Builder's Spotlight The Paceline Forum Builder's Spotlight


Go Back   The Paceline Forum > Builder Spotlights

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-17-2013, 08:49 AM
William's Avatar
William William is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 25,197
Crisp Titanium

Forty Four Bike Co. has been at the front of the Paceline for a while now but its time for Kristofer and to peel off and let Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy based builder Darren Crisp of Crisp Titianium to come to the front to take a pull. So, this week keep your wheels close and watch Crisp Titanium...

Quote:
"Throughout my career I have been committed to the rigorous development of conceptual ideas through their evolution to a well-executed final product, relying on my experience as an architect and designer, and my hands-on approach to fabrication. Building bicycles is a natural undertaking for me. Having raced competitively in the United States and Italy, my skills building racing bicycles for road and off-road use are informed by my own experiences as well as the constant feedback from fellow cyclists".

http://www.crisptitanium.com/
Darren was kind enough to answer a list of questions for us that are a mix of standards and member contributions...plus a few off-the-wall thrown into the mix. Our hope was to convey the builders love of their craft, hard details, and offer a few questions that bring out a bit of the human element that that helps them create the works that we love. Darren is also a member of the forum so if you have additional questions you would like to ask him about his craft, fire away.


Q&A With Crisp Titanium:

How / why did you decide to become a frame builder?
Back in 1995, I was working for a sculptor. This was in Mississippi. Needless to say, back then there were (and probably still are) few bike shops around. I was always intrigued about crafting things, so I figured why not? I was racing bikes and decided that it would be fun to have a go at it and finally get make a bike that fit me. I had all the tools to cobble together a frame. I photocopied Talbotís Manual from the library (there were no internets around rural Mississippi in those days) and got to it. I guess thatís when I became a framebuilder, if thatís what I have become. I still donít consider myself a framebuilder. Just a guy who makes bicycle frames.


Knowing that you've worked as a blacksmith, designer, and architect, how do these experiences influence the artistic side of your designs?
Iíd say that they work in the subconscious. Sometimes the stress of getting all the frames built and delivered can create an atmosphere which is less-than-creative or artistic. But thereís always some thread of your inner being that leads you down the path of aesthetic. Working with/as a blacksmith, I learned some rudimentary skills that gave me the confidence to ride what I made. In the same light, I think we are all designers to some degree. It just depends on how much you want design to drive your work.

My former employer introduced me to the KISS Method, which I have tried to maintain with the finish product. The problem is that sometimes getting to the finished product is anything but simple. Working in commercial and private architecture, I picked up on refinement of the product. The idea is very similar to what I would build in these spaces. My goal over the years developed into somewhat of a concept that the structure (insert store or bike frame or whatever you like) should not be the main attraction. It should disappear behind the userís experience. It should be present and tangible, but not overbearing or cumbersome or distracting.


What is your method to determine fit?
I donít have one method really. I derive frame design based largely on observation. I collect data regarding the cyclistís current ride, then a series of photos or video in specific positions as well as detailed interviews and the standard anthro charts. It mostly involves listening, though.

Some folks come in with the latest biomechanicsí frame project based on what seat tube angle provides max power and VO2, wattage and so forth. Often, they havenít considered that those figures may be secondary to their basic needs of finding a comfortable position on the bike. If youíre not comfortable, youíre not going to be able to sustain max power for long in any situation. Many times these projects donít even consider what type of cycling the customer practices, so I like to go down that road and see what the frame is going to actually be used for. I also see so many types of postural dysfunction and muscular and imbalance which also must be addressed in order to find a good position.


What is it that keeps you passionate and focused?
Every customer is different. If I was doing volume work, Iíd probably be back in a fab shop somewhere with an ipod turned up. Itís fun to collaborate with such a broad range of cyclists. Needs and wants are also different as well as the cultural background and expectations. Waking up to the challenge of meeting all those different conditions keeps your brain moving in all directions.


