This week’s Reader’s Rig comes from Bryan Kevan, who built his BMK Frameworks carbon frame by hand in his apartment using a machine he programmed himself. Find an overview of his bike here, plus some thoughts on building your own carbon frames as a hobbyist…

Words by Bryan Kevan, photos by Evan Christenson

Hello, fellow bikepacking geeks! My name is Bryan Kevan, and I’m a carbon frame builder based in Santa Monica, California. I grew up in Eugene, Oregon, and have always enjoyed doing bike things. I rode a unicycle in elementary school, a road bike (and a homemade bamboo bike for a few minutes) in high school, a touring bike after college, and now I do a mix of pretty much everything. Today I am showing my most recent handbuilt carbon frame, which I currently refer to as the ‘Untitled BMK Frameworks Project’ until it earns its stripes. This bike is purpose-built for the Silk Road Mountain Race in Kyrgyzstan this August.

Bryan Kevan, BMK Frameworks

My riding background is primarily in dirtbag bike touring and bikepacking. I moved down here in 2018, after a particularly draining five-month ride across Central Asia on a Surly Pugsley. I am now a part of a very concentrated cycling scene in Santa Monica. I would not be as motivated to pursue this hobby without the affirmation and encouragement I receive daily from cyclists around me. So, a thank you first to my fellow members of Velo Club La Grange and UCLA Cycling. Next, a hearty thank you to the Las Flores Breakfast Club, an energetic road ride that goes off like clockwork from Rapha Santa Monica at 6:05 AM every Tuesday and Thursday. Finally, to Hern Montenegro at MMFG who does this artisan carbon framebuilding thing for a living. If you need carbon work done in LA, he’s your guy. Support and feed your local frame builder!

  • Bryan Kevan, BMK Frameworks
  • Bryan Kevan, BMK Frameworks
  • Bryan Kevan, BMK Frameworks

If you listen to Tom Ritchey or other legendary framebuilders wax sentimental about the history of building in metal versus carbon, you’ll hear a common sentiment. Steel is real. It is durable, flexes predictably, and welding principles don’t change. By contrast, carbon is a bit of a black box. A fog of different epoxy resins, proprietary carbon layups, large curing ovens, and advanced computer design and testing. Totally inaccessible to regular hobbyists, right?

Wrong. Carbon framebuilding is now absolutely accessible to one-off framebuilders. For the last few years I have been building frames in my apartment on a graduate student’s budget. At the foundation of my production process is an Arduino-powered fiberwinder, which I use to build my tubes. This computerized machine, which I designed and programmed myself, slowly wraps a rotating mandrel with a line of 12k carbon fiber tow. The computerization gives me control over the angle at which each layer of carbon is added, allowing me to adjust tube strength and flexibility with the click of a mouse.

  • Bryan Kevan, BMK Frameworks
  • Bryan Kevan, BMK Frameworks

My lugs and stays are laid up by hand in 3D-printed moulds, separate from the tubes. All of my moulds are printed on a single $300 Wanhao i3 printer from China that is just now closing in on 100 days of total print time. I use a plugged design, where the end of each lug is finished in a slightly smaller diameter section, which can then be plugged into the tubes and bonded using 3M’s magical industrial adhesive, DP460. This is all to explain why I have never used a framebuilding jig in my builds. Since the lugs are all designed in a CAD program, frame assembly becomes a matter of fitting puzzle pieces together and gluing.

Setup-wise, I am still assembling, but that’s just a money thing. I am a grad student for a few more months, so there are some… unfinished parts of this build that will come together soon. There’s a Shutter Precision hub dynamo in the front with a Sinewave Beacon light/USB charger. The bags are Revelate Designs, and the MRP Baxter 40mm travel gravel fork is a revelation. I’m on 43mm Gravelkings right now, but I have clearance for 50mm. The SPD SL road pedals I was running at Rock Cobbler this year were a pain. But I already love this bike. It is nimble, fast, and rugged. Not a mountain bike, not a gravel bike, a true bikepacking rig, with a good mix of aggressiveness and stability.

  • Bryan Kevan, BMK Frameworks
  • Bryan Kevan, BMK Frameworks
  • Bryan Kevan, BMK Frameworks
  • Frame Untitled BMK Frameworks Project
  • Fork MRP Baxter 40mm travel
  • Rims Rodeo Labs 2.0 650b
  • Hubs SP Dynamo (front) / DTSwiss 240s (rear)
  • Tires Gravelking SK 43mm
  • Handlebars Nashbar garbage
  • Headset Cane Creek
  • Crankset SRAM Rival
  • Cassette SRAM Rival 11-42
  • Derailleur SRAM Rival
  • Brakes SRAM Hydro R
  • Shifter(s) SRAM Rival
  • Saddle Brooks Cambium C17
  • Seatpost Nashbar garbage
  • Stem 3T Components
  • Frame bags Revelate
  • Rear bags Revelate
  • Accessory bags Revelate feed bags
  • Other accessories Sinewave Beacon light/USB charger

The colors are an epoxy pigment powder, gold shaken out of a salt shaker over a green base coat. It is green and yellow, in tribute to my undying allegiance to the University of Oregon Ducks in Eugene. Shout out to QB Justin Herbert and the GOAT triple double machine Sabrina Ionescu, a pair of incredible people who make it just so easy to be a Duck fan these days.

You can find more from Bryan on Instagram @bryanmkevan or on his blog,

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