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Guest Article: Bike #2

Guest Article: Bike #2

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I don’t have to tell anyone around here that @Cyclops is weird guy; most of you have already figured that out, and if you haven’t figured it out, you will soon enough. But weird doesn’t have any negative meaning, if you ask me. In fact, I’d say we’re all weird which makes normal more suspect.

Several years ago, long before I’d met him, he emailed asking for my address. Despite founding a international online community, I’m actually rather uncomfortable with internet “friendships”, so to be totally honest it freaked me out a little. But he seemed like a good enough guy, so I sent it to him, hoping that whatever he sent me wouldn’t be ticking when I got it.

What wound up in my mailbox was the first prototype V-Pint, and it blew my tiny little mind that such a thing could be made. He wasn’t the guy who made it, but he thought of it and designed it, and that showed he had some creative and crafty skills. Over the years he sent other creations along – some better than others – and after a bit, I have to admit I got accustomed to him making cool shit and sending it to me. Then I got some emails where he asked very specific questions about when I’d be home to pick up another package; he didn’t want it sitting on my porch. Whatever, dude – I’m busy, I live in a good neighborhood, Rule #5. The usual. But he insisted, and I arranged to be home at the time UPS suggested they might deliver the package.

Lo and behold, he had built me a steel CX frame. Un-Be-lievable. What’s more, it actually rides really well. Amazing. But now the noob is progressing into his own and starting a buisiness called Deacon Bikes. His tale here chokes me up a bit; I never imagined our little community could inspire such dreams. It is very, very, very cool and I’m filled with pride that we can make a difference in people’s lives. 

Thanks again to @Cyclops for the frame and words below. Thanks to all of you in the community who help make this place worth while and help inspire dreams. 

Merckx bless you all. Vive la Vie Velominatus.

Frank

Bike #2 is Bike #2 in more than one sense. It is Bike #2 in the classic Velominati sense in that it will be the go-to ride when Rule #9 needs to be applied as well as commuting and the occasional cyclorcross race.  In the more important sense it is bike #2 in that it is the culmination of a nearly life-long dream of becoming a frame builder. It is also Bike #2 because I thought that plopping my fat arse on my first attempt at crafting a “chariot of the gods” could lead to serious injury and/or death – so Bike #1 went to Frank, who was more than willing to risk gun and limb on home-made frame.

But let’s get back to that life-long dream. Mrs. Cyclops and I feel very strongly about the entrepreneurial spirit and being free from the bondage of working for someone else*. In light of that we have kicked around various ideas. I have restaurant experience so we’ve thought of doing a sandwich shop or a brick oven pizza place – The Gran Fondo Pizzeria, all the pizzas would be named after the Classics and Grand Tours – or a food truck. But what is my passion? After further discussion about the role bicycles have played in my life and my passion for them it was decided that “Living the Dream” was the way to go. “The Dream” usually means making a living racing the bike, however at this late stage in the game this would be impossible for me. But the Velominati have taught me that we can still dream nonetheless. So how about building frames AND running a food truck?  It would be pretty cool to show up to the races with a food truck and a sponsored team on my bikes to go with it, huh? More dreams.

It seems that many of us have been “keepers of the law” (aka The Rules) while being unaware of the law. But then we stumble upon www.velominati.com and we are translated from darkness to light. From death to life. We are given a raison d’être. While the dream of riding in Le Tour is beyond us, we live our lives (on the bike) as if we might attain that dream. The Velominati are kept on task by a worldwide community of like-minded idiots that don’t realize that THE DREAM will always remain a dream so we strive on. Each of us trying to balance cold hard reality with being as marvelous on the bike as possible. Finding Velominati.com and riding in a cogal with Frank and others of the Black and Orange brought my dream into focus. I don’t know which came first – the chicken or the egg? I don’t even know which is the chicken – actually building a frame, and which is the egg – doing something freaking awesome for Frank (and thus the Velominati as a whole). I’m not sure how they worked out and intertwined with each other but it was because of being involved with the Velominat that I got off my arse and actually built a frame. So, naturally, the fruit of my labors needed to go to the Monarch, I mean, the (Dutch) Monkey behind all this madness. In a very real sense, were it not for Frank, “The Dream” would have remained a dream.

