650B Project update

Built up the first of the Project bikes and thought I'd share some photos for those patiently waiting for their own. The build came together really well. The fit of the rack, fender line, lighting, and proportions are all just right for my taste. The first ride put a big smile on my face to be sure and I can't wait to put the rest into the hands of their owners. I predict a lot of big grins. This one is heading up to Seattle to be ridden by the editor of Bicycle Quarterly. Details on the build and can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mapcycles
Feel free to contact me at info@mapbicycles.com if interested.


Why paint?

Back in the day, it was expected that if you were a framebuilder, you were also a painter. Not really the case today. I would be interested to see a show of hands, but my guess is that maybe 90% of small custom builders outsource their paint today. It's a matter of time, resources, skill, space, etc. and I'm in this camp entirely, but it has always kind of bugged me. I've developed some good painter relationships and some bad ones, but ultimately, I still have to cross my fingers whenever I send a frame off. There's something I don't like about getting a bike 90% of the way there and then having to explain the last 10% to someone else. I'm pretty particular. There are some amazing painters out there that will put forth the effort to see your vision through, and builders know who they are, so they are busy folks and the line is long.

I had the opportunity to get my hands dirty and paint some bikes, so jumped at the opportunity to learn what I could. Here are some photos of the process (the rest can be seen on my flickr page ):

I'm nearly finished, and am happy with the results so far. I should have some photos of the finished product in the next day or two.



Originally uploaded by mapcycles
I'm in Michigan for 10 days learning to paint - wet paint. Doug Fattic (who I built my first frame with) invited me to glean what I can and paint a bike in exchange for some grunt work on my part, helping him with some of the frames he's painting at the moment. I couldn't pass up the opportunity, especially since I feel doing ones own paint is the final frontier for a framebuilder in terms of seeing your vision through to the final product. Not many builders out there can paint as well, and I'm not going to be painting my own bikes for a while, but even just getting a better understanding of the challenges a painter faces will help me refine the work that I do as a framebuilder. That's important to me. I'm excited to be here. Check back over the next week as I post photos and tidbits from my time here.


Update and a new offering..

Just wanted to give a quick update and thank everyone who expressed interest in the 650B randonneur project. All five bikes now have a home and production is underway! To be tipped off about similar projects you can subscribe to my news page.

Also, I've been meaning to get some quality t-shirts made for quite a while, but they somehow always found their way to the back burner. They are now available for $25 shipped in the US. Printed on American Apparel tees in asphalt and light blue as pictured with a front chest logo only. You can now order these on the Merchandise page.


Report from The Queen City

I recently had the chance to build a touring bike for a customer in Cincinnati. A few months had gone by since she'd received it, and I heard from her the other day:

"Dear Mitch,

Just wanted to let you know that my bicycle is, two months later, still exactly what I wanted and needed.  I haven't been to physical therapy for my shoulder since it arrived (as I'm finally riding something that fits), and I have to schedule in an extra ten minutes to just about any ride because people want to talk to me about it.  Cincinnati isn't a very bike-oriented place, but I've had members of the pipe fitters local union stop to ask me who made such a beautiful machine (the pipe fitters send their regards and compliments on your welding technique).  

If I ever need another bicycle I am coming back to you.  Schlepping up three major hills to work has become a joy rather than a burden--it is worth every single penny that I put into it.  Thank you for the dedication you have shown to your craft.  Two thumbs way up, Mitch. 


Thanks Katie, you made my day.