New spring paint jobs

Here are some of the latest frames I’ve painted the past two weeks here at the shop. Some also had small alterations as well. Spring is clearly the time to have your frame painted. It happens every year and I forget how much time I spend in that booth in March. Now that I’m out of there and back at my bench, the next frameset should be done by early next week (as well as Benno’s fork and a couple more paint jobs).










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.

See the full slideshow.

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.


Mike’s handsome gentleman’s bike

I hope Mike enjoys riding this bike as much as I enjoyed building it. I’m always trying to use the customer’s input to visualize what they’re seeing in their mind and helping them get to that vision though components, paint, construction details, etc. This is a case where both of our visions came to fruition. This is Mike’s second Circle A and a big change from his cross bike that I built almost exactly one year ago. This is reminiscent of the cruisers of the 60’s and 70’s but with modern, lightweight components. The new Dia-Compe 610 centerpull brakes with their CNC’d aluminum arms are modern looking up close but resemble the classic Mafac brakes of times past. The same goes for the Campagnolo inspired IRD aluminum crankset and Mavic single speed wheelset. Many of the components on this bike were purchased from the Velo-Orange line that is fulfilling the needs of classically inspired cyclists everywhere. The complete bike with leather saddle, rack, and fenders weighs in at 23 pounds. And with a 46-18 around town gearing, Mike should have no problem getting this one up to speed.

See the full slideshow.

This Richard Sachs repaint was rusted and weather beaten when it first came in the shop. EVERYTHING was seized on there. Especially the bottom bracket and rear dropout alignment screws which were eventually drilled out and then re-tapped. There were even markings on the chainstays from someone bolting a Greenfield kickstand on there! Well, this one has been saved. New paint and love have brought this one back to life.

See the full slideshow.

This next frame was brought to the shop by our friend Billy who said it was built by Dave Hartranft of Lincoln, MA. If anybody has any information on him, I’d like to learn more. This frame needed a seat stay replacement in a bad way. There were no vent holes near the rear dropouts and the unconventional fastback attachment at the seat cluster allowed for a lot of water to get in there and it rotted out. I mitered a new stay in the same fashion and now it’s good to go again.


It has been a while since I’ve written anything here and realized that I haven’t mentioned the Bilenky junkyard cyclocross race that happened last month. It’s a non-competitive (for most) cyclocross race through the junkyard that’s in back of their shop in Philly. It was a damn good time and recommend it to any cyclists within driving distance.


In other news, we’ve been experimenting with matte clearcoats and got to test it out finally on a bike. This fillet brazed Icarus was requested to have a matte finish. So here it is! It isn’t something that I’m personally a fan of because it will get dirty fast. Maybe for a sunny day rider it’s perfect but as soon as it gets mucky out, you’d better hop on the beater.


And something special is coming together at the shop right now. I know everything we make or paint is special but this is my first foray into drillium! I was inspired by the rear dropout of the Hartranft that was at the shop and of course the stylings of Peter Weigle. And anyone else whose drilled out a dropout for that matter. These dropouts are going on a fillet brazed frameset for our new friend Dan. More about that one soon!

Saved Serotta

If this Serotta could talk, it’d probably complain about its achy joints, but that’s only because it has been ridden in countless brevets, centuries, and double-centuries as well as ridden across the country two and a half times! The endurance rider who owns this frame and fork, John, bought it new from Serotta in 1981. The reason it came into our shop was because of two significant cracks that formed over time in the head tube and the top tube. Not from an impact but just from excessive wear and tear! We replaced those two tubes and the head lug and then did a complete repaint. Check out the results.


This large Trek also came through the shop recently for some some paint after it had some alterations done by the talented Chris Bishop in Baltimore. It had a Silca pump and some Honjo fenders painted to match but I failed to take pictures of those. Oh well. More repairs and another stainless 953 frame are coming up next!


