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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Mark Zeh was a custom frame builder out of the Minneapolis area in the late 80's through the late 90's. He was known for creating well some made steel frames, he did a few aluminum and even a couple ti frames as well, but was best known for his work with steel. I'm pretty sure he was more known for his road and track bikes, but he did quite a few mtn, cross, tandem and even recombents as well. I also think it's safe to say he was always up for doing things a little "different". I've seen one of his road bikes with a double down tube, a cross bike painted in glow-in-the-dark paint, a billet BB on a track bike - and I'm sure there's much, much more.

So anyhow, I was attending a bike swap a couple years ago and I came upon a guy with an old beat up blue frame sitting on his table. For whatever reason I took a closer look at it and discovered it was an old Zeh frame. I quickly noticed it was fillet brazed and had some classic details (like a press-in BB, ovalized tubes at the welds, drilled out cable stops and a Campy mtn headset). I asked the guy how much he wanted for it, he said "make me an offer", so I offered up $40 (all the cash I had on me). Low and behold to me he accepted it.

here's what it looked like when I bought it.


I wasn't thrilled with the blue, so decided that a metallic red powder coating would be more appropriate for the bike that was to be know as "the Phoenix". Here's an after.


A detail of the front end.


It's hard tell here, but that's a press-in bottom bracket.


here's the seat tube/top tube junction.
 

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Very nice - I love the fillet brazed stuff.
But lose the chain tensioner, eh? You should be able to get good chain tension with those drop-outs pretty easily without a tensioner.
 

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artistic...
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BEAUTIFULL construction.
i am speechless..
you already repainted.. well.. at least get a nice set of cantis. Restore this bike to it's former glory, gears and all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Very nice - I love the fillet brazed stuff.
But lose the chain tensioner, eh? You should be able to get good chain tension with those drop-outs pretty easily without a tensioner.
Thanks everyone, it really is a rolling work of art, and as you might expect it rides even smoother than it looks.
I actually tried to get it to work without the tensioner, but it was right between chain lengths. However, now that the chain has probably stretched out a bit, it might work without it. As for changing over to cantis, I had the Ti Avids laying around so I went with those. As for adding gears, I already have another Zeh hardtail with gears. Now I have the best of both worlds. However, I can see my other geared one finding a new home, and if that happens The Phoenix may find it self with shifters and derailleurs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It would be fine with Vees if it weren't for the zip ties. They kill it.
The zips are a temporary fix until I get a Problem Solver cable stop fabricated to fit the ovalized top tube. If I can't get that to work I may have to switch over to a pair of cantis. Either way - the zip ties gotta go.
 

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obviously you can do whatever you want. We're just trying to gently guide you to get your beautiful bike back to its former glory, that's all. You're in a vintage forum, of course we prefer you preserve the integrity of the frame.

You posted it here, we're just human and expressing our own opinions. Take what you want from that or none of it and go ahead and add disc tabs and cut off the cable guides. Make it like every other bike on the road right now and not a bike from a boutique builder with some history. The bestest and the newest isn't always a step forward...imho.
 

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illuminaughty
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obviously you can do whatever you want. We're just trying to gently guide you to get your beautiful bike back to its former glory, that's all. You're in a vintage forum, of course we prefer you preserve the integrity of the frame.

You posted it here, we're just human and expressing our own opinions. Take what you want from that or none of it and go ahead and add disc tabs and cut off the cable guides. Make it like every other bike on the road right now and not a bike from a boutique builder with some history. The bestest and the newest isn't always a step forward...imho.
But how do you really feel?
 

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Add another to the cantilever camp, Mark Zeh did some impressive looking stuff with the cable routing it would be a shame to waste his effort by bypassing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yeah, the cable routing looks interesting indeed. Can we get a better picture of what's going on with it at the seat cluster?
I'll try and get a better close up of that and post it up. I can tell you that there are three cable routing "tubes" right above the seat binder, the top most is for the rear brake, the middle is the rear der, and the bottom is for the front der. If you look at the the detail photo of the BB you can see there's a braze on about three inches up for the front derailleur pulley.

Another interesting thing I discovered after buying the frame was the fork crown that was included (in original photo) was a threaded Ti steerer tube. I had thought it was a Tange switchblade crown, but they never made a ti model, so I still don't know what that was. I ended up trading it to a local collector for some work on a different project.
 
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