Sunday, July 01, 2007
Framebuilder's Questionnaire: Luna Cycles
This one goes out to all the ladies...Luna Cycles makes some sweet female specific rides.
1. How'd you first get interested in bicycles in general?
Part and parcel of being... a kid. My first bike was a green Schwinn Stingray with banana seat and basket...after that it was a lot of crappy hand-me-downs from my older sisters. I had an obsession with my friend Garth's 10-speed orange and white Libertas when I was 10 and we used to take turns racing it in circles at our grade school's parking lot...I crashed a lot on bikes as a kid, badly and frequently, and got into road racing as an adult as a way to get over my fear of crashing...
2. At what point did you begin building bikes?
In 1995 I closed my retail bike shop, then I took a general welding class, then went to UBI and learned frame building and brazing with lugs from Ron Sutphin and tig welding with Gary Helfrich .
3. What were some of the challenges you faced when you first started out building bikes for people?
Trying to make bikes that fit well/ideally for smaller people using lugs! Finding tube sets that would work well for very small frames. Also, there was no online resource like frameforum.com, which I think is a huge community resource for newbies, so I made lots and lots of mistakes...
4. How is your approach to build a cyclocross bike different than say in building a mountain or road bike?
It depends on the particular bike and the customer. Usually the customer wants a cx bike to be as versatile as possible. Usually a bit higher of a bottom bracket than for a road bike, and a bit higher front end overall. Mud clearance is obviously very important. Adequate standover clearance is important. Usually room for fenders. I also tend to get approached by women on the short end of the spectrum...5'4" or shorter, for whom the stock 'cross bikes don't fit, either from a standover perspective, or a reach perspective. I build many small 700c wheeled cross bikes, and I build a lot of 26" wheel, cx-legal bikes--usually with 26 x 1.3 knobbies, or narrower.
A lot of customers want a "cross-like" bike--something light they can ride on dirt and trails, but don't intend to race. This allows for the addition of non cx-legal options, like disc brakes...
5. Whats your favorite bike that you own or have owned? What made it special?
My current "cross" bike. Not a true cyclocross machine in that it has a triple and will never be raced. But I live where it is all dirt and all hills, and love a road position on the dirt. I really like the paint, and naturally the fit--much less assertive and more playful position than my road bike; I used an old Columbus Genius tube set that was starting to gather rust in my shop, which is beautiful and durable, and made a straight-blade custom steel fork that matches it perfectly. It is about half tig welded and the other half brazed....It is very light and lively, and very comfortable.
6. Do you race cyclocross?
Not now, but I did do a few or more lung busting cx races back in my racing days.
7. In your opinion, why are custom steel cyclocross bikes still so popular?
Because they are versatile, comfortable, and always beautiful.
8. What’s your current wait time for a custom cyclocross frame?
For frame only or frame and fork, it is about 10 weeks. Complete bikes are also an option.
9. Is there anything else you think readers would want to know about your approach to bikes, cycling and building frames?
I am a specialist for the small rider, and have a lot of experience building for women.... and I tend to think outside the box.