racing singler

Lugged Frames, Part Deux: Tournesol

Lately, with our little off-shoot brand, Cycles Tournesol, I’ve been having what I like to call the Italian Sports Car Experience: I knew it would be time-consuming and fussy and expensive, maybe even unreliable, could leave me stranded – ok, that last part hasn’t happened, but still. When Douglas and I started Tournesol back in the last decade we really put few limits on what would be offered: welded or lugged steel, titanium, carbon, and aluminum frames were all available. Racks, lights, fenders, bags, old parts – pretty much anything was a go. And now…

Now I’m feeling the need to put some limits on what we want to do here and to revise my vision of what makes a Tournesol. I’ve been feeling for some time that the builds are getting too complicated, all the boxes are getting checked, and the number of hoops we’re jumping through keeps slowly expanding. (This isn’t directed at anyone in particular – really – and I do see it as part of the evolution here). With no further ado I offer the following design points for future Tournesol orders:

Frame and fork: lugged steel using standard OS Richard Sachs lugs.

Wheels, tires, fenders: choose one from 650B x 33, 650B x 38, 700c x 24-26mm, 700c x 27-29mm, 700c x 30-33mm. No 650B x 42mm with fenders. Fenders sized appropriately for tires.

Rack: front only, $300. We can build the frame to work with a non-custom rear rack.

Brakes: calipers fine, Paul Components centerpull and canti brakes also fine.

Parts: new, modern parts preferred but we can usually work with older parts if not too worn.

Lighting: battery lights preferred, dyno-hubs eschewed.

Flexibility: yeah, I can be flexible on some of this, maybe. If I can’t and you need to go elsewhere to get your inner Rene Herse on, Dan Boxer and Mitch Pryor are two guys that I would recommend off the top of my head.

On lugged frames, part 1

We do about half a dozen Hampsten-branded lugged frames each year, most of them falling in the Team Pro catagory but some other odds and ends creep in. Not huge numbers – Tournesol lugged frames and builds seem to be more popular – but numbers that make me want to keep offering these. I like the end results and lugged craftsmanship occupies a warm corner of my otherwise cold, cold heart.

The fella who builds them, along with all of our brazed forks, is Martin Tweedy. We met at match bicycle company (lower-case) back in 1997 and Martin has been an integral part of Hampsten Cycles ever since. Mr. Tweedy, as we are wont to call him, has a day job that involves submarines and machine tools and I don’t quite know exactly what he does and he never really tells me – catch my drift here? Be that as it may, this is all a roundabout way of saying that there is a limit to the number of lugged frames we can produce in a year – maybe 12-15 – but that the guy who does them is quite good at what he does.

Looking ahead at 2012 (and beyond!) I’d like us to keep offering the current Team Pro: Sachs Issimo lugs and BB shell, Spirit4Lugs tubing, flat seat stay caps – the Full Chicago. We usually do these for short-reach calipers but occasionally a long-reach Strada Bianca-style frame sneaks through.

What I would like to introduce, however, is a match tribute frame option. We’ll use the same tubing as on the Team Pro, likely paired with Sachs’ Rene Singer lugs, a fastback seat cluster, integrated binder, straight fork, curved chain stays, and we’ll probably use Richard’s new socket dropouts on the front and rear. Pick a groovy color, add a downtube panel and the new script font, maybe some NOS Shamal wheels and you’re good to go. Price will be the same as above and I hope to have one soon to show.

Next: Can We Talk About Tournesol?

Housekeeping, part 2

New this week is an updated Design and Materials page, basically being a rewrite and combination of what was there before. I dropped the pricing – which is on the individual model pages – and I rewrote the materials section to be less friendly to alloy and carbon frames, which we no longer sell. No overt hate, just a studied indifference.

The big news, however, must be all the work that Mechanic Chase and I poured in our new Yard Sale blog. It’s amazing how much inventory and clutter accumulates after being in business for 13 (!) years and it’s time to create some room and free up some cash. I’m also helping a buddy sell some of his collection of French bikes, Vanilla, Sachs, Nagasawa, et. al. so take a look at those and see if anything looks appealing. Again, this is an ongoing effort and more work needs to be done here. Some sweet Hampsten frame deals, too, if your tastes run that way.

One idea that I would like to try with HampCo Yard Sale – or HYS as we call it here – is to let customers list their Hampsten or Tournesol frame for sale on this site. I will probably limit this to the original owner but exceptions may be made in some cases.

A sample Yard Sale ad:

This one uses Richard Sachs’ new OOS/UOS lugs for 31.8mm TT and ST, with a whopping 35mm DT. We used Life tubing for the main triangle and SpiritforLugs SS and CS and we’ll pair it with an Enve 1.0 fork painted to match, your choice of color.

We  wanted to try these lugs and the frame looks great but the feeling here is that a) standard OS lugs and tubes are really the way to go if you want a lugged frame, and b) if a customer wants the bigger tubing we would rather offer it on a welded frame – see our La Dolce Vita or MAX for more info. $2000 OBO.

Housekeeping, part 1

There has been a little housekeeping going on at the website: cleaning up some links, abolishing others, rewriting some text, rumors of a major purge – the usual dictatorial nonsense.

This weeks’ big news is the introduction of a “Process” page wherein I talk about the steps to buying a custom Hampsten frame or bicycle. Pretty obvious stuff, perhaps, but it may answer a few questions. It also addresses the issue of deposits and, somewhat importantly, refunds in the event of a cancelation of an order.

“Process” is paired with our old “Details” page, now newly updated. I’ve included prices for my favorite build kit – the stuff on the bike that doesn’t come from Shramolo – and parts kit pricing from the aforementioned Shramolo. I’ll try to keep these prices up-to-date; we also see wheel prices along with assembly and shipping prices so it should be theoretically possible to estimate the cost of a new frame within a few bucks.

Way down, buried at the bottom, is the announcement of our new Script logo, lovingly designed by Rich Roat and his elves at House Industries. We’ll have these logos in black, white, and a shade that may best be described as “Michael’s Green”.

The new pages still need some work and there are some links and dead ends that need to go away and we’ll address these over the next few days.