the life of a framebuilder

Brian and Heather Williams have a long history with bicycles and a deep passion for the sport of cycling. As a teenager, Brian wrenched in the local bike shop and had a very successful racing career as a junior on the road. Heather raced BMX, broke bones, and came back for more. It seemed like a match made in heaven: Brian + Heather + bicycles. For fifteen years, they owned and operated two businesses in Rexburg, Idaho:, an independent bike shop and a snowboard shop.   At a time when Brian was selling the most popular road bike in America, he thought back on the steel bikes he had raced as a young man. In contrast, the mass-market bike he was selling at the shop seemed to lack something, a soul maybe. To Brian, it felt like it had been poured fully formed from a test tube. What’s more, the range of factory frames only fit a handful of people really well. Brian was convinced he could build a better bicycle. Besides his unusual knack for problem solving and exceptional mechanical abilities, he is also a unique innovator who can both dream and create. He decided that the only way to build a better bicycle was to build his own top-quality custom frame. He enrolled in a frame-building course and came home to Rexburg, and started welding a few steel and titanium frames. Word began to spread regarding the quality of his frames and his attention to detail. One Kelson customer talks about the day that he took delivery of his new Kelson bike, “It was like pulling on a perfectly fitted custom glove, incredibly light and supple. It was like settling back in the seat of a sports car, stepping fully down on the gas. It was a perfect extension of me – but faster! Back fatigue, seat fatigue, leg fatigue are all minimized on a Kelson bike.” Customer response to the new Kelson bicycles was overwhelmingly positive, but it created a dilemma for Brian and Heather. It became more difficult to balance the responsibility of both running the bike and snowboard shops and also building custom frames. After some deliberation, Brian sold the shops, moved to Ashton, Idaho, built a small workshop, and devoted himself to building bicycles full-time. As Brian continued to build road, mountain, and cyclocross bikes, his reputation continued to spread. His many satisfied customers put tens of thousands of miles on the Kelson bikes in races, club rides, and on the back roads of Idaho. Always working towards a better bike, Brian added carbon to the mix with custom ti-carbon frames. His designs were innovative and the quality outstanding. It seemed like his quest to build a full range of hand-built bicycles was complete. But Brian still had at least one more unresolved obsession. He was convinced that he could develop, design, and build a fully custom carbon frame utilizing innovative construction techniques. This became his passion, spanning countless hours of research, development, building and breaking. Over time, this hard-earned knowledge began to come together in a unique carbon frame. After many miles on prototype carbon frames, Brian believed it was time for the carbon bike to make its big debut. Brian’s titanium bikes have been extensively ridden in LOTOJA, the grueling 206 mile Logan to Jackson road race where the comfort, fit, and performance of these bikes has exceeded every expectation. In the fall of 2012, Brian introduced his Kelson carbon bikes to LOTOJA. Clinton Mortley, the previous year’s winner was on one of Brian’s new carbon bikes. He commented afterwards, “The bike is so light, tough, and comfortable you forget it is there.” Clinton won LOTOJA this year on his Kelson Carbon road. One unexpected upshot of Brian’s move to Ashton was the development of the Kelson Road-Asphalt-Dirt (“RAD”) bike. Ashton is located in a sparsely populated area of Southeastern Idaho, bordering both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. As Brian explored the high desert, rolling farmlands, and mountains around Ashton, his friends started to take notice. Before long, they were going on all-day adventure rides over virtually every imaginable road surface, riding road, mountain, and cyclocross bikes. But to Brian, none of these traditional bike designs adequately accommodated the varied surfaces, a problem that, true to character, he set out to fix. Thus the brainchild of these rides is the new RAD series of bikes from Kelson. Utilizing innovative construction, and drawing the best features from a variety of different bike styles, the new RAD bikes are perfect for a paved to dirt road race like The Crusher in the Tushar or a long day on the back roads around Ashton.