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  1. #1
    Senior Member ftwelder's Avatar
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    Word's greatest frame builder?

    We all have our own version of who this might be. Ksisler mentioned Taylor bros and started me thinking.

    Who is your favorite and why? Mine is Giuseppe Limongi. I don't know what kind of guy he is or and don't know all that much about him but he has done a lot so far. He is a famous photographer in Paris also.

    http://www.classicrendezvous.com/Fra...i-Giuseppe.htm

    He had an amazing history once working on bikes for master Jacques, Pedro Delgado, LeMond and taught others. He designed castings for Colnago, taught many builders and has built some truly mouth watering frames. (this one is not mine). Legend has it that his shop in Jersey still exists unmolested since the 70's in the basement of an old building.

    http://velospace.org/node/3523
    1886 Surrey machinists Invincible, 1900 Nashua, 1937 Raleigh Golden Arrow, 1938 Raleigh Silver Record, 1951 Armstrong tourmalet, 1970 Motobecane Grand Record, 1971 Raleigh Professional, 1971 Gitane TDF, 1972 Legnano Gran Primio, 1973, Peugeot PX-10, 1975 Roberts, 1984 Battaglin Giro, 1985 Grandis Speciale, 2012 FTW

    frankthewelder@comcast.net

    le prix s'oublie,la qualité reste ,(michel audiard)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    since it's your thread, I'd say "FTW FTW!"

    read as "Frank the Welder for the win!"

  3. #3
    Randomhead
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    Limongi is a good choice. As far as the existence of the shop in New Jersey, Mike Fraysse would probably know. He still lists things on ebay occasionally

  4. #4
    tuz
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    I've seen some Limongis in Montréal. He set up shop at some point in Trois-Rivières with Desmarais who painted and built as well.
    homebuilt commuter, mixte, road and track (+ Ryffranck road)
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  5. #5
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    To play a devil's advocate I'd say the question has no one answer. It's like asking who's the greatest musician. But there are builders that stand above others. Of current builders i think of Darrell Llewellyn McCalloch, JP Wiggle and Dave Kirk. Recent past builders i think of Albert Eisentraut. I would include the builders who brought their craft to the hands of others like Albert and Doug Fattic. Since my world is limited to that of North America i can't comment on the many others in Europe, the British Isles, South America, Asia or Australia. Andy.

  6. #6
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    Hopefully the world's greatest frame builder is the one who made your frame...
    DT
    http://www.bridersplace.com/

    In between the bright lights and the far unlit unkown...

  7. #7
    Senior Member ftwelder's Avatar
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    I didn't expect anyone to vote for me, that's for sure. LOL.

    My question is less about who may have built the most beautiful frame but more about who your favorite is and why. My friend Eric (who has spoken to Fraysse) found an older Limongi frame and it is certainly not of the "quality" of any of the dudes on Andrews list but it's got a certain panache that is unmistakable.

    I have a Chas. Roberts and a Grandis that are stand-outs also.



    Here is something I grabbed off the net

    "Giuseppe Limongi was born in France to Italian immigrants, as a young man in his late 20’s or early 30’s he was an apprentice frame builder with the man who supplied Jacques Ancquetil with his frames. M.Limongi eventually bought the enterprise & built the last bicycle used in his last Tour victory his 5th the first man to achieve 5 Tour de France victories.
    M.Limongi also manufactured name brand bicycles for famous teams, although it was never officially known who rode them. He made bicycles used by the Renault Elf team of the early 1980’s which included riders Laurent Fignon, Greg Lemond & Pascal Jules. The only rider that it was known for sure who rode a Limongi was Pascal Jules tragically killed in 1987 in a car accident. Pascal Jules was also World Cyclo Cross Champion in the 80’s, & a Tour de France stage winner. Limongi was allowed to have the rainbow stripes decorate his frames.
    In the late 70’s & early 80’s many hands on frame buileders were also great machinists and carried out other manufacturing to have enough work. M.Limongi made some of the BB Shells that Ernesto Colnago used to make his 1st bikes. He also made BB shells for the 1st aluminum frames Vitus. Also for the 1st Ti bicycles out of the US in the 70’s Teledyne. With Pete Morelli( ?) an american based Italian innovator in cycling.
    In Canada, Limongi bicycles were made & used for elite racing as well by the 1989 Womens Team Trial Team that went to the World Champs, which I have 1.
    They used a 650c Front & a 700c rear common in that era. Also Paolo Saldanha the top Canadian ever at Kona until Peter Reid podiumed. He had a 8h :51 Ironman in 1989 or 1990. M.Limongi & Hutsebaut used mostly Columbus tubing especially SL,SP,SLX, & MS, but used a little Reynolds like 531,653 & 753."
    Last edited by ftwelder; 03-02-13 at 04:12 PM.
    1886 Surrey machinists Invincible, 1900 Nashua, 1937 Raleigh Golden Arrow, 1938 Raleigh Silver Record, 1951 Armstrong tourmalet, 1970 Motobecane Grand Record, 1971 Raleigh Professional, 1971 Gitane TDF, 1972 Legnano Gran Primio, 1973, Peugeot PX-10, 1975 Roberts, 1984 Battaglin Giro, 1985 Grandis Speciale, 2012 FTW

