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Thread: Kirk Frameworks

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    dave -

    good to see you here atmo.

    when making a frame, tell us who's more important to please, the client or dave kirk?

    put another way, are the clients just a necessary evil (or just a necessity) so that your
    quest to make and improve these fine frames has a name and a face until, that is, the
    next one is assembled?

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    dave -

    good to see you here atmo.

    when making a frame, tell us who's more important to please, the client or dave kirk?

    put another way, are the clients just a necessary evil (or just a necessity) so that your
    quest to make and improve these fine frames has a name and a face until, that is, the
    next one is assembled?
    Good question.

    Frankly I think the client is easier and more likely to be pleased as they are getting something new, excited and shiny. On the other hand it's much more difficult to please myself and I'm rarely 100% pleased. While of course it's important that the client be pleased in the long run it's more important that I'm pleased with my work otherwise I risk loosing interest and pride in my work and then the rest of it would then matter little. I doubt any of us are builders as a way to get rich so the satisfaction needs to come in other forms................ like pride in your work and the feeling that you are continually getting better. Those things pay the harder to pay 'emotional bills' that money can never cover.

    I am grateful for the customers taking bikes otherwise my house would have 63 cm bikes everywhere.

    Thanks for the question.

    dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  3. #23
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Kirk View Post
    Good question.

    Frankly I think the client is easier and more likely to be pleased as they are getting something new, excited and shiny. On the other hand it's much more difficult to please myself and I'm rarely 100% pleased. While of course it's important that the client be pleased in the long run it's more important that I'm pleased with my work otherwise I risk loosing interest and pride in my work and then the rest of it would then matter little. I doubt any of us are builders as a way to get rich so the satisfaction needs to come in other forms................ like pride in your work and the feeling that you are continually getting better. Those things pay the harder to pay 'emotional bills' that money can never cover.

    I am grateful for the customers taking bikes otherwise my house would have 63 cm bikes everywhere.

    Thanks for the question.

    dave


    cool
    thanks
    atmo

    so - what about the future, immediate or otherwise?
    where do your thoughts re growth and evolution lead you?
    the same frame quotas but at higher margins?
    a second line?
    branded goods?
    if you're like many of us, the 24/7 thing gets old, and then you are left with whatever you can make with those 10 fingers before the 5pm drinks are served.
    how will you reconcile with the one man-one frame thing as the years pass atmo?

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    i had the good fortune to sponsor colin chapman and mario andretti with their winning lotus JPS --- you remind me of colin --- very chassis and suspension conscious...
    can you parallel / compare your building style with colin's ...

    ronnie
     

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    have you ever thought of building out of Ti? The Terraplane design seems ideal for the material. Maybe you and your buddy Carl could collaborate on the project.

    I appreciate the form > function you follow.
     

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Kirk View Post
    Good question.

    Frankly I think the client is easier and more likely to be pleased as they are getting something new, excited and shiny.

    dave
    I call this the Ferrari factory, you've lusted after one for so long that you couldn't possibly say anything bad about it.

    Have you ever thought about building the terraplane in Ti? the design seems well suited to the material. Maybe you and your buddy Carl could collaborate on the project.
     

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Dave can you post some pics of diagrams, drawings or pics that represent the symmetry in your work. I'm taking a safe leap assuming you are aware of this wink wink. For some yrs. I've admired your passion to line up visual elements thruout a frame and it's that sort of complete vision which sets you apart.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    .............

    so - what about the future, immediate or otherwise?
    where do your thoughts re growth and evolution lead you?
    the same frame quotas but at higher margins?
    a second line?
    branded goods?
    if you're like many of us, the 24/7 thing gets old, and then you are left with whatever you can make with those 10 fingers before the 5pm drinks are served.
    how will you reconcile with the one man-one frame thing as the years pass atmo?
    Another thoughtful question.

    If things go well in the future I hope to be doing much the same thing I am doing today. I do not want to grow at all. I've been part of more than one growth scheme and in the end it's never been fun or profitable for me. Once there is more than one person making the decisions compromises need to be made and after spending so long making those compromises, and then tasting life without them, I'm never going back. I will remain a one man shop for the duration. In my perfect world I'd be able to afford to do more of the design work that I love. I have done a bit of this as time and money have allowed (my own chainstays, seat stays and rear dropouts) but have many ideas waiting in the wings for the time to be right. I look forward to having more of the ideas see the light of day so that I can continue to make the bikes more like they should be in my mind's eye.

