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Thread: Foresta Frames

  1. #41
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by conorb View Post
    Hey Craig,

    I was wondering how you might see your frames/designs evolving given your extensive art background.

    Is there a certain aesthetic you're trying to "get to" or is it more on a frame by frame basis?

    I guess what I mean is that as you evolve as a builder how do you see tying it all together? Or do you? Is there a need from an design point-of-view to coalesce everything?

    I'm probably not making any sense. Sorry.

    Conor
    Makes sense to me Conor. You hit on the crux of the biscuit. I believe a sense of "Unity" is what it's all about. Bikes are so precise and tidy and the differences in design are small. Yet it's a package of details that make the whole, and the whole has to perform a function. For this reason I don't think building bikes is really like art in many ways. There are right ways of doing things, or all you have is a concept bike. Above all I believe form should follow function.

    I see glimpses of what I'm after, but I'm not there yet. I know I like race bikes. There are some design elements I know I like, others I'll never do again. I just keep tweaking areas and trying new things. Initially I wasn't attracted to socket drop-outs. After I did a few sets I saw they have some unique advantages and I have now taken a liking to them. I've found sometimes I know what I don't like after I've tried it. I've over used ornamental holes, cut lugs I don't like, used way more stainless than I like, etc. I guess you have to try it all first, then decide on it's merits. And when everything is new it's easy to get overwhelmed and blinded. I think I'm heading in a minimalist direction. Small details, smaller lugs, very little stainless, classic lines, unique paint. Most of all I want to get the pieces in the right spots so it looks and rides like a race bike. Sometimes I feel like I'm circling it with a slow spiral. Frank Lloyd Wright did a good job.
    Thanks for asking, I hope this helps. I know you've thought a lot about it.
    Craig
     

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Ryan View Post
    Makes sense to me Conor. You hit on the crux of the biscuit. I believe a sense of "Unity" is what it's all about. Bikes are so precise and tidy and the differences in design are small. Yet it's a package of details that make the whole, and the whole has to perform a function. For this reason I don't think building bikes is really like art in many ways. There are right ways of doing things, or all you have is a concept bike. Above all I believe form should follow function.

    I see glimpses of what I'm after, but I'm not there yet. I know I like race bikes. There are some design elements I know I like, others I'll never do again. I just keep tweaking areas and trying new things. Initially I wasn't attracted to socket drop-outs. After I did a few sets I saw they have some unique advantages and I have now taken a liking to them. I've found sometimes I know what I don't like after I've tried it. I've over used ornamental holes, cut lugs I don't like, used way more stainless than I like, etc. I guess you have to try it all first, then decide on it's merits. And when everything is new it's easy to get overwhelmed and blinded. I think I'm heading in a minimalist direction. Small details, smaller lugs, very little stainless, classic lines, unique paint. Most of all I want to get the pieces in the right spots so it looks and rides like a race bike. Sometimes I feel like I'm circling it with a slow spiral. Frank Lloyd Wright did a good job.
    Thanks for asking, I hope this helps. I know you've thought a lot about it.
    Craig
    I call this
    finding your flavour
    and it is always evolving
    and will never stop
    Cheers Dazza
    The rock star is dying. And it's a small tragedy. Rock stars have blogs now. I have no use for that kind of rock star.
    Nick Cave

    www.llewellynbikes.com
    The usual Facebook page
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/llewellyncustombicycles/
    Darrell Llewellyn McCulloch

  3. #43
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Dazza View Post
    I call this
    finding your flavour
    and it is always evolving
    and will never stop
    Flavour, that's a good word it.

    I kept the English spelling, it makes more sense that way.

    Conor

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Ryan View Post
    Small details
    Flavour un-Flav


  5. #45
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    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), what is it about your frames/bicycles that draws (or will draw) in clients?

    Thanks
    Andy
     

  6. #46
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by dcpdpayne View Post
    We all know, or have some idea what makes your work is 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), what is it about your frames/bicycles that draws (or will draw) in clients?

