In January 2011 Tyler Evans, Jamie Medeiros, and Kevin Wolfson took the opportunity to start their own custom bicycle shop when their employer (another custom bicycle builder) based in Somerville, MA decided to move his facility to New Hampshire. Tyler had been at the company for 13 years, Jamie for 12 years, and Kevin for only 3 years, but they all had very strong connections to Boston and wanted to maintain them. Thus, they started Firefly Bicycles. Kevin tells us the story below. You can view their bikes and learn more at www.fireflybicycles.com.
It was a chance to build the types of bikes we wanted to, and do so on the scale we wanted. Especially for Tyler and Jamie, Firefly was the realization of years and years of ideas.
We build titanium, ti-carbon, and stainless steel frames in our shop. We design the geometries, select tubing, and design finishes custom for every customer. Then we machine, miter, weld, and finish the components from various bicycle component manufacturers.
Building frames in America, and especially in Boston, is important to us for the same reason that being a small production company is important: we thrive on the connections to our suppliers, each other, and our customers that are made possible by our scale and location. Just today Jamie drove across town to Medford to talk to Cantabrigian Mechanics, one of our main suppliers of small titanium components like our dropouts, about building more small parts for us. That sort of super local supply chain makes our lives easier, means that we're supporting our community, and makes the final product better because we are closer to the process. Similarly, talking to our customers in person or on the phone about their bikes, and then building their bikes in the same shop, gives us more control over the process, makes us more versatile, and makes our bikes better.
We're fortunate to be part of a larger movement of American bicycle builders, and as a result it isn't too difficult to find frame components (tubing, dropouts, etc.) that are made in America. It is slightly more difficult to find components made in the US, but companies like Enve Composites, Chris King, and White Industries all make beautiful bicycles components in the US, and we're proud to use their components.
80%-100% of a typical frame is made in the US (some of our tubing comes from the UK as well). About 40%-50% of the complete bike is made in the US.
We're about 10 minutes from the Middlesex Fells, a state reservation with mountain bike trails that we ride on weekly. We love it there!