Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Steel crit frame for S.F.

I don't build many of these as it takes a pretty tough person to really ride one . This is oversize Columbus Spirit tubing and it should behave almost like an aluminum frame with tons of power transfer. That comes with less compliance but for what this bike is built for , all these aspects are what one should expect. 
Being that it is steel tubing and much thinner walled than aluminum , it will ride differently. It should be a bit more forgiving over the bumps but it still will be a very stiff ride, especially in this smaller size. I hope that the customer really likes it. It was interesting to build for sure.

 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Steel CX/Gravel frame with Enve fork for Merced

Complete with the Jen Green copper head badge this one is typical of what I build the most of . There are variations such as versions with rack mounts, versions for 650 wheels and others.
The tube set is pretty stout being .8.5.8 wall pretty much throughout. This helps with resistance to denting and crumpling upon impact. People tend to ride bikes like this really hard so I try to build them to last.

 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

There might be a wait........

Some time around maybe 1992 I got the word from a local racer/mechanic that he had an old Colnago frame that needed some repair work done. Having repaired a number of Italian frames in the 13-14 odd years since I had first lit a torch I figured that I would take on the job. The repair was to replace the top tube. There was a fairly large dent in the tube but I was sure that I could roll it out and fill it and make it pretty much disappear. The racer said "No, I'm willing to pay for a new top tube-that's what I want." What you see in the photo is what is left of the seat lug after I heated it up and pulled out the top tube. What I didn't know was that there were pins through the lug and the tube so when I heated up the tube and pulled, the lugs literally ripped apart. 
Upon getting this result I told the racer " I'm really not sure what to do to finish this job- it totally went south and I'll need some time to figure out how to make it right." The racer told me that he was not worried and that he was in no hurry. I hung the frame up in my shop and a couple of years went by. I would look up at it and think : "What the hell am I going to do with this thing ?" I was stumped......the fact that the customer didn't care how long it took made it easier for me to procrastinate indefinitely, it seemed. 

At one point I tired to contact the customer but his former employer told me that he had moved out of state and had left no forwarding address or contact info. He was kind of a sketchy guy so this was not unexpected. I figured that he would call me when he needed to.

Well, he didn't. I had this frame through a couple of shop moves and nearly three decades went by. As chance would have it, one of his old friends came by the shop about a year ago . I asked the friend if he knew the racer's whereabouts to which he replied: "Oh......he died of a drug overdose a few years ago." Now I was really off the hook- the frame was worthless unless I did the work to make it roll again. There was no fork with it so I would have to cob together a reasonable facimile of a 1970 Colnago Super fork. Fortunately, a builder friend of mine had a fork crown with clover cutouts in it that looked pretty good and I had the right blades and dropouts. Another builder friend had some clover cutout lugs I could use to re-build the seat lug and replace the upper head tube lug. All I needed was to make the time to do the job. 

While it took the better part of 28 years for me to get around to fixing this frame , it only took about 3-4 hours to do all the work. Having all that experience under my belt in those 28 years really helped. I wanted to fix this frame and make it a rideable bike. I had the right decals and had the frame powdercoated in the same silver as the original paint. I took note of the decals and placed them where the old ones were to really try to make it look authentic. I'll admit- it is not perfect but I don't think that there's too many people left out there who can properly do this work. I know that if I didn't fix this frame, there's a really good chance that nobody would.


I decided to build it up with stuff from close to the period when the bike was built- that is except for the rims. I wanted it to be a rider, not a wall hanging. There was a time when this bike was raced really hard back in the '70's and I knew that in its day it was a really special bike-not like later bikes of the same make. I wanted to honor that with how I did the repair and to a large degree how I built it up.
After the whole bike was built I really didn't know quite what to do with it. It was a bit too small for me and seeing as how the previous owner had died, I could not feel good about selling it. I came up with the right plan- I had a friend who had had bad luck with getting bikes stolen . He had lost more than a few really nice custom bikes over the years......just bad luck for the most part. He had sold off some bikes as well and one of them was a really beat up Colnago of the same size as this one in the photos-my restoration project. My friend lamented online at how he missed his old red Colnago and wondered where it wound up. I remembered that bike and how beat and sketchy it was.....the plan was clear: Give this bike to my friend. 

About my friend: He's pretty much a lifer in the bike business. He constantly does stuff for other people, always shows up when there's a crisis or something that everyone else is neglecting that needs to be done.He is the most giving person I know and he never asks anyone for anything. I though that it was about time that someone did something for him- that someone was me. 

I have been very fortunate to be able to make a living as a bicycle frame builder. It has not always been a happy journey but the help and support I have gotten from the Santa Cruz cycling community and some of my fellow builders had made this unlikely work path possible. As I near the time when I'll be slowing down and cutting back on my work hours I feel that this last part of my career has to involve some giving back to the people that have figured large in my work life. This is one small step in that direction......too bad that someone died before getting their frame back but in my mind I think that this bike is really where it is supposed to be. 


 

7005 team frame for a local rider

This one has a painted to match Enve G-series fork and the original 1984 yellow and black logos that I sketched up back over 35 years ago. This was the only color combination I offered for nearly a decade.


The build will be a mixture of Shimano Di II and Easton components. It will be tricky to fit the wires into the shell and have them miss the 30 mm spindle on the Easton crank but I have done it before- it is some work but I'm ready to take it on. 

 

Friday, September 4, 2020

Rim brake steel CX/Gravel frame and fork

This frame has some nods to the pre-disc era- a crowned fork with raked blades and smaller diameter main tubes. I really like building frames like this and am happy that they are staging a bit of a comeback this year.
This one is made to take some 700x40 tires and it probably could fit a bit larger ones as well.
The short taper Columbus stays have really become a staple on my steel frames.
 

