After the research, the courting process, and all the deliberating, an order is placed. Then, eternity happens. But every week another name floats to the top of the list and it’s time for me to go into the Mind Palace and figure out what will go where. Two things, above all others, have to happen; a rider has to have an efficient and comfortable position, and – since it’s one of my bicycles – the layout has to conform to what I’m certain will be a machine worthy of my belief system. A design is created (mostly based on instinct, but with a pinch of experience thrown in). The fixture is set to mirror my choice. Material is grabbed for the task at hand. Tubing is cut to fit.
When there’s metal, heat, clamps, expansion, contraction, interference fits, and also the human element, the door is open and compromise walks in. It’s common, and certainly inevitable. My job is to keep compromise to a minimum. No matter how many times one walks up to the bench and starts yet another frame and fork, the material will tell you what it wants to be, and where it wants to go. Taming it is why we get paid the big bucks according to my opinion. Things happen that one can’t possibly see after the first few turns, or even after the first hundred. But if you watch carefully, pay attention, stay sensitive, and track the results, it’s easy to make all ingredients concede to your wishes.
At some point in the process, tension will rear its head, and it’s the enemy of an otherwise quality assembly. As one way to keep tension at bay, I add the braze-ons to the pipes before the pipes are joined to one another. Having just completed that step on this frame, and also taken the picture, I’m now ready for something to go wrong.