FBQ #18 Mark Nobilette

Posted May 18, 2005 @ 3:05am | by S. Cutshall

Coming up under the watchful eye of a legend, today's featured builder, Mark Nobilette, has achieved Master Status in his own right.
Nobilette turns out cycles that flare with Zen-like "Simplexity" (the ability to bring forth in one's craft functional Simplicity but only first through years of Complex work/thought/study).  Mark Nobilette in his own words...

1.  How old are you?

I am 51.

2.  Where were you born?

Detroit, Mich.

3.  What's your earliest memory of a bicycle or something bicycle related?

Picking up my first bike.

4.  What was your first cycle?

20" wheel balloon-tire bike.

5.  How about first "high-end" cycle?

Raleigh International when I was 18.

6.  Did (does) your family (parents, siblings, etc) ride also?

My younger brother got into cycling at the same time.

7.  Did you like to tinker with bikes back then?

Yes, just mechanics.

8.  Did you ever work in a Bike Shop... if so, where/how long?

Worked at three shops before getting into frame building.


9.  Have you ever done any organized racing?

Yes, road racing in the Seventies and ATB racing in the Eighties.

10.  How about cyclo-touring?

Did a couple tours in the Seventies.

11.  What job(s) did you have before frame building and also-do you have any other job currently besides frame building?

Warehouse work, paper delivery, and bike shops.

12.  When did you start building?

Started building frames in 1973, Eisentraut frame class.


13.  Who would you say is your greatest influence in designing & frame building?

Albert Eisentraut.

14.  Did you apprentice... if so, with who?

Yes, with Albert Eisentraut.

15.  What's your idea of the "perfect cycle" regardless if you built it or not?

One that you want to look at, and rides great.

16.  Shooting a guess... how many frames would you say you've built?

Around 2000.

17.  Any cycles out there that you secretly wished, "Darn, I wish I'd built that!"?

Not really, maybe some components though.

18.  Your idea of the perfect client?

A happy one that only calls or comes by a couple times for each frame ordered.

19.  What defines a nightmare client in your experience?

Any unhappy customer, very rare.

20.  Any words of advice to up & coming frame builders?

Yeah, don't quit your day job.


21.  What do you find most funny or peculiar (in a kind way-not brutal) about the cycle-buying public... what don't they get or aren't they seeing?

Most don't appreciate quality.  Still too hung up on weight.

22.  What do you think of mass-produced bikes (without naming names)?

They're great if they get people riding.

23.  What cycle don't you have anymore that you wished you did?

The Eisentraut I built when I was with him.

24.  What cycle do you currently ride most, even if it wasn't built by you?

I ride my current Nobilette road bike.

25.  When did you last ride your bike and for how far?

Two days ago, 30 miles.

26.  What's your idea of the perfect ride?

Lots of tree-lined winding roads, no traffic or wind (maybe tailwind), in the mountains with no sore ass.


27.  Could you ever see yourself being Car Free... just using mass-transportation and your bike to get around?

Did it for a couple years in my early Twenties.  I could do it again.  Might have to if gas keeps going up.

28.  Why do you think so many folks have romanticized bicycles & bicycling?

Because it’s the best sport/recreation there is.

29.  Any (other) passions or hobbies in your life?

Jazz and machinery.

30.  If you could say one thing to Lance Armstrong what would it be?

Thanks for doing a lot for Cancer research.

31.  In a pinch... McDonalds or Burger King?

King over the club.


32.  What kind of shampoo did you last use?

The soapy kind.

33.  Favorite libation: wine, beer or fire water?


34.  Even though there seems to be a real tradition to it-what do you think of folks who spend more time setting up their cycle with just the right color saddle, bar tape, bags, hoods, etc than actually riding or at least commenting on the ride?

I have to wonder if they like to ride.

35.  Did you go to college... if so, what was your major?

Yes, Engineering.


36.  Your favorite music while working (if any)?

Jazz and Jazz Fusion.

37.  If you had it to do all over again... would you be building cycles?

Probably.  At least part time.  I love building.  It would be nice to make some real money though.

38.  What's your favorite lunch food during a work day in the shop?

Mexican or Thai.  Dosen't happen very often though.


39.  When it's all said & done-what kind of legacy will you hope to have left behind?

The legacy of long lasting, well designed and beautiful bikes.

40.  How can folks get in touch with you to order a custom cycle?

I can be reached at

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