Mountain biking

Steel is real

Original, no ready-made bikes have their fans on most continents. Customized production of frames, designs, and groupsets has many forms and approaches. We interviewed the creators of “steel brands” operating in the Czech Republic on how they are doing before the new biking season. It’s no secret that it will be quite non-standard.

Tom Kutín - SingleBe

1. The SingleBe, Novák, and Zoceli brands have a common ground – the material from which they form their frames. Why did you choose steel?

Steel is a cult. Steel frames have always been here and always will. Steel is durable, comfy, and retains its properties for several years. An equally important fact was that my fellow welder did not have much experience with other materials, and steel is quite easy to process and weld.

 

2. With the new season, the “lay” public has already noticed the current situation in biking businesses. How did the lack of bicycles on the market affect the interest in customized manufacturing?

Demand has increased even more, so the waiting is no longer, currently about four months.

 

3. As you also assemble the bikes, are you hampered in any way by the slowed supply of components?

You gotta stay alert and buy something as soon as something shows up, I’m buying it. Currently, Shiman GRX is a bit problematic. However, since we don’t have standard models or standard specifications, I think that you can always find some alternative.

 

4. Are you planning any novelties this year?

Nope, no plans. We sail with wind : )

www.singlebe.com

Jarda Novák - NOVÁK

1. The SingleBe, Novák, and Zoceli brands have a common ground – the material from which they form their frames. Why did you choose steel?

In my case, it was a coincidence. About 14 years ago, I bought a steel Author Sector as a buddy to my full-suspension bike. I started liking this bike and gradually started falling more and more for the charm of steel. When I then decided about the material for my first frame with my name would be on the bottom tube, steel was a clear choice. For the “garage” manufacturer, steel seems to me to be the optimal choice due to its ease of processing.

2. With the new season, the “lay” public has already noticed the current situation in biking businesses. How did the lack of bicycles on the market affect the interest in customized manufacturing?

So far, I haven’t noticed any increase in demand. Of course, this is also due to the fact that I build very few frames per year.

3. As you also assemble the bikes, are you hampered in any way by the slowed supply of components?

I’ll find out this year, but I guess I’ll put it together somehow.

4. Are you planning any novelties this year?

I’m a custom builder, so it’s more a question to my customers, what they will come to me with. I know that I’ll be constructing my first frame for Rohloff, I plan to have my first frame soldered to lugs, and for some time now, I have material on the shelf for the handlebar and stem combo. I’m looking forward to it.
 

www.navak-frames.com

Martin Saida - Zoceli bike

1. The SingleBe, Novák, and Zoceli brands have a common ground – the material from which they form their frames. Why did you choose steel?

Thin pipes are simply nice :) I use steel due to its properties and because it’s also relatively easy to process. I like to tackle the myth that steel frames must be heavy.

2. With the new season, the “lay” public has already noticed the current situation in biking businesses. How did the lack of bicycles on the market affect the interest in customized manufacturing?

Unfortunately, I haven’t been in this business for that long to comment on it. I was “created” at the time of covid, but I think that the demand for steel frames is quite good. People don’t want bikes that everyone has.

3. As you also assemble the bikes, are you hampered in any way by the slowed supply of components?

I feel it only when someone asks for a silencer for the frame .... we basically don’t have any.

4. Are you planning any novelties this year?

Sure. We are working on a freeride full-suspension frame prototype that uses a linear guide to achieve progressiveness.

So we have something to look forward to. You can follow Martin’s work at  www.instagram.com/zoceli_bikes/.

Steal bikes at Adrex Base Camp

Customized bikes are at home and here in Adrex. At the moment, you can ride and test only two steel bikes from SingleBe at the Adrex Base Camp test center on the trails in Víry, but for those seriously interested, we can arrange a ride on other models. Comparing the driving characteristics of Cr-Mo with titanium (TiWorks) or robinia wood (Samorost) is another level – you should book more days for that.

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