Saturday, January 29, 2011

Low standover 'cross frame and owner

Here's the completed bike ready for the first ride. The bike will get broken in on the local trails.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Team Carbon , newest edition

This is the 2011 version of the Team Carbon. The front triangle is Easton Scandium and the rear stays are Columbus " Super Muscle", the top of the Columbus carbon line. This is pretty much the top of the line racing frame that I build , although it is less expensive than either the lugged or fillet brazed " Signature" steel frames that I build. Soon I'll put up a photo of the fillet version in 29er form.
The stays are not glued in yet, just put in place for the photo. The fitting of the stays is critical for alignment and durability. I used to get really nervous when I built these frames for the first time.
The materials on this frame are the best I can get and the cost is not low for all this fancy stuff. The result is a sub 3 lb. frame that really goes well on all day rides but still feels like a full-on race bike.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The 2010 'cross season is a wrap

Here's the front der. after the last race and after the bike wash. The hose didn't have enough power to cut through the Watsonville turf.
If it looks like the chain is stuck , it is pretty much stuck. The dried mud is still on there even after turning the hose on it twice. I'm going to have to use a screwdriver to get it all out. The bike really felt a lot heavier in the last two laps when I had to carry it up the run-up.
For reasons unknown, I was extremely successful this season finishing no worse than 6th in any race and getting onto the podium 13 times in 18 races. It isn't my job to be a good racer , just a good bike builder. To my surprise I was able to do both this season. Hooray for me ! Don't blink, you'll miss my microsecond in the sun.

Scandium BB-30 'cross frame for Ohio

Yes, it's never time not to build 'cross frames, at least not for this frame builder. This one is bound for Parma, Ohio-the city of one of my suppliers Bringheili bikes , purveyors of everything Dedaccai.

-It's's's BB-30 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

26" last !

This may look a lot like the previous frame but it is not the same. Because the proportions are really similar along with the features it would be hard from a photo to tell them apart. This is an actual 26" wheel mountain bike frame-yes, I do still make them. I still ride them and do not own a 29er, at least not yet. This frame has some US made True Temper OX tubing and a little bit of some specialty stuff from Nova Cycles supply. Nova is the only company bothering to have steel wishbone seatstays made-a good thing for me as this style of stay hs been a feature of my bikes for 24 years.
This frame is going to live in Chicago. I have no idea where the trails are near Chicago but I'm sure this bike will be up to any abuse it is put through.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

29er ready to ship to the powdercoater

I know....the photos aren't very good but sometimes I finish late in the day and the result are these odd images of a completed frame at sunset. If you look carefully you can see the guides all lined up on the top tube. Once they are welded on, they are there.....straight or not ! This time I got it right.
These chainstays are gigantic....I hope the front derailleur dosen't hit the drive-side stay. It shuldn't as this bike will be 2x10 and have a higher fr. der. position than a micro drive triple.

Too bad the flash washed out all the detail as these welds were really nice. I'll do better next time with the camera.

Steel 29er in progress

I put up lots of photos of raw welded frames but I seldom have photos of the 'fit-up' stage. These two photos show the mitered union og the two tubes in the pre-weld state. I show this to illustrate the need for a very uniform and tight fit between the tubes. If there are any gaps there will be distortion when the weld cools. In theory, the unitform tight miter will yeild a stronger and better aligned joint. I always try for the best fit up possible. When a frame is lugged, the fit is hidden inside the lug , making it difficult to know if the fit-up was good. With a welded bike there is nowhere to hide-everything is out in the open. This is why I am puzzled why some folks consider welding less of a skill than brazing with lugs. No doubt, there are less steps with a welded bike but there is the need for precision and the margin for error is tiny.
In these photos the front triangle portion of the frame is in two sub-asseblies: Top and head tube, down and seat tube ( to B.B. shell ). This is a critical stage where if done correctly, the frame can wind up with proper angles and no twist. If the inside angles are off a little, there can be all sorts of issues with alignment, steering and stability. I take my time at this critical juncture as I have learned from many years of doing this-hurry this part and you'll wind up with a nice piece of scrap !