    Cycling has been my life for the past 30 years and while I love it I agree with you, the 24/7 thing can get old. There was a time when I would build all day, come home and rush out on the bike to train, eat, draw ideas, call friends and talk bikes and then get up early and start the process all over again. On weekends it was training or driving to/from races. This was unsustainable and not healthy for me in the long run. I now work my 40-50 hours a week, ride when the weather and mood strike me ( 4-5 days a week during the summer) and work on and race my car. I never work after hours or on weekends and I never answer the phone outside of biz hours. It was hard to learn to do this but vital for the long term.

    The important thing for me is that I continue to enjoy the process and I still love walking up to the bench everyday. As long as that remains true and I'm physically able I'll continue to walk up to the bench. I'm only 47 years old so I have more than a few years in front of me.

    Dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  9. #29
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by ron l edmiston View Post
    i had the good fortune to sponsor colin chapman and mario andretti with their winning lotus JPS --- you remind me of colin --- very chassis and suspension conscious...
    can you parallel / compare your building style with colin's ...

    ronnie
    Ok - do tell............ how were you involved with the Lotus JPS? Very cool.

    You have paid me a larger compliment than you know with your comparing me to Chapman. I'm not sure it's apt but I'll take it.

    The thing I take from Chapman is that the best designs are simple and simple design is the hardest to achieve. The best designs are as simple as possible but no more so and they end up being the lightest and most efficient. One place where Chapman's work and mine differ is his willingness to make things so light that they end up being fragile. I don't do fragile for customers. I ride lots of stuff that would/will never see the light of day due to it's weight or fragility but that is my own personal risk. I don't think others, let alone paying customers, should do my R&D. Chapman was more than willing to send out stuff that he suspected might not make it in the long run.

    I like to think that Chapman would approve of my Triple F dropout design. It uses as little material as possible and requires as little labor to build into a frame as possible making it not only light and strong but also cheap in the long run for the builder. IMO good design leaves nothing left to be removed and the Triple F certainly does that.

    I've had the rare pleasure of owning some of Chapman's work - a 1966 Lotus Cortina and it was simply brilliant. I would sometimes crack a good beer and 'watch' it sit there and study it's design. Brilliantly simple and simply brilliant. I wish I still owned it.

    Dave




    s2.jpgs1.jpg
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by abbeyQ View Post
    I call this the Ferrari factory, you've lusted after one for so long that you couldn't possibly say anything bad about it.

    Have you ever thought about building the terraplane in Ti? the design seems well suited to the material. Maybe you and your buddy Carl could collaborate on the project.
    Thanks for the note.

    I agree with your 'Ferrari factor' comment. There are certainly many good examples of that in many different products, bikes included.

    In a past life I built with Ti a good bit. That might be overstating it - I designed for ti a good bit and others would do the welding for me. My patented Serotta DKS design was of course Ti and I did most of the design work on Serotta's Ti MTB's.

    That said I don't love Ti. I like it just fine but don't love it and there are others out there that do love it and do such a good job with it that I feel my efforts might be more redundant than unique. But the real core reason is I like working with steel...... I like it a lot. Everything from the way it feels and works to the way it smells. I never tire of it. When they make Ti feel and smell more like steel I'm in.

    As you might know I worked with my friend Carl on and off for a number of years and he and I are share at least one thing in common and that is we both like to be in charge and control our own destiny. Something about too many cooks in the kitchen. Now instead or working together Carl and I support each other as much as possible and at the same time give each other endless shit. It's a good relationship.

    Dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  11. #31
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Dave,

    The frame you built for me that I raced a couple of seasons on was functionally perfect in every way. The seatstay tops though is where my eyes would always wind up. Out of all the influences I have those stays are near the top and I think I could recognize a Kirk without paint because of them as if they were a signature item. Is that your intention or do you reject the idea that one part of your frames could be a "money shot"?
     

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    Dave,

    The frame you built for me that I raced a couple of seasons on was functionally perfect in every way. The seatstay tops though is where my eyes would always wind up. Out of all the influences I have those stays are near the top and I think I could recognize a Kirk without paint because of them as if they were a signature item. Is that your intention or do you reject the idea that one part of your frames could be a "money shot"?
    I love seat clusters. 4 tubes coming together in plain sight leaves a good bit of room for self-expression. I do two types of seat stay mounts, side tacks like your bike has and fast backs and I want both of those to have a uniquely 'Kirk" look to them. I'd like them to be recognized as my work.

    There are some areas where leaving your own personal mark lessens the product - how can you improve on the basic lines of a Richieissimo lug? Best to not mess with it and let it's simple beauty stand. But seat stay attachments can come from nothing. I get to make them from scratch and if I do a good job they complement the lug they are hooked to.

