Ellis Cycles founder Dave Wages’ show bikes are often very traditional, but not without a few hidden features. Here, he gives us a peek at his process with build photos from several of his customers’ bikes this past year.
BIKERUMOR: What are your main building materials?
DAVE: I build steel and stainless steel frames using materials from True Temper, Columbus, Dedacciai, KVA and Reynolds. I love the ability to pick and choose different tube diameters, wall thicknesses and really “tune” the ride of the frame for each individual rider’s needs.
BIKERUMOR: What’s new with your company since NAHBS last year?
DAVE: I’d like to think that I’m one year wiser.
BIKERUMOR: Any killer custom bike builds in that time?
DAVE: During the summer I had a run of Modern Classics and Strada Inox’s (my most involved, and expensive) frames in a row. Lots of hand work and time, but they are beautiful.
BIKERUMOR: Say a customer gives you free reign, where do you draw your inspiration for the best projects?
DAVE: It really depends on what type of riding they want to do, I’ve done a bunch or gravel grinders this past year on the Strada Fango I built for last year’s NAHBS, and I’ve been getting interest in more bikes like this one. It’s a very purposeful bike, and very flexible, it can run fat or skinny tires and has rack mounts front and rear so it could make a great touring bike as well. With the disc brakes, I could even swap back and forth between 700c or 650b wheels to adjust the ride and handling of the bike.
That said, I still love building really classic road bikes with a nod toward the styling of Italian steel frames from the 70’s and 80’s, but built with modern materials.
BIKERUMOR: What are you building this year that’ll draw a crowd?
DAVE: Well, like probably everyone else this year I’ll have a fatbike, the Ellis Neve. I’d been toying with the idea of building myself one for several years, but with the new wider rear hubs and symmetrical rear triangles, I finally went ahead. I’ll be showing it unpainted so folks can get a better look at the fillets.
I’ve also got a beautiful Strada SLX road bike built from some NOS Columbus SLX tubing that will be sporting a 25th Anniversary Dura Ace group. My customer was nice enough to wait on delivery of this one and let me show it off at NAHBS.
Finally, I’ll have one of my Modern Classics with Dura Ace Di2 that will be sporting my new “team” paint scheme along with a new Ellis jersey designed to match.
BIKERUMOR: Scenario: NAHBS introduces a new category called Mashups, pairing two completely different builders to make one bike. Who’s the yin to your yang, and what kind of bike do you think you’d build?
DAVE: I have no idea, frankly this sounds to me like a terrible scenario.