All posts by Brian Chapman

A mixte in Canada

This mixte is now in Canada waiting for the spring thaw (maybe summer?) so it can be pedaled around the streets of Edmonton. This was my first foray into the use of the Berceau mixte stamped lug set. It made me very appreciative of modern cast lugs. I opted not to use the seat tube/lateral stay stamped piece as it didn’t fit the look of the bike. Rather I made a curved bridge to match the ones ahead of it between the lateral stays. The back brake runs along the down tube to create symmetry with the rear shifter cable. The brake cable then runs over a pulley off of the seat binder. Another part to be noted is the kickstand (though I still leaned it against a wall). This is the first Circle A with one! Thanks to Mike Flanigan of A.N.T. for supplying the kickstand plate. The drive train is a Shimano 105 1×10 making it a pretty simple city bike. It’s a fun bike indeed! I definitely gave a longer than normal test ride.


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See the full slideshow.

This Falcon came in with a brush paint job that needed to be redone. Most of the chrome was still in good condition so it was definitely worth saving.


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And Rich brought this Serotta track frameset in for refinishing. He was looking for a dark blue with yellow lug lining. The lug lines were crisp which made for a clean yellow line.


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Alane’s road bike

What better way to celebrate a blizzard than by blogging! At least until the power went out. Hope all you New Englanders survived last weekend’s storm. I had built a light touring/commuter bike for Alane’s husband a couple of years ago and it was now her turn to get a bike. It’s a road bike with fenders and rack mounts so it is quite versatile. The paint was inspired by a bike I built for my wife in 2008 which was a pleasure to do again. To prevent any toe overlap with the fender, I used a slightly longer top tube, slackened the head tube angle, and used a shorter stem (not pictured). And to keep the handlebars at a decent height, I used a lugset with a 6 degree slope in the top tube, left some of the threading at the top of the steerer tube, and a stem with a decent length quill.


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I painted a frame, fork, rack, and stem for Simon at Hanford Cycles. Gloss black with painted on logos. Simon’s a great guy with a wealth of knowledge of bikes and framebuilding. He’s also the official Brooks saddle repair person for North America. If you ever need your Brooks saddle repaired, he’s your guy!


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And I painted a Quickbeam and a handmade frame by Manuel out of NYC. These were solid color framesets that will definitely be stunners when they’re fully built up.


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Next up is the mixte, 29er, touring bike, and other various projects I’ve been working on at the shop this winter!

A couple of repaints and a couple of remakes

Every once in a while a customer wants to make a modification to a Circle A but because they are so happy with the way it rides, they don’t want us to completely rebuild the bike. Here are two cases in point. This gold frameset was originally a yellow single speed. Chris wanted to make it compatible with a 3-speed hub and wanted a couple braze-ons added. Also, the stainless fork crown was originally satin and this time around I gave it a high polish shine. The details are a metallic brown to match the Chris King headset to be installed.

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This bright blue frameset was was originally a white and gray single speed. This time around, I removed the cantilever brake posts, drilled the fork, and added a rear brake bridge for medium reach brakes. The horizontal dropouts were removed and replaced with Ritchey vertical ones and the rear end was re-spaced to 130mm. Other changes include STI cable guides on the downtube, rear derailleur cable guides, and the front derailleur boss. The geometry was essentially a single speed road bike to begin with so this full road iteration will not handle differently but will now be able to climb some big hills!


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Craig brought this 1950s(?) mystery frame to us with the bottom portion of one on the fork blades missing. Our job was to replace the blades with an original set of Reynolds 531 imperial oval pencil blades and recreate the original front dropouts (as only one was still attached). A repaint was obviously needed as well. I reinstalled the pump mounts on the downtube, one of which was hacksawed off at some point. I also reinforced with brass and a small piece of steel tubing the seat binder whose stamped shape had been crushed over the years.


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Jamie’s 90s fillet brazed Charles Roberts came in a bit rusty and with a slightly chipped up red paint job. Looking to make a bike that he loved ride like new, he had me paint the frame black with some silver detailing in the pantographing on the bottom bracket. And voila, it’s a new bike!


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Steve has had this Fuji Dynamic 10 all his life. It’s his favorite bike and with the tubing that it’s built with, it’ll definitely last him a lifetime. It was starting to rust in the areas where the paint had chipped and the chrome was almost completely gone on the fork. I blasted off the loose chrome and painted the bike this Porsche Viper green by his request. I also added the downtube water bottle and shifter bosses.


