We visited Jeremy SyCip, the solo artist behind SyCip Designs, last summer while rolling through sunny Santa Rosa. His current operation is tiny but efficient due to decades of process and product refinement. Despite efficiency, Jeremy’s still cranking out the hits. This year, look for an improved, off-road version of his BBQ bike as well as a Chris King collaboration. More on this after the jump…
BIKERUMOR: What is your origin story? How did your company get its start?
JEREMY: I started getting into the bike industry when I decided to drop out of Art school and took an apprenticeship with Rock Lobster in Santa Cruz. I also took a frame building class at UBI around the same time and still worked for Paul at Rock Lobster on and off for about another 2-3 years. Even when I started the business, I still worked for Paul every time he needed help. SyCip Designs started in 1992 when my brother Jay graduated from Art school and realized he didn’t want to do “ART”. So we started the business together.
BIKERUMOR: Why did you decide to make a living out of building bikes?
JEREMY: I decided to make it a business when I built my first bike at UBI, and after apprenticing for Rock Lobster for a few months. I realized this is what I wanted to do. I didn’t really think of it as” making a living” at that time. I just loved it and loved building and making things from scratch that you can use and ride like a bike. Something very functional like a bicycle.
BIKERUMOR: How has your style changed from your first year? Are you still building what you initially set out to build?
JEREMY: I think my first year in business, I built around 10-12 frames. All fillet brazed and lugged frames because I didn’t have a TIG welder. I don’t think my style has changed a whole lot. I am still making steel frames but most are TIG welded now. Much faster and I know I have to build more frames than that first year to make a living now that I have a family to support.
BIKERUMOR: What got you excited about building bikes when you first started out?
JEREMY: Just that I was able to design the frame from road, MTB, commuter, CX or whatever, stick metal together and actually ride it and have so much fun doing the whole process and, of course, being able to ride what you built was a bonus.
BIKERUMOR: What gets you really stoked about what you do today?
JEREMY: Today, I still really love what I do. Being able to build a frame and see the customer enjoy the bike afterwards. It’s really cool to see what you built on the road or trail getting used for the purpose the frame was built for. And it doesn’t hurt when you hear good feedback from the customers.
BIKERUMOR: What’s the cool thing you’re bringing to the show this year?
JEREMY: BBQ/cargo bike #2 and kind of excited to be building myself a new MTB. It’s been awhile. Also working with the guys at Chris King and it’s their 40th anniversary. I am honored that they asked me to build a bike around some special color parts they are making. So I am bringing that to the show as well. I built a BBQ/ cargo bike a couple years ago and my friends and I actually use it quite a bit. We ride in the park and BBQ with a grill that I carry on the front rack. But it’s a little limited to different trails that it can go on because of wheel size and weight. So I am making somewhat of a more off-road worthy version.
BIKERUMOR: What advice would you give someone wanting to do what you do?
JEREMY: GET A JOB first!! Unless your partner or parents have money to give you. So you can buy tube sets and a welder so you can support yourself for awhile, while you learn how to make frames that you feel comfortable selling to the public and can build fast enough and get enough orders to support yourself. 🙂 It’s kind of basic.