FRANCES

SMALL-TIME BICYCLE DESIGN & MANUFACTURE

FRAMEBUILDER & CONSTRUCTEUR

Road, cross, cargo, randonneur, brevet, tour, adventure and everyday bicycles

Now building and selling the FARFARER TRAILER!

Design, fabrication & assembly of fully integrated bicycles with an emphasis on fit, performance, utility and beauty.

STEEL FRAME REPAIR  AND MODIFICATION SERVICES AVAILABLE

Alignment - Tube and dropout replacement - Brazons

What's going on:  Start to finish

In my compact  framebuilding shop (235 square-feet), I build bicycles from the highest quality materials designed to the client's body measurements and the bike's intended use.  

All Frances framesets are assembled with True Temper Tubing manufactured in Amory, Mississippi and fittings from Henry James Bicycles and Paragon Machine Works, both in California and made in the USA.  

Modern steel is light and has all the weight,  flex and strength characteristics desirable in bicycle performance.

DESIGN:  

Once I know who I am building for (body measurements, needs, desires- a lot of stuff!), Diamond frames are laid out in Bike Cad, a computer drafting program by Brent Curry.   Many variables are customized per the riders needs.

This is the frameset I took to the NAHBS (2016).  Without a customer for the show bike, I fell back on the assignment of what I want to ride.  Compact, short in the toptube- I outfitted the frameset with a front rack/bag-support and low-rider panels.  I chose 26" wheels because I know they'll roll plenty fast with some supple high-volume tire from Compas or Schwalbe.   The frameset is for sale.  

26%22 adventure rando fun rig.jpg
Sample Smallhaul design -- Cargo bikes and anything sightly non-standard is designed in Draftsight, 2-D CAD or with pencil and the Vemco drafting machine on the drafting table.  Construction requires drawing multiple views- this is the side view.

Sample Smallhaul design -- Cargo bikes and anything sightly non-standard is designed in Draftsight, 2-D CAD or with pencil and the Vemco drafting machine on the drafting table.  Construction requires drawing multiple views- this is the side view.

Fabrication:

The Nichols hand-miller, made in Waltham, Massachusets, 1943.

 

Most all main tube mitering is done with the Nichols.  A great stout and compact machine.

In addition to holding  tube blocks for cutting main tubes, the fixture holds assemblies for cutting stems, chainstays, seatstays, brake posts, and more. 

 

 

The Supermax, made in Taiwan, 1984

A bridgeport-style vertical milling machine, the Supermax is a vertatile friend.  

It drills holes, cuts bridges, shapes aluminium, and is capable of accurately making all kinds of handy shop tools.

Most of my mitering fixtures , bending mandrels and jig assemblies were created  with this machine.


ALIGNMENT:

In addition to string and some other basic alignment tools, I rely on a frame alignments table built by NECA (New England Cycling Academy), and a Nortac main frame jig which is constantly rearranged and upgraded to suit the needs of my varied designs.  I purchased the NECA from of the illustrious basement of American Cyclery in San Francisco, and the Nortac came from none other than Paul Sadoff of Rock Lobster.   I also use various tools from J Stein.