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My wife and I recently took a trip to Ireland for our first big vacation together. It is a beautiful country but with incredibly narrow roads which would’ve made for some adventurous cycling. While driving on our trip, we came across this “Circle A” rental bicycle parked near the Cliffs or Moher. It’s a little different from the ones we make.


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SJ’s rando frameset

It’s been a while folks so I’ll be posting a flurry a bikes I’ve built over the past couple of months starting…NOW. This light touring/commuter bike was built for SJ. Some of the details include a custom front rack that “hugs” the front brake caliper, semi-horizontal rear dropouts for the option of running it as a single speed, chain slap protector brazed onto the chain stay, and the 20mm extension on the upper head tube lug to get the bars higher in a more aesthetically pleasing manner. The paint is one of my favorite paint jobs I’ve done all year. The colors work so well together on the bike but melted my mind when I tried to visualize it. Check it out.



 
 
 
 

It’s always an honor to paint bikes for Velouria of Lovely Bicycle blog fame. This mixte was made by Bryan Hollingworth of Royal H Cycles. The color is difficult to see but it’s a sage-like green.


 
 
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And I’m still making weird freewheel sizes if anyone needs one for their pedicab/hill climbing/retro-direct bicycle. This a 24 tooth that I made recently.



Robin’s 650b city bike

Robin’s husband Chris surprised her with the gift of a custom bike. But like all custom bikes, they can’t be a complete surprise. Robin was the point person when it came to choosing the details and she made this bike into a beauty. Classic 8×3 Shimano drivetrain with bar end shifters on Paul Component’s thumbies, 650b Velocity wheelset, SKS fenders, and Weinmann brakes with brazed on pivots and retrofitted spring adjusters are just some of the highlights. The silvery blue that she chose contrasts beautifully with the red head tube and the gold lug lining. A truly classic bicycle.



 
 
 
 
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Joe brought this Raleigh Supercourse in for a repaint more so than a restoration. I reinforced the seat binder with a small piece of chromoly and some brass. The rear end was also spaced out to 130mm for a modern wheel. He chose the green color and did the build himself. A lot of modern components on there to keep the weight down with a touch of old style with the chain guard.



 
 

Deb’s disc cross bike

We have done paint work for Deb in the past so we were happy to have her back to build her a new cyclocross bike. She wanted to go the disc route for her cross bike and I was happy to oblige. To keep the weight down, we chose the Whisky 1 1/8″ carbon disc fork. The stresses put on a frameset with disc brakes are different from that of rim brakes so dropouts and fork legs need to be reinforced. The blue and cream paint scheme with red and yellow details is so gorgeous I almost don’t want to see it get dirty. Almost.



 
 
 
 
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A little bit ago, David sent us a pair of Bruce Gordons to get repainted. It was our pleasure as Bruce is still one of the greatest framebuilders out there. Gorgeous thinned lugs got a nice thin coating of clear to preserve the sharpness of the shorelines.


 
 
 
 

Robin’s 650b city bike is up next!

Derek’s big and tall road frameset

Derek came to us looking to upgrade his road bike that was too small for him with something more appropriately sized. He could easily have ridden a frame as large as 68cm but we tried to keep it smaller in appearance by dropping the top tube, angling the top tube by a degree, using a bit more of the steerer, using larger diameter tubes, longer cranks, longer fork for medium reach brakes, and proportional 48cm oversize handlebars. The final bike is 65cm. The bike is fillet brazed and built from True Temper tubing. The seat collar was custom brazed and shaped. The fork is a fillet brazed unicrown for a consistent smooth look with the rest of the frame. The black has a pearl coat that is understated in the shade but definitely comes to life in the sun.



 
 
 

See the full slideshow.

This adorable Schwinn Co-Ed came to the shop for a refinish in the same black scheme. The fenders had lining on both sides which gave me the opportunity to use the Beugler striper which is one of my favorite paint tools. Check out the before and after pictures for the transformation.


 
 
 
 

This Galmozzi came to the shop in its raw form. Ricardo stripped the frameset, specified the colors, and provided the decals which made my day. The final outcome is this blue and white beauty.



 
 

Recumbents are a foreign animal to our shop but when David called to get his Counterpoint Presto repainted, we were happy to oblige. We were excited to ride it more than anything! And when it was completed, David brought it back for our maiden voyage. Everyone at the shop took it or a ride down Charles Street during rush hour. I have to say that riding a short wheelbase recumbent was a bit terrifying but I could easily get used to it after a couple of miles.


