Monday, October 29, 2007

Picking up where a master let off...

This was a pretty cool project. A customer out of Washington state contacted me about finishing some early 80's Bontrager Switchblade forks. Somehow, he had come across two pair of fork legs that had dropouts, but no canti bosses or paint. How cool would it be to work on a project started by Keith himself?

When I received the blades, they were pretty rusty, but some time in the blast cabinet and alot of fine scrubbing with Scotchbrite pads shined them right up. What struck me was just how simple the fabrication is; truly a knod to the roots of the developement of our sport.

A bit of weld magic and some gloss black powder loving, and the finished product should do both Keith and myself proud.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Marketing the world...the times of a small builder.

A thread on Frameforum ( ), an excellent resource for those interested in the process of framebuilding, recently discussed how to market for the small framebuilder. The original poster was curious how to sell his prospective frames in his area. What I found curious was the response from some of the pros...that few frames are actually sold in the area they are built.

This is not a revelation to me, as it has been a common thread throughout my business career...let me explain.

I work out of a small town, population of 28,000, not really close to any "hot bed" of cycling activity. No Sedona, Moab, or Whistler here. The closest large City, Cleveland, is better known for it's rusting steel industry than for custom bicycle fabrication. So, looking for potential customers, it is a given that I have to look beyond my geographic boarders. The internet has definately been the tool of choice.

Looking over my past months receipts, I was surprised, however, to see how much global business I do. In fact, I've sold more overseas products in the last month than domestic. The countries shipped to include; Norway, Japan, Germany, Scotland, UK, and Austrailia. No wonder the chic at the Post office smiles whenever I show up :^)

Certainly, I'd love more local business, but am just fine with sending the love across the world. I'll consider it my little part for global harmony ;^) .

So, if you happen to be traipsing across the US and want to stop in for a green tea and some social chatter, please do. I'll keep the comfy chair cleaned off for ya.



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Groovy Ho Down Fork...fresh fabrication

Most of you that know me through the internet have learned that I'm a bit of a vintage/retro nut...I really appreciate and respect the fathers of the industry and the designs they embraced. So when I wanted to build a new / distinctive fork for customers that wanted something unique, I looked back to some of my favorites for borrowed inspiration. Some of my favorite classic forks were the Fat City Cycles Yo Eddy and the Grove Innovations Hardcore. I blended a bit of each into the new Groovy Ho Down fork...

The Ho Down is a rigid straight blade design that uses 1.0" blades, scalloped tabbed dropouts, a rectangular box crown and gently curved blade tops to give a visually unique look.

The fork offers just the right amount of flex in the lower third of the legs to absorb trail chatter while remaining stiff enough in the crown for dead straight tracking.

So, what's the origin of the name? Pondering what to call this piece, I wanted to relay two things; a name that reflected the large shape and surface area of the crown and the feeling of euphoric dancing through a wicked single track. Then it hit me, kinda reminded me of an old fashioned southern square dance or Ho Down. Got it!

This will be the first customer fork, a rigid disc 29er that will be going on Zach's Bigwheel. It's going to get a lush Jollipop red metallic finish today, should be awesome!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ok, trial post here...

Hey folks,

Well, I thought I try to keep in better contact with y'all through the blog option. It's a bit easier to update daily than the web page and gives everyone an idea what's been going on in the shop.

Today, I worked on finishing up Cubby's cross frame prep for paint. Got it all nailed down and am ready to send it to the blast cabinet for a little abrasive loving prior to paint.

This one is slated for a gloss black powder coat. When finished, airbrushed red/yellow/green jelly beans will be added as a nod to Scoboni's classic work.

Should be pretty trick when finished.

This frame is also getting a matching custom fork and stem, more on this later...