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 Post subject: Master frame builders
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 9:09 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:50 pm
Posts: 14
I've been into restoring classic lightweights for a couple of years now but still very much learning.

I know there are certain frame builders whose work is considered a little more special - eg Hurlow, Carpenter, Ephgrave, Berry, Major Taylor - but what would be the difference compared to another skilled but less celebrated frame builder?

I know there might be aesthetic differences with the filing of lugs and other stylistic elements. And I'm guessing they could braze at low temperatures to avoid any weakening to the tubing.

But would you feel any difference in the ride (assuming the same frame materials, geometry etc) between the work of the more celebrated builder and his less celebrated counterpart?

I'd be grateful for your thoughts and insights


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 9:52 am 
Retro Guru
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That is a great question and its difficult to answer objectively unless you have wide experience of riding lots of bikes. Also, a bike's feel can be radically altered by its wheels and tyres and an otherwise good frame can be let down by low quality items here .

That said, I have owned upwards of thirty bikes made from steel, aluminium or carbon fibre and can confirm that my favourites are both handmade by custom experts. They are a Tommasini (built 1982) and Geoff Roberts (built 1994) and both are steel !


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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 4:26 pm 
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Location: Shrewsbury
I read somewhere once that you can put cheap components on a good frame and you will still have a good bike. You can also put expensive components on a cheap frame, and it will always ride like a cheap bike.

I've owned and ridden all sorts from entry level to high mid level. Its very difficult to describe what makes a bike right, you just know when you have it. My two favorites are a late 1970's steel Harry Hall which despite a mixture of components fits and rides superbly. I also have a CIÖCC built San Cristobal which also rides superbly. One thing I've noticed is that they are a lot less tiring to ride over distance, but I can't tell you why. My only conclusion is that you get what you pay for :)


Last edited by Robbied196 on Wed May 23, 2012 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 4:39 pm 
rider | rBoTM Winner
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Major Taylor - he was a black American sprinter from the early part of the 20th century and lent his name to the adjustable stem. I think you meant to say 'Major Nicholls', didn't you :wink:

I think a lot of 'better' builders master the art of not over-heating the tubes around the lugs when brazing. If they are over-heated it affects their resiliance, strength etc. and this may affect the way in which the frame 'rides'. In the end though, it's a very subjective thing. The same frame can feel completely different to different riders.

It also helps if the builder builds frames straight and in track as well!

I think what denotes a 'master' builder is the little details and the standard of 'finishing off' (filing etc.). A perfectly good structurally sound frame can look diabolical if care isn't taken over the final steps.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 5:04 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Location: Cumbria
I've ridden a fair number of steel bikes and the two things that seem to make the most difference are the wheels and the geometry........

I raced a run of the mill Carlton Cobra and for events I swapped the normal 27 x 1.1/4 for sprinta and tubs and it transformed the ride. Magic :)

The other is the geometry, The TT bikes I rode had you hanging over the front wheel on a long stem and were definately a lot twitchier than the "road" bikes that I rode.

As for who makes the frames..... the devil is in the detail :)

Shaun


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 8:48 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:50 pm
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Old Ned wrote:
Major Taylor - he was a black American sprinter from the early part of the 20th century and lent his name to the adjustable stem. I think you meant to say 'Major Nicholls', didn't you :wink:

I think a lot of 'better' builders master the art of not over-heating the tubes around the lugs when brazing. If they are over-heated it affects their resiliance, strength etc. and this may affect the way in which the frame 'rides'. In the end though, it's a very subjective thing. The same frame can feel completely different to different riders.

It also helps if the builder builds frames straight and in track as well!

I think what denotes a 'master' builder is the little details and the standard of 'finishing off' (filing etc.). A perfectly good structurally sound frame can look diabolical if care isn't taken over the final steps.


Ooops...yes I had my military gentlemen mixed up...it was a slip of the keyboard.

I had thought there was an element of subjectivity/ psychology. Perhaps the knowledge that you're riding on a well-crafted machine adds something to the experience.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 11:08 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Location: Completely in the dark, thanks to me good mate Terry....
Old Ned wrote:
Major Taylor - he was a black American sprinter from the early part of the 20th century and lent his name to the adjustable stem. I think you meant to say 'Major Nicholls', didn't you :wink:


Well, these typos happen to us all. I'm still waiting for someone to mistake Harry Hall for Harry Hill, although if said frameset had a ridiculously large seatpost collar, that would just confuse things even more. ;)

David


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 6:15 am 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 4:06 am
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Hi everybody
welcome to the forum
i am a new one and i am glad to talk with you
wish you guys happy everyday .


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 7:42 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 12:31 am
Posts: 585
Location: London
I think the very idea of a "master" framebuilder is a bit silly. Sure there are certain skills involved in building a frame, but as someone said it's no more and no less than accurate joining of metal tube together. Anyone could, with tuition, build a frame without any previous experience. There's no magic or mystery involved.

As long as the frame has mechanically good joints and the geometry is suitable for the rider and purpose, then I don't it matters who built the frame, as far as riding qualities are concerned.

Certain builders become more well known because people write about them. Also, some of the most sought after frames are not even built by one person but come off a production line or are built by several people.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:09 pm 
Newbie

Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:22 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Gillingham, UK
I am beginning to wonder if the term was originally Either to the Master/Apprentice relationship (apprenticeships were formal posts with contracts) Or to the supervisor in a multi-builder shop. There may have been specific meanings that are lost today.
Surprised no-one has mentioned the Bates brothers in the thread.


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