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Thread: Hampsten Cycles

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by 72gmc View Post
    Steve, thank you for getting Smoked Out. I've had the good luck to meet you and always enjoy your style as reflected in your company and here on the salon.

    I have a pseudo-question that may be more musing than asking. It seems to me that from the content and photography on hampsten.com to the Strada Bianca to the rest of the fendered brilliance, there's as much Seattle/Northwest "aesthetic" to what you do as there is anything else. Is this my locally-colored glasses at work? Or is this northern clime, utilitarian component of your company intentional?
    Andy and I both being midwestern boys - from North Dakota, no less - and given that Seattle strikes many as a very midwestern city, I'd say it's no coincidence that our bikes reflect both ours and the local aesthetic. And pretty early on in the course of our company's history, while Andy wanted the Strada Bianca to be a great dirt-road bike - with the necessary clearances - I wanted that model to work well as a fendered bicycle for rainy climes such as ours, thus our ensuing fanatical attention to bridge heights and chainstay clearance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    Steve,

    here's the first of many questions. Every Hampco or Tsol that leaves your shop seems to be set up perfect. Paint and graphics as well as the component selection and lines all look super refined. Please pass some wisdom along how you keep your styling tight and focused, and how you influence the choices the client gets to make to have the end result look the way it does. Thanks
    Maybe a weird confluence of BikeCAD and good taste both on my part and that of my customers? I suppose there is a look that I'm shooting for and my assumption is that most customers want that look. 'Zat make sense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Archibald View Post
    Steve - Can you go into a little detail on who makes up Hampsten and who does what? I know there's you, wearer of many hats, but who else is on the team, what are their jobs, etc? Also, who dishes your delicious paint and what are your rules for such, i.e., how much input do you allow the customer? I ask this because all your bikes seem to follow a classic scheme and you appear to not fall prey to paint jobs that look like dayglo Nikes covered in hangover or 15 color fades and some folks just can't seem to help themselves. What's your secret?
    Brief answer is: exercise control, don't be a afraid to edit and make suggestions, sometimes ya gotta say no. And sometimes things still go horribly awry. But the other side of the coin is that I know our design, craftsmanship, construction and materials on each frame are top-notch - almost can't be beat. And I love our graphics, having them designed by Paul Barnes was a huge coup and really stepped up the overall look of our bikes. To pile on a fancy, over-the-top paint job would simply detract from what I want the focus to be: a perfect frame with great graphics.

    The long answer (from our website) is:

    Steve Hampsten works with customers on fitting and design, orders/ships, pays bills, wrangles animals, and does all the other stuff.

    Chase Blanton wrenches, assembles, and builds wheels.

    Martin Tweedy has been building lugged steel bicycle frames since 1996 when he took the two-week Framebuilding course at UBI. Martin and Steve worked together at match bicycle company in 1997-98 and have worked together on Hampsten Cycles since 1999. While at match, Martin built frames for Schwinn Paramount, Rivendell, and Beckman as well as the first few runs for Hampsten Cycles; Martin also worked for Dave Levy at Ti Cycles for two years after match closed. Mr. Tweedy builds all of our lugged frames and brazed forks.

    Max Kullaway works full-time fabricating and welding our in-house-built steel, stainless, and titanium frames and helps with design and planning. Max started with bicycles in 1993 at Rhygin, followed by Merlin for three years, then an eight-year stint welding at Seven Cycles. Upon moving to Seattle in 2005, Max has worked for Davidson Cycles, Gulassa & Co., and has a partnership (with Bernard Georges) called 333fab.

    Paint is by Russ at Air Art in Chico, CA.

    All photography by Michael Matisse

    Website design and admin by Martin Fernandez at Fresco Designs

    Andy’s day job – Cinghiale Cycling Tours – is where we go to relax and have fun in Italy.

    Andy here's an old rant, touching on paint colors:

    Here's an old post from a couple of years ago - these things get buried and with all the new orders coming in this month I'd like to draw a little bit of attention to my need to be controlling and to cement my reputation as "The Bike Company of No".

    Enjoy.

    Working with a customer on a new frame can be a balancing act: will the customer accept the type of frame or whole bike we like to do or will they want something different? Will they "get" it? Will I understand what the customer wants? Our ideas change, the market changes, and what our builders are willing to do can change. With these points in mind:

    Paint: we like single color paint jobs. We like the lug cutouts - if we're using lugs - to be filled a contrasting color. We're loving panels less and less as time goes by: hey, we'll do it if you ask but we're not wild about that look for Hampsten and Tournesol. And we don't offer lug striping, we eschew fades and purple, and Team 7-Eleven paint is the only multi-color scheme we're liking these days.

