This week we are bringing you a very special interview with Matt Appleman, owner, founder and builder at Appleman Bicycles in Minneapolis, MN. We are very excited to see his new bikes at NAHBS!
Matt, I like to start out builder interviews by asking what your first memory on a bike is?
It all started after seeing the 1996 Olympic mountain bike course in a newspaper. That day, keep in mind I was still in elementary school, I started riding on the grass next to the bike path on a 20″ wheel bike. I thought I was hardcore mountain biking!
Matt, I read that you have a history of road and track racing that lead to a knee injury, that lead to building bicycles–can you talk a little bit more about that?
One winter during college I over did it. I was lifting weights, running stairs, and riding on the trainer. I developed an overuse knee injury that wouldn’t go away, no matter how much time I took off the bike. After seeing several specialists and physical therapists, I still had pain. I finally found that my position on the bike that was causing my knee pain. I wasn’t balanced on the bike, which caused a constant stress on my knees. It was an eye popping experience to realize much of what I’ve been told my whole cycling life was not relevant to my situation. I couldn’t buy a frame with a super slack seat tube angle so I set out to utilize my skills and knowledge as a composites guy and make my own frame! My custom frame got me back riding again! I soon realized that I could help others with fit issues through custom frames.
How many years has Appleman been around?
I’ve been building frames for 5 years. As a formal business, Appleman Bicycles has seen 1 full year!
I see you got a degree in composite materials engineering in college, so it seems obvious that you would work with carbon fiber. Ultimately why did you decide to work with carbon over metal?
What kind of tooling does it take to build custom carbon frames? What is the process?
Would you say that you have a specialty?
Matt, from your website it looks like you handle customers directly. Do you work with any dealers or bike fitters as well? What is the process of getting a bicycle built by you?
What population do you sell to?
Are there any ways that you involve women in your business/sales/builds?
Matt, is there anything you want to add?
$4000 for a full custom frame, fork, and headset
Story of the Head Badge:
“Like all my logos, I make my head badge out of carbon fiber! The shape is just a simple apple. I like to use a different weave of carbon fiber than the rest of the frame which makes the head badge pop!”