A few months ago I changed my name on Strava to reflect my corporate sponsorship. ‘Bryan Kevan’ became ‘Bryan Kevan | BMK Frameworks’, and I started casually working in exaggerated references on group rides to ‘… my SPONSOR’.
I sponsor myself. BMK Frameworks is me.
I haven’t written a framebuilding post in a long time, despite these posts being far and away the most popular posts on this blog. This is mostly because my process has just moved past the point where I want to lay it all out in detail. Gotta protect that IP. Sorry to the people who have asked me to pump out open-source files and CAD drawings. This takes time and effort. This post is mostly pictures and updates on previous frames.
Carbon framebuilding and bikepacking have become such large pieces of my life and identity over the last few years. Those worlds are so intertwined that it’s hard to talk about one without the other. How do I talk about the fiberwinder without talking about the long lonely nights in Uzbekistan spent planning it? How do I talk about the geometry and components on this new bikepacking rig without discussing my first-hand experience with the Kyrgyz terrain that it is built to withstand? How do I talk about keeping motivation to keep putting in 12-15 hours/wk training for August without talking about the weeks-long jolt of energy that a newly built frame gives me?
As always, my tubes are fiberwound using my Arduino-powered fiberwinder. This has continued to demonstrate excellent results in practical rideability, not so stiff that they feel cold and unloving, with just enough spring and frame flex for strong climbing efforts.
Carbon bikes are all about that balance between frame flex and stiffness. With so much control over placement of fibers, you can reinforce or use fibers of different tensile strengths on sections that you want to flex in certain ways. The procedure is the most protected IP of any carbon framebuilding company. It’s the artisan step in this world.
For me, my testing of ride quality is mostly done while on the bike. I notice by riding a frame for a few months that I like it flexing in one certain way but not another. So the next frame I change things up. So yes, as I’m churning up Las Flores Canyon from the PCH into the sunrise at 6am every Thursday morning (s/o Las Flores Breakfast Club) I’m the guy thinking of bike geometry and frame flex. Like a fucking nerd.
I’m just incredibly satisfied with how things have gone. I can’t really talk about the process anymore because it’s IP, but I need a repository for some images I took of my frames in progress and on the road.
The BMK Pamir, my workhorse of a second frame, went strong for 10,000km before I scrapped it for parts. One international trip, countless long days up on gravel roads in the Santa Monica Mountains.
But I moved on. I made a road bike in the Summer of 2019. The BMK Olimpica now has 6,000km on it, and has taken its place as my main commuter and road bike. It’s a great bike, and it has had a great start to its life.
This was my first frame which used a plug design, where the fiberwound tubes plug into separately moulded lugs. This design was a revelation, a technique I had wanted to master since I first started this journey.
I made a bikepacking rig in 2020. It is my intention to ride this frame in the Silk Road Mountain Race in Kyrgyzstan this coming August, activities that I will talk about in more detail in a later post. This race is why I’ve been riding so much.
This unnamed-until-I-break-an-empty-bottle-of-vodka-over-it bike is far and away the best frame I’ve made. It hits that balance of stiffness and flexibility, it’s acceptably light, and I put better components on it than the rest of my bikes, so it rides incredibly well. I also dramatically improved the paint job. Less epoxy, more pigment, a clear coat so it won’t yellow over time.
This has been a fun journey, and I am so fortunate to have the resources and time to devote to this hobby. To everyone who has sent words of encouragement along the way, thank you. My friends, family, group ride mates, classmates, industry folks, dirty bikepackers and travelers I’ve met along the way, thank you for digging what I do.
Thanks for visiting. Welcome to BMK Frameworks.