The Bikes and Matt Appleman


Appleman Bicycles builds some of the best dang custom carbon fiber bikes around!  With a degree in Composites Materials Engineering, I build fully custom frames with a unique, structural aesthetic.  Frames are built with knowledge, know-how, and experience.  Not marketing hype.  
All frames are handmade in Minnesota.

About the Builder

How did you get started in framebuilding?

I started riding in 5th grade and then racing in middle school.  While in college, I had a knee injury in which an ill fitting bike was the culprit.  There was no stock bike that had the geometry I needed.  I put my degree in Composite Materials Engineering to use and built myself a custom carbon bike that fit me.  I was able to ride again while working full time as a composites engineer building wind turbine blades in South Dakota and then aerospace materials in California.  After a few years of working for others and building frames as a hobby, I quit my high-zoot job and started Appleman Bicycles full time.

How long have you been building frames?

I started working with composites in 2005.  I built my first frame in 2008 and started Appleman Bicycles in 2010.

How did you learn to build frames?

I’m self taught.  I earned a degree in Composite Materials Engineering from Winona State University.  I started sticking tubes together and destroying them in my dorm room.  Developing a process, using a wide range of materials, and experimenting with various manufacturing methods was the best way to learn how to work with carbon fiber.  This experimentation and development laid the foundation for what is now Appleman Bicycles.

Do you race?

I race cyclocross, gravel, and Strava.  I raced road and track for about 15 years before mellowing out to racing cross for fun.   What I lack in speed, I make up for in consistency.  Regardless of training, I seem to finish in the middle of the pack every time.

Carbon Fiber Frame Tech

What kind of carbon fiber do you use?

Unidirectional (UD) carbon fiber is used.  This means that all fibers in one layer run in the same direction.  Each tube has unique stresses that require a unique layup.   UD carbon is twice as strong and twice as stiff as a woven carbon. 

What modulus carbon fiber do you use?

Modulus is often marketed to help a brand differentiate themselves from another.   At the end of the day, modulus doesn’t build a better bike.  Much more important than modulus of the fiber, is how it is used.  The angle of the fiber and tube diameter play a much larger role than modulus.    High Mod fibers are brittle.  Appleman frames are built of high strength, high toughness carbon fibers.  Tubing diameter and layup is used to modify stiffness.

Are your frames built using Tube-to-Tube or Bladder Molding?

Frames are built using tube-to-tube construction.  Tube-to-tube is the ultimate technique for building custom frames.  This technique allows for maximum flexibility in designing geometry and stiffness of a frame.  Bladder molding is great for high volume manufacturing but severely lacks customizations need for a custom bike.

How do you customize a frame?

1-Custom Geometry: custom geometry puts the rider in a comfortable, powerful, efficient position on the bike.
2-Custom Tubing Stiffness: Appleman frames ride amazing and feel good with every pedal stroke because the tubing stiffness matches the rider.  Every tube on an Appleman is custom designed.  I take into account the riders weight, desired ride characteristics, and tube length to develop a tube set designed to match the rider.   Are you 120 pounds?  250 pounds?  No problem, I can build a deliciously riding bike for any rider.
3-Component Selection: when a bike is as highly customized as an Appleman, nuances in components make a difference.  I holistically design your bike as a whole and make components suggestions for a better bike.

Do you make your own tubes?

While I design each tube myself (diameter, # of layers, material, layup schedule), I leave the actual fabrication of the tubing to expert tube makers.  This allows me to focus on design and fabrication of frames instead of spending time building the tubing.  All frames, tubing, and materials are made in the USA.

What bottom bracket standard do you use?

All Appleman frames are built with Press fit 30 (PF30) bottom bracket shells.  My BB shells are made of carbon fiber that provide a stiff platform with no metal inserts that loosen or creak.  PF30 shells are the most versatile shell available fitting nearly every crank available.

What head tube standard do you use?

All Appleman frames are built with 44mm head tubes.  This versatile size allows for straight or tapered forks.  One simply needs to switch out the head set to change to a different sized fork.  The head tubes are also 100% carbon fiber composite.  The headsets press in so if the bearing become damaged they will not damage the frame unlike integrated headset frame designs.



What is the lead time for a custom frame?

Contact me for the most up to date lead times.

How do I order a bike?

Every bike starts with a $1000 deposit.  I prefer if you mail me a check.  Alternatively, you can use PayPal.

Ordering Page

Carbon Fiber Frame Repair

How strong are repairs?

Repaired areas of the frame are stronger and tougher than the original frame.  

How durable are repairs?

The repair should outlast the rest of the bike.

Do you offer a repair warranty?

No.  While Appleman repairs are top notch and extremely durable, repairs are often fixing poor design or a mistake therefore no warranty can be provided.  If you ever have a problem with a repair, I’m happy to fix it.


Matt’s radio show interview on 1390 WNIO’s “Bicycling Today”


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