an interview with Alejandro Carrillo
I recently bought my first ever custom bike polo frame and fork – a Hija de la Coneja designed by my friend Alejandro Carrillo, a polo player from Barcelona. This is seriously the best polo bike I have ever ridden and has completely changed the way I play. Alejandro kindly agreed to answer a few questions about himself and the newest (and in my opinion, hottest) polo bike on the market.
How long have you been playing polo for?
A bit over 3 years.
Where did you first play and where do you play now?
I started here in Barcelona, but not at the spot we play now. We started at the world trade center, then moved to Arc de Triomf and finally we settled in our beloved Aspirina.
I think your team name at WHBPC2011, The Euro Cheater Mullets, was fantastic. Do you usually play with the same people for tournaments, or do you mix it up?
Hehe, yeah The ECM’s was such an epic team! I think we were the shortest team in Seattle! hahaha. Actually, I had never played with either Yorgo or Max before. I’m a bit of a whore, so when I want to play a tournament, I always try to find someone willing to team up with me, or just get in as a missing third. I do have a set team though, Los Pelos, but it’s not always possible to arrange our schedules and play together.
What have been your best results in tournaments?
Well, I got a bunch of 2nd places and a few 1sts…. Toulouse, Olot, Zaragoza,Vancouver (metal tournament), Mexico…We came in 9th at the euros last year with Los Pelos, and 5th at the Epiphanie tournament in Rouen with Los Cosmicos which was pretty cool.
Hija de la Coneja translates as Daughter of the Rabbit. Where did the name come from?
Hahaha! Well, there’s a common mexican expression that’s not very nice and I used to yell it on the court quite a lot. Lucas from El Club would to make fun of me by yelling hija de la coneja instead. He was also the first person to push me to make a few frames. When I finished the bike, that’s what it was, an Hija de la Coneja!!
Why did you want to design a polo specific frame?
I’m an industrial designer and I’ve always had this dream of “making my own bike”. You know, that dream we’ve all had at some point. I broke a few frames playing polo and I just got fed up with it. At the time, there was really a couple of choices for a polo specific frame, but they weren’t exactly what I was looking for, so I started developing my own. I got really lucky along the way and the rest is history.
Have you designed frames before?
The first bike I designed was the prototype of what would become la Hija de la Coneja. It was called Beer Point. I used that one for a year an a half and it was such a crazy bike. I loved it. There was nothing tame about it: extreme angles, extreme tolerances, super short… motherfucking polo bike! It was pretty helpful in validating my theories about geometry and bike behaviour. I’ve done the technical development of other bikes since then, but the Coneja is my latest work.
What I first loved about your design was that it took 26 inch wheels and had v-brake mounts. What were the main features you wanted the Hija de la Coneja to have?
I wanted the bike to behave in a particular way more than anything. I wanted for it no be nimble, to turn on a dime and to be very rigid, but also, and very importantly, to be stable, specially in bigger courts where you have to be able to control your bike at higher speeds. I see a lot of custom designs aiming to be excellent at one of those points, but lacking sometimes in the others. Also, I wanted it to be able to be built with very common components, so you could go as cheap or as expensive as you wanted.
Do you feel you achieved everything you were aiming for?
I’m really happy with the behaviour of the bike and I’ve gotten very positive feedback from other poloistas using them. I can’t say I’ve achieved everything, because there is always room for improvement and that’s kind of the best part of designing the bike…. how can I make it better.
I couldn’t stop smiling the first time I jumped on my Hija de la Coneja. How did it feel the first time you rode yours?
Hehehe. I had the second-to-last bike to be delivered and the very last bike to be shipped. As you know we had some delays on our first production run and I wanted to get everyone else’s bikes delivered before I got mine. I had finished my first draft of the technical drawings back in september and I started the production in late november, so I couldn’t wait to have it. The anticipation was just too much. When I finally got it, I put in together the same day and went immediately to try it. It was love at first ride. I had been riding the prototype for a while now and to a certain degree it wasn’t too much of a change, but anyway it just felt right. We had a shuffle tournament that same weekend and the Coneja got it’s first trophy.
What sets this bike apart from other polo specific frames?
Well, I think everybody brings their own solution to what they see should work best on a polo court, you know? I don’t think there is just one way of doing things and obviously not everyone rides the same way. I’m happy to be able to sell a proper polo bike at an affordable price, anywhere in the world, with a few options available for you to make it your own.
The first production run sold out very quickly. How many different countries did orders come from?
I’ve sold frames in Australia, Mexico, US, Spain, France, Brazil, Germany, Japan, Great Britain and Ireland. Hopefully one day we’ll get one in every continent (Antartica bike polo, anyone?)
How long until the second batch are ready to ship?
By next week most probably. Frames are done and painted, forks are being heat treated… so we just need to paint them, pack them and ship them.
What is the price including shipping to Australia and New Zealand?
$450USD, express shipping.
How can people from Australia and New Zealand contact you to order one?
I’ve had a few inquiries, mainly from Australia. Maybe on the next batch we’ll send a few more over there!
by Virginia Castellan