    frankthewelder@comcast.net

    le prix s'oublie,la qualité reste ,(michel audiard)

  8. #8
    tuz
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    I agree with Andy. After all a frame is a frame. But there certainly are builders that I admire. I've met Marinoni a few times. 75 years old (he just beat the hour record @ 36 km) and he still rides and builds. Despite having brazed some 20k + frames, he was excited to show me some joints he'd just did...

    Based on pics I see online, I really like what Kalavinka and JP Weigle do.
    homebuilt commuter, mixte, road and track (+ Ryffranck road)
    bla bla blog

  9. #9
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    I was feeling poor when a Limongi languished on ebay a few years ago, it looked like it would have ridden like my LeJeune which I like very much and was my size. It sold for $175. plus shipping. A Deal.

    I don't know about world's greatest, but a decent builder, I will be motivated to purchase another if the chance arises. France has produced a few who do the all the crafting of the frame with their name on it. Unfortunately often they also ended up making bikes for professionals who must have "the team brand" color and graphics applied.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Non trad, I'm thinking [name not on tip of tongue] Italian Titanium frames builder ,
    that did not let the lack of commercial existance of a particular Tube shape slow him down much ...
    so, in those situations, would just fabricate tube, like conic/tapered, himself ..

    Pino? somebody.. *

    The Boulder bikes and reproducing of AlexSinger's techniques ,
    of making parts to build their frames with say Lugs that had to be fabricated in the shop,
    for that particular build, Alex would also go on the list.

    hand finishing conventional frame components is the bulk of the frame building..

    Fabricating the components one at a time is a step beyond.

    Borrowing a link from another thread : * http://www.classicrendezvous.com/USA/P_Moroni.htm

    hand finishing existing materials is one thing, Fabricating the Tubes them selves
    by Hand, yourself , in the albeit small shop is another level entirely.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 04-14-13 at 12:22 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member ftwelder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by repechage View Post
    I was feeling poor when a Limongi languished on ebay a few years ago, it looked like it would have ridden like my LeJeune which I like very much and was my size. It sold for $175. plus shipping. A Deal.

    I don't know about world's greatest, but a decent builder, I will be motivated to purchase another if the chance arises. France has produced a few who do the all the crafting of the frame with their name on it. Unfortunately often they also ended up making bikes for professionals who must have "the team brand" color and graphics applied.
    I really like that one Hillary had up for a while.

    So who is your fav?
    1886 Surrey machinists Invincible, 1900 Nashua, 1937 Raleigh Golden Arrow, 1938 Raleigh Silver Record, 1951 Armstrong tourmalet, 1970 Motobecane Grand Record, 1971 Raleigh Professional, 1971 Gitane TDF, 1972 Legnano Gran Primio, 1973, Peugeot PX-10, 1975 Roberts, 1984 Battaglin Giro, 1985 Grandis Speciale, 2012 FTW

    frankthewelder@comcast.net

    le prix s'oublie,la qualité reste ,(michel audiard)

  12. #12
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    I really admire the work of some of the newer framebuilders who work with stainless. While these guys are mostly younger, many have a decade or more experience and have built several hundreds or even thousands of high end frames at places like Serotta and Waterford before striking out on their own.

    Brazing stainless requires careful heat control, and because it's often left bare or even polished, careless brazing and cleanup really shows.
    - Stan

  13. #13
    Senior Member bobbycorno's Avatar
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    Albert Eisentraut. I've owned 3 of his frames, and nothing else comes close for fit and performance. Well, except maybe DeRosa...

