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    Default Jonathan Greene Cycles

    I'm Jonathan Greene of Jonathan Greene Cycles and my story is a journey. There was not some single point in time that a light went on in my head and I decided I wanted to be a part time framebuilder. The Journey has taken my whole life. I have a day job, or actually a career. I manage investment portfolios for high net worth retail investment clients for a firm everyone has heard of. I use words in my day gig like standard deviation, duration, correlation, convexity, alpha, etc. In the evenings I build bicycle frames; frames that hopefully will be raced or used hard. I don't have to use many words when I'm in the shop. I can just work in my own solitude with only the sounds of the file cutting steel or the bellow of the torch filling the air.

    I like what I do in the day, but the rewards are mostly financial. It's been good to my family of 3 sons and the love of my life, Keri. What I do after hours, though, is for me. Seven years ago a colleague/pal handed me a book review in the Journal about a handful of professional cats who left Wall St. gigs, surgical tables, courtrooms and corporate board rooms to follow a dream. They became catfish farmers, wine makers, artists, etc. usually replacing mental labor with the physical kind. At the time I knew I'd also one day make that journey too. I'm not going to go through life wishing I had done more. I had always been comfortable on mountain biking trips or doing race weekends with pals. Staying in cheap motels and looking forward to the after-ride beer is preferable to staying at a Ritz with free golf or hanging around a pool with umbrella drinks in places like Naples or Scottsdale. Give me Pisgah, Moab, Tsali, Gloucester and Athens instead of the corporate weekends my industry prefers. They are not my thing. I’d rather hang out with bike racers or drink whiskey with Don Ferris. My clients would say I’m very good in the finance world, but I’m not a natural and I don’t play corporate politics. So why not frame building?

    In 2002 I started painting frames to satisfy my own needs with respect to collecting vintage bicycles. My father in law had made his living restoring corvettes so with his knowledge and help I was able to shorten that learning curve and turn it into a small restoration business. In 2003-2004 I approached multiple framebuilders to help learn how to build my first frame. They all seemed interested, but timing and having a second person in a one-man shop was an issue; or they seemed unstable. The following year at the first NAHBS I met Doug Fattic (who was starting up frame classes again) and signed on for his Spring 2006 class. The journey had begun. I had no goals about it all; no idea I'd ever build for others; I just did it.

    My life with bikes is not unlike what you'll find on many enthusiasts forums like this one. Nothing crazy to report other than the failed sidehack we tried to weld to a BMX frame in the 7th grade with no adult help. My Dad is an original founder of the Florida Freewheelers, the largest bike club in the state, so there were always racers around. We had some brothers named Stetina who slept in our garage as we were often host housing in the 70's when I was a kid. I’ve always had bikes; lots of them actually. I raced BMX for more than a few years when checkered Vans weren't old school and I remember and used Oakley's first products long before they made eyewear. I did some road racing in high school and college. I wrenched in a few shops. I ran the Student government bike shop up campus at the University of Florida until they replaced me with a filipino kid named Johan who was eligible for financial aid and a federal subsidy for his wage. It was all legal except for maybe the fake ID I made to buy beer with Andy Hampsten's name on it. I mention these things not to drop names or be cool, it's that bicycles have always been there for me; I've never been able to shake them (not that I'd even try).

    Fast forward to today. I build racing frames for road, track and cyclocross. 2009 was my first "live" year. I delivered a handful of frames after building for several years as a hobby. I was testing the water to decide if I wanted the added professional responsibility of more clients. I also sponsored several riders with frames in the FL cyclocross series. We took 2nd place in the elite category. 2010 will see delivery of up to 10-12 frames which is about my full capacity. I have two riders racing my frames again. I'm thrilled and grateful for their confidence. I'll be back racing again too, this time on my own bike. In a few years, I plan to field a small team rather than sponsor individual riders.

