My Apprenticeship:

Most master framebuilders learned the trade from an established professional.  Now, most new builders are left to struggle on their own through trial and error.  This slows the process and can lead to bad design and fabrication choices.  An apprenticeship has become rare and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from Carl Strong.

I worked with Carl and his wife Loretta for two years.  I was brought in as a part of the business and was treated as an employee.  I had set hours during the week that I worked for Carl building bikes under the Strong Frames brand.  I performed tasks such as packing and shipping, machining and finish work on frames, media blasting titanium frames, and shop maintenance.

On my own personal time, I built frames for others and myself under my own brand.  I asked Carl for his constructive criticism on all of the frames that I built.  I used his personal opinion to guide myself past many of the early mistakes a new builder can make.  By asking for his opinion and having hands on experience on over 180 Strong frames I was able to establish a baseline for producing a frameset that meets professional quality standards.

Building bicycles is more than just welding tubes together.  Fit, design, material selection, and aesthetics all influence a well made frame.  Over his career, Carl has established methods for producing the highest quality bicycles possible. I have spent my time with Carl studying his processes for creating a superior bike

Carl and Loretta taught me more than the art of building a bicycle. They also showed me how to run a successful small business and become a well-rounded entrepreneur. Carl focused on the importance of understanding each customer’s unique needs and how to translate them into bicycle design. He shared his considerable experience in developing customer fit documentation, tubing and material selection, setting up a smart workflow, and developing efficiencies. He also shared his past mistakes and taught me how to avoid the common pitfalls new builders often suffer through.

I owe a great amount to both Carl and Loretta for what they have given me.

Design/Programming: todd@consumedesign.com