Sunday, July 8, 2012

Trompe L'Oeil Lugwork

DIY Lugged
Having mentioned the idea of doing this as a joke some time ago, imagine my delight when I saw it in the wild: trompe l'oeil lugwork! Standing in the parlor of local pickelleur (randonneuring Dill Pickle bag maker) Emily O'Brien, when I first saw the bike across the room the illusion looked quite real. I figured it was an old beater frame, with the lugs spray painted to contrast the tubes. Then I got closer and realised the lugs looked unusually flat, and finally it hit me: They'd been cut out of tape and wrapped around the welded frame joints. 

DIY Lugged
And lest you think this project is only about the fabulous looks, it does have practical merit: The tape is reflective. Just imagine the beautiful lugs glowing in the dark... A fun DIY idea to spruce up a boring frame in any event. 

DIY Lugged
Apparently I am not the only one to have been fooled from a distance, as cyclists stop Emily all the time to ask about the interesting bike, usually assuming it is something vintage and Italian. Any guess as to what this bike is? Hint 1: It's a ubiquitous modern steel bike. Hint 2: The fork crown is lugged for real.

34 comments:

  1. That's a very fun effect. From the bits I can see, I'd guess a surly cross check. It appears to be a fixed gear with a v brake and travel agent up front.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm guessing its a Surly Cross Check.

    RJD

    ReplyDelete
  3. The fork crown looks like the one on my Surly.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Clever, to be sure, but that paint job is hideous

    ReplyDelete
  5. kinda looks like a surly...

    ReplyDelete
  6. I usually don't like things that masquerade as something else, especially if the intent is to make something appear "better", the world has enough "Gold" plated plastic light fixtures I think. If the intent is to really make people think this bike was built with lugs and cover it with all the perceived advantages of hand labor and the romantic aura of traditional bike culture than I think it's beyond lame.

    BUT, if it's something else than it can be pretty neat. This bike falls in that category for me. It gives a little nod to tradition while achieving another purpose(nighttime visibility, scratch camouflage, matching the colors of our favorite shoes, it's all good I think), but shouldn't make anyone feel made a fool of when they look a little closer. It's really nicely done too...

    Years ago I sold a used Kabuki to a customer who fell for the clumsy fake lugs stamped into the big ol' clunky whatever they were that were joining the tubes(Spigots maybe?). He was buying his first "real" bike and had reasonably enough followed the advice of someone and looked for a lugged bike, he didn't tell me he was looking for that or I would have explained the situation and let him decide if he wanted something else(we had 50+ nice used Universal Japanese Bicycles on any given day), a week or so later he came back all jacked up because the guys at another shop told him how bad we screwed him on the "gaspipe" bike. We exchanged it for a nice Fuji and managed to keep him as a customer and friend. Incidentally, the Kabuki was the equal to the Fuji in every practical way except for being maybe 3 or 4 ounces heavier and not truly lugged. The tubing on that bike was actually Stainless Steel and looked the business too, it didn't need to go around faking lugs to stand out.

    This one(Am I picking up some Soma aroma?) gets "Spindizzies' Stamp of Approval" for whatever that's worth. The ancient Specialized frame hanging in the basement with the round carbon tubes glued into the massive fake aluminum lugs? Not so much...

    Spindizzy

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's a Surly, right? COOL!

    ReplyDelete
  8. It is a Surly Cross Check by my reckoning...

    ReplyDelete
  9. I was looking at that going, "beater?" that's a cross check!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'd like to see a post describing how joints are contructed using lugs....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See also the 1945 British Council classic "How a Bicycle Is Made" http://vimeo.com/39401575.

      I would not want to have to arm wrestle the tire ladies and as much as many of us carp about our jobs, I would not want to be doing rote factory work that was then the accepted norm.

      Delete
  11. I wasn't joking about trompe l'oeil work when I mentioned it in the past.

    Please note the Travel Agent makes this bike function better, not the aesthetics.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I would guess it is a Surly cross check.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Surly cross-check?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Amazed by my readership's intimate knowledge of the Surly Cross-Check! That is indeed the bike : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why are you amazed by our knowledge? We're smart!

      Delete
  15. Remarkable woman! Thanks for linking her site, those bags look practical and it looks like she can whip up anything. It was also cool to read of her crazyguyonabike tour :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. It is indeed a Surly CrossCheck. The reflective tape thing is just for a bit of fun, with every part of it in a different color. Mostly I just thought it was funny to cut out fancy-pants lugs and put them on a TIG-welded Surly.
    The rear fender is blue with orange tiger stripes. I was going to do something like that on the front fender (which is green) and there were going to be more blue rings (sort of like on a Pacific blue-ringed octopus, sort of) but I sort of ran out of steam. ;)
    For those that are curious, I got the tape from www.identi-tape.com and it's the "engineering grade" variety, which comes in a bunch of colors and widths. It's a good five years old at this point (and this is basically my beater bike, too, so it doesn't get cleaned much) and the tape is in great condition. The edges aren't peeling and it has only one or two scratches or gouges. It's important to apply it to a clean surface if you want it to stay put, but once stuck, it holds up better than some paint jobs (although I think the Surly powdercoat holds up well, too).
    I got the idea from seeing a guy who'd covered his frame with black reflective tape. Yes, it exists. It reflects white, not as bright as lighter colors, but for that amount of surface area it still lights up, and it actually looks pretty cool under normal lighting, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed! Lovely to see you comment here.

      Delete
  17. Good stuff; let's see a pic of the entire bike?

    ReplyDelete
  18. The colours are a but lurid for me, we are more sombre with colours out here- but love the idea of reflective tape

    ReplyDelete
  19. The dorky seatpost clamp (second picture) gives it away.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have a Surly and it is a beautiful bike. No offense to the owner, but I cannot understand covering it in tape and calling it a beater bike :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is I who used the term "beater bike," not the bike's owner. And I used it before I knew what the bike was, assuming it was an old frame that had been resprayed.

      Surlys (Surlies?) are nice bikes. My husband owns a Cross-Check and it's all shiny and pimped out.

      However, Emily's bike is almost 10 years old, if I remember correctly, and well used. I think the lugged tape looks fabulous on it.

      Delete
    2. To me it matters little how it looks. Mostly it's a cool expression of the owner and that in itself makes it interesting. We should be allowed/encouraged to express ourselves. 'Beater' is an odd term. My son's 'beater' bike is an old custom for my wife. He loves it more than his 'good' bike.

      Delete
  21. What I love about this bike and it's owner is she is not afraid to blur and combine. That's a creative mind, and she does it with a sense of humor! :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I think beater bike pretty well sums it up: a bike you don't much need to worry about. Ideally it's not something a bike thief will spot from half a block off, and any paint scratches are easily sorted with a fresh piece of tape. In my estimation, she has exactly the right idea here; I always thought bicycles are supposed to lower your general level of concern, worry, and bother.

    ReplyDelete