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-   -   Greg Diamond, Santa Barbara, framebuilder (https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage/530764-greg-diamond-santa-barbara-framebuilder.html)

JunkYardBike 04-15-09 09:49 AM


Originally Posted by cudak888 (Post 8735161)
Looks more as if the top half is bent, while the bottom is as original (at least, by the photo). You've got me there...

-Kurt

Well, I'm not sure either now. Maybe you're right. I just mounted the FD, and it rotates freely, except at the very bottom of the slot. If the horizontal positioning isn't too off, maybe it will work as is.

JunkYardBike 04-15-09 09:52 AM


Originally Posted by vjp (Post 8735364)
A CR member owns a 1985, 1987 and 1990 Greg Diamond bikes so Freddy Parr has his dates mixed up. Like others have said your bike is later half of the 80's for sure. Beautiful!!

vjp

You know, I guess it's possible he was off by a decade. He's got some amazing stories, has worked with many builders, and his interests and work are very diverse. 10 years is a drop in the bucket.

cudak888 04-15-09 09:58 AM


Originally Posted by JunkYardBike (Post 8735557)
You know, I guess it's possible he was off by a decade. He's got some amazing stories, has worked with many builders, and his interests and work are very diverse. 10 years is a drop in the bucket.

Or a kick in the bucket. I wouldn't be so flippant about the year of someone's passing if I wasn't entirely sure.

-Kurt

JunkYardBike 04-15-09 10:29 AM


Originally Posted by cudak888 (Post 8735607)
Or a kick in the bucket. I wouldn't be so flippant about the year of someone's passing if I wasn't entirely sure.

-Kurt

Well, to clarify, he never made a definitive statement about the year of Diamond's passing. He was reminiscing, and quite understandably more interested in talking about Greg as a person than cataloging his products.

I was a bit hesitant to document our conversation here, as I didn't ask for permission. Now I see I did make a mistake by doing so. I thought it might be useful to have some information about Diamond published somewhere on the internet, but I obviously have no training in journalism. :o

JohnDThompson 04-15-09 02:21 PM


Originally Posted by bulgie (Post 8733719)
Nope, later than that. That BB shell didn't exist before about '84 I think, maybe a year earlier. ...

There's more evidence it's not from the 70s, including the Shimano front der. braze-on which I think is mid-to-late 80s.

That's my recollection as well. Although the FD braze-on could have been added later, the BB shell is almost assuredly no older than mid-80s.

JohnDThompson 04-15-09 02:30 PM


Originally Posted by cudak888 (Post 8733794)
I've seen that seatstay brake bridge used on something else before, but I just cannot place my finger on it. I recall discussing that bridge, but I can't seem to place who owned "it," or what it was on. I'll remember sooner or later.

The bridge was an off-the-shelf item; Cinelli I think. I have one here:

http://os2.dhs.org/~john/bridges.jpg

Once again, I don't think these were available earlier than the mid-80s.

JohnDThompson 04-15-09 02:35 PM


Originally Posted by bulgie (Post 8733719)
I don't see the Hitachi hallmark on the shell so it could be a later knock-off, but I do think it's a real Takahashi -- possibly with the Hitachi mark filed off by the builder. (Takashi IC shells were cast by Hitachi, and were super-high-quality)

Looking at one of the Takahashi shells I have here, I do see that the cable guides are different:

http://os2.dhs.org/~john/takahashi-BB.jpg

Mine does have the Hitachi casting mark, but maybe they changed their design over the years? It would seem silly to grind off the existing guides and replace them with tubes, but who knows?

USAZorro 04-15-09 02:47 PM


Originally Posted by bulgie (Post 8733719)
Nope, later than that. That BB shell didn't exist before about '84 I think, maybe a year earlier. Richard Sachs might remember. Bill Davidson had a tight relationship with Takahashi (as did Sachs); in fact starting a bit later, Davidson was the exclusive importer/distributor for all Takahashi framebuilding bits. (I worked for Davidson back then and brazed maybe a thousand of these shells). I don't see the Hitachi hallmark on the shell so it could be a later knock-off, but I do think it's a real Takahashi -- possibly with the Hitachi mark filed off by the builder. (Takashi IC shells were cast by Hitachi, and were super-high-quality)

There's more evidence it's not from the 70s, including the Shimano front der. braze-on which I think is mid-to-late 80s. Also, if I were a betting man I'd wager some small sum that the brake bridge is from the late-80s at the earliest. My guess for the bike: around 1990.

