Thomas Callahan has evolved well-beyond his roots building street and city bikes ten years ago. His company, Horse Brand Co. in Brooklyn, offers a fleshed out line of steel models in stock sizes, ranging from all-road models to off-road to a side car model for work or surf transport (using reclaimed wood from Coney Island), in addition to his fully custom frames. More recently, Thomas has become more and more known for his acclaimed, handmade knives, also made in house.
BIKERUMOR: What are you bringing to NAHBS this year that you’re excited about?
THOMAS: I’m bringing a prototype, new to Horse, called the Road Racer Plus. This bike will offer a competitive road ride with maximum clearance for 32mm tires. We’re really excited about this new model, and think it compliments our other offerings, it works as a particularly nice counterpart to the All Road, our signature gravel bike.
BIKERUMOR: What are your current challenges in adopting and implementing new standards?
THOMAS: Flat mount road standards require builders to invest in new, expensive tooling, and also requires many hours of learning how to apply the new standards successfully. So basically time and money. I think that new standards are positive and will be beneficial to builders who chose to adapt.
BIKERUMOR: What new or upcoming standards are you excited about?
THOMAS: Flatmount disc and it’s ability to create a clean minimal aesthetic. Syntace dropouts – these are not brand new but new to us, we love building with them.
BIKERUMOR: What type of bike have your customers requested most in the past 12 months?
THOMAS: All Road gravel bike with hydraulic disc brakes.
BIKERUMOR: What is the next bike you’re building for yourself?
THOMAS: 27.5 plus raked out MTB, with 150mm front suspension travel for an all round shred machine!
BIKERUMOR: …and if someone else were building your next bike for you, which builder (of all time) would you choose and why? What would it be?
THOMAS: Retrotec, Curtis Inglis. I love his funky, unique style, and he’s so old he has to be good at building bikes. The bike would be a Big Boy 29er.
BIKERUMOR: What is your “blank check” bike?
THOMAS: A remake of Peacock Groove’s custom Purple Rain but made into a tandem which required Erik (the builder) to always ride Captain… he would also have to bring snacks and tunes on every ride.
BIKERUMOR: If you could exist in another period of framebuilding, what would it be and why?
THOMAS: 1920, France, building cyclotouring bikes with René Herse. It was one of the most innovative times in cycling due to riders pushing themselves and their equipment.
BIKERUMOR: If you had to stop building in your current material, what new material would you choose and why?
THOMAS: I would never build with anything other than steel.
BIKERUMOR: If your shop was burning down, what one or two tools would you grab to save? Why would you save them?
THOMAS: Charles the shop cat (not a tool, but he’s like my yoga snuggle bear) and
Anvil chainstay jig, because I just bought it and it was mad expensive.
(Plus Don from Anvil is my hero).
The North American Handmade Bike Show will take place from February 16th to 18th in Hartford, CT. For more information, visit the NAHBS website.