Inside Hubert D’Autremont’s Madrean Fabrication

Fans of framebuilders, or at least those who have been visiting this website for a few years might remember the work of Cycles d’Autremont landing on these pages in the past. We’ve featured Hubert’s shop, as well as a few of his bikes in the past. Well, Huburt turned a new page in his career, when he moved to Tucson, Arizona two years ago to open a new operation, Madrean Fabrication. I had the pleasant experience of hanging out with this wonderful human for a few days while in Tucson and got to look inside his shop, as well as check out a few of his new bikes.

What is Madrean?

I had never heard the word before and would consider myself fairly versed in geological and biological terminology of the American West. That’s the power of words though, they can be humbling! Wikipedia describes the Madrean as:

“The Madrean Region (named after the Sierra Madre Occidental) is a floristic region within the Holarctic Kingdom in North America, as delineated by Armen Takhtajan and Robert F. Thorne. It occupies arid or semiarid areas in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico and is bordered by the Rocky Mountain Region and North American Atlantic Region of the Holarctic Kingdom in the north and in the east, Caribbean Region of the Neotropical Kingdom in the south.”

Within the biome that is the Sonoran Desert, there are multiple Madreans, ranging from the Sky Islands and the Pine-Oak zones. Hubert felt that the word “Madrean” was geo-specific and resonated with him in terms of applying it to cycling. Bikes can take you from the high desert to pine forests in one of the least environmentally impactful manner.

Plus, it looks damn good painted on a wall!


Check out this mural by Josie Morway

Modus Operandi

Hubert is all about efficiency with Madrean. He’s interested more in making production batches, than one-offs. Right now, his machines are set up in a manner that allows for batches, and his mind is going through the possibilities for frame designs. He’s even got a paint booth in house, a dedicated wheel building station, and enough mills to make a machinist’s palms sweat.

Bikes are only part of Hubert’s aspirations. He’s working on rebuilding an International Harvester, is always taking up architectural work such as shelving for a rock climbing gym, and building jigs for his various machines. Look closely at that wheel building stand.

Dirt Tourer

One of the first bikes Hubert will offer up – hopefully this year – is a rigid mountain bike, designed for touring dirt roads and singletrack. Here’s a teaser of Hubert’s own – the first prototype – and we’ll look at Sarah Swallow’s Pinion tourer next week as well. Bikes like this offer up a myriad of design possibilities to make touring not only as pleasant as possible but also practical. You’ll see a lot of mindful details on this bike in detail next week.

Timeline

Hopefully, later this year, we’ll have updates on Madrean. When we’re back in Tucson for the Ruta de Hefe next month, we’ll be able to fill you in more!

For now, follow Madrean on Instagram and hold tight!

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Follow Madrean on Instagram.

  • dc

    I hope the “madream” typo in the first p. is intentional. Fabricators are indeed mad dreamers, but my my what a beautiful name madrean.

    • Hah. Not intentional. Didn’t catch it proofreading it again this morning.

  • These are beautiful.

    • As Bené said, it’s hard to take a bad photo in there!

  • Hubert is awesome. Can’t wait to visit this Spring!

    • He was telling me about you two working together. Sounds like a good mix!

      • Hubert Dautremont

        Frame builder exchange program…

  • Loudass, Esq.

    That wheel building jig tho

  • Chris Valente

    I have often wish more frame builders would offer production runs of standard sizes. Seems like a good way to keep costs down and getting more people on your frames. Not everyone has the need (or cash) for a custom sized frame but still want to support small operations like this.

    Also, I need to spend more time in the high desert.

    • its not so much the production costs that need to be kept down in custom shops. its the hours spent specing parts and the holding hands of the particular customer profile that drives costs.

      • Chris Valente

        Another good reason to standardize it would seem.

        • – you’d think so! turns out its really hard to tell someone who is buying a standardized frame from a custom builder that they don’t get the full custom component selection deal, even at what is not really a very low price.

          • Chris Valente

            Oh i believe it. People want the world these days…

    • Hubert Dautremont

      This is exactly my mentality, I love doing custom, but often it feels like starting from scratch design wise. The amount of time it takes to design something with a customer often means that I would need to charge $1500-$2000 extra to make it worthwhile. I am really hoping to generate enough size variations to cover most customers and be able to keep the cost down to a more reasonable price point while reflecting the amount of labor that goes into it.

    • ascpgh

      Nice to have stock of your vision filling your hooks and time between commissions. Unfortunately my optimal fit isn’t stock so my next bike has to be custom.

      I can’t spend handbuilt money for another “stock geometry” bike that sort of fits via stem and seat post bodging, introducing unintentional amounts of ride character from those bits instead of builder’s craft.

      Makes me feel like a long-legged, short torso buzzkill. Just glad I know better than to seek my grail from ready to go frames.

  • CJones

    Love the Madrean logo and the shot of the “Not For Sale” VW!

  • Transit

    So excited to see these bikes actually out in the world. Its been a long time coming and I am super pumped to see a production bike coming out of Tucson. Hubert doing the build just makes it all the better.

    • Hubert Dautremont

      Hell yeah Duncan! Too long coming but good things take time.

  • Cool shop! Love the height adjustable fixture stand. Clever.

    • Hubert Dautremont

      Thanks Carl! Gotta be comfortable.

  • Peterop

    Beautiful looking space — no surprise there though. Your shop in Burlington had it’s own charm. Nice to see you back to making bikes and looking happy. That black frame hanging on the wall looks a tad familiar!

  • Is Oobair French?