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Sep 26, 2023

This week we dive into the world of titanium frame building with Brad Bingham. Based in the Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Brad has been crafting custom frames for an impressive 27 years. Starting his journey as a welding enthusiast in high school, Brad's passion for making things led him to the art of bike building. But his skills go beyond frames – he even built his own home with the help of his retired custom home builder father.

In this episode, Brad reveals the importance of learning how to do things for oneself and consulting experts. He shares his experience working for a dental equipment manufacturer before diving headfirst into the world of bikes. From working at renowned bike manufacturer Moots to eventually taking over Kent Erickson Cycles, Brad's journey is a testament to his dedication and expertise.

Brad and our host, Randall Jacobs, delve into the nitty-gritty details of bike design. They discuss everything from tube selection and mitering to the impact of weight bias and alignment. Brad's deep knowledge of geometry, materials, and manufacturing processes makes this episode a must-listen for any bike enthusiast or aspiring frame builder.

But what sets Brad apart from the rest? Well, his attention to detail and commitment to customer satisfaction are second to none. As the owner of Bingham Built Bikes, he prioritizes open communication and mutual respect. With his wife, Hannah, by his side, they handle everything from bike design and production to backend operations. Their tiny operation may be limited in size, but it's big on passion and craftsmanship.

Binghm Built Bicycles Website

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Automated Transcription, please excuse the typos:

[00:00:00]Brad Bingham: Yeah. So I'm, I'm Brad Bingham. I'm, uh, based out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and I'm a custom titanium frame builder. Uh, been doing that here in Colorado for, gosh, going on what, 27 years?

[00:00:17]Randall Jacobs (host): Wow. 20, 27 years,

[00:00:20]Brad Bingham: Correct. Yep.

[00:00:21]Randall Jacobs (host): you don't look, you started welding when you were like eight.

[00:00:27]Brad Bingham: Uh, no. I, I really started welding in earnest, um, senior in high school. I.

[00:00:35]Randall Jacobs (host): No kidding.

[00:00:36]Brad Bingham: And then, yeah, I moved here to, to Steamboat right after I turned 20. And

[00:00:41]Randall Jacobs (host): so me about those first welding experiences. How'd you get into it? Was it starting with bikes or was it, uh, a general, was it a vocational program? What was the nature of

[00:00:51]Brad Bingham: it, it was very bike centric, so I, I knew that I wanted to construct bike frames, uh, mountain bikes specifically. And to do that, I needed to know how to, you know, join two tubes together. And at the time, I mean, I was 18 years old and didn't have any welding experience whatsoever. So I went and took a, uh, evening like, uh, community college TIG welding course.

It was like a 75 hour course and took that in the, in the evenings after work. Um, And I walked in there with a couple of parted off pieces of Reynolds bike tubing and I said, I just need to know how to put these two things together.

[00:01:40]Randall Jacobs (host): And so this is really, I mean, this has been your path in life since

[00:01:45]Brad Bingham: Mm-hmm.

[00:01:45]Randall Jacobs (host): beginning.

[00:01:46]Brad Bingham: Mm-hmm.

[00:01:46]Randall Jacobs (host): Um, that's, uh, it seems like an increasingly rare phenomenon to have such clarity at a young age at what you wanna do and then to go out and do it. So, uh, good on you. Some of us, some of us, it takes a lot longer.

[00:01:58]Brad Bingham: Oh, sure. Yeah. I mean, I was, I was always really passionate about making things. I, I just always needed to be making something or working on something. And luckily the bikes found me, you know, 'cause I was a rider and, um, the idea of building bikes was, you know, not, not anything that crossed my mind until a good friend of mine said, well, why don't you just build your own. And that was, that was the genesis.

[00:02:31]Randall Jacobs (host): So, and we were just talking a moment ago, I, I, I was apologizing for the, the state of affairs in my house. 'cause I'm in the process of building a new house around the husk of a, of a old derelict, but, but lovely, uh, home that I just purchased. And you mentioned you built your home as well. So tell me a little bit about that.

I'm kind of curious about this builder mentality,

[00:02:53]Brad Bingham: yeah. So yeah, I did not, you know, obviously I did not build the entire home myself. Um, my dad was a, um, was a custom home builder for 25 years, and so he was retired at the time, and this was 2000, like 2002 to 2004. Um, he had just recently finished a home helping out my sister build, build a home in Bend, Oregon. And so about a, uh, about a year, year and a half after that, Um, I talked him into coming out here and, and helping me build a home. So it was a big, big project, but really, he, I have to say he did at least 80, 85% of the heavy lifting. Like, yeah, I mean, he was, he was amazing. He's, he passed away in 2008. Um, but he was just a super smart guy and really good at building homes and being efficient, not wasting materials.

Um, you know, I was a, I was working for Moots at the time. Didn't have a huge salary or anything. It's not like I was a rich guy. We were really trying to build it as inexpensively as possible.

[00:04:11]Randall Jacobs (host): Mm-hmm. Well, and I think, um, granted, sounds like your father was far more expert than mine, but we share that. Um, my, my father passed in oh seven and I didn't get to build a home with him, but I did get to work on, um, a couple of properties that, um, uh, he had, uh, my parents had purchased with, um, a aunt and uncle.

And these properties were always underwater and always, you know, falling apart. And they'd never had the budget to do, you know, to hire out. And so it's just like, all right, we need to figure this out. And that's how I learned. You know, one of the key ways that I learned how to use tools, how to do things for myself, and there's a certain, um, there's a certain sense of, um, one personal responsibility and also with that personal, um, uh, competence and confidence that goes with learning from a young age to do things like, you don't need to hire an expert.

You can consult experts. Maybe sometimes you do, but you can learn this. So that's, uh, that would seem to have carried into, uh, a lot of things in, in, uh, in what you've done starting at age 20 welding frames

[00:05:21]Brad Bingham: Yeah. Yeah. And prior to that I was, you know, I was always on my dad's job sites, um, mostly cleaning up, you know? Um,

[00:05:31]Randall Jacobs (host): as, as one does, and at when you're a grunt.

[00:05:34]Brad Bingham: yep, yep. But, but yeah, you do learn a lot and yeah. Good stuff. Mm-hmm.

[00:05:41]Randall Jacobs (host): Um, so tell me, so you mentioned you, you take this course, right? You're, you're in high school or just outta high school, and you go to work for Moots right after. How'd that come about?

[00:05:51]Brad Bingham: No, I was, uh, I had the opportunity in high school to be part of a cooperative work experience, uh, with the world's largest dental equipment manufacturer. So I worked, I worked in their engineering department, um, really as a drafts person, uh, um, junior, senior year in high school. And then that carried over into, after high school.

Um, I was not a, you know, there was a lot of, a lot of life things that, that kind of slowed me down from going to college. Um, my mom was recovering from some pretty harsh cancer and I wasn't really excited to, to leave her. My parents were recently divorced, like, you know, all these things kind of piled up to me staying, staying in my hometown for a year after high school.

And I continued to work, uh, in that engineering department. Kind of the, the, uh, path would've been to go into mechanical engineering from there. But I, I kind of looked around and I was like, I don't think this is, for me, I just, you know, I don't wanna just be kind of a cog and cog in the wheel, you know, cog in the machine.

Um, I wanted to have a, you know, more greater grasp, more of the whole scope of projects. Um, and that's, you know, bike, bike building allows you to do that.

[00:07:18]Randall Jacobs (host): Well, for, for better or for worse, in a lot of regards, especially in the beginning when you're trying to get off the ground,

[00:07:24]Brad Bingham: Mm-hmm.

[00:07:25]Randall Jacobs (host): it's the product, it's the business, it's the marketing. And which is really just another way of saying how do you communicate, how do you build awareness? How do you connect with people?

Um, So, so then, you know, walk us through kind of what, what that journey looks like.

[00:07:40]Brad Bingham: So, you know, it's, it's funny, I, uh, I, like I said, you know, A gentleman that I worked with, uh, who was a really good friend, uh, at the dental, Manu dental equipment manufacturer. Um, he ended up becoming, you know, years later he was director of engineering. Uh, this is a big major company, like 1200 employees on site, um, major manufacturing capabilities right there in my hometown, which is just outside of Portland, Oregon.

[00:08:12]Randall Jacobs (host): and what, um, what types of products

[00:08:15]Brad Bingham: oh, uh,

[00:08:16]Randall Jacobs (host): ha have I had your products in my mouth at some point?

[00:08:19]Brad Bingham: uh, maybe not in your, maybe not literally in your mouth, but, but potentially actually, yeah, you probably have like the, uh, you know, the little suction wand that, uh, goes in your mouth while you're at the dentist. Yeah. I mean, they

[00:08:32]Randall Jacobs (host): yeah.

[00:08:33]Brad Bingham: they even produced that. So the company was a.

[00:08:36]Randall Jacobs (host): Okay.

[00:08:37]Brad Bingham: You walk into, you walk, walk into certain dental offices, and you'll see that every single piece in that office, it's me, sorry, is uh, every single piece has adec on it.

Literally from the chair that you're sitting on to the cabinets, literally everything.

[00:09:00]Randall Jacobs (host): So what I'm hearing is here you are, this, this young kid in, in, in high school, just outta high school. You get this, this opportunity to work in a very large, uh, organization in with, you know, seasoned professionals doing, you know, medical products at a whole nother layer, um, of complexity in terms of design and development and supply chain and things like that.

And so you're dealing with that sort of thing. Um, and that was kind of your jumping off point.

[00:09:30]Brad Bingham: Yeah. Yeah. And I, um, I got into the bike building thing because my buddy that I, I rode with, I broke a couple of cannondale and he said, why don't you just make, why don't you just make your own?