Masi Gran Commuter

Our friend Ricardo brought this Masi Gran Criterium in a little while ago and it had a thrashed seat lug and seat tube. He wanted to convert it into a commuter and I was very willing to help. Having already replaced the seat tube on this frame and built a new fork for it, I didn’t see it as being sacrilege to do this conversion. Ricardo is going to be getting groceries and running errands on this bike with great style. The silvery metallic purple has an almost micro-suede look to it that just makes you want to reach out and touch it. And the super thin clearcoat really shows the definition of the lug lines and file marks from its original builder.

See the full slideshow.

In other news, we’ve been painting…A LOT. I will resume with the frame building very soon as we don’t want our wait list for frames to get out of hand. Here are some shots of a recently completed Royal H mixte — a very lovely bicycle. More paint work to follow suit.


Lastly, the weather in many parts of the country has been crappy and cold this winter. It has been taking its toll on my morale and my commuting bike. Salty roads and metal don’t work so well together (see pic of my Phil Wood bottom bracket). Just a quick reminder to take care of your bikes in this season. We don’t want you to get any seized seatposts or stuck bottom brackets. Take ’em apart when you can to make sure everything is all right in there. Grease your posts and BB threads. Spray some frame saver in there as well if you can get the whole bike apart. Your bike will thank you many years from now by not rusting away.


Matt’s tall cross bike

It seems like I’ve been building some taller bikes as of late. This cyclocross bike is 67cm and looks incredible! The light blue with white panel paint scheme is gorgeous. And the dark blue painted on logos and bands look sharp. If there’s anyone who needs a custom frame it’s someone who can’t get something off the shelf at their local bike shop. Everyone should be able to enjoy cycling no matter what their size is. These bigger bikes are fun to build because of the design challenges that arise. Head tube angle, seat tube angle, bottom bracket drop, seat stay length, and chain stay length are all crucial as bikes go larger than 64cm. Restrictions in tubing lengths from manufacturers poses the largest problem which is overcome by using straight gauge chromoly or custom drawn tubes. So check these shots of Matt’s frame and fork out and contact us if you need a bigger bike built.

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See the full slideshow.

In other news, Dan Langlois’ cross bike was in for a repair and got a new paint job while it was here. It’s like a brand new bike again except now it matches his other one.

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I also recently uploaded some riding footage from 2007 for Dan to see that was shot for a video that didn’t use all of it. Might as well share it with the rest of you too. Here I am riding my Circle A flatland frame.

Brian Chapman – Riding 2007 from Brian Chapman on Vimeo.

Dave’s Paramount makeover and more

I’ll give you the background to this restoration as accurately as I can. In 1966, Dave bought a new, white, 24″ Schwinn Paramount (serial E605, 5th frame built in May 1966). It was gorgeous and he rode it very little because it didn’t really fit him. I blame the bike shop salesperson for that. Soon after the purchase, the bike was put into storage and didn’t see the light of day for 40+ years. In January of this year, our shop acquired an orange 22″ Schwinn Paramount (serial F631, 31st frame built in June 1966) from our friend Bob. Dave came to our shop with hopes of altering his original frame but then saw the orange Paramount that was his size. It was decided that the orange frame and fork would be restored to be the white Paramount that would fit him like a glove. Some changes needed to be made though: the frame needed chromed head lugs, the seat stay bridge needed to be moved for 700c medium reach brakes, the fork also had to be filled and redrilled for 700c medium reach brakes, and water bottle bosses needed to be added. So after many weeks of waiting for the chrome plater, I was recently able to complete this frame. Special thanks to Bob for aligning the planets for Dave and to Peter Weigle (who recently did a similar restoration/renovation) for tips on lug lining and antiquing the clearcoat. I have another one coming up as well so check back here soon (see the blue Paramount in the last pic).

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See the full slideshow.

I was also busy in the shop doing other repaints and repairs including a dropout replacement on a carbon, aluminum and steel Lemond Zurich. Not the easiest of replacements but the operation was a success.

See the full slideshow.

The other paint jobs being done here include a Bianchi touring repaint. Let me just say that I have a love for brown bikes. So what about a bike with three different earthy shades? Well, the bike is almost organic at that point. Here’s Deb’s Bianchi, re-aligned and repainted.

