Blown Away By Baum - Part 1: The Design Process

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My last Baum post seemed to get people excited (thanks wordpress analytics) so I it's about time for a follow-up. With the shop now about 3 weeks away from opening, our orders are nearing completion. The two Baum framesets are now finished. Here is their story. I have been obsessed with Baum for years. Seriously. It is an issue. Check out their website and prepare to be shocked by how far high-end handmade bicycle design has come - http://www.baumcycles.com These guys are absolute artists, who also happen to beat the shit out of their bikes. So they not only look like a million bucks, but they ride like it too. There is a rumour that a certain pro rider recently purchased a Baum bike. Ok, so it's not a rumour at all.  In fact, if I told you the rider's name, you might just freak out.  He has won some major races. MAJOR. Anyways, enough gossip-mongering. The proof is in the pudding. Here is a taste of what Darren, Jared and Nick are capable of... [caption id="attachment_152" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="This is why I fell in love with Baum"][/caption] So these crazy Aussie bastards boys clearly build some amazing rides. What was even more impressive was their philosophy - a true love and feel for cycling, combined with an exhaustive attention to detail and desire to design, build + paint the world's finest framesets. After about 4 hours of phone conversation, we decided we were right for each other. Baum was willing to let us retail their awesome bikes, and Blacksmith promised to push the envelopes of design for some truly amazing products. It was not hard to find inspiration with Baum's existing builds: [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620" caption="Not mine. Unfortunately."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_167" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="WTF"][/caption]
After looking through some other Baum kick-ass designs, and knowing that I wanted to order both steel and titanium frames to test, I sent a simple design inspiration email about 4 months back:
"Corretto:
- Grey/silver/bare titanium scheme based on the following:
http://mcfadinhauling.com/silver-gt-2.jpg
http://www.picturescraze.com/cars/4089/silver+ford+gt+tungsten.html
- I notice you have done something not to dissimilar before:
http://www.boutiquecycles.com/bikes/details/cubano_gtr/
Ristretto:
Perhaps a stock scheme (GT or GTR maybe) with a white base.
Then to use one or both of:
- acid / neon yellow
- sky blue (sort of a classic belgian blue)"
So we had some design ideas out there, and next step was to discuss geometry. We decided to build the titanium Corretto in my size (hehe...) and the steel Ristretto in a more normal size to use as a shop tester. Baum sent along a geometry chart for each bike for sign-off... Actually much more in-depth than most custom producers have time for: Mike Yakubowicz x221 Ristretto Size 54 Standard rev1.1 NS-1 Based on my colour suggestions for the Ristretto, Baum came up with this: Paint Scheme Mike Yakubowicz x221 rev1.1 JB-1 My response? We are done here. Easiest frame design ever. They even called at one point to let me know they'd thought to change the colour a shade, but wanted my take.  Nice to be so involved in the process. "I trust you" was my answer. Bike number two, the Corretto was a bit tougher... - First we wavered on the possibility of integrated seat-post before deciding to keep things simple - Next Baum accomodated my request for a longer headtube - Then the guys down under came up with a mock-up... [caption id="attachment_161" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Not a bad first effort!"][/caption] It was good.  Awesome even.  But I wanted more... I asked for more paint and less bare titanium.  For a while I worried that I was just being an A-hole.  Then about 8 weeks ago Nick sent me this... Paint Blacksmith X220 v2.0 JB I was stoked. But still rather picky - "can't we match the turn signals and/or brake lights on the Ford GT?" I asked.  I wanted a bit more flash without losing the subtlety. Most builders would have been annoyed. Baum took this request as a new challenge. A day later I had this... Paint Blacksmith X220 v2.1 JB I freaked. Asked the shop designer (and my lady) and she was also lovin it. And that was that. Ok, so not as simple as ordering a stock Trek. But if you are looking to build a dream-bike, see our next posting for the results...

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