Eight Tubes Part One: Ego, Vanity, And Another Bike Project

So, do you want to watch me build a bike frame?

Despite the rather abysmal numbers that this particular blog generates in terms of daily visitors (rather understandable given my utter lack of public notoriety and an absence of any salacious content whatsoever on my website) a number of my friends (including my imaginary internet friends over at http://www.roadbikereview.com) have convinced me that I should take the time and effort to write about my next bike-related project: building a steel frame and fork from scratch.


That’s easy for them to say. They aren’t the ones who have to take the pictures and come up with the witty banter.

Anyway, I am going to build another bike frame, and I might as well document its construction for the edification of my friends and for posterity.

It is probably appropriate at this point to set expectations and to give folks a little background as to what to expect over the next few months, if they care to stick around and watch.

First, I don’t do this for a living. I work out of my garage. This will not be a complete tutorial on how to build a bike frame. What I intend to try to capture here is how an average schmoe with some mechanical aptitude and access to a decent workshop can build a nice frame that will be state of the art circa 1970.

Second, I work slow. I spent a lot of time with Old Number One just pondering and problem solving. Having learned a bit with my first effort, I expect this frame to be built a little quicker. Still, I expect to be at it for a few months. My plans are to update this blog once a week, whether or not I make a lot of progress. I also to include a lot of pictures – its easier to show you what I am doing rather than yammer on and on explaining my rather well-developed opinions on brazing chain stays or conducting an erudite discussion on the fundamentals of cable stop placement.

This will be my second frame, which means that I am at still at the stage where I’m genuinely pleased if at the end of my labors I have produced something that resembles a bike. While Frame Number Two will be lighter and fancier than Old Number One, Ernesto Colnago and Dario Pegoretti certainly won’t be losing any sleep worrying about having to compete with my handiwork. Being a rank beginner also means that I am taking a bit of a risk here by agreeing to document my project; if I fail, it will be a rather public failure (assuming, of course, that anyone is actually following along). That said, my first frame (Old Number One) turned out fabulously well. I don’t think that there is a terribly big risk that I will screw the pooch here.

Pride, they say, goeth before a fall.

Next: Tubes, Lugs, And Other Stuff That Arrives In A Plain Brown Package


9 Responses to “Eight Tubes Part One: Ego, Vanity, And Another Bike Project”

  1. 1 Anonymous
    July 3, 2012 at 3:13 am

    I dunno… that mag cover looks slightly salacious. Looking forward to seeing ‘Old Number Two’ come to pass. Wait…

    Karl “able to put on TWO new tires in one evening with only a flesh wound” H.

  2. 2 Jon
    July 6, 2012 at 1:14 am

    Awesome. As I cruise by your house I’ll be on the lookout for white smoke and either assume something amaizing has occurred or I need to call 911.


    • July 6, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Hey, stop by anytime. No need to wait for smoke. I came up with a headbadge and logo for Number 1, rustproofed and clearcoated the frame, and it is now officially “done.” More to the point, I need to start getting back to riding on Sundays…there are now far fewer legitmate excuses (other than “I’m Fat and Slow.”).

  3. 4 nick belletti
    December 3, 2012 at 2:46 am

    Great start here Greg–mind if I pass this web address on to some of my cycling aficionado buddies?
    Hope to see more of you and your projects. Now to continue reading with Part 2 – The Postman Cometh.

  4. 6 Anonymous
    March 10, 2013 at 2:14 am

    Good seeing you Greg. We were a little busy when you came by. Bike’s looking good, nice work on the cables.

  5. 7 Nick
    March 23, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Greg, Congrats on going to L’Eroica 2013. Your #1 looks great.
    Looking good!
    Ciao, (time to start learning a little Italian)


    • April 4, 2013 at 2:51 pm


      I pulled the trigger on the money part this morning – the group that I am going with will be visiting the Tommassini workshop, so maybe I can compare notes and learn something….


      PS – Time to start learning a LOT of Italian, and doing hills.

      • 9 Nick
        April 4, 2013 at 8:16 pm

        Bravo Greg,
        You will henceforth forever be a part of the “leggenda eroica”

        Forza Greg!


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