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Old 04-20-2014, 12:02 PM
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K. Bedford Customs

Inglis/Retrotec Cycles has been at the front of the Paceline for a while now but its time for Curtis to peel off and let Greenfield Center, NY based builder Kelly Bedford of K. Bedford Customs to come to the front to take a pull. So, this week keep your eyes open and watch Kelly’s wheel...


Quote:
I credit my older brother, Kevin for kindling my interest in cycling at an early age. Like many racers he supported his love of cycling and racing by working at the local bike shop. I began working in the same shop, giving me my first exposure to the world of cycling and my first opportunity to dabble in frame making. A few years into my tenure at the shop I was given a set of tubing and lugs and, once again with the guidance and encouragement of my brother, I began the process of building my own frame. I was especially inspired because at the time I wasn’t able to afford the quality of frames that I really wanted to be riding and in the Bedford family, building your own stuff was the natural way of things....

http://kbedfordcustoms.com

Kelly was kind enough to take a moment and 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.





A little Q & A with forum supporter Kelly Bedford!

Questions:



How / why did you decide to become a frame builder?
Just out of high school I followed in my brothers footsteps going to work in the retail bike end of the business mostly because I had an in at a couple of shops where he had worked. As a sponsored racer and also being in college he was moving around a lot, I needed work so it was a natural transition. I began riding a lot myself and wanted the nice stuff but couldn’t really afford it, especially the frames so I decided the best way around that was to build my own. My father was an aircraft mechanic and was a firm believer in not buying new stuff if you could either make it or fix it yourself…….we were brought up very hands on. So, that’s what I did. After making my first frame and then one for my brother people started seeing them and wondering if I could make frames for them. I’ve always had a thing about making the equipment needed for any sports I’ve been involved in like skate boarding and surfing.
I actually built surf boards for a living for a while.


What influences the artistic side of your designs?
The artistic genes kind of run in our family. My mother was very artistic doing a lot in charcoal sketch and oil painting. My brother has a Masters in fine art and I have a minor degree in advertising design. Other than that I would say my love for nature and the outdoors is a big influence on me. I’ve had an idea for doing a sportsmans bike that I’ve been throwing around in my head for a while. A kind of all round on / off road bike capable of carrying a lot of gear for a specific sport (To be revealed later).




What is your method to determine fit?
The method I prefer the most Is the method we developed at Serotta during my years there. Ben was a real innovator in this and in my opinion probably the person most responsible for bringing to light the importance of proper fitting in the level of bike we’re all making. Of course there are many other fitting systems, many that rely on a series of body measurements. All of these systems work but none are flawless and are still dependent on the fitter and or the builder’s experience to use them with great attention to detail and to be able to weave this information together with what the customer / rider is expressing that they want from the bike. 




What is it that keeps you passionate and focused?
We all have to make a living and there are many mundane or should I say normal ways to make a living…..I’ve had my share of experiences with some of them and don’t care to repeat them. Making things with my own hands that people can get great pleasure out using is the most satisfying way of making a living I can possibly imagine. Building bikes affords a creative outlet for me and is a must for my sanity. I’m also a fanatical fly fisherman which is most important for my own inner peace and sanity and yes I build my own rods, tie my own flies and am highly involved in teaching others these skills. 




Can you tell us about your first bike? What did you love (or love to hate) about it?
I bought a frame building from Proteus Design from College Park Maryland….some old timers like myself will remember them. The material was all Reynolds 531 and it was built as a road bike although the design was pretty much track geometry….I thought I was a real hot dog back then. It was edgy and very stiff for the materials of the day. It was a great bike but I wouldn’t describe it as a long distance ride. I was also able to finally afford a Colnago which at the time was my dream bike. It was a fine ride, very well mannered, comfortable and a real eye catcher being finished in a bright lime green metallic. I enjoyed both of them very much but they had distinctly different personalities. 




How many times have you burned yourself?
All told it’s countless. Burned seriously to the point where I wasn’t able to work at full capacity, maybe two or three times.




What's your favorite beer?
I was never much for foo foo micro brewery and craft beers with all kinds of crap added for some special flavor effect.
Good old Heinekin does it for me. Way back when PBR’s were my regular.
It’s all a moot point anyway since I haven’t had any alcohol for probably 10 0r 11 years.




Heard any cool music lately?
Drunk Souls




How did you meet your spouse or significant other?
My wife Melanie was the high school best friend of the wife of the owner of the bike shop I was working in. We were set up on a blind date and the rest is history….Married 31 years. 




What's there to do for fun in your town?
There is the famous horse racing track in Saratoga but I’m not much for crowds and even lees for gambling so I avoid it like the plague.
Being in upstate NY this area is really beautiful country so the riding and fishing is fantastic.




Do you put ketchup on your _Hot Dog_?
Yes




What type of bicycle is requested the most for you to build? Road,
cross, track, fixed...?
Road

.


Who would you want to build a bike for you?
Dave Kirk and or Dave Wages come to mind.




What is it about your approach to building/designing bikes makes you
unique, or separates you from the other builders out there.
I can’t say that I have completely unique approach as compared to other builders. Although it may sound corny my goal is to design and build what is going to be the customers Dream Bike. This means the best fit and finish I can do. Each frame is a project that is a collaboration between me, generally a fitter and the customer. It’s also important to have an open mind and consider all ideas. I will never take the approach that I’m the Master and I’m going to tell you what you need.




Through your growth and progression as a frame builder, can you share a high point, and a low point that you feel helped shape who you are as a builder today?
Designing and building frames for the 7/11 and COORS teams was a definite high point. Not only did it teach me a lot about frame design, why bikes do what they do according to the geometry and material choices. Also, there’s a level of pride when you talk to the team guy’s and they’re liking the stuff you’re doing for them. I guess the low point would have to be the 2008 year when Serotta started declining to a level that ended up with my being laid off at the end of 2008 and eventually to a lot of other very talented folks being laid off……..very sad times. There is a silver lining though as this is what pushed me into finally starting my own thing……something I should have done long befor that. Working for myself has been very challenging but also very rewarding and I can’t imagine going to work for anybody else again.




In any line of work, there is always something in the process that people feel they really excel at. What is that part of the process for you?
The frame design itself. I’m at the point where I feel very confident than I can make the frame do exactly what the customer wants with they’re and most time a good fitter’s input. I also have a lot of confidence in my fabrication skills to do the over top things that frame builders get asked to do many times. 




How long is your wait list?
Right now any tig welded frame is 8 weeks, the mixed material frames are 10 to 12 weeks and lug frames are generally around 16 weeks.




How long have you been building frames.
Approximately 35 years now.




Do you have a favorite part of the building process?
I’ve always loved doing unique lug cuts. Hearing back from customers when they are really excited about the bike.




What is the most unusual / unique bicycle you've ever built?
Probably the one I did for Charles Mananten at Pez Cycling.
The from scratch fabrication on this one was pretty much over the top.




What is your favorite non-cycling obsession?
FLY FISHING!!!!
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Last edited by William; 11-17-2014 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:51 PM
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:52 PM
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:53 PM
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:53 PM
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:53 PM
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:54 PM
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:55 PM
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:56 PM
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:57 PM
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:58 PM
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