Lichen Bikes. The place where my passions for designing, machining, fabrication, and riding first met. Born of the simple desire to make myself a bike and do something different. Building the types of bikes I was interested in riding was my introduction and education in CAD design, TIG welding, and CNC machining. All skills that I now am proud to say are how I make my living.
I build bikes that are interesting to me. What interests me is elegance in design, and handling. I don’t care about paint, every frame I’ve built has been black or clear. I don’t care about new standards except when they are clearly improvements over the existing ones. I don’t fret over frame weight. I’ve raced on featherweight road bikes, and I’ve peddled forty pound tanks around the woods, and I’ve had equally as much fun on both. I don’t have an allegiance to a material. Steel is real. So is Aluminum, Titanium, and Carbon. Each material has it’s advantages and disadvantages as part of a frame, and it’s benefits and difficulties during construction into a frame. I build in Steel because it’s easy and accessible, allows me to easily create custom geometry, and is strong and forgiving.
I machine all my own parts, save a couple that don’t make sense to do myself such as BB shells and cable guides. Designing a unified bike where all the pieces are made to fit together is extremely exciting to me, and as a fabricator it often makes the assembly much simpler when the parts where designed from the beginning to fit. Sitting down with a concept in mind, and maybe a few paper sketches, and then seeing a design take shape on the computer, then seeing those raw parts come out of a solid piece of stock, and lastly, seeing all those parts come together in a frame, creates a type of satisfaction that’s very unique.
In addition, in this modern age where so much high level design and manufacturing equipment is fairly accessible, there’s no good excuse not to be making frames from scratch.
In general I design based on my own riding style, and the development trends that I’m finding exciting. I like to go fast, I love corners, and I’m not that good at jumping. I also spent years on road bikes, and I won’t tolerate a bike that doesn’t climb like it wants to. I’m not your typical custom frame builder in that I don’t build any type of frame a rider wants. I build the frames that I build, and I tailor their geometry for desired sizing or handling characteristics.
As things currently stand I’m not building frames for sale. I’ve shifted my focus almost exclusively to CNC machining, and more recently to specifically servicing the handbuilt bike sector with frame parts and fixtures. If you want to see what’s currently going on in the shop check out the Lichen Instagram feed.
If you’re also a frame builder and interested in custom machined frame parts, head next door to Lichen Precision.