TOC Chronicles: Sycip Factory Tour

February 12, 2009
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The day after the Astana team camp Road Bike Action paid a visit to custom frame builders Sycip. Sycip is located in downtown Santa Rosa in an unassuming building with a small Sycip sign out front.  This stood in stark contrast to the media circus of the Astana camp the day before

Sycip was founded in 1992 by brothers Jay and Jeremy in Fremont California just south of San Francisco. They moved up to San Francisco in the mid 90’s and finally up to Santa Rosa a few years later. Waiting inside the shop was Jeremy Sycip, who greeted us in his usual cheerful manner, and after a few minutes of catching up and a quick look at Sycip’s private collection of custom bikes we headed back to the shop. Currently Sycip builds about 150 frames a year with an 8 to 10 week waiting list.

The Sycip shop could best be described at organized chaos. From the outside the shop appears to be a collection of mitering machines randomly placed with a multitude of frames, wheels and parts in various states of construction. It is only after Jeremy begins to walk one through his process of frame construction does the chaos begin to make sense. Jay and Jeremy have laid out the shop in a way that forms a makeshift production line.

Every Sycip begins as computer drawing that gives Jeremy the geometry and tube lengths. This allows him to miter the tubes and setup the frame jig to the exact measurements before tack welding the frame. Before switching over to the computer Sycip would hand draw each frame on a large sheet of paper.

The miter used for the main tubes is adjustable to allow the Sycip to create custom geometry.

Sycip miters the chainstays by clamping them in a special jig that miters both chainstays at the same time to assure proper alignment when welded to the bottom bracket shell.

Once all the tubes are mitered and the jig is set to the proper numbers, Jeremy tack welds the frame together

Once the frame is tack welded in the jig, the frame is moved over to Jeremy’s welding table were he finishes welding the frame.

Sycip has dedicated an entire machine for facing head tubes. This is done to guaranteed that the headset presses in properly and that the geometry remains spot on.

After a frame is welded and cleaned it is checked for alignment. Here Jeremy checks a custom cyclocross frame.

On the day Road Bike Action visited, Sycip was in the middle of finishing out a few new creations for the upcoming Handmade Bicycle Show. The bikes were simply beautiful and are sure to turn heads when debuted later this month. Along the bikes for the Handmade Show, Sycip was in the process of building a custom bike for a rider who is preparing to compete in RAAM (Race Across America) solo. The bike had a few unique features specially designed for the Ultra Marathon race.

The head tube is extended to allow the rider a more upright position and Sycip has fillet brazed the downtube at the headtube junction for added strength.

The bike also features longer chainstays for more control as well as fender mounts in case of poor weather.

Along with bicycles Jay and Jeremy other passion is vintage scooters. Jay’s vintage Lambretta awaits a run through downtown Santa Rosa.

The Sycip Roadster features a steel front triangle mated to an Easton carbon rear triangle

One of the more exotic bikes at Sycip is Jeremy’s personal cross bike. The bike features a carbon fiber seat tube and magnesium top tube bonded to a lugged and tig welded steel frame. Jeremy is currently running it with a White 2×2 drivetrain that allows two different gears ratios through the adjustment of eccentric rear hub.

The Sycip Java Boy is the ultimate cruiser, and is available with every possible addition, including racks, fender mounts and even disc brakes.

The very first Sycip ? this is the first frame that Jeremy ever made in 1990. His brother Jay did the paint. Today, Jeremy has it setup as a townie for cruising the streets of Santa Rosa.


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