Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 73

Thread: Stijl Cycles

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, United States
    Posts
    124
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Stijl Cycles

    For those who havenít had a chance to get to know me, Iím Hinmaton the guy behind Stjil Cycles and LocoMachine, and a couple other businesses, but Iíll get to that later.

    My love affair with Bikes started when I was around 7 years old, my father bought me a Huffy Pro Thunder for my birthday. The choice of bike was a bit of an inside joke by my father (my name), which I got instantly but thought it was my little secret. I also thought it gave me super powers, which maybe it did, as I jumped that bike off anything I could find and came out unscathed.

    Later that same year, my elementary school principal (an avid cyclist and tandem rider) created an after school program to teach basic bicycle mechanics; which in retrospect was such an amazing idea. Well, I couldnít get enough, and he would stay late with me and go further in-depth with parts like inspecting and repacking headset and BB bearing packs.

    I was hooked! I spent that summer working with my dad, mixing mortar, and moving rocks; all so I could buy myself my own tool box and tools. My father made it clear that I wasnít allowed to use his, he had worked hard for his, took care of his, and I needed to learn the same.

    Once I had a small compliment of tools, I took apart every bike I could get my hands on, mixed and matched components, you name it. Being as we didnít have a lot of money and werenít ďtoo" proud, on runs to the dump, my dad would let me scrounge through the piles and pull parts and pieces that looked serviceable, as long as I was going to use it or it went right back and I had to figure out how to get it there.

    After enough tinkering that Huffy looked mean, and we went everywhere together. Just me and my bike - I was free!

    And that's what a bike is to me - Freedom.

    As the son of a Jeweler and a Stone Mason, working with my hands was in my blood. I started playing around with metals when I was around five or so, but I spent the larger part of my childhood traveling around with my father looking at stone work and brick work, squinting buildings, leaning how to discern how many masons were on a job by inspecting the joints, learning about masonry heaters, and discussing how best to do any number of things. I was taught that you either do it right, or donít do it at all. Form follows function, but one must understand where embellishment or adornment fits.

    I learned what it means to be a craftsman.

    And from that was born a lifetime of traveling and seeking knowledge of craft, technique, process.

    I started off seeking this through fine arts, which took me as far as two semesters of college, but then I just had to go see the world. I spent years traveling the country looking for myself I suppose, but what I found was a passion to solve problems and learn how to do things.

    So I set out to learn everything that intrigued me, from how to rebuild a motor and diagnose electrical problems, learning how to survive in the bush, blacksmithing, welding, drafting, 3D modeling, ornamental metal work, machining, running an excavator, and how to make a frame. 99% of the time I taught myself how to do it, and / or figured out how to get a job doing it. Most of the time by starting my own business doing it.

    And of course I usually learned everything the hard way, and when people told me I couldnít do it, I just had more incentive to get it done and prove them wrong.

    My first bike took me four years to build.

    I really wanted to build a hardtail XC frame, and I spent months laboring over the design and asking everyone I knew about geometry and bike design. Iím not even sure Google was a big thing yet, and I only heard about Forums as a concept. I didnít even know that frame building was a craft; I just wanted to build them - period.

    The idea of welding round tubes was so daunting at the time, that I had this idea about making a bike from all machined parts. I didnít have any resources to accomplish this, but the concept of a weldment made sense to me as a fabricator.

    I bought some aluminum parts from Nova, including these really nice Easton chainstays, they were square that tapered to a rectangle. (It was ok to weld a square tube.)

    Then I sat on these parts for two years, just sat in the box they came in.

    I rode a lot of XC, broke my collar bone, healed and rode a ton more.

    My architectural metals business Tektonics Design Group was growing, we hired guys that were into bikes, we hired a machinist, bought our first CNC cell, and I decided I wanted to ride Observed Trials.

    I got really into it, and then it hit me! CNC Machined Trials Bike- it's the perfect platform.

    I had my parts still and now I had the machines to make the weldment.

    I designed it, posted about it, got feedback, machined it and was ready to go.

    I decided to take the frame up to Frank Wadelton and get some education on how to weld a bike. Iím pretty sure he thought I was crazy, but he's a good sport and showed me what's what. I took the information home and welded up my first frame.

    Heat treated it.

    Came up with a name for the brand.

    Built it up, and instantly learned exactly why you use tubes to build a bike.

    So I started using tubes.

    My next frame lasted an hour, too thin.

    I learned that my bike company name was already taken.

    With some design assistance from Frank, the next frame was a success. Caelifera was born.

    I made and sold a bunch, had a pro rider in Norway, and then I figured out that the market was super thin and most of my competition was having their frames made overseas and getting them for less than I could buy the materials here in the states.

    SoÖ the custom tailor made competition trials frames business was a bust.

    But I learned a lot about bike geometry, which I quickly applied to tailor made Steel XC race frames.

