columbus Max fixed gear, getting there

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columbus Max fixed gear, getting there

Back to bikes.

Here’s a pic of the head tube being reamed, so I’ve just got the filing to do.
Max lugs are big, straightfoward and not ornate.
Functional comes to mind, asides from the spaceship design on the bottom bracket and seatstay cluster, but I don’t have to do much there, so that makes it easier, so I’m a bit faster.

click on the pic for the set.

Eccovi la fissa columbus max a congiunzioni, fissa che ho sulla tubazione MAX, una delle piu’ belle mai prodotte a mio avviso.

cliccate sulla foto per il set.

Words. (& bikes).

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Words. (& bikes).

I studied Interpreting and translating at Uni, it taught me a lot and I’m not sorry to have spent five years doing so, though at the time it was long, hard and sometimes boring.

It was all about words, words as things,as tools.

One of the most satisfying things about this job it that I end up with something real, and something that will be useful or fun, and often both.

I knew that; I’m an artisan’s son. I’d worked as a wrench. I love working with my hands.

Words, is this blog about words or about bicycles?
It’s about things, moments, process, craft and problems. Expressed through words.

It’s about bikes, but there’s a need to put them in context, to explain.

To let you in- I’m not just a man with a file and a torch.

I thought, when I came here, what seems like a lifetime ago, that I’d just be in production, filing and brazing and just making.

There’s been a lot of that.

There’s also been a lot of project management, of marketing, of sales, of accounting, of customer support,of collaboration: with the painters, with the companies I work with, with columbus, deda (and a bit of reynolds), with all sorts of distributors, both bicycle related and non.

I’ve learnt a lot about bikes, but I’ve learnt more about people, as well as myself.

When you see a film, if you stay until they turn the lights on, the list of people who worked to make that film happen is unbelievably long.

It’s like that here.

My aim is to make a product, the best I can.

As important as the end product is, it’s all about people.

The bikes I’ve built have been a collaboration, between  the client, the painter, and the bikes I see around me, built for other people, by other people.

The bicycle is for a person, this blog is for people; you reading what I’m up to.
Similarly, bike rides, the best ones, usually involve meeting or being with people.

I’ve met a lot of lovely people through the years, thanks to bikes, thanks to riding them.

As much as this blog is about a product, it’s about a process.

A human one.

click on the pic for some bicycles made by a person.

Le parole e le persone, le cose e le persone.
A volte, nelle biciclette, perdiamo di vista l’individuo, perdiamo di vista il fatto che le biciclette sono strumenti, non solo per pedalare, ma anche per interagire con altri.
Allo stesso modo che interagisco con voi, gentili lettori.
Allo stesso modo che interagisco coi fornitori, con i clienti, con il verniciatore, le facciamo noi, ma senza collaborazione sarebbe impossibile.
Perche’ per quanto sia un blog molto specifico sui telai artigianali per biciclette, alla fine ogni cosa che facciamo e’ necessariamente umana.


Attention to detail.

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Attention to detail.

Not many people look at the bottom bracket.
Understandably, it’s on the bottom of the bike, most people make a conscious effort to stay on top of the bike, keeping the rubber side down, as it were.

I think a good bike frame should be a good bike frame whatever side you look at it.

There’s a person behind your frame, and he remembers each and every frame he built.

So when you’re sitting down, on the trail, with your bike leaned over, or putting your bike on top of your car, look at the bits of the bike you don’t normally see.

What do you see?

Did someone take pride in them?

click on the pic for more pictures of this frame, and how it was built.

Guardare i dettagli, guardare le parti normalmente nascoste ti fa capire quanto tempo e’ stato dedicato a rendere un oggetto il piu’ perfetto possibile.
Guardate sotto il vostro movimento centrale, e’ rifinito come le altri parti del telaio?

E’ motivo d’orgoglio per un artigiano sapere che non ha nascosto niente.

Che questa ciambella e’ uscita col buco.

Cliccate sulla foto per altre immagini, del telaio e come e’ stato fatto.

Fillet brazed Deda Zero 26er.

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Fillet brazed Deda Zero 26er.

This came out well, it’s a tight, snappy frame, the type of frame where every push on the pedals makes the bike go only in one direction, foward.
Dedacciai Zero is Light, stiff and the perfect choice for a XC bicycle.

I believe wheel size should be proportional to body height, and have no problems offering mtbikes from 24″ to 36″, with everything in between. That’s why I’m a custom builder, to build what you want.
it was a joy to file, the large radius curves are like being on holiday after holding riffler files for hours on end for lugged frames.

There’s been a surge in work, it’s normal, it’s spring, everyone wants their bike ready as soon as the weather gets warmer.

So I apologize if blog posts lately have slowed down, it’s to enable me to tackle the backlog.

Click on the pic for the flickr set.

Deda, mtb fillet brazed, tubi ultra oversize per questa mtb leggera, agile e rigida pur con la caratteristica comodita’ dell’acciaio. Un’ottima scelta per coloro che coloro che amano andare veloci e lontani.
cliccate sulla foto per il set su flickr.

Do Framebuilders dream of chrome sheep?

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The forks in the picture are from the same year, I don’t know the year, but an educated guess would place them in the mid 80s.
So we have two thirty five year old forks, both used in the same way (we supplied the frames and forks to various local teams, as sponsorship). Both stored in the same place.
One is chromed, the other is painted.

