Our pre-NAHBS hype continues with all-carbon-all-the-time frame builder Matt Appleman of Appleman Bicycles.
As you may recall, Matt’s the guy that even cuts his logo out of carbon fiber and does some pretty unique layups and aesthetic finishes on his frames. Let’s see what’s he’s been up to:
BIKERUMOR: What have you been working in since NAHBS last year?
MATT: Appleman Bicycles has laid down quite a bit of carbon since NAHBS last year! Options for frames have expanded since last year. New options include: full internal cable routing (cable or hydraulic), Di2 ready frames, disc brakes, and 1.5 inch tapered forks. Most of these options will be seen this year at NAHBS.
The largest change in business is that I started taking on carbon fiber frame repairs. There are so many busted frames out there, it’s a shame if people throw them away or have to pay for a high dollar crash replacement. Top tube and seat stay damage is the most common, but I’ve specialized in carbon dropout repair, extreme damage, and replacing missing tubes. I’ve repaired frames from as far away as the Philippines and Singapore! Doing repairs is also a great way to study how frames get damaged. I’ve been able to tweak the designs of custom frames to make them more damage tolerant.
BIKERUMOR: Any killer custom bike builds?
MATT: The black & silver track frame was made for an ex-national champion. The customer’s priority was stiffness, but also required quick handling custom geometry, plenty of dropout adjustability, an integrated seat mast, and traditional threaded bottom bracket.
I developed a new “Super Stiff” tube set with oversize diameters and flex/torsion minimizing carbon layups. While subtle, the carbon aesthetics of the frame are striking. In addition to the carbon logos, each carbon joint comes to a point that matches the seat stay bridge. These “speed points” match the customer’s racing style and attitude!
The “Spicy” Red track bike was built as a track and single speed road bike. The fork has a brake hole in it, so with a switch of handlebars, add a brake, and it’s a road single speed. The frame is stiff, but has a slightly compliant rear end for riding on the road.
BIKERUMOR: Did you see anything last year that’s inspired you?
MATT: Last year was my first time at NAHBS and was certainly amazing! It was great to finally see so many custom bikes in person. There wasn’t really one thing that stood out, it was all so cool. The wooden wheels -wooden spokes, rims- I thought those were made really cool. As a builder, I didn’t see anything that was like a “oh, why didn’t I do that!” but as a spectator it was overwhelming.
BIKERUMOR: Can you give us a teaser of what your bringing to NAHBS 2012?
MATT: What is black, white, and has disc brakes all over?
BIKERUMOR: If you had to race all the other builders, who would you want to inch out for the win right at the line?
MATT: Erik Noren at Peacock Groove. We’re polar opposite builds. If it were an uphill battle, I’d have a chance, but in a sprint I’d get smoked. If I did win, it’d be by a thread… a carbon fiber thread!