Now back to Bike #2.


Deacon:  Middle English dekene, from Old English dēacon, from Late Latin diaconus, from Greek diakonos, literally, servant, from dia- + -konos (akin to enkonein to be active) (perhaps akin to Latin conari to attempt)

The Greek diakonos (hence the lower case Greek delta on the head tube) literally means through the dust.  (Ah, visions of Paris-Roubaix.)


Bike #2 turned out to be much more of a learning experience than Bike #1.  Maybe Merckx was having pity on me and blessing my desire to bless others because #1 went together with nary a hiccup. Not so with #2. After much gnashing of teeth and about two months past the originally expected ETA I finally have the finished product but it was not without its headaches – I actually tore the back end of the frame off and redid it after realizing that my “short cut” led to a mis-aligned frame.  But all things work for the good…  I just chalked up the headaches as learning experience – like not trusting the painter to get the graphics on straight before he clear-coats the frame. Bike #3 (a road frame for myself) will not (I hope) be plagued by these headaches because #2 taught me some valuable lessons; for example, there are no short cuts. One thing I have learned in my many other endeavors in life is what separates a professional from an amateur. Namely, a professional knows how to fix his mistakes. Eric Clapton says a note in a lead is not a mistake if the note that follows it corrects the situation. So that’s what we have with Bike #2. A series of “events” that led to what you see below.

I’m actually very pleased with the end result. Since it was going to be my personal bike I tried some things out – like the dropped seat stays with all the filet brazing involved. I know what a low BB feels like so since this is a CX rig I tried a higher BB. I’m getting old and have less flexibility so the head tube is a little taller – so I can still have it look like the stem is slammed. It’s all about appearances, you know.

Some basic info: the frame was constructed with Richard Sachs lugs (with a set of NOS Ritchey drop-outs) and Columbus PegoRichie Uber Oversized tubing. PegoRichie tubing is custom drawn for Richard Sachs and Dario Pegoretti. It is a size 53cm and weighs in as you see it at 18.1 lbs (8.2k).  It has a full Ritchey cockpit plus some NOS Ritchey V (hey, hey) Cranks and a Ritchey Carbon Pro fork, Chris King headset, SRAM Force derailleurs and shifters, Dura-Ace chain and cassette, TRP Mini-Vs, and obviously Zipp 303 tubs with Vittoria sew-ups (because the red labels match the bike). A recent snow storm has rendered the local roads pretty treacherous but I’ll post a ride report as soon as I can.

Oh, if anyone is interested in an affordable custom frame visit deaconbikes.com – I should have the website sorted out within a week or so – and give me a buzz so we can talk.  If you want geometry built to your specs, I can do that. If you want polished stainless steel lugs and the like, I might not be your guy (yet).

Slideshow:
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*Not that I think I’ll actually ever be able to make a living building frames but at least it will afford me some extra cash so that maybe someday Cyclops will be seen at a Keeper’s Tour.

 

// Guest Article // The Bikes

  1. That’s a five star ride. What I like about it are the details; the chainstay bridge, the Ritchey caps on the seatstays and the simple colour scheme. I bet it’s floats like a magic carpet. Steel is real!

  2. @Cyclops Great looking bike by the way – now I can see it on an iPad. What is the seat tube angle? Looks supereuro!?

  3. Has been my ambition to build my own frame for over thirty years, based a project on it when at school!

    Good luck and stick with it!

  4. It’s a dream of mine to own a custom steel frame.  One of my favorite times of year is following the coverage of the NAHBS. Bikes like these made by Cyclops are creatures of savage graceful beauty.

  5. Thanks for the kind responses.  Since nobody here knows me, I am an electrical engineer.  I work for a firm with a history in iron making.  We design blast furnaces,  projects that can be $1 to 2 billion to install.  Anyway I know a bit about metals, just enough to be dangerous really.  Interesting responses, welding I believe will alter the properties of the metal, making it harder at the weld point.  Typically the solution is to anneal the metal after fabrication in a furnace.  Not really practical but interesting to think about.

    Thanks for Velominati.com, it’s a cool place.

    Tom G

  6. great pull cyclops

    love the post, is it integrated?

    again, its inspirational for my likewise spirit to do the same.  Here is a question as I have continued to ponder the same as you.  Why not MIG welding?  I know the lugs will make it easier, but what are your thoughts on MIG welds?

    BTW, buy a gun, and paint your own, its not that hard with some time.  I painted my own as of late, and have been happier than paying someone else to blow through it.

  7. That’s a beautiful bike, loving the colour scheme. Would be awesome to build my own frame one day, although with my welding skills perhaps that isn’t such a great idea…

  8. @Cyclops

    Great work, that really is a newest looking frame and I really app coated the little details.

    As it happens I am in tmark trite for a CX frame, had been thinking Surly or Soma but this opens up new possibilities.

    Im keen to talk to you about doing this.

    Cheers

  9. That should read “sweet” not newest. Likewise app coated should read “appreciated”. My spelling override system must be on full alert tonight or perhaps I’m just tired and only hitting half the keys I’m aiming at.

    Either way, keen to get in touch.

  10. @Alex

    Thanks for the kind word.

    Go to deaconbikes.com, all my contact info is on the contact page.

  11. @frank @Cyclops & McSqueak

    finding time for the art can be tough when it is an extracurricular activity. When wrenching and wheel building was part-time for me, I found that it was tough to track real time. 20-30 hours for a frame sounds about right. While taking the framebuilder course, I found that getting the front triangle was quick, but that was not even half done! And i found the seat stays to be the most finicky part.

    As for brazing over welding, brass can join two like or unlike ferrous metals and there is less heat distortion.  As for fillet and silver brazing with lugs, silver brazing is even at a lower temperature. There are some new silver filler rods for use with stainless steel too. As for ride, tube to tube construction with lugs (or wrapped in the case of some carbon) can provide a livelier ride if it comes together well or kinda as planned.

    TIG is way faster, fillet can come out nice and smooth, lugs look awesome and allow for lower temperatures.  They all hold together more than enough for the forces involved in cycling

  12. First ride of Deacon #1 today.  I must confess that I’ve waited this long to ride it because I didn’t want to get it dirty, it looks so nice.  I rode it on unglued CX knobby tubs so it wasn’t a proper test ride but since it’s finally supposed to start getting nice next week I’m going to put the carbon clinchers with road tires on it today and I’ll have a proper ride report next week.  But as for today I can say that it is most definitely a bike!  But seriously, folks…  Except for wallowing around on knobbies with super low air pressure it felt pretty good.  Look for an update next week.

  13. This may be trivial, but I really like the head badge; it’s playful while recalling a cool old letterform. Who designed it?

  14. @Dan_R

    @frank @Cyclops & McSqueak

    As for brazing over welding, brass can join two like or unlike ferrous metals and there is less heat distortion. As for fillet and silver brazing with lugs, silver brazing is even at a lower temperature. There are some new silver filler rods for use with stainless steel too. As for ride, tube to tube construction with lugs (or wrapped in the case of some carbon) can provide a livelier ride if it comes together well or kinda as planned.

    Heh, I discovered this recently as I became obsessed with soldering my cable ends like I once had on my race bike 20 years ago. Not sure how that came about other than I was fortunate enough to have that bike assembled at a shop that had a mechanic that was as retentive as I apparently am.

    Anyhoo, I think that I’ve spent about $100 in my odyssey to have soldered cable ends. It started by purchasing a soldering iron, solder and flux. This was unsuccessful as I found that the iron was a cheapie and didn’t get hot enough.  Cue purchase of a butane torch. This got everything hotter, but still the solder wouldn’t stick.   More research indicated that I had the wrong solder.  Purchased another roll from the hardware that said it was suitable for stainless steel.  It wasn’t.

