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Greg Diamond, Santa Barbara, framebuilder

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Greg Diamond, Santa Barbara, framebuilder

Old 04-13-09, 07:58 PM
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Greg Diamond, Santa Barbara, framebuilder

Thanks to the grace of the carrier gods, my Greg Diamond arrived today from CA. I'll spare the gory details, but tell you one corner of the box was nearly ripped off, and only thin strips of cardboard protected the frame from damage. However, it's come through intact.

I'd like this thread to become an archive for information/photos of Greg Diamond's work. I know very little about him, but hope to learn more.

What I gather from inspecting this frame is that he was a master builder. This is by far the most beautifully constructed frame I've ever owned (which really doesn't say much, but it's still an incredible frame). The brazing and details are flawless. The extant paint is also first rate, though it has its share of nicks, and unfortunately, one subcutaneous vein on the top tube.

Here are the pics. Please feel free to add info and other pics to the thread.
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Old 04-13-09, 08:07 PM
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Guess I have to build it up with Japanese components (came with 7 speed Dura-Ace). Someone wasn't happy with the angle of their FD:
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Old 04-13-09, 08:12 PM
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One disappointment; not sure I'll be able to fit my favored 25s between the very narrow chainstays.

The decals - very simple, very sparse. Ace of diamonds on head tube and seat tube, Diamond USA on opposing sides of down tube.
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Old 04-13-09, 08:14 PM
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Forgot to a whole frame shot:
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Old 04-13-09, 08:21 PM
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The little info I've gleaned from a couple BF threads and the CR list is that Diamond was a builder in the late 70s and early 80s, apparently working out of Santa Barbara. There's also reference to him painting for another builder (Pauley I believe), so he may have had some success in that field alone. This leads me to believe the frame I have was painted by him as well. Unfortunately, it's reported that he passed away in the mid 80s.
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Old 04-13-09, 08:24 PM
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wow! very clean workmanship. practically sanitary, as we would say on the Left Coast. Only thing I can add is the brake bridge is a standard Cinelli piece...but your frame is far from standard: congrats!
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Old 04-13-09, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
wow! very clean workmanship. practically sanitary, as we would say on the Left Coast. Only thing I can add is the brake bridge is a standard Cinelli piece...but your frame is far from standard: congrats!
Ha, okay, not so unique. The little nub on the rear of the bridge is actually the only glaring imperfection I can find!
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Old 04-13-09, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
Only thing I can add is the brake bridge is a standard Cinelli piece...
Can you name any of the other frame parts? Lugs, BB, fork crown?

Steerer is rifled, so I'm guessing Columbus. And given the dropouts, I'd guess the frame tubes are Columbus as well. Funny thing about the steerer...it was unpainted and lightly rusted! One of the few things overlooked on this frame in my opinion, though maybe it was done to save fractions of a gram!
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Old 04-13-09, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by JunkYardBike View Post
Can you name any of the other frame parts? Lugs, BB, fork crown?
The BB shell looks like this one -- Takahashi, as I recall:



Fork crown looks like Everest.

Steerer is rifled, so I'm guessing Columbus. And given the dropouts, I'd guess the frame tubes are Columbus as well. Funny thing about the steerer...it was unpainted and lightly rusted! One of the few things overlooked on this frame in my opinion, though maybe it was done to save fractions of a gram!
Steer tubes are often left unpainted. It gives the painter something to hang onto whilst painting the fork. If the rifling is straight rather than helical, it's probably an Ishiwata steer tube. If there are 5 helical ridges, it's Columbus. You may even make out a dove stamping near the crown, assuming the builder didn't trim it off or bury it in the crown:



6 helical ridges suggests Tange (although Vitus also used this, they're much scarcer).
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Old 04-13-09, 09:32 PM
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Thanks for that good info, John. The steerer must be Columbus then, as it has 5 helical ridges. Couldn't locate the stamp, however.
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Old 04-14-09, 10:06 AM
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Don't you think the forkcrown might be this Cinelli model CCA?
Also a pic of the brakebridge, (both these pics lifted from the CR site...)
Lugs might be re-worked Cinellis, but that's just a guess, since he used a Japanese BB shell they may also be JP lugs.
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Old 04-14-09, 11:33 AM
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The rear of the bottom bracket looks like it was intended to strengthen the chainstays - I'd presume to make them a bit stiffer in resisting lateral flex.

