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76(?) Eisentraut Limited

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76(?) Eisentraut Limited

Old 01-10-21, 06:25 PM
  #1  
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76(?) Eisentraut Limited

Iíve been watching for an Eisentraut for years, and this one popped up in my size, so I jumped. Itís a special one for me, since itís from the Oakland master. Also, if I am reading the serial correctly, it was made in December of 1976, a date that has significance for me. Iím excited to get it into a good state and built up!

Unboxing:




Aligned and straight:






Details:








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Old 01-10-21, 06:30 PM
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Serial number — 76 L 594

I think this is correct, and I’m assuming this means Dec of 1976, though I’m not certain that’s a 4 at the end. “59” would make more sense, right, meaning that it’s the 59th frame of the month? Or maybe 594th of the year? I’m not sure what assumed production volume makes practical sense.


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Old 01-10-21, 06:36 PM
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And here is the damage, which was clearly depicted in the ad.

Chainstays gently crushed, no doubt the vile kickstand.





Rust spiders over much of the frame, with bubbling paint. I may consider a repaint since repro decals are available, and I assume any collector value is minimal considering its condition and that this was a production frame. Or am I off base there?



Fork legs

Downtube
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Old 01-10-21, 06:41 PM
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Congrats. This is going to be a fun project to follow. I would love to find an Eisentraut for myself, too. My neighbor down the street has three of them!

The paint looks OK overall, except for those rust "spiders" on the bottom of the down tube. Those rust spiders are really tough deal with. Oxalic acid baths won't really get to the rust. I've tried cutting into them with an exacto knife to allow penetration into the rust channels, but the paint just starts to flake off at that point. I'd be reluctant to repaint at this point, but know the rust will continue to grow under the paint.
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Old 01-10-21, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf View Post
And here is the damage, which was clearly depicted in the ad.

Chainstays gently crushed, no doubt the vile kickstand.




Nice Score... 👍
If it were mine, & since youíre in Oakland, Iíd have Ed Litton in Richmond have a look at the damage & see what he says. Iíve seen his work & had work done by him. All depends on how you want to go about restoring this Trout ?

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Old 01-10-21, 07:32 PM
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"vile kickstand". exactly

congratulations for sure.
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Old 01-10-21, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by gaucho777 View Post
Congrats. This is going to be a fun project to follow. I would love to find an Eisentraut for myself, too. My neighbor down the street has three of them!

The paint looks OK overall, except for those rust "spiders" on the bottom of the down tube. Those rust spiders are really tough deal with. Oxalic acid baths won't really get to the rust. I've tried cutting into them with an exacto knife to allow penetration into the rust channels, but the paint just starts to flake off at that point. I'd be reluctant to repaint at this point, but know the rust will continue to grow under the paint.
Thanks, I’m excited!

Unfortunately for the paint, if you zoom in on the full frame pic, you can see the bubbling on the top and seat tubes as well — it’s everywhere. It came from San Diego, so a salty sea air environment.

I know it’s borderline sacrilege, but I am seriously considering doing the repaint myself just to protect the frame and ensure an even color. Eventually, I would shell out for a real repaint, but in the meantime, the patchwork I’d create with spot fixes would look much worse than a protective single color repaint. I dunno, that's my current thinking anyway.
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Old 01-10-21, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by 1 Lugnut View Post
Nice Score... 👍
If it were mine, & since youíre in Oakland, Iíd have Ed Litton in Richmond have a look at the damage & see what he says. Iíve seen his work & had work done by him. All depends on how you want to go about restoring this Trout ?
+1. Also, I strongly recommend building it up and riding it as is for a while (a couple months at least) to see if you like it enough for it be a keeper. If you don't, no need to sink the $$$ into a paint job. If it's a keeper, then the paint/don't paint debate becomes relevant.

Ed worked with Eisentraut for a time, I believe in the 1980s (they made Rainbow 'Trauts together and each made their own customs). Odds are he'll be able to confirm the serial number. As for me, I don't know if the "L" is month reference or stands for "Limited" or identifies the actual builder. Ed will almost certainly know. (Brice Gordon definitely would have know, but, sadly, we can't ask him any more.). I can tell you that this is not the numbering system Eisentraut used for his custom "A" frames.

I, too, have had work done by Ed, and he is very generous with his knowledge and his time. He also does very good work at a reasonable price. On top of that, he's a really nice guy.

