Why don’t you go ahead and give us a little background about yourself and the individuals involved with this project.
Okay… Hi, we are Bake Frames, a new frame company based in Liverpool UK. We consist of me, (Andy Birch), Alex Brunton, Ash Gavin, and media-man Jordan Jones. We’ve all been blading for years and taken a lot from it, so we decided it was time to give something back. We formed towards the end of the summer ’12 — I was just finishing my engineering PhD, Alex was in his final year of a product design degree, and Ash had just finished his bio-science degree. The project just started to build momentum from there. Jord was our first shout for media as we’d worked with him before on the Dogsh!t project.
What qualifies you and your partners to be heading up a frame company like this? Do they really get baked in an oven?
Ha! Nah, strangely enough they don’t get baked (that’s strictly for the rider, hah!). The Bake name came from the fact that the product will be fresh, as small batches of product, lovingly hand-finished, in a fancy box… that kind of thing. It just fit.
As for qualifications, well, myself and Alex are product designers, with many years’ experience of designing and making stuff for outside industry, as well as many years rollerblading and customizing skates. Ash is great at the promotions side of things, and Jord is, like I said, our media-man. Bake Frames has come about from some good ideas and us having the abilities to make it happen. There have been and will be many issues to overcome, but it’s okay because this is a project driven by love — not dollars — and we’ve got the resources to call upon.
What is your goal with the company? Will you be making multiple designs, or are you looking to accomplish one specific type of frame?
Our main goal is to push rollerblading forward. We aim to make products optimized for that purpose. We were really excited when Powerblading arrived (some may say, again), but at the same time apprehensive. The big wheels are great, that’s what everyone wants when skating street — a smooth, fast set-up to make things more fun. But where did the grind space go? Personally, I think aggressive skating is defined by grinding, and the early efforts pretty much took that away (unless you’re super-human!).
We see Powerblading as an enhancement to aggressive skating, i.e. all the grinding capability of an aggressive frame but with the benefit of a larger wheel set-up — the best of both worlds! The early efforts were poor, too harsh of a compromise on the aggressive side in favor of a smoother ride. The new Kizers look like they have raised the bar, but still wheel-bite is going to be such an issue. Why not move things forward? Why not put material where it’s needed, so the chance of wheel bite is dramatically reduced? The Level 2s remind me of skate frames from the late ’90s; why are we going backwards? We are learning from the past to take rollerblading forward.
But we’re not stopping there. We have plans to release a 60mm flat frame that will eliminate wheel-bite (altogether), in our opinion doing what Kaltik couldn’t quite do. As well as a commuter frame. Expect a lot of fresh ideas from us in the near future.
Over the last 4 years we have seen quite a lot of progress in frame technology. Kaltik (as you mentioned) with their stealth flat frames, Kizer with power frames, and Create Originals with customizable graphics just to name a few. Are we going to be seeing another advancement in frame tech with your company?
Yes, we’re looking to evolve skate frame design to make things better — easier grinding, smoother riding. We’ve seen all these great ideas, like the wheel shielding on the Kaltik flat frame and the large wheels on the Powerblade frames, but we have also seen a potential for improvement! So we brought the benefits together and improved on the ideas and we ended up with our first product, a genuinely new and exciting frame design.