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Thread: Coconino Cycles

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    steve garro's Avatar
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    Default Coconino Cycles

    Steve Garro from Coconino Cycles here. So far in this series the lives seem to have traveled a theme, a common thread or vein. well, my life wasn't anything like those. I grew up in Tuba City AZ in the middle of the Navajo Indian reservation from 2nd grade on. it was at the end of the pavement in the middle on nowhere - just google earth it. it was all dirt, rock and sand for as far as you could see, and on a bluebird day that was the san francisco peaks 75mi. away. My dad was the maintenence man at the IHS hospital for 27yrs. I had a Navajo stepmom, and was raised in her family mostly. I rode my schwinn varsity all around in the sand and thorns after i bumped up from my garage sale stingray. I was largely shunned by allot of people as this was the hight of the AIM movement's "anti honkey" era. so, most of my time was spent in the desert riding my bike, fishing, rockhounding & canyoneering. good stuff. in my highschool of 2500 students there were 12 white kids. i'm still a little wierded out if i'm around nothing but white people. we hunted, fished, had a huge garden, trapped & had livestock. i knew of nothing else. we got two stations on the TV part of the time, and one was WGN {?} and one was 5 from phoenix, so i at least got wallace & ladmo {look it up.} ultimately, me & my dad didn't get along so he dropped me off on a corner in flagstaff, AZ with $20.00 and told me to get a job. i was 16 & i am still here. i have been a baker, a cook, a mason, a roofer, a greenhouse guy, a tree trimmer, anything that would pay. at 20 i got into being a mormon lake hotshot, an initial attack wilderness firefighter. my first summer was 100 days in yellowstone. awesome. the next year carrying chainsaws up mountains was blowing my knees out, and i had been mountain biking for about 12 years & i wanted to be a mechanic, so when a job opened up i got on that bandwagon of rotating bike shop jobs up until 2000, when i became 1/2 owner of a bikeshop. me & the other guy did not get along, so we split. along the way i had also been working winters building custom aluminum white water rafting gear, joining tubes, filing & polishing {sound familiar?} and i had $7000.00, a whole shop's worth of tools, metalworking experence and nothing to loose so i went to UBI and built a frame & then went to vulture cycles and built 4 more, one of which got cut up. it was great. i already knew about bikes, and i knew about joining tubes. i had all these great ideas about how i would spend my time afterwards, but Coconino Cycles just took off and i have been building bike after bike since Feb. 2003. Oh yeah - along the way, i rode the hell out of bikes. i never drove a car, ever. i raced my ass off for 20+ years. i could line up at the front of any given ultra endurance race and hold it until the end. I bike toured mexico four times, new zealand, chile/argentina, chile/bolivia, & throughout the southwest, trekked peru, spent every moment i could in the grand canyon, and for the last seven years, built allot of bike frames. poeple like my bike frames, and that makes me happy. I hope that gives you a sense of what i'm about. let the questions fly.
    -Steve Garro.
    PaulE3, mrad2181 and miwuksurfer like this.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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    Eric Estlund's Avatar
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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    Back when you were busting the hell out of stuff in the early MTB days did you ever think you were going to start building them, or were you to preoccupied breaking stuff and having fun south of the border?

    I might have the story wrong, but did Coconino start as two guys, or have you been solo since day one?

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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    Great to hear from you Steve! When you got back from UBI and were building those first frames at Vulture (with Wade I take it), it sounds like the plan may not have been to become Coconino? I'm curious about your early experiences building and making that jump into Coconino. What gave you the confidence to make that move?
    Craig

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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    I've followed you for sometime, I'm your biggest fan. (aheem). Steve, there are two standout things about you as a person which seem to be strong elements of what Coconino Cycles is. First, your willingness to share knowledge with the world and secondly, you do not march to ANYONE elses drumbeat!!! Your bikes and designs are distinct, something rare in world where bike have not really changed much in 150 years!!! I'd know one of your bikes if I saw it on the streets of DC for sure.

    HA! This is not a question, only acknowledgement of your awesomeness.

    *Folks, please tweet Smoked Out Threads. Make this VIRAL!!!

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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    Since yer pretty damn good at what you are doing, what is next. Lugged forks are part of you dealio more and more now and you made curved tubes more famous than Retrotech. What's on the plate for the future? What do you want to be better at? Also when you posted that pic of your forearm I thought that Vsalon should take up a collection and buy you a damn compressor and dynafile...something to reduce your chances of arthritis or "framebuilders elbow" Way to go Gardu!

