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Old 02-05-2020, 11:13 AM
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Pursuit Cycles

The No22 squad has been at the front of the Paceline for a while but it's time for them to peel off and let Carl Strong and the Pursuit team come to the front and take a pull. So, this week keep your eyes open and try to keep up with the Pursuit Team from Bozeman, Montana!

Quote:
We thought a lot about how to master a complex, unrestricted material like carbon fiber while simultaneously paying tribute to the nostalgia that continues to inspire us.

We thought about breakthroughs, both personal and systemic. We thought about the birth of mountain biking, road racing, criteriums. We thought about epic days on steep climbs and athletes like Hinault, LeMond and Induráin...

https://www.pursuitcycles.com/

Carl is a longtime member and contributor on the Paceline and I wanted to provide a venue for him to talk about what he's been up to and where he is heading. Carl and the Pursuit team were 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. Carl is always ready to go so if you have additional questions you would like to ask him about his craft, please do so.


Q&A


What do you have cooking right now?

Coffee, bacon, and toast.


How / why did you decide to become a frame builder/s?

Pursuit is a team of bike freaks. We have all been riding, racing and involved professionally in the bike industry for years. Pursuit resulted from our relationships with each other as cyclists. We had a unique opportunity to start Pursuit because each of us had professional experience in all the areas needed to create and build these bikes.

We are a unique company because although we are a team, we operate like a small single builder. We build to order, customize all builds, and build in very small numbers. But every single one of us is necessary in order to make and deliver these bikes.

The core team is:

Carl Strong - GM and Sales
Bill Cochran - Product Tester, Brand Ambassador,*Advocacy
Jared Nelson PhD - Director of Engineering
Loretta Strong - Finance and Photography
Luke Middelstadt - Production Engineer
Jeff Wyatt - Design Engineer
Theo Loo - Carbon Tech (Mechanical*Engineer)
Mark Levy - Painter


What influences the artistic side of your designs?

Clean and simple. We try not to get caught up in hype or trends. We want to take advantage of modern technology, but we want to do it with respect for tradition.


What is your method to determine fit?

We primarily fit remotely using a system that Carl has been honing over the last 27 years. If a client prefers, we are also happy to use measurements or a fit that they have.


What is it that keeps you passionate and focused?

Learning! That is what Pursuit Cycles is all about. That is why we call it Pursuit. The Pursuit of knowledge, fitness, happiness, perfection or whatever your heart desires. In our case, it's the pursuit of building the best bike that can be built.


Can you tell us about your first bike? What did you love (or love to hate) about it?

My (Carl's) first bike (that I can remember) was an old clunker that was around the house. It was a step-through. When I got older my mom took me to Goodwill and I got an old "men's" clunker and my Dad helped me make it safe to ride. That was my first experience with mechanics of any kind.


How many times have you burned yourself or get carbon splinters?

Ha, it depends on which one of us you talk to. Erik's always getting splinters. He's right there on the front-line. Carl too, the rest of the team, not so much.


Heard any cool music lately?

Right now we're listening to The Claypool Lennon Delirium channel on Pandora.


What's there to do for fun in your town?

A lot. We are a ski town so we have several ski areas pretty close. There are also a ton of groomed nordic trails, including one in a park in the middle of town. We are also known for angling, rock and ice climbing, hunting, kayaking, and of course MTB and Road/Gravel riding.


Do you put mustard or ketchup on your _Hot Dog_?

Ketchup


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

Until recently, Pursuit only offered road bikes. So that was what we were making. But now we have an All-Road in the final stages of development and there is a lot of interest. My guess is we'll make more AR's than road.


What is it about your approach to building/designing bikes that makes you unique, or separates you from the other builders out there?

The thing that makes us unique is that we combine high-tech composite manufacturing with craft-level artistry and attention to detail. We design, engineered, test and make our bikes in-house. We are one of the only companies in the US making modular monocoque carbon fiber frames, built to order, one at a time.


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?

I'd guess it was the mid 90's when aluminum frames swept through the Pro Peloton. I was building exclusively in steel as were most custom builders. At that time I could have dug-in on steel - or I could start learning how to build with a new material. I chose to learn another material. I think that choice, the lessons I learned from it, and the confidence I gained, gave me the flexibility to be open-minded. Rather than feeling threatened by a new material or technology I've learned to see the unique advantages in all materials because I'm no longer professionally tied to, or dependent on a single material.


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?

Prototyping and testing. We build a lot of frames for testing. We cut some up, fatigue or impact test some, ride test them etc. Designing a frame is a fun and creative process, but learning how that design will actually work in the real world is the most interesting.


How long is your wait list?

We are at 3-4 months right now.


How long have you been building frames.

Carl - 27 years as a builder
Erik - 13 years as a builder
Bill - In the bike industry as a manufacturer and retailer 30 years
Jared - Has worked in and around the bike industry as a metal guy, composites tech and now an engineer for nearly 20 years. He is also a faculty member at SUNY New Platz.
Loretta - 16 years running Strong Frames and now Pursuit Cycles
Jeff - Has been a design engineer running his own engineering firm ( http://pinionengineering.com/ ) for 13 years.


Is there any type of bike, or request that you would decline to build?

Most types. We focus on road bikes and all-road bikes. Anything outside of that and you'll be better off checking out https://www.strongframes.com/ or https://alliancebicycles.com/


What does the future hold for Pursuit Cycles, where do you see the business in 5 years? Any top secret innovations on the horizon?

We want to stay small and focus on quality. We will continue to add options and hope to offer off-the-peg frames to those who don't want/need full custom and would prefer faster delivery.

We will soon be introducing our second frame model, the LeadOut AR and we anticipate adding more over the years.

We also want to start work on a fork soon and will start to dabble in other components as we develop our test lab.


Do you have a favorite part of the building process?

Demolding because it suddenly becomes real.


What is your favorite non-cycling obsession?

Carl - My house, I have an old house and I love working on it
Loretta - Fostering dogs and working in the rescue community.
Bill - doing things to positively affect my community
Jared - Skiing



Many thanks to Carl and the Team for taking the time to answer our questions! Please feel free to ask any questions that pop up while admiring Pursuit Cycles work. They can answer any questions you might have.

William



PS: In case you missed it, the previous Builder's Spotlight can be found here...
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Last edited by William; 10-09-2022 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 09-25-2022, 06:18 PM
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Old 09-25-2022, 06:21 PM
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Old 09-25-2022, 06:21 PM
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Old 09-25-2022, 06:21 PM
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Old 09-25-2022, 06:22 PM
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Old 09-25-2022, 06:22 PM
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Old 09-25-2022, 06:23 PM
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Old 09-25-2022, 06:23 PM
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Old 09-25-2022, 06:24 PM
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Old 09-25-2022, 06:28 PM
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Old 09-25-2022, 06:28 PM
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Old 09-25-2022, 06:29 PM
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Old 09-25-2022, 06:29 PM
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Old 09-25-2022, 06:30 PM
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