Build your own frame
The only thing better than riding on a custom bike made to your measures and specific needs is building it yourself. Over more than a year I have worked with clients and enabled them to build their own frames for various types of bikes. It enabled me to develop a frame building course that will allow you to create your own steel bicycle frame and fork within 5 days. The course is hosted in my workshop in Roubaix, in the very scenic setting of Le Non-Lieu, a retired textile factory kept as much as possible in its original state.
Being a professional frame builder, I provide my expertise and guidance, and supervise all the steps of the process to create your first frame. But you will perform all the steps yourself, including the mitering of the tubes and of course the brazing. My workshop is equipped with the necessary tools and machines to build a frame of professional quality, still involving a large proportion of manual work which more than justifies the description “hand-built”.
You will create your frame using high-end steel tubing by renown manufactures such as Columbus or Reynolds. Tube sets by Japanese manufacturers Kaisei or Tange are also available upon request. Small parts and pieces, such as dropouts, braze-on cable stops or lugs come in standard iron cast versions or can be sourced from manufacturers such as Paragon Machine Works in the US for more demanding builds.
What can you build?
Lugged frame and fork
A classic silver soldered lugged frame is timeless and ideal to start your frame building adventures. If you want to create a go-anywhere randonneur Rene Herse style, a road bike that will get you into the next Eroicca or a slick city whip fixie style, this should be your choice.
Fillet brazed frame and lugged fork
Mountain bikes or the very popular gravel bikes, usually with disc brakes, require more liberty regarding tire clearance and tube angles. Those frames are usually built without lugs and tubes are assembled through fillet brazing. While this is a more complex method to build the frame where we will spend a little more time on practice pieces before working on the real thing, the course can still be completed within the 5-day time frame.
Options for your frame
- Head tubes for 1” fork steerers, threaded or threadless (typically lugged frames), or 1 1/8” fork steerers. It is also possible to use a 44mm interior diameter straight head tube for tapered forks (e.g. 1 1/8” to 1 1/2”).
- Standard BSA bottom brackets in 68 or 73mm width
- Brake types: caliper or cantilever brakes, disc brakes for International Standard or post-mount. Flat-mount disc brake mounts are possible on the frame but not on the fork.
- Supported transmission types: all chain based transmissions (derailleurs and internal geared hubs). No belt or kardan drive, sorry.
- Straight seat tubes for 27.2mm seat posts
- Supported front axle standards: 100x9mm, 100x12mm through-axle, 100x15mm through-axle
- Supported rear axle standards: 120x10mm (fixie, some internal geared hub), 130x10mm (classic road bike), 135x10mm (classic mountain bike, CX or gravel bike), 142x12mm through axle, 148x12mm through axle
- Mounting options available for luggage racks and fenders
- Frame preparation for internal lighting cable routing. No internal brake or gear cable routing, due to time restrictions, sorry.
- Lugged forks, offering a variety of fork crowns for all tire sizes up to 3”. No unicrown or segmented forks.
Duration and process
The course to build frame and fork takes 5 days from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. A four-day option is available if you just want to build the frame and no fork. In the program we are focusing on what is at the heart of frame building: the mitering of the tubes and their assembly through brazing. Keeping the course to 5 days requires that the preparation work has to be done before the actual course starts. I will contact you usually 5 to 6 weeks before the start of the course to discuss the frame design and options. If a visit to the workshop is not possible for you beforehand I will send you clear instructions how to take the necessary mesures to determine the frame sizing. The design is done with the dedicated frame building software bikecad.
Here is how the 5 days at the workshop pan out
- Day 1: Discussion of the project, security rules and workshop tour, brazing training, cutting the tubes of the front triangle
- Day 2: Assembling the front triangle
- Day 3: Preparing and assembling the rear triangle
- Day 4: Braze-ons and finishing works works
- Day 5: Fork building
Lunches are usually prepared together with other occupants of the factory. Coffee is free. Participants are encouraged to bring samples of their local specialties (we’re in France after all).
- 5-day frame and fork building in groups of 2 participants: 1200 Euro per person
- 4-day frame building in groups of 2 participants: 1000 Euro per person
- 5-day frame and fork building one-on-one: 1600 Euro
- 4-day frame building one-on-one: 1350 Euro
- 1-day fork building one-on-one: 350 Euro
The prices include all consumables (gas, abrasives, flux to braze, bronze) and a protection mask.
The prices do not include the cost of the material for your frame, i.e. the tubes, drop outs, braze-ons etc. The material cost varies with the type of bike. It’s usually around 250 to 350 Euros.
To reserve your frame building course I will ask you for a deposit of half of the program fee.
How to book?
To request a booking, please fill out the form below with the desired dates and program type. You will receive the confirmation whether the course is available at these dates shortly. At the moment the earliest availability is January 2019.
Components for your frame
I can offer competitive prices for high-end components worthy to equip your hand-built frame by the following brands. Do not hesitate to ask for quotes!
- Made in France: Gilles Berthoud, Spécialités T.A.
- Carbon forks: Columbus, Dedacciai
- Components: Paul Components, White Industries, Chris King, Hope
- Lights: SON, Supernova, Velogical
I am also able to help you sort out a paint-job of professional quality as well as hand-built wheels.