NAHBS 2017 Builder Profile: Carl Strong
Ritchey is proud to share the passion, the spirit and the dedication of small framebuilders around the world. We're especially excited when these talented craftspeople choose to adorn their works of art with Ritchey components. We're highlighting these builders, and their bikes, here on the Ritchey web site with the NAHBS Builder Profile Series. This installment focuses on Carl Strong.
Name: Carl Strong
Years Building: 24
Social media: , , , ,
What was your first bike- not the first one you built? How did it come to you? I don't remember my first bike. I was too young. The one that really strikes me was when my Mom took me to Goodwill and we bought several Schwinn style balloon tire bikes. Then I got to switch parts around until I had a combo I liked. Not sure how old I was at the time but very young.
What was the last bike you bought that you didnt make, and why? A DeRosa. At the time I was certain a better bike couldn't be had.
When did you decide to start making frames of your own? What influenced you to do so? When I was in college and couldnt afford good bikes. I read Hot Tubes in the back of Bicycle Guide and thought, I can do this.
What was the last odd job you held before frame building? I transitioned from a good job setting up an accounting system in a chain of sporting goods stores to a part time gig welding aluminum frames for truck toppers. Then finally went full time building.
Did you have a mentor when you started, or do you still have one? Nope but I do and did have a lot of builders who inspired me.
What do you listen to when youre working? Podcasts
Whats your favorite tool in the shop and why? I have an old alignment plate that was once in the Schwinn Paramount factory. I like it because it's really cool and very useful.
Every builder seems to have an Ah Ha moment where they figure out some way to do a weld different or set up a jig for that one type of braze-on, what was yours? And did it come easily to you once you figured it out? When I finally learned how to align frame using a welding sequence vs cold setting. It took a lot of repetitiveness. Once I was finally building enough frames frequently enough the patterns started to emerge.
When designing or building a bike for someone, what is your thought process? What sticks out most about a build/design that you need to tackle first? Understanding the customers goals and priorities. That's job one and they don't always know them. So that's the first thing we have to figure out. Once we know them everything else takes care of itself.
Whats your go to bike when you go on a ride? My go to bike is a 7 year old tube to tube carbon bike. It was the first carbon bike I built. It's a cross bike and it's small because I made it to fit several riders. It just sort of became my own. I ride it with 37mm Rando tires, a hodgepodge of spare parts from around the shop and love it.
Carl's TIG special features an elegant mix of WCS and SuperLogic.