Category Archives: Bike Building

A Circle A in Scotland

We’re definitely getting more international orders here at Circle A. This fillet brazed cyclocross frameset is going to Chris in the Scottish Highlands (which looks like one of the best places to ride a bike on the planet). Some of the finer details include the spade cutout on the top of the seat tube, the modified Mitsugi fork crown, and the painted bands all over. Sometimes the simplest looking paint jobs are the most work.



 
 
 
 
 
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Peter K. sent us this 1968 Harry Quinn “Road Champion” for repaint a bit ago. He specified the purple color with a light pearl coat on top. Our master lug liner, Josie, did the gold lining freehand with a brush. Peter did an outstanding job with the build. You can read more about it here.



 
 

I also had the pleasure of painting one of Bryan’s frames at Royal H Cycles. This one is an S&S coupled touring frame in an appropriate royal blue.



 
 

And Providence’s very own Paul Marandola finished his 3rd frameset a while ago for our friend Peter. If you get a chance, get over to Legend Bicycle and ask to see this one in person. It’s very classy. And yes, that is a ravioli painted on the head tube.



 
 

Next up, the seat mast dilemma. Is there really a dilemma? Wait and see.

Joseph’s satin cross frame and Ricardo’s rides

Joseph went to RISD here in Providence and then moved back to China for work and family. While he was here in Providence he helped out here at the shop for a bit. When he wanted us to build him a cyclocross frame, I was so excited. This one also has the flexibility of being a light tourer and have fenders put on it. We went back and forth a couple times to get the paint details straight and I’m very pleased with the satin finish that he chose. The seat cluster has a very non-steel look. Almost molded. Defying the standard steel look wasn’t my goal but was very satisfying.



 
 
 
 
 
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And our friend Ricardo has had us do some paint and repair work for him over the years. He took some time out of his busy schedule to bring by some of the completed projects. A very nice stable of bikes indeed!



 

 

 

 

Next up are the final couple of cross bikes for the year!

Dan’s classy city bike and photos from Philly

This bike was originally going to be called a “Grocery Getter” but the rack is more conducive to just doing a milk run to the corner store. I feel that “City Bike” is a more apt title. The 1×10 Shimano Ultegra drivetrain keeps things simple. The Sugino 75 crankset was paired with a 42 tooth chainring to make the hills a little more bearable. The rack on the front was based on specific dimensions (it’s 7″ wide x 10″ long) and got a bit of inspiration from one recently done by Capricorn Bicycles. It’ll be great with a larger handlebar bag. The moustache bars bring me back to my days of working at Union Cycle in Attleboro, Massachusetts and selling the Bridgestone XO-1. Good times. The paint is a custom gray/green mix with a very faint pearl coat. And there are red and silver details throughout. It is understated to say the least. Hope you like it as much as I do, Dan!



 
 
 
 
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In other news, we went to the Philadelphia Bike Expo again this year. The weather was less than stellar with a freak snow storm but the turnout was still great. Bina and the rest of the Bilenky crew did a great job of putting this one together. Circle A Cycles shared a big “Providence Booth” with Chapman Cycles and Dharma Cycles. Here are some shots from that weekend.


 
 
 
 

Miss Dancer

Cyclocross season is well underway and Genisis just got her bike together a bit ago. This is one of the smallest cross bikes I’ve made in a long time. The frame might be smaller but it’s the same amount of work as the larger ones. The paint on this one had much inspiration from the black Rapha Continental bike with pink and silver details from a couple of years ago. The fork was from ENVE and painted to match. I painted some small pink and silver details on the fork tips and seat stays to match the details on the head tube and in the seat cluster. It was also a way to hone my paint registration skills. Check it out.



 
 
 
 
 
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This Hollands came in with some significant rust damage to the top tube cable guides as well as a large dent. The cable guides were removed and replaced with cable stops, the dent was rolled out and filled, and the decals were procured to get this bike back to it’s original state, albeit with a different color.



