Thursday, February 4, 2010

Lovely Details and Elegant Solutions

The paint on my mixte is finished and Circle A. has emailed me some pictures - so allow me to share my ecstasy. And since I can't just say "yippy, isn't this pretty?" over and over, I will attempt to maintain a coherent narrative. What I feel is really special about the frame Royal H. made for me - aside from it being a lugged mixte with twin lateral stays in an age when these are no longer made - are all the little details that Bryan added.

Behold the lugged brake bridge (is that the correct term?)

...and the custom cut-outs on the flat-top fork crown (which accommodates a 35mm tire, with fenders!)

...and little braze-ons all over with even littler cut-outs

...and these unusual "bullet"-style rear stay connectors that add visual interest to the seat cluster and (to me at least) communicate the idea of speed

...and the uniquest, biggest deal of all: the custom drop-out sockets. For those to whom this picture means nothing, let me explain: See those three adorable little lugged thingies? Well, that adorableness is not standard on this part of a bicycle. Normally, this area looks like this. See how the three stays on my Motobecane transition directly to the dropouts without the cute sockets? Not as nice! Furthermore, while a frame maker can buy these sockets for diamond frame bicycles (which have only 2 stays that need to go into the sockets), the part simply does not exist in a mixte version, which would require an extra socket to accommodate the third stay. So what did Bryan do? He made the part himself out of several existing sockets! Bravo, non? Seriously, I can't believe he did this. We are pretty sure there is no other mixte frame out there with socket dropouts.

Finally, for those who enjoy seeing elegant solutions to practical problems, I present this. What is this, you ask? It is Bryan's beautiful alternative to a traditional kickstand plate. When we were discussing the frame build, I told him right away that I planned to put a kickstand on this bicycle and would like a kickstand plate. Bryan agreed that this was necessary, as bolting a kickstand directly to the frame can ruin the paint and dent the tubes. However, he confessed to me that he did not really care for the look of kickstand plates (read about them here), and asked whether I would trust him to find an alternative solution.

The alternative solution he came up with was this: two subtle stainless steel platforms directly on the chainstays. Not only are they harmoniously incorporated into the frame design, but they are unpainted stainless steel - eliminating the danger of any paint being chipped by the kickstand setup. Ah the genius of it.

Here are some more details of the frame, like this mixte upper head lug, split to accommodate the twin stays. On my Motobecane the part where the stays come out is not lugged, so this is really a visual feast for me - as is everything about this frame really.

Well, I get emotionally exhausted if I look at these pictures for too long, so I better end here. Get a custom frame from Royal H. Cycles - they are glorious!

30 comments:

  1. I didn't intend to be first to comment here, it's just an accident of timing.

    This is one of the most beautifully designed bicycle frames I have yet seen. Congratulations.

    This is in Hetchins territory, really.

    Bravo to Bryan, and Brava to you for your part in the design process.

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  2. It is a work of art.

    It will be interesting to see the component choices when building it up. Have you considered a 1x10 drivetrain which would allow a chainguard? Many cross bikes are set up that way, though they don't use more guard than necessary to keep the chain where it belongs.

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  3. This will be the best looking mixte I have ever seen in my life.

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  4. Can't wait to see it fully built!

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  5. bravo, indeed! well done. it's absolutely stunning, and i can't wait to see it in real life! i particularly like how the "royal h cycles" logo is painted the same color as the lug windows and outlining-- very elegant and tasteful. are the lugs by henry james?

    you know, i can't help but see a resemblance to this:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7516215@N03/4151565757/in/set-72157622917767904/

    :-)

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  6. Ooooohhh, so pretty! Neat kickstand solution. You must be dying of excitement. :)

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  7. The detailing on the frame is exquisite. DoubleOhTwo: Forget about mixtes. It may be the best-looking frame, period, I've ever seen.

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  8. I just don't think I can handle looking at these pictures.

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  9. I could see you and I floating in a sea of greens some day. That color! Love it and am impressed you moved beyond the "Yippee isn't this pretty". I'm still stuck at humina humina humina.

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  10. This is a stunning bicycle, Velouria! I love it. Bryan is obviously a really thoughtful and creative framebuilder. Just absolutely special and wonderful. Congratulations to all involved. Can't wait to see it built up!

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  11. Unbelievably, indescribably, scrumtuous!

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  12. amazingly beautiful work by both Royal H & Circle A - you are a lucky lady!

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  13. The only problem with a bike that lovely is that you can become so protective of its pristine beauty that you may not actually ride it much.

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  14. Thanks for the comments all : )

    I admit that I can't really believe I will actually own, let alone be riding this bicycle!..

    somervillain - Yup. What a surprise, huh? I think there is an aesthetics velo-revolution brimming in our neighborhood anyway, and we are partly responsible.

    Steve - I will have a double chainring on this one, and there are already braze-ons to accommodate this. For some reason, I never envisioned a Porteur chainchase on this bicycle. I want the overall look to have a very light, breezy feel; it definitely will not be a transport bike like my Pashley. But maybe a little Berthoud here and there...

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  15. Very Pretty! Amazing frame builder along with your co design input! Kudos to Royal H. Well done!
    For the bicycle connoisseur this has to be a real treat.

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  16. It's the third time I'm looking at these photos, but I still feel giddy bordering on insanity at the sight of such astounding beauty. I just really can't handle it.

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  17. The ├Žsthetic velo-revolution is happening around the world, all at the same time. I consider you to be one of the vanguards. This really is outstanding, well beyond "lovely."

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  18. Oh wow... I'm almost lost for words as there is so much to comment on, I don't know where to start. Firstly the colour is exceptional. I saw the swatch you'd put a link to somewhere in an earlier post, but seeing a swatch on a computer screen doesn't do the final, beautiful sea mist colour justice.
    Secondly, the lugs and cutouts. Oh my. I love the gold detailing and the shapes and the number of them.
    Lastly the custom aspects - just brilliant work by the Royal H team coming up with the rear drop-out sockets that look so elegant, and the kickstand plate that is fully integrated. How good to find a builder who not only listened to your needs and suggestions, but found a way to do it rather than tell you it was too hard.
    Velouria, it's simply stunning. :-D

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  19. Wow! The frame looked amazing without paint, now it is simply STUNNING. My own Royal H is heading into its final stages of construction this weekend and even though its still a few weeks away, I can't wait for that first ride!

    Also, I cannot recommend Bryan enough to all of you reading who might be thinking about having a custom frame built. From start to finish, the entire process has been a blast and his skill is top-notch.

    Again, congratulations and enjoy it!

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  20. baumannphoto - Ooh what kind of bike are you getting? I've seen some beautiful ones in the works in his studio. Bryan is an all around nice guy: intelligent, creative, enthusiastic, friendly. For those considering a lugged steel frame, you really can't go wrong.

    Carinthia - I mailed them an envelope full of paint swatches, ranging from dusty blue-green to a light pea-green, telling them to choose one they thought was best. I think the results are quite nice. I will see the colour in real life soon, but my understanding is that it is similar to the stock colour of the Rivendell Atlantis.

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  21. Really incredibly beautiful - which is just repeating all the other comments but they're absolutely right.

    I do wonder how we will look back at these years - I can't help but think that your ongoing attention to aesthetic detail is laying a foundation for some wonderful changes in our culture - cycling and otherwise.

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  22. That bike is fantastic looking.
    For all of us drooling out here.... what does a frame like that cost? Is it $2000, $4000, $6000? There sure is a lot of fine work in that thing. I will never look at the rear stays of a mixte the same. I saw a vintage Bridgestone mixte this morning, admired the fine work (despite the old and chipped paint, the bent components and generally sorry state of the bike)... and thought, "those rear stays really are sorry looking!"

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  23. Dweendaddy - You must never ask a lady about the price of her mixte!

    I believe Bryan's current frame prices start at $1,600. I got to him last year though : )

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  24. Truly lovely! I can't wait to find out this one's name and see it profiled on this site. :)

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  25. I love the color. I am actually trying to choose a color for my Retrovelo right now. Also a huge green fan - I have a sample of RAL colors selected but it's been very difficult :) Do you know the exact color that Bryan used for the frame? Gorgeous.

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  26. Great work! The kickstand flats was really clever!

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