    I have been very successful at fitting and designing bikes for specific people, I believe this is due to my experience with Trials frames and my time as a professional jeweler. Understanding what geometry change affects what quality, and really being able to listen to a person and pull them into the design.

    This new brand went through the name game for a while, and just in time for NAHBS 2010 one of my former business partners (Licensed Architect) came upon Stjil Cycles (from De Stijl the Dutch artistic movement, also the Dutch word for style).

    This lent itself well to what I wanted to do with the brand, as my artistic bent lends itself to a more form follows function esthetic, clean lines, crisp edges, sparing yet bold colors. Simple in design, yet exquisitely executed. Attention to every detail.

    Welding or brazing, I donít prefer one over the other. I feel the design of the bike lends itself one way or the other, maybe the frame needs both. In what I feel is the true way of a craftsman, every process and technique has its place, to think less of a process or technique because it is old or new or different is to limit yourself and your abilities.

    This is how I approach machined parts. As a jeweler / blacksmith / fabricator, I can make just about anything by hand, but it may not make sense to expend that effort.

    When I started building frames, I just didn't like a lot of the frame components that were available, and I still donít.

    I just think the designs are kind of blah. The really old stuff, I love it! The modern versions of those parts are just bad copies, and they have lost all of what was good about the original design. The new stuff (at that time mostly aluminum) on big brand bikes were at least new designs, and I thought they looked pretty cool and there was a lot of machined parts. I wanted that! In steel.

    I wanted to machine my own integrated head tube. Then I started seeing tapered head tubes on big company bikes - I wanted that too.

    And like most things in my life, if I really want something, I just need to do it myself. So I just started machining my own parts for my bikes. Then I thought there must be others like me. LocoMachine was born

    I feel strongly that all the parts that make up the frame need to be considered in the design of the bike.

    This is why a good lug set works so well; the design is cohesive throughout the frame.

    Many frames are a tubeset and a bunch of parts that ďworkĒ and the only thing that ties it together is the paint job. I have always attributed this to the lack of well thought out and designed frame components.

    I put a lot of effort into the design of my components so they can stand alone or work with the frame design and not be over bearing.

    I also attempt to provide a broader range of design or styles within my group of products, to give builders more choice.

    I also work with builders to design their own look.

    And I build tools-

    One NAHBS while musing over how frame jigs could be so much better, a good friend who owns OK Foundry threw down the gauntlet: If you can design a better frame jig using cast iron, Iíll help you build it.

    So I spent about 6 months exploring the problem and returned to him with my plan.

    I canít come up with a frame jig that is significantly better than anything else currently available, but no one is really making an alignment table in America, and cast iron is the perfect material.

    So I designed the FATMO system, which in many ways reaches back into my days as blacksmith. I mean, who doesnít want a precision ground platen!

    I have no idea what I am going to design next. Maybe a bench top reaming / facing machine?

    Still building, still learning, still fascinated by it all.

    Hinmaton

    Stijl Cycles
    LocoMachine
    Tektonics Design Group
    Spoke and Hop Fest
     

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States
    Posts
    2,835
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    Good read, man. I really dig your tooling work, and the bikes I saw at NAHBS Richmond were pretty rad.
    Eric Doswell, aka Edoz
    Summoner of Crickets
    http://edozbicycles.wordpress.com/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/edozbicycles/
    In Before the Lock

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Better to be ruined than to be silent atmo.
    Posts
    18,226
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    Nice to see you here, Hinmaton. I remember you from sold of the older boards.
    We met in Richmond iirc. Nice site. And especially - nice tools atmo. Welcome.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, United States
    Posts
    124
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    Many thanks for the kind words everyone.

    Richard, I think we met in Denver, but honestly I was so out of my depth in Richmond I could have met the president and not realized what was going on.
    I've come along way from the days of the older boards, as much as I knew better I just couldn't stay out of the cross hairs.
    My life has been pretty hectic over the last five years, and i'm probably doing more at one time than I ever have, yet I feel like I am now moving with purpose.

    how about some pic's:
    KQ6A0120.jpg

    DSC_0253.jpg

    DSC_3681_2.jpg
     

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Kennesaw Ga 30144
    Posts
    3,455
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    -- enjoyed your story board & really keen on you head tube-logo & frame-marque..

    my best with a smile..,

    ronnie
     

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Bilbao
    Posts
    2,206
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    Welcome Hinmaton, nice sotry and cool stuff!

    keep it coming
    Aimar Fraga Angoitia
    www.amarobikes.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Flagstaff, Arizona
    Posts
    9,173
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    Right on -

    I grew up in a metal family and have done a bunch of masonry.

    Cool stuff, welcome!

    - 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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Middle GA
    Posts
    4,878
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    Welcome indeed, nice to have another MTBer here!

