Category Archives: Bike Building

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.


 
 
See the full slideshow.

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.



 
 
 
 
See the full slideshow.

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.



 
 
 
 
See the full slideshow.

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!


 
 
 
 
See the full slideshow.

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.



The long distance singlespeed

This single speed is going to Tim C. in Ohio. He already has my respect by having done the Paris-Brest-Paris this year on a single speed but to top it off he was also a guitarist in the 80’s punk band, The Dicks! It was a definitely an honor to build for him. This frameset is fillet brazed with a combination of Dedacciai Zero Uno and Zero tubesets. The dropouts are Paul Components and the fork has wire guides on the inside of the fork blade for the dynamo front light. The paint is a red with a very subtle metallic and a black with a red pearl over it. The details are in a creamy white to not be too overpowering.



 
 
 
 
See the full slideshow.

Mike’s Bianchi came to us in a pretty beat up state so to get it to this level was very satisfying. We had done work for Mike in the past with a Team Raleigh restoration. The chrome on the Bianchi’s stays and dropouts were far too pitted to save but the final product looks very clean nonetheless.



 
 

I made this fillet brazed bar/stem combo for a Stephen who I built a bike for last year. This was my first time doing something like this. The handlebar is a Nitto chromoly straight one brazed directly onto a stem that I made for him.



And finally, I finished up the paint on a Royal H Cycles frameset a couple weeks back and have these pictures to share.


 
 

Nik’s bike is up next!

A bike for a box

This bike was designed as a 26″ wheeled single speed with the S&S internal style couplers. In order to get the couplers to fit inside the tubes, they needed to be turned down on the lathe (see pic). Since it is a travel bike, Tim wanted to go with a more durable matte black powder coat for paint. But we only do wet paint so the guys over at Geekhouse were happy to oblige with their powder services. It has been built up with all silver and black components for a very monochromatic look. It’s definitely a serious looking bike with a purpose.



 
 
 
 
 
See the full slideshow.

In other repairs and repaints, this Independent Fabrications frame came to us to have the canti posts removed and get set up for a disc brake. I put on the guides, brace, and disc mount and then gave it an understated blackish blue paint job with light cream panels. Looks great, Vince!



 
 

The seat mast situation

This is the second cross bike I’ve built for Adam St. Germain but it’s the fourth Circle A I’ve built for him. He also has one of the few Circle A BMX frames and a pretty fancy road bike. For this one, I wanted to make it as light as possible. I ended up going with Dedacciai’s Zero tube set. Because this is a cross bike and it’s going to be put through the motions, I put a small gusset at the down tube head tube junction. I suggested a seat mast with some unique internal cable routing and Adam let me have my way. So here’s the final product but I unfortunately neglected to think about one thing…



 
 
 
 
See the full slideshow.

A week or two after he got the bike, at the NBX Grand Prix of Cyclocross right here in Rhode Island on December 4th, the seat mast bent. I was devastated. I totally felt like I let Adam down by building a bike with such a thin seat tube and doing the internal routing at the rear. He sent me a txt with the image and my heart sunk. I had to fix it. NOW.


 

So Adam dropped the bike off at the shop on the Monday after and I had it back to him at the week’s end for the Ice Weasels race in Wrentham, MA on the 10th. The repair consisted of me carefully straightening the mast and reshaping it with tubing blocks. To strengthen that joint, I bonded a section of slotted aluminum post into the seat tube. It essentially has a seatpost in there now, which I will recommend to all future customers who inquire about a seat mast. I repainted the affected area and it was ready to ride again. Just last week, he raced it at the Nationals in Madison and got 32nd. Attaboy! We’re very proud of him here at Circle A. Here are a couple shots of the bike after the repair.



 

My longtime friend Lee FINALLY got his bike together. Definitely a fun commuter/light touring ride. Hope you’re having fun, Lee!



 

And it was a long time ago (I think back in October) but we had our 10th year anniversary. A lot of friends and local builders came by to help us celebrate. We’d like to thank everyone who has supported us over the years and will continue to build for the unforeseeable future. Here are some shots of that beautiful day.


 
 

Next up is a travel bike with a couple of firsts for Circle A…