About this project
The Bicycle Frame Handle
The Frame Handle (a.k.a. “The Little Lifter”!) is a comfortable, stylish, sturdy, and easy-to-use leather handle for carrying your bicycle, whether it's up the stairs, across the tracks, or into the metro.
Designed for urban commuters, this minimalist handle makes carrying your bike actually feel easier and lighter by lowering the center of gravity and using your normal muscle groups for lifting and holding your bicycle, same as lifting a grocery bag or carrying a briefcase. Because it’s easier to lift and hold, you’re in more control of your bicycle, making it safer to hold in crowded settings.
Without the Frame Handle, most riders either hoist the bike triangle uncomfortably on their shoulder or pick up their bike by the top tube, which requires you to bend your elbow at an uncomfortable angle. This causes stress and strain on your elbow and shoulder and makes carrying your bike feel harder than it needs to be.
The Frame Handle has two adjustable buckles that wrap around the down tube and seat tube. It can be mounted above the derailleur and below most water bottle cages.
The Frame Handle comes in standard black at the $30 or $50 levels.
At the $100 level, the Frame Handle is also available in a “honey”/tan brown or dark brown, and is customizable with your monogrammed message of choice of up to 4 characters.
Leather is an extraordinarily durable material, and the Frame Handle is built to last a lifetime.
The leather we’d like to purchase is USA-tanned leather from American steers in St. Louis, Missouri with hardware sourced from an Ohio leather company.
The Frame Handle measures approximately 7.5” end-to-end, with the handle itself running approximately 5.5” long and the two end belts accommodating tubing diameters from to 1” to 1.5”.
The Frame Handle was field-tested by a dedicated volunteer crew of Walnut Studiolo fans, friends, and customers in March-April 2012. Here’s what they had to say about it in their feedback forms:
- “It is a useful tool and [I] am finding it to be more helpful every day. But you won't realize how useful until you try one out. I was showing it to my husband and explaining what it was for but he really didn't 'get it' until I made him pick up my bike with it.”
- “The other day the side of the bridge I wanted to cross on was closed so I had to ride underneath, lift my bike up the stairs (and running because i was on the way to a final for class!). Get back on my bike cross the bridge, jump off, carry it down the stairs, under the bridge and back up stairs on the other side - the handle makes those sort of activities a breeze.”
- “I also have found that it is easier to hang my bike upside down in the garage by using the handle to flip the bike.”
- “It's been useful for carrying my bike up my apartment stairs, and upstairs for work. It takes the burden of holding it on my shoulder and I can easily pick it up and trot on up, or down stairs!“
- “The handle made it much easier to lift the bike up onto the hook [on the metro] and for upside down storage at home.”
- “I have more control of carrying my bike from using the handle instead of the two handed approach of carrying it by the seat or top tube and the handles.”
- “It for me worked the best at my office. There are about 6 stairs to go up, but they are not deep steps so its a steep staircase. The handle allowed me to get the wheels up higher so I could clear the stairs easier.”
- “I love the look and that it doesn't stand out too much apart from the bike. It's subtle and classy.”
- “Super easy [to install], I could do it in my sleep.”
- “I was a bit worried it might scratch the paint with the rivet but realized when installing it I can tuck the rivet into the leather part of the handle and it won't touch the paint.”
- “Great job! This is probably the most useful product I've seen out of Walnut yet.”
The Upcycled Headphone Organizer
We’re proud to also offer a little bit of clever re-use for the $15 level or higher - a headphone organizer made out of scraps of leather created by making the Frame Handle. It comes with a keychain mount to carry along with you.
This headphone organizer is minimalist, handsome, and most importantly, works really well at keeping your earbuds organized!
What’s the $3,500 for?
So far, we've been making the Frame Handle one-by-one, cutting strips from individual hides by hand and then cutting them down further, finishing them, and assembling them. For the Frame Handle, we need to bring it to market by purchasing wholesale quantities of hardware from an Ohio leather supply company and wholesale quantities of USA-raised and USA-tanned hides.
Walnut Studiolo is Geoffrey and Valerie Franklin. Geoffrey, who received his Bachelor’s of Architecture degree from the University of Oregon, is an 8th generation Oregonian. He works full-time in designing and making cool leather and wood accessories. Valerie, an Anthropology major with a professional background managing nonprofits and business projects, runs the business full-time.
Walnut Studiolo began in October 2009 with an Etsy shop and a card table at BikePortland’s BikeCraft Fair with our first design, a leather rack-mounted u-lock holster.
Geoffrey said, "I started designing products because we wanted leather accessories for my bikes but I couldn't find anything like I wanted. So I decided to make my own." Since then, Walnut Studiolo has grown to offer over 20 of Geoffrey's designs, which are sold online on our Etsy shop and on our own online store.
Walnut Studiolo makes all of our products one-by-one by hand in our workshop (garage) in Portland, Oregon, one of the most enthusiastic cycling cities in the country. Walnut Studiolo is best known for the six-pack frame cinch and the can cage for bicycles, and the reusable leather six-pack.
We'd like to give a huge thank you to our friends who helped us pull this project together (in no particular order!):
- The volunteer field-testing crew, which spanned from Austin, TX to Vancouver, BC: Joseph, Christopher, Nellie, Kyle, Geana, Alana, Nate, and Suzi. Thank you!
- Mike Ward of American Volunteers who makes video editing magical!
- Erin Berzel for the gorgeous colorful photography of the frame handle in use.
- Austin Goodman for the crystal-clear white background photography.
- Jonathan Schafer and Emily Tate for their spot-on styles, sharp eyes, endless patience, and super graphic design skills.
- Jonathan Brandt and Jayce Walker, for filming the video footage.
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