As to the question of who else does seatstay tops that way -- I don't know who invented it but I think it's fair to say that Eisentraut is the one most linked to the style, and the one who popularized it.

Mark Bulgier

Welcome aboard, Sir! :)

unworthy1 04-20-09 02:21 PM

just chanced upon a thread you might follow: the owner of Open Air Bicycles in VENTURA, CA (not the one in SB or Goleta) owns and rides a Greg Diamond touring frame...Jon Avery, been in the biz since 1983:
http://www.openairbikes.com/about.htm

jamdanny 08-31-09 11:55 AM

Greg Diamond
 
Junkyard: I first met Greg Diamond in Isla Vista ("IV," home of UC-Santa Barbara) summer 1980 when I bicycled to/from Santa Monica to Santa Barbara one weekend, and he was playing 12-string Leo Kottke-styled guitar at Borsodi's Coffeehouse, and we began talking about bicycles and guitars (I play classical guitar). My then-wife and I exchanged a few postcards with Greg over the years. After pedaling San Francisco to Santa Barbara summer 1981, I stayed at his place in "IV" for the night, and then and Greg later stayed overnight with us in Santa Monica Dec1981, enroute to his Philadelphia home (his dad was a surgeon at St. Joseph Hospital in Philly) for the holidays. He was a quiet man, a perfectionist, lived simply and was intense when it came to his music and bicycles. He played guitar at various venues around Santa Barbara, and worked in bicycle shops in that area. My first wife left me in 1984, and remained in the Ventura/Oxnard/Santa Barbara area for several years afterward. I remarried 1988 and relocated to Walnut Creek CA Apr1989, and it was in either 1989 or early 1990 that I received a postcard from the first wife, telling me that the Santa Barbara TV news had then-recently announced Greg's recent passing. She said that the news clip had mentioned Greg's having developed/created a cycling vehicle for quadriplegics. Humorous story: most of Greg's guitar music was instrumental, however, one of his few vocal songs was "Pamela Brown," about some girlfriend who had left one guy for another solely because of the second's guy's pickup truck. The tune became such a regular feature/joke of Greg's Borsodi's Coffeehouse appearances that the cafe developed a plate of food called the "Pamela Brown Special" and put in on the menu. If Borsodi's is still standing, my money says the "Pamela Brown Special" is likely to still be on the menu. Greg Diamond...one of those humans that enriches your life when you meet them. --JamDanny

TejanoTrackie 08-31-09 12:59 PM

The mitering of the frame tubes in the bottom bracket shell is flawless! I've never seen any better. Is the front derailleur mount bent, or is that just the camera angle?

Mike01 08-31-09 04:37 PM


Originally Posted by JunkYardBike (Post 8735825)
Well, to clarify, he never made a definitive statement about the year of Diamond's passing. He was reminiscing, and quite understandably more interested in talking about Greg as a person than cataloging his products.

I was a bit hesitant to document our conversation here, as I didn't ask for permission. Now I see I did make a mistake by doing so. I thought it might be useful to have some information about Diamond published somewhere on the internet, but I obviously have no training in journalism. :o

You did not make a mistake. Speak with Mr.Parr again, please. I´d date this frame as a late 80s/early 90s piece just by the way of the detailing. I find this story interesting and would like to know more about Greg Diamond, for sure.
And anyway, congratulations on a truly nice frame, understatedly elegant. Very well built in my opinion. Put it to good use.

JunkYardBike 08-31-09 05:39 PM

Thanks for the history, jamdanny. It's obvious the frame is the work of a true craftsman. As I understand, he was ill for a period before his passing, so this frame may be earlier than '89-'90.

TejanoTrackie: yes, unfortunately, the front hanger is bent, but I've reshaped it a bit. I have yet to build the frame up, but I'm getting closer. I'll likely use the Dura Ace it came to me with, but some of the parts are a bit rough, so I'd like to either polish or replace them.

USAZorro 08-31-09 06:37 PM


Originally Posted by JunkYardBike (Post 9590851)
... I have yet to build the frame up, but I'm getting closer...

Looks like it would make a fine Century bike. :p :innocent:

Seriously though, pictures when it's done? :thumb:

JunkYardBike 08-31-09 06:45 PM


Originally Posted by USAZorro (Post 9591155)
Looks like it would make a fine Century bike. :p :innocent:

Yeah, I'll be riding it up Alpe d'Huez next year at the tour.

