A Day at Harvey Cycle Works | SILCA

A Day at Harvey Cycle Works

Harvey's Ultimate LP lives alongside his NAHBS Winning Gravel Bike, In the Living Room, of Course!

We are fortunate to have two amazing frame builders here in Indianapolis, Harvey Cycle Works and Shamrock Cycles.  In the run-up to NAHBS, we spent a few hours at Harvey (the 2014 NAHBS New Builder of the Year Award Winner) to see what he was working on, and found quite the SILCA (and Gerstner) collection!  Here is a short interview with Kevin Harvey and some photos of his wonderful shop, attached to his home in Indianapolis.

Harvey makes incredibly efficient use of his space!

SILCA: Kevin, you have a very interesting 'Day Job', please tell us what you do
KH: I am Machine shop supervisor and lead machinist at Andretti Autosport here in Indianapolis"
(SILCA spends 30 minutes staring around, amazed at photos on wall of KH with a who's who of famous drivers!!)
SILCA: Were you first in motorsports or cycling? 
KH: Cycling. My brother and I raced BMX bikes as kids then I started racing mountain bikes in 91 or 92.  
One of the Harvey SILCA Pumps is about to become its own project...
SILCA: When did you decide to build your first bike? 
KH:  The first year I started racing mountain bikes, I had my two bikes stolen. I decided to build my own since I was a machinist and doing some welding at the time. I was building and selling modern furniture from my shop at home and also doing some display work for the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It was the machinist/fabricator/designer/cyclist combination that made me do it. I raced that first hardtail mountain bike for several years before having a back injury from an accident which put me out for a while. I built a few bikes after that, got married, had kids, priorities changed.  
Harvey Cycle Works has quite the SILCA collection including a very rare 1990 Magnum (in White)
SILCA: It isn't common to find somebody functioning at such a high level in two stressful occupations simultaneously..sleep much? 
KH:  Since I started building again a few years ago, it's been a little crazy. The first few I built in the early 90's were for fun. I take it much more seriously now and want to make a go at it. It's pretty much like having two full time jobs right now averaging between 60 and 80 hours a week. Not much time for riding. I enjoy both building bikes and working for a race team and each can be incredibly demanding. The race team just because "it's a race team" and the bikes because that's where my passion is.
Harvey designs and builds much of his own tooling, he can quickly make forms for this ingenious tube bender on the CNC mill!
SILCA: Best motor-racing idea/tech you've integrated into a bike? 
KH:  The most techie idea I've had was my connector-less light system I designed for the gravel bike I had at NAHBS last year. It used insulated stainless contacts built into the fork crown and dual headlight bracket which I machined from billet aluminum. No wires to mess with and no connectors to wear out from repeated removal.
SILCA: You must check this out, it's genius when you see it in person! https://www.flickr.com/photos/harvey_cycle_works/sets/72157641031117564/
One of the stunning Gerstner Tool Boxes: This one in Birdseye Maple, the only one in existence!
SILCA: OK, As somebody who has spent their career in and around machine shops, I've always been fascinated with vintage machinist toolboxes, you have some of the most stunning Gerstner boxes I've ever seen, can you tell me about them? 
KH:  My oldest Gerstner box is from the 20's. It's a smaller box but is rather unique. It's the only one I had seen with dovetail joinery. I picked it up in the late 80's from the wife of a tool and die maker who had passed away, but I didn't know what I had at the time. Almost 15 years later I was visiting the Gerstner factory in Dayton Ohio and showed them the box. They confirmed it was one of theirs but they had never produced a box with dovetail joints. These boxes all have codes written on the backs of the drawers and in the cases themselves. Mine has all the right numbers except the dovetailed case which has the code followed by "- x". All they could come up with was that the x was for experimental. The main reason I was at the factory however was to pick up a custom box they made for me. Sort of like having a handmade bike frame. It's the only one in existence made from maple with birdseye maple drawer fronts. I asked to have the craftsmen who built it sign the bottom side of the bottom drawer but was given a surprise when I looked and it had been signed by everyone who worked there from the owner to the receptionist!
Custom Bending Form Being Machined (Note Kurt vises are widely considered the finest and are made the the same Kurt Mfg. Co. who makes Kurt Kinetics home trainers!)
SILCA: You are without a doubt a 'proper tool for the job' sort of individual, it was pretty exciting to see your collection of SILCA pumps in amongst them?
KH: Let's say you will probably not see me anytime soon in a Harbor Freight or similar store. It's not that I'm a brand name snob. Its having an appreciation for quality, well made tools. When your lively hood is built on using your hands and the tolerances that you work with on a daily basis as a machinist, nothing is more important than having the right tool for the job. I was so excited to see the level of quality that has been displayed with the new Silca products. It is leaps and bounds above all competitors. These pumps are made to last generations, not seasons. Just like the tools I use day to day. 
DayJob Tools
SILCA:  Anything else you'd like to say? 
KH:  All my interests have always revolved around creating things through machining and fabricating - bikes, furniture, race cars. Bikes have been in my life since I was a little kid. Getting into building on a professional level was something that was put off too long. I've got a lot of catching up to do!
Thanks so much Kevin and can't wait to see you at NAHBS 2015!

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