[00:09:43]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:09:44]Brad Bingham: so of course I did. And it kind of spiraled, you know, I was in his garage late every single night machining something.

And, uh, you know, kind of once I built that first bike, it was a really great experience, but I was kind of like, well, what's, what's next in this? And then he said, why don't make one outta titanium? And, uh, so I went and took the United Bicycle Institute Titanium Frame Building course in 1996. Um, and it was taught by Gary Helfrich, uh, who is one of the, one of the founders of Merlin.

[00:10:21]Randall Jacobs (host): Mm-hmm.

[00:10:22]Brad Bingham: So, uh, yeah, through that process, moots got ahold of my name and. I got asked to come out to Colorado to interview for a welding position, and you know, as soon as they offered it to me, I took it. And kind of the, you know, the rest is, is history. And, you know, I did feel like that was a wonderful opportunity I got out here and I kind of initially thought to myself like, okay, I'll, I'll do a year out here, figure it out, and then I'll get back to Oregon and I'll start my own brand.

[00:10:59]Randall Jacobs (host): Mm-hmm.

[00:10:59]Brad Bingham: But I got out to Colorado and it's like, wow, I'm, I'm not gonna go home and build better bikes than this. And, you know, I'm, I'm not gonna go step, step away and just immediately be building better bikes. That's not gonna happen. Um, and I fell in love with, with Colorado and the, the stoke that people have here.

[00:11:24]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:11:24]Brad Bingham: So,

[00:11:25]Randall Jacobs (host): And what, what is it about, you know, what was it about working at Moots that was particularly special for you, and like, who were some of your mentors? You know, what, what'd you learn there?

[00:11:35]Brad Bingham: Well, it, it was a opportunity to work from the, the very bottom, you know, the very bottom to the very top kind of. And so I was able to experience, you know, every, every part of manufacturing while I was there, every, every part of manufacturing, a bicycle frame from titanium. Uh, so I started out welding, but pretty, I did that pretty solid for, uh, five years, five, six years, you know, tons and tons of welding.

But while at that time, Kent Erickson was still, um, employed by Moots, and so even in those first few years I was helping, you know, Kent never used a computer. I brought some CAD skills with me, and so pretty quickly I was involved in design work and any little part he wanted to get machined, you know, we needed to do a drawing and I was a drafts person so I could create an engineering, you know, a print, uh, that somebody could read and manufacture it really easily.

So, um, with a, with a lot of those skills that I brought, I was able to evolve at moots. You know, I, I look back on it and I think, oh, it, you know, happened pretty quick, but, but really it took a, took a number of years and by 2004, um, I was the production manager at Moots and managing, you know, the flow of the flow of products through the, through the factory.

And, um, at the time it was about, I think it was about 14 or 16 guys and gals that were making the bikes. So, um, You know, and then designing all the bikes after Kent left. Um, and I was, uh, designing tooling and, you know, as new specifications came out, we would incorporate those into the bikes and yeah, just making it all happen.

And then, uh, yeah, I finally, finally got tired of the, the high volume, you know, it just got, it got really, really big and I was, no, I was then just, like I said, kind of a cog in the machine. And, um, and then not long after my dad passed away, I kind of felt like it was time to make a change.

[00:14:09]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah, that'll, that'll definitely catalyze some, some serious self-reflection for sure. Um, uh, I think in my case as well, when my, when my dad got sick, um, you know, he, he had a, in my dad's case, it was a, a brain tumor. So as a type that you usually don't, uh, get more than like 6, 8, 10 months from, um, and from then it was like, okay, I moved back, moved back home, um, and resolve like, okay, what are the things that I would like to have done if I were on my deathbed and that I would like to do and share with my father while he's still around and like, you know, shifted my whole life trajectory.

[00:14:51]Brad Bingham: Sure.

[00:14:52]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:14:52]Brad Bingham: Yeah.

[00:14:53]Randall Jacobs (host): So,

[00:14:54]Brad Bingham: I, yeah, I hope, did you get the, did you get the six or eight, 10 months with 'em?

[00:14:59]Randall Jacobs (host): uh, yeah, he, he lasted about eight months or so. He passed, uh, about 10, 10 days before his 50th and my 25th birthdays. We shared the same birthday. And, um, it was, I wanted to, I wanted to land a big account in the company I was working with. I wanted to, um, get into a good grad school, and I wanted to get my pro upgrade as a racer.

And I got two, two of the three before he passed. And then, uh, I had a, a good season, uh, later on, uh, the, the, the following year and, uh, was a, a Pac fodder pro for a hot minute.

[00:15:39]Brad Bingham: Gotcha.

[00:15:40]Randall Jacobs (host): again, like that, that reckoning of seeing, seeing a, you know, a parental figure and someone that I admired and learned a lot from, you know, I.

Towards the end of life, it maybe reflect a lot on, on what I wanna do with my own.

[00:15:52]Brad Bingham: Yeah.

[00:15:54]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah,

[00:15:54]Brad Bingham: Yeah. 50 is, 50 is way too young.

[00:15:58]Randall Jacobs (host): yeah.

[00:15:59]Brad Bingham: Way too young. I, my dad was 63 when he passed away,

[00:16:02]Randall Jacobs (host): Mm-hmm.

[00:16:03]Brad Bingham: felt way too young.

[00:16:06]Randall Jacobs (host): I think it is never a good age to lose a parent. Like it, it just brings with it different challenges. Like when, when you're a child, it, it's like you, you need that parental figure to help guide you through life when you're going through your, your twenties or so, you try to discover yourself and that guidance can be helpful if you're in your forties or fifties.

I haven't had that experience though. I will. Uh, my mother's still around and still healthy, but, you know, then it's like you're confronting your own mortality. Uh, so part, part of the cycle of life.

[00:16:36]Brad Bingham: Yeah, definitely. Definitely.

[00:16:40]Randall Jacobs (host): So, so your dad, your dad passes, you decide it's time. So what'd that process look like?

[00:16:48]Brad Bingham: Yeah. So, um, I chose to, yeah, I chose to leave the job I'd been in for 15 years and, um, you know, they were, moots was a, they were a little surprised by it because I had been there for so long and, um, you know, at the time I was, I was playing a pretty integral. Um, so I, I went to part-time for, you know, I gave them a healthy notice and went to part-time and then, you know, finally trailed off.

Um, and that was spring-ish of 2012, and I had no, I had no plans. I had bought a airstream, uh, to renovate, so I did a, like a shell off restoration on a 1973 Airstream and,

[00:17:44]Randall Jacobs (host): off renovation. So like you pulled the shell off the chassis. Sandblasted the chassis.

[00:17:51]Brad Bingham: exactly.

[00:17:52]Randall Jacobs (host): All right. This, this, we need, we need to do a tangent on this 'cause I, I also did a, um, uh, a camper build at one point. So tell me about this Airstream. I'm super curious.

[00:18:00]Brad Bingham: what, what was the camper you did?

[00:18:03]Randall Jacobs (host): Um, mine, mine, I built out of a 15 foot vno motorcycle trailer.

'cause I had a, I had a Honda Element, which is a four cylinder, um, boxy, little, little adventure mobile that I wanted to, you know, use as a, you know, I wanted to be able to tow around the country. So I built this ultra light, um, largely self-sustaining kind of off-grid trailer, you know, solar thin film, solar on the roof and water recycling for the toilet and all the other stuff.

And yeah, it was, it was an experience.

[00:18:34]Brad Bingham: Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, mine was, uh, it was my brother-in-law's folks up in Montana. I was up in Montana in 2011 for, uh, like a, a US Cup mountain bike race,

[00:18:51]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:18:52]Brad Bingham: in, up in Missoula and,

[00:18:54]Randall Jacobs (host): What, what year is this?

[00:18:56]Brad Bingham: 2011.

[00:18:57]Randall Jacobs (host): 2011. Okay. So this is towards the tail end. I, I did the, the, um, when it was the Kenda Cup. I don't know if they were still sponsoring. It's like Show Air was a shipping logistics company that was sponsoring, this is like oh 8, 0 9, maybe 2010. So I think maybe the tail end.

[00:19:14]Brad Bingham: Yeah, that sounds right. I don't even know if Kenda and Sho were still involved. Like, I, I raced like the, um, like 2010 I think I was doing like the, like Sand Dimas and Fontana.

[00:19:28]Randall Jacobs (host): Yep. I did those races.

[00:19:30]Brad Bingham: Yep. Did you do

[00:19:31]Randall Jacobs (host): Okay. So, so, so you were a, uh, you were a private tier pro as well, or are we on a team or,

[00:19:36]Brad Bingham: Yeah, I was, you know, it was moots.

[00:19:39]Randall Jacobs (host): yeah.

[00:19:39]Brad Bingham: I was riding to Moots and just having, just having fun with it.

[00:19:44]Randall Jacobs (host): What, what years did you race? I wonder if we actually lined up next to each other

[00:19:48]Brad Bingham: well I raced, I raced pretty hard like nine, 10.

[00:19:56]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah, same you do. Sea otter.

[00:19:59]Brad Bingham: Uh, oh gosh. I don't think I did sea otter until like 2016.

[00:20:06]Randall Jacobs (host): Okay.

[00:20:07]Brad Bingham: My, um, yeah, my, my pro mountain bike racing, it got, got sidetracked by two hip surgeries.

[00:20:19]Randall Jacobs (host): Oof.

[00:20:20]Brad Bingham: So I'm trying to remember how hard I went in 2011. I feel like. Oh, yeah, yeah,

[00:20:28]Randall Jacobs (host): I had, I had already retired by that

[00:20:30]Brad Bingham: yeah, yeah,

[00:20:30]Randall Jacobs (host): I was like, okay, I've got way too much student loan debt to be living outta my car, you know, spending money to be a professional athlete.

