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TS Isaac Frame - Rebuild

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TS Isaac Frame - Rebuild

Old 01-05-21, 09:37 AM
  #1  
TeakAsh
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TS Isaac Frame - Rebuild

I found this bike in the basement of a shop in Portland. It was poorly setup as a single speed and as soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to have it. Over the course of a year I slowly rebuilt it with roughly era appropriate parts. I haven't seen a ton of examples of these bikes, so I figured I would add this one to the internet archive.






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Old 01-05-21, 09:46 AM
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Nice bike. Looks good.
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Old 01-05-21, 10:01 AM
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beautiful build, nice job saving this bike! I love TSI's bikes, one doesn't see too many of them.
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Old 01-05-21, 10:29 AM
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@TeakAsh - Like the bike! Is the rear brake bridge crushed? Could you provide a picture of it?
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Old 01-05-21, 10:55 AM
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I'm also in for some additional close-ups: would love to see the seat cluster from the rear and some other angles, also any cut-out in the BB shell? If so would like a pic of that, too. THANKS for adding some rare and important visuals to the database!
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Old 01-05-21, 11:01 AM
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Nice work!!!
that is a beautiful bike. Well done rescuing it from hipsterdom.
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Old 01-05-21, 01:04 PM
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Thanks for the interest, below are the requested pictures, I'm happy to provide any additional pictures or information.

The brake bridge is not crushed, at least it does not appear to be to me.



There is a cut-out!

There is also this interesting design inside the front fork blades.
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Old 01-05-21, 02:55 PM
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@TeakAsh

Very cool, great score.

Oregon or Maine?

Hate to be the one to point this out but the rust under the paint is getting the better of this frame, long term is bad.

I realize you are probably already well aware.
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Old 01-05-21, 02:59 PM
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I’m curious as to the actual age of this frame.

I (slightly) new Tim Isaac back when Nuovo Record was actually nuovo (early 70’s) as a fellow racer, albeit several classifications above me. Wouldn’t have thought he was building frames yet. I encountered him again, along with Curt Goodrich, decades later, probably 2004-ish, on a Rivendell-sponsored group visit to his frame building shop in Woodinville, WA. They were certainly building nice ones then!
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Old 01-05-21, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
@TeakAsh

Very cool, great score.

Oregon or Maine?

Hate to be the one to point this out but the rust under the paint is getting the better of this frame, long term is bad.

I realize you are probably already well aware.
Oregon! Yeah, the rust isn't great for sure, still determining what I want to do, likely I'll strip it and try to restore the paint and decals as best as I can to preserve it's originality, but I wanted a record of it before I go down that path.
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Old 01-05-21, 03:04 PM
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I agree with @merziac - Bought a Tandem that was stored at the beach and not used hardly at all, based on the greased parts. Lots of rust runs.
Not in focus but you get the idea:
P1010140 on Flickr
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Old 01-05-21, 03:12 PM
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Those "spiderwebs" are annoying for what they do to paint but generally still superficial, I'd get something like FrameSaver or Boeshield into the INTERIOR of all tubing, STAT!
And thanks for these additional detail pix, very nice!!
Also re the brake bridge: my assumption is the tube the caliper mount bolt passes thru is one unit so there really is no "crush space" of the bridge itself. In which case it's not crushed, it's maybe intentionally shaped...I could be wrong of course.

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Old 01-05-21, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by TeakAsh View Post
Oregon! Yeah, the rust isn't great for sure, still determining what I want to do, likely I'll strip it and try to restore the paint and decals as best as I can to preserve it's originality, but I wanted a record of it before I go down that path.
Yeah, makes sense, as @Dfrost points out he was here in the PNW.

Take good pics of all artwork and measure/document placement.

And reach out to Tim for help, he may have a line on decals.

Timisaac@matchtechnical.com
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Old 01-05-21, 03:38 PM
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------

Handsome!

Five Stars for a most tasteful build.

---

passed through Woodinville in ~2000

did not know there was a framebuilder in town...


-----
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Old 01-05-21, 03:59 PM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Dfrost View Post
I’m curious as to the actual age of this frame.

I (slightly) new Tim Isaac back when Nuovo Record was actually nuovo (early 70’s) as a fellow racer, albeit several classifications above me. Wouldn’t have thought he was building frames yet. I encountered him again, along with Curt Goodrich, decades later, probably 2004-ish, on a Rivendell-sponsored group visit to his frame building shop in Woodinville, WA. They were certainly building nice ones then!
The frame itself says Denver on one of the decals, so my assumption is that it was made there. From the, albeit very limited, information I could find I assumed it was early to mid 70's, but I could be wrong.
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Old 01-05-21, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
Those "spiderwebs" are annoying for what they do to paint but generally still superficial, I'd get something like FrameSaver or Boeshield into the INTERIOR of all tubing, STAT!
And thanks for these additional detail pix, very nice!!
Also re the brake bridge: my assumption is the tube the caliper mount bolt passes thru is one unit so there really is no "crush space" of the bridge itself. In which case it's not crushed, it's maybe intentionally shaped...I could be wrong of course.
Hit it with frame saver as soon as I got it into the shop 👍
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Old 01-05-21, 04:26 PM
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Nice bike. Decal style suggests an early build, before 1980 certainly.

We have two TS Isaac bikes here. I converted my wife's into a 650B, upright bar bike. Mine is still drop bar, but I have lowered the gearing, retiring the 53/42 Super Record crank and installing a 48/36 Zeus crank instead.
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Old 01-05-21, 04:27 PM
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TeakAsh,
I would look for a step down ferrule for the stainless cable when you do the re-build after a repaint. Great job of restoring it! Smiles, MH
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Old 01-05-21, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
TeakAsh,
I would look for a step down ferrule for the stainless cable when you do the re-build after a repaint. Great job of restoring it! Smiles, MH
At the rear derailleur? It may not look like it in the picture, but it is a step-down. Thanks for the positive encouragement!
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Old 01-05-21, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Nice bike. Decal style suggests an early build, before 1980 certainly.

