Bike frames are customized for clients
In performing gravity defying acts in Cirque du Soleil’s Orlando show, La Nouba, one of the cyclists, relies on a bike frame made by Richmonder Hinmaton Hisler.
Hisler, who owns Stijl Cycles, has been quietly creating custom bike frames since 2007. He started by making aluminum frames for a few European professional riders involved in “observed trials” in which riders navigate obstacles. “It’s an obscure sport in the U.S. market,” says Hisler.
He is also co-owner of Richmond-based Tektonics Design Group, a one-stop shop for product development and design that includes architects, industrial designers and fabricators. “Tektonics is the mother ship,” he says. “Stijl is a product spinoff.”
A cyclist himself, Hisler says he found his “first sense of freedom” while riding a bike as a child. The frames he now makes are “dream bikes.” “It’s the Über-bike for that person,” he says.
In starting Stijl, Hisler found that crafting the custom frames was more complicated than he imagined. “I made a lot of mistakes,” he says, adding that the bikes rely on the geometry of the frame. “I spent three years delving into the concept.”
Hisler makes frames for a wide range of cyclists, from race teams and professional trials riders to mountain and road-bike enthusiasts. “They are customized to fit their body and riding style,” he says. “They help them gain peak performance.”
One of his newest bikes, Lear’s All-Fast-Mountain 29’er, is a mountain bike with cross-country racing capabilities. It was built for Mike Lear, vice president and creative director at The Martin Agency in Richmond. “This bike was different from the bikes he had ridden,” Hisler says.
Each bike frame, which can start at $1,700, is made specifically for the customer. “It is just as important that the bike fits the person’s perception of how they feel on the bike as it is that it fits them physically,” Hisler says.