[00:20:40]Brad Bingham: yeah. So I had, um, my, my major injury, um, I tore the labrum, tore the labrum in my hip, um, which turns out was a, it was a genetic issue. Um,

[00:20:56]Randall Jacobs (host): Interesting. It's just weak in some way, or there's some sort of,

[00:20:59]Brad Bingham: of, shape of the femur.

[00:21:01]Randall Jacobs (host): okay. My sister did the same thing and she had had to have her shaved. Did you have the, the shaving surgery or did you tear it right through?

[00:21:08]Brad Bingham: The shaving. Yep. Same. Yep. So

[00:21:14]Randall Jacobs (host): same thing on the other side.

[00:21:15]Brad Bingham: correct both sides. Yep. I identical. So that ended up, um, the pain was pretty bad and kind of set me back in 2012. Um, and I prepped myself for surgery at the Steadman Clinic down in Vail, um, and had surgery in on the right leg or the right hip, uh, like February of 2013.

And then I had my left one done July of 2013. So 2013 was kind of a throwaway year and, you know, I don't mean that entirely. It was, it was a great year. But, um,

[00:21:58]Randall Jacobs (host): In in terms of competing at the highest level in athletics of any sort. Yeah. That, that makes sense.

[00:22:06]Brad Bingham: But then I came back, I came back really hard 2014 and like just once I had the go ahead and I was, I had a wonderful physical therapist and I was just getting after it hard.

And so at that time also I was working for Kent Erickson and he was like, you know, all about it. Like, yeah, go, go do it. Go go get it while you can, kind of. And uh,

[00:22:33]Randall Jacobs (host): not something you do in your forties unless you're, uh, or fifties. Unless you're what? Tinker or, um, uh, Ned. Ned

[00:22:42]Brad Bingham: I went like, so 2014 I kind of got myself back in, back in race shape and did things like Breck Epic, um, if you're familiar with that.

[00:22:54]Randall Jacobs (host): I am, I got some friends who are doing it this year. I hear it's phenomenal.

[00:22:57]Brad Bingham: And uh, yeah, did about a bunch of mountain biking and then I kept ramping it up until about, uh, 2017. So, yeah, it went pretty hard. 'cause my wife was, was racing cross country as well.

And so it was something we did together, you know, and I would throw in road races and then, and, and whatever.

[00:23:20]Randall Jacobs (host): I was gonna say that that makes a lot of sense that, uh, it was something you shared because otherwise, I mean, you're, you're on the road all the time and it's really hard to be on the road with like, as a, as a partner, be on the road with your partner who's out racing all the time and, you know,

[00:23:39]Brad Bingham: yeah,

[00:23:40]Randall Jacobs (host): camping at different places or, you know, subletting or, or doing whatever it takes, you know, sleeping on sofas, wherever.

[00:23:47]Brad Bingham: yeah, yeah. And, uh, like, so 2016, I turned 40 in the fall, so my goal was to do 40 races before I turned 40 that year.

[00:24:01]Randall Jacobs (host): Geez,

[00:24:03]Brad Bingham: So

[00:24:03]Randall Jacobs (host): that's, uh, that's impressive. I just turned 40 and I, I don't have a, I don't think I have a single race in me right now.

[00:24:10]Brad Bingham: Yeah, that's alright. That's alright.

[00:24:13]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:24:15]Brad Bingham: So, yeah. Anyways. Um, but all the way back to the Airstream. Yeah.

[00:24:20]Randall Jacobs (host): Mm-hmm.

[00:24:21]Brad Bingham: Fun project, you know, kind of kept me occupied. Um, as I le after I had left Moots. It, uh, definitely kept me occupied for a good few months

[00:24:33]Randall Jacobs (host): And did you tow that around, um, with your wife, train, you know, training and racing everywhere, or, or were we, you just living in it?

[00:24:40]Brad Bingham: it was a project. Like it took a, took a long time to get it even to where it is today, which is, I'd call it, I'd call it 90% done. I mean, it's, it's one of those things

[00:24:52]Randall Jacobs (host): Okay, good. Good enough where your motivation is, uh, less than.

[00:24:58]Brad Bingham: Yes, it's

[00:24:59]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah. Yeah.

[00:25:00]Brad Bingham: Yes. And, but I.

[00:25:03]Randall Jacobs (host): I think, I think that's part of the danger, the dangerous spot that I'm in. 'cause I, I also am like comfortable enough and I got other priorities, but gotta keep things moving along.

[00:25:12]Brad Bingham: yeah.

[00:25:13]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:25:15]Brad Bingham: So, yeah. But, uh, anyway, I didn't have any, I didn't have any plans to start, you know, to, I had no plans to be building bikes after I left Moots. I just wasn't, I just was like, I'm okay with taking some time and figuring out whatever the heck happens. And, uh, and then Ken Erickson, who had left Moots, uh, in 2005, he, he had been doing his thing for a while and he reached out and said, Hey, how about, how about you come back to me? And, uh, with the intention that you take over the business? So,

[00:25:53]Randall Jacobs (host): All right.

[00:25:55]Brad Bingham: so

[00:25:55]Randall Jacobs (host): Wait, so this is, this is his independent business?

[00:25:59]Brad Bingham: Correct. Yeah, he started Kent Erickson cycles about a year, a about a year, year and a half after he left Moots, so 2006. So, um, he'd been going for about yeah. Six, seven years.

[00:26:16]Randall Jacobs (host): And is he a few years your senior?

[00:26:19]Brad Bingham: Uh, yeah.

[00:26:20]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah. So, so he is, he's been at it, he's been at a long time.

[00:26:26]Brad Bingham: Oh,

[00:26:26]Randall Jacobs (host): And when did the, how long did you work together before he started to kind of transition outta the business?

[00:26:33]Brad Bingham: Uh, so from, it would've been late, late 2012, um, until the late 2016. So four years that, uh, till we bought the business. And then, and then he was on board working for about 18 months afterwards.

[00:26:53]Randall Jacobs (host): wow.

[00:26:54]Brad Bingham: five and a half years. Yeah.

[00:26:55]Randall Jacobs (host): That's really cool. That's like quite, quite narc to have worked together in a different business. Have him leave and then have you kind of take on his thing and have him supporting you in that role. Uh, that sounds really beautiful.

[00:27:07]Brad Bingham: Yeah. Yeah. He and I, we have a, like, we have a good relationship. I don't spend very much time with him because he does tend to kind of hermit himself up on, on his property and he just, you know, he's, he has a beautiful piece of property up in the mountains and it's like, you know, his slice of heaven, like he doesn't need to go anywhere.

Um, but to see him some pretty much gotta go up there.

[00:27:33]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:27:35]Brad Bingham: um, but yeah, but our working relationship is super good. Like really loved. The time we worked together is very much a lot of back and forth and a lot of mutual respect. And, um, neither of us really got upset with like, criticisms, you know? I mean, we were just really open. So it was nice.

[00:28:00]Randall Jacobs (host): And you, you said, um, we bought the business and I, I know that I, I spoke together with my colleague, Sam, with your wife, um, initially before chatting with you. So, uh, you know, share a bit about, about her and, and how the two of you work together and so on.

[00:28:17]Brad Bingham: sure. And actually, I mean, I, I, I kind of misspoke because technically it's only myself that owns the business,

[00:28:26]Randall Jacobs (host): Mm-hmm.

[00:28:26]Brad Bingham: but we were together are together, um, in everything that we do there. So, um, it feels like, you know, it feels like we bought it.

[00:28:38]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:28:39]Brad Bingham: but yeah, so, um, so yeah, Hannah and I have been, uh, been together since 2010, like late 2010.

And, um, you know, just a, just a fun like athletic. You know, athletic based relationship because we, you know, she was a runner at the time we met, and I was kind of ki I was kind of like still enjoying some running, like I did my first mar marathon with her and, um, my first and only wait, I should, I should had that, um,

[00:29:17]Randall Jacobs (host): that's more, that's more than many cyclists. Many cyclists will do. Most cyclists, I don't even know. Uh, a lot of cyclists I know will joke that they don't know how to run. So doing a single marathon is, is not bad.

[00:29:30]Brad Bingham: So, so yeah, we had never, we had actually, you know, we'd never worked together. But with this idea of me taking over the business, um, I really wanted somebody there that I, that I could trust to run the books. I knew that that would take such a burden off of me.

[00:29:51]Randall Jacobs (host): Mm-hmm.

[00:29:52]Brad Bingham: um, so we, we agreed that, um, that that's how we would do it, and it's worked out really well.

Um, and yeah, yeah, she, she has a, she had been working in some other outdoor, um, some other outdoor companies that are located in Steamboat Springs. Um, she'd been doing bookkeeping and accounting for those companies, so she was, well, well versed and ready to take it on. Um, and

[00:30:23]Randall Jacobs (host): And, uh,

[00:30:24]Brad Bingham: mm-hmm.

[00:30:25]Randall Jacobs (host): oh, go ahead.

[00:30:26]Brad Bingham: Oh, and she also, like, she, you know, makes the website happen, makes the web store happen, keeps all the backend stuff going.


[00:30:35]Randall Jacobs (host): Mm-hmm.

[00:30:36]Brad Bingham: you know, it's a, it's a huge component to the business. Um, I'm sure

[00:30:41]Randall Jacobs (host): Oh yeah.

[00:30:41]Brad Bingham: as you know, um, it really allows me to draw some, to draw some lines of things that I work on and things that I don't work on.