    I'd be remiss in not mentioning some of my influences and informal mentors. Richard Sachs has been a friend since before I started building and has guided me along, sometimes unknowingly. I own some of his best work and he's the standard in my eyes. Mike Zanconato is a guy that wore a suit and followed his dream. His business background is not unlike mine and I find myself very much aligned with his thinking on so many aspects of framebuilding. Mike has helped me quite a bit along the way. He's a real bro. Last, I should thank my wife for her support and guidance. Keri has the hands and soul of a real artist and through her, life is viewed through a different lens than mine.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share something about me. It's been a pleasure to remember where I've come from. I'd love to answer questions or comments.

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    SteveP is offline vSalon Legend
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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    jon,
    you race yrself and have a few guys racign yr bikes.

    is the feedback of any value in yr design?
    what info/ tips have you received from riders that you have/ will incorporate in future frames?

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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    Jonathan,

    there are things when I build a frame I don't like to do and their are others I wish I could do all day long. Do you have a process or a part that you feel stoked to accomplish or one you could do without?

    You knew it was coming....
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    Mike Zanconato

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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    jon, my bud of the best:

    will "green" be your signature color?
    why do you choose to paint your custom built's?
    & as we know --- your kinda the "daddy" of the young team colavita, with riders mounting cervelo's, storks and ---- can steel be competative....?

    all my best to you and i look forward to mountin one of yo steeds,

    brother ronnie

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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveP View Post
    jon,
    you race yrself and have a few guys racign yr bikes.

    is the feedback of any value in yr design?
    what info/ tips have you received from riders that you have/ will incorporate in future frames?
    Steve, yes it has been. Most of the racers down here race what I call the budget cross frames. The ones made in china that are more suited to touring and commuting than cross. My race bikes are very similar to my road bikes with just a few small changes to handle fatter tires.. They handle like race bikes should. That's come from the racers and my own experience.

    edit:

    to be specific about tips is that I will be running full housing down to the rear der. I'll also be using the pego richie cross bend chainstays. On our sandy courses low pressures are sometimes a must and I'd like a few mm's extra of clearence.

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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by zank View Post
    Jonathan,

    there are things when I build a frame I don't like to do and their are others I wish I could do all day long. Do you have a process or a part that you feel stoked to accomplish or one you could do without?

    You knew it was coming....
    Thanks Mike

    I like to mitre tubes, really. I'd do all day long. Some people try all sorts of ways to make it faster. I have no problem using a sharpie, saw and file and going to town.

    I'm pretty ADD so the finish work is what I dread. Since I'm the painter too it gives me twice the opporunity to swear.

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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    Jonathan,

    That was a great post. You answered most of the questions I had lined up before I had the chance to pose them! Thanks, I think.

    But here's one you didn't address: How did you know you were ready to start offering your frames (as you put it) "live"? Was there a particular event or moment that convinced you you were ready to transition from hobbyist to professional?
    GO!

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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by ron l edmiston View Post
    jon, my bud of the best: to all the fellow bro's ---- "who's the man...."

    seriously:
    will "green" be your signature color?
    why do you choose to paint your custom built's?
    & as we know --- your kinda the "daddy" of the young team colavita, with riders mounting cervelo's, storks and ---- can steel be competative....?

    all my best to you and i look forward to mountin one of yo steeds,

    brother ronnie
    oh jeez Ron, I love you too, but please don't call my bike a steed :)

    Lots to answer here...

    Green goes back to the football coach in high school that I took art with. He'd yell.."Greene, you should wear more green". Seriously, I picked the green you have seen because it really pops in the sun and everyone thinks it's cool that I'm Greene and the bikes are green. I personally like blues and get tired of always spraying green. Look for the race bikes this fall to maybe be inverted. White with green panels.

    I paint the frames myself because I like to keep the control local and I enjoy that part of the craft. Mike Z has opened my eyes though to doing it differently.

