Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Hit The Road Cyclery
Joined
·
923 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few months ago (right after Keyesville) I decided that I wanted to find an early fillet-brazed bike to restore. I think it was seeing all those Ritchey's and Potts' bikes up at the race, but whatever the reason, that was going to be my next project. I spent the next two or three months scouring Ebay, CL, the classifieds here, etc., but nothing I could afford was coming up. There were plenty of bikes, but I didn't want one that was already finished, and with the dollar sucking so hard the Euro's were boosting prices so high that I was priced out of the game anyway.

About 3 weeks ago someone revived an old thread posted by Bigwheel back in 2006 trying to identify an old bike: https://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=190223
I hadn't seen that thread back then, but I was up late and noticed it when it was bumped back to the front page. The frame looked well made and had some interesting features, so I posted a half-joking comment that if he wanted to sell it to let me know. Shortly thereafter Bigwheel sent me a PM, we agreed on a price, and in a week or so it was in my garage :D.



The first thing that needed to be done was stripping all that crap paint off, which took a few days, but I'm not exactly working at a blazing pace:



Now comes the "detective" part: No one knows who made this thing, but I'd like to get all of you involved in trying to figure it out. Below is everything I know about the frame, along with all of the features that are unique or unusual enough to separate it from any known builders' work, and as many photos as I can post showing the details.

Known facts:
1) Bigwheel picked this up in from a shop called "Tune Up" in Gunnison several years ago, where it was used in the 24 hour Townie World Championship. I'm guessing it was one of them that gave it the rattle-can camo paint job (see link above).
2) The guys at Tune Up thought it was built by Steve Potts, but this doesn't look like any Potts I've ever seen and I think they were just guessing. The only thing resembling a serial number is this stamped into one of the dropouts, but it could also just be a Shimano part number:



3) Based on the geometry and the components that were on it, this is almost certainly a Nor Cal bike, or someone who was heavily influenced by the Marin crew. Below is a sub-list of the key features that identify it as such:
-Angles are 69/69
-17.25" chainstays
-When Bigwheel pulled the seatpost out for the first time, a WTB modified
Zefal pump fell out. (He generously included this when he shipped the frame.)



-Bull Moose bars with brazed-in steer tube extension on the fork for it to clamp on to.



-Ovalized seat tube at the BB, like a Ritchey.

4)There are also a couple of features that seem to indicate that the builder had road bike building experience:
-Fish-mouthed stays at the drop-outs. (see photo above)
-Chain hanger on the right seat stay.

5) At the same time, there are some definite MTB features that you wouldn't see on a road bike from this time period:
-Reinforcement around bottom of the head tube.



-Down tube gusset at the head tube junction.



-Massive ovalized/flattened seat stays, made from a non-tapering tube.
-Seat post clamp requires a Sun Tour or Specialized style quick release.
-Massive chainstay and seatstay bridges, and rear canti cable stop.



6) Then there are the features that aren't road or MTB specific, just very nice or very strange:
-The caps on the tops of the seatstays are great, very nicely done.


-Vertical dropouts. I thought these came much later, but correct me if I'm wrong.
-Ovalized seat tube at the BB junction. Not the cleanest job ever, but not bad for
being done with a hammer (probably :p ).
-The seat stays are really nicely done. They're ovalized along the whole length,
becoming progressively "flatter" as they approach the dropouts. It must have
taken a lot of cold-working labor to get them so consistent and even on both
sides.
-This gusset at the seat post clamp is a mystery, I can't figure out how he did it.
It's obviously brazed on and seems to wrap around the top of the seat tube, but
it disappears under the top of the stays and there is no sign of it from the front
or inside of the seat tube. Pacific Coast Chuck and I looked at it closely, but
we're both at a loss as to how it was done.



-The frame is straight as an arrow, whoever built it knew how to use an alignment
table.



7) Problems or sloppy build areas:
-The chainstay bridge is brazed in crooked. I can't figure out how you
could spend so much time on the stays or the canti cable hanger, then flub
something so simple.
-The head tube/down tube gusset is a good idea, but it looks kind of clunky.
Same as above, you'd think the builder could have finished it a little nicer.
-The head tube was cut too short, so much so that the builder had to put a dent in
the top tube to make room for the top head set cup to clear the frame.