[00:30:51]Randall Jacobs (host): I mean, it's, it's exhausting Otherwise, uh, you know, especially like early days when, when, if it's, if it's just one person or just two people and everyone's doing everything, uh, I mean, I, it works for some people, but it definitely constrained scale. And it also means that there's a lot of context switching from, you know, now I wanna focus on products, but you know, now I have to do a whole bunch of customer service emails and then, you know, I need to do some, some marketing outreach and, oh, you know, uh, have we paid that bill yet?

[00:31:24]Brad Bingham: Yep. Yep.

[00:31:25]Randall Jacobs (host): Uh,

[00:31:26]Brad Bingham: But, but, but we're tiny, you know, we're a tiny little operation, so

[00:31:31]Randall Jacobs (host): it, it's the two of you.

[00:31:33]Brad Bingham: it's the two of us and one employee.

[00:31:35]Randall Jacobs (host): Okay.

[00:31:37]Brad Bingham: Yep.

[00:31:37]Randall Jacobs (host): And, and what is your, uh, what's your other team member doing?

[00:31:41]Brad Bingham: So Ed, ed is our, our third man, and, uh, he's like, does all of the final, final assemblies. So, uh, you know, complete, complete build outs. Um, he is, uh, he's a veteran of the bike world. Uh, he used to own one of the bike shops here in downtown Steamboat. Uh, he's a certified motorcycle mechanic. Uh, um, so he's just, he's just awesome, super, super diverse.

So he builds, he builds all of my wheels, like I said, does the final assemblies. He kind of manages the, the web orders and ships product based on those incoming web orders. Um, and then, and then he's also in production. So he's, uh, does all the finish work on the frames. Uh, that's like bead blasting and polishing, you know, brushing what everything that kind of takes place after I weld it,

[00:32:46]Randall Jacobs (host): Mm-hmm.

[00:32:47]Brad Bingham: you will.

Um, and then

[00:32:49]Randall Jacobs (host): so you're doing the tube selection, mitering and all the upstream up there, is that right?

[00:32:55]Brad Bingham: correct. Yeah.

[00:32:56]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:32:57]Brad Bingham: Yep. And then he has, oh yeah, yeah, exactly. So he has some, uh, you know, some machining, some other machining roles as well. But those are like, it's, it's really funny just how they fall into the production process. 'cause like he, like I, it's like we always need something.

There's always something to be done,

[00:33:24]Randall Jacobs (host): So what's the, what's the process like? Like say, you know, one of our listeners, um, was looking to get a custom bike, uh, built with you. How does that, how does the communication work? How's, what's the, the process you take them through?

[00:33:37]Brad Bingham: Yeah. So typically they reach out, excuse me. Typically they reach out through the, the website and then the conversation starts. Um, we have a pretty basic. Kind of intake form, if you will, uh, fit form. And we start with that. Uh, that does have a lot of, uh, a lot of measurements that they can provide, uh, if I were to be creating the fit based on those measurements.

But what I am seeing more and more is that clients are coming with a fit, you know, most often a retool fit,

[00:34:14]Randall Jacobs (host): Yep. Same.

[00:34:15]Brad Bingham: totally dialed. Yep. And so then the, depending on our workload, uh, you know, sometimes we have to delay, um, the conversation because I've just got too many clients currently that I'm working with,

[00:34:33]Randall Jacobs (host): It's a good, good problem to have.

[00:34:35]Brad Bingham: Yeah. Yeah. Generally it's a good problem. Yeah. So, um, but we start the conversation, you know, again, every, every client is a little bit different. Nothing. No scenario is exactly the same, but, um, most often we create a, create an estimate for the build out that they're looking for. Um, you know, if, if it's a complete build, of course they wanna see what that's gonna look like.

Um, so we provide, we provide estimates, uh, with no, um, you know, with no deposit, no, no obligation to purchase. Um, we want them to see, you know, where, how they're spending their money. Um, once they're satisfied that like the pro that things look good, um, then we take a deposit and then we really dive into the design work. Um, try to avoid putting in a lot of front end design work with no, um, you know, with no obligation. I.

[00:35:41]Randall Jacobs (host): Sure. And I mean, you can get, you can go pretty far in kind of teasing out high level, a high level understanding of what the rider needs. And also I. They can get a real sense of whether, you know, whether it's going to be the right match for them, you know, with those initial conversations. So that totally makes sense.

And then when you are, when you are looking at like, okay, so what are the different, walk us through like the different parameters of frame design for a particular rider. What, what are the, the different levers that you can pull? And then what information are you teasing out from the rider, either through that fit info or those conversations to, to determine, you know, how that bike gets created?

[00:36:20]Brad Bingham: Yeah. So I mean, you wanna, you wanna get kind of deep

[00:36:24]Randall Jacobs (host): Oh yeah. Let's go, let's go. Full nerd. Uh, so I, I think I shared with you previously, like I had, you know, did a two episode, uh, conversation with Craig Calie that was got into boron infused resin and like, you know, I think Josh Porter and I were talking about. The creation of CAD tools for modeling a spinning wheel.

Uh, so we, we can go as, we can go as nerdy as we like. So yeah, give give us, give us the full nerd version.

[00:36:52]Brad Bingham: Well, since we're on the gravel ride, um, you know, let's talk or let's talk a little bit around a gravel bike. Um, but when there's, you know, so for example, a lot of my clients do tend to be like, you know, their, their experience riders of a certain age, let's say. So a lot of those fits, you know, they, they are changing.

Um, so, you know, you really want to look at all of the parameters and, you know, weight bias, rear wheel, front wheel is a biggie. Uh, so you kinda identify that pretty, pretty quickly. You know, you can adjust that of course, by front center and stem length. I. Um, to achieve a weight bias that you're, that you're happy with.

But, you know, generally speaking, um, you want to, um, with those more upright positions, you know, you want to have increased trail, you want to have a longer front center. Um, you want, you know, if you're, because if you're gonna, if you're gonna have a short stem, you want higher trail.

[00:38:10]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah, because you're effectively without all else equal on the trail side, you're speeding up the, the ratio of, of, uh, you know, less input for the same amount of output when you go with a shorter stem. Less stability. Yeah.

[00:38:26]Brad Bingham: Yeah. And, and then depending on, you know, what, what you've done with the, like chainstay length and the rear wheel weight bias, you know, that. Quickly lightens the front end. Um, so you got, you need to be, yeah, you need to be careful there. Um, so yeah, and it's like every rider is different.

If you're more aggressive and, you know, racy on the gravel bike, then yeah, you might be looking for a, um, you know, for a longer stem, more weight on the front contact, front contact patch, um,

[00:39:08]Randall Jacobs (host): Potentially less, less frontal area in a, in a more kind of, you know, locomotive type position for long flats and things like that as well.

[00:39:18]Brad Bingham: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:39:19]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:39:20]Brad Bingham: Absolutely. Um, you know, a lot of those things, a lot of those changes do end up being perception and not, not all that much reality. The, the frontal area. Yeah, it's huge,

[00:39:37]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:39:38]Brad Bingham: But wheel base doesn't, you know, if a shorter wheel base is gonna be perceived as quick, oh, this is fast, right?

But no, it's not, you're not going any faster because

[00:39:55]Randall Jacobs (host): Sure. Yeah. It's the, the sensation of speed and, and responsiveness, which, you know, another, the flip side of the same coin is twitchiness, right? Whether it's responsive or twitchy is depends on who you are and whether you've crossed the line from one to the other.

[00:40:11]Brad Bingham: Yeah. Yeah. So, but in the custom world, you know, in the custom world it's nice 'cause you have all of the levers to pull. You can do, you can do anything with it, which is, which is wonderful. Um, because I do see a lot of pretty odd or out of the norm cockpits and, and you really want to give them an experience.

You wanna create a bike underneath them that just feels right. Like, wow, this, this is comfortable. I mean, it's, you know, a longer wheel base on a gravel bike is really much more comfortable, uh, for the long haul. If you, you know, especially if you're an older rider, um, those, you know, the frequency of, of bumps, you know, washboards, you can, you can change that drastically, uh, with a slightly longer wheel base.

[00:41:05]Randall Jacobs (host): Tell me more about that. How does that actually work?

[00:41:07]Brad Bingham: Well, because you have the slacker head angle, which

[00:41:11]Randall Jacobs (host): Mm-hmm.

[00:41:12]Brad Bingham: inherently allows the fork to flex a little more.

[00:41:18]Randall Jacobs (host): Okay.

[00:41:18]Brad Bingham: Right? And then, and then the, the longer wheel base, you know, um, just geometrically it, it doesn't have to, the, the angle of change. Is lessened

[00:41:33]Randall Jacobs (host): Okay,

[00:41:34]Brad Bingham: as you go over, as you go over a rise or through a pothole, that that angle of change is, is lessened on a longer wheel base.

[00:41:43]Randall Jacobs (host): It hadn't occurred to me that, so you're saying like a degree of head tube angle change, all else equal, same fork, same tubes, and everything else will actually

[00:41:53]Brad Bingham: you'll feel that. Yeah. You'll feel that flex. Uh, that definitely.

[00:42:01]Randall Jacobs (host): Got it. 'cause I, I was thinking of it purely in terms of its effect on trail or like the caster effect to, to simplify it for those who don't know trail and um, uh, and you know, potentially the introduction of tire flop, which usually is in an issue on, you know, gravel bikes. 'cause the head tubes aren't slack enough. Yeah. Huh?

[00:42:22]Brad Bingham: yeah, there, there's that. There's also, you know, again, back to like slightly longer wheel base. Shorter stem. Shorter. I think there is some, some also, um, comfort gained by, um, how much weight is on the hands, what you feel through the, what you feel through the front. But that's really driven by the overall cockpit and the, the fit parameters, you know,

[00:42:49]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:42:50]Brad Bingham: so, but

[00:42:52]Randall Jacobs (host): Basically where that, those three points in space where the, uh, the angle of the hypotenuse between them.

