Jeremy and Jay Sycip are brothers and the founders Sycip Bikes.
Who are you guys?
Jeremy Sycip: We grew up in the Philippines until our family moved to Fremont, CA in the East Bay when I was thirteen. I have a daughter, Bea, who’s going to be two next month and we have another son on the way in August.
Jay Sycip: I’m the bigger of the two, figuratively and literally. We started our business in 1992 in San Francisco. We’re now based up in Santa Rosa. I have two boys, Sam 4-years old and Benet 2 years old. My wife Jocelyn and I live in Santa Rosa…and…that’s what’s important.
Is there anything about this area that’s important to Sycip?
Jeremy: Well, it’s a little cheaper than the Bay Area because it’s north of the city and there’s good riding out here in the hills.
How did you start riding and building? Why do you ride?
Jeremy: We rode a lot right after high school and while in college. I started mostly mountain biking and then road as I just got more and more into riding. Around ’91 when a lot of my friends started racing I began an apprenticeship with Paul Sadoff of Rock Lobster. That side of things was just more interesting to me.
Jay: We went to college at Art Center in Pasadena, California. That’s where we started riding. Mountain biking the hills behind Art Center are amazing–Mt. Wilson, Angeles Crest and the San Gabriel Mountains. Now, I mostly ride a couple of miles to work and back but when I do really get to head out, like with Curtis and those guys on the Santa Cruz ride, I’m reminded of just how much fun it is. And how much work it is, especially when you’re out of shape. It’s probably one of the most rewarding things you can do and you see things, at that pace and out in nature, that are just serene.
Your color palette and sense of design really sets Sycip apart. Was that Art Center?
Jeremy: We’re definitely into colors. Instead of using the heavily saturated colors typical of what’s out there, we try to select interesting, muted and limited colors for our palette.
Does a Continental bike mean anything to you and did you design it in a certain way?
Jeremy: It’s basically a classic road bike with a little touring influence. Standard, steel, and straight-forward.
Jay: That and we used some of our decorative elements like our drop-outs. We knew it was going to have a Reynolds forks, which would help with comfort. Most importantly, we used Cole’s (Cole Maness will ride the Sycip) data to get the geometry right for long comfortable rides.
You make race bikes, real race bikes. I see them on weekends, getting worked. And you also make super fun show bikes that really showcase your sense of humor and style. What inspires you and your building process?
Jay: We base a lot of our designs and attitudes about style on commuting bikes and on bikes from bygone eras–like old delivery bikes. We also like to use beer taps for shifters and elements that don’t necessarily associate with bikes to subtly show off our fabrication and design skills. We’ve built a lot of performance bikes so it’s nice to dabble now-and-then with other cycling disciplines, like commuting because it presents a different set of problems, and ideas about function and materials. Mixing old with new. It’s also a chance to let our other interests, old cars and old scooters and machines, influence what we’re doing. We have creative friends; painters, chefs and sculptors but we’re basically gear heads.
Jeremy: Yeah, we’re not that into the horsepower speed thing, we’re more ‘sensitive’ than that. I started building bikes because I wanted to work with my hands. I love welding and making something out of tubes. Reaming and tapping is boring but creating something out of almost nothing is a good feeling.
For more information visit: www.sycip.com