Frame Building with Bilenky.

Stephen Bilenky the man behind the award-winning frames of Bilenky Cycle Works recently returned to Metal Guru to teach a Fillet Brazed Frame Building Class to two eager students. With 30 years of professional frame building experience, Stephen is extremely knowledgeable on the subject. He also has an excellent wit and sense of humor and his lectures were informative and technical but still engaging.

Scott Schofield of Indigo Custom Bicycles who builds custom lugged frames enrolled in the class so he could refine his techniques in fillet brazed construction to better serve customers that might require a specific geometry and tubing diameters that lugged construction methods might not be able to produce. Scott chose to build a sloping top tube cyclo-cross frame with a roomy 32+ tire clearance, an oversize tube set, rim brakes and S-bend rear stays.

Chris H. built a custom sized road frame for his wife with a geometry suited to long distance riding. Due to her smaller stature Chris decided to use 26″ diameter rims rather than either 650c or 700c. Chris decided to go with a tube set with traditional tubing diameters to keep the ride feel compliant and chose to use straight rear stays for the simple clean aesthetic.

The following gallery shows their progress through the class.

A student list already forming for another class, please email metalguru@viciouscycles.com or call (845)883-4303 ext. 2 if you are interested. A description of the class details can be found here.

Thanks for everything Stephen. Great work Chris and Scott!

~Carl

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Painting with Bob Schrank Design.

BSD logoBob Schrank was already painting frames prior to attending the Advanced Paint Class at Metal Guru. His interest in attending was both to refine his skills and learn the valuable tips and tricks of the trade that would normally take years to acquire. Information about his bicycle re-finish business, Bob Schrank Design can be found here.

Bob decided to paint two frames and forks during class. The first, a lugged steel Medici track bike, was painted with a tangerine candy, black logos and black lug lining. The second, a carbon Colnago CX-1 road bike, received a hot pink pearl which was then wrapped by an abrupt fade to a violet pearl, gold lettering and the iconic Colnago head tube decal.

For those who are not familiar with the bicycle painting process, let me express that these paint schemes involve very advanced techniques and the painter needs to have a high degree of skill, finesse and patience. I am so happy with his results that I have created two photo galleries to document Bob’s work. The first gallery shows the finished frames, while the second shows Bob’s progress through the class.

Excellent work Bob!

~Carl

Click on any photo to begin slide show.

Click on any photo for descriptions and to begin slide show.

Brass Fed (Part 2).

This post further documents Rob S. and Dan W. as they progressed through their recent Fillet Brazed Frame Building Course with Stephen Bilenky at Metal Guru. Both students chose to build touring frames that will fit a 26″ x 2.3″ tire. The gallery below shows the steps they took from tacking through to the finished frame. To see their initial efforts check here.

A student list already forming for another class, please email metalguru@viciouscycles.com or call (845)883-4303 ext. 2 if you are interested. A description of the class details can be found here.

Nice work!

~Carl

Brass Fed (Part 1).

CoolHBStephen Bilenky the man behind the award-winning frames of Bilenky Cycle Works was recently in-house at Metal Guru teaching a Fillet Brazed Frame Building Class to two eager students. With 30 years of professional frame building experience, Stephen is extremely knowledgeable on the subject. He also has an excellent wit and sense of humor and his lectures were informative and technical but still engaging, and are peppered with good natured wordplay.

In our class discussions we explored how fillet brazing is a wholesome method of frame construction in regards to having unrestricted geometry, being strong and also visually pleasing. It wasn’t long before we began joking and comparing the fillet brazed frame construction method to wholesome food production methods. We then coined the phrase “brass fed” playfully implying that these bikes were pasture raised on brass wires. This of course conjures an immediate mental picture which lead to the illustration below. I do however feel it necessary to disclose at this time that Stephen Bilenky is a vegetarian.

brass fedDan W. and Rob S. both decided to build touring frames that could fit up to a full size 26” off road tire and full rack, fender and three H2O bottle boss mounts. Rob asked Stephen to install couplers so he could easily travel with the frame. While Dan opted to include provisions for a SRAM Hammerschmidt internally geared crank and a NuVinci variable speed internally geared rear hub. Both frames have geometry designed around a non-suspension compensated length rigid front fork. The following gallery shows their progress through the machining and tube preparation portions of the class.