    You've got some great looking stuff.
    Dustin Gaddis
    Instagram
    Southern Wheelworks: Website - Facebook

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    6,966
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    Hinmaton, I like your style. Having the ability to focus on moving forward with purpose has served you well. The bikes look great.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, United States
    Posts
    124
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    My aesthetic inspiration goes towards the industrial revolution more than anything else I guess, I have never really found a word for it.
    I am in love with train bridges, old tools, turn of the century medical devices, ect... Things that were designed and engineered with the main focus towards function, yet they are beautiful to behold.
    That is what I try to attain, which is a struggle, as the intention to attain it lies in the face of the concept.

    I think I do ok.
     

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, United States
    Posts
    124
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

     

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, United States
    Posts
    124
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    image.jpg
    I'm pretty excited about this one!


    image.jpg


    Even as just an object, unrelated to its purpose.
    It's one of the things that we at Tektonics Design Group have worked so hard for.
    Not only make good product that works, but make it beautifully.

    If you haven't done so check out Tektonics Design Group, Richmond, VA
     

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    DC
    Posts
    19,796
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    Wow your work is sharp. I'd recognize it from across a crowed room.

    Indulge me. Name a few of your favorite visual artists.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, United States
    Posts
    124
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    Great question.
    ... I've been thinking about this for awhile, and am realizing that I haven't really thought about this for a long time.
    A lot of my favorite visual references were not intended to be shown or displayed in a traditional fine arts manner so I have no idea who was responsible for the design or artistic input.
    But I do have many artists and craftsman that I hold dear.
    here goes and in no particular order:

    Ivan Albright
    Albrecht Durer
    Samuel Yellin
    Raymond Loewy
    Kolo Moser
    Richard Serra
    Alphonse Mucha
    Mark Di Suvero
    Renť Lalique
    Albert Paley
    Aberto Vargas
     

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, United States
    Posts
    124
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    I realized over the weekend that I forgot a few biggies: Goldsworthy, Mackintosh, Wright Bros., Frank Loyd Wright....
    Another thing I thought about was tools and machinery. I believe all of us here share the love of or even covet a really good tool, whether it be that great bench vise you got from your grandfather or an old tool room lathe, even a nice hammer.
    Well, someone designed and made all those things, and how many of us ever stop and think what went into the developing that product, what were the iterations in the development.
    These are the most inspiring visual pieces to me, I think about these pieces all the time.

    anyway- thought for the day...

    Hh
     

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    DC
    Posts
    19,796
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    Thanks for the thoughts. I asked because i see influences in all the handbuilders work be it from the art world, nature, engineering or other. There are iconic images of designs we all see ( brooklyn bridge, fractals...) and associate these with real world bicycle design.

    When you as an artist create a body of work, it means more to me when i hear your influences and more again when you say what are your desires. Hahaha an empty biography is a sad thaing;)

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, United States
    Posts
    124
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Tall View Post
    Thanks for the thoughts. I asked because i see influences in all the handbuilders work be it from the art world, nature, engineering or other. There are iconic images of designs we all see ( brooklyn bridge, fractals...) and associate these with real world bicycle design.

    When you as an artist create a body of work, it means more to me when i hear your influences and more again when you say what are your desires. Hahaha an empty biography is a sad thaing;)
    Thanks for the questions.
    Frame building can sometimes be a lonely art, it's easy to get hyper focused on your own thing and not engage with the rest of the world. Or maybe that's just a reflection of me...
    As a parts builder, I have to stay tuned into what is happening in the greater world of cycling and frame building. What do builders want, what do riders want? What is a fad that will have no return on investment? What do I have to contribute? Is it relevant?
    As a builder, my questions go toward pushing my own envelope and testing my ideas. I try not to test out things on my clients, but I do end up with a lot of clients that take me in a direction that facilitates the that desire. Like the XCr "breakaway" bike.
    Attachment 77654 Attachment 77655 Attachment 77656

    Also check out this- a Google virtual tour of our shop
    Tektonics Design Group
    Stijl Cycles
    LocoMachine
    Fern & Roby
    Last edited by Too Tall; 02-10-2015 at 01:37 PM.
     

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    1,248
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    Hinmaton,

    Welcome to SO, glad to have your voice here.

    I enjoyed the visual walk through of the shop, it's like a candy store of possibilities only limited by imagination and the ability to write the code

    It's obvious that your immersion into the cycling world does not pay the bills but that you have great passion for it. Within your group, what are some of your struggles to balance profitable daily design and fabrication work with your desire to create bicycle shaped objects?

    Have you been able to strike a balance that meets your business fiscal needs so that you can dedicate the time you want to fabricating frames?

    cheers,

    rody
    Rody Walter
    Groovy Cycleworks...Custom frames with a dash of Funk!
    Website - www.groovycycleworks.com
    Blog - www.groovycycleworks.blogspot.com
    Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Groov...s/227115749408

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, United States
    Posts
    124
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Rody View Post
    Hinmaton,

    Welcome to SO, glad to have your voice here.

