The Frame Builders: Geekhouse Bikes
Marty Walsh – photograph by John Watson of prollyisnotprobably.com
Based in Boston, Massachusetts, the guys at Geekhouse are proud of the frames they make. I’ve always liked their approach and ethos, and the name is pretty cool too. It conjures up an image of a crazy workshop where there would be non-stop lols and antics. Of course they’re super-professional and anyone looking for a frame to be built would be well-advised to go and see Marty and Brad.
Marty Walsh founded the company in 2002 and spoke to me about his career, passion and inspiration.
When did you start building bikes? I started working at bike shops at 16 years old, then drawing bikes on napkins in 2002, and then started having other people make bikes for me in 2003. I started apprenticing with ANT Cycles in 2006 and I got my workshop in 2008, so it has been a long process to get where I am today.
Why did you start making bikes? I’ve always loved bikes since I was a little kid; I even got my whole family into biking when we were all very young (5 siblings in all). There was always something about the freedom of being on a bike that I loved, which never went away. And after working with bikes for years it seemed that building them was the next logical step.
Absolutely! So what sets you apart? Do you have any trademarks? I think everything has been done already. It’s just your take on those styles that develops and sets you apart. We do classic inspired bikes with a modern twist, and we also like to make bikes that are completely polarizing (like our 90s inspired neon cross bikes). We’re not for everybody, but it sets up apart, and keeps us excited about riding. There’s something beautifully ugly about what we do.
Bradford Smith – photograph by John Watson of prollyisnotprobably.com
Why do you make frames the way you do? I TIGweld frames in the tradition that I apprenticed in at ANT Cycles. Indy Fab and Fat City have also inspired me. They build in the traditional style that New England builders have been doing for 30 years, and I aspire to be like that. TIG is also fast and clean, and in my opinion steel to steel melted together feels like a stronger bond.
What’s you favourite type of bike to build, and do you have a particular favourite frame that you have made?I like building cyclocross bikes the most right now. I use that style of bike personally to ride all year round. It’s just a fun bike to weld and build up.
The bike that I’m most proud of was our 2011 Manifest bike. It was something completely different than anything we had done. From the frame geometry to the add-ons.
The 2011 Manifest bike
Do you have any inspirations?
Mike Flanagan from ANT is still one of my heroes and I wouldn’t be building bikes if it weren’t for him. Chris Chance from Fat City. Firefly and Vanilla are also two of my favorite brands, they all make amazing bikes.
If you could make a bike for anyone, who would it be?
I would love to build a bike for Sir Patrick Stewart, an English countryside cruiser to be exact!
Marty clearly loves the bike trade, and the way he got Geekhouse up and running to what it is today will surely act as an inspiration to others to (in the words of Patrick Stewart) ‘make it so’!
By Duncan Palmer