BMX Bikes / C / Cycle Craft / Cycle Craft Company Info

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O.K., we have had a couple days to look over these questions & the recall has prompted many good memories as we have searched through the years of racing & building bikes.  You need to keep in mind as this was a Mom & Pop  organization and for almost 12 years, this consumed our every waking moment.  We lived one mile from the business and our house was constantly being inundated with riders from all over coming & going; working and riding; eating & sleeping (where they could find an empty room).  The guys working in the shop (with the exception of our famous welder, Dave, who could weld coke cans together; the shipping lady, & me,) were all riders & racers.  Joe even raced motorcycles for many years & then joined the 40&over class.  Many nights after work, the guys spent their time coming up with new & Innovative ways to improve on an idea or create a new one, so there are going to be anomalies out there that had something different or an individual’s new concept.  With that, I will answer these questions.

"GENERAL INFO:

Q.  What was the first year of production?  

A. The late summer of 1984, we built our first proto-types.  Mitch, Josh, & Mike Lynch raced at an Ashville, N.C. race that fall, & by early spring, Jason Theodore came on the team riding the Jason Theodore  Pro at a race we sponsored in Montgomery, Alabama.  I remember we gave a bike away & Michelle Carnes won it.  She was a little girl who was tearing up the track in her class.  The cruiser was developed the same year as the pro – in late 1984.

Q.  It’s been speculated that the first few runs were made by VDC is this true?  

A. Absolutely not.  Every frame, fork, and handlebar that was ever sold as a Cyclecraft product came from our facility here in Kingsport .  I think that idea might have come from the fact that VDC made Vector frames/forks/bars in the early 80�� s.  We also made product during the 80’s for Zeronine, Vector, MCS, Rebel, Haro, TNT, and Rich Bartlett.  Two more riders who wanted their own product made short runs of frames, but I can’t recall what they used for a name.  

Q.  Were the first frames serial numbered?  

A. The first runs were not numbered, but when the  orders started coming in so fast, we issued warranty claims and had to issue serial numbers.  
The Cyclecraft Factory took 2nd place overall in the World Championships in 1989 in Australia , 1st place in NBL two seasons, and competed off and on in the ABA during the time we owned and ran the team.  It was great fun and we had a close relationship with the riders and their families.  We had summer camps here for the riders and they came and spent the summers with us.  

FRAME & FORK CHARACTERISTICS:

Q. You stated that customer frames were made on a person to person level, was that an option that any Joe off the street could get? 

A. That would depend on how radical the customer’s ideas were.  We had an adjustable jig that could be used in various lengths, etc.  Mitch was a stickler for accurate welding and precise cuts.  If the customer asked for a concept that could be worked within our jigging system, he could pay and have his own ideas made into a “ride�� , but if it required making new jigs for production, the cost would have been way too prohibitive. 

Q. If custom frames were available would they have a different serial number? 

A. We put individual names in some of them, as we did for most of the factory riders, but I am not sure they even had serial numbers, since – by changing the configuration of the frame would probably void the warranty.  Custom frames were a rarity so I don’t think there are many out there with no numbers.

Q. Was there a specific year that forks were drilled. Is it possible that the earlier 80’s forks were drilled and the later ones were undrilled? 

A. We have decided the fork was not drilled for three reasons; 1. We didn't really drill BMX forks because no one used a front brake on the fork, 2. We did buy steering tubes occasionally from other builders (such as Hutch, who was going out of business) and they usually didn't drill their holes out, and 3. The tubes with the holes could have been drilled sometime when someone on the line was bored for something extra to do and they decided to drill holes that day. You know how good help is hard to find. It really has no significance one way or the other so to the performance of the equipment.

Q. When were the Dirt Leg’z introduced?  

A. When Brian (Dirt) Foster lived and worked here and raced for Cycle Craft.  He came after high school graduation in 1990 and worked two years here.  He and Mitch developed the fork and a local kid drew a “gnarly��  picture of a really hairy leg with Vans on and we used it for the stickers at that time. The forks were name after Brian. “Dirt��  was our nickname for him. 

Q. When were Fred’z Leg’z introduced?

A. That was earlier than the Dirt Leg’z. Right after we came up with Fred’z bars. They came out in 1987 and the Leg’z were in 88. (I think, during the time Lenny Biticki was working here) Dirt Leg’z weren’t bent. They were straight four piece construction. 

