The Builder

CremaCycles is the fusion of two passions: coffee & bikes. Ken Bloomer probably knows as much about the tasty beans as he does about bicycles. The active racer, ex-pro and coffee expert choose the scenic Allgäu in Southern Bavaria as CremaCycles’ home base – the surrounding alpine peaks being an ideal playground to test his new frame designs and product developments.

The Ride

Made of a custom blend of thin-walled, heat treated tubing for a low frame weight that is also very direct/stiff. The geometry is racey, but with a slightly slack head tube angle and a touch longer stays to handle the rougher terrain encountered in the wilds of Europe. It will also take tires up to a 27c to help in smoothing out the terrain. The ride of this bike is true to steel in that it dampens well, holds a direct line and gives energy back to the rider.

The Interview

What inspired you to build? What does the craft and the material you are using mean to you? Is it a job, a passion, an attitude?
From an early age, I started working on and tuning my BMX bikes, I even made my own racing pads and number plates, which I also sold to other local kids. I read about the BMX frame builders and component manufactures of the day. We also had a builder in our hometown and his bikes were so cool, when I started racing road I so wanted one of those. There was just something magical about those bikes compared to what was on the showroom floor.

Really when I started riding for guys like Brodie, Sycip and IF did I get the chance to really learn about the craft and have an influence on the design and builds of my frames. The next natural progression (albeit scary one!) was to go off and build them under our own name from the ground up.

Having had the luxury of riding for a variety of builders and ridden virtually all frame materials, I found myself always coming back to steel due to the incredible ride quality and durability. Modern steel is a far cry from the old, heavy steel of yesteryear. You can build a super light, yet direct, high performance frame that looks absolutely beautiful and it will last you a lifetime.

Framebuilding is a passion that requires a lot of patience and discipline. It is an on going journey and experimentation that with each frame you get better and better. With each frame we make for a customer comes a great amount of excitement and pleasure in a job well done, but we are always looking forward to the next project and to top ourselves once again. I am also always humbled and flattered that people want to purchase a frame from us.

How do you make a bike? What’s important to you in the process and what is it that sets you apart from other builders?
The bike begins with the customer. You have to listen to what their needs and desires are, and sometimes they don’t know themselves so you have to fish it out. I try to get to know each of our customers as intimately as possible and really peel the onion with them to come to that point where I know what exactly it is they are searching for. With that said we have also turned potential customers down because we couldn’t fulfil all of their needs.
What sets us apart is our own experiences as riders, racers and having learned from some of the best builders in the business. We take a little from each of these and the end result are some of the cleanest, most refined, performance steel bikes out there.

What does the Rapha Continental mean to you and to the bike you’ve built for us?
To me the Continental is all about the search, exploring roads un-ridden and seeing the countryside, people and cultures from the rider’s perspective. It is about going off the beaten path and following roads that do not exist on maps. Those are usually the rewarding experiences. Our bike is equally at home on smooth silky pavement as it is pounding out rough terrain down a gravel pathway. It is an excellent partner in the search for new places.

Tell us about your favourite bike ride.
I could name hundreds of them…but probably my favourite ride is my next one.

In our journey to explore Hidden Europe, where do you think we should go and ride and why?
Scandinavia has always been on my list of must rides. But I would also like to explore the Ukraine and Russia.

What would you do, if you weren’t building bikes?
Testing and giving product feedback on various products and sports has always been something I have enjoyed, so it would be something along those lines. Also sport management is something I could see myself doing.

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