Monday, August 24, 2020

27.5 trail/dirt jumper for EAST BAY



 This steel MTB frame is long and low and has boost spacing. The max rear tire is 2.6 and there's routing for a dropper post. The frame will be going to a rider on the CX team- he's a junior with a lot of talent. We have what I feel are some of the best junior racers in Nor-Cal and this guy is one of the very best.





Tuesday, August 18, 2020

SSCX frame for Golden, Co.

This aluminum CX race frame is bound for the Rockies. It is fitted with ADG sliders for a flat mount rear brake caliper. This is the first set of these inserts I have had in the shop and the cable routing is a bit odd but functional. 
The frame has a copper Jen Green badge and will take a 41 mm x 52mm integrated headset like the bulk of the team frames. One like this is usually just a shade over 3 lbs. 
 

Friday, July 31, 2020

Show bike for sale

 My friend Jeff got this bike from me about 2 years ago and it was displayed at the Sacramento NAHBS. It is a disc road bike with full Dura Ace hydraulic except for Santa Cruz 'Reserve' carbon wheels. The frame has some special touches- the Dark Matter finishes paint work and some machined/profiled rear dropouts -a treatment unique to this one frame. Jeff has too many bikes and this one has to go-it is in nearly new shape and has been cleaned and tuned up.
 Here are the numbers: Frame stack 611 .
 Frame reach 380  .
BB drop 67 mm
Top tube 567 level
Seat tube 563 to top
Chain stay 412
Seat angle 73
Head angle 73
 This is right between a rim brake road bike and a gravel bike, both of which Jeff owns so it is not getting used much. The asking price is $6,000 and you can contact Jeff directly at 831-426-2313 at work on weekdays. He has the bike at his shop- it comes complete except for pedals. If you are 6' with long legs and a shorter torso, this is the bike for you. At the price it is a real bargain for a show bike with this level of parts and workmanship.





Monday, June 15, 2020

Steel gravel frame for local

 This one has a painted to match Enve G-series fork. The tubing is mostly Columbus 'Life' and 'Spirit' mixed to provide lightness without making the frame overly delicate.
 The headset is the King tapered 'No-threadset' and the bike is set up for mechanical 1X shifting and flat-mount disc brakes. This is probably the most popular type of frame I am building in this year of 2020. I think that I have built nearly 20 already so it looks like I might exceed the previous record of 27 of this type of frame in one calendar year. Total frames built in 2020 as of last week is 47 so I think that this year might be above average in spite of the Covid-19 virus and all it has brought and taken away.
I guess the thing that makes bikes still viable is that one is not likely to contract the virus while riding. Thank goodness for that, otherwise we would all be quite sick.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Steel classic style CX frame and fork

 Back in the late '90's I built lots of frames like this-cantilever brakes, level or near level top tube and room for 700x45 tires. Around 1991 there were only a few of us building frames like this- now they are very common , even if they have had extended upgrading such as disc brakes and carbon tapered steerer forks. That said, the geometry has not changed very much.
 This one will no doubt be fitted with genuine cantilever brakes instead of V-style brakes. It also has a cable stop for a front der. , a component that has gone out of favor by most bike brands in the last few years.
The fork is set up to fit a number of styles of racks. The tubing is a mix of Columbus for the most part with some really light stays - the rider is pretty light so this should , along with the smaller diameter main tubes provide a supple ride. Put some big tires on this one and you won't feel a lot of the bumps.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Steel all road frame

 This one has a 44 MM ID head tube and is set up for Di II.


Saturday, May 9, 2020

Two steel gravel frames with custom head badges

 This couple wanted forks panted to match - that is a fairly common request but they went a little further than most.These frames are adorned with custom ordered Jen Green badges. These badges are not the ones normally seen on my bikes but one-off customer designed and unique.
The two badges are not the same and actually arrived at the shop about a month apart. I only got the one on the left the day before these frames were to be picked up ! This husband-and-wife pair of frames are being built up at the Bicycle Outfitter  in Los Altos, Calif. This venerable shop was well established before I built my first frame in 1978 so these frames are in experienced hands. I hope the mechanic isn't too upset at how tight I put the right side down tube gear cable adjuster-I wanted it to be welded onto the gusset, rather than the down tube itself to reduce stress on a very high-stress part of the frame.
 You can see the adjuster in this photo. The frames are made for flat mount brakes and both have internal down-tube rear brake line routing.The blue frame is larger and has the newer logo. The wife's frame was too small for the newer logo so it has the classic logo-both are in gold.I put on gold seat collars to compliment the decals. I ran out of gold signature logos so I just hand-signed the frames with a gold paint pen the way I did when I was too broke to have decals decades ago.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

CX frame with fender mounts for Portland

 An aluminum CX frame with fender mounts is becoming a popular thing on my build list.
 This one has down tube cable routing like a road frame, giving me the idea that this one will do commute duties as well as the odd CX race, as long as we have a race season in 2020. With Covid-19 that is an uncertainty.
That said, this one is going out UPS today so the owner will get a jump on being ready for the mud between the course tape in the CX capitol of the new world.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Team bike for sale

 Well , it is probably sold by the time you see this but I'm putting up the photos anyway. All 5'2" of Caroline Nolan rode this bike to many wins, some of which I got to witness. She has newer bikes now so this one goes up for sale. Other than the fact that it is pre-thru-axle and flat mount, it differs little from what she rides today.
 I built up a more gravel-oriented tubeless carbon clincher wheelset for it so the bike can wear a few hats instead of just being a CX race bike.
I'm looking forward to making Caroline a new edition-assuming that there will be a 2020 CX season. Lets all hope for that and the end of this virus soon.