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NAHBS 2017 Builder Profile: Mike DeSalvo

Desalvo-1Name: Mike DeSalvo
Years Building: 18
Website: www.desalvocycles.com
Social media:
www.instagram.com/mike.desalvo/
www.facebook.com/DeSalvo-Custom-Cycles-193361797343222/

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What was your first bike- not the first one you built? How did it come to you?
The first bike I remember was a Free Spirit BMX – given to me as a birthday present

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What was the last bike you bought that you didn’t make, and why?
Kona Explosif – I was working in a bike shop and we sold Kona’s and I was always a fan of steel bikes.

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When did you decide to start making frames of your own? What influenced you to do so?
Growing up working in bike shops I was always interested in the US made bikes,  Bontrager stands out as a builder whose work I liked.

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What was the last odd job you held before frame building?
Bicycle Mechanic

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Did you have a mentor when you started, or do you still have one?
No mentor per se but lots of friends in the industry who share information.

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What do you listen to when you’re working?
I was a kid in the ‘80’s so lots of the Clash, Social Distortion, the Smiths etc – I get accused of lots of bummer rock too.  Music is pretty key when you work by yourself all day.

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What’s your favorite tool in the shop and why?
At the moment I really like my tungsten sharpener.

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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?
Nothing comes to mind, but for me I think no matter how many bikes you have built there is always more to learn.

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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?
I think the 1st step for me is to listen to their needs to insure I build a bike that is what they want.

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What’s your go to bike when you go on a ride? 
Lately my mountain bike sees a lot of use.

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