    I enjoyed the visual walk through of the shop, it's like a candy store of possibilities only limited by imagination and the ability to write the code

    It's obvious that your immersion into the cycling world does not pay the bills but that you have great passion for it. Within your group, what are some of your struggles to balance profitable daily design and fabrication work with your desire to create bicycle shaped objects?

    Have you been able to strike a balance that meets your business fiscal needs so that you can dedicate the time you want to fabricating frames?

    cheers,

    rody
    When Stijl Cycles started it out, it was a experiment subsidized by Tektonics Design Group.
    The idea was to give it some life and see if it would take off on it's own, we wanted to try our hand at making products, or spinning off smaller companies.
    The majority of the work coming out of Tektonics at that time was large scale architectural projects that were challenging and draining from a creative standpoint, not because the projects weren't designed well or great projects, we had a reputation for making architects concepts come true, particularly the very challenging and outside the box ones, which really meant we spent our energy realizing others dreams.
    Stijl quickly became a sore point among the partners and a distraction, and was shuttered for awhile.
    I later purchased Stijl from Tektonics and brought it home to my garage where I spent years turning out some great work in the wee hours of the night, when the children were asleep.
    At this point it was not a sole source of income, but it carried it's own weight for the most part.
    My wife decided that my shop needed to become the home gym, so I brought it back to Tektonics.
    Because Tektonics had changed it's business model and we chose to move away from large turnkey fabrication projects and focus on prototyping, design, and product development, it now made more sense to have Stijl Cycles back at the main shop (conceptually and because the fabrication area was under utilized). I thought it would be great, but soon found that it was harder than ever to find time for it.
    We lost our main machinist awhile back and I took over the machine shop and it consumed every bit of every day.
    Any extra energy I had, I put into LocoMachine. It's a more profitable and easier model, and it also feeds the machines.
    So at this point, I now had three businesses running concurrently, which is to say that I was completely distracted and fighting for air.
    Then last year, I decided to create an annual bike and beer fest, (this year coinciding with the 2015 UCI Road Worlds!).
    So now I have four. Somebody kick me.

    So yeah, Stijl Cycles is not a full time gig, but I love it and am still making bikes when I can. It also provides a place for me to R&D ideas for LocoMachine.
    My goal is push Stijl towards hiring on employees and try the small scale production model. I have ideas oozing out of me, cool parts to work with, all the toys one could want, i just need more time in the day or more hands.

    LocoMachine is everyday.

    Tektonics is the mothership, a hot house for design and product development, an incubator for our ideas.
    Right now we have 3 in-house brands:
    Stijl Cycles
    LocoMachine
    Fern & Roby

    So, getting to your main questions: "Have you been able to strike a balance that meets your business fiscal needs so that you can dedicate the time you want to fabricating frames?"

    Each of the companies in the end feeds into Tektonics. Kinda of a greater good scenario. They all do their part, some do more, some do less.
    If one or two are doing outstanding, the focus shifts towards them, if one is sucking wind, as long as it is not a financial burden, the focus shifts away.
    Sure it's not a conventional model, and there are lots challenges, particularly with staying focused or at least placing your focus on the most appropriate place, but when it is working well, it works really well, and it makes having a shop that like that possible and reasonable.

    Does that answer the question?

    I guess it's obvious that grew up on a commune, huh?

    Oh, and a little pic' from today:
    Titanium flat parts
    2015-02-10 17.14.30.jpg
     

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    1,248
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Stijl Cycles

    "I now had three businesses running concurrently, which is to say that I was completely distracted and fighting for air."

    "i just need more time in the day or more hands."

    Yep, I feel ya, my sentiments are the same.

    r
    Rody Walter
    Groovy Cycleworks...Custom frames with a dash of Funk!
    Website - www.groovycycleworks.com
    Blog - www.groovycycleworks.blogspot.com
    Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Groov...s/227115749408

Similar Threads

  1. Seven Cycles
    By swoop in forum VSalon Cycling Gallery
    Replies: 342
    Last Post: 07-07-2017, 06:48 PM
  2. Shand Cycles
    By shand in forum Smoked Out
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 04-27-2015, 08:06 PM
  3. Shamrock Cycles
    By hmbatrail in forum Smoked Out
    Replies: 90
    Last Post: 03-02-2015, 09:24 AM
  4. Lighthouse Cycles
    By lighthousecycles in forum Smoked Out
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 12-21-2014, 06:51 PM
  5. Vendetta Cycles
    By conorb in forum VSalon Cycling Gallery
    Replies: 69
    Last Post: 02-06-2012, 05:37 PM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •