Monday, January 7, 2013

Keith Anderson

Keith Anderson has been part of the cycling industry for a long time. He started out wrenching at a bike shop for a living but soon found he wanted to do more. He started to learn framebulding, mostly on his own, but  with help from framebuilder Doug Fattic. Over the years he refined his skills but, even though he has been in the business now for decades, he tells me he only refined his processes to make a successful business in the last five years. Many framebuilders tell me how tough it is to make ends meet. People like Keith, who have years of experience and know how to do it right, spend a lot of time on the details of building a frame. It makes it difficult to compete when you must present a handmade product to a public used to robotically-made products or products that are a subsidized export from a foreign country. He doesn't make many frames these days and is focusing on frame painting.
I first met Keith in Moab, Utah where he had a shop. The rear wheel on my ti mountain bike was pulling out of the drop-outs under load. He graciously dropped what he was doing and milled a light depression for the quick release to solve the problem and save my vacation. It was here that I first saw one of his bikes and, in keeping with the southwest style, he had made these really cool sculpted headbadges for his frames with local imagery like Kokepelli the flute playing "pied piper" of local mythology. These are touches I have not seen on any other frames except those of Glen Erickson.

This filet brazed head tube still has the flux on the bottom lug.
Lucky for me, he is just finishing a beautiful frame for a friend and it is on the stand, unpainted, ready for finishing touches. Smooth filet-brazed joints show the golden brass brazing material blending into the steel of the frame. Hanging on the wall is a lilac and black frame with gold trim and a custom stem, definitely a show-bike candidate.

 We move into the paint room where he is completing a new Steelman.Keith paints new frames from a number of builders, including Steelman and Alchemy. This Steelman is getting a gorgeous, complex paint job in white, yellow and blue with panels and stripes.

The shelves are filled with paint cans for mixing the array of colors he creates. Keith says he likes to do restorations where he works with passionate customers who have a vision of what they want. He works with them to get the paint right and to reproduce the decals. Jon Williams' 1973 Masi is in queue and is a good example. Jon wants the metallic yellow pearl and blue that the Samontana team bikes used. He and Keith will work together to get the frame just right.

Keith is another example of a resource we're lucky to have. If you have a project in mind, give him a call and see if you can get that special frame restored just the way you want it. You can contact him at 541-471-4114 and email at

My thanks to Keith for giving us a tour in short notice and for Kami, the red heeler, for guiding us to the shop.

Note: 2017, Keith has called it quits and moved on to new adventures. He is no longer painting bicycles. 

1 comment:

bruce said...

None better for the business than Keith. Just as I was saving money for one of his paint jobs, an emergency would pop up and take the money away. I have friends that treasure his re-paints.

Wish he was back in business.