Varonha custom frame... And stem!

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  • One day last spring, I cycled to Mario Vaz's with my friend Okan and his newly acquired track frame, a nice Cougar needing a seized seat post to be extracted and ultimately a respray. Mario told me his brother had left Roberts to start building his own frames. By chance Winston was there on that same day and we had a chat. There was a really nice fillet brazed frame he had just finished.

    I had been toying the idea of getting a custom frame for several years. I spoke to Barry Witcomb when he was still around and was my LBS, also had Chas Roberts on the phone a couple of years later, and sold two of my bikes in order to finance a project that never happened... But this time, I decided this should be for real.

    We met few times with Winston to discuss the project. Long conversations. Very long... and really interesting ones. Because I knew fairly precisely what I wanted, but at the same time I'd never been through that process before.

    Initial brief: some kind of "do-all / functional" thing. More or less a cyclo-cross bike, but with the possibility of mounting racks and mudguards, if necessary. Canti brakes, slopping top tube (but not too much), fillet brazed construction, oversize tubing, almost built like a MTB (I said to Winston I wanted to go off-road, go down steps/stair, jump over pot holes... I'm a heavy guy, and not too bothered about weigh) fast back seat cluster detail inspired from the old Ritchey MTBs / X country fillet brazed frames. Tubing will be 853 (except the chain stays that are NOS 725 I think).

    I drew the geometry on CAD over and over, which was fun and enriching. Things are now ready to go. Winston is just waiting for the seat tube to arrive (variable diameter going from 28.6 at seat post to 31.6/32 at BB).
    I can't wait to have pictures to post here...
    Below, the "archaeology" of the project, and its latest state.


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    • Options.jpg
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    • 2014-09-29 Geometry MltCross.jpg
  • subbed - sounds cool

  • fastback stay mean clearance may be tighter for the rear tyre, is the frame tall enough to prevent this?

    Project sound real awesome.

  • can't believe you've already put a brooks on it.

  • fastback stay mean clearance may be tighter for the rear tyre, is the frame tall enough to prevent this?

    Good point, we actually discussed that on saturday with Winston, he reckons stays are long enough, will be straight / won't need a bend above the brake bridge...

  • can't believe you've already put a brooks on it.

    I have not it yet, you have plenty of time to convince me to put something else on it...

  • I thought you were much taller than me? The geo shows a 56/57cm and I would have thought that you needed at least a 58/59cm.

  • Semi-compact geo innit? its 60cm effective.

  • Yes, and a relatively short top tube. Geometry was partly based on the current bikes that I feel the best on. I rode my Roberts and my Mick Ford when visiting Winston, so he could have a starting point to assess my needs. They are both 60cm seat tube, but I tend to have short stems on them, and the saddle brought quite forward, hence the 57cm effective top tube lenght.

  • Speaking of fastback, here's the design intent (as per Ritchey MTB frames / 90s MTB frames):


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    • 2014-09-30 Seat Clamp Design.jpg
  • or you could just drill through your seatpost once it's at the right height.

  • A pulley on the seat tube could work, but might not with the narrow section of the fastback stay;

  • ignore ed. your way is fine. just drilling through a post is more 'custom'. :P

  • I also considered this, but I quite like the vintage cable route option...


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    • zazaSurly copy.jpg
  • The later has the advantage or requiring a cable stop at the back of the seat tube, meaning that I can swap from cantis to V-brakes later. Which it not possible if I run the cable a l'ancienne...

  • May I says one thing?

    This is your custom build, I would go crazy over small unique feature that you can't get with OTP/vintage frames, I feel that it's a bit of a setback if you went full carbon and end up putting the Surly hanger on it.

    Maybe put a little bridge on the seat stay for the cable housing that go through the seat tube? I wonder what the implication of not having the cable straight to the cantilever?

    the other way is to mount the cantilever on the inside of the stay, thus allow more clearance with saddlebag/panniers;

  • P.S. please tell me to fuck right off if I'm polluting your thread @veLLo, I go all lady gaga when it come to custom.

  • Maybe put a little bridge on the seat stay for the cable housing that go through the seat tube?

    At the moment no cable housing is going thru tubes.
    Is this what you are suggesting?


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    • Canti Rear detail.jpg
  • Yeah, just straight inbetween the stay with the cable not running parallel to the seatstay tube.

  • P.S. please tell me to fuck right off if I'm polluting your thread @veLLo, I go all lady gaga when it come to custom.

    Please "lady gaga" away, this is the point of the thread. This detail has made me considered few options, and I'm not 100% sure of what the final choice will be. Any opinions welcome.

    Same for the geometry. Things are pretty much decided but not set in stone. I have still a bit of margin before Winston cut the tubes. Now is the right time to comment!

  • the other way is to mount the cantilever on the inside of the stay, thus allow more clearance with saddlebag/panniers;

    I will think about this... I like my saddle bags...

  • I wonder what the implication of not having the cable straight to the cantilever?

    It's been done successfully by Ritchey on many frames.
    I've seen it on other 1990's MTBs, sometimes with a little tube rather than a loop.


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    • 2011-nahbs-ritchey-swiss-cross-cyclocross-bike04.jpg
  • That is really nice, very tidy and low maintenance too.

  • Saw this today, very nice

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Varonha custom frame... And stem!

Posted by Avatar for veLLo @veLLo

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