NAHBS 2017 Builder Profile: Mike DeSalvo

Name: Mike DeSalvo
Years Building: 18
Website: desalvocycles.com 
Social media: instagram, facebook

What was your first bike- not the first one you built? How did it come to you? The first bike I remember was a Free Spirit BMX – given to me as a birthday present

What was the last bike you bought that you didn’t make, and why? Kona Explosif – I was working in a bike shop and we sold Kona’s and I was always a fan of steel bikes.

When did you decide to start making frames of your own? What influenced you to do so? Growing up working in bike shops I was always interested in the US made bikes,  Bontrager stands out as a builder whose work I liked.

What was the last odd job you held before frame building? Bicycle Mechanic

Did you have a mentor when you started, or do you still have one? No mentor per se but lots of friends in the industry who share information.

What do you listen to when you’re working? I was a kid in the ‘80’s so lots of the Clash, Social Distortion, the Smiths etc – I get accused of lots of bummer rock too.  Music is pretty key when you work by yourself all day.

What’s your favorite tool in the shop and why? At the moment I really like my tungsten sharpener.

Every builder seems to have an “Ah Ha” moment where they figure out some way to do a weld different or set up a jig for that one type of braze-on, what was yours? And did it come easily to you once you figured it out? Nothing comes to mind, but for me I think no matter how many bikes you have built there is always more to learn.

When designing or building a bike for someone, what is your thought process? What sticks out most about a build/design that you need to tackle first? I think the 1st step for me is to listen to their needs to insure I build a bike that is what they want.

What’s your go to bike when you go on a ride?  Lately my mountain bike sees a lot of use.