    Can steel be competitive? Oh jeez there is quite a bit of name calling on another forum about this. This is all imho. If one of my racers has any doubt they can win for any reason I don't really want them. It's that simple. On my team that I do part of the managing we have a kid who has won a state championship on a borrowed bike. We have kids who win on bikes that are 10 years old. So yeah a good modern light steel bike can be competitive and if you think you can win a race against my kids you better spend more time preparing for the relentless attacks than worrying about frame materials. I hope that didn't sound harsh, but racing really is just not about what's under you. With that said, i love nice bikes and get caught up in the equiptment too, but i try not to believe all the hype.

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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by davids View Post
    Jonathan,

    That was a great post. You answered most of the questions I had lined up before I had the chance to pose them! Thanks, I think.

    But here's one you didn't address: How did you know you were ready to start offering your frames (as you put it) "live"? Was there a particular event or moment that convinced you you were ready to transition from hobbyist to professional?
    David, I was about at 1000 words so i couldn't write it all down . it was a process, but if there was one moment it was when I delivered a bike to my dad for Father's days. As the builder of the frame I know if filler has gone from one end of the joint to the other, I know what condition the flux was in before I soaked it off, and I know how the wheels slide in the drops perfectly centered with no fuss. That bike did all that and it happened without much thought. I just built a frame and that was the result, as it should be. And to top it off when he got the bike he looked perfect on it. No extra spacers, the saddle was centered on the rails. It was a-z exactly what I was shooting for.

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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    oh jeez Ron, I love you too, but please don't call my bike a steed :)

    Lots to answer here...

    Green goes back to the football coach in high school that I took art with. He'd yell.."Greene, you should wear more green". Seriously, I picked the green you have seen because it really pops in the sun and everyone thinks it's cool that I'm Greene and the bikes are green. I personally like blues and get tired of always spraying green. Look for the race bikes this fall to maybe be inverted. White with green panels.

    I paint the frames myself because I like to keep the control local and I enjoy that part of the craft. Mike Z has opened my eyes though to doing it differently.

    Can steel be competitive? Oh jeez there is quite a bit of name calling on another forum about this. This is all imho. If one of my racers has any doubt they can't win for any reason I don't really want them. It's that simple. On my team that I do part of the managing we have a kid who has won a state championship on a borrowed bike. We have kids who win on bikes that are 10 years old. So yeah a good steel bike can be competitive and if you think you can win a race against my kids you better spend more time preparing for the relentless attacks than worrying about frame materials. I hope that didn't sound harsh, but racing really is just not about what's under you. With that said, i love nice bikes and get caught up in the equiptment too, but i try not to believe all the hype.
    "yo the man and always will be"
    won a few sheckels on a "steed" yesterday.... still oderin on me..

    luv yo reply ... "not the vehicle -- it's the engine and distributor..."

    ronnie

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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    Yo Jonathan - Where do you see frame building taking you in 5-years? 10? What's your dream?
    "It's better to not know so much than to know so many things that ain't so." -- Josh Billings, 1885

    A man with any character at all must have enemies and places he is not welcome—in the end we are not only defined by our friends, but also those aligned against us.


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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    Hey Jonathan, sorry to recycle my question to every frame builder, but I really enjoy the different answers that I get.

    We all know, or have some idea what makes your work similar to other made to measure/custom frames/bicycles, ie. Quality materials, tester joinery methods, attention to detail, and the delicate balance of producing a frame that is both esthetically pleasing and functional, but what makes your bike different?

    I think that it goes without saying that each of the builders in the “smoked out” thread create superior work, so without comparing yourself directly to another builder(s), in your opinion, what is it about your frames/bicycles that draws in clients? Another way of saying it is, what do feel that you do that makes your frames / bicycles unique in the made to measure world?

    Thanks
    Andy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Archibald View Post
    Yo Jonathan - Where do you see frame building taking you in 5-years? 10? What's your dream?
    This one will occupy space in my head for a few days, thanks.

