I became familiar with Eric Baar through his Instagram account (where he highlights welds and brushwork each day) as well as through the high praise of other builders and members of the community. When I found myself buying tickets to Colorado Springs for a conference, Eric’s Ground Up Speed Shop was on the top of my places to visit after hours. I had no idea what to expect because, well, Eric does not make a habit of promoting himself. I strongly suspected that it would be really, really cool. His operation did not disappoint.
The Speed Shop sits on the back of the property just west of the Springs. Rather than a pump track, the shop overlooks The Dizzy Drome, a micro dirt velodome with rails constructed from old airplane wings. Central to the course is a light column for those midnight hour record attempts. Parked right on the edge is his Dwarf car, an outrageous toy with big, metal-flake numbers that he races during the summer- a habit he took up when he felt himself becoming disillusioned with bikes and bike community.
That easy shift in emphasis is central to Eric’s general program. He’s been building bicycles for over a decade and a half and wants to stay glittery and doe-eyed about the genre so he’s constantly being drawn to new mediums from which to approach or interpret his work. It is this enthusiasm that makes the bikes of his house brand, Ground Up, absolutely out-of-this-world in terms of construction, detailing, and concept. The welds are flawless. The raw titanium finishes are hand striped. The metal-flake paint jobs are brilliantly mixed and painstakingly sanded. And Eric uses his new found mastery as a pinstriper to hand letter or detail the final product (when the guy isn’t screwing around with gold leaf).
While this enthusiasm for everything cool and shiny makes for top notch bicycles, it also happens to make interviewing the guy impossible. There is nothing linear about Eric Baar’s train of thought. And that’s fine. Who wants to talk about old news when there is so much cool, shiny stuff everywhere to talk about… READ MORE ->