    Finally went to a welding supply shop where they indicated that it was indeed the solder that as the issue.  Soldering Stainless Steel requires a very high silver content.  I left the shop with 2 rods about 30cm long.  $40!

    Now after plenty of practice, I’ve got it down to a fine art. No more frayed cables.

  15. Oh, and for the moment, the CX bike is doing double duty as my road bike as it’s in the shop awaiting the insurance claim to be sorted out from being knocked off by a car a month ago.  The good thing is that as my training wheels were destroyed in that incident, I’ve had to get some replacements.  I went a bit crazy and got 60mm carbon clinchers.

    These are now on the Crux.  I have to say I rather like riding on deep profile wheels.  Much different sensation than riding on my 32’s.  Certainly roll well.

    I’ll be racing CX on these later this year.  That should be fun!

  16. @PeakInTwoYears

    Me.  Well, actually the Greeks did.  It is a lowercase Greek Delta.

  17. @mouse

    Oh, and for the moment, the CX bike is doing double duty as my road bike as it’s in the shop awaiting the insurance claim to be sorted out from being knocked off by a car a month ago. The good thing is that as my training wheels were destroyed in that incident, I’ve had to get some replacements. I went a bit crazy and got 60mm carbon clinchers.

    These are now on the Crux. I have to say I rather like riding on deep profile wheels. Much different sensation than riding on my 32′s. Certainly roll well.

    I’ll be racing CX on these later this year. That should be fun!

    That is a freaking sweet bike, Shorty.  Oh, and I wonder if the 56% silver sticks that I use for brazing would work for the cable ends?

  18. @Cyclops

    It’s a lovely lowercase d, and I congratulate you on it. More recently than the Greeks, of course, I think Uncial script is said to have derived from Old Roman Cursive. Whatever the lineage, it’s handsome.

  19. @Cyclops
    If you use instagram I’d recommend following @thefeatherworkshop , he is UK frame builder (feather cycles) who posts loads of pictures of his work in progress.  He does some nice stuff that you might be interested in.  @roukebikes is another.

  20. Deacon #1 Ride Report:  I guess I felt like Frank when he rode the CX-V for the first – “Hey, this feels pretty good.”  Actually she felt really nice, really smoove.  Totally had that “new bike” feel.  Completely silent, handled nice.  I could ride it with no hands with no weird leaning of the body.  I’m pretty stoked.  I can’t believe I’m saying this but I don’t even want to ride my $6000 LOOK anymore.

    Here she is in “Road Mode”…

    Deacon Bikes #1 "Road Mode"

  21. @Cyclops

    Deacon #1 Ride Report: I guess I felt like Frank when he rode the CX-V for the first – “Hey, this feels pretty good.” Actually she felt really nice, really smoove. Totally had that “new bike” feel. Completely silent, handled nice. I could ride it with no hands with no weird leaning of the body. I’m pretty stoked. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I don’t even want to ride my $6000 LOOK anymore.

    Here she is in “Road Mode”…

    Deacon Bikes #1 "Road Mode"

    Judicious application of some V decals and you are set!  Looks stunning!

  22. @Cyclops – that is a sweet looking machine.  I’ve read some articles about steel machines and artisan builders recently and this is the best looking of the bunch.  I jumped back in to cycling with a carbon beast, but I am saving my cash for one like this.  Love the delta, my family have a line of Deakins, rather than Deacons (similar derivation) and I think this is great design.

  23. Simply AWESOME work, chapeau.

    How did you set/check the frame alignment? A friend of mine built a steel frame and used homebuilt jigs made out of drawer rails.

    And IMHO the zipp 303 tubs and reynolds’ simply do not go with this bike. I’d say no less than 32 holes for the rims.

  24. I may need one of these for my CX bike when the time comes.

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