Sueno Natasha 02-14-10 03:49 PM


Originally Posted by JunkYardBike (Post 8735825)
...I thought it might be useful to have some information about Diamond published somewhere on the internet...

Then let this serve as a brief obit, for today is the 20th anniversary of Greg’s death. On a whim, I decided to google him (with his whip-smart command of grammar, he would’ve been the first to remind me that “google” is not a verb…) -- if only to find a trace of him in the ether, and came across this thread. Greg would be so pleased to read all the discussion regarding his work. And being the detail-oriented perfectionist that he was, he would want a friend to set the record straight. I'm afraid that I can't speak to the specifications of his framebuilding (I think he'd prefer some mystery there) but I can clear up some of the conjecture surrounding the date of your frame, and I hope, give you a sense of who he was.

Greg died from complications of AIDS on February 14, 1990. He stopped building frames about 18 months prior to his death -- when he turned all his energies to advocating for housing for people with AIDS. And he almost lived to see the result of his efforts; the following July, Heath House (an AIDS hospice) opened it’s doors in Santa Barbara. Greg also spent a lot of time near the end of his life speaking to students, church groups, and community organizations about living with AIDS. He was open and honest and bravely spoke the truth about a disease that, more often than not during those early dark times of the epidemic, brought out the worst in our society: discrimination, fear, and contempt.

But as evidenced by this thread, that was only one chapter in Greg’s life. He was a Master framebuilder -- a true artist, as anyone lucky enough to own one of his frames will attest (myself included). He hand crafted every piece of his frames and wouldn’t hesitate to start over if he didn’t think it turned out perfect (much to the chagrin of those clients who were not quite prepared to wait as long as they eventually did).

Greg was also a musician, playing acoustic guitar (both six and twelve-string) in local coffee houses as well as participating on stage at the Summer Solstice festival in Santa Barbara. His repertoire ranged form Bluegrass, to Classical, to Celtic traditional, to his own arrangements and compositions a la Leo Kottke (Cripple Creek was his favorite -- he was a huge fan), practicing for hours on end with the same tenacity and drive he displayed in his other pursuits.

Greg had many friends among the various communities he touched and is sorely missed. I'll always remember his wicked sense of humor, his love of the absurd, and his complete focus and dedication to whatever was occupying him at the moment -- be it framebuilding, music, or fighting intolerance.

Shortly after moving to NYC, I rode my Diamond Frame in the NYC Century Bike Tour (the 50 mile version). I circle Central Park when weather permits (OK, mostly in the spring and summer) and ride along the Hudson. It’s safe to say that my Diamond Frame (in “Maureen Maroon”) is my most prized possession. I didn’t have the funds to build out my frame until long after it was built and have always had a nagging suspicion that Greg would cringe at how the bike shop handled it. I would love to find someone in the NYC region that understands steel frames who could refurbish it properly. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

Thanks for providing a forum for sharing Greg’s art!

JunkYardBike 02-14-10 05:49 PM

Sueno Natasha, thank you so much for contributing to the thread. It's obvious judging by both your account and jamdanny's that Greg was an extraordinary person. I feel honored to have one of his frames in my care. I'm a bit embarrassed to say I haven't had a chance to ride it yet, but I'm still collecting the last few bits I need to make it complete. It will surely be representative of its era with the color choices I've made. However, I hope it's not something that would make Greg cringe!

Regarding your question about refurbishment, do you mean the frame itself needs work and a repaint, or does it simply need a maintenance overhaul? If the former, Cyclart in California might be a good option. It's my understanding that the founder, Jim Cunningham, may have painted some frames for Greg. As with any of the top bicycle paint artists, a restoration is a significant investment but worth it if you have the resources:

http://www.cyclart.com/newindex.html

If you are looking for maintenance, you might try B's Bikes if you're in Brooklyn. An unpretentious shop, and at least one of the staff members (Andrei) is highly knowledgeable, competent, and passionate about 'vintage' bikes.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/bs-bikes-brooklyn

ROADEAGL 06-18-10 01:43 PM

Earlier Greg Diamond history
 

Originally Posted by Sueno Natasha (Post 10402744)
Then let this serve as a brief obit, for today is the 20th anniversary of Greg’s death.
Thanks for providing a forum for sharing Greg’s art!