Monday, January 17, 2011

Very small MTB frame and fork

I used to build lots of tiny steel MTB frames in the early to mid '90's before the big manufacturers decided that small sizes were worth stocking. This one is unusual in that it has S&S couplers and it is made for smaller profile tires , maxing out at 26x1.8".
The customer did a wise thing and went for a disc brake setup. I think this is the way to go on really small frames as there will be no issues with the cables or the heel room that rim brakes would present.
there are rack mounts front and rear so the bike could carry a pretty sizeable load.
Here are the couplers and there's even a front derailleur boss as the equipment on the bike will be a mix of Shimano Ultegra and XT components.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More forks today

Today I'm in fork mode but the fork in the picture is not for one of my bikes. Its for a 3Rensho and I really hope I captured the look good enough considering what I was able to get in the way of materials. The crown is one I haven't used for many years but I might start using them more as the fit of the tubes was perfect. I also liked the way the crown heated and how easily the whole piece came together.
Even though the crown is shiny it is not stainless steel. I'm not a big proponent of stainless and try to avoid working with it as it reacts to heat differently than most bicycle steels . With stainless one has to use special fluxes which in my opinion are inferior than standard flux. i don't feel that I can get as good a result with stainless, although painted steel is not as flashy. There you go, I said it-take it with a grain of salt......If you are wondering, the steerer was brazed with bronze, the blades and dropouts were silver soldered with 56 % and I did no cleanup on the shorelines . A coat of paint would effectively hide any work I did along the edges of the brazing so there was no incentive to work it to death-also , it saved this bike mechanic customer some money
These drouputs are pretty fancy but they are actually about the easiest to build with. Again, these fit really nice and the silver solder flowed really well.
Before I went home I built this unicrown 'cross fork.........definitely more my stock and trade. It is another 1" steerer like the other fork , and like the other fork it is going on an older bike.....this time it is one of mine from about 1993.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Major elbow grease

I spent many hours on this frame and stem today......filing bronze fillets. I didn't used to like this job but it has been many years since I have done one like this so it was an interesting departure from my regimen. This stem is made with some new macined parts from Paragon machine works. The stuff is a little heavy and not cheap but these pieces represent a huge leap forward in quality of anything I have built stems with in the previous 26 year......that's as long as I have been building them !
Any frame builder will tell you that this area of the frame is the most labor intensive cleanup spot. I think I devoted about two hours to it. I think I did a better job than the last time-when was that ? Hmmm.........2004 ? I honestly don't remember !
Unfortunately the camera flash kicks up the glare and reflections. At the end of the day it was the best I could do with the fading light and not a heck of energy left. If I had finished earlier I could have photographed the frame outdoors.
At least this side view of the headtube came out pretty nice. There are many hidden touches in this frame that are there to give the longest possible life to this old style unique 29er. That's may look like a frame from 1985 but it is a much more modern bike functionally. Frames like this are something I seldom build and are not inexpensive. I do wind up working about four times as long on a frame like this but when it is being enjoyed by the customer , it will all be worth it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

1978 Schwinn Paramount

I'll bet most of you don't have one of these. Either do I for that matter. A friend just purchased this bike from the original owner for the grand sum of $ 75. I think the pedals alone are worth more than that. The rear Der. had a '73 stamp on it but the original bill of sale was dated 1978. Perhaps this bike spent many years hanging in a shop waiting to be ridden. I guess it has sat for a good number of years but now it is getting used a bit. Other than the rotten old tires and some funky shifting , this bike is pretty choice. The front wheel is mysteriously reason given by the seller. Odd, as the entire rest of the bike is stock.

Working for my supper

Brazing a frame together is a bit of work but you are only part way done if you want to really get the joints finished out so that the frame winds up with that 'seamless' look. These shots are brazed joints prior to the finishing process that will take a good number of hours. Back in the late '80's I did so much brazing that I got to a point where finish work really wasn't needed except in a few spots. The brazing on this frame came out a lot better than I would have thought , seeing as I have not fillet brazed in about 6 years other than a short demo I did last year.
I guess once you do something hundereds of times the skill stays with you for the most part. I will not have to labor as long as I was thinking looking at some of this brazing. I'll be honest, I was sure I would be filing down big globs of bronze here and there !
Here's the whole frame, a disc brake 29er 'Signature" model -probably the only one I'll build in 2011. It really brings me back to the old days, and I do mean old days ! I'm talking first season of Miami Vice days , Member's only jackets , all that stuff.
I'm so used to welding that I think my tig technique has melded with my old brazing technique and created some bastard child skill that might be better than my old style from the '80s.
Either way, it sure is fun to build something out of the ordinary.......of course, once I start the laborious filing I might not be so chipper. At least I have new files, lots of sunshine and a newly fixed stereo to get me through it all.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Last frame of 2010

2010 ended with a tig steel road frame with a couple of nods to the past: # 1, I used some small collars on the head tube that resembled the style on a lot of bikes in the early '90's. # 2, there's a Tange wishbone seatstay casting , much like mid to late '80's road bikes. I have about 70 of these castings left over from when Bontrager in Santa Cruz got shut down. I think I have only used about three of these in the last 12 years.

The tubeset is a mixture of Columbus Nivacrom stays and True Temper S-3 main tubes. The whole thing weighs in at 3 bl. 11 oz. pretty light for a frame this size, the equivalent of a 57 cm.