    We don't offer chrome or nickel plating of frames nor do we polish stainless - sorry. We don't offer custom carved lugs: Sachs "Rene Singer" is standard for Tournesol; "Issimo" for Team Pro. Peter Weigle, Curt Goodrich, and Sacha White are good sources for frames with carved lugs if you can deal with the wait.

    We've pretty much given up on shaped tubing (Columbus MAX being the exception) and carbon rears.

    Like our decals? Great, 'cause that's what we use and we have plenty of nice versions to chose from. We don't make custom decals and we prefer to not use yours. We'll put your name on the top tube if you kick and scream, maybe. Decals on head, down, and seat tube generally.

    Boy, this makes me sound like a grump - sorry to be so negative but I've had a few cases over the years where I wish I had laid all this out before we started talking. Some builders ask you what you want and try to build it for you. Others say: "This is what we do. We build great bikes and if you can work within our parameters then we have a deal."

    We're the second type of builder. We have a vision and we want customers who understand that vision. There is nothing wrong with wanting something else, whether that be shiny lugs, purple-to-gold fade, or carbon chainstays; we're just not going to be the builder you want in that case.

    Hey, thanks for reading!
    Steve Hampsten
    www.hampsten.blogspot.com
    "hey, we got grenades!"

  2. #22
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    Default re: Hampsten Cycles

    Martin 650B.jpgweb.jpgMartin ti.jpgBEERCAN27.jpg

    Lately I've been riding the Beercan on wet days, the white MAX bike on nice days. Incoming is a new ti bike with high-zoot wheels for next year - for my "fast" days (snicker).

    Martin is still working on getting the ultimate commuting bike - here are his latest iterations, one in 700c, the other in 650B.
    Last edited by hampco; 12-08-2010 at 01:30 PM.
    Steve Hampsten
    www.hampsten.blogspot.com
    "hey, we got grenades!"

  3. #23
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    Default re: Hampsten Cycles

    Hi Steve, not much to add that hasn't already been said. Every bike looks so damn perfect. One thing I will say though is I really admire the way you stick to your guns regarding what you want to build, the business, and everything that goes along with it. So here's a question. When you started, did you hold as firm a line as you do now? Or has that evolved over time?
    Mike Zanconato
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  4. #24
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    Default re: Hampsten Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by zank View Post
    Hi Steve, not much to add that hasn't already been said. Every bike looks so damn perfect. One thing I will say though is I really admire the way you stick to your guns regarding what you want to build, the business, and everything that goes along with it. So here's a question. When you started, did you hold as firm a line as you do now? Or has that evolved over time?
    Mike, it's all been an evolution. When we started this back in 1999 we had no idea what would work - I believe we were thinking batch-built steel bikes sold through bike shops and I had no idea what the Internet was. But we had our basic ideas pretty well set in stone for how we wanted the bikes to ride and what types of nonsense we would try to avoid. And I think there was a graphic sensibility at work even from the get-go that hasn't changed much.

    The bottom line for Andy and I for many years has been that we only build what we ride. We both ride road bikes and gravel-road bikes, so that's easy. I like a randonnee ride now and then, so those are allowed, and Andy has raced cyclocross so we'll do those when requested (but it's not our focus, obviously). We did a few TT bikes a while back, just because, and we've both raced track and I did one track frame but we'll probably not repeat those. City/shopping bikes, sure; mountain bikes never because there are too many people smarter than us making great mountain bikes.
    Steve Hampsten
    www.hampsten.blogspot.com
    "hey, we got grenades!"

  5. #25
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    I've enjoyed this thread so far, here's a slightly odd question. The placement of the down tube logo just isn't like that on other bicycles, the vertical rhythm is different. On purpose? Whose idea?

    When you worked on the design of my frame we had maybe 4 iterations. What's the norm?

    thanks again I love the bike as I'm sure I've told you a couple of times already.

  6. #26
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    Steve;
    While I love the way both of my Hampsten bikes ride with carbon forks, what would the difference be if I went with a steel fork on my next Hampco? Other than the minor weight difference, which I don't care about.
     

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by fixednwinter View Post
    Steve;
    While I love the way both of my Hampsten bikes ride with carbon forks, what would the difference be if I went with a steel fork on my next Hampco? Other than the minor weight difference, which I don't care about.
    I'm not Steve, but I did work with unwed mothers last night. A steel fork on your next Hampco will be even better because it will have that much more love in it.
    "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.


