Neuhaus Metalworks seemed to blast onto the hand built scene as a fully-formed, fully-operational brand. From the outside, this zero-to-sixty emergence almost caught us off guard. Who are these guys and how are they suddenly doing such awesome work? And so much of it?
Get to know Nick, and the case becomes clear. What may have seemed like a sudden explosion from the afar is actually the culmination of a lifetime spent riding and creating. An engineer by trade, and a bmx kid at heart, Nick blends precision and joy into his work in a unique and inspiring way.
We were able to restrain Nick’s sky-high energy levels just long enough to pick his brain about riding, making and dreaming bikes. Check out what he said below and then keep an eye out for more excitement and innovations coming from out of this powerhouse.
1. Tell me about your life in cycling. How’d it start, where’d it take you and what does it mean to you?
A) As with most, bikes started at an early age for me with rides around the neighborhood with my dad, riding to school. Bikes gave me that first taste of freedom. At 10 I began racing BMX. My time racing BMX really transformed my entire family, with my parents starting and successfully running one of the largest non-Factory teams for a number of years. Bikes were everything in our household. In high school, after a number of injuries and rough season racing BMX on a National level, I began mountain biking which was a logical thing for a kid growing up in the birthplace of mountain biking. I spent a number of years racing with NORBA, did more than my share of races at the Sea Otter Classic and eventually just got totally burnt out on all of the travel and stress of being at races. I took a step back from bikes and straight into motorsports. I spent a number of years racing dirt bikes and street bikes before finding my way back to cycling a much more rounded person with some new perspectives. Now, a less competitive cyclist, I have an appreciation for all aspects of cycling, I am grateful for the places I have seen thanks to bikes and for the wonderful people I have and will continue to meet that share a common passion for bikes and the wonderful places they can take us.
2. What led you to build your first frame? When was it, what type of frame?
A) While racing BMX a friend’s dad always built his race frames. I was around 13 when the value of this really sank in, seeing him on new frames fairly regularly as he grew, rather than swapping parts to adjust fit. The look of his filet brazed frames were always sleek and clean, with a very minimalist aesthetic, exactly what you would expect of something designed with the sole purpose of being raced. The image and memory of these frames is as vivid today as it ever was. After coming back to cycling I quickly remembered my love for riding steel bikes, I ended up with a steel Spot Rocker, and as much as I loved that bike, I could help but nitpick all of the small details I would love to have changed about it. With a wealth of knowledge and skills from my time spent around motorsports, a current career that paid the bills, and a supporting wife, I decided to make my version of that Spot Rocker. This was around the time that bikes were really taking their modern form and a result of this was a cascade of evolutionary changes that not only confirmed my love for making wheeled tings the best they can be, but also introduced me to the idea that I could channel this passion into a product that genuinely improves people's lives even if only for the time they spend riding. As they say, the rest is history.
3. When and why did you decide to go into business as a custom frame builder?
A) I officially went into business making frames in 2019, it was a move that was more about covering the costs of insurance so that I could continue to iterate and improve on my designs with input from sources other than myself. Neuhaus Metalworks officially took shape as what you know today in mid-2020. When I met Daniel Yang around that time we were really able to expand on what had already been established and develop a product with that information that perfectly fit an entirely ignored portion of the cycling market.
4. Describe your approach or philosophy of framebuilding in 7 words or less.
A) Intentionally designed and accurately built without compromise.
5. Who are some of your primary influences?
A). Growing up and now building in Marin county I would be remiss if I didn’t say Steve Potts, Charlie Cunningham, Joe Breeze, Gary Fisher and Mert Lawill. The influence provided by those and others from this wonderful area help inspire our innovation and provide a constant reminder to question everything with goal of making bikes better for all. On a more personal and individual level, Peter Olivetti has served as a fantastic mentor, provided a sound voice of reason, and just been a great person to have known for the last 20 years.
Finish these thoughts…
The favorite bike I’ve built is… my Solana steel all road bike. It is the perfect blend of road nimbleness and off road capability to create the ultimate Marin “do it all” bike. Whether I take it out for a road ride on the coast or a day in the dirt on Mt. Tamalpais, there just isn't a ride I come back from unhappy with that bike.
If I could only ride one bike the rest of my life it would be… A steel hummingbird singlespeed! I may love my Solana but I am a mountain biker at heart, and a singlespeed fanatic at that! Custom bikes are about… attention to detail. When it comes to handmade bikes, it’s all about doing things that can’t be done by larger scale manufacturers.
Riding bikes is about… different things to different people, and that is one of the things that draws me too it. For me riding bikes is an outlet, something that allows me to disconnect from everything else around me that I can channel all of my thoughts and effort into. It’s about pushing myself to continually improve both physically and mentally. Riding bikes also serves as a great reminder to slow down and enjoy the things that truly matter.
The best bike rides start with… coffee and friends.
The best bike rides end with… everyone they started with……and fried chicken sandwiches.
I’ll keep doing this as long as… I have customers to support.
Three of my core values are… personal growth and wellness, perseverance, and honesty.