Robert Beckman Hybrid Performance Bicycles

I can't thank you enough for the bike you built me.  It's an incredible bike, and it is everything you said it would be.  It is as fast as any racing bike I have owned, but it is much more comfortable. Most of all, I can't believe how beautiful it is.  It is truly a work of art.  I like looking at it as much as I like riding it. 

(A response to the first Event Randonneur bike that I built.)   

My Hybrid Performance Bicycles are, by design, very unique everyday bicycles for non-racers that are a highly practical merging of many of the best qualities of racing bicycles, in terms of speed and efficiency, with sensible, less-severe frame geometry and designs.  They combine the highest degree of functional versatility with very smooth riding qualities.  These specialized bicycles also reflect a beautiful blend of elegant craftsmanship and aesthetics with speed: the very best of form and function.  Their design was developed within a long empirical process.     

When I began touring in the early 1970s I always toured on racing bicycles, and for years I toured on very lightweight wheels with silk sew-up tires.  There is nothing quite like riding a bicycle at the absolute peak of performance on long tours.  What I found in pure racing bicycles is that in many respects they performed quite admirably, in terms of riding on pavement as touring bicycles......................almost.  The severity of their frame geometry, plus limited tire, brake and fender clearances, and their lack of eyelets and fittings to mount a rack diminished their overall potential.  They were superbly efficient, although ultimately not the most practical or flexible in everyday use.  However, they were definitely an inspiration and a light that shined on innovation.  They set a tone for how I currently design bicycles.

Forty years later I look at racing bicycles very similarly.  Today racing bicycles are often a wonder of lightweight design and of pure bicycle speed, but they are not widely effective and not a very good fit for most cyclists that are not involved in competitions.  They may look great on paper, and they may be superbly lightweight, but their potential as practical bicycles is limited.  Plus, they reflect their own unique aesthetics, often falling within the bicycles-as-billboards look and the recent bicycle frames-on-steroids tradition, as well as being crudely executed.  So, I've never had an interest in building racing cycles, and I don't feel qualified to build them.  But what I am deeply interested in are bicycles that have many of the refined qualities of racing bicycles in terms of speed, and at the same time provide everyday practicability.  That's why I began designing what I call Hybrid Performance bicycles, which are bicycles that are very lightweight but without the severity of frame geometry and design of racing bicycles.  In my Hybrid Performance bicycles the speed of racing bicycles is coupled with all of the aesthetic appeal of highly creative, lugged-frame construction built with the finest custom, hand-formed lugs.  Custom-designed Hybrid Performance bicycle frames, executed with geometry and tubing appropriately selected for individual users and conditions, and without a painfully short wheelbase, are a much wiser choice for most cyclists than are racing bicycles.  Comfortable frames, top-flight components, superbly lightweight custom wheels, the option for more-open clearances to accept fenders and more than just the narrowest tires, along with the potential choice of special fittings to mount extremely lightweight racks, are all combined to extend the range of a Hybrid Performance bicycles.   They are not just a pure pleasure to ride unloaded, they may also be transformed into highly effective everyday bicycles for commuting and shopping, and they may be set up as superb ultra-lightweight touring cycles as well.  These unique features make this type of bicycle an extremely flexible choice for most riders without diminishing speed and efficiency.

In the execution of my Hybrid Performance bicycles I'm simply trying to paint designs of superb efficiency with broad brush strokes, focusing not just on speed but speed along with flexibility, dependability, durability, innovation, and the highest levels of craftsmanship and artful refinement, all of which are carefully aligned with individual tastes and uses.  Through my varied models of Hybrid Performance cycles I'm encouraging cyclists to see a wider potential and to take a broader perspective in looking at bicycles in a light far beyond merely measuring performance as the sum of the latest and greatest components and the lowest number of grams.  As with all of my bicycles, the difference is in the details.