onsdag 29 september 2010

Interview with Lewis Composites, part two

What is the price range?

Shoes start at 7000:-, and skating boots start at 10000:-.

What are the benefits of custom shoes?

The biggest thing that people notice when they try custom shoes for the first time is how light they are compared to stock shoes. I don’t quote people exact weights for their shoes before they’re built because they vary so much from foot to foot. But you’re usually looking about half the weight of stock shoes. Then there is the performance, even the stiffest stock shoe actually flexes quite a lot. In my shoes the bottoms just don’t flex. This is because of how I use the carbon to wrap around the foot in some spots. The heel cup and arch are all moulded one piece with the base of the shoe. The end result is no power loss from shoe to pedal, you really notice this when you stand up to sprint or climb. You can actually feel the difference between regular shoes and custom ones. Then lastly there’s the fit of the shoe. It’s very comfortable, the shoes really do fit better than any stock shoe can. This is especially good if you’ve got very wide, narrow, or oddly shaped feet. You cannot get shoes that fit if your feet are at all different than the norm.

Do you sponsor any riders?

Yes, I’ll be sponsoring a few riders next season. I’ve got a few already signed on to race in shoes for next year, and I’m always open to getting a well thought out sponsorship request from people. In skating I do sponsor a few athletes already. I’ve had a number of Olympic athletes use my skates, now I’d really like to get a few road and mountain cyclists at that level on my products.

Canadian sprinter Jamie Gregg at the Vancouver olympics wearing a pair of James boots, he's a world cup medalist as well as the highest finishing Canadian sprinter at the olympics.

You have a XC prototype shoe pair on your site, when will they be ready for the consumers?

I’ll be riding in the first pair next week to see what changes I want to make for the production model. They should be ready for production next month. I’ve attached the first photos of those shoes, they’re not even up on my website yet. That’s how new they are. The prototype ones are done in the green leather, but the production ones will be done in white or black.

Do you ride alot yourself?

I try to ride quite a lot, this year I didn’t manage to get out anywhere the amount that I usually do. I raced on both road, mountain and a bit of track back in Canada. But training for skating kept the racing to a minimum, but now that I’m not competing on the ice anymore I plan to start doing some more racing on the bike. I’m hoping to ride the trans rockies again next year, so I really have to get myself back into racing shape to do that.

You also make frames out if bamboo, tell us about that.

I started off making a few carbon road frames for myself. They were fun to build and ride, but I wanted to try something a little different. So I started experimenting with bamboo tubes and carbon joints. Eventually I tried a mountain bike frame, I’ve logged about 4000km on it so far. And noproblems yet. When you’re out riding a bamboo frame you have to stop and answer a lot of questions from people. Most people don’t have any idea how strong the bamboo actually is. So lots of people think it’s just some paint job. You do have to pose for a lot of photos as well. I’m planning on riding a bamboo 29er next year.

The first carbonframe, James did 8000 km on it before he tried to built in bamboo instead.

Bamboo trackframe.

James and his bamboo mtb in the rockies.

You also repair damaged carbon frames?

I get a few frames each year from people who’s warranty has run out but they’ve damaged their frame somehow. I always recommend people try to go through the manufacturer first, I prefer to repair as a last resort. But if your frame’s out of warranty then it’s no problem. I also do repairs on hockey sticks, car/motorcycle parts, a lot of carbon rims. I personally ride a set zipp race wheels that I’ve repaired, most people can’t even see where they’ve been rebuilt. I can generally fix just about any damaged part.

How much does a "normal" repairjob cost?

It really depends on how much work there is to do. It’s all based on how much time I have to spend doing the work. A simple cracked tube would start at around 1000:-, and then go up depending on how extensive the damage is. A lot of times people see one small crack in the tube, and when I cut the tube open there’s much more damage inside. I did a time trial bike last year that looked like a small crack, but I ended up having to redo the entire top tube since the crack actually went completely around the inside of tube.

Are your customers mostly from Sweden or are they international?

Most of my customers are international, I get a lot of skate orders from Canada. Recently though I’ve been building skates for quite a few athletes from Finland and Holland. I’m hoping that more interest will develop with in custom cycling shoe market.

Want your own custom shoes or repair your frame? Check out

Lewis composites

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