So that's everything I have on the frame set, hopefully there's a Sherlock Holmes or two among the crowd here who is up to a challenge. Or maybe we can put our collective minds together and figure this thing out. Below is a post dedicated to all of the components that came with the frame, and also what I've collected so far to complete the build. The post below that is reserved for a future update, probably about painting it since I'm planning to do that myself.
 

·
Hit The Road Cyclery
Joined
·
923 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Now for the parts, with photos of course. Anything that's got green or brown paint on it is original, along with a few items that I already cleaned up. First are the brakes, standard Mafac Touring Cantis that are in excellent shape (that were covered with the paint, which protected them pretty well).



The shifter/brake lever combos are pretty cool, Suntour Power shifters on top of Dia Compe levers (which look cheap but actually feel pretty good). Pacific Coast Chuck seems to remember these being sold like this, but he couldn't remember who was putting them together.



The handlebars are stamped "BULLMOOSE", but I haven't been able to tell if they're Ritchey, Fisher, Nitto, or something else:


The headset is probably original (I already stripped the paint off), a 600EX with the "starfish" top cap and locknut. I have a newer top cap that isn't all bunged up, but it doesn't really match the bottom cup, so I don't know if I'll use it:



The grips appear to be original, I have no idea who made them:



This appears to be a later Tange fork, but the canti studs are pretty early looking, so maybe it was original. I don't know, when did unicrown forks become common?



The seat post is made by Strong, fairly common at the time (it came with the frame):



The derailleurs are both Sutour ARX, front is NOS, rear might as well be.



Cranks are 180mm TA Cyclotourist with NOS 47/31 chainrings. I have all the parts for this except the drive side crank arm, but I know where to get one, I just have to go pick it up. Only the non-drive side arm came with the frame, the rest I've collected from various sources:



BB by Sugino:



Pedals are KKT Lightning that I got on Ebay. They are used and show some signs of wear, but I got them for about a quarter of the cost of a NOS set (damn BMX guys :p)


The freewheel came with the wheelset and is a Shimano 600 five speed, 14-34:



The wheels are probably the best part :D . Cook Brothers hubs with Araya 26x1.75 rims:




The things I still need to get include an Avocet Touring or Racing saddle, Sedis chain, and tires (see my sig). Almost complete, but I need to paint the frame first, and before I can do that I need to set up a paint "booth". Painting is messy, and I have to be careful about not getting overspray all over the garage since I don't own this house ;). More on the painting to follow below.
 

·
McNears-DTB Schooner
Joined
·
496 Posts
To me that bike is very interesting. Everything about the frame construction seems to be non-industry standard, fillet brazing everywhere, large tubes etc... How much does the frame weigh?
I fully agree about the wheels, those Cook's hubs are $$$.
What are your plans as far as paint color?
 

·
Hit The Road Cyclery
Joined
·
923 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
The frame is light at 4.5 pounds, REALLY light by the standards of the time it was built. I forgot to mention the measurements above: seat tube is 19.5" c-c and top tube is 22.5 c-c.

As for the paint, I plan to give it a base coat of sky blue, with a bunch of red, gold and orange leaves on and around the head tube, an "autumn leaves blowing in the wind" theme :D. I have a really nice airbrush and compressor that I've been dying to use on something, and this would be perfect.
 
G

·
i didn't check the original thread but was Jeff Lindsay sorted out there? i knew i had seen those capped seat stays before:



those are on a (gorgeous) Lindsay road bike

https://derbyking.com/Detail/?n=121

that might also explain the road influence, the ovalized tubes, fillet brazing etc.

Carsten
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,696 Posts
nice project and it looks like it fell into the right hands. Is acetone taking all that paint off?

Looks much better bare (even though it shows some of that quirky brazing and fab'ing.) :)

Grips are grab ons, second generation.

Never seen those shifter/brake lever combos. WTB made them but with Magura brake levers.

Im thinking Landshark... Has anyone asked John Slawta? Those bars came on Fishers Im 99% sure.

