Following Dan Chabanov’s recent and, might we say, sovereign success at the Red Hook Crit, Stanridge Speed has popped and been namedropped here and there. Many know Stanridge for their lo-pro, aggressive Highstreet frame. However, there’s more to Stanridge than meets the eye.
Shot by Javan Hillard @ Jhillard Photography- murderously.net
We hooked up with the man behind Standridge, Adam Eldridge, to find out more about this praised and respected brand. Read the full interview below the pics.
Many of your contemporaries have recently brought pursuit-style lo-pro track frames to the market, Andrew Low, Cinelli, Affinity… just to mention a few. What first got you into building the Highstreet?
What it boiled down to was my need to find a way, a look, to differentiate Stanridge from the other major players in my world. Everyone makes lugged round tube steel frames. The market is saturated. What wasn’t being made I asked myself? One day I was standing in the shower after a killer ride and the idea of a lightweight steel aero low pro with semi aggressive geometry popped into my brain. I sent construction shots to Prolly. He replied so damn fast (which is hard for him because of his inbox) I knew I had a winning combination. Bingo.You use steel, instead of aluminum and carbon, which seem to be the benchmark for all other builders producing aggressive track bikes for the street. Why steel?
The ride. The high street can hold it’s own, the construction methods, geo and triple butted Columbus aero tubes really work well together. When one compares our custom frame at 1800 to a Taiwanese box stock Histogram at 1200 it starts to make sense.Your Highstreet frame has been hyped all over the fixed gear community. Prolly namedropped the Highstreet as one of the most beautiful frames he has encountered. What, in your opinion, makes the Highstreet so special?
The design. It’s minimal, It’s visually aggressive, the way it communicates it’s presence with out gaudy paint and gimmicky questionable fabrication and It’s understated. My core demographic likes to roll up to an event and quietly make a statement. Like the dude in the back of the room who doesn’t talk much but when he does you strain to hear what he’s saying. The whole brand communicates a sense of class and simplicity. I want people to visually dig into my frames. The clean simple details speak for Stanridge. The longer one looks the easier it becomes to understand your looking at a one off frame. It’s a sense of discovery. My branding is minimal. I struggled with the decision to put my brand name on both sides of the seat mast on the HSP Red Hook frame. Normally the brand resides on the drive side only.You urged a year ago to finish 50 Highstreets by the end of 2011. How are you keeping the pace?
We have roughly three/quarters of the 50 HSP’s sold to clients around the world. We’re not rushing as we only have one chance to make a first impression. We’re making a vehicle designed to go fast. As a builder I have a huge responsibility to my clients. We’re not going to ship out a shoddy bike to hit an end goal. We’re going to ship out solid well-built frame.
You’re the sole entrepreneur behind the Stanridge Speed. Andrew Low’s waiting list was 6 months not so long ago, and is now up to 11 months. You’ve been known to dedicate tremendous amounts of time to your builds.
I do the building and painting. My assistant Dan helps with mitering and prep 2 days a week. We really don’t give a shit about waiting lists as a metric of likability or relevancy. Who cares if you have a year wait? In my book it’s not cool to say, “I have a year wait.” It doesn’t mean your making a bomb ass bike. You have a year wait because you haven’t hired help; you have no liquidity between the deposits. A builder can take the romantic angle and say “We build one bike at a time.” In the real world that shit doesn’t work because you have to put bread on the table and eat. It’s business 101. I’m qualified to make these statements because I thought I’d make one at a time and struggled between the bumps of business. As a builder you gotta hustle, if you don’t hustle you’re going to fail. If you’re standing at the vise all day you’re not hustlin’ and getting the brand name out. Im hustlin’ and working on operations 80% of the time and building/painting 20% of the time. To builders: If you want to solely build and not worry about the business side of the game call me. I need help. Now, if you have dual income, a trust fund or you’ve won the lottery you can make a single bike at a time like a hobbit in a shed.
Do you feel the pressure to answer the call of the market, expand the business and outsource production to robots, like many before you?
No robots. I like Jonny 5 but he’s not going to build a Stanridge. We’re keeping production in the USA. Continuing to build the brand has its challenges but remains exciting. I have no desire to stay small and eat ramen every night. Growing my company in a controlled manner with my investors, mentors and friends will continue into 2012.
Ok. Let’s discuss the build you did for Dan Chabanov – the winner of this year’s Red Hook Crit. How did you guys end up working together?
We built a working bike for a messenger here in Columbus Ohio. He’s tight with Squid an OG messenger in NYC. Squid made some calls and hooked me up with Dan. I get gut feelings. My gut told me to reach out to Dan and help him along to a three peat.Looking at pics taken at the race, Dan seems to be able to attack the tight corners a lot more aggressively than everyone else. As far as the pics tell, there’s minimal or no toe overlap on the frame, which is uncommon for such builds. What in your opinion made this build a winner?
Dan. Dan made it a winner. He’s probably one of the most focused dudes I’ve met as of late. He’s not trying to be “Fixie Famous” He’s focused on his personal development. He’s focused on turning pro. He didn’t even come to the after party. Which is dope in my opinion.After looking at the course map geometry determinations were made. Casual observers see no single departures or crazy geometry however; the choices I made as a whole were quite a departure from the norm. These departures will be worked into the 2013 RHC frame so I’d rather not disclose the exact nature of what I did. Dan wont race in 2013. We’re actively seeking a budding professional to ride for us in 2013. Same deal we gave Dan. We’ll make you a frame, if you win it’s yours if you don’t we’ll take it back.
The Highstreet and Dan’s Red Hook frame are surely a huge departure from your lugged, more traditional frames. Has the Highstreet sucked you into a completely different genre and is there turning back now?
There is no doubt that the Highstreet has given Stanridge the most notoriety around the world. We’d be foolish to rest on our laurels or “put all of our eggs in one basket”. We’re choosing to focus on a Sub 17 pound aero complete road bike for 2012. We want to appeal to a broad demographic. My next three builds are lugged. I like the mixture. It keeps the work
I really like what Firefly and Bishop are putting out.Give us a lowdown of your future projects. Anything new and exciting in the pipeline?
Stanridge is working on a semi production line for a shop in Chicago. This bike will be a city bike. Simple, 2 sp kickback with a coaster brake. The “goblin” will be photographed by a mainstream very well known womens magazine. We’re working on a couple collaborations with major industry players.And finally, Adam Eldridge’s three items of choice for a desert island gig?
Pizza, Frisbee and a cup, I’m not tryin to drink out of a banana leaf.