Matthew Crawford, in his bestselling book Shop Class as Soulcraft points out the difference between artists, craftspeople and tradepersons. He also explains that there are aspects of each in all three. Most custom frame builders would align themselves with the latter two of those categories, but one who is proud of his artistry is Ed Foster of Tucson’s La Suprema.
The Submariner Electronic is perhaps the least distinctive of Ed’s style, until it’s seen in the context of his portfolio. Equipped with Shimano’s Di2 technology, it’s just far more subtle than his, say, 650Bee — which incorporates oil rubbed steel, Mesquite dyed rawhide, and honeycomb brass. Ed’s bikes are fantastic, functional and along with his metal art and photography, are an expression of his creativity.
Ed and Mr. Tang, the owner of Submariner Electronic, first encountered the Di2 range at Interbike in 2008. It was 2010 before it was sketched out and a tubeset from KVA Stainless was ordered. Mr. Tang is a technophile, buying the groupset as soon as it was available, but Ed is more of a “Luddite” who first thought the main advantage of Di2 was “the cool robot noises it makes while shifting”.
Ed continues: “Mr. Tang is also the proprietor of the Ordinary Bike Shop here in Tucson. He’s as big a bike nut as the rest of us, so this project is a collaboration between his ideas and my own. I took my sweet time with it to let his and my ideas evolve. In the end, the geometry is classic, details are simple, and the lines are clean.”