    SP
    OC, OR

    PS - and they were all his "production" frames!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    I have owned four hand-made frames: a Mondonico, a Masi (made by Roberson, Lippy, or Kirkbride), a now-sold Woodrup by Sayles, and a Terraferma. Each one save the Masi has taken me time to grow into, to appreciate well. I think I understand the first three, and haven't ridden the Terra enough to judge, yet. Sorry, no experience with a Kirk, though I may still go for a custom, and I'd consider Dave Wage's Ellis Cycles, as part of my short list.

    So far, I'd have to give the nod to the Sayles Woodrup. I don't do any "group rides," but I do and hope to continue metrics and at least one solo or friendly century this year. My metrics have been on the Woodrup and the Mondonico, with a significant comfort edge to the Woodrup, with front load carrying, fenders, and no loss of speediness. Well-done, Kevin!

    If my Masi was actually a good fit (it's a Masi M53, which is as small as 50.5 cm c-c, and I'm better on a 53 or 54 c-c), it would be at the top. On one level 40 mile ride (Ann Arbor to Chelsea, MI round trip) I could swear it planed, flying along with rare effort.

  15. #15
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobbycorno View Post
    Albert Eisentraut. I've owned 3 of his frames, and nothing else comes close for fit and performance. Well, except maybe DeRosa...
    I've never ridden one. However, I think Eisentraut is one of the most influential framebuilders of all time. The difference between most of the '70s and earlier frames and his frames was stark. He made everyone else look like a hack.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftwelder View Post
    We all have our own version of who this might be. Ksisler mentioned Taylor bros and started me thinking. Who is your favorite and why? Mine is Giuseppe Limongi. I don't know what kind of guy he is or and don't know all that much about him but he has done a lot so far. He is a famous photographer in Paris also.

    http://www.classicrendezvous.com/Fra...i-Giuseppe.htm

    He had an amazing history once working on bikes for master Jacques, Pedro Delgado, LeMond and taught others. He designed castings for Colnago, taught many builders and has built some truly mouth watering frames. (this one is not mine). Legend has it that his shop in Jersey still exists unmolested since the 70's in the basement of an old building.

    http://velospace.org/node/3523
    FTW; I can fully support your recommendations. Although I have only personally seen a few examples of their works, I have never seen one that I didn't try to buy (never worked). That attribute may be a good criteria to judge a builder by...thoughts?

    My original suggestion regarding the Taylors was drawn from rememberences and from information I had later colllected;
    1) Regarding their many bikes built for the Olympic teams of many countries (both tandems and singles) and ridden under those teams/countries labels to success.
    2) Their long history building high quality tandems at a time when such was essentially almost non-existant elsewhere. I doubt that the US would have the flourishing, growing tandem community it has today if enterprising folks like Santana_Bill (hissing expected) had not been inspired by the Taylors to get it going over here, keeping the concept alive long enough to open up a new market which additional builders could enter and/or expand. The fact that today one can go to at least a dozen different top US builders and get a frame or complete 2bike that is totally amazing to ride and look at can arguably be attributed directly to the Taylors.
    3) Their innovative early insight into the need for the frame builder to work directly with industry to develop new tubing, new headsets, etc., to meet specific single and tandem building needs... Examples which continue today with the production of exotic alloys and CF tubes.

    Looking forward to reading about other builders... I have no idea how one would pick a best of...

    /K

  17. #17
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    He was among the very best that ever wielded a torch.


    Ron Cooper 1932 - 2012

  18. #18
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    As i mentioned before the question can have no one answer. One aspect that i think of is how a builder changed the craft. Whether in bringing hand building back to the light of the community, using styles or techniques that are fresh (not I didn't say new) or by increasing the number of builders by teaching, mentoring and support. To me this is every bit as important a factor to "the best" as their actual skill as a fitter, brazer or painter or their numbers. Andy.

