With Frame #500 on the Horizon, Mike Laird talks Lairdframe

Six years ago, former pro rider Mike Laird embarked on a journey to build high-end BMX frames. We interviewed Mike to get the details and learned that, at the time, he had made three frames. Fast forward to today and Mike's 500th frame is on the horizon! Mike has proven he's really in this for the long haul and and his frames have become a bit of a staple in the BMX world. We caught up with Mike once again to follow up about where he's at, lessons he's learned, bringing titanium into the mix, and what his future holds. Check it - 


Photo: Will Stricklin

When we first talked lairdframe with you in 2014, you had made three frames. Today, you’re approaching 500. How would you describe the journey?

I would describe it as fulfilling. It was just what I needed to fill the gap for not riding BMX freestyle professionally anymore.

Did you ever imagine it would grow to be what it is today?

One would hope when starting a project like this that people would identify with your vision and support you. I had thoughts on what I wanted lairdframe to be and, so far, I feel I’m right on track with my original vision.

Are you able to do this for your primary source of income now?

My local fabrication work is my primary source of income. The money is just too good. I never wanted lairdframe to be my primary source of income. Frame building is more like a passion project. For me, personally, I need to keep whatever I do challenging and fun because if those two things are not there anymore, I’m moving on to something else.




What have been some of the biggest struggles you’ve faced along the way?

My biggest struggle is dealing with customers - answering twenty questions about my frames and then having the potential customer tell me I charge too much. Biting my tongue when I read negative comments on social media. Anyone that knows me personally knows I’m not the biggest people person

What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned along the way?

I’ve learned a lot about metallurgy in welding chromoly and titanium. 

There’s way more to welding thin gauge material property than turning on a welding machine and running a bead.

What are some of the main changes you’ve see in the BMX world since you first started making frames?

That’s a hard question to answer. On the frame side of BMX, I haven’t noticed too many changes. Now, on the riding side of things, social media is just getting bigger and the UCI and Olympics - their evolvement has made the contests insanely competitive.




Who are some of the riders that have ridden your frames since 2014…

Daniel Dhers, Andy Buckworth, James Foster, Scotty Cranmer, Justin Dowell, Hannah Roberts, and more. 

(Note - visit the lairdframe site for a complete list)

If you were to start fresh today, what would you do differently?

I would not have used True Temper’s Supertherm OX Platinum heat treated tubing as my seat and chain stay tubing. I had cracking problems in the rear end on a handful of frames with that shit. 

Where are you working out of now?

Well, my parents bought a house in Ayden, North Carolina with a 2,000 square foot shop in the backyard and told me that I have to take care of them as they get older. They helped me and I’ll be helping them.

Photo: Will Stricklin

In 2014, had you considered working with titanium?

Hell yes. When I was doing research about frame building on the Internet, a lot of titanium bicycle builders kept popping up. And, throughout the years of my riding, I was always under the opinion that all the titanium BMX frames that I had seen were built wrong. Once I felt I had a solid understanding of chromoly frame building, I started reading and asking a lot of questions to aerospace fabricators pertaining to titanium. I wasn’t in a hurry. I read, studied, and asked questions for about one year before I even welded my first piece of titanium. I don’t want to get it wrong.

Today, what percentage of your business would you say is titanium?

About 10% of my frame orders are now titanium.

Do you think BMX's future includes a lot more titanium or will it always be a bit of a niche material?

I most definitely feel titanium will have a bigger footprint as the future progresses. Just need the missteps of the previous titanium frame building attempts and opinions of yesteryear's pros about titanium to move farther into the past. 

I know from my current experience with titanium that when it’s fabricated property, there will be a bright future in BMX. I’m proving that one Ti-lairdframe at a time.

Photo: Will Stricklin

Tell us about the frame your riding today…

I’m riding Ti-lairdframe number ti-01 with my first Ti-lairdfork. I’ve got to tell you guys that riding a titanium frame and fork is an amazing experience. It’s nothing like any chromoly bike I’ve ever experienced in my riding career. The titanium absorbs the small bumps and imperfections of the riding surface and makes you feel like you’re riding on ice. It’s an insanely smooth feeling that’s hard to put into words. You’d have to feel it to believe it. 

Give us a bold prediction - what does the future hold for lairdframe?

I’m taking over the frame game one frame at a time. 


We’re teaming up to give away your 500th frame. How is this going to go down?

The winner picks their geometry, tubing sizes, brake specifications, and color - everything you can already do on a typical lairdframe order, except for custom bridge art. That’s already been determined. The bridge art will say “500th." And, the winner get their frame built next! No waiting!


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