The Next Wave
A tradition of fine framebuilding continues.
People fantasize about having a custom frame built for a variety of reasons, yet few can define what a custom builder really is. “Custom” can be said to include any frame or bicycle whose order precedes its existence. But what is a custom builder?
For years, the bicycle industry as well as many from among the readers of consumer magazines have pigeonholed this market segment as being, more often than not, a bastion of the “hard to fit” demographic. Can’t find what suits you at the LBS – hire a custom framebuilder to make it for you. I have never believed this to be my raison d’être.
A framebuilder may be a craftsman, an engineer, or a welder and still miss key points in making the right bicycle for the client. Fine framebuilding is an amalgam of design elements, construction techniques, and innovative use of materials. Combine these three characteristics with an understanding of the sport, a reverence for tradition, and an innate desire to make the best possible product at any cost and you might have the composite for the job description I think of when I hear the term “custom framebuilder”.
I think the future is bright for all involved in wanting or needing to be patrons of such craftsmen as well as for the craftsmen themselves. As a result of information sharing online at such resources as the framebuilders’ salon as well as from some of the recent NAHBS events, the following framebuilders have landed on my radar and I think of them as the NEXT WAVE.
Those listed are representative of a cross-section of people who respect the history of the craft and are taking it to new levels. The implication is not that they may leave a mark some day; these folks are working full time now and are making some of the best frames available. They deserve your consideration.