 
 

Curtis’ Di2 cyclocross bike

Curtis came to us looking for a cyclocross bike the would be compatible with Ultegra Di2. He also had some very specific designs for the paint including a hand drawn picture of his dog on the seat tube. The outcome is a swoopy stayed, modern paint, fillet brazed, steel frameset. The lugged shell was used so there would be space for the Di2 wiring to go around the bottom bracket. The battery was mounted under the saddle off of the Deda seat post and all cable/wire routing was internal for a clean look. Curtis has since moved away from New England for the comfy climate of southern California. Good luck out there!



 
 
 
 
See the full slideshow.

This Merlin repaint came to the shop from New Jersey. It had serious corrosion at the water bottle bosses and paint falling off everywhere else. Dean specified a custom dark purple and now it’s a new(ish) bike!


 
 

This Hunter repaint was a team effort for Circle A. Jay stripped it. Chris primed it and I did the paint and clearcoat. Thanks to Rick Hunter for the vector graphic that was painted on!


 
 

And painting tandems is always a tricky thing. This Schwinn Paramount pretty much made our entire booth turn yellow. Tandems are a LOT heavier than standard frames so tossing them around in the booth while painting isn’t really an option. I always resort to parkour style acrobatics to get all the angles and not get any dry spots. If you look closely, you can see that this Schwinn tandem actually had files and sand paper taken to it. That’s because Bryan Hollingsworth had his way with it before it got to us and made it look like it should. Great job!


 
 

Wet paint!

This blog post is long overdue. I had finished Mark’s road bike back in late March and have been wanting to write about it for some time now. He came to Circle A looking for a custom road frameset that could handle the hills of Vermont. What we put together was a Columbus Spirit for Lugs tubeset, the Llewellyn 6° sloping lugset, the Columbus Minimal carbon fork, and all Shimano Ultegra components. He wanted it to say “Wet Paint” on the top tube and if you didn’t already know, black paint always look wet with the glossy clear coat.



 
 
 
See the full slideshow.

And if you’re in the Bennington area, check out the exhibit of his paintings at the Vermont Arts Exchange. Including this one of his Circle A!



I’ve also been doing a bunch of paint work as of late. This 4130 come through the shop a couple of months ago. Lots of stainless bits and painted on logos.


 
 

This Vista was the customer’s childhood bike. We can always appreciate when someone wants to keep the bike they’ve had all their life on the road. He stripped the bike of paint and accidentally stripped the paint off of the head badge as well. I ended up making the olive brach stencil and painting the badge for him. The gold lug lining was done to match the gold Araya rims it had on there.


 
 

And finally, Polly the Fetchmaster has been spending quite a bit of time at the shop these days. She’s still tiny and fits in a cat carrier that goes into my BOB trailer. Thanks to Jay for taking the shot of my back side.


 

Nik F’in Perry

Nik Perry was unfortunately in an accident recently that saw the demise of his Davidson bicycle. He didn’t get too hurt though which is the important thing. Nik is one of those people you can call a “bike guy”. He has worked in shops since I first met him and has also spent his fair share of time over at Recycle-A-Bike. We were so excited when he decided to replace his broken bike with a Circle A. He chose to go with a touring bike that’s ready for dynamo wiring. The components are all coming in as I type this and it will be assembled in the coming week. The bike is clearly lugged and oversize as Nik is a tall fellow. The head lug had a 20mm extension brazed on to the top to be more compatible with modern threadless stems and not have to use an exorbitant amount of spacers. The downtube is tapered from 31.8mm to 34.9mm to add a bit of stiffness to this large bike. The tubing is a combination of Dedacciai and Columbus. The paint was inspired by the Centurion paint schemes from the 80s but with silver and white with black details. The full bike photo shoot will follow soon!


 
 
 
 
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And Mike brought his Bianchi by the other day after he and Billy Rounds did the build. It is gorgeous! Almost too clean to ride….almost. Check it out.



 
 

This Colnago master came in with more rust than you can shake a stick at. I was skeptical about the structural integrity of the frame but after sandblasting I was relieved to find that most of it was confined to the castings (lugs, bottom bracket, dropouts, and braze-ons). After much body filler in these areas, it was brought back to life. See the slideshow for the before and after shots.


 
 
See the full slideshow.

And finally we have a new small friend that has been hanging out at the shop. Meet Polly! She’s a 12 week old border collie that has been coming to work with me every other day. She’s a smart one so we’ll be sure to put her to work soon.