Shop Visit: Firefly Bicycles Jul 6, 2011

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Somerville, Massachusetts has a rich history with titanium bicycles. Merlin, Seven, Indy Fab all dabbled in the material and now Firefly Bicycles continues this fine tradition just 15 miles from where it began in the Boston area. Jamie and Tyler both left Indy Fab with ambitions of creating something of their own and in just 6 months, they did just that. With a packed queue and plenty of work to take care of, I was honored that they’d make time to show me around.

Check out more from my Shop Visit to Firefly Bicycles below!

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The shop smells of metal. Titanium and stainless are Firefly’s specialties. You won’t find any steel here but you will see many of the same tools lining the work benches.

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Jamie was working on tacking a frame when I showed up, so I watched as he worked.

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The custom Firefly dropouts really are a thing of beauty.

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The tig welder, compared to most I’ve seen, was very small. It even had a shoulder strap on it for ease of transport. Jamie tacked up the rear triangle on a custom order as I admired the light escaping from his hands.

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Their shop is massive…

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…and I felt right at home with the skulls lining the walls.

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Jamie continued to work on more projects, cutting down tubes for an after-school cycling program Firefly sponsors.

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He measured the raw tubes as he began to turn them down on the lathe.

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As he continued to work, Tyler explained to me their newest experiments: anodizing titanium.

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Unlike aluminum, titanium allows you to paint on the dye and then charge it in controlled sections. Using different dye and temperatures, you can control where the anodizing takes place, allowing them fine control over their branding and iconography. Just you wait, in a few months, these guys will be doing insane logos on Ti bikes!

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Another project they’re working on are these titanium seatposts. Unlike other manufacturers who bend the tubing, Jamie is working on mitre cuts. ENVE supplies the wedge and Firefly supplies the Ti.

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It’s kinda crazy to think that in just 6 months, the guys have been churning out some of the finest bicycles in the States. Just look at their blog!

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I saw this frame at the painter’s the day before. FedEX delivered it to their door minutes after I walked in.

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The first order of business was to inspect the frame. After it all checked out, Tyler put the headbadge on.

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Here’s the head tube, after a Chris King headset was pressed in.

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The paint job on this thing is sick. It’s a commuter bike for a returning customer’s wife. So nuts! Check out the full photos of this beast here!

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As the afternoon continued on, Jamie had tacked up this bike and soon it would be welded together and then finished. The polished tubing looks pristine!

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As boxes awaited frames and complete bikes awaited to be broken down, the day at Firefly was coming to a close.

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We sat in lawn chairs, drank a few beers while Jamie and Tyler shared with me their hopes and dreams. They’ve got it pretty good over there at Firefly and it’s not everyday that you see success stories like this take place. While their bikes are way out of my pricerange, I’m still very excited to see what the future holds for Firefly!

Check out a ton of photos in a slideshow below!

These are also at my Flickr!

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Firefly Bicycles
15 Wolcott Ct
Boston, MA 02136

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