Video: The Welder

Nov 2, 2014
by Lee Walker  


Frank the Welder, the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee has just had a short film put together by the talented Jake Goss, here's a little insight into the framebuilder Frank Wadelton.....

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83 Comments

  • 68 0
 If you know Frank, you know he is so much more than "a bump on a gear", Frank is a solid citizen of planet earth. Respect!
  • 1 0
 Love the article and I agree Frank has a great storty, love the steel! Other than that all I kept thinking "Pick your tube-set and be a dick about it!!"
  • 36 0
 I think we spend too much time bitching about shock tunes, counting grams, or comparing stem length and stiffness. Our lifestyle is full of people like FTW and when we come into contact with them it gives a different perspective. Next time you ride your bike, just enjoy the ride.
  • 24 0
 When I saw the guy removing cuttings from the tool with naked hands, the lathe still running, that triggered almost a panic reaction. Boy, all the HSE brainwashing at work seems to be working. I'm fucked...
  • 6 0
 Safety is all relative... I work in industry and there's people like me that can go years without any proper PPE on and get no injuries and watch a person with all the proper ppe but no common sense remove extremities in their first couple days on a job...it's all relative...
  • 6 0
 amen to that. being a firefighter i got a million stories of that nature. put plainly. i ve always found that the more dangerous something is the more attention you pay to your vulnerability, thus the safer you probably are - the more PPE/safe protocols you have the less attention you seem to pay to looking after yourself. of course theres no accounting for plain ineptness/stupidity. FTW, ftw. i got an old spooky frame from you that needs welded, but that frame was da bomb before i chucked some big forks on it lol.. keep it real Frank. and thanks for being one of those guys!!!!
  • 2 5
 Same safety thing goes to body armor debates and the peculiar crowd that will wear everything available and judge guys in soft armor and bo elbow pads from same high horse as a guy in jeans and pisspot on A-Line laughs at "race pyjamas". One of the best things I have learned from MTB as a lesson to whole life is: being too careful is gonna get you into trouble, there are instincts that will screw you up if you don't learn to control them.

However some stuff is just tricky. I remember my friend putting ear protection everytime I inflated tubeless tyre with compressor. I learned in a painful way that he didn't do it for the sound of blowing or popping tyre. One day I was inflating a DH tube in a 2.5" tyre on a old worm out rim of my commuter bike. The tube popped the tyre off the rim at 20 psi and stupid me, I bent down to try to pop it in. The explosion wasn't bad, the sudden air pressure increase around my ears was.
  • 2 0
 I will say the only PPE I consistently where is my ear plugs...lol
  • 2 0
 once not too long ago, i cut the end of my thumb removing scrap near a running circular saw. i should have known better but it was like the thousandth time i did it. i still havent changed my habits though. sometimes ppe makes you feel more confident and careless cuz u think youll be fine. thats why i ride without a helmet unless i am forced to like in a race or some kind of event. go ahead and neg prop that one lol. dont get me wrong, im not stupid. if im riding ramp or dh-full face. if it doesnt require full face though-probly not wearing one
  • 2 0
 @forkbrayker "the more dangerous something is the more attention you pay to your vulnerability, thus the safer you probably are"

Amen.

I remember reading an article that I can't find anymore, about some guy claiming that construction standards made us lazy and dumb. His argument was that when you're hiking, you're going to pay attention to your surroundings as every step you take is different, thus minimizing the chances of injury. When you use regular stairs though, people assume they're all evenly spaced like all the other staircase so if there is just one step (or staircase) that is not standard, people injure themselves and sue.
  • 18 1
 one of the greatest moments of my mountain bike life-talking to frank the welder on the phone for about 5 seconds...1990 maybe, i had ordered a yeti ultimate and i was anxious to get the thing in my hot little hands. called the yeti shop to inquire, frank answered the phone, noticeably annoyed. think he called me an idiot. it was awesome. keep it up frank!
  • 7 18
flag VTwintips (Nov 2, 2014 at 12:45) (Below Threshold)
 I'm sensing some sarcasm. I don't know why they'd ever let Frank answer a telephone. He's not a great businessman and worse specifically at sales - hence the need for videos like these to better his image I'd gander. I've met him a few times - I once tried to convince him to sell me a frame and he actually convinced me not to buy it from him - an example of his salesman ability. His welding seems top notch though.
  • 8 1
 zero sarcasm, no idea why he answered the phone. it was late in the day, 20+ years ago. don't think cult mountain bike companies gave 2 shits about customer interface back then. i kinda miss that. frank was gruff, it was funny. loved that bike. yeti was and still is a great company. i'm currently trying to justify spending 6-7 grand on an sb6c. glad to see ftw is alive and doing well, and still building frames.
  • 12 0
 More stories about good people in mountain biking please! Bike tests are cool, but compelling stories about people who actually make off road bikecycling better would be nice to see. Less hype more substance. If my life work out I'd like a shop like that one day.
  • 7 0
 I used to see frank all the time at plattekill,ny when sinister first was introduced. very cool dude and very approachable. The r9 was a classic frame way ahead of its time.
  • 3 0
 I remember the PB team when they used to race on R9's killer bikes.
  • 4 0
 Been following this page for a while, he still keeps it pretty up to date with all the projects he's working on

