NAHBS 2012 Cherubim silver bike

Oh Boy! It’s everyone’s favorite time of the year! It’s when we at the Bikerumor.com North American Handmade Bicycle Show Desk post our pre-show coverage.

Last year, we did a series of long and short form interviews with builders and community characters which you seemed to really enjoy. This year, we hope to elevate pre-show coverage to even greater heights through a multi-pronged approach. There will be long interviews, short interviews, quizzes, and rad prizes for you, our valued readers.

In order to make this exciting new format as successful as possible, we need your help!

REEB NAHBS 2015 REEBdonkadonk Pinion rear

Every year, the staple of the pre-show coverage is the short form interview. We send out questions for builders, they send back their answers. We post. You read and, of course, comment. Everyone learns new things. Everyone has a lot of fun.

In the two years that I’ve led this effort, I’ve frequently run into people in social or professional settings who have their own ideas about what they find interesting. Honestly, in many cases, they are angles I would have never considered without that perspective.

Inspired by these experiences, we thought it would be fun to open up the floor rather than rely on the same old questions.

What would you ask your favorite builder given the opportunity?

What questions would give you the insight you desire?

What would you like to know about framebuilding?

Black Sheep Cycles titanium 29-plus tandem mountain bike

If you are similarly inspired, leave your questions here in the comments. Who knows! Maybe yours will make it into the short form interview.

Thank you in advance for your help.

-Anna

The North American Handmade Bicycle Show will take place March 10th-12th in Salt Lake City.

For more information, please visit: 2017.HandMadeBicycleShow.com

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34 Comments
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ascarlarkinyar
ascarlarkinyar
5 years ago

Any bike with a gearbox pinion!

JBikes
JBikes
5 years ago
Reply to  ascarlarkinyar

Like just the pinion? 😉
It’s a “Pinion Gearbox” as in “Kleenex Tissue”.

Pinion is a brand name of crank based gearboxes. A pinion is typically the input shaft of a gearbox. And yeah I know I’m being picky.

Motarded450
Motarded450
5 years ago
Reply to  JBikes

Tuna Fish

jasonmiles31
5 years ago

I would like to know more about the testing process that small builders do to ensure their frames are safe to ride.

Ryan S.
Ryan S.
5 years ago
Reply to  jasonmiles31

I too would like to know this and have wondered myself.

Motarded450
Motarded450
5 years ago
Reply to  Ryan S.

this is a great question. Are these bikes tested to ISO standards or CPSC, what level of PLI do they carry? none of that if visible from these small builders websites and the risk could be massive

Drew Ellison
Drew Ellison
5 years ago

It’d be nice to know some show details … when, where, show link, etc.
Thanks.

HDManitoba
HDManitoba
5 years ago
Reply to  Drew Ellison
Maus Haus
Maus Haus
5 years ago

Ha, ha, ha, ha; testing on hand built bikes by small builders. That is funny. Great point jasonmiles31. Love the sarcasm and the truth. Actually I do know of one builder (Waterford). That is why Shinola uses Waterford since Sky Yaeger knows what’s up. There might be others and would love to hear who else does consistent CPSC or EU testing. Besides Waterford, I would guess: Co-Motion, Lynskey, Catrike. I’m talking consistent legal documents usable in a court of law. Not only safety but I’ve seen plenty or mis-aligned frames, components compatibility issues, OD/ID tolerance issues, terrible customer service, not answering calls or emails. Do your homework and find the quality builders and avoid the chaff.

Greg
Greg
5 years ago
Reply to  Maus Haus

“Custom bike, custom problems.”
I really like custom frames. It’s just that so many of them are not thoroughly thought out. Finding one that is, that’s when you know you’ve found something special.

$dmoney$
$dmoney$
5 years ago

Figured I’d through my 2 cents in here. I own a custom rig and when I needed builder support after the fact the tone was quite different than when I ordered. Sorry “super busy right now”. I’ve had bad experiences at my LBS but they all want my money. Last custom I own.

Kernel Flickitov
Kernel Flickitov
5 years ago
Reply to  $dmoney$

What do you mean by “builder support”?

$dmoney$
$dmoney$
5 years ago

What was the paint color, looking to color match some things… too busy

Looking for some parts… too busy

Need a fork too… too busy

My philosophy was always cash is king, guess not always the case. The price I paid to buy local/support local/advertise local should come with that “…feel all warm and toasty inside” support. Instead I got “…take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed”.

Adam
5 years ago
Reply to  $dmoney$

Yikes, I hope you won’t let one guy spoil it for you. A lot of us pride ourselves on customer service. In fact many (myself included) would tell you that customer service, interaction and availability are the main products we sell and bikes are just a way to provide that.

Ryan
Ryan
5 years ago

If you could name this project after someone in your life, who?

Robin
Robin
5 years ago

How have the builders seen their wait list size or time to produce and deliver a frame change over the last few years? Yeah, it’s a boring question, but it’d be interesting to compare their responses to what’s going on elsewhere in the industry.

