The Joys of a Bespoke Bicycle (3)

So, we’d agreed on my broad requirements, and now it was time to discuss the project in detail, starting with the basic frame design.  The primary issues here were twofold: the type of steel to use, and whether it should be fillet brazed or lugged.

I had seen Darron build frames using both methods, and produce a beautifully cleanly-built frame in each case.  I love the elegance of a finely-finished lugless frame, but in this instance, I decided upon lugged construction, for which Darron would use silver solder.

As for materials, both Darron and I admired the chrome-plated Rene Herse bicycle on the front cover of Jan Heine’s “The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles”, and while neither of us wanted the frame to be chrome plated, we decided that a similar, but more modern finish could be achieved using highly-polished stainless steel tubing, and Darron proposed that he use Reynolds 921, which is easier to work than the top-of the range 953.  It would remain in bare metal, which, apart from aesthetic considerations, would display Darron’s framebuilding skills.


For the lugs, I proposed Fleur-de-Lys pattern from  Ceeway Bike Building Supplies, but Darron was reluctant, because he wanted to display my completed machine at Bespoked 2015, along with two others traditionally-influenced bikes for which he would be using the Fleur-de-Lys lugs.  He was prepared to use whatever I wanted, but in the event, we found some arrowhead lugs which I actually preferred, and we agreed on these.

Having considered these plans for a few days, we both came independently to the same decision, i.e., that polished stainless steel would be too flashy, and that a painted finish would be far more to our taste. The choice of tubing was amended to Reynolds 853 Pro Team for the main triangle, with Columbus seat- and chainstays because Reynolds don’t supply the profile Darron  wanted to use.  Fork blades would be Kaisei “Toei Special” from Compass Bicycles, because they are inspired by the Reynolds “Super Resilient” blades (no longer available) used by the top French Constructeurs, and are, in my opinion, much more elegant than those currently available for modern bicycles.

We then proceeded to consider components and accessories. (To be continued).

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