We have two TS Isaac bikes here. I converted my wife's into a 650B, upright bar bike. Mine is still drop bar, but I have lowered the gearing, retiring the 53/42 Super Record crank and installing a 48/36 Zeus crank instead.
These are great! I'm glad to see other examples, its pretty barren out there.
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Old 01-05-21, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by TeakAsh View Post
The frame itself says Denver on one of the decals, so my assumption is that it was made there. From the, albeit very limited, information I could find I assumed it was early to mid 70's, but I could be wrong.
I should have mentioned in my previous post that my initial minor connection was racing in the Denver area, long before we both moved to the PNW. Small world of cycling, more so back then.
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Old 01-05-21, 10:07 PM
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Cool bike! Mad respect for Tim as a builder, also a super nice guy. He made frames for the US National team at one point, don't remember what year. Then he was responsible for running the Trek frame operation during a period of explosive growth — he took them from a handful of builders to dozens, designed their lugs and dropouts and such. Also worked for China Bike I think, one of the majors in China anyway. Then Match, where I worked briefly, good times.

I agree the bridge shape looks odd but intentional, not crushed.

The pics don't show the seat cluster from the left, but I expect the hole for the pinchbolts doesn't go all the way through, am I right? On his later frames at least, the hole was bottoming, "blind" on the other side. Pretty trick.

I like your setup but I have a couple notes, if that isn't too tacky of me:

The second toothy "star" washer on the front brake goes in front of the crown, not in back. Two star washers were meant to be stacked up, to give enough thickness to get a cone wrench onto the centering flats from above, clearing the headset cup. If the crown has a curved front face and you use the matching aluminum radius washer, then use only one star washer and put the second one in your parts drawer. Two star washers stacked is only for crowns that are flat in front.

The rear brake has an extra washer behind the bridge, would look better with that removed, and then the centerbolt might reach through and engage the nylock portion of the nut. Keep the thinner washer and ditch the thicker one.

The fashion for cable housings on racing bikes back then was shorter, less arch over the bars, and also shorter at the rear derailer. Not much functional difference (or none), so probably not worth re-doing the, unless you have it apart for somethings else already. Look at pictures of Eddy Merckx for example.

Speaking of Eddy, back then most all racers removed the crank dustcaps and left them off. You certainly don't lose points from me for leaving them on; I like installing them myself, but I have gotten some grief for it over the years, not what the cool kids did. Be sure to grease (or anti-seize) the dustcap threads if you install them, because having the caps seize and strip the allen-socket on removal is super annoying. If you leave the caps off, then bolts should be Campy brand and black, not the newer-vintage silver colored ones or <shudder> Japanese 14 mm bolts <gag!>. A smear of grease or spritz of Boeshield on them slows the inevitable rusting of the bolt heads.

Thanks for sharing, I sure like looking at it.

Mark B in Seattle
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Old 01-06-21, 07:26 PM
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I also have a 70's Isaac and it's one of my favorite bikes.



Does your frame have a serial number? I've gathered a few together - here's what I have so far:

06 77 12 -owned by BK
12 77 77 TS -"Camchain" green road bike
01 78 79 TS -Mine
01 78 82 JF
02 79 157 -"Camchain" purple track bike
04 79 133 -owned by JT

From what I can figure, the first two digits are the month, the second two are the year, the last group are the build sequence, and the initials indicate whether Tim or Jock built it. If you look at the three frames built close together in Dec 77 - Jan 78, it appears as though they used one numbering sequence regardless of who built it. One thing that seems odd is that the first frame in the list has such a low sequence number. Tim started building in 74 and Jock joined him in 76, so I'm sure they had built a lot more than 12 frames by June 77. Maybe that's just when they started using the numbering system.

I would encourage you to try contacting Tim at Match Technical. He was very friendly when I emailed him several years ago when I got my frame. I don't recall seeing those star cutouts before - I'm guessing this is an earlier frame.

The Classic Rendezvous page has links to a TS Isaac brochure and an interesting 1999 interview of Tim for the Rivendell Reader. https://www.classicrendezvous.com/USA/Isaac-Tim.htm

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Old 01-06-21, 07:59 PM
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Nice job! You just don’t see these every day.
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Old 01-07-21, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by bulgie View Post
Cool bike! Mad respect for Tim as a builder, also a super nice guy. He made frames for the US National team at one point, don't remember what year.
1979. His bikes were used by the 1980 US Olympic cycling team, but never made it to Moscow because we boycotted those games. My red white and blue TS Isaac pictured above was one of the spare frames he built for the Olympic team. It sat in a corner of his office at Trek for a long time. I kept bugging him about it, and he eventually sold it to me. Repainted it, too, and put my name on the top tube like the team bikes.

Then he was responsible for running the Trek frame operation during a period of explosive growth — he took them from a handful of builders to dozens, designed their lugs and dropouts and such. Also worked for China Bike I think, one of the majors in China anyway. Then Match, where I worked briefly, good times.
Also designed the frame fittings for the Raleigh USA "Technium" frames, IIRC.

The pics don't show the seat cluster from the left, but I expect the hole for the pinchbolts doesn't go all the way through, am I right? On his later frames at least, the hole was bottoming, "blind" on the other side. Pretty trick.
Yes, that was one of his signature flourishes.
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