Thursday, March 4, 2021

steel gravel frame with carbon fork for So-Cal

You are looking at the most popular frame currently in my catalog- steel frame with carbon Enve for painted to match. This is capped off with a Jen Green copper headbadge.The standard features are tapered head tube, flat mount disc brake attachment with internal down tube routing, Enve G-series fork painted to match.
This one is a really nice medium blue and the paint match is very good on the fork. The paint process on the frame and fork are not the same so they cannot be painted at the same time with the same paint. This makes the matching of the color critical-lucky for me I have two painters who are adept at this: Allan Neymark and Joe's bicycle painting.

 The last option on this one are the rear rack mounts-also becoming a more popular addition. Maybe with Covid people have time to plan bike tours for the time when we can do that again.

Steel 29er frame for South County local

Only a few years ago MTB frames were somthing that I hardly ever got orders for. Back in the '80's and '90's , they were the majority of my work load. The trend toard full suspension and carbon fiber pretty much wiped out the market for custom rigid MTB frames,at least in my case. 


That was then and this is now- slack angles, boost spacing and steel-that is what seems to be what people want from me now. Last year I think I built maybe 6-7 of this style frame in 29er and 27.5 but this year looks to double that. It could be that the MTB frame will again be a major part of my annual work tally.
Features from the '80's and 90's are still there to a degree- down tube gussett and wishbone seatstays are things I have been doing since 1987- they worked then and they still work now, although with the larger profile tires getting room for the larger treads takes some extra work. Because of this I'll be raising the price on frames like this-it makes sense as they take quite a bit more work to produce. This one also has the internal seat tube dropper post routing. I'm doing what I can to stay current with the features that are in demand in 2021. 
 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Largest road frame of my career

Every step of this build really made me think. I even had to send the frame back to the painter for a satin clear coat as I had forgotten that request from the customer. I was lucky to get perhaps the very last purple King Inset-8 headset available-everything else was out of stock at the time but the exact headset that I needed was there......a rare bit of luck in 2021.
To build this frame I wound up getting my old jig back from a friend as it had more flexibility to make something with a headtube this long. Once I got the front triangle together I had to transfer the build to my newer jig as it had the thru-axle hardware that the old one didn't . The steerer on the fork had to be extended-fortunately I have a reliable way to do this. It is a Paragon tapered steerer and it is a unicrown flat mount fork with a 12 mm thru-axle. I am building more of these forks lately but this is by far the biggest one ever.
Most of the tubes are from Vari-Wall in Ohio. I had to use a down tube for a top tube as it was the only tube long enough to work. The top tube level measurement is 740 mm. The rider is a hair under 7 feet tall. Everything is off the scale on this bike and I'm sure that tandem gear cables will be needed to hook up the derailleurs. This complexity in the build does not stop with me......the mechanic will have his or her hands full.
 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Steel SSCX with gear option with steel fork going to the east coast

Here's something that I spent much of the 2000-2010 years building. Single speed CX has always been something I have been a proponent of, even when hardly anyone was enthusiastic. I remember the years when 350-500 riders would show up at the SSCXWC and when the single speed class at the nationals was the largest field- maybe it still is !
This frame also has front rack mounts that will work with a variety of racks. Looks like this one will do multiple duties as a racer and as a commuter. The frame and fork will also fit some pretty big tires, up to 700x45. 
I miss my SSCX that I built about 12 years ago. Even though I know that it is in good hands I still think that I had some real fun on that bike and even now that I'm 65 I still think about building another one-I have the original drawing........first I have to build a few customer frames- I think the list is up to 60 now.....might have to wait on that single speed.....
 

Monday, February 8, 2021

CX frame in aluminum with painted to match Enve fork

This is pretty much a world cup CX  model but with rear rack mounts. The tubing is the same set I use in our team bikes and the geometry is for aggressive riding in mud,turf, snow or whatever is in front of you.
The stuff on that rack better be strapped on tightly because this bike is not made for only smooth roads or slow speeds.

 

Reynolds 531 lugged frame for the east bay

I built this frame back in December and am surprised that I neglected to post it when it went out. This was a custom order, the only lugged frame for the year 2020 for me. I used a mix of NOS and new 531 tubing throughout. The lugs and fork crown are very old - the fork crown might be from the '60's. The lugs are likely from the late '70's and the cast BB shell is a mid '80's piece. I got these materials from a number of sources- departed frame builders and people who still had stashes of the old stuff available for sale.
In 2019 I made two Reynolds frames and they are now built up with period-correct parts in my shop. I'm thinking of selling one of the bikes- stay tuned for that. Back to this one- the owner has bought two other frames from me over the last decade or so. He does some very long rides and was looking to get a bike that would have relatively modern equipment but still have the look and ride of an old 531 frame. I do hope that this one has a bit less 'whip' than the old PX-10's or Raleighs of the day. The fact that I use low temperature silver solder and very carefully fit tubes and lugs might help this one feel a bit more solid. The 531 tubes are not super light and do have ample wall thickness to resist denting and feeling too flexy.
Still, the aim is to build something that rolls smoothly down the road , soaking up the bumps so that the long miles don't take as much of a toll on the body.

 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Steel 29er single speed/geared frame for Salinas, Calif.

