June 08, 2014
How do unexpected combinations produce great outcomes? Food, music, architecture, bicycle design, all move forward on visions and ingredients that defy the norm.
Ken Stolpmann is an expat Kiwi, professionally trained boat maker, cycling enthusiast, from Charlevoix, Michigan. Stir this pot and what do we get?
Ken and his wood fixie at NAHBS with an admiring Tom Ritchey. © VeloNews, photo by Neal Rogers
A stunningly unique bike frame entirely of wood, reminiscent of Softride and early Zipp frames. The suspended seat is free to move up and own, shock absorbing and self dampening. Workmanship is exquisite but remember it is not built to a furniture grade. The bike had been ridden thousands of miles by this point. Speed, bumps, accelerations, all taken smoothly and stably.
Ken mentioned he was designing wood rims to match the frame’s character and would let me know when they were rolling. The bike name, “Owen,” refers to Owen Woolley with whom Ken apprenticed for wooden boat building in New Zealand. Woolley, of Panmure Auckland, is often referred to as NZ’s foremost boat builder.
A short time ago, I received a cheerful message from Ken and two awesome images.
Now the bike really gets its legs. Consummation of a concept.
Thanks for the update, Ken!
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