  8. #28
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    Default re: Hampsten Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Archibald View Post
    I'm not Steve, but I did work with unwed mothers last night. A steel fork on your next Hampco will be even better because it will have that much more love in it.
    That's good enough for me!

    Even better, you should know that the next Hampsten frame that I'm ordering will have MAX tubes. It was your MAX article on your Anvil site that re-ignited my interest in that tubeset a few years ago.
     

  9. #29
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    Steve,

    Thanks for being Smoked Out; it's wonderful to get to know more about you and your business.

    I really enjoy the look of your bikes; as others have mentioned they are quite balanced and elegant.

    I guess I really don't have to much to add but keep up the good work and I hope to met up someday in person rather than on the Interwebs.

    Conor
    Last edited by conorb; 12-08-2010 at 08:31 PM.

  10. #30
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    Default re: Hampsten Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by AntLockyer View Post
    I've enjoyed this thread so far, here's a slightly odd question. The placement of the down tube logo just isn't like that on other bicycles, the vertical rhythm is different. On purpose? Whose idea?

    When you worked on the design of my frame we had maybe 4 iterations. What's the norm?

    thanks again I love the bike as I'm sure I've told you a couple of times already.
    Ant, do you mean how the decal is rotated higher up the tube - towards the centerline - than some? I think that's mostly from some weird decal creep: my painter does it on the painted frames and I seem to do the same on the titanium frames I decal. I know it makes the bike a little hard to read when seen from the side - in photos, say - but when one is looking at the bike parked at the coffee shop or when someone is riding next to you then the decals seem correct. I may change it, I may not, but sharp eye for noticing.

    Quote Originally Posted by fixednwinter View Post
    Steve;
    While I love the way both of my Hampsten bikes ride with carbon forks, what would the difference be if I went with a steel fork on my next Hampco? Other than the minor weight difference, which I don't care about.
    Marco, to be totally honest, I can't tell any difference between a steel and a carbon fork. But when I'm riding a steel frame with a steel fork I'm thinking "Man, I LOVE the ride of this steel fork!" And I never think that about carbon forks - go figure. The Edge 1.0 fork with a MAX frame is my current favorite combo, just fyi, but a steel fork would be as sweet.

    Quote Originally Posted by conorb View Post
    Steve,

    Thanks for being Smoked Out; it's wonderful to get to know more about you and your business.

    I really enjoy the look of your bikes; as others have mentioned they are quite balanced and elegant.

    I guess I really don't have to much to add but keep up the good work and I hope to met up someday in person rather than on the Interwebs.

    Conor
    Conor, thanks for the kind words and I do look forward to meeting you in Austin. I love your bikes - the green MAX frame is a stunner!
    Steve Hampsten
    www.hampsten.blogspot.com
    "hey, we got grenades!"

  11. #31
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    Default re: Hampsten Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by hampco View Post
    Ant, do you mean how the decal is rotated higher up the tube - towards the centerline - than some? I think that's mostly from some weird decal creep: my painter does it on the painted frames and I seem to do the same on the titanium frames I decal. I know it makes the bike a little hard to read when seen from the side - in photos, say - but when one is looking at the bike parked at the coffee shop or when someone is riding next to you then the decals seem correct. I may change it, I may not, but sharp eye for noticing.
    That's exactly what I mean thanks for the answer.

  12. #32
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    Suppose I just gave you a blank check to ride your bicycle each day, made by your hand and enough free time to wander any place on earth for one month.
    You have no obligations except to arrive at the start and return for work one month later with enough working brain cells in order to continue leading what is the Hampsten Cycles charge as follows: where do you start/finish, describe what bicycle/details, bring a friend or not, what is your "mode" eg camp in a tent or Inn-to-Inn or "followed daily by my man Singh driving the Man-O-Van towing the Lambo for eve. frolic. Last, will a bail bondsman be arranged for ahead of time?

    Yer a pal to me. Thank you. Josh

  13. #33
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    It was thought that a man of the renaissance should:

    Be able to defend himself with a variety of weapons, especially the sword.
    Be able to play several musical instruments.
    Be able to paint and output other works of art.
    Be forever interested in advancing knowledge and science.
    Be able to engage in debates regarding issues such as philosophy and ethics.
    Be a skilled author and poet.