    I don't necessarily reject the one part money shot idea but I favor the idea that the bike as a whole is the money shot and when one looks closer they see that the one big shot is made up of many little ones that draw you in.

    Dave



    stay2.jpgstay1.jpg
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  13. #33
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Tall View Post
    Dave can you post some pics of diagrams, drawings or pics that represent the symmetry in your work. I'm taking a safe leap assuming you are aware of this wink wink. For some yrs. I've admired your passion to line up visual elements thruout a frame and it's that sort of complete vision which sets you apart.
    Oh Tall one - someone I can finally literally look up to.

    I don't necessarily think of my work as symmetrical and it may be just semantics but I like to think balanced. I strive for balanced design in fit, handling and aesthetics. Fit and handling balance are next to impossible to take photos of and I certainly have no good photos at hand but I do have photos of aesthetic balance.

    I look for uniformity and balance of line and in many cases that ends up being something that is in a way symmetrical. Sometimes less symmetrical and just plain easy to look at. We humans like things that are balanced and even but if it is too even it becomes predictable and boring. IMO the look needs just a bit of tension to really work. Something that pushes a given aspect of the design to draw us in. This is what I aim for with my look.

    For me it's often hard to describe but easy to recognize. It just has the 'look'.

    Make sense?

    Dave

    P.S. I didn't make 'Pearl' our manx cat but she sure is both symmetrical and balanced!


    sym3.jpgsym5.jpgsym6.jpgsym1.jpgsym7.jpgsym4.jpgsym8.jpgsym2.jpgsymx.jpgsymy.jpg
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  14. #34
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Question: as the designer of the terraplane, could you describe the decision making process that would make a client choose it over straight stays?

    I ask this because your bikes are one of the bikes i'd like to part money with and I'm intrigued about the pros of the design but puzzled why they are not on your personal bike.

    Tim

    Thank you for being an active member here.
     

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by timto View Post
    Question: as the designer of the terraplane, could you describe the decision making process that would make a client choose it over straight stays?

    I ask this because your bikes are one of the bikes i'd like to part money with and I'm intrigued about the pros of the design but puzzled why they are not on your personal bike.

    Tim

    Thank you for being an active member here.

    Yo Tim,

    Thanks for the question.

    When client comes to me and asks me to build them a bike they most often have an interest in the Terraplane stays or they don't. If I think the client would benefit from having them I'm sure to mention them as an option but I never push them on anyone. I fully realize that the look is very non-traditional and polarizing and that some people just don't like it. No matter how well the bike fits, handles and rides if you don't like what you see when you walk up to it to start a ride you will enjoy the whole thing less.

    Sometimes the Terraplane option will give little to no benefit to a given rider. If you live someplace flat and with perfect pavement you will see little benefit from them. If however you ride someplace with chipseal pavement, expansion joints, steep hills with fast corners concrete slab road surfaces.....etc then the Terraplane option can give you a real advantage in stability and the ability to flow through corners without backing off. I'm a snowboarder in the winter and there is nothing better than setting the edge and leaning over until your hips drag the snow while carving a trench into the ground. The closer a bike gets to that the better IMO and the Terraplane gives that same hooked to the ground feeling. It's calm and secure like a proper sports car suspension - you feel what is happening with the tire on the road because it's in a more consistent contact with it so you can push harder and deeper than you would on a regular bike or in a Camry.

    As is most often the case my personal bikes are design prototypes and are not necessarily reflective of the work I do for others. My personal bike is the first JKS prototype and when I designed and built it I wanted it to be a test of the tubes and numbers as much as possible and not have anything else factor in. So I gave it straight stays. I tested it, sans paint, for about a year before offering it to the public. At some point I was doing a group ride in part to promote my work and I realized that I didn't have a painted bike to call my own and in a rush to get ready I had JB paint the prototype as it sat. I've thought of changing the stays out but really want to hold onto that first JKS as it was originally built for posterity. This summer I hope to make free time to build myself V2 of the JKS and it will have the Terraplane stays and few other changes to test. I look forward to it.

    Thanks again for the question.

    Dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  16. #36
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    dave the dropouts rock atmo.
    mad props, huh.
    i read somewhere (corrections welcome) that you'll market these only to framebuilders who have a liability package.
    you're to be commended for taking this stance atmo.
    this should be standard industry practice.
    a big franklin county shout out to you.

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    dave the dropouts rock atmo.
    mad props, huh.
    i read somewhere (corrections welcome) that you'll market these only to framebuilders who have a liability package.
    you're to be commended for taking this stance atmo.
    this should be standard industry practice.
    a big franklin county shout out to you.

    Thanks.

