Just when I thought we had canvased all the possibilities for a future frame Bundit turned up with another frankenbike idea. He has in his head the idea that he would like a funny bike. To this end we have crafted two frames together in order to let him decide if it is remotely comfortable. Given the bracing that Bundit thinks looks pretty cool, this frame is pretty weighty. Little does he know that those gussets on Cinelli laser’s were mostly bog and did little to aid structural integrity. They were all about aerodynamics. Anyway, I am comfortable with this construction. I hope he finally gets around to the real thing one day
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This frame came in after a visit to a Chrome Plater. For reasons of anonymity both the name of the frame and the plater will remain private.
The frame had gone in for the rear end to be chrome plated. It had come out with the seat stays partially rusted away. Something had gone wrong in the process. I can only presume that the reason the chain stays weren’t in the same condition is that they were able to drain more effectively. Anyway my job was to replace the rusting seat stays and return it to the way it looked before. It was a Reynolds 531 frame from the 70’s with Campagnolo dropouts. It would be a shame to let it die. I cut the old stays out and decided to save the original bridge.
Instead of the solid top eyes that you can buy now that plug into the top of the stays, this frame had traditional Italian style concave tips. These are made by filing down the stay to the length you like. In this case the original ones were about 50mm long. Using the off-cut from the stay, you braze it to the angle you have filed and proceed to cut that down to the edges of the tube.
When you are finished it looks like this.
You then braze them back into the frame and fix the bridge back in place.
I am not sure what he owner of this frame will do now. He has to make
up his mind whether to risk another visit to a chrome plater or just paint. This isn’t the first repair I have done after a plating mishap and I cant at the moment. actually recommend anyone in Melbourne. I am open to advice here though and even if it just for the sake of vintage restorations, would like to find someone reliable.However,this frame is structurally sound again.
Being a framebuilder who doesn’t mind doing repairs has its benefits. One of them is that you get to see people who own bikes they really like, happy again. Often they come to me in some distress. Their beloved bike has been damaged in some way and they want to get it put right.
Russell is a case in point. He really liked the mid 80’s/90’s Duell frame he had put together, but he had managed to damage it by attempting to attach a child’s seat to the seat tube. Columbus tubing doesn’t really like the idea of a cantilevered load clamped around it midway along its length. Russell wanted it fixed but didn’t really want to lose much paint in the process. Luckily it wasn’t a huge crimp and I decided that it certainly wasn’t compromised structurally. I decided I could make up a slide hammer with a piece on the end the same diameter as the seat post. I pushed it down into the seat tube with a good serving of grease and used the hammer action to get it out again. Do this a couple of times and, Wallah, nearly good as new. You can still feel the fact that it is out of round but it is hard to see.
Russell was rapt and I was really happy to see him that way
February has been a little quiet. Not too quiet actually but it did give me time to do a few other jobs around the house. However ,Bundit came by with his latest project. He assures me that this is all leading to a complete frame with all the ideas we have toyed around with refined. I believe that this frame ( the one in the pictures) will be a very harsh ride. Front forks are much stiffer than rear stays, due to their bigger cross section and the fact that they are essentially self supporting. Rear stays can afford to be thinner because they are only part of a triangle. A true wish bone rear end is no where near as big as a pair of front forks. I will wait to hear from him as to the ride quality.
Despite my claim that I was done with the Raleigh, there was still some adjustments to be made. Clearances to be added ( strange way of putting it I must admit ) and clamps to be refined. This is not only a unique frame but it has unique parts that have to fit. Nothing is ever straightforward https://gdukehandmadebicycles.com.au/2016/02/29/rebuilding-the-raleigh/
Its 2017. Christmas has been and gone. January is almost over and thank goodness for holidays.
