Meet the Maker
Richard Sachs lives in Chester, Connecticut. He has been building bicycle frames under his own name since 1975. He started his business, Richard Sachs Cycles, following several years of framebuilding with both Witcomb Lightweight Cycles of London, England and Witcomb U.S.A. of East Haddam, Connecticut. Through the years, Sachs has been refining his style and craft by concentrating solely on road racing frames while some of his peers have chosen to diversify into building other types of frames (tandem, recumbent, off-road, etc.). He feels that—while he has the tooling and materials to fill orders for nearly any type of frame—his love for, and involvement with the sport of road racing is his best reason to make and offer to the public the frames for which he is renowned.
While, to the untrained eye, a well-made Richard Sachs frame may appear too be simply one of the more beautiful frames available, it is the sound construction and traditional design that give each frame bearing his name the quality, fit, and handling characteristics that have built his reputation. Sachs doesn’t change the design much from year to year, believing that these changes have a negative effect on proper fit and balance. He says that the only true characteristics which change are related to improvements in construction techniques and, to a lesser degree, the high level of hand-finish work that goes into each frame.
Sachs’ own involvement with the sport goes past his sponsorship of the Connecticut Yankee Bicycle Club. He has been actively racing as a Senior Category 2 since 1976 and, more recently, as a Master 35 year-old. Richard has qualified for, and ridden in the National Championship road races, time trials, and track events four different times through the late seventies and into the following decade. Sachs has built frames for about 30 National and Olympic Team members (among them Leonard ‘Harvey’ Nitz, Nelson Vails, Rudy Sroka, Tony Chastain, Jeff Slack, Tom Officer, and Mike Rounds) and has been the mechanic for the Shimano team for three different Coors classic Stage Races in the eighties. Richard feels that this history of involvement at the highest levels of competition helps to legitimize his ideas about what works well in a racing frame.
Sachs works alone in his Chester, Connecticut workshop, building approximately 80 frames a year. Although most of his business comes from outside the Northeast, Richard nevertheless maintains a ‘stable’ of 7 bikes which he encourages potential customers to test ride, should they be able to pay him a visit. All Richard Sachs frames are made with True Temper steel tubing and complete bicycles are equipped with Campagnolo component groups. Painting and plating work is caried out by Joe Bell of Holland Cycles in San Diego. Framesets start at $1400 with a 3-4 month delivery period.
The preceding article (including pricing) was originally written by Doug Day for Connecticut Sports: A Bi-monthly Magazone of Regional Sports & Fitness., and appeared in June, 1992.