Have you ever wondered how your favorite frame builders got started? Over the next little while, I will be posting interviews and articles on some of my favorite small frame-builders, and at the end I will even talk about how you can learn about frame building yourself and make your own custom frame!
For our first interview, I got a chance to correspond with Alain Lavoie, the P.R. guy at Dobermann Bikes, and here's what he had to say:
E.B: When did you get started?
A.L: The project started officially in spring of 2005, but the real production frames were ready in early 2006. It took us over a year to do the business plan, and another year to get the finance and get the shop ready.
E.B: How did you get started?
A.L: Mathieu and I have both been involved in the mountain bike scene for many years. I have been the North American distributor for 24 Bicycles for the last 5 years and I have also been a sales rep for many different brands. Mathieu is a very highly skilled welder and machinist. He used to weld for Balfa. One day Mathieu was out of a job in the bike industry and I was tired of selling bikes made by someone else, that's when we realized that we had everything we needed to do it. I have the network and resources to sell them and Mathieu had the skills to make some bitchin' frames. We definitely made a great match, plus we knew each other for many years and have worked many times together.
E.B: What all is in your product line?
A.L: At the moment we produce 3 frames, all 3 are specifically designed for street, park and dirt jumping. The M.B.F, the Molosse and the Pinscher. They all use the same geometry; the difference between the 3 is the level of details in the fabrication, the quality of the material, and the price.
E.B: Where are your frames made/by whom?
A.L: Its all made in house with pride and love! At the moment Mathieu and myself are the only employees of Dobermann bikes, so the 2 of us can make about 2 or 3 frames per day. The chromoly tubes come in 20' lengths straight from True temper in Memphis, then we machine, weld and paint it all in house.
E.B: How long have your frames been in development?
A.L: Mario, our team rider, has been testing the frames since 2004.
E.B: What makes your product better/unique?
A.L: Our company is unique by the fact that we are pretty much one of the only companies in our market that actually makes their frames in-house. Pretty much all the companies in the street, park, and dirt jump market have their frames made in Asia or have them subcontracted by us. When people call us, email us, or meet us at shows or competitions, well they are talking to the guy that made their frame and it does make a big difference to many people. Mathieu and I both work on the production of the frames so we know everything there is to know about them. Besides the "love" that Mat and I put in the production of our frame, the over all look and feel of the frame is seriously a big hit. We have seen many bikes in our lives and we really work hard to come up with something as different, unique, and sexy as possible. The geometry we are using is also the secret touch that truly makes the frames ride really good. It actually helps a lot of riders to improve their skills.
E.B: What kind of pricing do you have?
A.L: Our entry-level frame, the Pinscher, retails for $500 CAD the Molosse is $750 CAD, the MBF is $1000 CAD. Custom work starts at $1000 CAD.
E.B: Where are you based?
A.L: We are located in Aylmer Québec, which is now part of the City of Gatineau, just across the river from Ottawa (great place for street riding). We are located 10 minutes from the Gatineau Park where there are 1000's of kilometres of XC trails and 15 min from Camp-Fortune where there are some seriously nice dirt jump trails.
E.B: What does the future hold for your company?
A.L: As far as products go, we are working on many different frames and parts, such as a 24" specific trial play bike, a full-suspension free-ride frame and a 29er XC frame, a rigid fork and some pegs.
E.B: Do you sponsor any riders?
A.L: Yes we do, but those guys are mostly true friends that have followed us from the beginning. Mario, Guillaume and Fish are all extremely talented riders that ride with passion. They are not out there to win every comp and act as super stars, they are just great guys to hang out and travel with.
E.B: Where is your product available?
A.L: At the moment our frames are available in many bike shops in Canada, and we have a distributor in Australia and the UK. If you don't have a dealer in your city or country, just get in touch with us and we will help you out! For more info go to our web site: http://www.dobermannbikes.com/
E.B: Thanks a lot for your time, and keep up the good work. I saw your guy's frames and tried your beer at the Montreal show and I was really impressed by both! Good luck.
Shot: The boys at Dobermann doing their thing
Photo: Eric Beyer
Eric Beyer - TrailPeak Editor