Sunday, August 14th, 2011
A long time coming, last week saw Laura’s custom road bike roll out the door. She (and partner James and son Baxter) had been welcome distractions around the shop for the last few months as we planned and plotted. When it comes to the process of designing frames, we often say the easiest job is someone who loves their current bike, and essentially wants a replica of it (but in steel, lighter, with rack mounts, for example); and the second easiest is someone who comes in riding a bike they hate, and says, “anything but this!” Well, with Laura we have the greatest challenge. She had been riding an ancient Raleigh called Tillie (tall, upright, super slack angles), and also occasionally borrowing James’ Lynskey (aggressive, compact frame, modern geometry); tends to tow Baxter about in a Burley trailer (note the axle mount); and plans to ride some centuries coming up. Neither bike really fit her, but both could serve. Also Laura is extraordinarily tall. I mean you have no idea. Just look at the head tube on this thing, and keep in mind those are 700c wheels:
Those are VO fenders, and the orange was a custom mix to compliment both Brooks saddle and Cinelli bar tape. Medium reach brakes to accommodate 28 or 30c tires and fenders, and a mostly Rival group rounded things out. Those are the Mini-6 lugs, much beloved by us, with stainless dropouts. In the end we settled on a nominal 58cm seat tube and 55 top tube, and we’ll be adjusting saddle and bar positions as she puts the miles on. Go!
I also did a rare welded dropout replacement for someone who til recently I knew only as The Dude. Sometimes there’s a man… anyway he had Seven Sola and wanted to rock it single speed, so we were happy to oblige. The vast majority of dropout replacements we do involve road bikes with some sort of forged dropout, brass-brazed in place, and then swapping that with some of our own laser-cut plate steel track dropouts. Lots of torch work. Well, as you may know, Sevens don’t have forged dropouts, and brass is not a metal they tend to associate with. These would be CNC’d dropouts, tig welded directly to the stay caps. Fortunately our friends at Paragon have a lovely track dropout (with der hanger and bottle opener, just, you know, in case) that were adapted without too much trouble.
To jump ahead, here are some pics of the finished product:
Because most of the frame was in good shape, we just painted black “socks” up the stays to cover our work, and I matched them on the fork. Here are some pictures of the job itself; after making sure the existing dropouts where perfectly aligned, I cut off the drive-side dropout, and after carefully grinding the new dropout to fit, tacked and then welded it in place, using a threaded rod as a dummy axle. With the new dropout located, I could then cut off the other old dropout and match it.
Next: Michael, and belt drive fever heats up!