When fitting a customer for a bike, how do you usually work? How often is it in person?
Either they know what their contact points are and they’re happy with them, or Brother Andy looks at them on the bike and tells them how it’s going to be, or I do the same, otherwise a shop gets involved. Maybe 50/50 in-person and not.Who does your paint?
Mostly Russ Pickett at Air Art. But leave him alone, please, because he’s mine.Let’s talk about geometry: Would you say your all your bikes have a consistent ride that is your signature or do you vary your geometry based on the customer’s preferences and needs?
We’re pretty consistent: if I design a bike for 23mm tires it will be similar to other’s we’ve done for that tire size; ditto for 33mm tires. We know what works for each tire size in the range of rider sizes.When designing a frame for a customer, once you know the ride characteristics the rider is looking for, do you conceive of the geometry as a whole or is there a particular dimension you look to as a starting point?
I look at the contact points, the tire size(s) used, and the type of riding involved – the rest seems to fall into place then. But I’ve only done 500-or-so custom frames so I could be missing something.Bottom line: What are your bikes supposed to ride like?
Two wheels, handlebars, saddle, and pedals: we like it when they feel like bikes that fit. “Dependably sporty”, maybe?How long is the wait for new customers?
As soon as I get their deposit, my wait is over! But my customers wait anywhere from one month to six, depending on a lot of factors, some of which are out of my control.What’s your pricing like?
Frame and fork starts at $1900 for welded steel with a steel fork and goes up to $3800 for butted titanium with an Enve 1.0 fork. Whole bikes are $3500 to $9500 – we don’t try to be the most or least expensive.What keeps the work fresh for you, gets you up in the morning (or out in the evening) and excited to build?
I love doing this and it’s fun to see the variety of what we – meaning Hampsten Cycles – and the customers can dream up. I try to narrow the options but even so my customers throw some really, really, fun curve balls.What’s your life away from building like? What sort of outside interests do you have?
I like to cook/eat/drink wine, I love hanging with my girlfriend and her son, and I enjoy reading and planning for the forthcoming zombie war. I practice karate and kobudo and I love riding my bicycle.
4200 NE 105th St
Seattle, WA 98125
206 524 6010www.hampsten.comwww.hampsten.blogspot.com