Developing a Craft: A 35mm Look into Chumba Cycles Production

It has been a little over a year since we relocated Chumba Bikes to our new, bigger, and brighter shop space in South Austin. We have yet to host an open house here due to COVID and trying to keep our staff as safe as possible. I approached Vince about doing a 35mm photography project to share our new shop space along with the hands that have moved Chumba forward. To showcase our new shop I shot a month’s worth of photos and compiled this gallery. I’m excited to give you a peep into our world at Chumba!

In the past year, we’ve added new in-house titanium frame options like our Sendero Titanium MTB, model updates to the Stella and Terlingua Titanium, new customizations, and color/finish options. We’ve set up additional machines and tooling to bring new efficiencies to our production workflow.

Our continued growth in 2021 meant we had to design our own systems to better track and manage orders for our custom builds. Since these photos were taken we also added another new staff member and we are currently looking for another framebuilder/welder. We are grateful for all the support and looking forward to delivering on some exciting ideas for 2022!

Daily at Chumba I am the production foreman, overseeing mitering, finish work before sending frames to paint, and quality control. I have been with Chumba for two years now and I am excited to see where the company goes. I have worked most positions here, from prepping frames for builds, completing builds, applying graphics, managing orders and parts, shipping, etc. My goal is to one day weld and develop that facet of the process.

Process… It’s all about the process. With a background in studying architecture and working with my hands I appreciate each step in making something, anything. Sometimes it grasps me more than the finalized product itself. I enjoy shooting film for this reason. It’s fun to go through the whole journey of shooting the film, developing the film in my bathroom, and scanning the negatives into my computer for very light editing.

I like having my hand in all parts of creation so I can understand what it takes to make the final, polished version. I have not perfected any part of the process yet, but that is the fun in learning and honing a craft. In the following photos my intent is to show you a rough glimpse of our production procedures at Chumba, not a refined gallery filled with perfect photos. You’ll notice that some photos are out of focus and crude, and that is just the way I like it.

From a photographic standpoint I like to focus on the emotion in a frame which is why I prefer to shoot black and white. Black and white is timeless and the viewer is not distracted by color to bring vibrancy, but rather texture, contrast, and composition.

The photo gallery shows a rough timeline of the life of a bicycle frame starting from its infancy, a simple tube, to its final stage, wrapped up and ready to be shipped out. You’ll see most of our team working on the frames from start to finish. Here is a list of our team members in the photos:

Austin – Guy with beard
Mark – Guy with beard
Eric – Guy with beard
Vince – Guy with beard
Photos and words by Wolfgang Cazares – Guy with mustache