Alternatively, you could ask if they clip, pick, or chew their toenails.

b.asti
5 years ago

1) What can you offer your customer, that he or she cannot get with a stock frame?
2) Do you feel like the motivation of your customer have changed over time? If so, how? And how do you respond to that change?
3) What kind of frame building project would you love to get asked for by a customer, but maybe haven´t yet?
4) Do you care to give all your frames a corporate character besides obvious desgn elements? (eg. a certain ride characteristic)
5) What is your most important aspect in life besides building or riding bikes?

Beat_the_trail
Beat_the_trail
5 years ago

How are they coping with the 3.2 beer in Utah?

WEK
WEK
5 years ago
Reply to  Beat_the_trail

Terribly. It’s awful here. I promise. If everyone could stop coming both for visits and to live that would be super. Thanks.

Gef
Gef
5 years ago

As Tom Ritchey pointed out in a recent video, what’s your (the builder’s) take on the art that has become more prevalent in frame building?

Ryan S.
Ryan S.
5 years ago
Reply to  Gef

I watched that in horror; his attitude about efficiency and art was a way too businessy for me.

Pete
Pete
5 years ago
Reply to  Ryan S.

Mr. Ritchey’s comment was more to underscoring the difference between worshipping a frame for its static looks vs. its actual riding performance.

Graham
Graham
5 years ago

I’d like to know about the process when a customer has an idea and a builder must put aside their opinions about how the build should be, versus what the customer wants.

Ryan S.
Ryan S.
5 years ago

The build details/specs are always covered beyond my comprehension for the most part, so my requests are based on getting into the builders’ minds and souls.

Where do they get their inspiration when the fervor fades?
What and how do they ride?
What music do they play in the shop?
What art, be it film, paint, written word, etc., moves them?
What are their other hobbies and interests?
What UNpopular opinion do you have in the cycling community?
What builder would you like to collaborate with on a build?
What builder’s work, that you do not know personally, are you a fan of?
Opinion: Titanium—leave it raw or paint?
If you had all the time you needed to build any bike you wanted—describe this special bike.
What do you currently not offer but wish you could? (e.g., a clothing line, in-house painting, tools, beer, etc.)
Last good movie/book/album/concert?
What do you put on your hot dog?

Ryan S.
Ryan S.
5 years ago

I have to add, that Black Sheep tandem is insanely beautiful. Those lines!

Pete
Pete
5 years ago

I don’t give a d*mn what they put on their dogs or what music they’re into. The #1 thing is, what do you as a builder focus on, in order to serve up the best possible riding frame for the intended use? And to measure that, how often do you get props for giving your customers the best-riding frame they’ve ever experienced?

Ryan S.
Ryan S.
5 years ago
Reply to  Pete

A custom bike is intimate, to me at least, so I like to relate to and know the builder. Knowing if somebody puts ketchup on a hot dog tells me things like that person is nuts…who puts ketchup on a hot dog?! If you take the soul and fun out of a build, you might also be the type that takes cycling too seriously and/or too competitively. Turn off Strava, have fun.

satisFACTORYrider
satisFACTORYrider
5 years ago

brent steelman’s frames. the best road custom steel. end of story.

kyle
kyle
5 years ago

I want to know:
What allowed them to start building full time?
How long did it take them to get to that point.

j
j
5 years ago

more Dario

Johnny
Johnny
5 years ago

Companies like Rodriguez & Erickson Cycles (www.rodbikes.com) have been around building custom steel frames since 1973 out of their small U-District shop in Seattle. They do Ti as well and have even built carbon frames, but that was back in the 70’s when it was still called “Graphite”. Check out some of the craziness they’ve put out there on the very informative website.
p.s. – I’ve ridden quite a few of their bikes, including the 14 pound True Temper S3 tubed “Outlaw” and the sub 27 pound tandem version. More responsive, comfortable, and forgiving than any other bike I’ve ridden. At my size (6’6″ 195 lbs) a custom frame is my only option and I’ll never go back to an off the rack bike.

Motarded450
Motarded450
5 years ago

Also, shouldnt this event be called “Bespoke” or “Custom” instead of Handmade?

Not taking away anything from the craft these fine builders display but lets be honest, Asians have hands too people. 97% of all bicycles produced are hand fixture’d, welded and finished. Sure mandrel and miter presses are used to form and cut tubes but that is due to the need for consistency required for large scale vs. custom made one off production.

Muchachos
Muchachos
5 years ago

I want to know why Erik Noren is so gorgeous. Especially what brand of hair gel he uses

John C
John C
5 years ago

I purchased a custom Sycip single speed frame from Jeremy Sycip of Sycip Cycles in 2008. He has been in the custom frame building business since 1992. The bike has more than held up during the years I have had it. The ride quality of the frame is incredible as well.