I met up with Scott Quiring at his Free Soil, shop late on a Friday afternoon, on a recent whirlwind tour of the Michigan’s mitten. Scott and I had been trading emails over the winter, where he sent me a few snaps of his personal stainless steel, singlespeed belt drive fat-bike. Scott’s shop is on the edge of the Manistee National Forest, so his commute includes snow-packed trail and dirt road that act as the perfect training grounds for fat-bike fun!
Scott showed me into the shop and I was amazed at the amount of equipment in his machine shop…..and the machine shop was just the tip of the iceberg! We went into a large space at the back of the shop, where Quiring does media blasting. They cut their own masks and etch graphics into stainless or Ti (like the ones on his bike above). In another area, Scott has a nice paint booth, where he lays down the sweet fades to raw Ti, that qualify as works of art. With such an extensive machine shop, he’s able to miter tubing to a perfect fit or machine unique frame components like lefty head tubes, all done – right in house. We finished the tour in his bike studio where he welds tubes into finished frames and forks on his two frame jigs.
As soon as we started talking about some of Scott’s fat-bike riding experiences, I could tell he was like a kid with a brand new toy on Christmas morning. He shared how his fatty reintroduced him to exploration and unlimited adventure potential. The same sort of feelings that he remembered when he first started mountain biking back in the 1980′s. I have to admit, that I feel the same way! Scott had never seen a Moonlander (in person), so I popped mine out of the truck for him to try. After the natural ‘holy fatness!’ that just about everyone experiences the first time they see Big Fat Larry mounted to a 100mm Clown Shoe rim, he took it for a spirited romp all around his shop….rolling over anything he could find. He came back with a big fat grin and exclaimed, “I’m gonna build my next fatty to run these wheels”. Scott’s fat-bikes feature a machined yoke behind the bottom bracket that offers a light, strong answer to achieving optimal tire clearance. I could really tell that Scott had caught fat-bike fever! His enthusiasm was palpable and awesome to see.
The next day, Sven, Puck and I got to see Scott race his fat-bike at the St. Fatty’s Race that we covered up in Gaylord, MI. I even got to take a little spin on his stainless belt-bike before the race started. It rode really nice, but Man! he pushes a really hard gear on that thing. I don’t know how he managed to climb the hills that the St. Fatty’s race course featured, but he took second in the fat-bike category out of a very competitive field.
We also got to see a steel version of Quiring’s fat-bike, custom made, for a giant ~6’5″ client at the race. Scott fabs custom frames from Stainless, Ti and Steel. He’s well known for making race-bred, quality crafted, 29r frames and I have a feeling that his fat-bikes will see lots of podiums! I can’t think of a better scerio than having a craftsman, like Scott, with hundreds and hundreds of frames under his belt, exploring the possibilities of what could be the ultimate custom fat-bike. On top of all the incredible skill and experience that Quiring brings to the table, Scott is also one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.
Check out Quiring’s web site for more information - http://www.quiringcycles.net/