Philosophy / History

headtube badge (cleaned)I first started riding in junior high in the 1970’s, as a means to get around a rural environment. Later, in college, it became a competitive outlet as running injuries pushed me into triathlon (my first was in 1984). I watched the progression of equipment as the fledgling sport grew into a mass participant venue.

I also spent a large number of years bike racing on a USCF (now USAC) team, serving some time as team coordinator and unofficial mechanic. I’ve raced on the road, criterium courses, velodromes, and off-road.

After some years away, I re-entered the world of triathlon, and quickly became dissatisfied with the offerings of the market when it came to triathlon bike design as it related to  handling and weight distribution.

It was this dissatisfaction that germinated the seed of frame building — I thought I could create a better design, and offer it up to other riders seeking a bike they could ride all day.

I’ve ridden hundreds of bikes, including many custom builds. I’ve studied their geometry, why they rode the way they did. What makes them better suited for their intended purpose.

I believe that bikes are tools to serve a purpose. Whether it’s racing on the track, or elbow-to-elbow on the crit course, or hanging in a paceline to make a fast century or more, I can design the bike to serve your riding purpose and desired feel. I build bikes to the highest fabrication standards, each fit to the rider.

With all that said, there are some things I won’t build. Call me a curmudgeon, if that’s what it makes me.

Cantilever brakes — I’ve never liked their performance, and won’t produce bikes that use them. There are plenty of frame builders that will make you a canti-equipped bike, and I’ll happily send you their way. But I won’t produce a bike that doesn’t meet my own performance standards. Cantilever brakes fall into that category. Disc brakes all the way for anything off-pavement for me.

Fat bikes — Hey, they’re fun and all, and if I lived in an area that got a lot of snow that stayed around for more than a day or two, I’d probably be a lot more inclined to build fatties.

Loaded touring bikes — Loaded touring is a lot more than just adding a rack to a road bike, more than just having the braze-ons for low-riders and extra water bottles. I have nothing against some one (else) touring with a week’s worth of gear tied to the bike, it’s just not something I enjoy. Therefore I don’t build touring bikes.

Utility bikes — I am not a “transportation solution” kind of guy. Yes, I do think that riding a bike can replace a lot of the miles that I put on my car, and I’ve had months at a time where my car didn’t move out of the driveway because I was commuting by bike to my day job. Yes, I can build a bike that will go just about anywhere. But I’m not building pizza-delivery bikes, front-loading pedi-cabs, or pedal-driven trucks. There are other builders who love to take on those kinds of projects. I’m not one of them.

Suspended mountain bikes — I’ll do a hardtail MTB, no problem. I still prefer standard QR hubs, but I can accommodate thru-axles as well. I just don’t do rear suspension.

Lugged construction — As I mention in my FAQ page, lugs tend to lock the builder into a fairly narrow range of geometries. My builds are free from those restrictions for a reason — I don’t copy designs, and I often go outside of a “normal” aesthetic to achieve my design. Yes, there are builders that will fabricate their own lugs, and that is simply to achieve the aesthetic of lugged construction — they are actually brazed. Why even go there? BUT… I will build a lugged-crown fork.

Curved fork blades — They have their place, just not on a Mjolnir Cycles bike. I like straight fork blades, and that’s what I make.

BB30/PF30/BB86/BBRight/whatever the next new “standard” will be — I build my frames with threaded BSA bottom bracket shells. Period. I find it interesting that all the market-spin regarding the new “standards” in bottom brackets has taken the industry by storm, and all so the mass-manufacturers could save a few pennies per unit.

Okay, enough with all the grumpy old-man stuff.

To boil all this down and make a long story even longer: My philosophy is to build the bike that will best suit the rider’s desired feel and intended use. Riding a bike is a synergy between the rider and the machine. The best bikes disappear under the rider and the two become one.

Building a bike is a synergy between the frame builder and the rider.

For synergy with Mjonir Cycles, email me at info@mjolnircycles.com.