26 January 2015

Bikewright Workshop Project

Inspired by the movie Breaking Away and the TV show by the same name, Greg Lemond’s three historic Tour De France wins and my first 50 mile ride while earning the cycling merit badge as a Scout. Sealed my love of the sport of cycling and the love of the bicycle simplistic style and function.

While I love the modern day advancements to the bicycle and components. The classic triangles and the lines of fine steel-lugged tubing builds the framework of a classic bicycle. Anyone who loves art can appreciate a bicycle’s simple form and function. While forever enamored with beautiful vintage steel bicycles from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, I am by no means purists.

Indulges over the last few years of rebuilding my own vintage mountain bikes and the commissioning of a builder to produce a custom bicycle for myself. I have a goal and desire to keep these fine bicycles and works of art, on the road for as long as possible.

With that, I am going to start a series on the blog the called the Bikewright Workshop Project. My intent with this project is to exclusively rebuild and reinterpret used steel bicycles and frames for builds. The Bikewright Workshop Project will focus on a couple of main themes. First, will be the use of quality used steel bicycles or frames. Second, will the selection of build types. I will primarily look at building touring, mountain touring, commuting, randonneuring or brevets, and road bikes. Third, is building a bike that will be durable, comfortable and will last many years. Lastly building a bike that will have its own personality and spirit.

But why ride used vintage steel when you can buy a reasonably priced bike at your LBS that is brand new? Well that's a good question that I hope I can answer.

Because these bicycles are older does not mean they are of a lower quality. Today’s production bikes are simply not built to last a lifetime. Aluminum, while cheaper to manufacture in bulk, is prone to failure and fatigue. Aluminum in my opinion is a less forgiving ride. While carbon frames are lightweight and provide a quality ride, they are also very vulnerable to damage. Let’s not forget about titanium! A top-end frame material with low weight, has flex and is rust free. It does come with a cost. A cost which most riders cannot afford. During my life I have had a bicycle made from these materials and I find myself loving the ride qualities of steel.

Steel has proven over the years to be a superior bicycle frame material; it is strong, durable, and provides a comfortable ride quality. Plus there are plenty of steel-lugged frames from 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s to provide the framework of rebuilding and reinterpretation of these bicycles.

In many instances, the construction and components they possess are better than their modern counterparts. I plan to use a mix of old school and new components that have stood the test of time and where I can plan to use American made products to make the best build possible.


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