A student list already forming for another class, please email metalguru@viciouscycles.com or call (845)883-4303 ext. 2 if you are interested. A description of the class details can be found here.

For those who don’t know, Stephen Bilenky is the first guest instructor at Metal Guru to teach a frame course utilizing the fillet brazed construction method. Thanks for everything Stephen.

~Carl

Silent welds.

Justin Shipp builds lugged bicycle frames in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His bicycle company is named Silent Cycles. Silent Cycles

Justin attended Metal Guru to learn the process of TIG welding bicycle frames. He arrived in style in a 1981 Mercedes turbo diesel station wagon converted to use waste vegetable oil as a fuel source.

Justin’s prior frame building experience gave him both the manual dexterity and attention to detail necessary to quickly master the bicycle frame welding process. He chose to build a ‘monster’ cyclo-cross frame in class that has disc brake mounts, clearance for a triple chain ring crank, a suspension corrected geometry and can fit full size 29″ tires.

Below is an extensive gallery that details Justin’s progress through the class and also a few photos of his wagon.

Excellent work Justin!!

~Carl

A pirate’s new ship (part 2).

This post further documents Sean “Burnsey” as he progressed through his recent Fat Bike Frame Building Course at Metal Guru. The frame he chose to build was a single speed 29″+ that will fit a 29″ x 3″ tire. Other features include sliding dropouts, 44 mm head tube, bent down tube, short chain stays and a bent seat tube. The gallery below shows the steps he took from tack welding through to the finished frame. To see his initial efforts check here.

~Carl

A pirate’s new ship (part 1).

Sean or ‘Burnsey’ as he is sometimes called recently completed a single speed 29″+ fat bike frame while studying at Metal Guru. Sean chooses to ride exclusively on single speed bikes. He has been dubbed the ‘single speed pirate‘, a name that arose and then stuck from the wild and unsanctioned races that he promotes. Details of his Pirate Cross Country Series events can be found here.

Sean has ambitions to become a professional bicycle frame builder. His course quickly became more than just about creating one great frame, but how to acquire the skills and tools necessary to make his desires develop into a profession. Fortunately his ambition is  matched by a keen attention to detail and good manual dexterity.

The following gallery details his progression through the class from initial design to tube preparation for welding. The conclusion of his class will be detailed in an upcoming post.

Great work Sean!!

~Carl

Bill W. learns painting.

Bill W. recently finished up a paint course at Metal Guru. He has ambitions of handcrafting and painting his own frames and Metal Guru provided the first glimpse of the long and exciting journey ahead. Bill was a quick learner and although very eager for both knowledge and skill he was able to show patience where it really counts, while in the paint booth spraying.

The gallery contains photos of his progression through the class.

Nice work Bill.

~Carl

Vlad gets FAT.

Vlad recently finished the ‘Fat Bike Frame Building Course’ at Metal Guru. He is setting up a small frame building shop and opted to employ some of his new equipment during the class for first hand experience on his own tools. Tools he brought to class were Sputnik Tool brand chain and seat stay mitering fixtures and a Miller brand inverter type TIG welder.

The frame he built was a 26″ Fat Bike, which can be used either as a single speed or geared bike. It also has a 44mm head tube for an internal 1 1/8″ head set, a bent down tube for fork crown clearance and tire clearance to fit 4.7″ wide tires mounted to an 80mm wide rim.

The following gallery contains photos of Vlad’s progression through the class.

Great work Vlad.

~Carl

Painting with Ari Cycles.

shapeimage_1Ari Rosenzweig of Ari Cycles is the first international student to attend Metal Guru traveling all the way from Binyamina, Israel. That is over 9000 kilometers (yes they use the metric system over there) from Metal Guru World Headquarters. Check out the distance plotted out on this world map.

map with labelsAri is also the first student to take the latest course offering from Metal Guru, “Advanced Bicycle Frame Painting”. During class he learned invaluable tips, tricks and technical information including, the details of producing high quality paintwork, spray masking techniques, advanced painting techniques, paint repair techniques and also important information about what it would take to set up his own paint facility. He also completed paintwork on two frames and several sample practice tubes during class.

Below is a gallery of photos showing his progression through the class.

Excellent work Ari!

~Carl