The North American Handmade Bike Show last year experienced what could be described as a Russian Invasion. Dmitry Nechaev and the crew at Triton Bikes out of Moscow encouraged several other framebuilders from that country’s emerging independent building community to join them at the show. Among those making their NAHBS debut was Anton Gorbunov of Tores Velo, a fresh-faced steel builder from Astrakhan. Being steeped in the culture of US framebuilding where (arguably) some builders work hard to create different product to set themselves apart, it was refreshing to see work by a builder who by nature and location is so removed from this community that his frames have no choice but to have a unique flavor.
With Anton moving into framebuilding full time, and with the Russian independent bike community growing, look to Tores Velo to continue to push into new and interesting territory.
BIKERUMOR: What are you bringing to NAHBS this year that you’re excited about?
ANTON: For this NAHBS we prepared a gravel bike. Modern gravel bike. Disc brakes, thru axle, carbon components and steel frame with nice paint job. Steel frame can be modern too! We used a lightweight Dedacciai Zero tubeset that provide good strength and riding characteristic. I’m proud to build this bike for Bjorn Cycles because it’s a Russian made carbon components. It was nice to work together.
BIKERUMOR: What are your current challenges in adopting and implementing new standards?
ANTON: Small framebuilders like me, have only one challenge with new standard: new tools for new standard. Any other challenges, it’s normal working process. On this moment, we build a custom full suspension bike, that is a real challenge for me. One million small parts of new jig and other stuff.
BIKERUMOR: What new or upcoming standards are you excited about?
ANTON: SRAM DUmB. Really nice mustaches.
BIKERUMOR: What type of bike have your customers requested most in the past 12 months?
ANTON: For the last year I built a few gravel bike – it’s very popular. Couple of MTB frames and classic road. Not too much, last year was hectic for me. I spent too much time with my regular job, about few months. When I had some free time, my friend and I worked on our full suspension project. I hope this year will be more productive for me because now I’m a full time framebuilder.
BIKERUMOR: What is the next bike you’re building for yourself?
ANTON: Next bike for self will be full suspension trail 29er. Project that I told you about earlier. I hope by March it will be ready.
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?
ANTON: Moonmen fat bike. I’m pretty sure. Love this guy.
BIKERUMOR: If you could exist in another period of framebuilding, what would it be and why?
ANTON: So, it’s a most strange question. I love present time and my current opportunities. If we talked about past period, it was impossible to be framebuilder in Russia. We were a closed country. In USSR and post Soviet period there was not any chance for make own bike business. In any other world best time for me was 2000. Time of mountain bike enthusiast and new ways in bike design.
BIKERUMOR: If you had to stop building in your current material, what new material would you choose and why?
ANTON: Currently we work with steel, for the next year we want to try titanium for any type of bikes and aluminum for full suspension bikes. I have a big expectation about full suspension aluminum bikes. There is a lot a new ways for work with aluminum.
BIKERUMOR: If your shop was burning down, what one or two tools would you grab to save? Why would you save them?
ANTON: Haha. Of course I will save myself. It’s enough to start from zero again.
The North American Handmade Bike Show will take place from February 16th to 18th in Hartford, CT. For more information, visit the NAHBS website.