Midway through December I got a request from North Queensland. Peter Kilmore’s daughter was planning a cycle tour. Her 26 inch Koga mountain bike had originally had a rigid front fork. During its life this had been passed over for a suspension model. He wondered if I could build a replacement fork. One to cover all bases. Magura hydraulic rim brakes OR a disc. Pannier bosses and room for a 50mm wide tire. The request was also to leave the steerer tube long so that they could arrive at a comfortable position before cutting it down. I set to work on the blades and dropouts while I waited for the crown. A couple of days before Christmas I got a very timely delivery from Ceeway in England and at Peters request set about milling my signature into it. Between Christmas and New Year I put it all together and then packaged it up to send north. Thankfully it got there safely and I got a very nice email in return.
A week was spent at Barwon Heads where all I had to do was walk the dogs, ride,swim and try to surf. More practice needed with the last one.
Back in Melbourne I put the finishing touches to the Raleigh https://gdukehandmadebicycles.com.au/2016/02/29/rebuilding-the-raleigh/. Well, we will see there. It is complete though, and I am looking forward to seeing it mocked up with parts
Its amazing how fast time goes. We are a week away from Christmas. The last month has seen a couple of other peoples projects get closer to fruition
Adam brought me two frames for work. The first was a Hillman low pro track frame that had been drilled for a brake. He wanted the bridge filled in. No problem at all. The second was a Takhion, a Russian frame built by the people that made many of the European low pro frames of the 80’s and early 90′. The type that had the handlebars brazed to the fork crown. Ironically given the presence in the shed of the Hillman, this one isn’t a low pro frame. Adam had bought it with a bent top and down tube. So replacements were in order. We did manage to save the head tube and lugs though. They have both come up quite nicely and are ready for paint.
A little before this Stuart had brought me his LeMans frame. This is a really nice frame from somewhere in the 1950s i would guess. I don’t know anything about its history and neither did Stuart. It originally had Oscar Egg rear dropouts which some philistine had seen fit to attack with a hacksaw in order to remove the spikes from the bottom. About three weeks prior to this bike turning up I had been to a swap meet. I had seen a set of these very dropouts for sale but in my foolishness couldn’t believe I would ever have a use for them. After contacting the seller with no luck, I decided my only course of action was to get some laser cut. I found a suitable photo on the web and taking into consideration some sizes I knew to be correct, like the axle slot for example, I used Solid Works to trace over the top of the photo in order to create a drawing of said dropouts. The things you learn when you have to. I could then send that to a laser cutter and have a set of new dropouts made. Now he wants a front fork built to match, but at least the frame is back to where it was once. That leaves me with two forks in the pipeline and some more work to do on the Raleigh over he Christmas break.
Hope anyone reading this has a safe and happy Christmas break
It’s been a tough couple of months. I lost my dad. He was 85 and had had a pretty good life. He was also fortunate to have a kind end, but you are never really prepared. I wouldn’t normally post about this sort of stuff. However I probably wouldn’t be doing this if weren’t for dad. I wouldn’t be a bike rider if it wasn’t for dad. Dad rode a bike for enjoyment and fitness when almost no one else saw the point. He didn’t race, but he did follow cycling. I grew up knowing who Russel Mockridge and Sid Patterson were. Cycling was a minority sport back then and if he hadn’t exposed me to it and taken me out riding and then later driven me to the races, I would probably have been like most other suburban kids. Playing football badly and giving up on sport early because I didn’t enjoy it. I found what I loved in cycling because of him. I also cannot imagine my journey into framebuilding without him. Dad was an upholsterer. I spent many hours in his workshop, surrounded by tools and materials. He taught me to use them and to take pride in my work. No I can’t cover a lounge suite. I became a toolmaker. A different trade with different materials, but still one where you used your hands. The mindset remained and his encouragement to take pride in whatever you did has never grown old. This might all sound a bit one dimensional. Dad was far from that and above all he was a man of values. I wouldn’t have the ones I have without him.
Having said all that I did manage to get some work done and my apologies and thanks to Murray for his understanding about the time it took to build his fork, and also to Bundit with regard to his latest project