[00:42:58]Brad Bingham: Yep. Yep.

[00:43:00]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:43:00]Brad Bingham: So, so, yeah. You know, they, it's pretty quick, uh, pretty quick to tell the difference in how, how smooth bikes are, um, with those pretty, pretty small dimensional changes. Um, but it's even, it's been difficult for me even in design where I go, oh wow. I don't, wow. I don't wanna change the front center by, by that much.

Like, oh, that's, That's 20 millimeters and then you have to remember, wait, it's 20 millimeters. It's nothing like,

[00:43:35]Randall Jacobs (host): Well, as a, as a percentage, if you're dealing with a bike that has a wheel base, use a round number of like a thousand, usually a large gravel bike could be a bit longer than that.

[00:43:44]Brad Bingham: Yeah.

[00:43:44]Randall Jacobs (host): You know, 20 millimeters, so 2%.

[00:43:48]Brad Bingham: Right.

[00:43:49]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:43:50]Brad Bingham: Yeah. Yeah. But it's

[00:43:52]Randall Jacobs (host): Though, in terms of, in terms of mass distribution over the two axles, it's gonna be bigger than that because it's relative to its distance to the the bottom bracket.

So the rear end is staying unless you change the rear end with it as well.

[00:44:04]Brad Bingham: sure, sure. And I, I think, I think oftentimes it is smart to adjust that rear center in a accordingly, um, because otherwise you will end up with, um, too much rear weight bias, you know,

[00:44:19]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:44:20]Brad Bingham: so.

[00:44:20]Randall Jacobs (host): Which, which can be, which can be fun if you like wheelies and for a certain type of riding,

[00:44:25]Brad Bingham: Exactly. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, like, you know, the bike, I'm like, the bike I'm riding right now is, uh, I think it's about a four, I think it's like a 4 27, uh, chain state. That's center to center. Not effect, not uh, horizontal, but

[00:44:44]Randall Jacobs (host): Yep.

[00:44:45]Brad Bingham: center to center. It's like a, like a 4

[00:44:48]Randall Jacobs (host): So horizontal, it's gonna be, you know, for 23 it's a pretty tight,

[00:44:53]Brad Bingham: Yeah, it's pretty.

[00:44:53]Randall Jacobs (host): uh, actually, no, not that much, but yeah, 4 24 or something like that.

[00:44:57]Brad Bingham: Yeah, actually I think it is less, um, because the drop is probably, I think the drop on my rig is like at least 73, 75 maybe I forget now. Um, but that's a pretty tight, tight rear. And then the front is like a, I think the, my current ride is like a 71.7 head angle with a 47 fork, you know,

[00:45:20]Randall Jacobs (host): How tall are you?

[00:45:21]Brad Bingham: uh, probably five, 10, maybe a sh

[00:45:25]Randall Jacobs (host): 10.

[00:45:26]Brad Bingham: yeah.

[00:45:26]Randall Jacobs (host): Okay. So on a larger, medium, smaller, large, sort of, if you were to fall into a, a conventional bike?

[00:45:34]Brad Bingham: Yeah,

[00:45:36]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:45:37]Brad Bingham: And uh,

[00:45:37]Randall Jacobs (host): Just, just for context. 'cause then, 'cause then, you know, understanding like a, you know, an extra large rider is gonna be riding, uh, even if you scale that bike up, well you, you can't really, because the wheels don't scale.

[00:45:49]Brad Bingham: right,

[00:45:49]Randall Jacobs (host): so you have to adjust those, those angles and those lengths and stuff like that. Not just proportional, but also to account for the fact that the wheels are staying, uh, which, which I always thought was an interesting opportunity. Uh, you do see some brands that, um, uh, will, you know, restrict to like a six 50 B on their smallest sizes, for example.


[00:46:09]Brad Bingham: You do see that a lot. Yeah.

[00:46:12]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah. I, I, I think we should bring back 26 for those really small riders who wanna run two point fours, but I guess there's not enough of a market or a marketing, uh, uh, you know, edge to be gained from it, so.

[00:46:25]Brad Bingham: Yeah. I, I, I find that, uh, my more like, my more experienced clients that are, that are very small, they're, they're really looking for 700.

[00:46:37]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:46:38]Brad Bingham: they're, they, they

[00:46:39]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah, it's interesting. Same. And how much of that is, what do you think are the drivers of that? Is that, do you think it's actually better for the vast majority of those riders, or,

[00:46:52]Brad Bingham: I think that the, the, again, kind of back to that going, you know, actually going fast comfortably, like comfortably going fast, you're going to do that better on a 700 than on a six

[00:47:07]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah, just rolling resistance attack angle, things like

[00:47:11]Brad Bingham: Yes. Yes, exactly.

[00:47:13]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah. So,

[00:47:15]Brad Bingham: and we.

[00:47:16]Randall Jacobs (host): so worth the com worth the compromises on, maybe responsiveness or, or what have you. 'cause you're definitely giving up something there, even if you do proportional cranks.

[00:47:24]Brad Bingham: for sure. Yeah. But I, I think like there's, you know, you know how it is, there's a, the, the sharp end of a peloton they want, or, or the entire Peloton, they want responsiveness.

[00:47:37]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah. Yeah.

[00:47:38]Brad Bingham: but you know, for

[00:47:40]Randall Jacobs (host): how do you do it on those really small frames? Like, you know, you have a, a five foot ri, five foot tall rider come in and they want to do gravel racing. Four foot 10. Yeah. Four foot 10. I mean, there's, it's unfortunate, um, there's almost nothing out there off the shelf for a rider who's four foot 10 and they end up on these bikes with no standover and a 40 mil stem, and they're still not fit properly.

[00:48:03]Brad Bingham: yeah. So I, I take advantage of, so seven cycles,

[00:48:09]Randall Jacobs (host): Yep.

[00:48:09]Brad Bingham: been producing, producing a fork called the the matador.

[00:48:14]Randall Jacobs (host): yeah.

[00:48:14]Brad Bingham: for quite a while. It has a 55 millimeter offset.

[00:48:18]Randall Jacobs (host): Mm-hmm.

[00:48:19]Brad Bingham: So you can get, you can get pretty slack with the front end and still keep it, um, you know, on the low, low lowish side of trail. Um,

[00:48:31]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah. And for, for those who don't know, um, when you increase the offset, you decrease the trail all l sql. And when you de, when you increase the head angle, you um, decrease the trail as well. You essentially less trail, less castor effect all else equal, more, more responsive or more twitchy, depending on whether you've crossed over into, you know, if you went too far, it wouldn't, you wouldn't be able to handle the bike over much.

[00:48:58]Brad Bingham: Right.

[00:48:59]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:49:00]Brad Bingham: Yeah. So those, you know, and tow overlap is a real, is a real thing. And when you start talking about a bike that's gonna clear a 45 millimeter tire, um, so.

[00:49:12]Randall Jacobs (host): a four 10 rider. Yeah. That's, that's hard to pull out. Are you doing, really, are you finding proportional cranks too? Are you running one fifties or one 40 fives or, or this sort of thing?

[00:49:22]Brad Bingham: Yeah. I think to date, one 50 is the smallest I've gone.

[00:49:27]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah,

[00:49:28]Brad Bingham: so, um, but those bikes, you know, they're, yeah, they're not, they're not racing at a high level, you know, they're, they're out enjoying gravel rides.

[00:49:43]Randall Jacobs (host): yeah,

[00:49:44]Brad Bingham: Yeah.

[00:49:45]Randall Jacobs (host): yeah. Those, I'll just comment, just, uh, anecdotally the conversations I've had, particularly with some of our smallest riders is proportional crack lengths makes such a big difference. And like people are, people are just used to riding the same cranks that you and I. You know, ride their whole lives and they never knew anything different or like their bike.

You know, I've, I've had riders that are five foot tall and their bikes came with one 70 fives. You know, they had a, they had a hybrid or something like that, or, or they're coming off of something, or like an older road bike and I put 'em on one 50 fives and it's just like, I can spin,

[00:50:20]Brad Bingham: Yeah.

[00:50:21]Randall Jacobs (host): spin it. High cadences.

My, my pedal stroke doesn't fall apart when I'm tired.

[00:50:25]Brad Bingham: Well also, you know, you look at bike, bike frame design and bike frame design has been dictated by what is a common crank arm length, you know, one 70 to 1

[00:50:34]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah. Exactly. Together, together with, uh, uh, you know, the outer attire radius, which is in turn driven by the, the rim dimensions. So like six 50 B or, or 26 versus 700 and so on, uh, puts different constraints. And then you have BB drop. If you have smaller wheels, you can't have as much BB drop, which means you're kind of more on top of the bike.

And so you have all these different factors that impact each other that you're balancing.

[00:51:03]Brad Bingham: yeah. And I'm, I'd say overall, my, my design philosophy is you have, uh, the, kind of the lowest. Possible center of gravity. Um, so maintaining, uh, you know, a low, low bottom bracket, um, whatever is acceptable for like, you know, wheel base crank, arm length, intended pedal, all those things.

[00:51:28]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah, essentially is, is, I mean, there's really not much reason not to go as low as you can go without risking pedal strikes

[00:51:36]Brad Bingham: Yeah.

[00:51:37]Randall Jacobs (host): more or less any application. And it's just a matter of what the application demands. Like a road bike that's doing crit racing, it's gonna need to hire bb 'cause you wanna be able to pedal out of the corner as soon as possible.

