2010 NAHBS Interview Series : Capricorn Bicycles

The largest series of interviews of frame and part builders, leading up to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show February 26-28, 2010.. Make sure to add us on Twitter for the latest show news.

Capricorn Bicycles


Whats your name:
Bradley Wilson

Where are you based out of?

How did you get into frame building?
I got a job at Waterford Precision Cycles out of high school, where I learned to make silver-brazed, lugged frames in a factory setting.

What’s your experience and length of building?

I worked at Waterford for 2 years, Croll for 6 months, and I’ve been making Capricorns for 3 years now.

How are your bikes different, or what do you bring differently to the bike building arena?
I think I take more of a “purist” approach to frame building. I’m not afraid to put a lot of hand work into shaping and sculpting the steel. My tools aren’t terribly sophisticated, but I think this allows me greater flexibility and allows me to be more creative with my designs.

Commuter’esque Bikes

Do you build any utility, commuter or daily use style bikes?
Yes! My favorite bikes to make are the ones that I know will get ridden almost everyday. It’s really satisfying to know when something you made will help get another car off the road.

If so, what do you think are the key ingredients in making a bicycle that will help people use their bicycles more for everyday use?
Room for bigger tires and fenders, braze-ons or accommodations for a rack, a more upright and comfortable riding position, something that’s not so pretty or expensive that it can’t be locked somewhere for a couple hours.

What is your idea of a perfect, everyday bike?
Most customers will have their own idea for this; but I think simplicity, versatility, and utility at a reasonable price is something they’ll agree on.

Alternative Transportation

Do you think the culture of the US will continue towards alternative transportation?
We have to… faster than we are.

What can we do as cyclist to help this?
Keep riding, everyday. Bike paths, city streets, wherever you need to get to. I guarantee that people will notice this. Cities want to know that
people are riding bikes because they get money to develop bike infrastructure, and every mile biked saves our communities a lot of money.

What do we need to see from the government?
Personally I’d like to see more taxes levied at the gas pumps. Maybe a mandate that for every dollar spent on automobile infrastructure, a percentage of that would have to go toward bike paths and such.

What do we need to see from the bike industry to aid in the movement?
Continue to provide more sensible commuting bicycles. More repair stations and bicycle storage facilities in city centers. Stop building obsolescence into components.


Switching subjects, what are you most excited about at NAHBS?
Meeting other frame builders, visiting my old roommate, getting away from snow and ice for a weekend.

What do you think we will see differently this year?
Well… Capricorns, for one.

Anything else you would like to say?
I’ll take the opportunity to thank you for providing a resource for cyclists, and to promote the activity as a viable mode of transportation. I’d also like to thank everyone that rode their bike today!

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