Syracuse is a snowy old city in the state of New York, with a proud but polluted industrial history. It does have one redeeming feature: Joe Roggenbuck calls it home, and that’s where he makes his Cobra Frames.
Integrity might just come with the neighbourhood: When New York frame builders come to mind, the work of Seth Rosko and Ezra Caldwell are always at the top of the list. Joe is feeling the vibe; his TIG welded frames are no-nonsense and built for business.
In 2010, Joe undertook Doug Fattic’s Lugged Bike Framebuilding Class. Joe was in the middle of his 4-year college degree and didn’t pick up the torch for another two-and-a-half years, but he’s been been having a go at it now for the past three-and-a-half years.
There’s something very refreshing about Joe’s frames: his style is very traditional, unassuming and without unnecessary embellishments. They’re built in his self-named “Three Phase Liberty Bunker”.
“My shop has commercial three phase electrical service,” Joe says, “which is a killer luxury for running old heavy duty machine tools, and Liberty Bunker suggests I’m prepping for the end of days. I think it’s funny, but nobody seems to get it, so I guess I should come up with another name.”
“My goal with Cobra Frames is to make solid, simple, made to measure frames that serve my customers well. I used to do fillet brazed frames and even carve bi-laminate sleeves and things, but over time I’ve found that TIG welding is my process of choice.
He continues: “I like processes that are clean, accurate, efficient, and generally no-nonsense. However, when it comes to riding, I think I have found that All-Road adventure type bikes are my favourite.”
This is Joe’s personal ride, built as an exploration into the sort of frames he likes to build. It’s an evolution of his previous build, accommodating fatter tyres like the WTB Nano, and the Paul Mini Moto brakes.
Joe might only be a few frames into his pursuit as a frame builder, but there’s something about the honesty within his portfolio that suggests he’s here for the long run. In Joe’s words, “Cobra Bikes are made to be thrashed”.