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Carl Strong (Strong Frames) closing shop, moving to Pursuit Cycles

2558 Views 37 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  pmf
I was helping a friend shop around for a Titanium frame, and happened on Carl Strongs site, and found that he's closing shop and moving to Pursuit Cycles (all custom Carbon).

A little surprised by this...



From one boutique shop to another, switching mediums from Ti to Carbon.

Maybe he just wanted to do something different? Maybe the cost of sourcing Titanium was making the bikes too expensive?

Curious...
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He just wants to argue with someone, tag you are it!
Lynskey is a pretty small outfit. If he's using 3-D printed titanium parts, it's because they're cheaper. Titanium is metal. You can shape it into anything to want. Strong bikes has been around a long time. I'd buy the 'he's getting older and tired of welding' argument'. Maybe semi-retirement, but you still have your toes in the bike business.
Ti bikes are also becoming a much smaller niche overall, with high end, full custom steel getting them on one end, and production carbon superbikes on the other. The only reason to get a Ti bike is you like the idea of a Ti bike. Nothing wrong with that, but its probably a tough business (especially with the equipment and skill requirements).
Ti bikes are also becoming a much smaller niche overall, with high end, full custom steel getting them on one end, and production carbon superbikes on the other. The only reason to get a Ti bike is you like the idea of a Ti bike. Nothing wrong with that, but its probably a tough business (especially with the equipment and skill requirements).
There's also the fact that they last forever. I bought a Litespeed Ultimate in 2000 with Dura Ace 7700. In 2011, I replaced everything on the bike except the pedals and seat post. Even the decals. Buffed the frame up with Scotch Brite pads and it looked new. Campy Chorus 11-speed. I still ride it. I see a lot of guys riding their Sevens, Litespeeds, Lynskeys, Moots, even Merlins and Serottas. You can't put disc brakes or huge tires on them, but a lot of people don't want that stuff. I don't.

Then there the fact that they're expensive. A new titanium frame, even a basic one, will cost more than a middle of the road carbon bike.

Wife just bought a custom Tomassini X-Fire (Columbus XCR stainless steel). We go to Red Rose Imports in PA. She brings her titanium bike for a fitting. They put her on a trainer. Take all these measurements. The guy tells her 'your bike fits you'. That was a relief since I built it up. They did custom geometry -- basically making the heap tube a little taller so it would require less spacers. No charge for that or the custom paint job. We get the frame two years ago. It sits. No one has the new Dura Ace electronic group. Finally, at the start of summer I convince her to get Campy Super Record EPS. Campy Bora wheels. No disc brakes but we did do the wide tubeless tires and run them at 60 psi. She rides it for most of the summer. Two weeks ago, we're finishing up a century ride and at around mile 90, she says 'I hate to say this, but I like my Lynskey better'.
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Yea, I like my Canyon better too. The Seven is coupled and can go on an airplane as luggage, you can't do that with CF. I don't see why you couldn't get a Ti with disk brakes and large tires, but it is cheaper to go CF cause they make thousands of them at one time.
You can get a ti bike with disc brakes and large tires. Back in 2014 when she bought it, bikes didn't come with disc brakes and huge tires. Maybe a few did, but it wasn't the norm like it is today. Amazing how much smarter we've all gotten in 8 years.
There's also the fact that they last forever. I bought a Litespeed Ultimate in 2000 with Dura Ace 7700. In 2011, I replaced everything on the bike except the pedals and seat post. Even the decals. Buffed the frame up with Scotch Brite pads and it looked new. Campy Chorus 11-speed. I still ride it. I see a lot of guys riding their Sevens, Litespeeds, Lynskeys, Moots, even Merlins and Serottas. You can't put disc brakes or huge tires on them, but a lot of people don't want that stuff. I don't.

Then there the fact that they're expensive. A new titanium frame, even a basic one, will cost more than a middle of the road carbon bike.

Wife just bought a custom Tomassini X-Fire (Columbus XCR stainless steel). We go to Red Rose Imports in PA. She brings her titanium bike for a fitting. They put her on a trainer. Take all these measurements. The guy tells her 'your bike fits you'. That was a relief since I built it up. They did custom geometry -- basically making the heap tube a little taller so it would require less spacers. No charge for that or the custom paint job. We get the frame two years ago. It sits. No one has the new Dura Ace electronic group. Finally, at the start of summer I convince her to get Campy Super Record EPS. Campy Bora wheels. No disc brakes but we did do the wide tubeless tires and run them at 60 psi. She rides it for most of the summer. Two weeks ago, we're finishing up a century ride and at around mile 90, she says 'I hate to say this, but I like my Lynskey better'.
I have a Lynskey that a bought a few years back when they were selling them for cheap on ebay. I am happy enough with it but its actually barely lighter than my steel Colnago. I wouldn't spend big money to go Ti, but that's just my view.
I think I paid $1700 for a LItespeed Ultimate with a crappy Look HSC2 fork 22 years ago. Back then, that was real money -- and the thing was on sale at Bicicletta -- a store that advertised in the print version of Velonews. I'd just bought an expensive diamond engagement ring and dammit, I wanted something too. She doesn't wear the ring anymore, but I still have the titanium ring I bought to match the bike. And I still ride the bike. I've travelling with it some. I never have to worry about chipped paint.