    Thanks
    Andy
    Good question Andy, thanks for asking. It's an issue I've been thinking about a lot. I think I got closer when I planned the bike I built for NAHBS. Right now it's the closest to what I want to build and the direction I'd like to go. In short, a race bike built to go anywhere and perform well. Clearance for up to 28mm tires, sensible geometry for a fit rider, minimal lugwork that is worked subtly, level top tube, a good amount of trail, minimal stainless, probably just the crown, no weird braze-ons, a nicely raked fork over it's length, nothing that doesn't need to be there. Paint that is unique, yet hopefully simply stated. And hopefully, fits the intended rider perfectly. At this time I'm not even thinking about mountain bikes, mixte's, tandems, other wheel sizes, or competition track frames, or even fillet brazing. I'm hoping I can learn most by narrowing my focus for the short term. I would like to build a cc bike. In saying the above I realize I could be cutting out huge segments of the market. But it's where I'm starting.

    My priorities are to:
    Get fit right and the whole into one.
    Keep craftsmanship as high as possible.
    Refine details. As Eric said above, it's all in the details.
    Work on my paint skill and design.

    I just bought 14 sets of tubes and 10 lugsets. I need to build intensively. This summer will be 100% frame. I'm in. Except when Susan makes me mow the grass.
    Thanks! Craig
     

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    What is the signature functional design element of your frames?
     

  8. #48
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by jsrieck View Post
    What is the signature functional design element of your frames?
    I think this early the only thing I can claim is the name, but I like that a lot!
     

  9. #49
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    At this time I'm not even thinking about mountain bikes, mixte's, tandems, other wheel sizes, or competition track frames, or even fillet brazing. I'm hoping I can learn most by narrowing my focus for the short term. I would like to build a cc bike. In saying the above I realize I could be cutting out huge segments of the market. But it's where I'm starting.
    Have you developed a solution for dealing with a customer that love's your work and wants to include those above options for you to build for them?
    Freddy
     

  10. #50
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Freddy View Post
    Have you developed a solution for dealing with a customer that love's your work and wants to include those above options for you to build for them?
    Freddy

    Maybe someday I will branch out in more directions. Right now I'm staying focused and trying to increase my skill. I believe it's the best way for me to improve. In the meantime, I'd send them to who I thought would be the best fit for them. It is a very good point Freddy, and something I will have to deal with.
     

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    Well, that is the correct answer if I were doing it.
    Networking skills between other builders that were skilled and comfortable to send the customer to is how I did it.
    Being focused on what you want is the important part.

    Your honesty is to be admired.
    Thanks Freddy
     

  12. #52
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    Nice story Craig,

    I can't imagine the amount of time and work you spend on your frames, not to mention the amount of money in materials. I am also impressed with how you turned your garage into a bike building shop, and adapted the tools you had to get the job done. Remember the frame I purchased at the police auction and we built it up with components to make a bike? That was a lot of fun, lot easier than building the frame.
    10kwsolar
     

  13. #53
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by 10kwsolar View Post
    Nice story Craig,

    I can't imagine the amount of time and work you spend on your frames, not to mention the amount of money in materials. I am also impressed with how you turned your garage into a bike building shop, and adapted the tools you had to get the job done. Remember the frame I purchased at the police auction and we built it up with components to make a bike? That was a lot of fun, lot easier than building the frame.
    10kwsolar
    Thank you. You've expressed part of the reason this business is so hard to succeed in. There are many, many builders who've built one, two, maybe three frames, but when they realize how long and how many it will take to get good they make a choice. Either turn frames loose with no insurance or business structure, or continue on until the time is right. It's a struggle every new builder faces.
     

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    Congratulations on your LLC status! Now that you’re up and running as a company what steps are you going to take to advertise your work. I’m pretty sure that there are quite a few folks in the Salon that would love to get their hands on some of your work but beyond that how do you intend to reach your target market?
    "I think I know what military fame is; to be killed on the field of battle and have your name misspelled in the newspapers."

