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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Independent Fabrication


Their history...

After 12 years of business, the pioneering mountain bike manufacturer Fat City Cycles was sold in 1994. The company closed its Somerville, Massachusetts, doors leaving behind an empty factory and a handful of workers. But what kind of story would this be if that’s where it ended? Fabricator Lloyd Graves, welder Mike Flanigan, and machinist and toolmaker Jeffrey Buchholz still had the itch to design and build custom bikes. So they dusted off their work boots, brought out the drawing board, and joined forces with Sue Kirby, Ben Cole, and Steve Elmes to start their own company. An independent company. A company that would make bikes the way they knew they should be made.

In 1995, Independent Fabrication was formed. What they lacked in adequate workspace, they overcompensated with elbow grease. Would they be employee owned? Yes. Would they allow a customer to paint their bike whatever colors they wanted even if it was ugly? Why the hell not? Would they continue to build high-end, precise, handcrafted frames?

ABSOLUTELY.

In its first year, Indy Fab designed to its strengths – forging the best steel mountain bike frames the industry had ever seen. Riders agreed, and IF’s cult following began to grow. The Deluxe and the Special mountain bike frames hit the bike show circuit and found success. The following year, the IF team called on their lifelong experience of riding city streets and love of racing to develop several new models: the Crown Jewel – a road bike, the Planet Cross – a Cyclocross inspired frame, and the Roadster – a cruiser. IF quickly emerged from the woods to become a complete cycling manufacturer.

In 1999, IF upgraded its talent by wooing Tom Burnett and Tyler Evans from Merlin Metalworks. Today the IF team of artists and fabricators continue to push the envelope by using the newest metal technologies and refining accepted techniques. But even as production methods become more sophisticated with the use of carbon fiber and titanium shotpeening, the IF team continues to make bikes by hand and respects the craftsmanship of the old way. But they’ll never stop doing things their own way.

THAT'S INDEPENDENT FABRICATION.

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