January 25, 2012

On order.

I am comitted!  I have placed an order through Ceeway B B S Limited in the UK for a set of Columbus SL Niobium tubes and Fleur-de-lys lugs.  My plans for this frame are to keep things simple in terms of the build, as this will be my first attempt at frame building.  I have chosen the fleur-de-lys lugs and SL Niobium tubes in the standard size, 31.7mm head tube, 25.4mm top tube, 28.6mm down tube and seat tube, 14mm seat stay and 22.2mm chain stays.  I chose a hollow, light-weight fork crown also in the fleur-de-lys motif with a 7 degree rake.  Front and rear dropouts are by Llewelyn.  I have deviated slightly from a true classic design in that the fork crown with the 7 degree built-in rake is designed for straight bladed forks.  I have done this for a reason as this will make the alignment of the fork much easier for my first attempt.  I have also stepped outside the box somewhat with my steerer tube selection.  I am going with a 1" threadless steerer tube as I plan on brazing a Llewellyn lugged stem for this attempt as well.

Before anyone is put-off  continuing to read this blog from a 'questionable' choice in stem selection, let me say this:  I absolutely love the classic lines of a quill stem.  The convienience of being able to adjust stem height with simple tools without adding a bunch of 'ugly' stem spacers (not to mention the superflous weight of said spacers) is priceless. I have decided to fabricate a clamped stem for two reasons.  First, as stated before I am trying to keep things simple (and cost-effetive), and second the Llewelyn luged stem kit (in the fleur-de-lys motiv) is absolutely stunning and is probably the most attractive non-quill stem available!  I admit, I could have chosen to adapt a lugged stem to a quill system as many other fine constructeurs have done, but for my first attempt I will keep with a simple modular system.  I am sure that many of you are already questioning this decision. Perhaps these photo's of the stem and the fact that I will be continuing the lug motif throuought the bike will distract from the lack of quill and instead impart a bit of contemporary beauty to this machine.  Besides a straight bladed fork is more of a faux pas than the stem.  The only trick is in finding a 1" threadless headset.  I was rather fond of the idea of using a Grand Cru headset but it is only available in a threaded version.  Perhaps I will settle on a Chris King instead.

A thing of beauty!

The things I always wanted on a road frame as a kid growing up in the 70's and 80's were: a pump peg, dual water bottle cage mounts, chromed  lugs and dropouts and internally routed cables.  For this frame I will install all of these goodies including fender eyelets, front derailleur boss as well as cable stops on the head tube for bar mounted shifters.  I will (at this point) for-go down tube shifter bosses as much as I think I might regret this.  I love the look of down tube shifters, but I have never riden a bike with brifters.  This is the perfect opportunity to treat myself to some modern convieniences.  Besides, growing up in my generation, internally routed cables and aero brake levers were totally awesome.  Brifters you say? Aero levers are awesome?  I realize this is a bit of a contradiction.  I have been contemplating installing the Tektro levers that Retroshift has modified.  This will blend the asthetics and the function in one tidy package as well as giving me some 'street cred' with the no-click club members.  Only budget will decide which shifting option I choose.

Maybe? Who knows?

I have a feeling that this first frame has the potential to lead to many others in the future.  Most likely as soon as I have started to mitre these tubes I will be back on the internet placing an order for another tube set.  By that time I will hopefully have graduated to Reynolds 531, Pancetti artisan lugs and a fork with an english rake (I'm sure this would please Mike Barry).  But for now I will focus on this project and walk readers through my journey of frame building.

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