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Tuesday
Feb072017

How a movie changed the course of my framebuilding career

This is not an exact transcript of the video, but it does lay out the same story.

My video talks about how a movie had an indirect but definite effect on my career in the bike business, and how it later led to my building some special frames for a good friend.

1979 was the year I came to the US. A movie was released that same year named “Breaking Away.”

It was a coming of age story about a young boy with a passion for bike racing.

Also featured in the movie was a red Masi bicycle. The success of this movie lead to a mini bike boom for the Masi brand.

This in turn led me to a job opening the following year in Southern California as a bicycle framebuilder for Masi.

The frame shop I working in was run as a co-op with space rented out to various framebuilders and frame painters.

It was there I met American builder Brian Bayliss. That’s Brian on the left in this picture wearing the blue shirt.  With Brian in the white shirt is photographer David Ball. I met David Ball in 1982 when he came to visit his friend Brian Bayliss and as it happened I needed the services of a photographer to promote my own framebuilding business.

The image on the tee shirt I’m wearing is from a David Ball photo. This photo was one of several used in a Bicycling Magazine article in 1983.

I agreed to build David a frame in exchange for his work. He became a longtime friend and over the years I built other frames.

The first one I built in 1982 was a touring frame built in Reynolds 531 tubing. I wanted to do something different and experimental with the paint, and I came up with an intricate masked two tone green paint scheme.

It was a very labor intensive job but as it was for a friend and there was no actual dollar amount discussed, it didn’t matter. It was as much for my own satisfaction of bringing something I had in mind to fruition.

This frame and one other where I repeated the idea in two tone grey, was the inspiration for the paint scheme on my line of limited production frames named FUSO. I simplified the masking with a decal panel covering the transition between the two colors.

When I launched the FUSO brand in 1984, I again needed David Ball for promotional photos. This time I gave David the first Fuso bike built. Here is a magazine add I ran at the time with a Davis Ball picture this same bike.

The third bike I built for David Ball was a special one of a kind Fuso. It was really a custom frame that usually bears my own name, but we decided to make it a FUSO. Once again there was no discussion of price.

I always set a very high standard on all my work. But there is a limit on what you can charge for a product, and therefore a limit to how much labor you can put into that product.

When those restrictions are lifted something special results, like this. This frame was built in Columbus SLX tubing but with the stiffer SPX down tube, and rear triangle. The seat stays are oversize 5/8 inch diameter as opposed the usual 9/16 diameter.

The seat stay top eyes are given the same treatment as my custom frame with a piece of tubing inlayed to form a concave affect. It has my signature on the top tube.

It was built close to my Criterium geometry, but without the high BB. (Didn’t need it I knew it would never be raced.) This coupled with the stiffer mix of tubing makes for a bike that demands that you ride it fast. It is very responsive and climbs hills like you wouldn’t believe.

David Ball has a touring bike I built, which he tells me is still his favorite bike, this one is the type of bike that is for short fast rides and will kick your ass every time you take it out.

What I mean by that statement is, a bike like this by the way it looks and the way it rides will push you to your limits of fitness. Whatever those limits might be

 

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Reader Comments (5)

Thx for the video Dave! So would you consider that red bike the "best" you ever made? Or the one you're most proud of? It's a beauty, that's for sure.

It looks like those are Delta brakes on there, what kind of RD is that? I can't quite tell, is there a shroud of chromed metal around the upper pulley?

February 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRubeRad

RubeRad,
Take another look, those are not Delta brakes. The group is a Campagnolo from that year 1988. not sure which one. the shroud you speak of is the polished alloy cage that was designed that way. Without cutouts as is usual.
There were other frames built over the years that I am also proud of. But to say this one alone is the "Best" that is for others to judge. The frames I remember are the ones where the customers didn't dictate too much on what they wanted. If it was left entirely up to me that is when I did my best work.
Dave

February 12, 2017 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

Dave. Maybe IF you SANG instead of talking? Write a song about it? Be different? Lyrics? Just a thought mate. At least you can hear, that's more than I can.. read my Facebook page for my problems

February 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjohn Crump

Thanks Dave,

I love the masked paint jobs, and the classic minimalistic go fast look of your bikes. I’d say the paint on the seat tube has been emulated by many of todays brands.

Cheers,
Ben Spencer
Seattle

February 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBen Spencer

Dave, love your video. you should make more. nice to see you and hear you in person.

March 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMark

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