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    Eric Estlund's Avatar
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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    Don't use the "D" word- you'll send him over the edge.

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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    Steve,
    Thanks for sharing. I was wondering if you have made any adaptive equipment to help with frame building, and if you would be comfortable sharing a couple of them if so? My dad is a T2 incomplete and it's been a "fun" challenge to rework his classroom so he has been able to teach science full time again for the last 10 years. So the "tools of the trade" used are kind of a hobby for me.

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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    5 or 6 years ago I was in Bend, Oregon at a MTB get together looking forward to Vulture Wade to show up for some beer and campfire talk. When he showed up the first words out of his mouth were 'Garro's been hit by a f. . . ing truck and is in ICU' or something to that effect. This was maybe a day or two after it happened. At that time you were really just starting to get rolling and your name was getting out a bit. So recovering from your horrific accident you had to have made a conscious decision to go back into building.

    Can you speak a bit on that decision and also how, or if, the whole experience has focused or changed your outlook in reference to building?

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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    So is your relationship with your dad why you didn't start out welding frames? You had said in another thread that both him and your grandpa were welders, made me wonder with that in your background why you would fillet braze bikes. Frankly I hate brazing so more power to you for rocking it out

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    SteveP is offline vSalon Legend
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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    i love the pics with the western landscape that you post with the frames.
    the landscape defines your frames.
    no question...just a comment.

    it is so different here

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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    I'm glad you weren't way down on the list, 'cause I've been anxious to read your post. I remember you telling me that you sold your first bike for $500 and that's about what it was worth. Was that the first frame you built, or the first frame that came out of your business? When you say Coconino took off after you built the 4 with Wade, did you already have the business set up and insurance, or did that come later? I'm curious about the specifics of your transition from amateur builder to professional builder.
    I love your work, you are probably the biggest single influence on the way I do things.
    Also, do you have to pedal the handcycle one handed to steer? That thing fascinates the shit out of me.
    Eric Doswell, aka Edoz
    Summoner of Crickets
    http://edozbicycles.wordpress.com/
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    In Before the Lock

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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by edoz View Post
    Also, do you have to pedal the handcycle one handed to steer? That thing fascinates the shit out of me.
    Steve's answer to that one (with a pic of the man himself).

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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    you're one of my earliest effb "heros". a big part of that is the your mountain bike background and the mtb frames. damn proud to meet you and wade at portland nahbs. and hey, if you ever see anything on mine that looks like something you've built, remember that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    thanks for being steve garro.

    q's later.






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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    Steve,
    I have had the great fortune to work with two pro framebuilders over the years and the things I've learned from you and Dave P about fabrication and the biz continue to shape everything I do today.
    I just wanted to say a huge public "THANK YOU!"
    Thanks you for being the guy who ,even when you were in so much pain you couldn't work for more than a couple hours, opened your shop to me and taught me more in a day than I had learned in a year on my own. Thanks to you, and Denise, for opening your home (and couch!) for my later visits that gave me the insight and inspiration to take my framebuilding to the next level.
    I owe you big time brother man!

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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    yes, Eric - exactly. there was just tons of room for improvement back at the start. our bikes would have road derailluers {Huret} and motorcycle levers {magura} for example. you have to make things work together, and you had to straight up make things. I saw guys around me starting companies, innovation was everywhere, you rubbed shoulders & threw elbows at the races with the best in the world. it was an open slate with lots of room for improvement. bike touring was a big window into breakage. touring busts everything, quick. I'm starting a "'round the world" touring rig today, actually. Second Q: you are correct. Joe Murray was originally on the tax license, ect. our work drives are however, uncompatable - Garro.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Ryan View Post
    Great to hear from you Steve! When you got back from UBI and were building those first frames at Vulture (with Wade I take it), it sounds like the plan may not have been to become Coconino? I'm curious about your early experiences building and making that jump into Coconino. What gave you the confidence to make that move?
    Craig
    no, I was going to have a go at it either way, I didn't even have a name, as I thought the expansion of my buisness was going to be a slow affair. it was not. I just got thrown into the fire, for better or for worse. The MTB 1-speed explosion was under way, and i was seen as some sort of leader in that field of riding. my first few years all I built was 26" 1-speed MTB's with rim brakes. It actually took me allot of work to dispell the widely held view that that was all I made. I didn't have a webpage, nothing. I had worked myself into a corner in the bike industry. I hate telling people what to do, can be a surly employee being told what to do, was a shop owner not liking many aspects of what that brought with it, liked art, understood metalwork, had strong work ethic - it just seemed like where i was supposed to go. I've always been that way, kind of impulsively taking on huge ideas/trips/projects/races, and i stick them out. does that help? I'm dehydrated & tired from Canoeing with Denise all day & woke up to this - only 1/2 of a cup of coffee in! throw me more Q's Craig, i've followed you for quite awhile - Good Job! - Garro.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Tall View Post
    I've followed you for sometime, I'm your biggest fan. (aheem). Steve, there are two standout things about you as a person which seem to be strong elements of what Coconino Cycles is. First, your willingness to share knowledge with the world and secondly, you do not march to ANYONE elses drumbeat!!! Your bikes and designs are distinct, something rare in world where bike have not really changed much in 150 years!!! I'd know one of your bikes if I saw it on the streets of DC for sure.

