My guest this week is Dave Kirk, the man behind Kirk Frameworks. The path to becoming a skilled framebuilder isn’t set. I’ve met masters who apprenticed under legends. I’ve met geniuses who chafed under menial tasks at big productions houses and left to figure it out for themselves. I’ve met stars who took a class at UBI. Any of those routes can work.
A Serotta Colorado II, the predecessor to the CSi. Image courtesy Pedal Room.
However, if I was to write the fictional resume of a fictional rock star framebuilder, a Jimmy Page of the torch, that is, a guy who apprenticed under the equivalent of the Yardbirds and as a studio muscian before striking out on his own, it would look something like the resume of Dave Kirk. He got his start as a framebuilder working for Ben Serotta in South Glenns Falls and later Saratoga Springs, New York, where he learned every inch of the craft, from filing lugs to brazing bottom brackets, from making tools to inventing suspension. Okay, those last two are maybe not traditional parts of the job description. He spent years at Serotta, becoming one of their most skilled craftsmen and then headed west to Bozeman, Mont. There, he went to work for Carl Strong of Strong Frameworks before doing a little contract work for Serotta. When that ended, he decided to hang out his own shingle, Kirk Frameworks.
A great example of a half lug.
His work is simple, austere and damn close to flawless. He’s easily one of the most skilled fillet-brazers in the industry. And he’s our guest this week.
Our conversation was so long and rich that I’ve split it into two episodes; part one focuses on his time at Serotta and part two will cover his career since then.
The Pull is brought to you by the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, the world’s premier annual gathering of bicycle framebuilders and framebuilding enthusiasts. The 2019 show will take place March 15-17th at the Sacramento Convention Center in Sacramento, California.
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