Photo: Chris Walker
Continuing our series of Bikeminimalism winner’s interviews is Mr. Adam Eldridge, the founder and creator of Standridge Speed. Adam won the Frame of the Year vote and was shortlisted in several categories.
Shot by Javan Hillard @ Jhillard Photography- murderously.net
Congratulations Adam on your win at Bikeminimalism Awards! Tell us how it all began: how did you actually get involved with bicycles and cycling in general?
I saw a fixed gear back in ’05 that got me going again. I was watching macaframa over and over. Trying to skid on my converted Schwinn. Bicycles have always ebbed and flowed in and out of my life. I’ve never been a ”hard-core” cyclist. Much less now than ever before because I’m so busy with Stanridge.
What about framebuilding? What posessed you into building bicycle frames by hand?
Working with one’s hands is rewarding. I’d much rather conceptualize, build, paint and get a metal splinter buried deep in my index finger than sit behind a desk and type on a keyboard. I’ll fail a logic test but I can build anything.
Crafting bicycles the way you do obviously involves a lot of passion. What values are, in your opinion, key factors in the process?
I don’t know if there are any values other than honesty and hard work. The game is tough. I dig it because it’s survival of the fittest. What one has to be willing to do is work hard and hustle everyday. Don’t get caught up in the hate when some Internet jockey says your saddle angle is wrong. Cover the basics. Get liability insurance for when you get sued. Get a bookkeeper. Get an accountant. Get a lawyer. Find a mentor. Make your own brand. Don’t copy stuff you see on the best of NAHBS or your favorite forum.
Stanridge has obviously kept you busy since the very beginnings. You’ve been titled as one of the hardest working persons in the business. What keeps you going day in, day out?
I’ve always been a hard worker. I started working legally at 15. No kids, No wife, No girlfriend. No Life. Someday it’ll catch up with me. Building a business that’s my own is rewarding. I’m not lining anyone else’s pocket.
Photo: Felix Susanto
When we talked a year ago, the High Street Pursuit was making waves all over the place. How many are there now, and to which countries have you shipped?
There are a lot. 30 something. Ha. I don’t guess 30 is a lot.. but you get it.. I’ve shipped all over. It’s trippy to think about how folks all over the place know about my little ice box here in Columbus Ohio.
You said initially that you’d be building 50 HSP frames. If this is still the case, are there any still available?
Yeah, they’re available.
As a fixed gear specific site, we’ve spoken to a few HSP owners. Each and every one has commended the amazing quality of your frames, as well as your bikefitting skills. There seems to be a great deal of precision and attention to detail involved. Can you elaborate the process? How do you do it and how does it reflect in the finished frame?
In the beginning I was a shitty fitter and I made shitty frames. There is a reason why you bro deal the first wave of frames… even though at the time you think you’re giving everyone a hell of a deal.. You’re not.. Ha. I don’t care who you are. Frame 10 blows in comparison to frame 100. It’s a repetitive well-defined skillset that is in a constant state of refinement. It’s a process of thinking you’re the shit.. When in reality your frames are shit -you’re too ignorant to see it. But anyway..
Really I think it’s all about clear communication and setting honest expectations. It comes a bit easier now however, it’s defiantly not “easy”. I think you just build up a bank of knowledge like, the last time I did that it really got fucked.. or the last time I did that it went really well, smooth and easy. I shoot for the second.
Listen, there is no bag of tricks, there is no mystery involved with building. You need to have a skill set. If you have that skillset and you’re willing to work hard everyday and not give up you’ll make it.
The process involves active listening to the client along the entire process. Obviously I don’t want to make a Geekhouse, I’m Stanridge – so it’s a delicate balance of being the Chief and doing what you KNOW you can do. Passing the “chop my Moonlander and turn it into a tandem” to the next guy down the line.
If you define your aesthetic through well thought out builds the builds (process) becomes easier because you’ll develop a niche. If you try and copy or inadvertently regurgitate someone’s style because you’ve been lurking on his or her’s Flickr for 18 hrs. the percentage chance of you failing and giving up goes up exponentially.
You’ve been known to document every build with painstaking care. Some of the stuff in your Instagram feed is pretty amazing these days. How have your framebuilding skills developed over the years?
I think the IG account is easy. It’s easy to pick up the phone and snap a photo and have it disseminate. It’s a slippery slope between documenting and too much multi tasking which leads to poor time management. I think most all builders go through the same advancements. Better heat control better penetration and better finish filing. Better knowledge of butting and tube selection.
We’ve seen a glimpse of some custom built parts bubbling up in your feeds. Any news on that front?
Not really. It’s a slow process that involves liquidity.
How many finished frames are there built to date?
Probably around 80. I need to keep better records. If anyone cares about Stanridge in 50 years it’s gonna be a shitstorm.
That’s a lot. Do you have any plans for expanding the business?
Is there any spare time for Adam Eldridge, do you get to ride your own bicycles at all?
I have one built frame right now (the proto HSP). I’m stoked to ride with my friends and other Stanridge frames in Brooklyn at the Red Hook Crit. I haven’t ridden over 10 miles in 8 months. I’m excited to say the least.
What bikes do you have in your personal fleet?
The complete proto HSP and road frame number 5 (I think) ha.
Thanks Adam for an intresting chat. Any shoutouts?
Yeah there are a lot of folks in my life that have helped the brand. It’d take an entire page to list everyone. Dan Chabanov and Evan Murphy believed in me and have helped validate my frames though winning back to back RHC’s. John Cardiel is on a HSP. So many folks. I just wish I could get everyone together and throw a huge party with Genesse tall boys, Rebel Yell and Old Smuggler.
Photos from Adam’s Instagram feed, unless mentioned otherwise.
Have a visit for more: www.stanridgespeed.com/