You might remember a few months back (well in June) we posted the hand-built bike from Freeman Transport that breaks down easily with S-and-S couplings, and packs into an airline approved waxed canvas and leather carrying case.
Selectism recently caught up with founders Ben Ferencz and Nathan Freeman to find out how they got Freeman Transport off the ground, their commitment to US manufacturing, the steep learning curve they've been through in business and the Commuter, Cyclo-cross and Road bikes planned for 2009.
...We wanted people to know how important it is for us to support US manufacturing and the lack thereof. If things continue to go the direction they are going, we could potentially have no products made in America. I think it is important for us to take control of that. I see that Jeff Staple has produced a line of button down shirts made in New York. Steven Allen makes some clothing in New York. Freeman Sporting Club makes most of their clothing in New York. Band of Outsiders, Thom Brown, Engineered Garments. I just saw that Huf did a bunch of his cut and sew in America. So that's really nice. That's not to say we don't see both sides of the conversation and recognize the challenges and limitations. I mean after all, there are certain things that just can't be made here anymore.
From the beginning of the project, we wanted it to be evident that you feel the hand of the maker in our products. Whether it's the hand drawn lettering on the logo by Benny, or the stitching on the Billy Kirk products. When you pick up the hat, you can feel someone made it with care and thought. Some of the threads are imperfect in character and that's ok. It really connects you to the person who made it. Look at the card case or passport wallet and you get a sense of the hand that made it.
Our first conversations were more about accessories, rather than frames. Then we met frame builders and the conversation clicked. What we really wanted was a bike we can take with us wherever we want to go. From there, everything sort of fell into place and hit with that same relationship. It's not just a card case, it's the card case, not just a bike, the bike.
...the fixed gear thing really came out of practicality. When I started riding fixed, I was a messenger; we did it because it was the least impactful way to have your bike set up as far as replacing parts and whatnot. So, with Freeman Transport we thought, let's start with the simplest possible bike and move from there.