Um, dual suspension, mountain bike, you know, same deal. But it's, it's, uh, you need to hire BB because you have all that squish.

[00:51:56]Brad Bingham: yeah, yeah. Cycl, lacrosse, bikes, you know, side hill, side hilling, and

[00:52:01]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah. So it's interesting, you know, as gravel has, has taken over, um, cross and road. Arguably you ha like a lot of people who previously might have had a road bike now might only have a gravel bike that they use for road two. Uh, but like cross cross bikes have seemed to kind of converge with gravel bikes.

You don't see a lot of high BB cross bikes, at least to my knowledge, on the production side anymore.

[00:52:26]Brad Bingham: Correct. I think that's been a, I think that's been driven by how people are actually using the bikes.

[00:52:33]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah. Yeah.

[00:52:34]Brad Bingham: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:52:36]Randall Jacobs (host): right. So we've, we've, we've gone pretty deep on geometry. How about, uh, tubes?

[00:52:41]Brad Bingham: Mm-hmm. So in, in my

[00:52:44]Randall Jacobs (host): the levers you can pull?

[00:52:45]Brad Bingham: in my world, you know, I work with titanium exclusively, and everything that I have in-house is straight gauge tubing. Um, the

[00:52:58]Randall Jacobs (host): Is this all pre preformed as tubes or are you buying any flat sheets and rolling and, and welding them?

[00:53:04]Brad Bingham: no, no, the, uh, no, nothing like,

[00:53:07]Randall Jacobs (host): like the six four stuff.

[00:53:09]Brad Bingham: Yeah. Yeah. Like, uh, I have visited some of those factories that, that perform that function. Um, but it's just not, yeah, in my opinion, it's, it's barking up the wrong tree. Um, the tubing that I get, the vast majority of it is from Washington State, from Sandvik, which is actually, they just recently were kind of rebranded to their Swedish parent company name, which is Aima.

So it's,

[00:53:42]Randall Jacobs (host): Interesting. Sandik makes, um, the wire that's used in spokes as well.

[00:53:46]Brad Bingham: uh, I believe it.

[00:53:49]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah, so like we, we use Pillar Spokes and they use Sandvik. I think SENE does as well, and it makes sense, right? These are high grade, um, high performance, uh, alloys.

[00:53:59]Brad Bingham: Yeah.

[00:54:00]Randall Jacobs (host): Huh, I didn't know that.

[00:54:01]Brad Bingham: there's, there's only two, two places in the United States that produces titanium tubing. And that's, uh, Alma in Washington State and Hayes in Louisiana,

[00:54:13]Randall Jacobs (host): And that's actually produced. So they're, they're getting the raw material from somewhere and they're forming it into tubes here, forming it into alloys here, or alloying it, and then forming it here.

[00:54:25]Brad Bingham: Yeah. The, the, what they refer to as Tube Hollow, that is kind of the last step of the process before it actually becomes a tube that, that Tube Hollow is all sorted out. Like the alloy is correct, the condition is correct, and then they manufacture the tube from that. Um, and then at that, from that point forward, you know, all they can, all they can do to it is, uh, alter the condition through a kneeling and, and working

[00:54:58]Randall Jacobs (host): Mm-hmm. Okay.

[00:54:59]Brad Bingham: So I get most, the vast majority of my tubes come from Washington State.

And those come in, uh, typically in like 17 foot lengths. Um, yeah.

[00:55:13]Randall Jacobs (host): So you have a dedicated truck coming to you, you're buying

[00:55:16]Brad Bingham: Oh yeah.

[00:55:17]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah. To move that sort of thing. You're not, you're not doing less than, less than container load. You're doing like a a box trucker or something?

[00:55:24]Brad Bingham: yeah. I mean, it usually comes by freight. It's, uh, and then you have, you know, minimum footage requirements, um, per purchase. So, and, and that's minimum footage, requirement per diameter, per wall thickness.

[00:55:40]Randall Jacobs (host): Mm-hmm.

[00:55:40]Brad Bingham: So you have to buy, you know, um, it ends up being thousands of feet of material to have enough material selection on hand that you feel good about the, the tubing you can offer.

[00:55:56]Randall Jacobs (host): So you're buying, and this is just, you're sourcing just for yourself. You're not consolidating with other builders.

[00:56:01]Brad Bingham: Correct. Yeah. Nobody else.

[00:56:04]Randall Jacobs (host): That's a, yeah, that's a big commitment of, uh, of capital.

[00:56:08]Brad Bingham: It is, it's very, very large. Um,

[00:56:11]Randall Jacobs (host): So I would imagine like you basically spend a whole bunch of money early in the season and, well, I, no, I guess you're, you're probably able to kind of keep your demand consistent over the years.

So you probably do a couple buys a year or something like

[00:56:23]Brad Bingham: yeah. You end up buying enough material that you're gonna be, you, you'll have that material for literally years, you know, all, so,

[00:56:33]Randall Jacobs (host): I would think especially some of the more esoteric SKUs with high, high, um, uh, minimum order quantities.

[00:56:39]Brad Bingham: correct.

[00:56:40]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:56:41]Brad Bingham: Yeah. But it's okay. Like, yeah. That's, that's the, that is the titanium world, because if, if you want the highest quality American made tubing, then that's, that's what it takes, period.

[00:56:54]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah,

[00:56:54]Brad Bingham: There's other way to get it.

[00:56:56]Randall Jacobs (host): And then what is, what are other people doing? Are they working through distributors and just hot paying? I'm, I'm curious about the, the business side of it as well. Like, are there, so, so here in the Hudson Valley where I am, we have, uh, vicious cycles and, uh, Um, Carl. Yeah, so Kyle's, I was out on a ride with him the other day.

He'll, he'll be at Made as well. I know you'll be at Made too. Um, but he's, he, his other, the other side of his business, I forget the name of it, is the, I think the biggest distributor of steel tubes or one of the biggest distributors of steel tubes. And so you can do small batch, you can order as you go, but presumably pay, pay a premium.

But does that sort of thing exist in Ty? Must exist in titanium as well?

[00:57:37]Brad Bingham: It

[00:57:38]Randall Jacobs (host): Not as much,

[00:57:39]Brad Bingham: not, not in the, not in the same way. Um, you can certainly purchase, uh, tube sets like from, uh, data chi, uh, Columbus. Uh, but those are all, you know, Reynolds, um, aura Titanium, but those are all overseas. Third

[00:58:02]Randall Jacobs (host): Or is Taiwan right?

[00:58:04]Brad Bingham: Yeah. Aus, Taiwan.

[00:58:05]Randall Jacobs (host): to their, yeah, I've been to their factory.

[00:58:08]Brad Bingham: Yeah. Yeah. I've got some, I have some dropouts coming from them to, to check out.

Um, hopefully they're here like today or tomorrow. Um, but, uh, but titanium is, uh, titanium is just such a difficult material to create. There's, there's, you know, not a lot of players, um, in that world. And it's expensive, you

[00:58:36]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[00:58:36]Brad Bingham: so that, yeah, to put that outlay of capital to create tube sets for distribution, like that's being taken on by those larger companies like Columbus, data Chi and such.

[00:58:52]Randall Jacobs (host): It reminds me, uh, I'm gonna go off on a, a tangent here. Um, you ever hear about the, the Black Hawk, um, uh, spy plane? Think could do like mock 3.4

[00:59:04]Brad Bingham: yeah, they

[00:59:05]Randall Jacobs (host): it was,

[00:59:05]Brad Bingham: kerosene coffin.

[00:59:08]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah, it used to leak it. The, the temperatures when you're going Mach three plus are so high because you're essentially compressing the air ahead of you and creating that massive shock wave.

But also you just, you know, compressing all that heat energy and then there's, it's impossible to dissipate it faster that they, and the expansion in the titanium would be such that they built it so that it was leaking when it took off, and then all the gaps would seal up when you're actually up in the air.

And then they'd have to do air to air refueling,

[00:59:38]Brad Bingham: I'm kind of a, I'm kind of an SSR 71 Blackbird, um, nerd.

[00:59:43]Randall Jacobs (host): Nerd. All right. So then, so then you know about how, um, uh, the, the titanium was sourced

[00:59:51]Brad Bingham: Oh, well, no, I, maybe

[00:59:54]Randall Jacobs (host): from, from the U S S R through, through like intermediaries. So a us, uh, us you know, Soviet Union. So a US spy plane built to spy on the Soviet Union in, I think, you know, that plane was, uh, launched what in the, in the seventies?

[01:00:12]Brad Bingham: The, the Blackbird,

[01:00:13]Randall Jacobs (host): was it? Yeah. Was it even earlier?

[01:00:15]Brad Bingham: it was earlier. It was developed in the fifties and into the si and into

[01:00:19]Randall Jacobs (host): then decommit maybe, then maybe decommissioned in the seventies

[01:00:23]Brad Bingham: Well, it was top secret until I forget. I don't know. I forget the date, but, yeah.

[01:00:29]Randall Jacobs (host): until, uh, yeah, that I, I always found that interesting that, uh, it's like buy, buying this material that it, but it, it does speak to the fact, not just of Cold War tensions, but also of, you know, even a, a power as seemingly mighty as the US had to source this particular material from an adversary, um, because of what you're speaking to, the difficulty of producing it.

Um, Then you get into like the, the properties of this material, which, you know, were essential to being able to create that craft at the time in the first place. But, you know, that craft required major compromises and usability that made it, you know, dangerous and expensive to, to build and operate. Uh, you know, sitting in a pool of kerosene on a runway is, uh, I guess does it light easily?