----------------------------------
Thanks for the background, Natasha. I've been trying to learn more about Greg for years but always hit a dead end. Greg worked for me in my bike shop in PA in the early 70s prior to his move to CA. I'm proud to say I taught him to bust his knuckles on bikes but the student rapidly outpaced the teacher. I had a frame made for myself by Bill Boston [still have it] and Greg admired it endlessly. One day he said, "I'm going to build myself a frame." And did he ever! He built a beautiful black road frame that was an astounding first effort. Shortly thereafter he applied for and got a job at what was then Open Air Cycles in Santa Barbara. I also sold my shop and moved and we lost touch. Natasha, you described the guy I knew perfectly and I'm happy to see the success he achieved in a life that ended too soon. We got free guitar concerts on slow days, not to mention countless challenges to conventional wisdom. He was also taking college course at the time and I remember the time he came in mortified that a professor had downgraded a paper he wrote, claiming his use of a particular word was racist. Greg was anything but and he showed me dictionary definitions to back his position. Greg was a true self-made intellectual, artist, craftsman, and terrific guy.

hodensaft 12-02-10 01:29 AM

I am also Greg Diamond, the Greg mentioned herein was my uncle.

Thank you to everyone here for posting your memories of Uncle Greg. I was only 7 years old when he passed away, but I have many wonderful memories of his musicianship and craftsmanship. I still ride a bike frame passed down to me from my father (Greg's older brother), nicknamed "Ex-Lax" (for it's speed, naturally).

Again, thank you all.

Greg Diamond
Portland, OR

ftwelder 12-02-10 04:11 AM

Very beautiful frame and wonderful story. 'glad I tuned in.

mkeller234 12-02-10 05:01 AM

Wow, this thread has really turned into something special.

vjp 12-02-10 10:46 AM

Welcome Greg!

You live in the hot bed of the American Hand Built Bicycle, is there any chance that some of your name sake's building prowess is going to make an appearance? That would be cool, what a legacy!

Stay a while.

vjp


Originally Posted by hodensaft (Post 11873230)
I am also Greg Diamond, the Greg mentioned herein was my uncle.

Thank you to everyone here for posting your memories of Uncle Greg. I was only 7 years old when he passed away, but I have many wonderful memories of his musicianship and craftsmanship. I still ride a bike frame passed down to me from my father (Greg's older brother), nicknamed "Ex-Lax" (for it's speed, naturally).

Again, thank you all.

Greg Diamond
Portland, OR


JunkYardBike 12-02-10 12:08 PM


Originally Posted by mkeller234 (Post 11873451)
Wow, this thread has really turned into something special.

Agreed. I have to say, each time I look at the frame I'm still astonished by its beauty. I think most of it has to do with the object itself, but I'm sure the personal stories shared here have influenced me.

Now all I need to do is finish it and ride it! I'm almost there!

jamdanny 12-06-10 03:20 AM

Greg "The Oregon Edition" Diamond: Nice to hear from you on this blog. Yes, Greg (your uncle) had mentioned to me that he had a few siblings, and I believe he said that all/some of them studied piano, and that he attempted piano early on, but decided he'd rather play one instrument well than 2 instruments in mediocre fashion. As you may have heard/known, Greg didn't drive or have a driver license until 1984; he'd ride his bicycle between Santa Barbara and Isla Vista. He phoned me up one day, while I was living in Oxnard, and said "...Hey Dan, I'm appearing at a restaurant this weekend down on the waterfront in the Ventura harbor, and I now have a driver license AND a car..." Did he ever. I arrived at the restaurant to hear him, and there it was, out in the parking lot...a huge ole boat of a car...big ole hunky Buick, Pontiac, Chrysler...one of those things that blue-haired women used to drive. We both laughed. --JamDanny

rhm 12-06-10 09:04 AM


Originally Posted by JunkYardBike (Post 11875125)
Now all I need to do is finish it and ride it! I'm almost there!

Yeah, really!

I know you're a bit bummed about the bits of damage to the frame, but being realistic, that frame is in better shape than any bike I own. If your Diamond were any better (which is, frankly, hard for me to imagine) you might not build it up, and you certainly wouldn't ride it, would you? Having a few nicks in the paint give you the freedom to actually ride it, and you should be thankful for them! Now, let's see it built up....

Great thread, by the way. Few of our threads here actually contribute to the historical record, and this one does. Kudos to all the real contributors!


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