StarMichael Bowman Cycles. The name alone makes it memorable.
StarMichael Bowman, a frame builder and bike shop owner, is a rising star in North Portland. He, along with co-owner Rich Walker, established Kenton Cycle Repair, a small, but vibrant community bike shop. They love what they do — and this shop does everything from complete overhauls, to changing a flat tire. They have a huge selection of quality new and used parts, and are super friendly and helpful. Support them!
StarMichael’s expertise as a frame builder enables him not only to build custom frames, but do frame repair, fabricate custom racks, and do some incredible modifications — as he’s done for me. I’ll share some of the process of how we collaborated on developing his graphics, and how he modified an old frameset for me. Both projects are a success, IMO.
Here is StarMichael’s personal bike. He takes the best of the traditional builders, and blends new technology where he sees fit.
First, his graphics.
Our first business meeting was over a vegetarian pizza. During lunch, we discussed some ideas while I sketched. There is the obvious reference to stars, bows, and arrows, but we still had much to explore.
From this starting point, we developed more graphic designs. The star icon kept showing up, but the image that StarMichael wanted hadn’t quite jelled. What was the look or style he wanted? Grunge, casual, coat of arms, traditional, contemporary?
We even explored other names for StarMichael’s brand. Cosmos and Pale Blue Dot were early candidates — both references to one of StarMichael’s heroes, Carl Sagan.
Eventually, we came full circle, full orbit, and back to the loose, casual star character shooting the arrow that appeared on that first napkin sketch. It’s fun, graphic, and says: StarMichael Bowman. It works well on the headtube, seat tube, and downtube. It will look great on jerseys, T-shirts, water bottles, and beer steins too!
Here’s the downtube graphic. We’re considering an antique gold ink that will work with any paint color, and is reminiscent of the randonneur builders like Rene Herse.
The next frame he builds will bear his new StarMichael Bowman graphics.
Now I want to share some modification work StarMichael did for me on an old, beat up, 1978 Trek TX770. In its day, it was Trek’s top-of-the-line touring frameset.
This is an early one, built with Columbus tubing, and all silver soldered. It has relaxed geometry, and a perfect base for building a randonneur bicycle. We discussed what I liked, what vintage parts I wanted to install, and then let StarMichael begin his work. It was as much a back and forth collaboration on this build as it was designing his logo. He rejected some of my initial ideas, and the final build is an improved version of what I had envisioned.
Here are photos of the modified Trek with all the components installed. It rides even better than I had hoped. Next step, tear it down, and have it painted.
I’ll blog more about this project in the future, but I wanted to share this awesome modification as it now stands — naked and exposed.
Some of the modifications:
Centerpull brake studs • replace rear brake bridge • downtube shifter braze-ons • two sets of bottle bosses • lighting generator mounting bracket fabrication — brazed in position • fabrication of brazing pump pegs • fabrication and brazing of a chain flap guard • fabrication of a custom decaleur for mounting the front handlebar bag • installation of Honjo fenders • modifying an older Japanese racks system to fit this build • installation of the fully functioning lighting system, including the small electrical wire routing rings
StarMichael added bottle bosses to the new brake bridge and the chain-stay bridge for a cleaner look to the fenders.
He also helped with ordering new parts like tires, and some of the vintage parts too.
If you are in the Portland metro area, visit Kenton Cycle Repair, and if you need a custom frame, rack, modifications or repair, check out StarMichael.
Keep Portland’s bike builders busy!
Kenton Cycle Repair
2020 N McClellan St, Portland, OR 97217