Yay for aluminum bikes!
They've been a particular passion of mine since middle school.
(disclaimer, I'm the Spooky guy)
FTW(aka Frank The Welder, AKA one of the godfathers of aluminum frame building, and the guy who makes the bikes here at Spooky) is doing an aluminum frame building clinic next weekend for experienced professional frame builders. There are currently 8 people registered as far as I know.
Don't be surprised if you see new custom aluminum frames from Geekhouse and Zacanoto , among other new players, pretty soon. Aluminum bikes take practice for people who've only been building in steel or ti, but it's just a new process to learn, not anything super difficult.
I've been trying as hard as possible to make new aluminum tubing available to builders here in the US. I've sent tube drawings to both of the major tube distributors(a mtb kits for one distro, road for the other) and we've helped to re-tool the old Cannondale tubing factory in CT. The new folks running that place will be dusting off some of the better Caad bike dies(they have tooling up to CAAD8) as well as making some new custom dies for larger o.d tubes and oversized stays for us. The factory will be able to shape and draw tubes to the specification for each builder in batches as small as 10 tubes. That's going to be an amazing resource for people who want to make race bikes in the USA.
We're also working to make sure that there is a good selection of stock headtubes, bb shells and dropouts available from those distributors.
Materials availability is piss poor right now. When I can't get tubes from CT I end up specing tubing that I order from 5 different places on 2 continents, so inefficient.
Right now I can leave my house in the morning, go to the tube factory in CT and have Frank welding on proto stuff by 3 in the afternoon the same day. It's yet to be seen if that factory will be able to find the working capital to get off the ground but if they do it will allow US builders to build frames that really are without a doubt the best in the world.
I like that a lot.
We stopped making production bikes- the economics just didn't work, especially since I'm not particularly good at running a business and we have been and still are massively under-capitalized.
Our custom bikes cost twice as much as our old production bike, and our leadtimes are unpredictable, and at times my communication is spotty, and sometimes I go crazy and lose weeks of work, but man, when people finally get their beastly bikes they really seem to like them...
here's some candy/big batch of spam
of some recent custom cross/road bikes:
Aluminum is back in a big way, and it's going to be better than ever!
If you guys have any questions about aluminum stuff let me know and I'll do my best to answer them.