  15. #55
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by dcpdpayne View Post
    Congratulations on your LLC status! Now that you’re up and running as a company what steps are you going to take to advertise your work. I’m pretty sure that there are quite a few folks in the Salon that would love to get their hands on some of your work but beyond that how do you intend to reach your target market?
    A very good question, up and running! Ha, don't I wish. Getting the paperwork in to establish an LLC was a huge first step, and I took it knowing it would prompt me to get going.
    So far...
    -I'm in for Austin as a new builder. I'll remain a new guy until I get another 30 or so frames made, but this time I can promote my product, and have it clearly defined.
    -Working on a website, which won't launch for a bit yet. I expect a few weeks work yet.
    -Continue to blog my work, and when the time is right use it to direct people to my main site. I look to Garro as my role model for this, except I can't fish.
    -I ride with a local group, and hope my first sale comes from someone local.
    -Currently, I'm planning on three primary models of framesets. All steel lugged with a steel fork. Options will be limited. I plan on sticking with a relatively small niche where I am comfortable and able to control growth. Then go up from there in the future. Of course, this isn't finalized yet. I've heard from more than one veteran builder, "pick a lugset." I'm still thinking this one out.
    -Susan and I have been going round and round about either moving or building a better shop space. We hope to reach a decision soon, but are still thinking.
    -I do know, I'm not launching my business with low ball prices. I'm going to place myself in the market and sell for what I perceive my product's worth and cost to be.
    Craig
     

  16. #56
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    What are your 3 primary models going to be? All some sort of road bike, or any track or mountain bikes in there? Are you going to do stock colors with bling optional paint schemes?
    Eric Doswell, aka Edoz
    Summoner of Crickets
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  17. #57
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by edoz View Post
    What are your 3 primary models going to be? All some sort of road bike, or any track or mountain bikes in there? Are you going to do stock colors with bling optional paint schemes?
    This is all up in the air at the moment. I don't want to get specific because I'm not sure what I say will be what I end up with. Even with the paint. But I'm working on it pretty heavy. I do know I will offer up definite models. Choice beyond those will be limited but possible.
     

  18. #58
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    congrats Craig.
     

  19. #59
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    As mentioned earlier, I had formed Foresta Frames into a LLC. I am now fully insured and heavily engaged in the process of refining my business plan. After reading Dave Kirks posts and The Goal, I have rethought my original plan and developed a model suited to my abilities and goals as a framebuilder. While I have no plans to quit my day job, I am still approaching my business as if it was my only gig. The business must support itself. I am supplying starter funds, but keeping them minimal and very selective. Money spent over the years to date on tubes, lugs, tools, etc., are considered education money; it's what it cost to get where I am today. While I can never recoup that, I can control future expenses.

    The first step in my plan is to build a workshop for creating my Foresta Frames. This will allow me to separate my personal items from business ones. It will be just big enough to suit my needs, no bigger - 12' x 16.5' or 200 square feet. Small, but high in quality and made with purpose. I will be able to build and paint which is all I need. In the process of discovery I evaluated the importance of tools and processes. What I will need is a building area complete with jig, surface and vise along with an area for a paint booth.

    I am currently exploring pre-paint options, and would love to see an excuse not to get a blast booth. All other equipment is extraneous. Looking at the the business models of Dave Kirk, Dave Wages and Richard Sachs, I feel that I am heading in a successful direction. I am focusing on hand building one frame at a time and jettisoning any equipment I do not have room for.

    Susan is working on a web site for me, and it has been under many revisions. In the meantime, I am building prototype frames which will represent the core of my work. Building a shop and moving will cut into bike building time, so everything is moving very slowly. I'll keep you posted with updates, and I welcome your thoughts as I grow.

    Craig
     

  20. #60
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    Default Re: Foresta Frames

    Way to go, Craig. You've obviously worked very hard to get to this point, and you will do well. I'm looking forward to seeing you with a big booth at a future NAHBS:) Is your new shop going to be at home?
    Eric Doswell, aka Edoz
    Summoner of Crickets
    http://edozbicycles.wordpress.com/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/edozbicycles/
    In Before the Lock

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