I finaly heard the call of the black top

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Well here is some shots of my latest build

A compact road frame using Columba’s aero tube / beautiful Richie lug tips and a lugged chain stay BB shell.

I have used aero tubes for builds in the past and had both good and bad results. I have had to threw away a few early attempts with the material due to using the wrong filler and excessive heat neither of  which the thin-walled tubes  like. After  talking to other builders and thru trial and error I have worked out the nuances of the material and have come to love working with it.

Having moved my house and work shop to Wollongong a couple of months ago has really taken its toll on my fitness. due to the extra hours comutting to and from work I don’t get to ride as much as I did when I lived in the big smoke. this is starting to show on my waist line so something had to be done.

All my whips are pretty much fixed or single fine for riding around  town but it only took me a few rides to the stanwell park to realise that though there is not very many big hills along the beach road the ones that are there are bloody sharp (a couple you could have walked backwards faster than i was riding them). Then you get to the serious hills there is no avoiding them if you want to get out you need to up and i mean UP and there was no way I could even think of doing any of the roads on a 48/15 fixxie.

So it was time to  look at a (shock horror) a geared  road bike. The catalyst came from a customer’s build that I was working on. Keia wanted a cyclocross frame based on a moots psycho I had not built a cross frame before, so after doing my usual home work into the bikes and frames I was greatly taken by the concept and build I worked with Keia to nut out his frame which went from full geared to single and I thought that it would be a great bike for an aero tube set as it was not going to be used as a competition bike and not flogged hard on the trails I was confident to use the lighter tube set and the silver filler that I use on this style of  frame build, any way back to my build as Keia will get his own  frame build story

One of the issues with aero tubes is they are very tricky to cut, the thin walls and the odd shape make for a very nerve-racking not to mention noise metering experience. to this end I have been purchasing some silvr machined cutters over the years they are very expensive but are dead true and pretty much the only way to cut the tubes, so thus equipped it was machining a plenty, I like to cut a few frames at once if possible as it takes a few hours to set up the mitre jigs each time and this round it was ,this frame ,keia’s frame and my latest customer who will remain anonymous  for now but who it is a honor and a big feather in my hat to be building for. three frames cut and peeped and they all get there turn in jig to be tacked ready to lay down the fillets. I bought a new torch for the silver filler on these frames. I have a very nice hanrob oxy acetylene torch has a very precise and confined flame but runs to hot for the 45% silver, at the other end of the scale I have a straight propane torch that is a dream to fit baize on fitting but the heat is to broad and takes to long to get to temperature to work on the aero tubes, so I needed a oxy propane set up as it has the best features of both, I bought a small Harris torch from the boys at Auto Weld in tarren point they are the Dons of welding and top guys to deal with. with the new torch set up it was game on .This frame went very smoothly and stayed true, no cold setting needed after which is what you need with the aero tube frames as the material does not like a lot of  cold setting very much. keia’s frame didn’t go as smoothly, a bad choice with the tact sequence saw the DT move of  centre 1mm so it was in the bin with that tube set and back to the mitring for a second attempt which turned out  very well and allowed us to add a few things that will make it a very very sweet build when done.

One of the great things with using silver filler is the way it dresses up , you get large fillets that blend into each other very smoothly (and its a lot easier to work with) so i soon had the frame smooth and ready for the fittings.

I used a few new processes on this frame, first I found some Columbus integrated head sets in the kit of tubes and frame goodies that I bought of John at cycle underground a while ago and I have been hanging to fit a set to a frame for a few years now but there has not been a built that suited them till now they fitted together  nicely and came up very clean. Next I have been planing to make my own stems for a while and again this was the perfect build to get it all sorted I had worked out a sys for jigging up the stem on my main jig I had to turn up some fitting which took a couple of days to complete, after dry fitting everything it looked like it was going to work well. I used a set of lewlien stem lugs for the build as I really like the look of them. The stem went together cleanly and after dressing it back looked sweet.

I had some beautiful friction shifter lying around and I really wanted to use them in this build but I was not going to fit them onto the DT  to old school and not very practical. I had planed to use a set of paul components thumies but I was not sure if my shifter would work with them. After scratching my head and thinking which way to go with the shifter I came up with the idea of fitting they on the stem I had just finished I had not seen this done before and at first I was not sure if it was going to work at all. After much fitting up and playing around with cables to see if it had any chance of working , I decided to give it a go as the saying sais “you will never know if you don’t try” so try I did. It all looks sweet though there will be a bit of contact on the tt when turning but this should not be a problem (fingers X). Any way I really like the way it turned out and the position is easy to use. I give it a good run when its al built up and do an updated post on it then.

All in all I’m very excited about this bike im going for a dark metallic blue with wight panel on DT and matching color on the stem and forks think it will look v sweet. I have even been looking at licra but I don’t think I can go that far just yet.

Stay up right Tarn..

One Comment
  1. Keir Whitcher says:

    Looks sensational, can’t wait until mine arrives Tarn!!

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