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Bella frames/Ed Blank?

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Bella frames/Ed Blank?

Old 09-28-21, 03:24 PM
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Bella frames/Ed Blank?

Hey folks,

I just picked up this interesting hand-built frame. It's labeled a "Bella" and has a signature decal from the builder "Ed Blank". All I can discover is that he was a frame builder in the Boston area in the 80's, and that his frames were sold out of the old Laughing Alley bike shop in Allston MA. This bike is extremely light, and has some beautiful lugwork-- I'm guessing Colombus steel given the clear nods to Italian framebuilding and logos. Too small for me, but it's a lovely bike--- one of my kids may ride it when they outgrow their 24" wheeled road bikes...

If anyone has any further knowledge of these frames and Ed Blank as a builder, I'd be grateful!

As found:


Riser stem and flat bar gotta go.....drop bars must return!
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Old 09-28-21, 05:47 PM
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Nice bike! I saw the CL posting and was tempted, but it's way too small. I've had two Bellas, both pretty nice bikes, but neither had the wonderful color/decals that yours has. I also tried to research Ed Blank and his frame building, but could never find more info than what you have.
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Old 09-28-21, 05:53 PM
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Thanks--- the workmanship on this frame is really pretty good. But yes it is really small-- 48 cm center-to-center, and 51 cm along the top tube. I broke my rule about not buying bikes that don't fit! I justified it given that I have kids who like to ride road bikes who will fit this frame in a year or two--- but really I just thought the bike was beautiful and kind of unusual. The gentleman I bought it from said he used to race in the 80's and was supported by Laughing Alley. His line was "I could never afford a Bella, so I had to settle for a Bianchi...."

It would be great to learn more about the builder.....

N
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Old 09-28-21, 07:05 PM
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A local friend had a Bella at one point and it was a grail bike for him. He told me the origin story, but I don’t remember. I’ll ask him.
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Old 10-30-23, 08:01 PM
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I've known Ed since about 1970. We started Bella in Denver together after working with Joe Leiper in Boulder. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgul-Bismark Later we both worked at a frame building enterprise in Cambridge. I designed the jig that Ed used. It was built with the help of Dr. Frank Melsheimer of DFM Engineering (now in Longmont CO) (https://www.dfmengineering.com/). Frank also made a jig for himself from my plans and built some frames for Zeus USA, but that was just a hobby. Frank's main business is building telescopes, big ones. They start at 16" and go up to 50"+. While many American frame builders were silver soldering at the time, we decided that the Italians built the best frames in the world and they used brass, so that's what we used for the extra strength, except for the tips where we used Nickle Silver for it's hardness and filling quality (advice from to Joe Leiper). Early on we built with Super Vitus tube sets and Cinelli lugs and BBs. I wasn't interested in moving to Boston and went into IT in Denver.
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Old 10-31-23, 12:21 AM
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that Bella frame looks bellissima! Nice score and your kid(s) should be proud to have such a nice bike to grow into.
FWIW have to note that the "World Champ" stripes near his signature on the top tube are a tape strip from some handlebar wrap...
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Old 10-31-23, 09:51 AM
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Nifty bike. The only grumble I'd have if it fit me is that there's a pump (though nicely matching) where I'd put my second water bottle.
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Old 11-27-23, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by MooneyBloke
Nifty bike. The only grumble I'd have if it fit me is that there's a pump (though nicely matching) where I'd put my second water bottle.
There are water bottle mounts under the pump. If you do rides requiring more water you can mount a second bottle and mount a small modern pump on the same mounts. Leave the Silca at home.
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Old 11-28-23, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by deermouse
There are water bottle mounts under the pump. If you do rides requiring more water you can mount a second bottle and mount a small modern pump on the same mounts. Leave the Silca at home.
Good to know. I wrongly figured the seat tube didn't have them given the matching pump paint. I've taken enough rides where I have two 24oz bottles on the frame and third in my jersey. Happily. I've found I have a friend who lives along one of those routes, so I can get by with just two now on that ride. Sadly as a northern Michigander, there's not much riding save for skiddering through the snow on my utility bike for errands.
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Old 12-03-23, 07:45 PM
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If you still need more water you can always mount a double seat post triathlon setup. I mostly like double bottles because I can fill them with different stuff. I usually fill one with water and one with half water and half apple jucie in case I need a little sugar. As for a "utility bike" I've taken to mostly riding a BH cross bike (in my old age ;-). The cross bike is a lot more comfortable and just a little over 1 mph slower. The fat tires are fair in the snow and you can do easier MTB trails.

On your name "MooneyBloke" is that a reference to Peter Mooney? I had a Mooney way back in 75-76. It was number 007.
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Old 01-23-24, 07:59 PM
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Hey thanks deermouse for the background/history about these frames--- somehow I missed your post back in November. As I said, it was just too nice a bike to pass up--- and I'm a sucker for small independent builders.... something about growing up around Boston in the 80's when Fat Chance and Merlin were local, Peter Mooney was doing his thing....I used to just hang around Wheelworks because I had nothing better to do...

It's unfortunate that it's such a small bike--- if it were my size I'd keep it and ride the snot out of it. As it is, I rode it around the Tufts campus/boathouse like a circus clown bike for a while.... now it just sits on the wall and looks pretty. At least being so small it doesn't take up too much wall space.

Bikes are beautiful, but they're even better if they are being ridden.

Thanks again.
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Old 01-23-24, 10:49 PM
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I appreciate this thread - being in Denver, I've never heard of this branding which may or may not be surprising, depending on the numbers made. I'll be keeping an eye out!
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