Beautiful bike JYB. I presume I'll get to see it one of these days.
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Old 04-14-09, 12:20 PM
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Very, very nice. I love the clean, understated lines of the frame. Congrats on a great find.

My jaw dropped when I saw the inside shot of the BB - the mitering in there is nothing short of spectacular. It's too bad it won't show when you build it up and ride it.
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Old 04-14-09, 04:21 PM
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I was lucky enough to speak with Freddy Parr on the phone today. A very friendly man with a wealth of experience in the industry it sounds. He was a friend and colleague of Greg Diamond, and has fond memories of him both personally and professionally. Parr believes this frameset might date earlier than I thought, possibly '77 - '79. His estimate is that Diamond built only a couple hundred frames at most, but that his brazing had near robotic precision from the start. I think the detail on this frame bears that out.

I'll try to contact Jim Cunningham of Cyclart soon as he may have sprayed the paint.
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Old 04-14-09, 06:18 PM
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Beautiful bike. I feel like I should give you a wedding present or something.
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Old 04-14-09, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by JunkYardBike View Post
I was lucky enough to speak with Freddy Parr on the phone today. [snip] . Parr believes this frameset might date earlier than I thought, possibly '77 - '79.
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
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Old 04-15-09, 12:05 AM
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Junkyard, the front derailer braze-on mount on that gorgeous Diamond is scaring me to no end. Please tell me that you've already successfully cold-set it back into place.

I have to agree with Mark about the frame's age. That paint scheme, if original, has that early-'90s look. 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.

One other thing - my departed '92 Guerciotti (Columbus EL) had the same seat stay end treatment. Seemed to be popular on the oversize-tube, lugged frames.

-Kurt
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Old 04-15-09, 12:52 AM
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Originally Posted by JunkYardBike View Post
Unfortunately, it's reported that he passed away in the mid 80s.
If he actually did pass in the mid 80's it can't be any later than that. Can anyone confirm when he actually passed away?
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Old 04-15-09, 04:13 AM
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I have that seat stay attachment on my Franklin, but it was made 2 years ago. And it is OS tubing as well.
I know - not any help.
Beautiful bike, enjoy it.
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Old 04-15-09, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by seagull.apollo View Post
Beautiful bike. I feel like I should give you a wedding present or something.
I've been thinking of registering at Harris Cyclery. Baby needs a new pair of shoes!

Originally Posted by bulgie
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.
Interesting, thanks for the input Mark. So, did someone build this frameset with a leftover set of Diamond decals? Freddy Parr didn't mention the specific year Diamond passed, but I think he mentioned 1983, but definitely earlier than '85...and even then, he was probably too ill to build a frame.

Originally Posted by cudak888
Junkyard, the front derailer braze-on mount on that gorgeous Diamond is scaring me to no end. Please tell me that you've already successfully cold-set it back into place.
Say more. Is this thing gonna rip a hole in the seat tube? I haven't touched it. I think it may have been used in this condition, though the pins on the front shifter appear to be broken. There is evidence of a catastrophic or consistent chain drop: a large gouge on the inside of the driveside crankarm, and chain marks on the outside of the driveside chainstay.

The advice I've received is to 1) very gently attempt to straighten the bracket, or 2) cut the bracket off and use a clamp on to preserve the integrity of the paint.
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Old 04-15-09, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by JunkYardBike View Post
Say more. Is this thing gonna rip a hole in the seat tube?
I'd be more concerned about that cast piece fracturing when bent back. I just couldn't imagine having to put a clamp on in its place to compensate.

I wonder if a framebuilder should have a tool to straighten it - carefully...

Best of luck.

-Kurt
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Old 04-15-09, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
I'd be more concerned about that cast piece fracturing when bent back. I just couldn't imagine having to put a clamp on in its place to compensate.

I wonder if a framebuilder should have a tool to straighten it - carefully...

Best of luck.

-Kurt
I was looking at it again. It looks like the top half might actually be straight (perhaps by the former owner). I'll have to test it once I figure out how I want to build it.
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Old 04-15-09, 08:57 AM
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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
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Old 04-15-09, 09:25 AM
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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!!

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Old 04-15-09, 09:48 AM
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"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."
That's what I remember about that particular brake bridge, too: it didn't show up on anything I saw until the late '80s. I have one on my Ciocc (which is a late '80s/early '90s product).
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