Saturday, January 24, 2009

An afternoon with Fast Boy

Yesterday I had the opportunity to hang out at Fast Boy Cycles shop in Harlem, and pick his brain on bike building, while he brazed together a fork.

A little back story: Fast Boy Cycles is one guy. Ezra Caldwell. I met him in the summer here, and his life took a turn for the strange shortly after, when he was diagnosed with cancer. He's got a blog about it HERE. Long story short, he's doing great, and working against his doctors orders amidst chemo treatment cycles.

It was really interesting to see him work, and discuss frame building techniques.

"The one thing I like about brazing, is... its just... so quiet." He said while flowing brass into the crown of the fork. His voice is scratchy from a cold, and its still easy to hear him over the torch. "Its just glorified soldering, really."

A bit about the fork. It was a 1" threaded steerer with Pacenti crown, straight blades, stainless dropouts AND a disc tab! I thought this was a strange combination at first and wondered if it was at the customer's request. Ezra assured me that the customer had given him free reign to do whatever he wanted with the frame. Must be nice to get to do whatever you want knowing that someone is looking forward to the end result.

I was most impressed with the choice of tooling Ezra had set up in his little space. Most of his fixtures were from Anvil, apart from a home made fender forming jig, and small milling machine. The Anvil stuff looks really user friendly, and probably makes his work a whole lot easier.

Here's the Anvil 'Phrunt Shui' disc tab fixture. Seeing that, along with the fork fixture gave me some good insight into how one would go about creating strange custom 5 piece forks.

At the end of my visit, the straight blade fork was complete, save for a touch of filing. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished bike on his Flickr.

I'm really glad I went to see Ezra work, as he is a pretty inspiring guy. He got me really stoked to work on my tallbike today over at les shop du WMD.

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