Why not use aluminum and build the bike yourself?
"I started my bike company because no one was selling the bike that I wanted to ride," says Craig Gaulzetti. His business has accelerated with aluminum.
A Boston-based designer and builder of custom-made racing bicycles, Gaulzetti used carbon fiber for his first prototypes, but he found that the composite material limited the angles and dimensions he could use. Then he started using aluminum.
Customizing with aluminum
“With aluminum, I have the option to create an infinite number of designs,” Gaulzetti says. "It really opens up the possibility to further customize and tweak the bikes to the needs of my athletes."
Gaulzetti took up cycling after his parents moved the family from his native Massachusetts to Belgium when he was 13 years old. He even tried his hand at professional racing. Later, while attending university back in the United States, he got a job in a local bicycle shop, and stayed there for 13 years, even after completing a master’s degree in English at Harvard University.
“I got very invested in the bike industry, doing fittings and frame design and working with different builders throughout the world,” he says. “Eventually, I started my bike company because no one was selling the bike that I wanted to ride.”
Now, all of his bicycles are custom-made.
No bicycle of mine exists without someone asking me for one. And aluminum allows me to build custom bikes that are made to order for my racers.
Exciting with friction stir welding
Gaulzetti says the new aluminum alloys he is working with enable him to make bikes with exceptional ride quality. “My clients are always telling me that they have never owned a more comfortable bike,” he says.
He has sold around 250 bicycles since he started building them in 2007. He designs them himself, then works with a variety of craftspeople – machine shops, tubing suppliers, welders, CNC operators – to manufacture them.
“It really depends on who can work with the materials that I want to work with,” he says. “I’m hoping to work with a company like Hydro on some of the friction stir welding technologies that are coming into being with aluminum right now. That should lead to some really big leaps forward in what bikes can do and how strong and light and responsive they can be built.”