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See the full slideshow.

And finally I did a repaint on a D’Arienzo/Basso. I am told that Basso built the bikes for D’arienzo (which would explain the Basso pantograph on the bottom bracket). So we went with some Basso decals on Armando’s pursuit bike. Armando was the lucky winner of the Circle A paint job raffle prize at last year’s bike swap at Providence Bicycle. I also did some carving and added stainless faces to the dropouts that another builder had replaced. Here’s the finished product.

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See the full slideshow.

Still in the hopper is Ralph’s 953 frame and Matt’s single speed. Materials have been shipped and I’ll be trading in the paint gun for a torch and file for awhile. In some sadder news, I recently dropped my Canon digital SLR and broke my favorite lens. Hopefully I can get a new lens before my next blog post. You’ll want to see these next few bikes.

But to end on a happier note, Nathan got his stolen bike back! Props to Andy for spotting it and taking action.

A Nishiki restored, Mike’s on the road, and more

Joel’s Nishiki is fixed, straightened, painted, and ready to go. It came in with a crumpled downtube so I replaced that and did some alterations while the paint was off. That included new rear dropouts, new cable stops, and some fender mounts. Check out the slideshow for the pictures of the process.

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See the full slideshow.

Mike came by to pick up his completed single speed on Saturday. The bike looked amazing with the White Industries ENO crankset and freewheel. The custom stem didn’t look too shabby either. Here’s the finished product.


Our friends Bobby and Dan held an alleycat race on Saturday as well. Congratulations to Eric Pupecki who won it and also to Mike Bike for winning the Circle A paint job (again!) for carrying the most papers. Here’s Mike in his partial Mapei kit. Nice job.


And I still ride my BMX bike from time to time. On Sunday, a bunch of old school riders (i.e. people who’ve been riding since the mid to late 80’s) got together to ride and catch up on each other’s lives. Got a little group photo because it probably won’t happen again for a long time.


Speaking of BMX, this Saturday Vic over at Circuit BMX in Pawtucket is holding a BMX swap (1-5PM), the footdown world championships (5-7PM), and the Kink Safety First video premiere (7PM).


And speaking of bike swaps, Providence Bicycle will be hosting their bike swap/fundraiser for the RI Food Bank on Sunday from 10AM to 3PM. There will be a ton of vendors and a cool raffle which will include a Circle A paint job as a prize. See you there!

A 3RENSHO, a Viking, and Your Mom

Micah came and built up his frame a couple of weeks ago. We spent a small part of a freezing Saturday afternoon putting some nice parts on his beautiful new frame.


Ricardo picked up the 3RENSHO which came out wonderful as well. I was very pleased with the lug matching (thanks in part to Joseph for tracing the old ones for me).

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Joe’s Viking is another inspirational restoration. This was an old one but definitely worth redoing with its Nervex lugs. The seat cluster in particular was my favorite. I like the way the stays clasp the seat lug so much that I ended up using it on Ken’s upcoming single speed. Here are the pictures of the completed bike.

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Sarah’s cyclo-touring machine is ready for her super fancy paint job. I finished it last week but we’re still working out the details of the paint. More to come soon.

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Brian Fu’s frame is done, other repaints, and repairs.

Brian Fu’s frame is complete with the smoothest finish I’ve ever done. Here are some of the pics of the completed project and the slideshow of the whole process. Special thanks to Joseph Ng for volunteering to transport this frame halfway around the globe to Hong Kong!

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I’m also in the middle of a repair on an old Viking. It has seen its share of repairs already with a downtube replacement and a sloppy conversion to a geared bike. Well, the hanger and brake bridge have been removed and the downtube has been replaced. A replacement fork was built and the Viking transfers are being hunted down. Here are the pics of the bike in progress.

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I’ve also spent a bit of time in the paint booth on a bike for Echelon Cycle Works. This frame is dark green with black panels and little “-dB” logos all over it. Here are the pics of that.

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And in the hopper is a small fillet brazed 650b frame and fork for my friend Michelle. The tube set is in hand and construction begins this week. Stay tuned for more updates.