As you no doubt know, the Limiteds were Eisentraut's attempt to bring in other builders a la Colnago, etc., an experiment he discontinued after a year or two because he was not satisfied that he could maintain the level of quality control he wanted. It is unlikely that he built your frame. It is possible that Bruce Gordon or Mark Nobilette did, or is was one of the other students/builders in Albert;s shop, but I don't know how one tells the difference. Again, Ed Litton may know. BTW, Ed was not one of the Limited builders. I asked about how he got stareted once, and he said he started under Bernie Mikkelson's tutelage, not Eisentrauts. Ed and Bruce Gordon were very good friends, however. Between that and Ed working with Albert later on, he absorbed a lot of Eisentraut knowledge. (Ed was also able to get decals from Eisentraut himself when I had my "A" frame repainted.)

Assuming I wanted to keep it, I almost certainly would have it repainted, but that's me. Painting or not painting will not do a lot to the value of the frame one way of the other, certainly not enough to recoup the cost of the respray. But if this is to be a rider, that is not really an issue, is it?

On, and of course, I'd have Ed Litton do the work.
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Old 01-10-21, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf View Post
I know itís borderline sacrilege, but I am seriously considering doing the repaint myself just to protect the frame and ensure an even color. Eventually, I would shell out for a real repaint, but in the meantime, the patchwork Iíd create with spot fixes would look much worse than a protective single color repaint. I dunno, that's my current thinking anyway.
Sounds reasonable to me. Original paint is worth saving in many cases. However, in this case, saving the paint may ruin the frame, and there's no sense in that.

Take your time with the prep work and get that primer coat on the frame asap after the frame has been stripped/prepped before the rust has a chance to return. Fwiw, I get my paint from San Leandro Color

+1 to bikingshearer's suggestion to build & ride as is just to get a feel for it, before making any long-range plans.
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Old 01-10-21, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
+1. Also, I strongly recommend building it up and riding it as is for a while (a couple months at least) to see if you like it enough for it be a keeper. If you don't, no need to sink the $$$ into a paint job. If it's a keeper, then the paint/don't paint debate becomes relevant.

Ed worked with Eisentraut for a time, I believe in the 1980s (they made Rainbow 'Trauts together and each made their own customs). Odds are he'll be able to confirm the serial number. As for me, I don't know if the "L" is month reference or stands for "Limited" or identifies the actual builder. Ed will almost certainly know. (Brice Gordon definitely would have know, but, sadly, we can't ask him any more.). I can tell you that this is not the numbering system Eisentraut used for his custom "A" frames.

I, too, have had work done by Ed, and he is very generous with his knowledge and his time. He also does very good work at a reasonable price. On top of that, he's a really nice guy.

As you no doubt know, the Limiteds were Eisentraut's attempt to bring in other builders a la Colnago, etc., an experiment he discontinued after a year or two because he was not satisfied that he could maintain the level of quality control he wanted. It is unlikely that he built your frame. It is possible that Bruce Gordon or Mark Nobilette did, or is was one of the other students/builders in Albert;s shop, but I don't know how one tells the difference. Again, Ed Litton may know. BTW, Ed was not one of the Limited builders. I asked about how he got stareted once, and he said he started under Bernie Mikkelson's tutelage, not Eisentrauts. Ed and Bruce Gordon were very good friends, however. Between that and Ed working with Albert later on, he absorbed a lot of Eisentraut knowledge. (Ed was also able to get decals from Eisentraut himself when I had my "A" frame repainted.)

Assuming I wanted to keep it, I almost certainly would have it repainted, but that's me. Painting or not painting will not do a lot to the value of the frame one way of the other, certainly not enough to recoup the cost of the respray. But if this is to be a rider, that is not really an issue, is it?

On, and of course, I'd have Ed Litton do the work.
Great info, thank you! Yes, the seller noted the Bruce Gordon connection, but I have no way to verify that at the moment. I know about Ed Littonís work, but I wasnít aware that he has an approachable demeanor. I suppose there is nothing to lose at this point with a polite email or phone call. Thanks again!
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Old 01-10-21, 10:17 PM
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Another fan of Ed Litton and his work. I bent my Mooney's fork badly in 1983 while I lived in Alameda (right across the bridge). I knew of Eisentraut but had never been there (despite riding right past the shop many times). Called the shop and was invited to bring the bike by. Ed was the only one there. He looked at the fork, said it could be straightened and proceeded to do it as I watched. Clearly knew what he was doing, No wasted moves, no bends past and back.

I continued to ride the fork but had Peter Mooney make me a new one. Learned that Ed had left Eisentraut and set up his own shop. Also that he painted frames. Called Peter and asked him to send me the fork unpainted. Took the fork and frame to Ed at his new shop and got a flawless Imron paint job on the promised day. I am now going to repaint that bike 36 years, 30,000 miles and several moves (twice across the country) later. (I won't say what I paid, just way, way too little!)

