Interview: Adam C. Eldridge

Stanridge Speed Highstreet Pursuit
Photos of Stanridge Speed’s completed Highstreet Pursuit appeared last week, garnishing interest by featuring a 30mm bottom bracket—not to mention impeccable craftsmanship and a striking paint scheme. The man behind Stanridge Speed, Adam C. Eldridge, explains his theory behind the build.

Let’s take a step back to the concept behind this frame. What was your inspiration for the Highstreet Pursuit? Did you create this frame with the velodrome or the street? Growing up, I was always attracted to the Pursuit frame. Universally, one can look at a pursuit frame and understand that it’s built to do something. One may not know its intended use but most often it’s understood that it’s a pure machine designed to do one specific activity very well. I dig that. Cinelli really did a number with the Laser Air produced in the 80’s and 90’s and raced in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. It’s safe to say that photos of the Laser Air got me thinking about a low pro pursuit style frame.

I built it for fun. Does that mean velodrome? Does that mean street? Track racing is not my discipline. If I were to say it would make a good track bike, I’d be lying because I honestly don’t know the intricate nuances of a great track frame from a riders point of view. Soon, I’ll have a group of gentlemen at the Boulder velodrome test it as a prototype and provide me with feedback.

Stanridge Speed Highstreet Pursuit
This is a departure from your previous frames, which have been more traditional, lugged road frames, townies and track frames. What challenges did working with this tubing and fabrication method pose? On the departure note: really what it comes down to is pushing my personal envelope and growing as a builder. We all learn everyday. Keeping the brand fresh on a personal level involves exploration. Heat control and general fabrication posed challenges to me. By general fabrication I’m saying my tube blocks and jig are not designed to hold/work with aero tubing. The BB30 shell warped after going through the heat cycles associated with the fillet brazing which posed some post construction opportunities.

Stanridge Speed Highstreet Pursuit
The Highstreet Pursuit features a BB30. Can you explain to our readers the advantage of running this setup? A BB30 saves weight by accepting a 30mm aluminum spindle and eliminating bearing cups. In my application I was concerned less about the weight and more about surface area of the bottom bracket shell. An oversize bottom bracket was needed to provide me with real estate for the large aero down tube, seat tube and chain stays. The system in conjunction with the oversize tubes I assume will better resist deflection from pedaling forces. Again this is a prototype. Unproven.

Is the BB30 hype? I personally don’t think so. BB30 is argued everyday. Some believe it to be a marketing gimmick akin to 1-1/2″ fork crowns and another way for the big makers to kill the secondary bike market.

Stanridge Speed Highstreet Pursuit
Stanridge Speed Highstreet Pursuit
How does this frame fit into the Stanridge Speed portfolio? What’s next for Stanridge Speed? It opens my brand to another demographic. Another cyclist. Does it fit into my portfolio? It sticks out like a sore thumb. I’m 3 again and trying to jam a plastic square into a circle… But man I love the Highstreet. I’ve never wanted to be that guy that ‘only’ builds lugged steel. The Highstreet opens my brand to some that may have cruised past before on the information highway.

My goal for this year is to build 50 frames and head to NAHBS in 2012. I’m striving to hone the business side of the brand and am hoping to truly become efficient operationally as a company this year. I’m lucky in the fact that I was gifted artistically yet went the business route at university. Being a single man operation is overwhelming at times. I find myself working on the business 90% of the time and building a frame the other 10%. I can’t tell you the last time I took a day off. I’ve seen talented guys get the initial pop of business, buy a load of lathes, mills and fixtures and then sit by the phone and wait for it to ring until they fold. Now, it’s easy to see why this happens. It’s a lot of operational work. At this point for me it’s weird to say it’s more about laying a solid foundation operationally and creating sound business practices and less about building this type of frame or that type of frame.

I’ve been very careful up to this point not to over-expand and over-tool my shop space. It’s almost comical; at this point the shop is in a dankly lit very small industrial production space that some may scoff at. Visitors are surprised when they see my space. I’m guessing they’re expecting to walk into some multi-million dollar production facility. It doesn’t take much tooling initially to build a bicycle.

I’m excited to be working with an ex-Honda engineer. Andy may end up being Stanridge Speed Employee Number 2. I’m continuing to work with a very talented local Columbus painter, Rory does some great work. Check out his corner over at deliciousmixtures.com. He painted the Highstreet.

Stanridge Speed Highstreet Pursuit

Stanridge is an amalgamation of your grandfathers surnames. What do you think their opinion of the Highstreet pursuit would be? They’d laugh and ask “How do you ride that?”

Thanks to Adam C. Eldridge of Stanridge Speed. You can read more about his design ethos on his website and keep updated by his blog, twitter and facebook page.

Stanridge Speed Highstreet Pursuit