You can see pinpricks of rust on the chromed fork, similarly, there are very small rust areas where the paint was scratched.

Both forks are fine, usable and safe.
The chromed one will clear up beautifully with some steel wool and oil, the painted one will look good with some wax, but the scratches will remain, so will the pinpricks of rust on the chrome fork, for that matter, though less noticeable.

I asked an engineer at Columbus on their take, I was on the phone to them for this month’s order, so I took the opportunity to ask.
They don’t advise chroming, not because of the chrome, that actually does protect the outside of the tube, but because of the acid used to prepare the item.
The acid dries, and is harmless, but when water or moisture gets into the frame, it hydrates the acid, that then does what acid does, corrode.

Hundreds of thousands of frames have been chromed, and a lot of them are still with us.

I don’t use it on my personal frames as it’s not the most environmentally friendly process in the world.

It also adds a not insignificant cost to the finished frame.

I use stainless in the same way chrome was used, to avoid paint being rubbed off, on chainstays, on fork tips and dropouts, on braze ons.

However, if you take care of your steel frame, it will outlast you. Chrome or no chrome.

So if you like chrome, that’s fine, on the right frame it looks gorgeous.

If you want to know more, I suggest , more than you’ve ever wanted to know about how to coat metals, lots of good advice and some good articles on chrome.

La cromatura.
Centinaia di migliaia di telai e forcelle sono state cromate, ci sono motivi per credere la cromatura sia dannosa?
La Columbus non consiglia la cromatura, l’acido usato per preparare il telaio finisce dentro, e puo’ danneggiare il telaio.
Ma in ogni caso, se vi prendete cura del vostro telaio d’acciaio, durera’ piu’ di voi.

Qui abbiamo due forcelle, per dei telai che abbiamo dato a una squadra qualche anno fa.
Una verniciata, una cromata.
Non direi ci siano grosse differenze, presentano ambedue leggeri fiori di ruggine che non compromettono per niente la sicurezza. Della lana d’acciaio e polish e ambedue tornano quasi come nuove.
Preferisco usare l’inox, al posto della cromatura.
Ma la scelta e’ vostra.

Framebuilding supplies, going cheap!

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Framebuilding supplies, going cheap!

As you can imagine, a factory that’s been working since 1949 has a lot of stuff hidden away.
Some of it is very rare, like this campagnolo dropout that bike lovers will recognize.
Some is simply not going to be used.
So instead of gathering dust here I thought I’d clear out some framebuilding supplies I’m not going to need.
I put the pictures in this set, in flickr, framebuilder kit.
There’s everything you need to build a frame, prices are reasonable, and shipping is at cost.
I accept payment via paypal, and can ship via a courier or via the post office.
I have all the tubing you’ll ever need, flux, brass and can have some tubing blocks made locally.

You can do a lot with some time, a file, hacksaw, a vise and a lot of patience.

So, if you’re reading this because you’re thinking of building your own frame, my advice is simple, start now, don’t dwell, you’ll understand so much by doing, it probably won’t come out great, but you’ll have tried, and the second will come out better.
Tubing is 2.5euros per tube, I have 25,4; 28,6; 31,7 unbutted Falck tubing, it’s around 70cm long.
We used it for years to build our city bike frames, it’s not fancy, but it works.
A full frame and fork set, with flux and brass, is about the price of the campagnolo dropout in the picture.
click on the pic to get to the set with all the brazeons you’ll ever need.

Kit Telaista,
Ho molto materiale qui, una fabbrica che lavora dal 1949 accumula molte cose, alcune sono trovate eccezzionali, come questi forcellini campagnolo, altre sono materiali che sinceramente non useremo piu’. Per cui abbiamo pensato di dare la possibilita’ a chi volesse cimentarsi nel mestiere del telaista.
Per il prezzo di questo forcellino campagnolo, potete comprarvi tutto il necessario, incluso disossidante e materiale d’apporto, per un telaio.
La tubazione e’ Falck, una tubazione italiana nelle misure 25.4; 28,6; 31,7mm. La usavamo nei modelli da citta’, e’ una tubazione onesta, non vincera’ il tour, ma funziona.
cliccate sulla foto per tutte le foto.

Columbus MAX bottom bracket thoughts.

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Columbus MAX bottom bracket thoughts.

It’s a shame such details should be hidden away, the 28mm chainstays and downtube wrap around the BB, meeting at the halfway point.
Some builders prefer to use a bb30 when using max chainstays, it makes it easier to miter, but I prefer BSA bottom brackets, they’ve proven their worth and aren’t going anywhere.
This one is Italian threaded, It’s also a lugged bottom bracket shell, so The mitering is easier.
To do the same on a fillet brazed frame would take a lot of time, and even more skill.
So as I’ve got a Life/max road bike coming up, well, that’s what I’m going to do.
Nobody spends much time looking at the bottom of a bike, it’s true.
The only reason is because it looks right, though it will take a lot more work.

That’s reason enough.

As a friend of mine says: Do the right things, and the right things will happen.

That means making every single bike as if it were for me.

Which, in a sense, they are.

click on the pic for the max fixed gear set.

Columbus Max, ecco come si presenta la scatola movimento, ed e’ un’idea che voglio riproporre anche nei telai senza congiunzioni.

cliccate sulla foto per il set del telaio max da pista.