Framebuilders - St. Louis Area Framebuilders?
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02-13-11, 11:22 PM
I'm in the market for a handmade steel commuter, and would prefer to stay as local as possible to the St. Louis area. I've sniffed around locally, and didn't turn up anything obvious, so I will also consider builders who are a close via Amtrak (Kansas City, Chicago, Springfield,…um, Little Rock, etc).
I'm looking for a full four-season commuter—something I can portage up/down stairs, handle potholes & curbs, ride in rain/snow/ice, and carry a bit of a load.
Know of anyone who would be excited about helping with that? At this point, I've expanded "local" to include Kansas City, Chicago, & Indy. I'd appreciate any pointers!
02-14-11, 07:43 AM
You might want to begin your search with Sam Markovich at Peloton Cyclery in St. Charles, MO. He has put a lot of effort into getting equipment and knowledge for bicycle fitting. He took my 3-day intro to framebuilding class and was an outstanding student in catching on to how to braze. I’m not sure where he is now with his framebuilding ambitions but he would certainly know if there were others in your area.
I’ve had more than a dozen framebuilding students from the Chicago area take one of my framebuilding classes. They are in various stages of making it a business. Strangely Chicago is not an area with full time builders. There is a group of part time builders (including some of my students as well as those that went to UBI) that share a coop space at a place called Bubbly.
My shop is in Niles, Michigan about 90 miles east of downtown Chicago. It is an Amtrak stop on the Chicago/Detroit run. Interestingly about a third of my framebuilding class students come by train. My waiting list is too long for serious consideration but you might want to see if my assistant Herbie is a possibility. He helps me teach classes and you can find pictures of his work on flickr under Helm Cycles.
Now if you are really adventuresome, you could make your own frame in one of my classes. A typical class is 2 weeks long and the most commonly made type of bicycle is some kind of commuter like the one you described. I also teach a shorter one-week class where we make a city bike and a longer 3-week class for those that might want to be framebuilders some day.
In Indianapolis there is Tim O’Donnell at Shamrock Cycles. There are a lot of very good builders in Minneapolis, Minnesota but that might be too far to meet your “local” definition. It is a Amtrak stop however.
02-14-11, 12:19 PM
Thanks Doug! I'm getting in touch with Sam already, good to know his background. Tim at Shamrock was also recommended to me, so thanks for that too. I'll check out your man Herbie & check up on those Chicago-area students!
It is odd that there seems to not really be a demand/scene for frambuilding in the Mississippi-middle Midwest. You would think that the Chi/STL/KC, even Memphis area would be teeming with them, since north (Minn) & west (Co) & east (Tennessee/Georgia/Ohio) have quite a few established. It's not like we don't ride bikes around here!
I'm willing to do it, and I promise to gas up the private jet and fly it on down for you! I think Al has carbon offsets you can buy.
02-15-11, 01:15 PM
In a suburb north of Chicago is Ron Boi (RRB Cycles), a very experienced builder. Years ago he made a pair of RAAM frames for Lon Haldeman and his wife, and has a pair (used ot be a bunch) of bike shops in that north suburban area. He's mostly occupied as a shop owner, but he advertises that he builds frames. I've seen a couple of his and he's done some work for me in the past. If he's available I'd recommend him. He has also built some commuters for his local area folks.
I lived in U City and Clayton quite a while ago - liked it!
02-15-11, 01:22 PM
3 hours to the east in Evansville, In is Gene Spicer. Mostly known for track bikes Gene is a super guy and enjoys custom builds.
02-15-11, 09:18 PM
Thanks for the tips Road Fan & Ultraslide. I had turned up Ron Boi from googling, good to know you can recommend him. And I'll check out Gene Spicer!
02-15-11, 10:23 PM
Don Walker in Indy
Banjo Bikes in Madison
Foresta Frames in Indy (Craig was one of Doug's students I believe)
Meech Frames in Mountain Home, AR (filet brazed frames, Dimitri hangs out here sometimes I think)
Dimitri is currently building me a cross frame and I believe he sold a frame to a guy in Maplewood a few months ago, so maybe you could check that out.
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