Crankstar founder Steve George on bespoke builds, Beijing 2008 and businessBack to Blog
6 August 2015
"Find something you are good at, and try to be the best at it."
— Steve George, Crankstar founder
At Good Fuel Co., we value longevity, attention to detail, and that personal touch. We believe that good things take time and extraordinary focus.
In an era of mass production, Steve George from Crankstar Brisbane is committed to designing and building beautiful bikes that are as unique as the people behind them. We chat to him about some of his best riding experiences, Beijing 2008, the story behind Crankstar, staying focussed and the satisfaction of crafting a bike specifically for the individual.
Good Fuel Co: How did you get into cycling? What do you love about it?
Steve George: I first fell in love with cycling in school, but I had to wait to get my first pay check before I could step out with my first road bike. Once I got out there, I couldn’t stop.
Good Fuel Co: How has the track shaped your riding? Would you consider yourself a ‘trackie’ or a ‘roadie’ at heart?
Steve George: Track riding certainly helped me to develop fundamental skills that later came in handy on the road. I have been lucky enough to compete in both track & road. I do most of my riding these days on the road, but at heart, I will always be a trackie.
Good Fuel Co: Piloting for Bryce Lindores at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008 must have been pretty special. How did that opportunity come about and what was that experience like?
Steve George: Some of my best cycling experiences have been on a tandem. I was selected in 2007 to pilot Bryce’s tandem towards the Beijing Paralympics. I didn’t know it at the time but this would soon become a major life-changing event. A true tandem pair pretty much has to live in each other’s pockets. Being so close to someone day in day out, who has a disability like vision impairment will very quickly change the way you look at things and I believe I am a better person now because of it. To come away from Beijing with a medal and some lifelong friends was just a bonus.
Good Fuel Co: Why did you start Crankstar? How has it evolved since the early days?
Steve George: Crankstar started as an idea when I was still racing in the U.S. Our team was sponsored by a number of key U.S. manufacturers which very quickly thrust me into the world of bespoke builders. I thought the timing was right for someone with the experience and contacts to offer unique, bespoke products into the Australian market. Some key relationships we have now began way back then. The concept began to grow and my previous retail history working in high-end bike shops gave me the experience to open my own store. It started small, but with all good things it grew to become what it is today.
Good Fuel Co: You specialise in all things bespoke and Crankstar carries some striking, high-end brands (Mosaic, Stinner, Alchemy, Argonaut, Parlee, Independent Fabrications). What makes these American hand-built frames unique? What would you say to anyone considering a custom build but haven’t yet made the leap?
Steve George: We have been lucky to work with some truly talented people. We have been very careful to select only the best U.S. builders who use only the best materials. I believe it is the attention to detail in not only the craftsmanship but the materials themselves that set our brands apart.
A custom bike isn’t just a bike, but a reflection of you. You have the ability to be a part of the selection, design, build process and finish. This gives you a greater understanding of the bike you trust your life with. It becomes a part of you. In 30 years you won’t remember that stock ‘off the shelf’ bike you rode for a year before upgrading, but you will always remember your custom bike.
Good Fuel Co: Now that you’re a business owner and chief mechanic amongst other things, what kind of riding do you do these days? How does it differ from before?
Steve George: Work usually dictates my riding these days. I don’t race anymore. I prefer to be a little more creative with rides and try to get out as much as I can with my crew.
Good Fuel Co: Are you still coaching? What’s your number one training tip? What’s one thing you wish you’d known or did when you were younger?
Steve George: The time I give to the store means that I don’t coach much anymore. I am a firm believer that a real coach must give as much time as possible to each athlete so now I only catch up for rides with the guys. One of the best tips I wish I listened to when I was younger was find something you are good at, and try to be the best at it. In cycling, being good at everything won’t get you to the highest level but being the best at just one thing might.
Good Fuel Co: In between all the bike fittings and bespoke builds, we imagine you’d get to know lots of different people and their stories. What’s been a particularly memorable build?
Steve George: Each build for me is memorable. The ability to be a part of a customer’s dream build from the ground up makes what we do truly rewarding. I love the feeling I get when I see one of our builds out on the road. The owners are either smiling or grimacing with exertion. But always content. A custom geometry bike when done right will end up being a bike for life.
Good Fuel Co: Who’s the most influential person you’ve met and why?
Steve George: I have met so many influential people in my journeys. I feel you learn just a little bit more with every person you meet. But my wife Kristina has to be the most influential person in my life.
Good Fuel Co: What’s the most rewarding part of your work? What do you want Crankstar to have contributed to the world of cycling?
Steve George: I think Crankstar brings something unique to Australia. The message we try to get across to people is simple. There is more to your riding experience than just picking up a magazine and buying the first thing you see advertised. There is a whole other world just waiting to be explored. The beauty of a bike built specifically for you is that you gain a true connection to it. It becomes part of you. At Crankstar we try to help people find what they are really looking for. The experience. The love.