I don't think it lights all that easily, but, um,

[01:01:24]Brad Bingham: No, no. They just,

[01:01:25]Randall Jacobs (host): still not a good thing.

[01:01:26]Brad Bingham: they just said that it, that's what they called it. Um, just because you could smell the, the fuel, you know. Um, but yeah, but the, the SR 71 is a, uh, was a development project, you know, uh, that we can thank for so much of the, the titanium that we use today and, and a lot of the manufacturing, you know, the manufacturing processes that were used in the nineties, you know, to make, um, to, you know, Merlin Lights, lights, speed, all those brands.

Um, yeah. Have you ever been up close to an sr?

[01:02:07]Randall Jacobs (host): No. Where can you, where can you do it?

[01:02:10]Brad Bingham: um, I think, well they, they tend to travel around to the different air, you know, aerospace, air and space museums. Um, I was up close with one in, uh, McMinnville, Oregon at the Evergreen Aviation Museum,

[01:02:27]Randall Jacobs (host): Huh?

[01:02:28]Brad Bingham: that was super cool. They, um, they were allowing. You just sit in it as well.

And, but then I believe there was one at the, the Pima Air Space Museum in, uh, uh, Tucson.

[01:02:45]Randall Jacobs (host): Yep.

[01:02:45]Brad Bingham: So, um, yeah,

[01:02:46]Randall Jacobs (host): Right by the boneyard,

[01:02:48]Brad Bingham: correct. Yeah,

[01:02:49]Randall Jacobs (host): which is, uh, the decommissioning location. You just have, if you've ever those listening, if you've ever seen pictures of thousands of aircraft sitting in a desert, that's the boneyard outside of Tucson. It's an insane place. Um,

[01:03:03]Brad Bingham: But, but at that, the one I was looking at there, when you went up to the, like the jet engine cowling, you, and you look closely, uh, you, you're looking at these massive pieces of titanium and if you look closely, you can see the end mill machining marks, you can see how that was machined and it was probably done manually.

[01:03:31]Randall Jacobs (host): Oh yeah. Especially at that age, uh, at that, uh, that vintage.

[01:03:36]Brad Bingham: hours and hours that probably went into that. So pretty, pretty cool. Yeah. Cool stuff.

[01:03:42]Randall Jacobs (host): There's, um, y you've probably come across the, there's videos on YouTube with, uh, interviewing the engineers who worked on that project in particular, some of the, oh, um, okay. Welcome to your next rabbit hole.

[01:03:54]Brad Bingham: I rarely go down the YouTube rabbit

[01:03:56]Randall Jacobs (host): This, this is a worthy one. I would say. There was, there was one, uh, there was a couple interviews I, I watched with, uh, someone who worked on the engines, uh, for that craft.

So an engine that's pushing, you know, 3.2, 3.4 m at, you know, again, fifties, sixties technology. Um, and one, it's cool stuff, but two, um, just the delight that, that you see in, in, you know, he's, he's still, you know, in 2023 giving tours and talking about that experience of working on these

[01:04:31]Brad Bingham: Mm-hmm. Super cool.

[01:04:34]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah. Um, cool. All right, so we've, we've, thank you for indulging my rabbit hole. Seems like we have another thing in common. Uh, uh, so, so, okay. So you have your tubes. Um,

[01:04:49]Brad Bingham: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yep. And then I do, I do supplement, uh, there are limitations for sure to the manufacturing capability of, of us titanium tube makers, so,

[01:05:04]Randall Jacobs (host): what are those

[01:05:05]Brad Bingham: that, diameter. So they only, they only go so large and

[01:05:14]Randall Jacobs (host): Says that's mostly, that, that's not a technology thing. That's more of a, a marketability thing, presumably,

[01:05:20]Brad Bingham: yeah.

[01:05:21]Randall Jacobs (host): not, not enough scale, or is it, or is it hard to create certain diameters at certain Well, thicknesses

[01:05:27]Brad Bingham: It is hard because it is, uh, it is the diameter to wall ratio that does get very, very difficult in titanium. Um, but yeah, I think

[01:05:36]Randall Jacobs (host): How's it, how's it formed?

[01:05:39]Brad Bingham: so

[01:05:40]Randall Jacobs (host): outta sheets that are auto welded or,

[01:05:43]Brad Bingham: no, no, it's a seamless, seamless, drawn tube from, from what's referred to as a tube hollow. And

[01:05:53]Randall Jacobs (host): this like Play-doh fun factory sort of forming process?

[01:05:56]Brad Bingham: like, uh, like drawn over a mandrel.

[01:06:00]Randall Jacobs (host): Okay.

[01:06:01]Brad Bingham: Yeah. And, and basically beaten, beaten into submission. Um, so, uh, so yeah, so they can only produce up to a certain size, you know, certain wall thickness, um, there, so there's a lot of large diameter down tubes that are being used these days.

I'm definitely, I'm definitely on board with that. So I will pick those up from Titanium Joe out of the northeast there.

[01:06:28]Randall Jacobs (host): Okay.

[01:06:29]Brad Bingham: uh, New York and Ontario, uh, he's got a, you know, warehousing. Um, so I'll go there for like a one in three quarter diameter down tube. Um, I do some two inch diameter down tubes for tandems.

I'll even do like a two and a quarter outside diameter, uh, like boom, boom tube and down tube.

[01:06:52]Randall Jacobs (host): Yep.

[01:06:53]Brad Bingham: so, yeah. And those are, those are typically a Chinese sourced tube. Um, but they're, they're pretty damn good. They've, they've proven themselves to be pretty good over time.

[01:07:07]Randall Jacobs (host): And this is, uh, you know, torsional, stiffness, bottom bracket, stiffness, things like this. Heavier riders, riders who want more, you know, um, responsiveness on acceleration, things like that.

[01:07:19]Brad Bingham: Yeah. Also, you know, stiffness is what's going to eliminate any kind of like harmonic balance where get any kind of like speed, speed wobble, if you will. You know, there's two, two major fact, well there's more than, there's like three major factors. Uh, frame stiffness, just straight

[01:07:39]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah. Mm-hmm.

[01:07:41]Brad Bingham: period.

And, you know, titanium 25 years ago had a pretty bad wrap of being newly, right? So yeah, you can, you can certainly eliminate that by going to a, a large, larger diameter down to, um, it's kind of, you know, beefing everything up a bit. But, you know, luckily we've seen all these advances in frame design, larger head tubes, you know, stiffer steerer tubes.

That all adds, you know, the fork is a. Important component when it comes to stiffness of the entire assembly.

[01:08:17]Randall Jacobs (host): So Monocoque monocoque, carbon for construction. Yep.

[01:08:23]Brad Bingham: yeah, yeah. And also the stiffer suspension forks as well, um, have made things much better. Um, but then, you know, and then secondly, uh, alignment, alignment of the bicycle is huge. Uh, 'cause that, that's what can, you know, set off the, you know, people, you rarely hear builders talk about alignment. And it's

[01:08:45]Randall Jacobs (host): yeah,

[01:08:46]Brad Bingham: I mean, alignment is at the top of the list. That's number one if

[01:08:50]Randall Jacobs (host): I think it's taken for granted too on the other, on the other side it's like, oh, these, these, this is, this is my geometry. But then again, when we talk about geometry, we're not talking about tolerances and none of those numbers. Um, if we're not talking about tolerances, we're certainly not talking about tolerances of like the center of the BB relative to the center of the, the rear axle and the alignment of those two axes and things like this.

[01:09:14]Brad Bingham: Exactly, and, and, and that's right at the top of the list. Like, oh, again, like I've had a long time, you know, 27 years of building bikes to kind of try to figure it out and, uh, and yeah. Uh, I think honestly like alignment is at the top of the list. It's like that's what makes a bike feel good, you

[01:09:36]Randall Jacobs (host): Well, and let's talk about all the ways that can go wrong too. 'cause it's not, it's not just the design in the, in the jigging, it's also the heat treatment. Right.

[01:09:43]Brad Bingham: Well, there's no post, there's no post welding.

[01:09:46]Randall Jacobs (host): no post with titanium.

[01:09:48]Brad Bingham: Correct.

[01:09:49]Randall Jacobs (host): So then how, how do you end up with poor alignment? What are the things that, uh,

[01:09:54]Brad Bingham: Typically, yeah. Yeah. For poor alignment, uh, gaps. Like in, in your fit

[01:10:01]Randall Jacobs (host): Okay.

[01:10:01]Brad Bingham: you know, you're fitting a tube to dropouts, bottom bracket. Shell, you know, chain stay to bottom bracket. Shell, you know, you're, every piece of the bike, every single piece that goes together can give you a place for poor alignment.

[01:10:21]Randall Jacobs (host): Mm-hmm.

[01:10:21]Brad Bingham: So how the down tube fits up to the head tube.

Oh, that's, that's crummy. That's not gonna be good. So it's,

[01:10:30]Randall Jacobs (host): this is how precise you, you set up all of your, your machining tools when you're doing your mitering. Um, how precisely everything is fitted up in the jig when you're going to actually do the TIG work? Or is it TIG or MIG for titanium

[01:10:45]Brad Bingham: Tig. Tig. Yeah. Tungsten.

[01:10:47]Randall Jacobs (host): inert gas.

[01:10:49]Brad Bingham: Yeah. And so, so yeah, I would say the, the biggest issue with metal bikes in alignment is simply, you know, poor fit ups gaps. Um, maybe too much, you know, maybe too much heat through the welding process in one specific area. Um, you know, you do get a lot of change of shape, um, especially in titanium.

That's why people, people don't love building titanium bikes sometimes because it really moves around a lot.

[01:11:23]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah. And you can't, you don't just throw the whole thing in an oven and bake it.

