NAHBS 2017 Builder Profile: Low Bicycles
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 post is about Andrew Low and his passion for framebuilding.
Name: Andrew Low
Years Building: 7
What was your first bike- not the first one you built? How did it come to you? My First bike was a hand-me-down schwinn-like blue and white kids bike with a Banana seat and coaster brake. Started with training wheels, and learned how to ride 2-wheel on this bike. What was the last bike you bought that you didnt make, and why? The last bike I bought was a beat up aluminum KHS Aero track bike. I bought it because I was into aluminum track frames, and I thought Rob Solimo's (SF messenger of Mash fame) bike was super cool, and I wanted a bike like his. I was already working toward building my own frame at this point. When did you decide to start making frames of your own? What influenced you to do so? I have always been a builder/maker (I used to build roll cages for jeeps at a custom fabrication shop when I was in college), so as I got more and more into bikes, building a bike frame was sort of a natural step for me. I think I decided at some point in 2007 to build my own frames. I just wanted to meld all the things I liked about my favorite bike frames at the time into one frame.
What was the last odd job you held before frame building? I was self employed as a handyman/carpenter/painter. Did you have a mentor when you started, or do you still have one? Paul Sadoff of Rock Lobster was instrumental in helping getting me started in working with aluminum. I still check in with him from time to time when I have a difficult question.
What do you listen to when youre working? Political podcasts in the morning and Books on Tape in the afternoons. Just finished Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and just started Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer. Whats your favorite tool in the shop and why? My heat treating oven, because it is the most complex tool I built myself. I have heat treated every single aluminum fame I ever built in this oven.
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? The reason I enjoy building the same thing over and over again is because of all the 'ah ha' moments you have as you progress in your craft. I really can't think of one that stands out more than others. 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? First what kind of riding they do, how they ride, and fit, fit, fit.
Whats your go to bike when you go on a ride? My mki road bike.
LOW Bicycle's new gravel rig features full WCS cockpit and Apex 36 disc clinchers.