Road to NAHBS 2012 – Winter Bicycles’ Eric Estlund
BIKERUMOR: What have you been working in since NAHBS last year?
ERIC: Winter Bicycles specializes in made-to-measure custom bikes. I’ve had a great year working with clients on bikes built for their needs, fit and aesthetic tastes. Just like the customers I work with, each one is unique. This year I have also started to formalize my “After Hours Specials”- essentially builder project bikes I use to work through ideas and concepts I want to develop, or that I use to highlight specific attributes for shows. These are built as time and inspiration permits, and are available alongside my built to order offerings.
Lastly, my stand alone stems and forks are picking up. I offer these as upgrade items to address fit needs or cap off that special build with a personalized finishing touch.
BIKERUMOR: Any killer custom bike builds?
ERIC: Absolutely! They are all a blast to do, but a couple of stand outs for me are bikes I called the Mix-N-MAX, L’Arrotino and a set of San Ume “tribute” bikes that based on some 3Rensho bikes.
The Mix-N-MAX (above) is a blend of Columbus MAX and other tubes tailored to the riders’ uses. These bikes exemplify the “high performance, non-race” bikes I’ve been building since day one. These are designed to be aggressive daily drivers that would do well in stage and road races but are versatile enough for training miles, rain rides and even commuting and city use.
L’Arrotino (Italian for “knife grinder”, shown at top of post) was a bike commissioned by a commercial knife sharpener. It is based on a Roman example that has been in use since the 40’s, but with functional and mechanical upgrades to both the grinder and bicycle aspects, including the ability to fully maintain and service all of the parts. It was a highly challenging and equally rewarding build, and unlike anything else I have done.
I’ve also recently completed a pair of lugged track and crit frames. The customer requesting the track bike wanted a 3Rensho tribute. This was a great opportunity to build in classic manner but with upgraded materials. I called the track bike “San Ume”, roughly “three plum” based on my own logo. The crit frame I dubbed the Shadow Road, as it followed the track frame through the manufacturing process as one of my After Hours Specials. The San Ume is currently at paint- here are some shots “in the nude.” I’ll be sure to send some over when it’s been fully built up.
BIKERUMOR: Did you see anything last year that’s inspired you?
ERIC: I really enjoy talking to my customers at shows, and I historically have had a hard time leaving my booth to look around. The most inspirational thing for me was the wide range of show visitors. There were all sorts of people ranging from bike collectors to daily single bike commuters. People were looking to solve fit issues, to find something that met their specific needs, or even non “bike people” who came to see what was going on and to learn about what we do. There was a lot of genuine enthusiasm at the show, and that’s really exciting to see as a builder.
The After Hours Special Mountain Cross.
BIKERUMOR: Can you give us a teaser of what you’re bringing to NAHBS 2012?
ERIC: I’ll be bringing predominantly customer bikes and one After Hours Special. People swinging by the Winter Bicycles booth will get a chance to see the bikes I actually build and sell for real clients. This year it looks like I’ll be bringing predominantly road bikes- ranging from an all roads gravel/ trail bike to race bikes. I’ll be bringing examples of the all of my building styles- lugged, fillet brazed and my signature bilaminate.
BIKERUMOR: If you had to race all the other builders, who would you want to inch out for the win right at the line?
ERIC: I’d want to jump on a tandem with Sean Chaney (Vertigo Cycles), laughing and eating ice cream the whole way.