How many times have you burned yourself?
Usually at least once on every frame. The worst is when Iíve just laid some nice hot beads around the bottle bosses and I go to move the frame into the next welding position. Cotton gloves just donít get it doneÖ


What's your favorite beer (or....)?
Love the Belgians, and their beer. I like Abbey/Trappist, Wheats, and about a hundred other varieties. I like to fiddle around with my own recipes, too. Problem is limited brew time so I keep things simple. I also like a good Amaro after a nice dinner or some Nocino or Lemoncello. I have quite a few clients from down in Southern Italy who I frequently challenge to find the best Lemoncello. Howís that for propaganda?


Heard any cool music lately?
Lots. I wouldnít know where to start. Iím a big Dexter Gordon fan as well as Jeff Buckley, Leonard Cohen, Tool, WTC. I go in all directions depending on the weather and my emotional state. Lately Iíve just hit EXPERIMENTAL on the web and let go to whatever comes out. There is some crazy s$#t out there. I like the fact that music has become fragmented via the web. It is so easy to explore and discover music and musicians who formerly would never have a voice or been noticed without these new instruments for diffusing their work, kind of like custom bikes.


How did you meet your spouse or significant other?
We met locally at a friendís restaurant where she was working : http://www.pane-vino.it/ita/la-taverna.php . I about fell out of my chair when I saw her. I was eating with a fella that just happened to be her cousin. At the time, she was dating another guy so I had to formulate a plan to win her over. Two years later, she finally gave in. that was right about 2000.


What's there to do for fun in your town?
Where I live is like a little Mayberry. Itís a small town where everybody knows everybody, and thereís always something going on. There are yearly events associated with the cultural history (itís a Medieval Town built around a fortified wall, over Etruscan ruins) and there are quite a few events. Itís like Medieval Times, only itís real. Sometimes I canít believe that some of these ceremonies have lasted for centuries. I mean where else can you find grown men wearing tights and performing in unison to a flag-waving ritual while sitting at a table eating like a Viking.


Do you put ketchup on your Frankfurter/Wiener?
Maybe. I prefer Mustard and Kraut with a beer, though.


Is there a difference between how you work with Titanium compared to others in the business?
Well, I think working in Italy is way different than working in another place, say the United States. I spend exorbitant amounts of time with administrative duties and general bureaucracy, which cuts into the production. I have not had an opportunity to collaborate on a project with other ti builders so Iím not sure what those differences would be like from a customer standpoint. From a fabrication standpoint, I am very tuned into getting all the details that the customer wants in his/her new frame. Iím a one-man show, so I get to know personally all my clients and they become part of the ďfamilyĒ, I guess you could say (a rather large Italian family, that is..). I am only aware of a handful of ti builders and those who work alone are even more of a minority. I like the fact that I am responsible for all aspects of the actual fabrication, which allows me to increase my technical capacity while still allowing for the human interaction. I get to be the director and the audience at the same time.


Who would you want to build a bike for you?
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe or Mike Starn


What is it about your approach to building/designing bikes makes you unique, or separates you from the other builders out there?
Not sure about this. I have some thoughts on the matter which Iíve outlined on my FAQ page on the website. I think that it comes down to a frequency that my clients and I share. We really get what itís about and the hype that is pursuing us is left at the door. Iím just a guy who builds frames. Iím not a guru of fit or of fashion. I probably listen more than I talk and work more than I watch. I make mistakes, learn from them and then use the experience to enrich the next project. Itís a never-ending process. At least I hope so.


How long is your wait list?
Currently it is 16 months.


How long have you been building frames?
As a hobby since 1995. As a registered business since 2004.


Do you have a favorite part of the building process?
The welding is the most intoxicating aspect. I spend a lot of time at the computer with the administrative stuff so when I have got a tacked frame ready to go I get pretty amped. Music on, doors locked. I think it is the most exciting part because it resembles a mountaintop decent or a tough climb. There is no other place your brain can be. You are there, in the present moment. Awareness at this level comes very infrequently in our lives when we are surrounded by internet, tv and other distractions.


What percentage of your builds are custom vs. more production oriented builds?
All are 100% custom. Never built two the same.


What is the most unusual / unique bicycle you have ever built?
Probably this one: http://www.flickr.com/photos/1693365...57627906700616 It has some interesting details that required some thought, but nothing extraordinary. I collaborate with some locals at Leonardi Racing on quite a few projects as they have broadened my mechanical background and I enjoy collaborating on things I have never done before. It makes your production come to a standstill, but what I gain from it serves me well for future projects.


