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Old 02-28-2013, 08:49 AM
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Foresta Frames

Vendetta Cycles has been at the front of the Paceline for a while now but its time for Conor and Garrett to peel off and let Noblesville, Indiana based builder Craig Ryan of Foresta Frames come to the front to take a pull. So, this week keep your wheels close and watch Foresta Frames...

Quote:
"I am Craig Forest Ryan, and I design, build, and paint Foresta Bicycles. Modern materials allow me to build a light and strong bicycle with classic styling. Investment cast lugs, silver brazing materials, and Columbus tubing in multiple sizes and profiles have changed steel bicycles. If you haven't experienced a modern steel bicycle, look again. As always, there are no "extra" options when you purchase a Foresta frame or bicycle. The price quoted includes everything: from the fork and matching pump, to the stainless water bottle cage bolts. I hope you enjoy my work as much as I enjoy producing it."

"I believe there is room in this world for craftsmanship. Handmade art which shows the mark of man, will forever be valued by all civilizations." ~ Craig Ryan


www.forestaframes.com

Craig 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. Craig 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 Foresta Frames:

How / why did you decide to become a frame builder?
It's something which started incubating around 1975. I grew up in Wisconsin, raced and rode, subscribed to International Cyclesport, and VN, and rode some nice bikes. I lived for a bit out in Eugene while in college, so was exposed to the custom work of the west coast builders. Around 30 years later when I decided to make my first frame, I thought long and hard about it, like 6 months or more. I have a tendency to get into things big when I get into them, and I wasn't sure I was up to the task I knew was coming. Initially I just built for myself. I'd have three new bikes over the course of a summer. I'd ride them until the next was ready. Eventually I trusted my work enough to share.


What influences your artistic sense in your designs?
It's the whole package, but this is the short list of what's important to me on the art side of things.
Bramante - Tempietto (little temple)
Botticelli - Primavera
Pantheon - Rome
M.C. Escher - tesselations
Fred Picker - The Fine Print
Pieter Bruegel The Elder - Hunters in the Snow
Henri Rousseau - Sleeping Gypsy
Kandinsky - most
Edward Weston - Pepper No. 30
Bull Leaping, Knossos Crete
Parthenon - Athens


What is your method to determine fit?
By the time someone decides they want one of my frames they've put a lot of miles in and have it sorted out pretty well. They send me data on their position, and body measurements, I check it, and if there are problems we work from there.


Do you consider yourself a power tool, or hand and file builder?
The largest tool I own is my drill press. Filing isn't as big a thing as people might make it out to be. If you build right there isn't a lot of filing that needs to be done. My main tools are my vise, tube blocks, lug vises, hacksaw, grinder, and sander. There are a lot of little tools which I think are important, but not big power tools.


What is it that keeps you passionate and focused?
I hate to say it, but I'm always chasing perfection.


How many times have you burned yourself?
Never, at least not bad enough to need a band-aid. I'm pretty careful when I light the torch.


What's your favorite beer?
Back in the day I liked Augsburger, the premium brand of the Huber Brewing Company of Monroe, WI. Over the years I've experienced a growing allergy to something in beer, and have pretty much given it up. A little bit of nice Rye sits better with me.


Heard any cool music lately?
While in the shop I run XM/Sirrus all the time. I like the variety, but gravitate toward traditional country.


How did you meet your spouse or significant other?
I was coaching Cross Country at school and Susan's daughter ran for the team. Now Julie is our daughter.


What's there to do for fun in your town?
The small town atmosphere goes a long way with me. There's always something going on. We also live just outside Indianapolis.


Do you put ketchup on your _Hot Dog_?
I'm a ketchup kind of guy.


What type of bicycle is requested the most for you to build? Road, cross, track, fixed...?
Performance road made to fit tires up to 27mm.


Who would you want to build a bike for you?
Someone like me. When I first attended NAHBS in Richmond as a New Builder, I was in a corner with Aaron Dykstra (Six-Eleven), Erik Rolf (Alliance), and Herbie Helm (Helm Cycles). Of the New Builders present that day I think we are the only ones still pounding away on a daily basis, so I'd keep it in the family and work with any one of those guys.


What is it about your approach to building/designing bikes makes you unique, or separates you from the other builders out there?
I do all of my own work, first cut to final paint. Some of us do that, but not many. I also offer my frames for one price, which includes everything. No extras. Many may not know it, but a large part of my work involves restoration projects. I've never talked it up, but I enjoy it.


How long is your wait list?
I'm usually 2 or 3 months out for delivery.


How long have you been building frames?
I am in my 6th year.


For a customer considering Foresta Frames, is it anything goes? Or do you prefer to stay within a particular style or design sense?
I'm confident in every feature of my work, and know it will perform correctly, so if it's outside my repertoire, I pass on it. Every part of my frames is designed to work with every other. What I offer is unique, and it takes a lot of work to make it look easy. For paint I keep it simple. I do a lot of pearls, some candy, solid colors, but there are consistent features to all of my frames. All the branding on my frames is painted, and it's subtle. I also have a little bit of art I put near the top of the seat tube, each one is unique. If someone wants features I don't offer, I point them toward a buddy who can help them.


Do you have a favorite part of the building process?
There are little moments I like to see go by, but generally it's all the same. I like it when the lugs are cut and ready, or the tubes are mitered and the pins are in, or when the seat stays are on and it looks like a frame. I like it when the primer is on and I can really see it for the first time. Lots of little moments like those throughout the whole process.


What is the most unusual / unique bicycle you've ever built?
The Kermit frame I made for our son David. It was Kermit green, and was signed by all the Muppet characters. I painted a little Kermit playing banjo on the seat tube, and it had a nice Kermit name I masked for the down tube.


What is your favorite personal ride?
Do you mean my Golf tdi ride, a bike ride, or bike? Well, I love my tdi! For a bike ride I love central Indiana. My favorite is to ride up north, when you get far enough out everyone waves to you. My favorite bike is whenever I'm out on the tandem with Susan. It reminds us both marriage is about compromise.


What is your favorite non-cycling obsession?
I keep a pretty close eye on the trucking industry. Back in the day I drove a few trucks and buses, so I always have them in the back of my mind. Just one of those deep seated passions. I have a tremendous amount of respect for truckers.


Many thanks to Craig 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...
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Last edited by William; 03-21-2013 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:54 AM
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:54 AM
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:55 AM
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:56 AM
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:56 AM
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:57 AM
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:57 AM
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:57 AM
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:58 AM
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:59 AM
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:00 AM
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:00 AM
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:01 AM
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:01 AM
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