On the Art’s Cyclery blog, we’re starting up a Column titled “Art’s and Crafts”. You might ask, “What exactly is this newfangled column all about?!” In response, I’m not exactly sure, but it’s something involving bikes.
It’s an exploration of “offbeat” bike culture…possibly. It’s why beer is the drink of choice at Single Speed CX World Champs and men in dresses are an altogether common occurrence. It’s a look at tallbikes, framebuilders, fixed gear obsessions, custom gear modifications, full “nerd” fashion and fatbikes in freezing snow and ice. It’s about a sport we love and all of the unique ways that people truly make the sport of cycling THEIR OWN.
The first feature is about me. It feels a bit pretentious doing this, but somebody has to get the ball rolling here. I am a framebuilder. A new framebuilder…as in I’ve built two frames in total to date, one for myself and one for a friend. What’s exciting is I now have 2 more frame requests from friends, another that I want to build for myself, and many others who have expressed serious interest.
Building a frame was something that I have wanted to do for the longest time, and at the start of 2014, I simply took the plunge. It started with a 1:10 scale drawing, moved to a 1:1 drawing, and once I massaged the numbers around to get a bike that would exist in real life, it was time to dive in. I was lucky enough to have friend who had a surface plate, a tig welder, a bike stand (CLUTCH!! – REPAIR STANDS) and a few sizes of tube blocks. I had the help of my friend in a few places where I got hung up or overwhelmed, but after 2 weeks of ferocious after work hours, I had a bike ready for powdercoat. I’ve been beating on my bike for over a year now and love it to death.
After the first one, I realized that I REALLY liked what I was doing and was interested in seeing where this whole “framebuilding” thing might go, if at all. I didn’t have any idea, but I knew it was at the very least worth finding out. So, with the interest of a friend, I built another which just got finished and off to powdercoat.
Am I a professional?! Nope…not even close. But I am persistent, a bit of a perfectionist, keen on learning and passionate about bikes. For now, that’s enough to keep me doing it and get others interested (fingers crossed).
I feel that almost ANY avid cyclist, no matter their discipline, dances with the thought of building their own frame at some point along the way. It’s only natural. I am here writing this article in order to tell you: DO IT. If you’ve ever had the inkling to build a frame, take the plunge. It will give you so much enjoyment and also so much appreciation for the modern conveniences provided by suspension and technology.
Ask Todd at Black Cat. Ask Francis. Ask Hunter. Nobody starts building perfect bikes from the start. You just gotta get out there and wreck some tubes. Once you’ve done that, myself and the rest of the folks at Art’s Cyclery will do our best to get you the components you need to complete your bike at a price you can afford.