Jim Cunningham

COLOR IS THE NEW BLACK

Looking good automatically makes you faster — it’s a proven science. So along with producing high performance bicycles, HIA Velo aspired to take design and appeal to the next level. Joining the mission to create timeless, iconic American-made bicycles, CyclArt founder Jim Cunningham adds almost 40 years of experience to the HIA Velo team.  Although Arkansas is a far cry from San Diego where Jim and his wife Susan started CyclArt in 1977, they are excited to apply their expertise in paint and refinishing to the new work taking place in Little Rock.

Since childhood, Jim hand made model cars, a hobby that became more serious as he competed with his model cars around the nation.  His love for painting design and fabrication started there, and eventually grew into bicycles. He was invited to to apply for work with the prestigious Italian bike company, Masi, as their custom paint operation.

Jim and Susan knew painting and restoring bicycles wasn’t going to make them rich, but they dug in out of sheer love for their craft.  By the ’90s CyclArt had matured into a company with major clients like Kestrel, Klein, Cannondale, and Bridgestone knocking on their door. They grew into providing name selection, color, graphic design, decal design, and prototypes for manufacturers that would be taken to trade shows and then shipped off to be produced.  They also became renowned for restoring bikes of all types and ages, even those over a century old.

Over the last decade, Jim and Susan sustained their long-term passion for CyclArt but wanted to step back from the spotlight of ownership.  They decided to sell under the condition they could remain with the business. HIA Velo acquired CyclArt and its owners with the intent to let CyclArt continue doing what it does best. Specifically for HIA Velo, CyclArt is applying tri-coat colors accomplished through 3 layers: a base coat, and two transparent colors — that’s why they have so much depth.  Jim explains, “The level of skill it takes to apply that is no ordinary job. The color has to be applied very evenly – bicycles are particularly difficult to paint because of the connective joints, and it takes a fair level of skill to keep that even. The bikes will be a key demonstration of a painter’s skill and the hours of hand-sanding it takes to execute.”  CyclArt’s colors come in a wide spectrum of possibilities — from fluid, dimensional, sparkly colors that inspire and pop to deep rich timeless tones.  They create the sense you’re not just investing in a high performance bike, but a work of art, as well.