    I am moving towards having my own team in the next 5 years. It's hard for me to stop what I'm doing though. For those that don't know I am part of team Colavita FL. We are a regional of the Pro Colavita team and focus on Junior development. I think we are the best Junior team in the south east right now. I've known the kids that race for us since they couldn't ride a straight line or do more than 20 miles. It's like family. I would like to have my own team though. 10 years there is a decent chance I'll have added to my skills. I'd like to TIG and do carbon.

    As far as long term I'd like to retire early in a small New England or Pacific NW town and become part of the flavor of that area. I dont know how long I'll build frames, but the burn to build something runs pretty deep. But for now life is focused on my career and on my 3 boys.

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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by dcpdpayne View Post
    Hey Jonathan, sorry to recycle my question to every frame builder, but I really enjoy the different answers that I get.

    We all know, or have some idea what makes your work similar to other made to measure/custom frames/bicycles, ie. Quality materials, tester joinery methods, attention to detail, and the delicate balance of producing a frame that is both esthetically pleasing and functional, but what makes your bike different?

    I think that it goes without saying that each of the builders in the “smoked out” thread create superior work, so without comparing yourself directly to another builder(s), in your opinion, what is it about your frames/bicycles that draws in clients? Another way of saying it is, what do feel that you do that makes your frames / bicycles unique in the made to measure world?

    Thanks
    Andy
    great question! I've thought about your question for 3-4 days and the answer is simple. Me. When i got into the investment business my first boss said to me, (looking at a 24 yo kid fresh out of college) "Jonathan, people will do business with you for two reason and two reasons only. "It will be because they trust you and they like you." This framebuilding stuff is very personal and we personify the bikes we purchase. I'm a young guy with a young family who loves racing and paling around with racers. I like my friends and am passionate about bikes. I have a dry, sometimes wicked and perverted sense of humor. I like good beer and I stand behind what I make. If any of that is appealing on some personal level I'm open for business.

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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    great question! I've thought about your question for 3-4 days and the answer is simple. Me. When i got into the investment business my first boss said to me, (looking at a 24 yo kid fresh out of college) "Jonathan, people will do business with you for two reason and two reasons only. "It will be because they trust you and they like you." This framebuilding stuff is very personal and we personify the bikes we purchase. I'm a young guy with a young family who loves racing and paling around with racers. I like my friends and am passionate about bikes. I have a dry sometimes wicked and perverted sense of humo. I like good beer and I stand behind what I make. If any of that is appealing on some personal level I'm open for business.

    jonathan -
    here are two words i reserve for my closest pals, and am pleased to use them on you atmo:
    don't change.

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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    Hey Jonathan, this is really great to read. What's the link to your pics? I want to see some of of these race bikes!

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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Ryan View Post
    Hey Jonathan, this is really great to read. What's the link to your pics? I want to see some of of these race bikes!
    thanks, you really set the bar. I'm not a prolific photographer but some pics reside here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/1139737...7623140354467/ and here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/1139737...7622824571347/. I should really blog the way you do.

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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    Looks Great!

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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    he can sure build bikes too --- we gota a "breath back," bunny lug witcomb...110& jonathan and 81% jpw - maybe .4% the colonel..

    i trust him with me life, wife and maybe me coins .... wife cause --- oh well can't "cipede..."

    jonathan, do you have future plans for buiding -- touring, randonneur or other than cx, road and fixed....

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    Default Re: Jonathan Greene Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by ron l edmiston View Post
    jonathan, do you have future plans for buiding -- touring, randonneur or other than cx, road and fixed....
    I'm not sure about touring bikes. I like weekend bike trips where the destination is somewhere with a nice bed, shower, warm meal and cold beer so a performance bike with the small changes it would take to carry two nights worth of clothes would be it. I would get jazzed about a rando bike because I see them as performance oriented. Ive got some ideas and if I get the time I may have something like this for myself this summer. I'm just not really sure what goes where on a touring bike.

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