In January 2016 I drove to North Carolina for a 5-day one-on-one frame building class with legendary American steel bike builder, Steve Garn of Brew Bikes (@brewbikes) - THE American steel BMX bike builder throughout the 90’s. Steve was an incredible host and teacher, sharing a wealth of knowledge and remarkable patience. We settled on a “Monstercross Racing Bike that could fit 43s + fenders”. In 2015 very few big bike companies built CX bikes, and none built drop bar bikes that were fast and fun with room fat tires - this was the realm of custom builders.
The experience with Steve was unforgettable, and after wasting embarrassing amounts of tubing and welding material, I drove home with my brand new – unpainted – frame and proceeded to give it the most mediocre DIY paint job (with custom graphics) the world has ever seen.
Brickell Bikes took my “Frankenframe”, and built up that fun fast CX bike with knobby 40’s, and I was on my way to exploring the little gravel and dirt I could find in urban Miami.
Months later my son was born, and this was clearly the bike for a child seat – which started her evolution from “Monster CX Racer” to “Dad Bike”. First came smooth tires, then racks to transport toys, and finally a drop bar and SPDs were traded for a flat bar and platforms. The custom bike that originated as my solo adventure machine turned into a “boring dad bike”, building incredible memories with my kids.
Over time, my amateur (to put it lightly) paint job really fell apart - it was flaking, surface rust was appearing, and the bike became an eyesore - it was time to tap into Robbie’s genius.
We brainstormed and I went to a paint shop to pick out some options. I narrowed it down to three shades of light-purple-gray and left the rest in Robbie’s hands. A few weeks later, my frame was refinished, repainted, and ready for a new life.
Robbie finalized the color and worked with his team (Willy, Willy is his team) to select a new handlebar, mount Rene Herse tires, and the other details that would make the bike special. A 90’s Dura-Ace crank and Derailleur, with a modern chainring and shifters is a perfect mix of timeless and functional. The pink Paul brakes mated to polished Paul levers, touches of copper and polish, mish-mash of cockpit parts, H Plus Son + Jones wheels, and other perfectionist details all come together to create this perfectly curated “mess” of a bike. It keeps its “Frankenbike” soul but rides to perfection and rewards onlookers who give it a second glance.
Thank you Brickell Bikes for breathing new life into this special bike. I can’t wait to see what adventures await.
Written by: Jorge Bustamante