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Thread: Maietta Cycles

  1. #41
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    Default Re: Maietta Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Elefantino View Post
    Nice machines, but they are greek to me.

    What's perfectly clear is that your bikes look cooler and cooler. Best TIGs I've seen.

    Maybe one day ... :)
    Thanks for the kind words. The longer you wait the cooler your bike will be...wait did I just say that?
    Anthony Maietta
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  2. #42
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    Default Re: Maietta Cycles

    Article for WPI Alumni Magazine: Transformations
    Posted on August 13, 2010 by anthonymaietta
    The following article will accompany pictures in the next issue of Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) alumni magazine Transformations
    ————–
    Anthony Maietta, B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2004

    Like many of his peers, Tony Maietta (’04) came to WPI expecting to leave well prepared for a career in engineering. He could not have known that his college experience would also inspire him to pursue the craft of bicycle framebuilding. Just a few years later, Maietta finds himself making custom bicycles in his Shirley, MA workshop for cyclists throughout the world, while also working in Research and Development for Fitchburg, MA cutting tool manufacturer Simonds International.

    The path toward this dual career began with the misfortune of losing a beloved mountain bike to theft as a WPI student. Unable to buy a new bike, Maietta reached out to fellow WPI cycling and crew team members, hoping that someone would have a cheap or free replacement for him. One teammate responded positively, but said that they bike was across town at a business where he was interning. When he arrived to pick up the bike, Maietta discovered that his friend was working for bike-maker Toby Stanton. This was a watershed moment for Maietta: “My father and I had built furniture from scratch, produced stained glass lamps from scratch and assembled picture frames from scratch, but this was a moment where I first realized people also built bicycles from scratch. I was hooked immediately.” The next day, Maietta returned and offered to work for Stanton as a volunteer.

    In the months that followed, Maietta honed his skills and eventually decided to take his work public in 2006. Since then, his recognition has increased and he is now an established figure among the growing group of American custom bicycle builders. A few recent accomplishments include sending a bike his first international customer in Italy; a surprise visit from Senator (and avid cyclist) John Kerry (who declared Maietta’s workshop “really cool”); and participating in his second North American Handmade Bicycle Show, the annual gathering of the industry’s elite. At that show, he received attention for an innovative design integrating a GPS unit into the bike, allowing the owner to track her riding effortlessly or to locate the bike if it is ever lost.

    Each of Maietta’s creations is tailored to meet the customer’s specific needs, beginning as a set of lightweight tubing, which is then cut and welded to best fit the customer. As a result, a custom built frame will inevitably be both more efficient and more comfortable than even the best production bicycle. Maietta, who had always enjoyed art, is also known for his creative paintwork. “Some customers want a specific look for their bike, but others turn it over to my imagination – I really enjoy that,” says Maietta.

    Maietta also enjoys the entrepreneurial aspects of his business and appreciates how his work as a framebuilder improves his engineering and vice-versa. “It’s really a symbiotic relationship: because I create products myself with my own hands in the bike business, I have a better understanding of how to design products for Simonds that will be successful on the production floor, and because I have a degree in mechanical engineering, I understand the principles at play when I design and build a bike frame. WPI’s motto – “Theory and Practice” – truly plays a role in my life every day.”

    Kesler Roberts
    Last edited by anthonymaietta; 08-13-2010 at 03:21 PM.
    Anthony Maietta
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    "The person who says it can not be done, should not interrupt the person doing it."
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  3. #43
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    Default Re: Maietta Cycles

    It's always nice to see positive profiles like this Tony. Thanks for sharing.
    Craig
     
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  4. #44
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    Default Re: Maietta Cycles

    Very cool. Thanks for posting.

    Do you find that your work with Simonds influences your process for cutting and mitering tubes? Have you thought of new product ideas or improvements while working on bikes?
    steve cortez

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  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by zetroc View Post
    Very cool. Thanks for posting.

    Do you find that your work with Simonds influences your process for cutting and mitering tubes? Have you thought of new product ideas or improvements while working on bikes?
    Steve,

    Thanks for the question. I checked out your blog and it looks like you have quite the exciting journey planned; good luck. Take your time, and practice practice practice.

