A Visit with Rock Lobster

By: Jeremy Jo Feb 23

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Paul Sadoff is the man behind Rock Lobster Cycles. Based in Santa Cruz, California, Paul started making frames in 1978 through a combination of trial and error, experience and passion, eventually starting to make frames fulltime in 1988. Specializing in custom steel and aluminum frames, Rock Lobster carved out a special niche by making purpose-built aluminum race bikes. In the early 90s, Sadoff couldn’t understand why mountain bikes were winning every local cross race. After some experimentation, Rock Lobster developed a mountain bike inspired cross frame by reducing the fork rake and using a 72 degree head angle. According to Sadoff, “Anyone who thinks this is a bad idea hasn’t ridden it. The bikes carve the inside of the corners rather than wash out to the outside.” With a Rock Lobster rider taking the win in the single speed category at this year’s Cyclocross Nationals, it’s hard to argue his point.










Today you’ll find these sea foam green Rock Lobster frames under the riders of the Bay101/HRS/Rock Lobster cyclocross team. Paul loves cyclocross and races a full season himself. While spending the afternoon at his small Santa Cruz workshop, Paul recounted the tale of cross nationals 2009 in Bend, Oregon. He replayed lap by lap his battle with Richard Sachs for the hypothetical Framebuilder’s Cup in the masters 55-59 race. A tale of crashes, slips, and dabbles, Sadoff went on to beat Sachs by one place, a mere 34 seconds. Rock Lobster won the day. Sadoff wishes he had a Sachs decal to place on his bike to commemorate the victory.








Each Rock Lobster is hand-made. The tubes are all machined, welded, and prepped by Sadoff himself. Paul does this for his love of bikes and his dedication to cyclists everywhere. In his view, any day when you can surround yourself with bikes is a good day. As we’re becoming engulfed by the big three, and no I don’t mean Ford, GM, or Chyrsler, the hand-made bike is a dying breed. Sure your bike might be a work of technological art with plies of carbon carefully laid in a mold in the never-ending quest for stiffer, lighter, and more compliant, but who really made your bike? Chances are, you can’t call him up and he won’t be able to tell you the time he battled another frame building legend at nationals.











 

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