Wheels are not original to the bike, right? Im having non-buyer's remorse. :)
 

·
Hit The Road Cyclery
Joined
·
923 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Carsten: You're the first to mention Jeff Lindsay, but those stays do look pretty much the same. I'll add him to the list of people to contact as possible builders. The early Breezers had similar seatstay caps too:

I think Joe's work is well-known enough to eliminate him as the builder, but you never know.

Thanks Rumphy, and see my earlier post for my paint concept.

Thanks also F-b. The acetone is taking the paint off the components, and it would take it off the frame too if I could stand the loss of any more brain cells :arf: , but most of the paint came off the frame with a fine wire brush wheel and a drill. Less toxic than paint stripper, and less mess too. Thanks for the ID on the grips, I really didn't know what they were. It's funny you should mention John Slawta, as he's the indirect reason I own this bike now. DoubleCentury brought the original thread about the frame back from the dead when he posted asking whether it was an early Landshark. If he hadn't done that, I never would have seen the thread. I've added Slawta to my list of builders to contact about this frame.

edit: The wheels came from Bigwheel too. He had them collecting dust in his barn and asked if I wanted them for this project, since they're the right age and all. They actually cost me a lot more than the frame set, but anything that says "Cook Brothers" on it is an investment, right? :p
 

·
bonked
Joined
·
2,129 Posts
I don't mean to be a wet blanket, but couldn't there be a chance that it is maybe a one off that somebody inspired by the Marin scene fabbed up in their garage? That doesn't make it any less cool by a long shot.
 

·
Certified Bike Junkie
Joined
·
1,747 Posts
Garage built

That's what I was thinking too. There are actually quite a few people who have built frames in their garage as a hobby. I have a couple friends who have built a half dozen or so frames each over the last 10 years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,696 Posts
-Anomie- said:
Carsten: You're the first to mention Jeff Lindsay, but those stays do look pretty much the same. I'll add him to the list of people to contact as possible builders. The early Breezers had similar seatstay caps too:

I think Joe's work is well-known enough to eliminate him as the builder, but you never know.

Thanks Rumphy, and see my earlier post for my paint concept.

Thanks also F-b. The acetone is taking the paint off the components, and it would take it off the frame too if I could stand the loss of any more brain cells :arf: , but most of the paint came off the frame with a fine wire brush wheel and a drill. Less toxic than paint stripper, and less mess too. Thanks for the ID on the grips, I really didn't know what they were. It's funny you should mention John Slawta, as he's the indirect reason I own this bike now. DoubleCentury brought the original thread about the frame back from the dead when he posted asking whether it was an early Landshark. If he hadn't done that, I never would have seen the thread. I've added Slawta to my list of builders to contact about this frame.

edit: The wheels came from Bigwheel too. He had them collecting dust in his barn and asked if I wanted them for this project, since they're the right age and all. They actually cost me a lot more than the frame set, but anything that says "Cook Brothers" on it is an investment, right? :p
definitely not Joe Breeze. He's too much of a perfectionist for this one.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,989 Posts
Anomie....did you see this one. Them wheels even though used is Platinum not Gold!
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200228400152

Also...do you think it's possible that the top of the headtube and the bottom where the gusset is may have failed or cracked. Maybe the top split and it was cut down and the dent in the top tube added so the frame could still be used. Maybe someone also later added the crude chainstay bridge to stiffen it up. This frames probably seen more than a few K of trail miles maybe it's had more than one torch Dr's. treatment over its time?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,943 Posts
The construction is far too nice to have been done in someone's garage. Even with the crooked brake bridge that bike was made by someone some degree of skill.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,696 Posts
CS2 said:
The construction is far too nice to have been done in someone's garage. Even with the crooked brake bridge that bike was made by someone some degree of skill.
"garage built" means it was done by someone who doesnt build enough frames to warrant getting a full-on shop (thats about what this one looks like) and doesnt have a following. The work is decent, but not recognisable.

Im sure some very nice frames have been made in garages.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,696 Posts
regarding that seat cluster gusset, when you get a chance measure the seat tube above and below the seat stays. I think he just slid a piece over the top of the seat tube that fit nicely around the top of the top tube and around the stays and then brazed around it.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top