Our next victi— uh, I mean subject in our RACE TO NAHBS! series is Drew Guldalian, the man behind Philadelphia-based Engin Cycles. Interestingly enough, Drew, like Todd from Black Cat Bicycles, fears Curtis Inglis of Retrotec Cycles more than any other person in the handmade bicycle world . Not as a frame builder mind you; but in a physical confrontation.
More on that and Drew’s awesome answers to the rest of our questions (and photos of Engin’s wiki-leaked semi-secret single speed dropout) after the break.
BR: Are your plans for NAHBS a secret, or can you tell us a little bit about what you’re showing?
DG: I have a few new details and components on the bikes which I am keeping under wraps till show time. I can tell you what I am bringing though. I’ll have six bikes, all of which are customers except one–a tandem I made for my wife and me. I will have a good reflection of what I build with a stainless bike, a fillet brazed bike, and a tig welded bike; it’ll be a mix of mtb’s and road/cross bikes.
BR: What about the booth, anything extra-special-crazy in the booth department?
DG: I have a new booth from last year. Last year was my first 20ft booth and I went a bit overboard with my backdrop. It required a 30ft box truck which was barely full but still needed for its overall size. We are driving the stuff out this year again but it will fit in a 2 ton van which is great. My new backdrop will be a stopper for anyone that likes tools.
BR: What do you see as the hot trend at NAHBS this year?
DG: Being there. I think this year will be very big. This will be my 5th show and I think it will also be the biggest. Hot and Trend don’t work for me. I try most of the new things but only to determine if they have merit. I will have a MTB this year that has a bunch of the new standards.
BR: What is the lamest frame building trend ever?
BR: What is the most challenging or horrible thing you’ve had to do as a frame builder.
DG: BB30. It has insane tolerances and the PressFit 30 is a much smarter way of doing a 30mm spindle crankset.
BR: What is your favorite type of bike to build?
DG: The current one I am building. Kidding, I just like knowing whatever bike I am building will get ridden hard.
BR: As a frame builder is there anything you absolutely will not to? Like a not-without-a-gun-to-my-head type thing?
DG: Build something that someone else designed. I am not for hire as a fabricator.
BR: Sum up your entire bicycle building philosophy in one word or less. Kidding. How about three words?
DG: Please Ride HARD
BR: If you weren’t building bikes, what would you be doing?
DG: Something else in the bicycle business. It is in my blood.
BR: Who is your bike-building idol? Who do you look up to?
DG: I don’t want to call anyone my idol as it is not my style but I have tons of respect for certain people. The behind the scenes people are the real heroes. Mark Norstad of Paragon Machine Works is the man behind so many bikes at NAHBS and I wish more people gave him the respect that he deserves. Mark is an incredibly talented person and his products show it.
BR: This one is important. Of the people showing at NAHBS, who is the last frame builder you would ever want to fight? Like physically.
DG: Curtis Inglis because he is huge and acts like a teddy bear but is really a killing machine trained by our US military!
More great photos over on Engin’s Flickr Site.