Yeah, when Lynskey was dumping those frames on ebay for $750, it makes paying $3000 for one seem silly. But then again, I forked out $4200 for a steel frame.
I think I paid $1700 for a LItespeed Ultimate with a crappy Look HSC2 fork 22 years ago. Back then, that was real money -- and the thing was on sale at Bicicletta -- a store that advertised in the print version of Velonews. I'd just bought an expensive diamond engagement ring and dammit, I wanted something too. She doesn't wear the ring anymore, but I still have the titanium ring I bought to match the bike. And I still ride the bike. I've travelling with it some. I never have to worry about chipped paint.

Yeah, when Lynskey was dumping those frames on ebay for $750, it makes paying $3000 for one seem silly. But then again, I forked out $4200 for a steel frame.
I dont know what happend there but Lynskey was just dumping frames on ebay. I was wondering if they were going under. I paid $700 for the frame and $650 for a Potenza group. I had a spare set of wheels that I used.
Did a quick google search. Turns out Carl Strong made some forays into Carbon quite a while ago, and had to bail on that project when they downsided their shop and went back to metal exclusively.

He actually posted in this thread back in 2016.

I haven't found anything recent that indicates specifically why he's bailing on metal and going to Pursuit Cycles, but now that I've read that he has not been exclusively metal in the past, I'm not so surprised by the change.
I dont know what happend there but Lynskey was just dumping frames on ebay. I was wondering if they were going under. I paid $700 for the frame and $650 for a Potenza group. I had a spare set of wheels that I used.
What frame of his did you get? Lynskey is a bit of a show boat, but I think he makes nice frames. A lot higher quality than the Chinese frames that used to sell cheap. I'm thinking Airborne.
My wife has a 350, which when you bought yours was probably the 340, which last time I saw was the R370. I just went to the Lynskey website. Interesting how their offerings have changed.

Mine on its second set of components.

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My wife has a 350, which when you bought yours was probably the 340, which last time I saw was the R370. I just went to the Lynskey website. Interesting how their offerings have changed.
Most of my bikes started off as impulse frame purchases on eBay. I usually look for bargains in the winter. When I saw the Lynskey I put in the minimum bid of $700 and forgot about it. No one else bid so a few days later I got an email that I won it. I do like the fact that I don't have to worry about rust or paint chips but I find the brushed finish shows a lot of smudges. Overall I am happy with it
Most of my bikes started off as impulse frame purchases on eBay. I usually look for bargains in the winter. When I saw the Lynskey I put in the minimum bid of $700 and forgot about it. No one else bid so a few days later I got an email that I won it. I do like the fact that I don't have to worry about rust or paint chips but I find the brushed finish shows a lot of smudges. Overall I am happy with it
Every bike vacation I ever did was on that Litespeed. I've got some steel bikes with fancy paint jobs, and it is nice to just toss the titanium bikes in the back of the van and not worry if they rattle around. With the other bikes, I'll toss a moving blanket over one of them.

I haven't bought an assembled bike since 1992. I always buy a frame and then parts. Its kind of fun. The days of the good component group deals from the UK places seems over though.

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I haven't found anything recent that indicates specifically why he's bailing on metal and going to Pursuit Cycles, but now that I've read that he has not been exclusively metal in the past, I'm not so surprised by the change.
Strong Frames is one of the few one-man framebuilding shops that over the course of their history offered bikes in nearly every material: Early on Carl was even building with aluminum (which reportedly he hated!), Ti and Steel were his bread & butter for decades, and yes, for several years -- but before he started the Pursuit operation -- he was building in carbon fiber as well. The guy's Been There Done That like few other framebuilders. (btw, he stopped offering Steel frames a few years ago because the cost of materials made it such that there was no longer a significant difference pricewise between Steel and Titanium...and that price difference was the prime driver for many of his Steel customers.)

Based on both A) speaking to Carl a bunch over the years (I own a steel frame he made me, my wife owned a steel frame he made her, still owns a Ti frame he made her, and is about two months away from receiving another Ti frame he's building her, so over the years we've conversed somewhat regularly) and B) reading both the Strong Frames and Pursuit websites, as well as Carl's contributions to the Paceline forum, my understanding is that dissolving Strong Frames is Carl's attempt at "semi-returement" ...but staying involved in Pursuit Cycles as chief designer (but not chief builder) is his way of not completely retiring, keeping a hand in the custom bike industry.
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Although I ride my titanium bike a lot, there’s still nothing that is as good as a lugged steel frame.
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