What is your favorite non-cycling obsession?
I have two girls with whom I obsess about quite a lot. Outside of family, itís architecture and the built environment, and recently my reading is centered around quantum physics, biology and anatomy.


Tignanello or Limoncello?
Well, my wife is a sommelier, so I have to say Tignanello for the record. She promotes wines specifically from the Arezzo province so I get a free pass on this one since Antinori is just out of our reach (but well within biking limits). But for a guy who spent a number of years living in a double-wide trailer in the backwoods of Mississippi, my gut tells me to go with Limoncello. As noted previously, I have quite a few clients from southern Italy and itís become quite a fun pastime to collect their family recipes and have a go at it. It all helps me to become a well-rounded telaista. Right now, Giovanniís wife Caterina is in the lead, hands-down.. http://english.crisptitanium.com/gio...ustom-ti-road/

http://english.crisptitanium.com/per...re-tranquillo/


Many thanks to Darren for taking the time to answer our questions! Please feel free to ask him any questions that pop up while admiring his work.

William


PS: In case you missed it, the previous Builder Spotlight can be found here...
.
__________________
Custom Frame Builders List
Support our vendors!

Last edited by William; 08-07-2013 at 08:17 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 05-17-2013, 08:53 AM
William's Avatar
William William is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 25,197
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Darren1.jpg (33.8 KB, 1671 views)
__________________
Custom Frame Builders List
Support our vendors!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-17-2013, 08:53 AM
William's Avatar
William William is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 25,197
.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Darren2.jpg (128.9 KB, 1675 views)
__________________
Custom Frame Builders List
Support our vendors!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-17-2013, 08:54 AM
William's Avatar
William William is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 25,197
..
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Darren3.jpg (50.6 KB, 1660 views)
__________________
Custom Frame Builders List
Support our vendors!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-17-2013, 08:54 AM
William's Avatar
William William is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 25,197
...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Build-001.jpg (56.8 KB, 1657 views)
__________________
Custom Frame Builders List
Support our vendors!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-17-2013, 08:55 AM
William's Avatar
William William is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 25,197
....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Build-002.jpg (74.8 KB, 1659 views)
__________________
Custom Frame Builders List
Support our vendors!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-17-2013, 08:55 AM
William's Avatar
William William is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 25,197
.....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Build-003.jpg (66.0 KB, 1648 views)
__________________
Custom Frame Builders List
Support our vendors!
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-17-2013, 08:56 AM
William's Avatar
William William is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 25,197
......
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Build-004.jpg (112.0 KB, 1638 views)
__________________
Custom Frame Builders List
Support our vendors!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-17-2013, 08:56 AM
William's Avatar
William William is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 25,197
.......
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Build-005.jpg (53.3 KB, 1634 views)
__________________
Custom Frame Builders List
Support our vendors!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-17-2013, 08:57 AM
William's Avatar
William William is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 25,197
........
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Build-006.jpg (40.0 KB, 1629 views)
__________________
Custom Frame Builders List
Support our vendors!
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-17-2013, 08:58 AM
William's Avatar
William William is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 25,197
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Build-007.jpg (54.4 KB, 1625 views)
__________________
Custom Frame Builders List
Support our vendors!
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-17-2013, 08:58 AM
William's Avatar
William William is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 25,197
.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Build-008.jpg (55.3 KB, 1630 views)
__________________
Custom Frame Builders List
Support our vendors!
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-17-2013, 08:59 AM
William's Avatar
William William is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 25,197
..
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Build-009.jpg (54.0 KB, 1621 views)
__________________
Custom Frame Builders List
Support our vendors!
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 05-17-2013, 08:59 AM
William's Avatar
William William is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 25,197
...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Build-010.jpg (40.2 KB, 1618 views)
__________________
Custom Frame Builders List
Support our vendors!
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 05-17-2013, 08:59 AM
William's Avatar
William William is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 25,197
....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Build-011.jpg (58.1 KB, 1619 views)
__________________
Custom Frame Builders List
Support our vendors!
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:52 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.