m.flickr.com/#/photos/frankthewelder
  • 10 0
 This is what I want to see covered on PB
  • 5 0
 The story about the homeless man and his walker is awesome!! I met Frank in person after I bought a used Sinister Splinter MX. The bike wasn't being made anymore, but I had heard there might be one or two of the improved linkage designs left over. I emailed him, asking about the linkage, and he had me bring the frame to his shop. He discovered that some play had developed in the frame, and instead of replacing the linkage, he gave me a brand new frame!! It didn't matter that I bought it used - the frame wasn't how it was supposed to be, and that wasn't ok with Frank. Like the homeless man's walker, Frank saw that it wasn't perfect, and just had to make it right. It's a lesson I'll never forget!
  • 4 0
 I hairline cracked behind the headtube on my tr250 and transition wouldn't cover the frame (due to its previous life which was understandable) I contacted Frank and he told me to ship the front triangle to him. Within a week I had it back with a beautiful aluminum gusset reinforcing the compromised area. Frank told me that I just owed him a beer. Ive been riding that frame for close to two years since the repair with no problems and I'm sure I would have no dh bike at all if it weren't for him. Frank I still owe you that beer and then some.
  • 4 0
 i had the pleasure of taking the 3 original SINISTER bike owners/founders for a tour of the North Shore mountains and several other mountains in the Fraser Valley back in the day .
  • 5 0
 I have just one word to describe Frank: PASSION