 
 
 

Sean brought this Croll to us for paint. It came in stripped so clean it looked like it was just welded. He also provided us with the Croll decals and the PPG paint in the same system we use. Definitely an accommodating customer!


 
 

This customer came in with a specific vision or recreating a paint job that was once on this bike. The lugs were red and there was a distinct series of cogs on the seat tube. I was able to recreate the cog design and got nice clean lines on the lugs and fork crown.


 
 

I graduated from UMass Dartmouth about 14 years ago with a degree in mechanical engineering. I haven’t kept in touch with a lot of people who were in my graduating class but I’m glad to have reconnected with my friend Mike. I remember him being into mountain biking back in the 90s and wanting to build bikes. Well, he built his first frame recently and it came out great! I hope he has the bug and wants to build some more.


 
 

Two great people tied the knot recently as well. Congratulations Adam and Ali! You guys rule. The wedding was beautiful and I wish you the best of luck in the future. Adam, your cross bike is coming up soon!


 

There was a hurricane along the east coast recently too. We had a bunch of tree limbs down but nothing too serious. The shop came out damage free which was a relief. Some were not so lucky though.



Lastly, our friend Ryan brought us a cake! Why? Well, he’s just a nice guy and he likes what we do. We like you too, Ryan.



Next up is Dan’s grocery getter, some pics from the Circle A Cycles 10 year anniversary party, Joseph’s cross bike, and more!

Trevor’s lugged Columbus XCr frame

The latest project out of my fixture is a lugged stainless frame for Trevor. This was my first time working with this particular brand of stainless steel and have to say that I was pleased. One of the complaints I’ve heard from other builders was in regards to the tubes’ dimensional accuracy. I had none of these problems and with good tolerances built a very strong frame. Trevor went with an ENVE 2.0 fork painted to match.



 
 
 
 

I’m still making freewheels from time to time. This one went over to the UK. If you have a project that needs a freewheel with a tooth count greater than 22. Give me a holler.



Also, a bunch of us Providence folk went over to Deerfield, MA for the D2R2 last month. It’s becoming a new tradition of packing a couple of vehicles with people and bikes, sleeping in a bumpy field, and then waking up to a very difficult but beautiful ride. Plenty of Circle As were there in attendance. This year seemed a bit harder but maybe I was just a bit out of shape. Anyway click on the big pic of Jim to see some video of us agonizing up one of the climbs. Fun stuff? Yes!


 
 

Mike’s light tourer

The blog was down for a little over a week and I assumed that no-one would notice but a lot of you did. And no, I’m not going anywhere. I did start building bikes on the side as Chapman Cycles (more on that in another blog post) but I am still a full-time framebuilder/painter here at Circle A. My latest frame for Mike P. is a light tourer built with Columbus Zona tubing and Richard Sachs’ Rene Singer lugs. Dark blue pearl with lighter metallic blue panels round off this classy frameset. Almost all the parts are in so I’ll get some complete bike shots soon.



 
 
 
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This Mercian came in for a whole series of modifications. It was originally designed to be built up with 27″ wheels and now will be good with 700c wheels and cantilever brakes. The derailleur cable routing was moved to underneath the bottom bracket and a rear derailleur hanger from a Campagnolo dropout was brazed on. A new seat binder, rack mounts, fender braze-ons, and a black paint job and Chris is ready to go! Chris is also responsible for the Mercian Register on Flickr. Check it out if you get a chance.



 
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This Rivendell came to us in rough shape. There was a gaping hole in the top tube from corrosion. Needless to say, it had to be replaced. It was built at Waterford so it was silver brazed which is helpful when the lugs are very intricate like these. We gave it back to the customer as is because he wanted to get it powder coated for a nice durable finish. If *you* need any frame repairs done, please check our price sheet and then drop us a line if you want some help.



 

This paint job was for Alchemy out of Austin. Great people, great bikes, fancy paint. Getting those stripes to line up is trickier than you think!



