Thursday, December 30, 2021

Last project of 2021

This is an old bike carcass I inherited about two years ago and have been meaning to make it into a rideable bike. I am using a day or two this week to make it happen. The frame has no markings so I don't know what brand it is-all I know is that it must be British as the BB is made in England and bikes of this period usually had components from the country of origin of the frame. I doubt that this is US made.
The frame and fork look to be from the era 1915-1930. I look at it and think it might be from the '20's so it is nearly a century old and has probably been in storage for most of that time.
I have a good deal of old parts so I was able to get a crankset and hubs that look to be roughly the right stuff. I'm using modern rims and tires so I can ride it without worry.

I will most likely replace the bars and stem with something more appropriate. For now I'm just using what I have to get it rolling and see what a bike from this time period rides like. Should be interesting 

Here's the BB spindle after I cleaned it up a bit.
This BB cup was incrusted in decades old dirt- I was surprised that I was able to get it out of the frame. The grease was like shellac- totally dried out and solid. The bearing surfaces have some rust damage but are still operative- not bad for 100 year old stuff.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Sharing the experience

The time between Christmas and new years in my shop is usually spent doing projects that have nothing to do with the business. This period of a few days is what I like to use to do projects that have been on my mind during the year but have not been started because of the work load. Right now the shop is for all purposes shut until after the 1st of the year. Above is the start of the project- an old steel BB shell in its raw state. Below is what it looked like after we put some hand and machine work into it to make it nicer looking. 
These few days I would be spending showing Brendan - the guy who pretty much runs the CX team and puts on our race weekend - how a lugged frame is built. He has already built nearly 20 fillet brazed frames but had not attempted a lugged frame. I figured that I should show somebody what I have learned after all these years. UBI, the school where I taught an annual frame building class has decided to stop doing frame building classes and concentrate on mechanics training . If I want to teach, I'll have to do it in my own shop. The problem with my shop is that it is not set up for teaching at all. This is pretty much a one-time special occasion and it serves several purposes: # 1, I can show Brendan what I know about lugged building . # 2, we will have a nice road frame to let one of the team juniors use for training. # 3, I'll get to use some of the old materials that have been in my charge for far too long. When I am not building any more I don't want to have a huge stock of old frame building materials that my wife has to dispose of. I want to turn it all into bikes eventually and use as much of the stuff up as possible. 
Here's Brendan putting some heat into that BB shell. He wound up doing most of the brazing-I only did a couple of demos and a few spots of gap-filling after the frame was constructed. I think it will he a really nice riding frame-Columbus tubes , Cinelli head lugs and a Champion BB shell. Much of the materials is from the '70's and had been through a few hands before it got to me. 
Most of the frame was brazed using 50% silver- a little harder to make flow but really good for filling bigger voids inside the stamped steel Cinelli lugs. We built this frame in about 2-1/2 days......not bad considering we had many interruptions of random people stopping by - it's the holidays after all and that stuff is bound to happen. At least there's still a couple of days left in the week and the frame is done. 
This is one project that I'm very happy to have done- I don't know if Brendan will want to build many frames with lugs but at least now he has one under his belt and has a grasp of the procedure. I'll be happier to know that I didn't go to my grave not having passed on this bit of craft knowhow. Lugged frames only represent about 10% of the frames I have built but that still probably 200-300 of them . One learns something after that number , I would like to think. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Single speed/geared EBB 7005 frame with painted to match Whiskey fork for Iowa

Rim brakes and three bottle mounts on this one. The EBB is the ONer from Squid bikes ( Formerly known as the Beer BB ) and is the best on the market. I was lucky to be able to find one of these # 7 forks- stuff is in short supply everywhere now and looks to be that way for the next few months.
The painter did a great job of matching the purple powdercoat of the frame on the wet-painted fork. 


7005 gravel frame for Santa Barbara, Calif.

This one is made for wireless shifting and has three bottle mounts. Theres a good chance that this one will see use in the Unbound Gravel 350 race- yes, that's 350 as in miles. The frame can take fairly large tires, up to 700x42 but will likely have 700x40 tires on it most of the time. 


Saturday, December 18, 2021

Rim brake Di II steel road frame

This nearly all Columbus Spirit tubed frame is unique in that it is made for a direct mount caliper brake. I have never done one of theses but the customer provided the fork for me to use as a guide for putting on the brake bosses. I had to modify a pair of cantilever bosses on my lathe and then to a re-machining to my Anvil brake boss jig so that it would fit under the bridge on the seat stays. I guess I could have installed the bosses before the bridge but being the first time at this there was a bit of a learning curve. It took some extra time but now I know the spec and presumably can do it again. With the move toward disc brakes that seems unlikely but in this business you never know.
In order to keep the weight down and also keep the stack low I used a straight wall 44 mm ID head tube, also a Columbus tube. There's no down tube Di II port as the customer has his own cool way to route the wire from the handlebar. That's all I will say about that- it's his secret to tell if he wants.
Theses steel dropouts also have a replaceable der. hanger- not something one needs much on a steel bike but still a good way to make a frame for the ages.This frame is all of 3 lb. 6 oz.

Steel rod frame, fork and stem

I'm running out of year to post so here's one going out the door next week. This one has my very last True Temper S-3 down tube......yes, this really is the last one of its type. I do have lots of areo S-3 down tubes but they don't really work well for installing bottle mounts- or at least I have yet to find a good way to remedy that. The other tubes are a mix of Columbus Life and Spirit. The frame is around 3 lbs. 8 oz. The fork is pretty light as well, having the lighter steerer that Reynolds offers. 
On the front is the Jen Green head badge that graces many frames that I build . I think I have ordered more of these this year of 2021 than in any previous year. 
And yes- this is all cable shift and rim brake- not the most modern but the timeless road bike in all its simplicity. I ride a bike very similar to this and have no issues with how it rolls......the only think holding my bike back is the rider.