I drool for the day Frank resumes his DH racing career. I just want one more chance to beat the guy!
  • 6 1
 That was fantastic! Frank is the Man, one of my best race results, at the 2011 Nat. Championships, was done on an FTW FB10.
  • 3 1
 Wish I got a hold of you for this project! Your pump track vid was rad Phil
  • 4 0
 Thanks man! And I would have loved to! Frank is a huge inspiration to many, I'm really glad somebody was able to put the FTW essence into a well made video, especially since he likes to stay away from the spot light and let his work speak for itself.
  • 2 0
 I don't really have any regrets in life aside from the days I wonder what life would be like if I had taken Frank up on the offer to come try and run the business with him. I regret all the lessons I missed and great stories we would have surely shared. Frank is certainly one of a kind and I am glad he is still doing what he loves. It is very hard to find such passion from a person. Great video about a great person.
  • 2 0
 So - Skip here. The rider in the video in Red. Worked with Frank at Yeti in Durango early 90's, and at FTW Industries in Bellows Falls 2012 - 2013. My bike in the video is a 4130 650B 70/73 23.75" TT. Long and low, like a GT BMX frame.E-Thru rear dropouts and direct mount derailleurs. Designed with Frank to be an XC BMX bike. It is a total ripper. Frank welded my initials (CC) in the BB so I like to call it CC Rider. I'll post some photos in a bit...
  • 4 0
 Love seeing who the things that I love were initially conceived by and the skill and dedication it takes to make them Smile
  • 1 0
 Frank is the man! I'm bummed I don't live on the West Coast anymore. I did however find a guy in Virginia who is also an avid MTBer, Keven Hedricks of Muffler King. He is a clandestine genius. Him and his father have been welding bikes/mufflers/motorcycles/cars for 42 years! And they are incredibly humble, and love what they do.
  • 4 0
 people like this is why I love our sport. Awesome video
  • 1 0
 It's a pleasure to see that type of video ; mtb's passion at work before mtb riding ...This "hand's savoir-faire and inteligence" must go on.
Other videos showing the "coulisse" of bikes creation ?
  • 1 0
 Great video on a guy that is definitely a legend in the game.. Kinda wish it was a bit longer.. I know he has some good stories. Awesome to see guys who still get hands on and make ideas become reality.
  • 1 0
 I had the pleasure of working with Frank at Spooky for a few years when I was a teenager. Amazing guy, very helpful, I still remember things he tought me then! Great to see this video!
  • 1 0
 i was at Catamount Outdoor Center about a month ago for a collegiate dual slalom race and there was some filming going on for what I was told for this video. any insight as to where that footage might be?
  • 2 0
 I was there filming with Max Dreifuss who, for lack of a better term, grew up in Frank's shop. We were getting some riding footage and an interview, but as with many short films, some stuff doesn't make the final cut. Max is a great dude as well and shared some wonderful insight about Frank and the bikes. Bottom line, Frank's passion spreads like wildfire through everyone he meets.
  • 1 0
 cool man, I loved the video. great work!
  • 4 0
 great video
  • 3 0
 awesome story, would love more of this!
  • 2 0
 Nice to see this again, World Premiere was in Hyde Park, VT! Great work, Jake!
  • 2 0
 great video. Frank is the man, always super friendly and helpful when ever Ive interacted with him at Platty in the past.
  • 1 0
 Nice bike. Great lines and sweet build. Too much rear derailleur cable tho.
  • 1 0
 have known about frank for years and always wanted one of his spookys ,but never had a face to put to the man ,nice little film.
  • 1 0
 Get yourself one of franks works of art right here, less then a dozen of these frames were ever made.
www.pinkbike.com/buysell/1672518
  • 1 0
 I can be dazzled by a thousand dollar suspension fork or some annodized CNC cranks. But its welds that show off the craftsman ship.
  • 3 1
 No available in Germany, GEMA, you SUCK!
  • 2 0
 it's google that bans the videos, not the GEMA Wink
  • 1 0
 Prox mate!! install it..
  • 1 0
 Ok thanks !!
  • 2 0
 This is pretty damn awesome.
  • 2 0
 "I love the smell of cutting oil in the morning" Smile nice shop
  • 2 0
 What a guy. I love how a clean frame design looks too
  • 2 0
 For The Win before it was a thing.
  • 2 0
 This is exactly what I want to do. This is the dream job!
  • 3 0
 workshop porn
  • 1 0
 I had the pleasure of riding with Frank up at Pattekill, great guy, excellent rider and fast too.
  • 1 0
 anyone know the name of that song in the middle, it was also in life cycles.
  • 1 0
 the songs are in the credits. "The Birth and Death of the Day" by Explosions in the Sky
  • 2 0
 I still have a Christini that was fabricated by Ftw
  • 3 1
 This video is to short. Make a 90 mins documentary please.
  • 1 0
 Won my first NORBA DH race in 1997 at Travers City on a FTW made Mongoose prototype. Thanks Frank!!
  • 1 0
 Nice to see custom, hand built, stack of dime welds using Vintage Thermal ARC Tig, still existing somewhere in the USA.
  • 2 0
 Have you heard of Ventana? Sherwood still lays a great bead.
  • 1 0
 FANTASTIC! I hope there will be many more of these type of videos. Love learning about the many greats in the industry.
  • 3 2
 The one time your proud to show your 29er. FTW = living legend
  • 1 0
 What an awesome insight into the Legend that is Frank The Welder.
  • 1 0
 More videos like this? More people like this.
  • 1 0
 had a nice answer a-tac stem designed by ftw bitd
  • 1 0
 FTW stems were the business back in the day
  • 1 0
 I've had both a Spooky Metalhead and a Sinister DNA. Loved them both.
  • 1 0
 Great story and well documented. Goo stuff right there.
  • 1 0
 i am also a machinist and a tig welder, awesome guy, he is my inspiration
  • 1 0
 loving the led zeppelin in the background
  • 1 0
 those welds at the end were SEXY!
  • 1 0
 nice to see someone so close to home making the news here on PB
  • 1 0
 Dammit! No I regret selling my Ridge even more.
  • 1 0
 Here's another clip from Jake Goss: youtu.be/Z_7xmFI_Dq0
  • 1 0
 cool story
  • 1 0
 job of my dreams
  • 1 0
 so sick.
  • 1 0
 awesome video!
  • 1 0
 love content like this
  • 1 0
 Cool video

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