 

Our friends, and amazing husband and wife team have been helping us out a bit here at Circle A. First, Josie, accomplished painter and designer, has been making us look amazing with her lug lining skills. This is all done with a brush and a steady hand, people. Truly a craft that she is a master at. Every frame that she does blows my mind. Including this cream Icarus which I painted and she lined.



 

And her husband Jay is a veteran high end auto finishing master whose skill set transferred very nicely to bicycles. He did the paint on this red Icarus.



 

And when you get them working together, they can make beautiful things look more beautiful like this Johnny Coast.



 

Next up is a lugged Columbus XCr stainless frameset and more repairs and repaints!

Brian K.’s single speed and the painting marathon continues

So much is going on at the shop right now! I think I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again—busy is good. Too busy, though—not as good. I think I’m riding that line these days. The sun is shining, the weather is hot and I’m holding a torch instead of cruising down a winding road in the woods. Oh well. But THIS is what I have to show for it. The latest bike is a single speed for Brian K (his second Circle A!). He went with the Paul Components rear dropouts with the adjusters and the monostay. This bike is clean, folks. Elegant fillet brazed construction with the understated gloss black. You have to look closely to appreciate the details on this one.



 
 
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My brother’s birthday was a while back and I had given him my old Circle A flatland BMX frame (one of only 6!). Unfortunately, he rides with back brakes (not that common in the flatland world nowadays) so I had to braze on some u-brake mounts and cable stops. I gave it a new paint job and it’s almost like he has a new bike. Old men on little bikes—Hooray!



 
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This Lemond Maillot Jaune came into the shop with some serious rust pitting on the Reynolds 853 steel portion. It wasn’t too deep, so after a light sandblasting and heavy primer/wet sand/primer, it was looking pretty good. The paint is a dark blue pearl with a silver base underneath. Painted on logos, bands, and panels and he’s ready to get back on the road.



 

Other paint work coming through the shop include this Zanconato brought in by the one and only Mike Zanconato. One of the nicest framebuilders in New England (no joke). Light blue with gray panels and white detailing. Those seat tube and down tube logos are painted on as well.



 

And this Riordon built by Ben Riordon out of Newburyport, MA. Chartreuse with classic seat tube stripes and a bold red panel on the downtube made for a very striking and unique paint scheme.



 

Another fork I made in the past month or two was for a Surly Cross Check owned by our friend Benno. The bike was being re-purposed as a porteur style bike so to get the geometry to what he desired, he needed a new fork with 70mm(!) of rake. I brazed spoke heads on the inside of the fork leg as a wire guide from the dynamo hub.



 

This fork off of an Abel Borne was sent to us because the crown race was milled too far and the front dropouts were chewed up beyond repair. The original dropouts were gas welded in so the ends needed to be cut off and the blades re-slotted. A set of Ritchey dropouts were chosen as a replacement and then heavily carved to mimic the original shape. I then built up the crown race with silver brazing alloy and re-machined it.


  
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I built this tiny rack and a fork for our friend Ryan who had acquired this tan Tournesol. He had a specific design for the rack in mind and I tried to get it to what he was envisioning. The Tournesol fork was designed to be a very shallow 41mm of rake and I did this on our bender which applies most of the rake at the fork end. The rack and fork were painted to match the frame and the rest is history.


 

And finally, some pictures of completed bikes. This is a Raleigh that I had repainted a bit ago, Bobby Earle’s IF that was re-re-painted, and Steve’s single speed that I built last month hanging out at the beach. I’m so jealous!


  

Training Day

It has been some time since I’ve built a single speed so Steve’s bike was a fun project for me. This one is going to a former Rhode Islander now residing in southern California. It went there as a complete bike and I’ll have those pictures next posting. It’s built out of Dedacciai Zero Uno tubing with a white/celeste green paint scheme. The quote on the top tube is pretty awesome. Clearly Steve means business.



