Even if you didn't make it to northern California for the Sea Otter Classic, you probably saw a bunch of photos of a bike that made it's big debut during the expo - the Franco Bicycles Grimes, designed by Bicycle Crumbs. This bike started blowing up our Instagram feed, and it's not hard to see why. The collaboration resulted in an amazing functional and capable bike with a stunningly gorgeous paint job. We here at PDW were way excited to see that Crumbs had selected our Full Metal Fenders to round out his build! While we've seen out fenders painted in many different ways, his design was by far the most intricite we've ever seen grace the curves of the Full Metals. So we reached out to him to chat about the process from ideation to realization, and here's what we learned:
PDW: Hey Crumbs, really impressive job with this build and design. Could you tell us the story behind this bike?
Crumbs: The story behind this bike is pretty rad I think. Franco reached out to me after seeing my NAHBS bike. They take a lot of pride in giving a customer exactly what they want. In a way the project was a partial test of that. They gave me completely creative control over the paint and build. As I do pretty often, I pushed them to their limits but they absolutely came through and delivered something spectacular.
PDW: What was your inspiration for the design?
Crumbs: My inspiration for this bike gets pretty design dorky but I'll gladly talk about it. To start - when I get projects like this, I researched as much as I could about the company before I agreed to take on the project. I saw Franco is inspired a lot by vintage racing cars and motorcycles. I'm not a car person now, but I loved vintage cars as a kid.
Specifically cars and trucks from the 1950s with big bulbous wheel wells. Now, this is where it gets weird - my design inspiration works a lot like word association games. I sort of let my thoughts take over and then blur the ones that are connected. This project worked like this: 1950s Chevy trucks > Route 56 > American southwest > deserts > minerals/stones. Ha! So at each one of those "stops" I did a little bit of visual research. I happened to find this turquoise stone with a very specific blue that I isolated for the frame color and a rock that looks sort of like craft paper, with specs and flakes of reflective material, for additional design inspiration. I was also struck by how sunsets are soooo red in the desert. I tried to mimic that feel with the orange red concentric circle areas. I then placed that color/pattern next to the blue to create a lot of color vibration, which is good for visibility. These swatches were then placed in areas on the bike which would benefit from added visibility. Once I got this far, I knew I wanted to cover as much of the bike as I could with this color, which means covering the logos for some components. I'm big on supporting the brands that I believe in, so rather then leaving them blank, I redrew all of the logos. This was better then replacing them with the real logos. I often feel bikes have too many conflicting logos and this was a great way to prevent that.
Recently, I've been receiving some negative comments and emails from trolls basically thinking I was a rich kid with money to blow, based on my online presence. It really struck a nerve, because I have worked so hard this last year to build Bicyclecrumbs up and to be able to get a dream bike. I felt those people just didnt respect the countless hours I've put into this. I sort of spec'ed this bike as a big FU to those people. It's unapologetically over the top in every way. This is also why I adopted the house fly as a personal symbol for this bike and myself. The fly survives by consuming waste - by feeding off of every opportunity available. This all lead me to the idea of "build the bike you want and don't give a shit what others think." This bike is that.
PDW: Why did you choose to complete the bike with the Full Metal Fenders?
Crumbs: I knew from the start of the project that the best way to get that bulbous 1950s car look would be to use fenders. Yours are the ideal choice - metal, paintable, with detail and high quality. I couldn't think of a better option. Honestly, that part was easy.
PDW: Awww, thanks Crumbs! Okay, last question: What else do you have the works that we can look forward to?
Crumbs: As for projects in the works,I have two more BIG ones scheduled for this year. One is bikepacking rig with Pinion Gearbox. The other I can't talk about yet. I'm also looking for an Interbike project. I don't know why but I love bike trade shows, probably because I've only been doing this for a year!