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Sam Whittingham can Pedal a bike fast, , but his 80 MPH bike is not what he builds for a living.

    the fast bike is listed by IHPVA:
    make :Varna Designer: George Georgiev

  20. #20
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
    As I mentioned before the question can have no one answer. One aspect that i think of is how a builder changed the craft. Whether in bringing hand building back to the light of the community, using styles or techniques that are fresh (not I didn't say new) or by increasing the number of builders by teaching, mentoring and support. To me this is every bit as important a factor to "the best" as their actual skill as a fitter, brazer or painter or their numbers. Andy.
    My partner Arvon Stacey is all of that and at 78 says he has never been as busy as he is now and he is always innovating whether that is in a method of construction, tooling, or designing fixtures to makes one's day a little easier.

    He is also a brilliant mentor and teacher (although he has only taken on one apprentice) and is simply, one of the nicest and most humble people you would ever want to meet.

    He has only been building bicycles for 33 years but was racing them over 60 years ago and figures he has ridden in excess of half a million miles in his life, and later in life he helped promote randonneuring here which is one of his passions.

    It is not always about those racing bicycles although I often wonder if the UCI were not such a bunch of cheese heads that they might have allowed some of Arvon's rather unique TT bicycles to compete... he had a lot of experience behind him when he designed these.

    I am pretty certain Trek cribbed some ideas from some early Arvon builds as well... and this amuses him to no end.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Cassave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    My partner Arvon Stacey is all of that and at 78 says he has never been as busy as he is now and he is always innovating whether that is in a method of construction, tooling, or designing fixtures to makes one's day a little easier.

    He is also a brilliant mentor and teacher (although he has only taken on one apprentice) and is simply, one of the nicest and most humble people you would ever want to meet.

    He has only been building bicycles for 33 years but was racing them over 60 years ago and figures he has ridden in excess of half a million miles in his life, and later in life he helped promote randonneuring here which is one of his passions.

    It is not always about those racing bicycles although I often wonder if the UCI were not such a bunch of cheese heads that they might have allowed some of Arvon's rather unique TT bicycles to compete... he had a lot of experience behind him when he designed these.

    I am pretty certain Trek cribbed some ideas from some early Arvon builds as well... and this amuses him to no end.
    You should be rightly of that.

  22. #22
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cassave View Post
    You should be rightly of that.
    When we met and discussed our respective aspirations and he said he had never taken on an apprentice but that I was welcome to come to the shop and he would teach me what he knew and that I only had until he was 100 to figure it all out.



    I think I would have to live to be 100 and I get my mind blown on a regular basis.

  23. #23
    Senior Member calstar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    My partner Arvon Stacey.......He is also a brilliant mentor and teacher (although he has only taken on one apprentice) and is simply, one of the nicest and most humble people you would ever want to meet.
    Seemingly qualities that are disappearing across the board, lucky you to have the opportunity to work with him.
    "The older I get the better I was" (from Old Guys Rule t-shirt)

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftwelder View Post
    . My friend Eric (who has spoken to Fraysse) found an older Limongi frame and it is certainly not of the "quality" of any of the dudes on Andrews list but it's got a certain panache that is unmistakable.
    My mouth waters with anticipation for the final product with this one! Panache may be the only word to describe the details that set that frame apart.

    My vote goes to (William) W.B. Hurlow.... My Cotten is not as elaborate as some of his trademark works but is unmistakably refined. He was noted for the speed and accuracy with which he worked... profficiency if you will.

    He cut his teeth at a very young age (perhaps 16 years old if I remember?) at the large English shops like Claud Butler and F. Grubb befor going on to head the mfg dept at Condor and then Mal Reese. Spent time building and later and acted as a consultant for Holdsworth.

    He invented more efficient frame building jigs and was the original innovator of the "fastback" seat stay cluster.

  25. #25
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericbaker View Post
    My mouth waters with anticipation for the final product with this one! Panache may be the only word to describe the details that set that frame apart.

    My vote goes to (William) W.B. Hurlow.... My Cotten is not as elaborate as some of his trademark works but is unmistakably refined. He was noted for the speed and accuracy with which he worked... profficiency if you will.

    He cut his teeth at a very young age (perhaps 16 years old if I remember?) at the large English shops like Claud Butler and F. Grubb befor going on to head the mfg dept at Condor and then Mal Reese. Spent time building and later and acted as a consultant for Holdsworth.

    He invented more efficient frame building jigs and was the original innovator of the "fastback" seat stay cluster.
    The last claim I'd wonder about. I've seen fastback type stay joinery on bikes from the early 1900s. Not sure when W.B. got his start but I think it was later in the century. Not to say he wasn't a gifted builder. Andy.

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