tim spent a year designing and building a CNC filament winder so he could make the types of tubes he wanted to use for his bikes. Six months ago, he built his first bike – a carbon single speed cross bike.

Photo by Alkatrion.com

Antonov Enei, Photo by Alkatrion.com

Fortuitously, it caught the eye of Ukrainian cycling design legend, Sergyi Nitka, who designed some epic composite monocoque track and road bikes in the 90’s, and was most famous for the Antonov Enei (a design that would ultimately be banned by the UCI). Nitka, excited by Tim’s work, would become his mentor in composite building.

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In gearing up for NAHBS, Tim decided that he wasn’t satisfied with the quality of his tubing and that his current machine was limiting him (remember he is winding his own tubes!) His newest software was too complex for his initial machine, and he could not get the caliber of wind he was looking for. Being completely reasonable, Tim decided to build a new and more powerful CNC filament winder this past January. “I am crazy professor, and [the] machine is my slave,” Tim shared with me, clearly proud of his new creation.

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With just three weeks to spare before show time, Tim constructed the 20 inch mini velo he brought to the show. Though it is designed for his wife, it features a long enough seat post so that he could ride it also. And, of course, this choice of bike wasn’t without challenge. In order to accomplish it, Tim also had to design and construct a mold for a 20in wheel fork in addition to constructing a new frame fixture (his previous one would not work with the unique design).

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The bike is pretty interesting in and of itself. It features an elevated chain stay to allow for tire and crank clearance while allowing for round stays.

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“Three weeks before the show you decide to make this bike… how does your wife feel about you right now?”

“My wife… loves me very much.”

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Tim is very excited about where he can go technically and is looking forward to working further with his mentor to help elevate bicycle design and building infrastructure again in Ukraine.

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TimCrossman.com

12 comments

  1. anonymous on

    Now I can own a custom bike from a individual frame builder using slave labor. No more need to buy from a big brand.

    Reply
  2. Devin Zoller on

    Cool, fresh take on stuff. Takes huge dedication to decide you want to build custom bikes in a country with as many problems as Ukraine has right now.

    That type of seatpost has a very very bad habit of splitting if you don’t reinforce the top with a Ti tube bonded in before drilling the hole for the cross-dowel.

    Reply
    • Alexey on

      I’ve been using this kind of seatpost for 5+ years now with no problems and no any indication of splitting. And it’s not reinforced.

      Reply
    • Tim Crossman on

      Devin, thanks for understanding, it’s really not easy to be builder here. But it’s real and I like it.

      Most manufacturers use this type of seatpost in lightweight versions. But this one has 4.6mm wall thickness in the top area. Tested with big 25lb saddlebag and 187lb me 🙂 Ti tube bonding is also good solution. Particular design depends on task and future loads.

      Reply
      • Devin Zoller on

        Tim, I’m looking forward to your future projects, it’s always cool to see different takes on similar ideas.

        I should have clarified about that type of seatpost head- it CAN be done with carbon alone, but like Tim said, it takes a thicker wall and plies oriented at 90 degrees so it has strands perpendicular to the force. Taking some random carbon tube and doing that is a disaster waiting to happen if the majority of fibers are oriented at 0 degrees.

        Reply

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