Anyone who has even picked up a copy of Matthew B. Crawford’s tome, Shop Class as Soulcraft, can’t deny the attraction of the lessons taught by working with tools and their quest for perfection. Sean Walling has lived a life surrounded by the tools of fabrication and has remained true to the cause of utilising them to the best of his abilities. His Soulcraft frames are their epitome.
During the 80s, Sean was working with hot rods and all sorts of engines before being drawn into Bruce Gordon’s shop and a subsequent apprenticeship with him. By 1990 he was at Salsa, cutting his teeth on all aspects of the custom frame shop when, in ’98, it folded and fellow coworker Matt Nyiri decided to initiate Soulcraft Bikes in Petaluma, CA.
A long, hard road was struck out upon. Matt left but Sean is still there, making “top notch bicycle frames” that are forged in truth. The Soulcraft catalog includes a CX, a 26″, 29er and 650B MTB, the Plowboy SS, the all-conquering Dirtbomb all-rounder and the skinny-tyred Royale road frame. This Royale has found its way to the Japanese bicycle boutique of Blue Lug.
Blue Lug have a singular personality — both uncompromising in quality and individual — just like Sean, and built this Royale up with a Di2 Ultegra groupset, Dura-Ace wheels with Hutchinson tyres, Ritchey bars and a custom Soulcraft stem. A Moots seatpost extends from the frame, topped with an Ergon saddle. ‘It’s the Soul’. I concur.