As far as bicycle meccas go, Moab Utah is easily in the top ten, which is exactly why Pierre Chastain relocated himself and his company (Blaze Bicycles) there. Chastain is a titanium aficionado with an eye for progressive, curvy geometry. We chatted with Chastain via email in advance of the Philly Bike Expo, and he let us in on some of the inspiration and thinking that goes into his designs.
Please enjoy this short interview with Pierre Chastain.
Bikerumor.com: What’s your name, your bike brand, and where are you based?
Pierre Chastain: I’m Pierre, I’m located in Moab, Utah. I’ve been building bikes since 2008.
Bikerumor.com: What’s your preferred frame material and building technique?
Pierre: Titanium is the material I prefer to work with. It’s light, strong, and does not require any paint since it does not rust. Most importantly it feels amazing because it has amazing vibration damping characteristics. It just treats your body so well.
Bikerumor.com: What sets your bikes apart from other custom builders?
Pierre: My bikes are progressive and modern without being over the top. I focus on providing a professional experience while keeping it truly custom and personal. A great fit and finely tuned geometry corresponding to your riding habits are at the core of all the bikes I create. I build as many of my own parts as possible, to that end I’m in the process of incorporating CNC machines to make unique own dropouts and other bits. Stay tuned! Of course, the world-class trails here in Moab have given me a great place to test designs in rugged conditions, I feel that gives me an edge!
Bikerumor.com: How did you get into this? Who inspired you to get started making bikes?
Pierre: It was a natural progression, I have been riding and wrenching on my bikes from an early age. I love making things one day I just started making my own frames! Mostly for fit and control over how they rode. Brian Bayliss and the San Diego crew including Rob Roberson made a huge impression on me early on.
Bikerumor.com: Who inspires you now?
Pierre: Interesting. [It] is hard to say where inspiration will come from next, I try to keep an open mind (and eye) sometimes. Right now I’m interested in aerospace design and techniques but I look at anything from architecture to jewelry. Sometimes even the landscape speaks to me, petroglyphs intrigue me. In the bike world, I currently like what Joe over at Cobra Framebuilding is up to, he gets after it and does so with a great attitude! I look forward to seeing him at the show for sure!
Bikerumor.com: How was Covid era for you? Good, bad, about the same? How did it change your business and business model, if at all?
Pierre: The COVID era is still very much ongoing. I’ve been very fortunate to be healthy and working! I was already on the path to making a lot more of my own components. It is obvious that we lack domestic manufacturing capacity. In the end, it’s allowing us to expand! It was a pleasant surprise to find that orders keep coming and that my customers are patient and understand that suddenly it is very hard to get the parts we need! Aside from all the human suffering, it’s been very disruptive and stressful to navigate the strong demand and the lack of parts!
Bikerumor.com: What’s the most interesting bike you’ve built over the past year?
Pierre: The last one is always the most interesting! I try to make each bike I build 1 or 2% better than the last! Some projects are more challenging, some are more unique. I recently built a touring pinion bike. The customer has a unique vision and it took a lot of custom work, including a fork. I feared it was going to be goofy! Once it was done I did not want to give it to the customer because it was so much fun to ride. I called it the Humugulous. The customer eventually took it away from me! I liked the project because it took me out of my comfort zone and I made something the customer could not have gotten from anything currently on the market and I fear a lot of other builders would not have taken this project on!
Bikerumor.com: What are you bringing to Philly Bike Expo this year? Any teasers or sneak peeks?
Pierre: Amazingly, I don’t know yet! It’s been hard to put together complete bikes and I’m not sure what I’ll have available by the time of the show. Ideally, I would bring a road, gravel, and mountain bike. Given the parts situation is will be a matter of what I have available, I don’t have the time to make a bike just for the show this year.
Bikerumor.com: If you had to do a multi-day bikepacking adventure with anyone else in the cycling industry, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Pierre: Greg Lemond, I feel he has been treated unfairly by the industry, but more importantly, I think he would be fun to be around.