[01:11:27]Brad Bingham: Correct,

[01:11:28]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[01:11:29]Brad Bingham: Yeah. So,

[01:11:30]Randall Jacobs (host): So that, that's two things. And the third one, what the, just the, the geometry of the bike and particularly, you know, trail as a primary driver

[01:11:39]Brad Bingham: um, I was gonna say weight, weight bias as far as

[01:11:42]Randall Jacobs (host): Oh, okay.

[01:11:43]Brad Bingham: Yeah, if you're

[01:11:43]Randall Jacobs (host): Makes

[01:11:44]Brad Bingham: it, yeah. Yeah. So like, imagine, uh, you know, somebody who's. In a really, really upright position, and then puts a rack on the bike and puts 50, 50 pounds on the rear rack, like,

[01:11:57]Randall Jacobs (host): Oh yeah. Well, and that weight distribution too. Um, it's funny, I was just in a forum, um, telling somebody, uh, uh, who got the same cargo bike that I did, that their, their stacked up stem assembly is gonna end up with them dead because they added like a riser stem on top of a riser stem on a folding stem assembly.

And they have their, the, the, the top one is adjust the top STEM's adjustable, and it, and it, and he's got it pointed straight upright, and then the bars are slightly swept back. So like the grips are like, right. You know, if you draw a line between the grips, it would probably intersect right at the center of the steering axis's, like nothing resisting this bike just flopping over.

Um, you know, it might be getting a bit esoteric here, but, uh, yeah, don't, if you're listening, don't do that. Um, especially on a, especially on a, a bike that's, you know, in that case you mentioned racks and things like that. Like when you have, in addition to the rod or these other masses, Now you have a dynamic system where you're getting like an additional oscillation loop because the bike is doing its little wiggle thing and then the rider's trying to compensate.

And depending on, you know, the response rate of that rider's brain and their ability to move their muscles in response, it could actually create a resonance that amplifies rather than dampens that, that speed wobble or whatever it is.

[01:13:16]Brad Bingham: Sure, sure. So,

[01:13:20]Randall Jacobs (host): yeah. Okay. Cool, cool, cool.

[01:13:22]Brad Bingham: yeah, so it all, it all comes back to, to, yeah. Building, building stiff, you know, stiff bikes. Um, titanium is wonderful in that regard because you can build a stiff titanium bike that still maintains that nice resilience that, that feel of tie. Yeah,

[01:13:44]Randall Jacobs (host): And tell, tell me more about that.

[01:13:47]Brad Bingham: so,

[01:13:47]Randall Jacobs (host): how, how did the properties of it compare to like, You know, obviously you can make a, a, a tube heavier, thicker or whatever, and, and get certain properties. But in a high performance bike that's light enough that people actually wanna ride it. How does it compare to steel?

And then on the other end, you know, carbon is, is a non, um, you know, uh, non homogenous, um, material. Like you can, you can lay it up however you want it. It's a composite. So what, you know, what are the, the differences in terms of ride characteristics and why? Uh, between the different materials?

[01:14:27]Brad Bingham: sure. So, so I'm not a materials scientist. I'm not a materials engineer, so, um, I won't, I won't be able to get too deep on you here, but, um, basically, you know, titanium has a very high modulus of elasticity. So it's, it's very happy to bend, you know, which, that's why some of those, those old tie bikes and even underbuilt tie bikes, um, can be referred to as a noodle because, because of that high modulus, you know, it, that's what it likes to do.

Um, but in the right, you know, in the right alloys, in the right size and the, the right wall thickness, you know, everything kind of comes together to give a really beautiful feel along with

[01:15:20]Randall Jacobs (host): And by size you mean tube diameter?

[01:15:22]Brad Bingham: diameter. Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, as a, as a material titanium is like, compared to steel, like steel is gonna have a, a higher tensile,

[01:15:35]Randall Jacobs (host): Mm-hmm.

[01:15:36]Brad Bingham: right?

Um, it's gonna have a higher tensile, it's gonna be. Obviously quite a bit heavier. Um, but with that higher tensile, you know, you don't need as much of it. And so you can pair it down. You know, wall thicknesses on steel tube sets are quite a bit thinner than titanium tube sets, generally

[01:16:01]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah, though also you have to kind of keep tube diameters smaller in order for weight not to get outta control, even with those thin wall thicknesses. Um, and in turn, yeah. And then in turn, you know, your, your stiffness is going up with the next, was it, um, with the square of, uh, tube diameter?

[01:16:21]Brad Bingham: If you say so.

[01:16:24]Randall Jacobs (host): Some, some, something like that.


[01:16:27]Brad Bingham: but the other,

[01:16:28]Randall Jacobs (host): I'm sure that, I'm sure that someone, uh, a mechanical engineer in the, in the audience will chime in, uh, and, uh, correct me on that.

[01:16:34]Brad Bingham: yeah. So, you know, from, As I understand it, the, you know, steel, you can pair it down. You can, that's why budding, budding of steel tubes is so beneficial because that, that reduction of material does equate to a very nice reduction in overall weight, but

[01:16:54]Randall Jacobs (host): Mm-hmm.

[01:16:55]Brad Bingham: it also adds to the ride quality.


[01:16:59]Randall Jacobs (host): It's kind of maximizing the tube diameter and minimizing the wall thickness right up to the point where you're getting a higher risk of failure due to, you know, it, it bending in, compression, or getting dented.

[01:17:14]Brad Bingham: Correct. Yeah. And, and you know, that's why, that's why I don't, I don't really prescribe to the, um, double butted tube sets for titanium

[01:17:25]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[01:17:27]Brad Bingham: um, you can, you can maintain a thin wall. You can, you go with a larger od. Um, you know, when you start talking about removing some of that material, all, in my opinion, all you are doing is making a bike that is much more, uh, vulnerable to denting and, and failure,

[01:17:52]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[01:17:53]Brad Bingham: you

[01:17:53]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah. And, and I'll certainly say as, as, as I, my riding changes, I'd much rather have those extra grams and a bike that lasts forever and won't fail catastrophically on me, um, than, you know, something that's, uh, pushed to the very edges of what material can do under the ideal conditions. I e not putting it down, not leaning it against something improperly, not having it, you know, fall on itself.

[01:18:19]Brad Bingham: yeah, yeah. I, I really, you know, my, like, I'm at the heart. You know, the reason I, the reason I started building bikes in the first place was because I had a couple of bikes break and I was like, you know, bikes, they shouldn't break like that. So, you know, I am informed by that, like that the bike should, it really should not fail. It should be, it should be, uh, you know, something that you put a lot of trust in. You know, you're going very fast on a bike. You're putting yourself in in situations that if, if a failure occurs, it can be really dangerous. So let's just go ahead

[01:19:01]Randall Jacobs (host): Well, we do have like a, you know, a styrofoam cooler on our heads with a little plastic shell around it. So that'll, that'll keep us safe. And we get, you know, some, uh, some adamantium armor in the form of Lycra.

[01:19:11]Brad Bingham: Yes.

[01:19:13]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah.

[01:19:14]Brad Bingham: So, so, uh, so yeah, titanium, um, especially for gravel bikes is a wonderful material because it can take such a beating. Um, yeah. You know, you hear those rocks getting thrown up by the front tire and you just, just keep hammering.

[01:19:33]Randall Jacobs (host): And if you scratch it, you can polish it out or,

[01:19:36]Brad Bingham: can.

[01:19:37]Randall Jacobs (host): yeah.

[01:19:38]Brad Bingham: So, you know, they're not, they're not impervious to, to, to major damage. I've seen, I've seen my fair share, but, um, overall, pretty dang, pretty, pretty robust.

[01:19:51]Randall Jacobs (host): Well, we've covered a lot here. Um, what, what other, what other things should people keep in mind when considering both a, a custom bike generally and a titanium bike specifically?

[01:20:03]Brad Bingham: Hmm. Gosh.

[01:20:05]Randall Jacobs (host): do you see as the, the advantages and the things to look out for when, say, choosing a builder?

[01:20:10]Brad Bingham: Hmm. Wow. Kind of put me on, put me on the spot. But, uh, you know, I think you gotta go. I, I, I would definitely say that, you know, find out who the builder is and, you know, if you really jive with them, then. Move forward and have a good experience with them. Like don't, don't hesitate. Um, you know, I think, uh, like, yeah, finding somebody you can trust that you feel good talking to, you know, I think that, you know, somebody that doesn't put up a lot of barriers to communication, um, uh, that's, that's important.

Um, and yeah, just finding somebody, like I said, that you can trust, I think that's probably the most important component. Um,

[01:21:05]Randall Jacobs (host): I think between your many years of experience and your pedigree and training and your just the, you know, the way in which you've communicated, what you do, how you do it, why you do it, where you come from, and so on here. Um, you know, I would, I'm very excited to see some of your work at Made and, uh, how would anyone who's interested, um, get ahold of you, uh, if they wanna have a bike built?

[01:21:29]Brad Bingham: Uh, the very easiest way is to just contact through our website, uh, just to, uh, contact us right there, you know, it goes to, goes directly to myself or my wife.

[01:21:39]Randall Jacobs (host): Yeah. And what's that address?

[01:21:41]Brad Bingham: And that's bingham built

[01:21:44]Randall Jacobs (host): Excellent. Well, Brad, thank you so much for, uh, for your time and, uh, for letting me pick your brain a little bit and, uh, really looking forward to continuing the conversation in person, uh, towards the end of August. When I see you in Portland,

[01:21:57]Brad Bingham: Yeah. Yeah. This has been really fun and been neat getting to know you and, uh, wild how many similarities we've, we have in our, in our history.