Colin Stevens outside Equinox Studios. Photo by Josh Cohen.
I don’t need to check the address to know I’m at the right place. Tucked away off the main drag in one of Seattle’s increasingly-rare industrial zones, the bright blue Equinox Studios stands out among its neighbors of weathered, post-war manufacturing buildings. It was once home to Mastermark Printing and Engraving. During World War II, Norton Bomb Sights built crosshairs for bombardiers in the building. As I walk down the hall, I catch glimpses into a few of the 36 shops and art studios the building now houses. Sparks fly in one room as a sculptor puts grinder to metal. In another, a woman pulls colorful wires from an array of spools, prepping for an espresso machine repair job. Inside studio 109 I find Colin Stevens fiddling around with some tools behind a small, but well stocked work bench. One room of their shop is filled with bikes, trailers mopeds and tools. The other with huge lathes and other similarly impressive machinery.
Stevens first made a name for himself with his Haulin’ Colin cargo trailers along with wild creations such as an 8-person, pedal-powered parade float. And though he still builds the custom trailers, his work has evolved far beyond. Today Stevens–along with friends Garth L’Esperance and Michael Nazaroff–is co-owner of CycleFab, LLC and does everything from repairing bike frames to building cargo trailers to metal fabrication and parts manufacturing. I sat down with him at his shop to talk about his path from computer science to industrial manufacturing, the recent rise of cargo biking, the difficulties of a niche bike business, the creative satisfaction of hands-on work, and much more.
Posted in Bike Industry, Frame Builders, Interviews
Tagged cargo bikes, colin stevens, custom frame builders, cyclefabllc, family biking, freak bikes, haulin colin, seattle frame builder, washington frame builder
Frank The Welder. Photo by Bear Cieri.
Frank Wadelton, aka Frank The Welder, is a legendary figure in American frame building. He’s worked at Yeti, Spooky, Mongoose, and many others and had a tremendous influence on mountain bike design. These days he builds under his own name, Frank The Welder. This short film from Jake Goss provides a great glimpse into Frank’s life and career history.
Posted in Art, Cyclocross, Everything Else, Frame Builders
Tagged cycling documentary, frame builder history, frank the welder, frank wadelton, ftw inc, mongoose, mountain bike history, new england frame builders, spooky, turner, yeti
Made For You from Stoller on Vimeo.
Rob English is one of the more innovative contemporary custom frame builders. He produces everything from thoroughbred race machines to wildly imaginative concept bikes. I love hear frame builders talk about their process and philosophies and seeing their work with a torch.
The Builder – Max Kullaway from Loaded Pictures on Vimeo.
Max Kullaway’s history in frame building run deep. He got his start in New England welding for Merlin then Seven. He later moved to Seattle where he started his own company 333 Fabrications and builds for Hampsten and Davidson. For more, check out the interview Max did with The Bicycle Story back in 2012. In this neat short film from Loaded Pictures, Max talks about his frame building philosophies, his love for bikes and making things by hand, and more.
Firefly founders (L-R) Kevin Wolfson, Jamie Medeiros, and Tyler Evans. Photo from Firefly Bicycles flickr.
When Firefly Bicycles came onto the scene in 2011, the cycling world quickly took notice of their colorful anodizes graphics and clean titanium welds. The three founders, Jamie Medeiros, Tyler Evans, and Kevin Wolfson launched Firefly after jumping ship from Independent Fabrications when the company announced plans to move its operations to New Hampshire. In the years since launching, Firefly has established itself among the upper tiers of custom frame builders. I spoke to Kevin about the company and their frame building philosophies, their backgrounds with I.F. and beyond, American frame building’s deep roots in New England, and more.