Photos by Anna Schwinn

Builder-on-Builder (BoB) interviews are designed for builders to question other builders on the topics they find most relevant and interesting. 

Another trade show, another interview with Erik Noren. Acclaimed as the “Liberace of Framebuilding,” the iridescent mastermind behind Peacock Groove has been busy whipping up something very close to his Minneapolis heart in preparation for the Philly Bike Expo. While there have been pictures of this bike in the works, you’ll have to put on your Raspberry Beret, Diamonds and Pearls, and drive your Little Red Corvette on over to the Philadelphia Expo Center to see its formal debut. Word on the street that its splendor could make show goers Delirious and that it’s sure to cause a Controversy. But I digress.

Through her questions, Megan Dean of Moth Attack did a formidable job of peeling back the feathery plumage to give us a picture of the man behind the torch, one that loves anime, uses punctuation like an enthusiastic teenager, and deep down just wants to make people fall in love with bicycles.


MEGAN: What is the worst question ever asked at a bike show?

ERIK: When will you have a website? I have been telling people I build bikes, not websites, for over 20 years or something like that… I do get a lot of “who do you think you are” type of shit. Gets old. Sometimes people tell me that they talked to me on the phone, that I said that I would give them a super discount, not knowing its ME that they are talking to right then and there. Silly I tell ya.

MEGAN: Tractorbike or Cargotrike for President, 2016?

ERIK: CARGOTRIKE for President!! Tractorbike will be Vice President!!! They will get shit done!!!


MEGAN: Do you think I can successfully arm wrestle the patriarchy?

ERIK: If anybody can make a dent in the patriarchy, it’s you. I’d like to be there to dance in the aftermath. DANCE PARTY!

MEGAN: What would you build if you knew it was your last bike ever?

ERIK: I would build a sweet bike that many different size people could ride. Make it for the dirt. Maybe a sixer rack on it so people could share in it and everybody could ride it.


MEGAN: Are you forever MPLS?

ERIK: I think I might be forever MPLS. But, I’m not gonna commit to it forever right now. My goal is to get my own build and shop. Get a sweet shop up front, have that little factory in the back. Get some skilled builders in the shop, and get some Valerian steel bikes out there on the streets and trails. Word. But, now that I have been around to a few cities, MPLS just has that something that I miss it when I leave, and I feel so good coming back. Come ride with us and maybe you’ll feel it too.


MEGAN: What builder would you challenge to a foot race and why?

ERIK: Oh… foot race? Probably Chris Kvale. I have only seen him in some type of dressy penny loafer nice shoes so I think I might have him in the running shoe technology department. HOWEVER, he would probably beat the hell out of me in a running race even though he has those shoes, and at the finish line, most likely hit me on the head with said shoes, especially if he reads this. YIPES!

MEGAN: What’s the best anime for someone who doesn’t watch anime?

ERIK: ANIME!!! Well, that’s kinda a difficult question, because like bikes, there is so many kinds and styles that I’d have to know the person pretty well. I think one of the funniest, and kinda easy to watch is one of my favorites, PROJECT A-KO. It’s a hilarious adventure with really strong characters, and ones that actually bother you. It gets really crazy like good and great anime gets.


But just so ya know, URUSEI YATSURA is my very very favorite. It is 1980 glory!! Here is the real hint though, if you watch anime, only watch with subtitles, because when they are dubbed you can lose a lot of feeling that the Japanese put into it. Hearing the voice inflections and how they speak, it can be hard to translate that into another language sometimes. Hearing the characters original voice is very important. Dig it.

OH YEAH!! The BUBBLEGUM CRISIS is the shit!! It is heavily inspired by the movie BLADE RUNNER. So, so good…

MEGAN: What’s the future of headsets?

ERIK: The future of headsets?? Probably too many standards coming there too… lol, not lol. But really, we are awaiting our first big batch and I am stupid fucking stoked on it. Keep watching that interwebs, the Peacock Groove Instagrams, and that website we got. They are coming. I have worked incredibly hard for this to happen. Get ready for dope shit.



Next BoB Interview: Erik Noren interviews Richard Sachs. 

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5 years ago

This interview would have been a good chance to learn something interesting about Peacock Groove but instead the interview had a bunch of just ridiculous questions. This was a silly interview. Interviews done by Anna Schwinn are awesome. Come back Anna!

5 years ago
Reply to  Anna Schwinn

I thought Erik dedicating the most amount of time to the anime question was a pretty great myself. It’s pretty telling of his passion for the things he does.

5 years ago

Erik Noren is bat-sh*t crazy (in a best kinda way). Would urge anyone to check out his excellent The American Bike podcast, it’s great.

5 years ago

damn no edit function *(in the best kinda way)

5 years ago

Yeah, like Craig I was pining for more Anna conducted interviews too, but then I remembered the older ones and figured that these builders can only answer the same questions so many times before it looses its magic, so what can you do other than mix it up a bit?

5 years ago

Just wanted to add that for any builders who haven’t already done a “straight” interview with Anna then my vote is for keeping it vanilla for this first go round, before breaking out the Rocky Road. Those interviews are the most interesting vanilla I have ever come across.

Magnetic Wheel Co.
5 years ago

Erik is a true master! First met him in the late 90’s when he was building for CROLL, and in all those years he’s stayed true to his craft. Innovating and pushing boundaries, all with a great sense of humor. Miss ya buddy!

Richard Hayter
Richard Hayter
5 years ago

Love this. Erik’s a true individual and builds some sweet bikes). Looking forward to the next one.