Every few years I'd catch up with him at bike shows. Always just a very down to earth, approachable guy. No airs at all.
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Old 01-11-21, 02:05 PM
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Cool! Yours looks like the Road model, the Touring had Nervex Pro lugs and longer chainstays, maybe some other differences as well. I had a Touring for a while, my ser# was 75L493. So I'd go with "75" for build date and "L" for Limited. I don't think the last 3 digits could be sequential for that year of production, with my 493 and your 594 that'd mean 500+ frames/year, way beyond what I think their production numbers were. I have no real knowledge here, just the feeling that total production was more likely in the hundreds than in the thousands. But I could be wrong, and yours/mine could have been late-year builds.

There are some builders who used alphabetic characters for the build month, but skipped "I" because it could be mistaken for "1". I think Waterford still does this currently. In that case yours/mine would be November production, in which case maybe the very hight 3-digit number fits. But I'm pretty sure others have posted Limited ser#s and they all had "L".

Just to add to the chorus, makes a lot of sense to build/ride first, to make sure you like how it goes well enough to justify putting more $$$ into it.

From what I'm seeing in the photos, the chainstay damage doesn't look at all significant. Nothing on the top, looks like not much on the bottom. But best to have a builder check/verify.

Very doubtful new paint would hurt resale value. It's not a unique or rare frame, and, though from a noted builder, it was a production-volume frame not built by the noted builder. And the current paint is objectively in very bad shape.

That said, if you pay for a quality repaint i/o doing it yourself, you also may not be able to resell it profitably. Not that you asked this question, but I think it's kind of implied in any/all "Will a respray lower the value?" questions. Lotta variables involved, natch, but in general, if you don't buy something at a significant discount from market because of bad paint, adding the cost of new paint often means you'll lose $ on the resale.
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Old 01-11-21, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by pcb View Post
Cool! Yours looks like the Road model, the Touring had Nervex Pro lugs and longer chainstays, maybe some other differences as well. I had a Touring for a while, my ser# was 75L493. So I'd go with "75" for build date and "L" for Limited. I don't think the last 3 digits could be sequential for that year of production, with my 493 and your 594 that'd mean 500+ frames/year, way beyond what I think their production numbers were. I have no real knowledge here, just the feeling that total production was more likely in the hundreds than in the thousands. But I could be wrong, and yours/mine could have been late-year builds.
.
Thanks for this info! What did you think of your Touring? Was it memorable? I know from your posts that many bikes have passed through your hands with your involvement in the industry.

As for the serial, just spitballing -- I wonder if the numbers indicate that yours was the 49th bike of the year, produced in March, while mine might be the 59th of the year, produced in April. Given that logic, total production of ~15 per month would put the total annual at around 180-185 for each year. Again, just spitballing. I do intend to reach out to Ed Litton, so I hope to learn more from him if I have the chance to ask.

I have the pieces to throw something together for the spring, so I'll plan on that before taking any big steps on the paint. I do expect good things, though, since the measurements are right along my other well-fitting bikes.
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Old 01-11-21, 05:19 PM
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I think it's been almost 15yrs since I sold the Limited, so I don't have much in the way of memories. I suppose the only thing I can say is it couldn't have been the nicest frame I'd ever ridden, since if it was I wouldn't have sold it. Then again, I think I was riding pretty cheap/crappy tires back then, so a lot of the frames/bikes I sold may have been a lot nicer than I allowed them to be.

On the ser#, that first digit representing production month is a possibility, and would mean that once the calendar hit Oct, you'd find ser#s with 4 digits. Which you otherwise wouldn't see unless production in any one year exceeded 1,000. Which I kinda doubt. And you'd find 7xL10xx, 7xL11xx, 7xL12xx, but nothing with 13xx or higher. Somebody posted a ser# 7xL110 I think, can't remember if it was 74/75/76. So that could have been the 10th Limited of the year, built 1/7x. I don't remember seeing a Limited ser# with 4 digits, but I didn't google very deep.

Trying to crack ser# codes is kinda fun. Helps me feel like maybe I have some smarts, but it's a far cry from trying to decipher Zodiac's messages, for example. My faves were Redcay/Kellog-Spectrum, which included the frame angles.

No reason to expect they wouldn't be nice-riding frames. Eisentraut and crew understood geometry, understood how to build a good frame, didn't use gaspipe/crappy materials, and I've never heard of anybody there taking shortcuts with Limited build quality. Not likely to be one of those "Nice if you get a good one, but you won't know till you try it" kind of rides.

Have fun, and let us see some pix once you get 'er out.

Originally Posted by noobinsf View Post
Thanks for this info! What did you think of your Touring? Was it memorable? I know from your posts that many bikes have passed through your hands with your involvement in the industry.

