Seneca Cycle Works is a custom bicycle shop. I design and build bicycles that are made to order using the best available steel bicycle tubing, frame fittings and componentry. I combine my bicycle fitting and frame design experience (I was the principle frame designer at Independent Fabrication for many years) with years of bicycle frame building and professional bicycle mechanic experience to build you a top-notch tailor-made bicycle.
I like to build many types of bicycles: mountain bikes, road racing machines, reliable transportation and touring bikes, gravel bikes, fat-tired snow bikes, trusty and fast randonneuring machines, a bike to carry your surfboard to the beach, and the list goes on. If it's got two wheels and pedals, I like it.
Why "Seneca"? Having grown up in the Washington, DC area, one of my favorite mountain bike trail systems runs through Seneca Creek State Park in Maryland. It was on these trails that I first developed a love for cycling. The name "Seneca" appears in many places, from the Roman philosopher to the great Iroquois nation to the appellative Finger Lake in New York, but to me the name "Seneca" will always bring back memories of singletrack.
Buying a custom bicycle is a leap of faith- you, the rider, are entrusting me, the builder, to design and build your dream bike. The process is a complex interplay of communication, fabrication, and a prodigious application of knowledge and experience. My experience in designing, fitting, and building custom bicycles is my asset. Take a look at some of my work in the Logbook.
At Seneca Cycle Works, I am the designer, fabricator, accountant, customer service representative, janitor, webmaster, shipper, etc. I do my best to stay in touch and answer questions.
Whenever possible, I very much prefer to deliver a complete, assembled bicycle. This allows me to ensure that the completed bicycle will deliver the best possible riding experience. By specifying, building and assembling the complete bicycle, I can ensure component compatibility and seamless performance. I like to view a custom bicycle as an integrated whole, where the bicycle itself is an object greater than its component parts.
If you are looking for a frameset or fork only, I can do this too- get in touch!
A note on fitting: I will request a bundle of information as part of the frame design process. I have a questionnaire that asks, among other things, for several body measurements that are critical to my design process. Ideally, a visit to my workshop will allow me to perform your fitting in person. If you can't visit my shop but are able to visit your local bicycle fitter, I am happy to work with your fitter to get the data that I need to design your new bicycle. I can work with fitters using any fit system currently in use: SICI, Retul, BG Fit, Guru, Fit Kit, etc.
I exclusively work with steel. Modern steel alloys used in bicycle tubing are marvels of metallurgical engineering. A well-designed and constructed steel bicycle frame will not only provide a sublime ride quality, but will last for decades with proper care. I work with the best steel bicycle tubing manufacturers in the world, including Reynolds (UK) and Columbus (Italy).
My preferred method of tube joinery is TIG welding. Also known as GTAW or lugless frame construction, TIG welding allows for maximum design flexibility since frame designs are not constricted by lug angles and socket dimensions.
For those who prefer a more traditional aesthetic, I also offer a silver-brazed, lugged joinery option.
Most small parts (cable stops, water bottle bosses, etc.) are either silver or brass brazed, regardless of the tube joinery method.
I prefer liquid paint finishes on my bicycle frames. Custom paint work is available upon request.
I offer component packages from just about every manufacturer out there- have something specific in mind? Let me know! Whenever possible, I like to patronize other American manufacturers of cycling equipment when building a complete bicycle.
Have questions? Please don't hesitate to get in touch!