    HA! This is not a question, only acknowledgement of your awesomeness.

    *Folks, please tweet Smoked Out Threads. Make this VIRAL!!!
    No worries, TT. thanks on both accounts!!!!! It is a big idea that i have that a builder's work should be easily recognisable *with no paint.* and hey, I'm an open person. I'll go up & talk to anyone in the world, anyone. I'll help people I don't know. everybody eats when they come to my house. - Garro.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by vulture View Post
    Since yer pretty damn good at what you are doing, what is next. Lugged forks are part of you dealio more and more now and you made curved tubes more famous than Retrotech. What's on the plate for the future? What do you want to be better at? Also when you posted that pic of your forearm I thought that Vsalon should take up a collection and buy you a damn compressor and dynafile...something to reduce your chances of arthritis or "framebuilders elbow" Way to go Gardu!
    well, thanks, Wade. Me & Wade go wayyyyyyyyy back. I don't know? I'm backed out aroung 10 months consistently, so how do you introduce an idea at the forefront when you are 10 months out? I still see room to perfect my gig, but those details are getting smaller & smaller. I'm just enjoying being able to build a straight, reliable beautiful bike & not pulling hair out doing it, and doing it fast enough to have a good wage. to me "fit" is the ultimate challenge, and as long as there are a variety of sizes of people then i don't see myself getting bored. you have making the person comfortable & nailing the handling, the type of bike, all the parts have to work spot-on..........constantly challenging. Plus, I build several "types" of frame, and making each one a Coconino keeps me totally mentally happy. that said, I'd like to have a plate-style swinger dropout with a few tweaks, I sure do like the look of the Dual Squish rig you just rolled out! - Garro.
    Last edited by steve garro; 06-09-2010 at 12:27 PM.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    No, not really - just that everything in the shop is really, really low...........I'm a t-11/l-1 imcomplete. I can "walk" with crutches and stand, just not pretty of fast. Huge Props to all the bros who chopped my shop. they got free frames forever as long as they come help make tubes shiny & not sharp! - Garro.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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    Default Re: Coconino Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by themanmonkey View Post
    5 or 6 years ago I was in Bend, Oregon at a MTB get together looking forward to Vulture Wade to show up for some beer and campfire talk. When he showed up the first words out of his mouth were 'Garro's been hit by a f. . . ing truck and is in ICU' or something to that effect. This was maybe a day or two after it happened. At that time you were really just starting to get rolling and your name was getting out a bit. So recovering from your horrific accident you had to have made a conscious decision to go back into building.

    Can you speak a bit on that decision and also how, or if, the whole experience has focused or changed your outlook in reference to building?
    Yeah. tough shit, there. lots of emotions. So: I was crushed. I broke my C4-C5, mt T11-T12, seven broken ribs, femur in 25 pieces & shoved out in two, torn liver, split both kidneys, torn eureter, puntured lung, - short list.......I was in a coma for 10 days. pneumonia is what actually almost killed me. they gave me 24hrs to the unplugging. I lived, for better or for worse. within two days of waking up i was insisting that i needed to get back to work "people want their frames, dammit! i told them they would be done on XX!" they had to put a sign on my door not to help me out of bed. I got hit on Oct 5, 2005. i went back to work on Dec 25, 2005 with three external tubes & a leg bag on my wheel chair. I could barely lift a drill. I weighed 115lbs. Denise asked why i was doing this. "because this is the only part of the old Steve Garro left" I told her. there was no decision. I told poeple i would do it. pay no attention to the tears on the keyboard, OK? - Garro.
    Last edited by steve garro; 06-09-2010 at 12:42 PM.
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    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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