Custom Bicycles
News: A little bit of rant, part II July 19th, 2011

I promised a second part so here it is but first let me thank everyone for the supportive coffee…I mean comments. There are a lot of you out there that I have helped over the years and have been very grateful and fun to work with. I will gladly continue to help anyone that appreciates it.

In part I of my rant I referred to carbon construction and the fact that I wasn’t going to share some of the processes. In metal framebuilding the convention is to share what you’ve learned from others. There are very few secrets if any in metal framebuilding. We all learn from the guy who learned from the guy who leaned from the guy and so on.  When I started building carbon frames about 3 years ago I was amazed to find that there is little information out there and most are very secretive and do what they can to keep their process’s to themselves. There is a lot more now, but it’s still not nearly as available as building with metal and there are a lot of glaring holes in everything that I’ve seen. If you talk to other builders they will tell you a lot but there are some things you just don’t ask. The best example of something I’d never ask would be laminate patterns and schedules.

Which brings me to Nick Crumpton. Remember in my first rant when I said give credit where due and put a link in your blog. Well that is what I’m doing now. Along with Jared Nelson of JD Engineering who was the engineer whom I lucky to have locally and who has been a massive help, Nick Crumpton has contributed an amazing amount of assistance and information. And he’s done so despite the fact that he’s paid for it all with money, sweat, blood and tears. It’s one thing to pass on info that was given to you at no cost, it’s entirely different to give it away when it represents the single biggest investment you’ve made in your business.

Until recently you didn’t see custom carbon frame aside from Calfee and later on Parlee. Nick Crumpton in my opinion is the man that developed the process’s used today for the finest custom carbon frames. He’s taken custom carbon beyond the lashed together wet layup frames of just a couple years ago. Unlike metal building in order to develop his process’s he’s had to spend countless hours experimenting, testing, destroying and so on. It costs a lot of time and money to do this. It would almost be akin to engineering a metal alloy and the tubes it’s drawn from and inventing a way to join them together.

Of course after investing all that time and money the last thing you want to do is give that information away for free to a person that intends to compete against you. So when Nick was gracious enough to give me a lot (but not all) of what he knew the last thing I can do is share it with others. It’s not my info to give away. I’m just lucky enough to be able to use it.

So to wrap it all up, here is my effort to repay Nick is some small way. To stand behind the words in my previous rant and also explain why I’m going to be a little more selfish with carbon info than I would be with metal info.