The rider of this frame is 5'6" so I had to do something to get more standover. The reverse-curve top tube is what I have used quite a few times in the last couple of decades and here was a good pace to employ the design.
The frame has Paragon sliding dropouts so it can be run single speed, geared, QR or thru-axle. There's also dropper post routing.

 

Steel disc brake road frame for Los Altos, Calif.

I just sent this one out yesterday- the frame is paired with an Enve disc/road fork that was painted to match. This was supposed to be a full build from me but I was unable to get the build kit in a timely manner so the owner has had me send it to a shop that fortunately had the build kit in stock- a real rarity these days.
The tube set is a mix of Columbus Spirit and Life and the sterling silver headbadge is from Jen Green as always. A bike like this built up with Ultegra and alloy wheels is usually less than 20 lbs., even with the discs. Notice the third bottle mount- my guess is that this bike might see the back side of Mt. Hamilton or the Livermore valley this summer

 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Steel classic road frame and fork for Burlingame

From the Columbus tubes to the crowned fork, this frame is an example of a frame style I have been doing for three decades. Before this style I only built lugged road frames and a few fillet brazed.
The paint is from Dark Matter finishes and is really stunning in the sun. The customer opted for non-powdercoat and the wet-applied paint really does show off the details. The frame is capped off with a Jen Green silver head badge.
About 8-10 years ago I had a frame like this that go submitted to the now defunct Bicycle Times magazine. I miss that bike- I really rode the heck out of it. I hope that this customer enjoys the ride of this one.
 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

The largest steel road frame I have ever built

The rider of this frame is just a hair under 7'.  The fitter gave me some numbers that were off the chart and I knew that building this frame and fork would take all the brain power and resourcefulness that I could muster.
For one thing, with an effective top tube of 740 mm there were not many tubes long enough to build the frame. I was lucky that I had stocked up with some 38mm Vari-Wall down tubes-these worked well for the top and down tube. The head tube stock I was able to get in a 3' length.
There's really too much to talk about in the process of making this frame a reality- I had to use two frame jigs and figure out ways to make tooling work that was never intended for something on this scale. I am fortunate that I have a lot of tools and years at my disposal to attempt a build like this. I hope that the rider is pleased with it. It might be the only bike he has ever ridden that was big enough.
 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Steel disc brake road bike for Pacific Grove

Currently there's a real problem getting components for complete bike builds. To build this bike I had to be resourceful getting all the parts - the original plan was a full Ultegra build with some wheels from a small company.
If you look,you won't see much Ultegra stuff, only the brake calipers. I was able to get Dura Ace levers to mate up with the calipers but really had to improvise on the derailleurs. Front is a 105 and the rear is a Metrea......ever hear of it ? It's 11 speed and it does pretty much the same thing as a short cage Ultegra. I could not get an Ultegra or any Shimano crank but fortunately Praxis works is just down the street from me and their stuff is fantastic. I got some Shimano RS-770 wheels and they are set up tubeless. There's  lots more scrounging stories with this bike but I won't bore you with them.....it was a real journey but it is a rolling bike.


 

Monday, January 18, 2021

7005 CX frame for San Fransisco

This one was built to replace a frame that was destroyed by a collision with a car. The fade paint was done by Joe's bicycle painting in Watsonville, Calif. I think that they have the '90's fade faithfully replicated on this one- looks like an Ibis from that period.
The Enve G-series fork has been painted to match-as you can see, the location of the fade on the frame and fork matches up well. I'm hoping that the rider of this frame is luckier with riding in traffic than he was with the last edition.

 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Junior team CX race frames

I think there's probably 3-4 Nor-Cal district champions on our junior CX team. Both of these guys are real talents and hopefully 2021 will see a CX race season. Both of these frames are 7005 aluminum and weigh about 3 lbs.
I'm starting off 2021 with a small batch of aluminum but will go right back to steel soon, maybe next week. The steel side of the list is over twice as long as the aluminum side now so I really need to get rolling . I have made plans to shrink my work schedule a bit but those plans have not been implemented quite yet. With the upcoming shop move I really have to keep things going for awhile- maybe by the time I get into my new shop I can breathe a bit easier. Being a senior citizen has made me think that my capacity for doing so much is decreasing and I really don't want to hit the wall- I would like to keep the quality level as high as possible ........that does not happen when one is stressed to meet unrealistic deadlines. I hope that everyone can be patient !

 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Special orders don't upset us....

At least in this case it was not upsetting. A local rider requested a rim-brake steel CX frame and fork with a few non-standard features. For one, the fork is a crowned design- one which I do build regularly but not that much for this type of frame. Next feature that is seldom part of a CX frame are the wishbone seat stays.
While these things might not appear on most of my steel CX bikes they are well within my comfort zone to do and they don't take away from the functionality of this frame. The fork looks like it has chrome accents but it is actually a powdercoat color called 'Superchrome' . It really has the look of nickel plating. I'm not sure how durable it is but it looks pretty nice in this case. It might be fun to build a lugged track frame and fork and have the whole thing with this finish. Maybe that might happen later this year, provided it does not get in the way of fulfilling orders for people on the list.
The frame also has three sets of bottle bosses and there are eyelets for front and rear racks. Perhaps there's a bike tour in this frames future.