Aaron Stinner's Mettle

Photography: Matthew Miller

Get ready to learn about the people of Stinner Frameworks. Their craft is what drives them, their connection with riding shapes what they create. This is the first part of an interview with founder Aaron Stinner.

Aaron’s life has always been surrounded by bikes, so it only seemed natural that Stinner Frameworks be born. What started out as a part-time passion project has since turned into a full-time obsession. To Aaron, bikes represent an overall lifestyle and sense of freedom that he would love to share with as many people as possible. Aaron strives to bring back American craftsmanship, one build at a time.

Interviewer: My first question is a little bit more of a softball, a little lead in question for you. You talked about some of this earlier but looking forward to hearing your answer on this one. What is it that you love about bike culture that drew you to it, from your earliest memories up until now? What is it about bikes?

Aaron: A little bit we just touched on before we started here. When I was younger, I grew up in a great family. There were a few rough things with parents here and there so bikes were definitely an escape for me. I grew up in Santa Rosa. Our house backed up to Annadel State Park so we had this massive mountain bike trail system that just was huge. I was playing soccer at the time for fitness and training. In the early years of high school, I would go ride my mountain bike through these mountain bike trails that were out of the back of our house. It was literally some of the greatest memories I have, and that sense of freedom that you have when you're 14. I think that definitely shaped a lot of who I am now and where I wanted to go with life. That sense of freedom was huge. Now, you spiral forward 10 years and I was still working on bikes, still riding bikes. I grew up racing bikes. I worked in a bike shop. Except when i was in school, everything else revolved around bikes.

It all started I think with that feeling of being young and being free. As I got older, everybody always wants to graduate from college and work on something that they're passionate about.

If nobody thinks I’m good enough to work at their company, I’ll start my own company and do what I think is right for the industry.

The idea of sitting in a cubicle, unless you're an accountant or something, is never really the most attractive thing to anyone. I really wanted to work in the industry. At that point in time, 2008, the industry was pretty much rejecting everyone. I more or less said, "Fuck it. I'll do my own thing and I'll build my own thing. If nobody thinks I'm good enough to work at their company, I'll start my own company and do what I think is right for the industry." Fast forward 5 years and I'm still working on bikes and still building bikes. It's been good. Now it's just so ingrained in who I am and what I do and how I view life and all of those things that I can't really imagine a life without riding or without bikes.