By Steve Medcroft
One of the great benefits of attending an event like Cyclo-cross Nationals is the opportunity to drool over thousands of bikes that the racers have put together. Providence didn't disappoint; we saw everything from ten thousand dollar custom titaniums to all-carbon dream machines.
What stood out mostly though was the representation of so many boutique and custom builders. Maybe because the U.S. 'cross scene is a smaller, tighter community than the pro mountain bike or road scenes, it can be a great home for lesser-known builders to showcase what are often some of the most finely made, and beautiful bikes available.
In the special tech series that follows, we'll bring you closer to three standout bikes from Cyclo-cross Nationals.
For the first installment, we talked to Maureen Bruno-Roy, who rode her Independent Fabrication Ti Planet Cross into a national championship jersey in the women's 30-34 master's race and third in the women's elite race.
Who is Independent Fabrication?
Somerville, Massachusetts' custom frame builder Independent Fabrication (IF) sponsors Bruno-Roy. The employee-owned enterprise got its modest start when a group of former Fat City Cycles employees, out of work when the holding company that also owned Serotta bought Fat City from Chris Chance and moved its operations to New York, put together a business plan, received a small grant form the Somerville Economic Development Partnership, and started building steel frames in a tiny business-incubator space.
The company claims a checkered history in its first ten years. On IF's website, the official company history is full of stories of wild adventures (broken bones and arrests) and IF says that if you research the company on the Internet you would run across "the fact that the plant in East Overshoe burned down or the company was the subject of a major product liability law suit." But the thirteen-employee company, which builds colourful, all-custom frames in steel, titanium and ti/carbon mixtures, is healthy today and well respected in the industry; especially in the Northeast where its grass-roots racing initiative supports a slew of mountain bikers, roadies and, in the case of Maureen Bruno-Roy, cyclo-cross racers.
Read the entire pro bike report on Maureen Bruno-Roy's Independent Fabrication Planet Cross here.