The Pull: Mike Desalvo of Desalvo Custom Cycles

The Pull: Mike Desalvo of Desalvo Custom Cycles

My guest this week is frame builder Mike Desalvo of Desalvo Custom Cycles. That’s Desalvo on the left with Sacha White (center) and Paul Sadoff (right), both of whom get mentions in the interview.

Desalvo is part of what I refer to as the second generation of American builders, those craftsmen who got their start as builders in the 1990s. Many of these builders learned their craft in part or in whole from the builders who were working in the 1970s and ‘80s. Desalvo stepped into that tradition of builders teaching builders by becoming a frame building instructor for United Bicycle Institute.

With more than 25 years’ experience as a builder, Desalvo is clear not only on his process, but on what he does best and that clarity comes through in our interview. And as a craftsman, he knows his stuff; he is a three-time winner of the Best TIG-welded frame at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.



The Pull is brought to you by the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, the world’s premiere gathering of frame builders and frame building enthusiasts. The 2020 show will take place March 20th to 22nd at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas Texas. We hope to see you there.



Desalvo Custom Cycles

United Bicycle Institute

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  1. Ray Alvarez

    Long time ago Richard Sachs had a list of builders that he recommended that have the same philosophy as his. Mike DeSalvo was on that list. Mike has built two cross bikes (steel and ti) for me in the past, which both ride great. He really listens to what I envision as my dream bike to be and he makes it happen. He is very honest and if there is something that doesn’t make sense with the build, he will point it out and give a suggestion. That is what some people in the bike industry really need to learn…. LISTEN TO THE CUSTOMER.

    Mike is very humble and a great person to work with. When buying a bike from a builder you develop a special relationship. You witness the process from beginning to end. It is not just another sale to Mike. He takes that the relationship with the customer to heart. I could have purchased any bike from a bike shop or another builder. What you get from Mike DeSalvo is a great bike that is built to last for a great price. I have recommended friends to Mike and will definitely get another DeSalvo!

    1. Author

      That’s as solid a recommendation for a builder as I’ve ever read. I think every builder I know would be pleased to have someone speak so highly of them.

  2. 32x20

    I enjoy the ‘Pull’ series as I’ve always admired handbuilt bikes for the craftsmanship, fit, and (let’s be honest) exclusivity. It’s on my ‘someday soon’ list as I think I’ve finally got an idea of what I’d like to ride for the next decade+, but it sure is hard to figure out who to go with. There seem to be a large number of experienced builders who do nice work in a similar price and lead-time range. It’s remarkable, really, how affordable many custom frames are when compared to ‘bespoke’ in any other industry.

    1. Ray Alvarez

      There are a lot of great builders out there. Find one that “clicks” with you. I was really lucky with Mike and others. The best part about getting a bike from a builder is that you get a bike that YOU want. On one of Sacha White’s early videos, a wise lady friend of his said, “Why get a “McDonald’s kind of a bike, when you can have it your way”. Makes total sense to me. Also a word to the wise…don’t rush the builder. I know we are the customer, but calling every day can be a pain. Maybe once in a while to get a status on where it is in the process. Have patience…it will be worth it. Good luck.

  3. Jason B

    Just met Mike at a Chris King event. He was absolutely fantastic and welcoming. Might have just made my new ride decision for me.

  4. nellborg

    I’d never heard of DaSalvo until I listened to this podcast. Phoned Mike the next day, and after discussing bikes for 30 minutes with him, I sent him a deposit. What a genuine guy. He seemed as excited to build my frame as I was to get it. Also makes me want to order a few more custom frames from him before the wait time gets longer – though that would be silly because I only need one. Thanks for the interview, Patrick!

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