    This, and

    To be able to drink copiously
    To be able to cook wonderfully
    To be able to design transcendently
    To be able to live humblely
     

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Too Tall View Post
    Suppose I just gave you a blank check to ride your bicycle each day, made by your hand and enough free time to wander any place on earth for one month.
    You have no obligations except to arrive at the start and return for work one month later with enough working brain cells in order to continue leading what is the Hampsten Cycles charge as follows: where do you start/finish, describe what bicycle/details, bring a friend or not, what is your "mode" eg camp in a tent or Inn-to-Inn or "followed daily by my man Singh driving the Man-O-Van towing the Lambo for eve. frolic. Last, will a bail bondsman be arranged for ahead of time?

    Yer a pal to me. Thank you. Josh
    Probably a MAX bike with an unlimited supply of Challenge 28mm tires... here's what Jenny and I have planned for next summer and it sounds pretty close to what you describe: arrive in Pisa, mosey down to Castegneto Carducci and spend a few days acclimating to the food and different tannins. Follow with a one-week Cinghiale Tour with my brother, focusing on the variety of meats and vegetables available that time of year and which Sangiovese-based beverage do we like the most? There will be copious riding as well.

    Following the tour, maybe a few days on a beach on Elba, which will just get us warmed up for our invasion of Corsica. On Corsica we should have a chance to compare and contrast the differing varietals and porc-derived dishes from those in Tuscany, as well as rating the quality of sand on the beaches. A typical day should look like this:

    Wake up slowly

    breakfast

    2-3 hour ride

    a heavy lunch

    siesta/read/beach

    cocktails

    dinner!

    walk around town and sneer at other americans

    bed

    Rinse/lather/repeat

    We finish our little bacchanal in Paris where the liver undergoes a final intensive workout consisting of repeated treatments of foie gras and Calvados.

    Then home, tanned, rested, and fattened.
    Steve Hampsten
    www.hampsten.blogspot.com
    "hey, we got grenades!"

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roman View Post
    It was thought that a man of the renaissance should:

    Be able to defend himself with a variety of weapons, especially the sword.
    Be able to play several musical instruments.
    Be able to paint and output other works of art.
    Be forever interested in advancing knowledge and science.
    Be able to engage in debates regarding issues such as philosophy and ethics.
    Be a skilled author and poet.

    This, and

    To be able to drink copiously
    To be able to cook wonderfully
    To be able to design transcendently
    To be able to live humblely
    well, i'm not much with music but i can defend myself with puns, limericks, and aphorisms - and i keep a mean blog
    Steve Hampsten
    www.hampsten.blogspot.com
    "hey, we got grenades!"

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    Default re: Hampsten Cycles

    Great read! It must be something to be able to look back and think about the other greats you've once shared shop space with. But what I really want to know is what's your favorite dish to make at home and do you prefer wine or beer with your meals? Thanks- Chris

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    Default re: Hampsten Cycles

    Steve:

    What is your favorite black and white photo on the wall of the men's restroom at the copper gate?
     

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dornbox View Post
    Great read! It must be something to be able to look back and think about the other greats you've once shared shop space with. But what I really want to know is what's your favorite dish to make at home and do you prefer wine or beer with your meals? Thanks- Chris
    Either Penne Puttanesca or Spaghettini Bolognese, maybe with a small salad. Or a bunch of meat and veggies on the grill, or maybe a nice lasagna. Last night I took some leftover pot roast, cut it into 1" (2.54mm) cubes, hot pan with olive oil, then oven for 30 minutes - crunchy/carmely goodness, served on spaghetti with marinara and pecorino and green beans and some Santa Rosa (CA) blend red wine. It did not disappoint.

    And I usually like wine with meals, beer for the in-between times, unless I'm in a pub eating - then it's beer. Usually an IPA, maybe a Pilsner, or something wintery this time of year.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roman View Post
    Steve:

    What is your favorite black and white photo on the wall of the men's restroom at the copper gate?
    That would be on the ceiling, Bob.
    Steve Hampsten
    www.hampsten.blogspot.com
    "hey, we got grenades!"

  19. #39
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    Default re: Hampsten Cycles

    As a current future customer, I'd like to ask:

    Is a regular steel SB a feasible everyday commuter in the pacific NW? Or is it really better to go with Ti (or stainless)?

    Any chance of getting Kent E to make stems to match his ridiculously beautiful seatposts?

    Thanks.
     

  20. #40
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    Default re: Hampsten Cycles

    Oh yeah, how does one get a pair of the wild boar socks you talk about on your blog?

    Thanks again!
     

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