Friday, December 29, 2017


 Maybe I'm compulsive about this work-I think that I set a precedent with the total of frames I have built this year. Last year I thought that I would build 100 but I didn't quite make it. This year I didn't go to Ashland to teach my two week frame building class so I had the thought that it would be possible to build 100 frames in a year .

In September I got bogged down with some projects -at that point it looked like 100 would not happen. Job one is to do quality work-the goal of 100 was pretty far from the top of the list. I didn't want to hurry on any build but I did want to put in the time, be efficient and not waste moves. If I did this I was still thinking that I could hit 100 if I didn't make too many mistakes.
 Here it is, just a few days left in the year and yesterday I finished this frame in the photos- # 100.I also built the matching fork. This was nearly four days of work with a few fits and starts, some tubes that went into the scrap pile and plenty of changes on the fly. I took some very old lugs that I bought from Bruce Gordon and tweaked and bludgeoned into this tiny road frame. Most of the materials predate when I built my first frame. The tubes and some of the fittings were given to me by people who had plans to build a frame back in the '70's but never went through with it.
I feel like I'm batting cleanup-taking stuff that has been sitting in boxes for nearly four decades and turning it all into something that really didn't need to exist, except for the fact that all the materials were supposedly destined to be used for something eventually. There's a lot of old frame tubes sitting in garages that represent a time when building a bicycle frame was done with hand tools, a piece of string and a measuring tape-some sort of torch and a lot of time. With only a few exceptions , places where bicycle frames are made do not employ these methods or materials. It's a craft from another time for the most part.
Stepping back into this world was a real eye opener. It had been a number of years since I had built a lugged frame. I didn't forget the process-but with this frame I pushed the materials into a shape that they didn't want to be-it was a real fight. I can't say that I completely won the fight but I'll know for sure when the bike is assembled and gets it's first miles. I put an unreasonable amount of work and really endangered my chances of finishing it before the end of the year with all the time I spent but I'm happy that I chose a very challenging project to cap off one of the most productive years in the history of my shop.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Finishing off the year

 This has been a busy year for me-maybe the busiest ever. I did not teach my UBI class last summer so I spent the time in the shop for the most part. These two frames are # 98 and # 99 for the year. I should be starting # 100 later today. This might be the first time I have built 100 frames in a calendar year in nearly a decade. This was not a goal I set out to do back in January but once I got to November it looked like a good chance for it to happen.
My main goal is to do the best job I can on these frames for my customers. I would not try to build 100 in a year if it meant that I was cutting corners or doing sub-standard work to do so. My customers deserve the best I can do all the time. That said, the goal of 100 for the year might just happen. Not sure what # 100 will be- I'll have to contact the next people on the list to find out who's ready. If nobody is ready I have a special project I'll work on. Once # 100 is done I'll have a few days to clean the shop, do recycling and fill boxes of old bike parts to donate to the local bike church. Might be good to start 2018 with a cleaner work space.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

650 adventure MTB for east bay

 This fall saw a few more MTB builds than in recent years. This is one of the more interesting ones as it has internal dropper post routing and rack bosses. The aim of the owner is to have a bike for back woods touring as well local trail riding. This one is steel and it is built to last.
 The headset is a King 'Inset-7' in turquoise but it actually looks more blue- so much that it matches the compression knob on the Fox fork-a nice coincidence.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Fixed gear MTB frame for Kansas

 Yes, that's correct . There's a few people out in Kansas who ride fixed gear off road and this frame is for one of them. He's a guy who really can hurt a bike so his value as a test pilot can not be underestimated. I built him a frame maybe a decade ago and it has been back to the shop for repairs on several occasions. My guess is that eventually this one will be back for repairs,even with the extra efforts I made to make the frame indestructible. No frame is unbreakable-it is my hope that this one comes closer than most.
 The rear wheel will be a 650 and the front a 29er . The rider has done a lot of test rides with all sorts of wheels and he settled on this configuration. This is a first for me and I'm anxious to hear how it rides.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Steel 29er frame for Ohio

