Carl Strong

Posted on 28. Feb, 2009 by NAHBS in 2009 News

How many people does it take to build 100 custom bicycles in a year? Well, apparently, just two. With the help of just his wife and the occasional apprentice, Carl Strong annually builds about 100 bikes in his Bozeman, Montana shop. Minus a slight dip in sales around the holiday, Strong is happy to report that the troubled economy has not affected his business.

As he explains, if cycling is your sport, then it takes on added importance in times of stress. He’s also happy to report that there seems to be both new and renewed interest in custom bikes, evidenced in part by an influx of new builders.

While that may mean extra competition in what is already a niche market, he feels that it is ultimately great for the industry and his own business. In many way though, he feels that the industry hasn’t changed much over in the 16 years he’s been in business.

In his words, “Bikes are still built to be ridden and enjoyed.”

When asked how he guides his customers through what may seem like intimidating process, Strong explained that over a series of phone calls, be breaks the process down into “manageable” bits.

By the time the bike is complete, the customer feels completely comfortable with the decisions Strong has made. No matter the rider’s experience or technical knowledge, Strong stated that he’s able to help the customer understand, find and prioritize their needs and then translate those needs into the bike’s design.

Strong’s work is divided evenly between titanium and steel – including the relatively new Reynolds 953 stainless steel – and between road and mountain.

Strong also has something new up his sleeve, but he’s unfortunately keeping it a secret for the time being. We’ll all just have to stay tuned.

Kate Wicker

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