In the past few years the rejuvenation of custom frame makers has been notable by the amount of new talent coming to the profession, especially in the UK and the US, but what about Poland?
New frame makers the likes we have featured on these pages such as Donhou, Saffron or Mosaic have established themselves in markets where it is more common for a custom road frame to be a premium purchase. This is a trend that isn’t as widespread in Poland and can be part of the reason that younger frame makers are not so common, but that isn’t to say they don’t exist.
We met with Kamil Uścieński, one of Poland’s most exciting young frame makers who builds frames of all varieties behind his brand Kajak Custom.
Specialising in fillet brazed steel frames he makes anything from MTB, road and single speeds to more exotic frames such as a tricycle, a cargo bike as well as the slightly crazy tall bike. His most recent work is a full suspension downhill frame.
Kamil spent a number of years in the UK perfecting his skills under the tutelage of frame makers such as Ted James and Dave Yates, but his real professional journey began when he was in his teenage years.
Regularly breaking his BMX bike meant he spent almost as much time in the workshop trying to fix it than actually riding it. But it was also the lack of access to parts that forced him to be creative with what he had and in turn lead him down a route of continually trying to modify and improve the frames.
For Kamil a good handmade frame is one made with an extraordinary level of precision and attention to detail. It should be made with care and knowledge of the materials and how they are affected by angles and alignments. A frame can be stiff or flexible, ultra-light or bomb-proof; it can be anything the rider wants it to be.
Kamil frankly admits that the market in Poland isn’t anything like it is in the US and the UK but equally there is a shrinking space for new frame makers there. Polish riders are slowly getting used to the idea of a custom bike to fit their needs, however big brands have big money for marketing. I don’t have that money, my marketing are the bikes that leave this workshop.
Keep a look out on Podia for an upcoming collaboration project with Kajak Custom that combines the precision and detail of his steel frames with the aesthetic styling’s of Podia.
In Kamil’s own words; You can’t buy love, but you can buy a custom steel bike and that comes pretty close.