 Just in time for Christmas- this one looks like a blue Christmas tree ornament . The frame was ordered with Paragon slider dropouts so that it could do duty as a single speed as well as a geared bike. This one has a modern front end but still has the style of the Team Tig s.l. mountain frame that I have been building for over 25 years.
 The Paragon head tube will house a tapered steerer fork and the rear inserts are for a 12x142 thru-axle. There's a lot on the frame that make it compatible with current components but it is still the basic steel hard tail-a good choice for twisty single track.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Steel SL/CX for the UK

 The team tig SL that I have been building since 1992 has had some changes over the years. Some of the things that were in the original are still there- stable handling and room for big tires.

What is relatively new is the front and rear thru-axles, tapered steerer carbon fork and full-housing zip-tie cable guides Of course, people can order whatever but here's a frame that really speaks to the current build. All the new features make sense, not just from the fact that manufacturers of bicycle parts are changing standards all the time but also to make a better platform for riding in the dirt  . Disc brakes mean less hand and upper body fatigue, thru-axles mean a more secure attachment for the wheels. Yes, change can be a pain for a builder but when the result is a better bike, I'm all for it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Brownie gets a new road frame

 My friend Mark Brown decided to retire his 2003 Al Carbon' road frame and go steel.
This is pretty much an 'Ultimundo' without the fork painted to match. All the other features are there, the internal brake cable , the headbadge and the S-3/ Columbus life tubing mix. The frame is 3 lb. 10 oz. and should build up to a fairly light bike.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mel's bike

I have a friend here in Santa Cruz who I have been riding with since the early '80's. He got his first frame from me in 1989, a Columbus  SLX lugged road racing frame. Since then I have built him a mountain bike and another more modern road frame. I have not built a frame for him since 2006.

 This is something that he has been talking about for a couple of years- a mixed terrain bike that is light and has a wide range of gears and disc brakes. This is an aluminum frame with a carbon Enve fork joined by a Cane Creek 110 headset. The cockpit is Zipp service course.The saddle and tape are from Selle Anatomica. The drive train is a mix of Shimano with Dura Ace hydraulic levers mated to R-785 calipers.
The wheels are ones I built with rims from Light Bicycle and Industry 9 hubs. This is a really fast wheel set at a decent price. The XTR rear der. is made compatible with the Dura Ace shifters by the addition of a Wolftooth 'Tanpan' pulley devise. Lots went into this bike for sure. Mel just turned 70 yesterday-don't think that he's not going to shred on this thing today.

Monday, September 25, 2017

It's a race !

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Steel disc brake Di II road frame for Auburn, Wa.

 I have built a number of bikes for this rider. He's been on the top of the national podium twice but you would not hear that from him. He's a humble guy who can really shred on a bike just for the fun of it.
 My hope is that he has a ton of fun on this one-it's about as current as I can get in a steel road frame with the flat mount brake, tapered steerer carbon fork and internal Di II routing. It's not heavy, under 4 lbs. for the frame which is very light for anything I build with a disc brake. The tubeset is very much the 'Ultimundo' set and I'll be interested to see how it hold up to some pretty serious use.

Steel big tire road frame for Santa Monica

 This steely ride will fit 700x33 tires, maybe even 35's. The frame and fork are made for 49-59 mm reach caliper brakes. Back when I was a teenager all road bikes had brakes with this reach.

 The fork has one of my favorite crowns, the Pacenti design Mitsugi style.It's a classic flat top road crown similar to what one would see on some Masi frames from the '70's.
The pump peg and chain hanger definitely tie the frame to an older era when all bicycles were fitted with a full size pump.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Aluminum CX frame for Chicago

 With luck this one will go out UPS today. It is a 7005 aluminum CX frame with a Ritchey WCS carbon fork painted to match. This frame shows that rim brakes are not dead yet !

