Meet 3D Racing’s Chris Herting
Custom bike builder Chris Herting has always been a tinkerer; he’s the perfect guy to know if you need something unique designed and built. As the owner of 3D Racing in Durango, Colorado, Herting is the man behind the Stan’s NoTubes custom tricycle which you may have seen at Sea Otter and other events last year. More recently, he has been helping to customize, design and build out the interior of one of Stan’s NoTubes new sprinter vans.
Stan’s NoTubes: Tell us about 3D Racing?
Chris Herting: 3D stands for dedication, design and development. I build custom bike frames for custom road bikes and mountain bikes, and since I have the shop, I also do some other fabrication work and powder coating. I’ve had the company for 30 years.
SNT: How did you get into building bikes?
CH: Growing up, my dad was into structural steel, so I always had machine tools and a shop at my disposal. I used to build BMX bikes for myself as a kid; I built my first bike when I was 9 or 10.
I’ve always been creative and a tinkerer and have had the tools and means to express it. Because I ended up tall at 6’4”, it was hard to find bikes that fit me, so I was motivated to make my own bikes.
I started my own shop in California in 1984 and was building custom bikes back then under a different name. I began doing bikes for Yeti as a contractor, and eventually I became a part owner of the business from 1985 to 1991. Then in 1991, I picked back up with 3D Racing and dedicated myself solely to my own company.
SNT: Besides building your own bikes, what other design and fabrication work do you do?
CH: I do prototype bikes for other companies. They contact me with a design which can range from something simply sketched on a napkin to a fully detailed engineering drawing. I also make other bike stuff and anything from furniture to welded airplane parts.
SNT: What’s your connection to Stan’s NoTubes?
CH: I sell Stan’s wheels with all of my built bikes. They are the best wheels I’ve found for the riders to whom I sell my bikes. It’s a great marriage. Quality goes with quality.
I’ve also know Kenny Wehn for 20 years. I used to have one of the best expert cross country teams, and Kenny raced for ParkPre at the same time. Eventually he started working for Stan’s.
SNT: Tell us about that Stan’s trike everyone was riding at Sea Otter last year.
CH: The trike was Stan’s Creative Director Chris Currie’s idea - a promotional tool for riding around at events, distributing schwag and getting exposure. The idea started with some photos and a drawing, and I was given free reign to make it happen. Kenny has been using it ever since, and now we’re thinking about building a trailer to haul bikes and wheels around.
One of the hardest things design-wise to figure out was the integration with Stan’s wheels. With a trike, you have to be able to drive the axle. I had to modify one rear wheel axle and connect it so that it would drive the bike when the rider pedals. I made an adapter that bolted to the disc brake flange. The key was to make just one wheel drive because if you drove with both wheels, the trike wouldn’t steer - it would always keep going straight. The “inner” wheel has to go less when you turn.
Making a hydraulic disc brake lever that would actuate both disc brakes was also something unique about the trike. I machined a T to connect the left and right rear wheels to one common brake lever. I’ve seen a similar system for cable brakes, but I’d never seen one for hydraulic brakes. Since then, I’ve made some similarly modified hydraulic brakes for paraplegic hand cyclists.
SNT: What have you been up to with Kenny’s new sprinter van?
CH: Kenny had his last sprinter van for five years; it was set up more for carrying complete bikes and riders, which he used to have to do when he was supporting racers. For the new van, he doesn’t have to carry people; instead, he has to carry a lot of wheels and the parts to maintain and rebuild them. We sat down together and tried to figure out how to make the most of the space, and we came up with a rack system down either side of the van with an aisle in between. There are designated places to store a table and the Stan’s tent so they won’t just be sliding around on the floor.
We used ¾” square steel tubing to build it. We had thought about using Aluminum, but it wasn’t worth it price and labor-wise. The rack design has over 200 feet of square tubing in it. With 102” shelves on each side plus the verticals, it required a lot of tubing. I had to keep going back to get more tubing as I built it.
The rack system isn’t totally done, but was getting tested out at cyclocross nationals this month. Then we’ll make any changes and do a final powder coat to make it all spiffy looking.