Friday, October 30, 2009

About a Bike: Freeman Transport + FSC.

The other day, I had the pleasure of meeting Taavo and Martin down at FSC to take a look at their newly arrived Fall line. In addition to their mechanic's shirts, tweed shackets and impeccably tailored suiting, the fellas at Freeman's have new Fall offerings of beautiful deadstock wool/cashmere Revere Coats(you have to feel them), deadstock wool shawl-collar Codger Jackets, heavy japanese cotton flannels(perfect) and handsome umbrellas from Fox of London(est. 1868). But that's another post.Let's talk shop.
Bikes, for me, are always works in progress. Switch out saddles, find that elegant quill stem, throw on different pedals, have to have the Montmarte bars from Velo Orange. I think Taavo may be similar in his tinkering. Take one Surly frame, mess with it for a year or two, give it a unique gun metaled and hand painted finish, add a coaster break and deadstock pedals. Now, take that bike and clone it.
The FSC bike has been a year + long project in the making between Freemans Sporting Club and Freeman Transport of Missoula, Montana(No relation aside from friendships forged through the process).
The hand-made steel frames come from Freeman Transport, (which are a couple of guys Doing Things Right) founded in 2006 by Nathaniel Freeman and Ben Ferencz, and are finished here in NYC by the FSC guys.
It's an upgraded yet fairly faithful repro of Taavo's own neighborhood beater(compare the photos for yourself).
His own dislike for tow cages and knee problems(is that what the popping is?) lead to building the bike sans cog and lock ring but with a bmx-style coaster break and deadstock platform pedals for an easier ride. Also adding to a more up-right posture while riding are English 3 speed style tourist bars.
Add a Brooks saddle(naturally) and big white Schwalbe tires, finish the frame off with the same "secret rust finish" and some hand-painted FSC action and there you have it, the FSC town bike. Not quite a Porteur, certainly not a Randonneur, the FSC bicycle rather re-interprets and updates the Pashley Path Racers of the '30s.
Bikes are extremely limited, if not already pre-sold by now. It's worth a trip down to Rivington to have a look. And while you're at it, treat yourself to a
haircut and shave.

A big thanks to Taavo, Martin and Ben.

















13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I'm not so sure why everybody loves to love Freeman/FSC so much. Yes, they make good food and they design beautiful stuff. And yes, they do and say all the 'right' and 'cool' things (Made in USA and such), but dayum, their clothes are way too expensive. They might care about the local workforce, but they definitely don't care as much about people who can't pay $100 for a shirt that cost $10 to make.

Love their style, but in this case (and many others), it's really the emperor's new clothes - and you're buying! Now, this is a free country, of course. I just don't understand the need to praise them so much.

Why buy their image and make the rich richer - I just don't understand. But I guess this is a very 'American' thing to do...

Chris said...

This bike is making me drool.

Tom said...

Nice ride, but gotta say - apocalyptic levels of toe overlap. Handmade doesn't guarantee proper geometry...

Jpoogle said...

i dont get it. it looks like someone used white out to write FSC on it and jacked up the price about $1500.

for $1910, i'd get a real carbon bike with gears and smoke all these hippies who think its 1948 into oblivion.

great blog though...

cristian said...

dear anonymous, if you show me the place where you can make a button down shirt, in the US, just manufacture(not including imported fabric, mother of pearl buttons or other production costs) for $10 bucks, we could, thanks to you, revolutionize the entire clothing industry, or just do it yourself and get very rich.

romeo said...

I love Freeman's, the haricuts are great and the shop is spot on. The clothes are expensive, but good design and construction comes with a price. You can buy a shirt from Filson and it will last you 20 years,and it will be slightly cheaper than FSC but the design and fit will not be modern. You can buy a shirt from Jcrew and the design will be fine but the construction will range from poor to just ok. I prefer to save my money and buy one or two new articles of clothes a season that I know are well made and will fit well.

Anonymous said...

$1910 for a bike based on someone's beater featuring platform pedals? Does throwing a Brooks saddle on it make it cool and justify the price? We might be a little crazy but we're not stupid.

David M. said...

I agree, the hand painted FSC and USA looks childish.

Anonymous said...

That bike is hideous. FIVE spacers on the first one? Please. You could make a very similar bike yourself with a lot more fun and a lot less money.

Anonymous said...

Front tire clearance looks a bit tight, doesn't it?

Sam C. said...

second the emperor's new clothes comment. 1900 bucks for this? yeah right. i like the restaurant and the clothes but freeman's worship like that is rivaling supreme junkies. you could get any number of better bikes for far less, as long as you're willing to forgo that oh so special limited edition hand paint job. no thanks

corkgrips said...

i like the raw steel and sloppy hand paint, reminds me of an old tugboat in bike form. but for that money i could obviously sand down my track frame and let it rust outside for a couple weeks in the rain and then put it all back together again.

faaaaashion.

Anonymous said...

A custom janky conversion! Wow!