The welder will see you now: Eriksen’s Brad Bingham

Brad Bingham at the 2015 North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

Brad Bingham at the 2015 North American Handmade Bicycle Show. All photos by Mitch Hull. Thanks again, Mitch.

Brad Bingham welds titanium bicycle frames today because he went to school next door to the Newberg, Oregon, company that created the world’s first successful air-powered saliva ejector.

“My school shared a property line with A-dec, the largest dental equipment company in the world. The company had a cooperative work experience program, so junior, senior years in high school I got to work there half days. I kind of fell in love with making stuff, and one of the engineers got me into mountain biking.”

Eriksen's isn't the only name you might find on an Eriksen frame.

Eriksen’s isn’t the only name you might find on an Eriksen frame.

In short order, Bingham broke two bicycle frames, and the engineer asked him why he didn’t just make his own. So he did.

“I went to UBI [United Bicycle Institute], took a framebuilding class and learned from Gary Helfrich, the founder of Merlin. He was incredible, a great teacher. Moots got my name from that class, said come on out and weld for us. So I took a 69-cents-an-hour pay cut. Worked with Moots for 15 years and came to Eriksen two years ago.”

Best TIG-welded joints in, well, the joint.

Best TIG-welded joints in, well, the joint.

Kent Eriksen Cycles is a four-person operation based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, that turns out a wide variety of custom singles and tandems–and piles up the awards, including, most recently, Best TIG-Welded at the 2015 North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

  • Bingham loves titanium. “It’s a real nice material. To weld it properly, it has to be almost sterile. The welding process doesn’t create any smoke. It’s a pleasant environment.”
  • Not that he avoids other materials. He was more than happy to work with the steel and aluminum that went into his restoration of a 1973 Airstream trailer.
  • And he likes variety. Asked about his own bicycle stash, he lists a road bike, full-suspension mountain bike, a fat bike, a hardtail 29er and a commuter. “My girlfriend also has one of each.”

    In English, laser-etched motto reads,

    In English, the laser-etched motto on this particular Eriksen reads, “Nothing without effort.”

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About 16incheswestofpeoria

Former bicycle mechanic, current peruser of books, feeder of birds.
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6 Responses to The welder will see you now: Eriksen’s Brad Bingham

  1. lardavis says:

    Nice workmanship – and the welds, too.

    • There was one Eriksen touring model with fairly complex titanium racks front and back–and a steel custom fork by Independent Fabrications. Keep in mind that no one was actually riding bicycles at the bicycle show, but that bike in hand had a very nice balance.

  2. cyclerist says:

    Wow! Thanks a lot for this text and photos :). I’ve been looking at Eriksen bikes for some times (at NAHBS web mostly and Eriksen web).
    And this insight from the welder is really interesting stuff.
    Would love to buy Eriksen, but so far away from them, it is nearly impossible given the potential price.

    • Once you see all those shiny frames in one place, titanium kind of jumps up your wish list. You can see the family resemblance between a suspended mountain bike and a road tandem. The joinery all points back to one person. I’m not one to get carried away about light weight stuff, but as the rider of a steel tandem holding a welded frame that was dimensionally familiar but way lighter, I found myself tapped into the same sort of wonder I felt at the pull of my first kite. Yes, there are lightweight carbon frames all over the place–and all the Eriksens on display save one had carbon-fiber forks–but the provenance is lost on me. Fair or not, carbon has turned into a sea filled with fish I’m not particularly excited to see.

      It’s gotta be the welds.

      • cyclerist says:

        For the past 5 years i have a titanium mountain bike from vannicholas.com and i am so happy with it. But would like to have someday one custom made like Eriksen or Crisp titanium. Have you heard maybe for Darren Crisp, texan living&working in Italy? Producing wonderful Ti frames one by one.

      • Amazing the stories I haven’t heard or read, Crisp being the latest. Fascinating. And another United Bicycle Institute student, too. When I get back to a faster internet connection, I’ll look through his complete website–impressed with what I’ve slowly uncovered so far. Thanks for the insight.

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