As for the serial, just spitballing -- I wonder if the numbers indicate that yours was the 49th bike of the year, produced in March, while mine might be the 59th of the year, produced in April. Given that logic, total production of ~15 per month would put the total annual at around 180-185 for each year. Again, just spitballing. I do intend to reach out to Ed Litton, so I hope to learn more from him if I have the chance to ask.

I have the pieces to throw something together for the spring, so I'll plan on that before taking any big steps on the paint. I do expect good things, though, since the measurements are right along my other well-fitting bikes.
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Old 01-15-21, 06:37 PM
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Documenting the rust a little better here, justifying the decision to media blast and repaint, likely DIY for the first pass. I wish I could save the color, but the rust is everywhere.

Seat tube:



Top tube:



Downtube decal:



Seat stays:
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Old 01-15-21, 06:43 PM
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Also, I’m wondering about this section of the steerer tube. The properly threaded section measures 23mm. But, there is this section below it that looks like it has been filled in or improperly cut, and it measures 10mm (33mm total). Is this anything to be concerned about?





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Old 01-15-21, 07:18 PM
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Someone you might want to call about your Eisentraut Limited is Bill Stevenson. I'm sure if you could show him pictures of your bike he could shed some light on it.

"Bill Stevenson began frame building as an apprentice to Albert Eisentraut in the early seventies."Stevenson Custom Bikes: (360) 402-2234
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Old 01-15-21, 09:15 PM
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Build it up and ride it around as suggested.
im doing that with a ďrat rodĒ bike at present to see how much to get involved.

if you can do a face to face transaction, Ed would be good.

I would upgrade it to round oval round stays
and paint it a dark burgundy translucent.

the cutouts on these varied a bit- these look earlier and a bit more ďhandĒ finished.

do not worry about the steerer as long as you have enough threading.
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Old 01-15-21, 09:59 PM
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Hello,
I have a Limited, serial #76L076 which I got from rccardr. The paint was messed up due to abuse plus it had a couple of dings. I initially built it up with the included Galli group and rode it for a while. since it was “only” a Limited and I planned on using it as a regular rider, I had it powder coated a deep red summer before last and trimmed it in yellow. I’m currently waiting for decals from Velocals. I’ll send pix shortly.
Cheers,
Van
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Old 01-16-21, 08:40 AM
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That was my son in law’s train station bike for five years!
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Old 01-16-21, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by rccardr View Post
That was my son in lawís train station bike for five years!
OK, now I understand the rattle can paint job. Just curious, what train station?

Cheers,

Van
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Old 01-16-21, 08:32 PM
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Norwalk, CT. He took the train south into NYC, daughter headed north to New Haven.
Thankfully, they now live in the DC area and have two kids.
Paint job was intentional to deter thievery - it worked!
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Old 01-18-21, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post
Someone you might want to call about your Eisentraut Limited is Bill Stevenson. I'm sure if you could show him pictures of your bike he could shed some light on it.

"Bill Stevenson began frame building as an apprentice to Albert Eisentraut in the early seventies."Stevenson Custom Bikes: (360) 402-2234
I swallowed my nerves and actually called Bill Stevenson today. He was kind and accommodating of a goofus fanboy making a cold call about a frame his colleague made 45 years ago, but he was unable to offer any new information. Very nice guy, chatted about Bay Area history and whatnot.

I talked to Ed Litton last week, too, and I think the cost of his service is a bit too much for me now, either for paint or repair. Also a very kind gentleman, lovely to talk to.
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Old 01-19-21, 01:20 PM
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Finally, Pictures!

noobinsf





Hope this helps with your build up.
First picture is assembly after powder coat, but before yellow HB tape.
Next 4 are after lug lining & graphics, but some are before final touch up.. Not fully assembled because I'm waiting for decals.
Cheers,
Van
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Old 01-19-21, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Senior Ryder 00 View Post
noobinsf

Hope this helps with your build up.
First picture is assembly after powder coat, but before yellow HB tape.
Next 4 are after lug lining & graphics, but some are before final touch up.. Not fully assembled because I'm waiting for decals.
Cheers,
Van
Thank you for these pics! I've all but made up my mind to repaint -- at this point, just trying to decide between a couple of different rattle can colors. As I see it, the finish is trashed with rust that needs to be neutralized, and a rattle can job is easily removed if/when I eventually decide to get a professional repaint. I priced out a custom color match, and I just don't love the green enough to recreate it, so I'm going to try and stay true-ish to the era and stick to a deep earth tone, something in the green or brown family.

I was looking at VeloCals for repro graphics, too. About how long is the wait for these?
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