Q. Who the hell is Fred?  

A. Fred was our cat.  He was a very extraordinary cat with the “coolest��  personality. Mitch picked him out at the animal shelter one day in 1980 because he was looking at us with those pleading eyes. He lived with the riders, ate with them and slept with them. It was only appropriate to name the bars for him, since he was such a fixture around here. Fred’z bars came in three sizes 8�� , 9��  pro and 6��  cruiser bars. 

Q. I’ve also seen Pro frame with and without a chain stay brace?  Was there a certain time that it was put into production?

A. In the beginning, the read triangle had a two piece bend with no brace on the chain stays.  Then as time went on (a few months), Joe decided a one bend process was sturdier and less time consuming. The ride didn’t change at all and they liked the look of the one bend, so the chainstay brace was added for extra strength.

Q. Most of your frames were painted, but there are a few chrome ones. Were a certain number of frames done in chrome each year? Or was there a specific years that you did some in chrome?  Or was the chrome all done at one time in a single run?  

A. Chrome and paint were all done on a weekly basis. Chrome had an extra process of running the chromoly through the polisher, then after the welding, each frame had to be polished again around the welds.  It was a longer process. The painted frame sets were, by far, the most popular, due to the fact they could be personalized with paint design, and were much more original looking. Brian Foster and our other painters did some incredible paint jobs that looked great on the track. The chroming process became more difficult as time went on because of EPA factors and companies charged out the old “wazoo��  for the process.

Q. I've also seen the letter C stamped with the size stamp. My cruiser is stamped CC. It's been speculated that the C stands for custom, is this true? If so what would be custom, the paint, or possibly the frame? My frame measures out just like others I've come in contact with.

A. I think it stood for “Cyclecraft��  and was only done for a period of time.  Eventually, the C was dropped, because it involved one extra stamp and everyone already knew it was Cyclecraft. Are they very straight in a line?  We used a stamping machine for a time while we were making other frames. Then went back to the “One at a time��  stamp. I know it doesn’t stand for chrome or custom. 

Q. What were all the letter designations for the frames.

A. The letters you sent me for the identification markers were P = pro, XL = pro xl, XLX = pro xxl, LP = light pro (same as pro with thinner tubing wall), C = cruiser, MC = mini cruiser, & M = mini (titanium and aluminum), were mostly correct, but we also made J = junior (titanium and aluminum with a 1��  top tube). We made a very few minis in chromoly, but after a while went exclusively to aluminum and titanium. Cruisers were developed by 1984 and we had two sizes, the standard cruiser and the mini cruiser. XLX came later as the boys grew longer legs and needed the space. The Wishbone XLX was developed by Brian and Mitch in late 89. They wanted something different for a photo layout and test article for BMX Plus Magazine in the winter on 89-90. They made one each for themselves and “radicalized��  them up and flew to California to do the shoot with BMXPlus and they also did some classes with Rich Bartlett. They stayed with Rich and then went to the POW house where Brian’s brother was living at the time. When they got to L.A. to do the shoot, they had to rent a motel room. While they were asleep in the motel room, three or four thieves came into the room and stole those tricked out bikes and their wallets.  They were devastated, but glad they hadn’t been victims of anything worse, so they came home empty handed and had to start all over again.  So somewhere out there are two bikes that hold a lot of value as first of their brand, but I guess, no one will ever know what happened to them. 

A few team riders had frames named for them – Jason Theodore (the Pro), Aaron Hinson (the mini), Gary DeBacker, (LP) to name a few.  Those only lasted a season for they were ready to move to the next size and the frame would be renamed for the original size.   

ACCESSORIES:

Q. I know you made frame forks and bars, but did you make other parts as well, like seat post and seat post clamp? I'm specifically interested in a seat post clamp. Myself and one other collector have identical seat post clamps (his is white and mine is polished). His came off a Cycle Craft that he bought with a decal on it, but we haven't been able to find any others like it. It's the same diameter as a DK clamp, but its about 2x the thickness.  

A. You asked about seat posts and seat post clamps. We made posts for most of the years, the seat post clamps were made for a year or so and when we received a sponsorship that included clamps, so we discontinued making them.  


My goodness, Shawn, I have written an epistle.  Next time, I’ll just publish a book.  ( I’m not reading it over again, so I hope there’s not too many mistakes)
Regards, Betty Martino.


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