Framebuilding is a “seasonal” job

October 13th, 2011 by Don Walker

Framebuilding is a “seasonal job”.

In my never ending quest for world domination in the campaign of mass produced vs. handmade bikes, it occurred to me that I haven’t always been providing the right information to the folks who need it, the bespoke clientele.

You see, much like the big bike companies, framebuilding trends are “seasonal”. What exactly does this mean? Let me explain it.

Its now Fall, and most riders fall into 3 categories during this time period. 1. The Cross Racer; This is usually a roadie who likes to punish himself for either his early season (spring) disappointments (or is just a masochist who loves being cold, wet, muddy and miserable while riding or pushing his bike through the mud, snow, sand, grass, etc.) or getting a jump on next years fitness. 2. The “Century Rider”; This is someone who loves organized bike rides of varying lengths on weekends, usually anywhere from 50 – 100 miles, and lets face it, the Fall is a perfect time to see the foliage change colors, so these riders will be out en mass until it becomes too cold to enjoy, and 3. The Road Racer; This rider is already getting a jump on base miles for next year’s road season and is going out for long, slow rides with a nice cadence, teaching the legs and cardio that this fall is the only time it will feel so nice.

Now, as a framebuilder, I try to accommodate all these types of riders. The only issue is that I set my frame production schedule to 1 frame per week. This gives me a maximum available production run of 50 per year. I know what you’re saying, 1 per week x 52 weeks in a year is 52 bikes, Walker! Sure, if I didn’t take my family vacation in the summer. Anyhow, let me get back to my point; With only 50 possible bikes available per year, you, the bespoke client, need to plan ahead to avoid not having your new bike for your time of year.

With my move to Louisville coming later this month, I will be shut down for a minimum of 3 weeks and maybe closer to 5 before the shop is up and running again. This means the earliest bikes will start leaving my shop is in December and if you needed a Cross bike, you’re outta luck.

That being said, I have a confession to make. 2012 will be my first year of actually offering Mountain Bikes, since I have signed Elite Cross and MTBer Gian Dalle Angelini to the Rio Blanco Racing/Don Walker Cycles team. I guess I kind of feel obligated to make these mountain bike thingies, ya know?

Anyhow, to somewhat condense the above verbiage into one sentence; Plan ahead when it comes to when you want your bike, and I mean “seasonally”…

BTW, the current queue is 3 months.