Robert Beckman Custom Bicycles: An Exquisite Balance of Form and Function

If I had to distill into a single word all of the qualities of a what a custom-built bicycle can be, potentially, and what it should be, that word would be “special”.  A truly special bicycle is exciting in its advanced designs, its innovation, its creative and highly personalized detailing and in its very unique level of performance, and all these qualities must be matched with masterful craftsmanship.  When I am designing and building a truly one-of-a-kind bicycle these days, those are the exact things that I'm thinking about.  That's my focus, that's what I'm dedicated to.  I've got to make it special.  It's my responsibility as a custom builder to each person for whom I am building a bicycle.  And these days, all that I build are one-of-a-kind bicycles that are highly individualized in so many different ways, but they all add up to an unparalleled expression of form and function.

As every bicycle that I build is very different from all others, I can't show any particular one as being fully representative of a model or of a level of frame.  But I have taken many photographs of bicycles during different phases of the building process to show some of the intricate details of some aspects refined frame building, and I've taken many photos of finished bike frames as well in each of the three levels of work that I do: Standard-Level, Ultra-level and Signature-level frames.

This is a photo of the lower head tube lug of a Standard-Level custom frame. Normally, I wouldn't use a Goldstone inlay in the lug in a Standard frame, but the long, needle-point lug is a commonly used lug pattern created by shaping a lug add-on.
I like to use stone as a lug accent. This is a photo of the seat lug of an Ultra-Level frame that has Parrot Wing Jasper inlays. This type of jasper is a subtle, but nicely figured gem stone from Mexico. If this particular frame had stainless dropouts and fork tips, it would be a Signature-Level frame.

One of the bicycles that I've followed through my building routine is an Ultra-level Randonneur Lite 700 touring bicycle.  It's a bicycle that has a frame with Parrot Wing Jasper stone inlays in the lugs.  As with everything that I build, I wanted the person for whom I built the Randonneur Lite to receive a bicycle that would be designed and built to a standard that is in its own dimension of performance and beauty.  After riding her new bike for a couple of months her response to its nature was what I was hoping for and why I do what I do:

“Bob, not sure how to express what it means to ride a bike you made. I love it so much. It is a beautiful piece of art. Knowing the time and care you put into making something so special for me - I don't even know how to say how I feel about that. It is so special! This bike is something I will treasure and enjoy for many years.”