MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

BICYCLE QUALITY - INTRO

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

CHOOSE THE RIGHT BICYCLE

FRAME & FORK QUALITY

WHEN BEST ISN'T BEST

FRAME & FORK  INTEGRITY

DENTED FRAME OR FORK

BENT FRAME OR FORK

MODIFIED FRAME OR FORKI

REPAIRED FRAME OR FORK

ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE

FRAME & FORK MATERIALS

FRAME SET DROP-OUTS

CLAMPS & BRAZE-ONS

FRAME CRAFTSMANSHIP

CHARACTER & PERSONALITY

FRAME SETS AND CRAFTSMANSHIP

A bicycle frame set is basically three things – tubes, drop-outs and lugs.  Seat stays, chain stays and fork blades are considered to be tubes.  The tubes fit into specially cast objects, called lugs and the drop-outs fit into the ends of the fork blades, seat and chain stays.  Once the tubes, drop-outs and lugs are dry fitted to together, the frame or fork set is held firm in a “jig”, which keeps everything properly aligned in preparation for welding.

Actually, in the case of lugged steel bicycle frames, there is no welding.  Rather the tubes are either brazed with brass or silver soldered, into place.  Like welding, there is a great deal of heat present but never enough to actually melt the tubing, lugs or drop-outs.  These metal parts are heated up, only enough to allow the brass or silver solder to melt and flow.  The brass or silver solder will actually be pulled into the joint between the tube and the lug  The brass or silver solder will also be drawn into the pores of the parent metals, forming a very strong joint.  And it is at these joints where assembly quality shines, or as is often the case, falls miserably short of the quality workmanship mark.

Look carefully at the intersections of tubes and lugs.  Do the same with the drop-outs.  Are the joints crisp and smooth?  Are there any gaps between the tube and the lug?  Are there any file marks.  Are there any lumps of brass or silver solder left unfinished?  Does the assembly work look clean and neat?

There are other assembly details that need to be examined when determining bicycle quality and the craftsmanship associated with it.  Though it is quite unlikely that you will be able to take the bottom bracket out when inspecting a potential purchase, the area will reveal a bit about the bicycle's quality.

It is really not all that difficult to see sloppy workmanship, if you take the time to look.  In my book, a top of the line vintage road bicycle should offer few workmanship flaws, if any at all.  As my experience with vintage road bicycles increased, I could not help but notice how often workmanship flaws surfaced.  And I thought that this observation was worth mentioning.  No longer do I think that what is thought to be the best really is the best.  I evaluate each bicycle, based on its own merits and that includes craftsmanship.  In fact, craftsmanship has come to lead the list when evaluating a top of the line vintage road bicycle.

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