 
 
 
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Steve’s (another Steve) 1973 Raleigh Record Ace came into the shop with the Raleigh Racing USA paint scheme. Originally this bike would have been a white main frame with a yellow head tube and stripes on the seat tube. Someone in Iowa had already done some modifications and had it repainted and repaired. The original Record Ace fork was replaced with another Raleigh fork. The original Stronglight components had been replaced with Campagnolo as well. The frame was definitely worth keeping on the road so Steve had me paint it in the color scheme that he got it with but with a black head tube. The Reynolds 531 and Carlton decals that came on the 1973 RRA are on there for accurate ID but the other decals are very much Raleigh USA style. Complete bike pics to follow.



 
 
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I’ve become very familiar with Bobby Earle’s IF MTB frame. Originally I modified it to run 650B wheels and cantilever brakes. This time around I put on a disc brake mount, added a brace between the stays, and removed the canti posts. The bike got a straight white paint job and it being built up with some of the nicest components out there!



 

And it’s hard to stay out of the paint booth in these parts. Here are a couple of Bowen’s that I finished up a bit ago. One full paint job and one touch up.


 
 

Coming up next is Brian’s (not me) single speed with monostay, more restorations, more paint, more repairs, and hopefully more riding for me.

Henry’s classic road frame

This is Henry’s second frame from me! He’s the only other person out there with a Circle A BMX frame and a road frame. Definitely a well-rounded rider. I first met Henry in New York at a flatland jam. Super nice guy from the west coast. He went the ornate lugged route with the Richard Sachs Newvex series lugs, crown, and bottom bracket. The paint is a red candy over a red-tinted silver. Defnitely has another dimension in the sun.



 
 
 
 
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What happens when you drive into a parking garage with your bike on the roof. Nothing good. Except the opportunity to get a “new” bike. We can rebuild it. We have the technology. This bike has a new down tube and rear seat stays, and a new paint job. And now it’s back on the road and heading south from Philly to Florida!


 
 

Spring time means fun bike time! A bunch of us did a full moon ride down the bike path to Bristol. We had lights but didn’t really need them. Moon shadows abound! Another group did a little ride around the Little Compton area. We ended up on some trails heading down to Simmons pond. It just the start of a wonderful riding year.


 

Painting to match subway stops and silk shirts

Holy crap, spring is here! We’ve actually been able to open the big shop door on two separate occasions. The cats are running about and we’re breathing fresh(ish) air. This is the perfect time to be getting a bike and Gillian is one of those lucky people. Her road bike is decked out with the latest Shimano 105 triple group. The paint scheme was based on a series of tiles that are in the Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway station in Brooklyn. Very positive colors but not too bright. She’ll be riding off on this one soon!



 
 
 
 
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Also just leaving the shop is Bob’s SR. It was brought in for a 650B conversion, paint, and other alterations. I met Bob briefly at last year’s D2R2 where he was riding this bike. Great guy and I couldn’t have been happier working with him. The paint on this bike was based off of a silk shirt that he wears on rides. He’ll now be as coordinated as ever on this machine!



 
 
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Ted’s Peter Mooney recently came into the shop for a repaint and a new front rack. Lots of lug masking to get the subtle contrast but it looks fantastic right down to the gold lining on the head lugs and smooth brass fillets on the rack. It’s back at Legend Bicycle over on Brook Street where Jack is giving it the royal treatment.


 
 
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I made this fork and tiny rear rack for a Tournesol and painted them to match for our friend Ryan. The rear rack design is as simple as it gets; It’s just for clasping down a jacket or small bag (note the stainless bits for the straps). I did some minor alterations to the crown as requested to get some nice simple lines to complement the frame. Check it out.


 

Lastly, I recently acquired a Parlee Z4 frameset. This is going to be my first time on a carbon bike. I wasn’t too into the panel graphics that were on there originally so I painted it a sparkly blue with some solid logos with silver outlines. As far as carbon bikes go, this is a good looking frame. My heart is still with steel though!