Custom Geometry: A Natural Progression
By: Franco Bicycles | May, 16, 2017
Going fast can be thrilling. Those same speeds, on a bad fit, can be terrifying.
Franco Bicycles co-founder Julian, initially became familiar with geometry, and fit while racing motorcycles. He raced in the Florida Championship Cup Series on a Yamaha TZ250 as an amateur, his transition to AMA Racing's 250GP class was on a less forgiving Honda RS250 GP. Every time the chain is tightened or the gearing is changed on the motorcycle the fit is assessed, which caused Julian to develop a heightened sensitivity for the best feeling on two wheels. He knows a thing or two about the importance of feeling good on a motorcycle, where getting the most speed and traction out of his ride is the name of the game. While a motorcycle and a bicycle are different beasts, they do share one surprising thing. Fit plays a critical role on both. (For those familiar with motorcycle racing, or those that might be interested in learning more, there is a great article on the particular challenges of the Honda RS250 here.)
It is safe to say there was a feeling of disappointment when awhile later he went into a bike shop where they tried to persuade him that a bike he was certain was an ill-fitting bicycle could be "made to fit" him. This feeling turned to anger when he visited another bike shop and was told upon entering that his bike was the wrong bike for him. Julian, at this time still relatively new to the bicycle world, yet an expert on feel, wondered at how many people could have had similar experiences and how many poorly fitting bikes were sitting in garages because of a bad riding experience. Clearly there was a disconnect between getting a sale and selling the right bike.
Creating Fit For All
Julian and Hector decided to fix this problem during the conception of the company. They thought the bike buying process was broken and consumers would receive the most benefit by having another option. Franco Bikes is built on the philosophy of doing everything we can to make sure that everyone who owns a Franco is delighted with the bike. Our formula to creating a delighted customer is simple: deliver a bike that feels great and looks great. That means that half of everything we do is fit focused. The other half is aesthetics (which is another blog post entirely). We believe that having a bike that fits well and looks great creates motivation to ride more and increases the overall enjoyment. It boils down to the reality that if the bike doesn't inspire you to ride it just by looking it, when life gets busy or the schedule gets challenging, you won't ride. That’s how Franco Bikes came to be, by trying to maximize the rate of smiles per mile.
With that philosophy in mind, we first started by creating a model that paired a range of standard bike frame sizes with a built-to-order approach that allowed us to optimize fit on the bike. In our opinion, this approach results in a bike that is the perfect fit for most, but there was still room for improvement. Select riders, that were beyond standard sizing, needed and required something more. Fast forward ten years and with the release of the Latigo RS1, we are able to make custom carbon geometry in conjunction with standard sizing. The idea behind this is three-fold:
We are not all created equal when it comes to body proportions. Stock bike sizing covers a limited range of riders. Franco's built-to-order bikes with standard frame sizing covers a much greater range of riders. Our new custom geometry frame sizing combined with our built-to-order approach covers the entire range of cycling interested people.
Flexibility is a major determinate of how the fit will be set up. Standard frame sizing can only take us so far, we can customize the bike to reach you.
The bike has to look good. If your bike looks good, you'll feel good and fast. We can create a custom geometry that gives the PRO look you are looking for.
Customized Large Head Tube on a Medium Bike
This is the natural progression when you take a few individuals who are convinced that performance and the correct fit matters more than making a sale. Yet with every sale we take cycling a step forward by getting more people in the sport feeling and riding better. We love what we do and we want you to share in the joy of bikes.
Think custom can benefit you? Check out the Latigo RS1 and let’s get rolling.