Jacque’s touring bike

This fendered beauty is for our friend Jacque who will be using it as her work commuter and occasional tourer. It’s built with a 6 degree slope in the top tube to bring the bars level with the saddle. There are clearances for 35c tires and braze-ons for front and rear racks. The gearing is compact in the front (50-34) with a 12-30t cassette in the rear. The metallic royal blue highlights the lug lines nicely but the secret of the paint job is in the panels. There are stars painted in the pearl white that are only visible in direct sunlight.

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And this Coppi do-over was for our friend Katy who has it set up as a coaster brake cruiser. The unique color choice makes me so happy. Looks like such a fun bike.

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Sandy’s tall road bike

Sandy is one of those guys who has trouble just walking into a shop and buying an XL carbon road frame and making it fit. If anyone needed a custom bike, it was him. It makes me feel so good when I’m able to build a frame like this. The frame is fillet brazed with True Temper OX Platinum tubing throughout. It is double oversized to add a bit of stiffness and to be proportional on a bike this tall. The ENVE fork was painted to match and he built it up with Campagnolo Chorus. He’s getting some good miles on it and it is clearly taking him to some beautiful places.

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This Colnago repair came to us from far away for some internal cable routing, shifter bosses, water bottle bosses, frame alignment, dent repair, and dropout straightening. A solid light blue with yellow pantographing and it’s back on the road!

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AJ’s positive mental attitude

This road frame will be seen whipping up and down the hills around Greensboro, North Carolina. The lugs are carved to have some pretty sharp points and the fastback seat stay tops are carved to match. The seat stays also have an enhanced s-bend which gives the bike a slightly more modern look. Paint on the insides of the stays and fork also make it look more contemporary. On the top tube are two bits of text: “I Against I” on one side and “PMA” on the other. Both Bad Brains references that made me extremely happy. I remember as a kid taping 120 minutes on MTV and watching the video for I Against I over and over. And PMA is from the song Attitude which is also an anthem from my youth. Thanks AJ, and keep up the positive attitude!

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The Jack Taylor trailer has always been an intriguing item to me. They are incredibly rare so it was an honor to work on this. It is a direct copy of the French Goeland trailer complete with suspension. Imitation is the highest form of flattery but I can only imagine how difficult it was to make this thing. A lot of brazing and creative thinking went into this and it shows.

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Riser bar road bike

Jeff was looking for a comfortable road bike with fenders and a riser bar. He is a new father and will be putting a child seat on it in the near future so there are also rack mounts for that flexibility. He also has the option of switching out to a road drop bar with the use of the bar end shifters currently on Paul Thumbies. The paint on this one was creative on Jeff’s part with the request for the slanted bands. It was a bit of work but we’re both happy with the way it came out.

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The story behind Ricardo’s Alpine is a unique one. Apparently a shop in D.C. called Georgetown Cycle Sport contracted the build of these frames from many makers in the UK and just rebranded them as Alpine (or C.I.D. – Cycle Import and Design). Later ones were domestically built by Albert Eisentraut and then by Fred Kelly. This is perceived to be a Fred Kelley built frame. Decals were unavailable at the time so Ricardo recreated them on the computer and I ended up painting them on.

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Some other repaints leaving the shop in recent weeks have included this Paramount Design Group road frameset in Tour de France metallic blue…

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…and this Falcon whose paint job I’m very familiar with.

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The big makeover

I had built a bike for David several years ago and it came back to the shop for new paint, new stainless logos on the downtube, and new chrome on the racks. The transformation is amazing! Although I am a big fan of metallic brown, the “new” bike is a step up in the classy department.

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This Raleigh Super Course came in for some modifications too and is now a 650B conversion. I brazed on cantilever posts, added a derailleur hanger, added a set of water bottle bosses, aligned the frame, installed fenders, added braze-ons for a Nitto front rack, and dimpled the chainstays for tire clearance. Normally when we dimple stays, we do it prior to assembling the rear end of the frame. But I’ve found on several occasions the need for post build dimpling and this little creation of found objects does the job like a champ!

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Nick’s touring bike

This bike is for a guy who can’t sit still, in a good way. He’s originally from Rhode Island but has been traveling all around the world for the past year or so. I’ve been trying to build his bike by covering all the bases via email. It can be a drawn out process when communication is strictly text based with delayed responses. So much more can be accomplished in a phone call. But Nick is an easy going guy and it was still a pleasure working with him. He went with a touring bike that should match his lifestyle pretty well. The paint is a fade but done from a light to dark blue so it’s very subtle. We don’t normally do fades but will take the plunge under certain circumstances.


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I had never seen a Chamberlain (Alaskan framebuilder) in person before and this one came in with a serious case of internal corrosion. The drive side chain stay needed to be replaced. A nice blue paint job with pink details, a healthy dose of Framesaver, and it’s ready to get back on the road/track.

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This black Waterford came in with a lot of rust as well. It’s amazing what the salt from our sweat can do to steel. It’s a wake up call for me to clean my bikes more than once a year. This bike was stripped, repainted, rebuild with a new drivetrain, and is back in action.

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Fillet brazed 29er

I am not normally the mountain bike builder here at Circle A but I was more than happy to take this one on for Jared as I’ve built him a bike before. And I also just built a mixte for his wife Sara. This big hardtail 29er is the polar opposite of that mixte. It was built up with a SRAM X9 group and a Rock Shox Reba RLT fork. It’s ready for some roots and mud in the great white north!

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This Somec Promax frameset came to us from overseas for a repaint. There were also alignment issues with the frame. Aligning any imperfections in a Columbus Max frame is pretty tough. But with enough coercion the frame was straightened and repainted the specified Sport Classic Grau.

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I had made a unique low rider rack for our friend Benno some time ago. This time, our friend Ken was looking for something similar for his Circle A. I built the same rack but added a small strut from the rear for stability. We’ll definitely be testing this out on some short tours this spring!


And Francine had me repaint her S&S coupled Waterford. This unassuming dark blue definitely makes the silver couplers and components pop.

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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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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.