 One of the standout features is the sterling Jen Green headbadge, not seen often on aluminum frames.
This one will see some muddy times in the greater Chicago area for sure.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Steel big tire CX/Gravel bike for SF

 This one will get some NOX rims on White Industry hubs with Bruce Gordon Rock 'n Roll tires next week. The frame has Prestige chain stays which provide a ton of tire room.
 The drive train is Sram CX-1 Force, simple and pretty much to go-to 1X setup for this kind of bike.
 The fork is an Enve painted to match. This is one of my more favorite shades, one that I used on my fourth frame back in 1979.
And here's the happy owner....hope that he has many great adventures on this machine.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Steel Di II disc brake road frame

 This is a first for me , at least in one way-this frame is built for a flat mount disc caliper, one I haven't even seen yet. The customer for this frame will be doing tech demo's for Shimano and the bike will have the new Dura Ace Di II disc group.
 Most likely there will be a tapered Enve road-disc fork on it. The frame is just a hair under 4 lbs. making it one of the lighter steel disc brake frames I have ever built.
If the owner winds up not liking it that won't be a's my size !

Monday, June 19, 2017

Full build for sale-Gravel bike in steel

 Every once in awhile I have an extra frame and parts laying around so I was able to put together a really nice build for someone who wants a deal. The frame is my Tig s.l. big tire CX/Gravel rig with a Whiskey carbon fork. The bike has Sram CX-1 Force drivetrain with Red levers. The wheels are Easton EA-70 and the tires are 700x40 WTB Nanos set up tubeless. The top tube is 525 and the seat tube is 440 c/t/c. The head tube is 115 so this bike would be good for a 5'5" rider. The bars are 40 cm and the stem is 90. The frame also has rack mounts so it would make a good adventure bike.
 This one is in the team color with gold bits, just like our race bikes. Call me at the shop at 831-429-8010 if you are interested. I'm asking $ 2,800. This bike would sell for $ 4,400 if you ordered it today.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Visit to Bruce Gordon cycles

Here's where Bruce Gordon has been building bicycle frames, forks, stems, racks, toe clips......many things and all done at the highest level of quality ever seen in the craft.
 This is the lunch table supported by a number of old dead frames-a number of them are Bridgestones....very popular with old MTB enthusiasts but prone to breaking. They make for a pretty interesting and solid table.
 Here's one view of the shop space with a large work table and some of the tooling.
 Here are some of the machines, a vertical and horizontal mill , along with the fork jig.
 The two Schnozola frames that Bruce powdercoated. I drove up to Petaluma to pick these up along with some of the build parts that Bruce ordered for the two bikes.
 Upstairs frame storage. I thought that I had a lot of bikes and frames in my shop- Bruce's collection dwarfs my 30+ years of accumulation.
 One of Bruce's many distinctive awards. This is the fabled " Golden toilet seat" from Interbike about 20-odd years ago. You had to be someone special to get one of these.
 Here's the man in his office getting the invoicing in order .
 Bruce has every bike that he built for himself since the very beginning and he has them on display in the upstairs showroom. Some of these bikes were ones that he rode and some were special projects for the bike shows. They are all of them distinctive and stylish without being overly ornate.
 Here's Bruce's very first frame built in 1974. This one looks like it got ridden a ton. I can't say that about my first frame as it was not that much fun to ride.
 Here's some of the collection with each bike and frame with a card stating the year of manufatcure.
 Here are more of the displayed bikes from the personal collection.
 Here's one in my size.....if only I had the $ 7,800 for it. There are a lot of carbon bikes from China that cost more than this. The workmanship is evident in the fork and stem as well as the frame. It is breathtakingly  beautiful. Very few people on the planet have created bikes like this and none that have this aesthetic harmony, at least to my view.
Most people do not know this but Bruce has two victories in bowling tournaments as these trophies attest to. Man of many talents !