    Yes the drops will only be available to those who can present proof of insurance. This is for two main reasons - first is that the end consumer deserves the protection as it's the right thing to do and if I can influence that at all its a good thing.

    The second reason is to protect my own butt. Lawyers will go deep and wide and I like my house.

    I too would like to see more of this and would like shows like NAHBS and others require and CHECK for insurance before the check is accepted.

    It's the right thing to do.

    Dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  18. #38
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    yo dave get a hand towel for this one atmo -

    you came up through the ranks of production in a house, and at a time when said house was revered
    for its links to the sport (sadly, they pissed that away; sorry for the editorial atmo). you worked at all
    the stations, became a go-to guy there for many of the team frames, and toiled for a good long time in
    relative anonymity. according to my opinion, your lineage has provided you with the most complete set
    of chops of any north american framebuilder currently working. the kind of experience you have runs
    circles around the average cat who toils one-at-a-time in the typical internet era frame shop. few, if any,
    will ever have the miters, the slots, the alignment checks, or even the personal contacts you had before
    you set out on your own. it just can't happen like that anymore atmo. any framebuilder who is not jealous
    of your background should be. you go dave atmo.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Hi Dave,

    You've said that your impeccable customer service, the "whole Golden Rule thing", stems from your being on the customer side of the interaction....while getting custom skis, snowboards, and the like. Any items non-cycling or non-automobile-related that you're currently lusting after....and whose customer service has pleased/inspired you along the way? Who is Kirk-worthy?

    Thanks,

    Noah
     

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by big shanty View Post
    Hi Dave,

    You've said that your impeccable customer service, the "whole Golden Rule thing", stems from your being on the customer side of the interaction....while getting custom skis, snowboards, and the like. Any items non-cycling or non-automobile-related that you're currently lusting after....and whose customer service has pleased/inspired you along the way? Who is Kirk-worthy?

    Thanks,

    Noah

    Hey Noah - Thanks for the note.

    I worked at a shop for a few years when I was a young man that had absolutely top notch service and much or what I learned about how to treat a customer came from my time there working under a guy named Dan. Dan always knew how to make the customer feel appreciated and welcome and they almost always left the store feeling that they got a bargain regardless of the price. He had a knack. He taught me how a customer and another person should be treated - just like you'd like to be.

    Dan also had a knack of knowing when to say 'enough' and stood behind his people until the bitter end. I can recall a guy coming in with his whole family and they all needed new clothing and hardgoods to go skiing in Aspen for a week. The entire group was loud and rude and nothing was enough for them. We had to ignore other customers so that we could wait on this family just to keep them quiet.

    After a few hours of abuse the dad was at the counter to settle the bill. It came to something like $7000 for everything - a good sale in anyone's book but it was hard work. The guy looks up on the wall and sees a baseball hat and asks how much it is. Dan tells him the price and the guy says Dan should toss it in seeing as he's given us so much business. Dan politely told him he couldn't do that and asked him if he should add it to the bill.

    The guy starts getting loud and wants Dan to give him the hat and then Dan had had enough. He tells the guy that he and his family have been loud and rude to his people all afternoon and that this was the final straw and told him to leave and that he was refusing to sell anything to him. It took balls like coconuts to make that call but it was the right one and I learned a valuable lesson. In my own professional life I've had to do similar things only a few times but seeing it done with such dignity was, and still is, inspirational.

    So it's very, very important to me to give the best customer service I can but it is also a two way street and sometimes enough is enough. If both sides of the transaction treat each other the way they'd like to be treated then life is golden for all involved and lucky for me 99.9% of my customers agree.

    Now.............. what non-bike and non-car places are Kirk worthy? That is proving to be a difficult question to answer as I don't do much outside the bike/car world. But here are a few places that rock in both their product and their service -



    Bomber Online Alpine Snowboard gear - Top shelf stuff and the best bindings on the planet. made in the USA by a guy named Fin. Fin rocks.

    http://bomberonline.com/



    Coiler Snowboards - handmade race boards made by a guy in a shop, one at a time and wonderful. Knows how to read your snowboard mind and make the board do stuff you didn't even know you wanted it to do.

    http://www.coiler.com/home.html



    Crema Coffee - roasted right here in Bozeman by Chad. Chad is not only a top shelf coffee guy but a pro bike mechanic who can turn the pedals very nicely thank you very much.

    http://www.cremaroasting.com/


    Last but not least - Apple/Mac - I'm a Mac guy and love this machine and despite the fact they are now one of the biggest companies on the planet they still know how to treat a customer. I want an iPad and I don't really know what I'd do with it.



    Thanks for reading.

    dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


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