    The largest thing I have brought from Simonds into my shop is the elimination of waste. As a metal working, unionized, manufacturing shop in New England we have had to eliminate a lot of waste in our process in the last decade to stay viable when our competition makes the same family of products from the same family of steels, but in countries that pay employees significantly less. The classic code of TIM WOOD encompasses waste of all forms (Time, Inventory, Movement, Work in process, Overproduction, Overprocessing, Defects), and I honestly do keep it in the back of my mind as I'm working. As I've stated in a few previous posts in this thread, I don't have a lot of time in my shop, so I have worked hard to eliminate as much waste as possible. Extreme examples of this include the dedicated machines for chain stay and seat stay mitering. I have no romantic ideas in my head that I want to build a frame from nothing more than a set of v-blocks, files, and a hacksaw. While many a good frame were made with bare bones tooling, I feel there is still a significant amount of skill needed to make a straight frame with tools that help you do it more efficiently. At the end of day there is no jig or fixture to help you know where to tack a joint or how much/where to add heat to a joint.
    Last edited by anthonymaietta; 08-18-2010 at 09:38 AM. Reason: sp.
    Anthony Maietta
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    "The person who says it can not be done, should not interrupt the person doing it."
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  6. #46
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    Default Re: Maietta Cycles

    *FOR SALE*

    More info here.

    Anthony Maietta
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    "The person who says it can not be done, should not interrupt the person doing it."
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  7. #47
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    Default Re: Maietta Cycles

    Thanks for posting. Your shop looks great. I have a full-time engineering career as well, so I can fully appreciate the drive to maximize your use of time. How did the horizontal mills make their way to your shop? Did you have an overall shop layout in mind and shop for specific tools?
    Riordon Cycles
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  8. #48
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    Default Re: Maietta Cycles

    Tony,

    Do you ever find yourself with a lack of motivation to head into your shop after 40 hours at the full-time gig? If so, how do you overcome that? What is the most challenging aspect of juggling a full-time gig and the frame shop? Finally, tell us about that main tube mitering fixture. Did you make that or have it made? Have you compared it to other setups? If so, how does it stack up? I'm really enjoying your smoked out in particular since I also have a full-time job, mortgage, etc. Your shop is really nice. Well done and keep up the great work.

    Thanks,
    Tom
    Tom Palermo
    www.palermobicycles.com
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    Palermo Bicycles
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  9. #49
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    Default Re: Maietta Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by briordon View Post
    Thanks for posting. Your shop looks great. I have a full-time engineering career as well, so I can fully appreciate the drive to maximize your use of time. How did the horizontal mills make their way to your shop? Did you have an overall shop layout in mind and shop for specific tools?
    Thanks for the question. I took a look at your stuff; looks really good.

    I absolutely had a layout in mind for my shop and began conceptualizing it as soon as I had the inkling to build under my name while apprenticing. I have three Nichols horizontal mills as you have seen and read about in my Smoked Out thread. Since you asked, I will give a little history on their path to my shop. The first one was bought pretty quickly after I signed the lease on my own shop space. A graduate of Hot Tubes' framebuilding class had bought the unit and soon thereafter realized that he had no way to unload this machine, get it over a rock wall, and down the bulkhead of his house and into his basement. As I meet all of the Hot Tubes students I new Chris Gardner (Frank Bikes) and he knew I needed a machine. Since one wall of my shop is a garage door with a loading dock, I was able to buy the machine and have it delivered without incident. We unloaded it with a pallet jack and had it wired in 30 minutes. I operated with one machine for about a year and a half, but was always on the lookout for two more. There was always a desire to have dedicated machines for main tube mitering, seat stay mitering and chain stay mitering. The second machine was bought from Mr. Don Walker after seeing him selling it on here for $100. It took about another $400 to get it running, but it was still a great deal. The last machine was bought from a used machine dealer in CT after a lead from another Hot Tubes graduate (Tall Tree Cycles in Canada). The machines are still not as clean as I want them, and I would love to spend a weekend cleaning them and painting them, but that elusive free weekend hasn't popped up yet. It feels good bringing these Nichols machines "back home" from across the country; the Nichols factory was about 30 minutes from my shop in Waltham, MA.

    I'm on the lookout for a drill press to complete (for now!) the tooling of my shop.
    Anthony Maietta
    Web Site | Blog | Flickr
    "The person who says it can not be done, should not interrupt the person doing it."
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  10. #50
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    Default Re: Maietta Cycles

    Cool thanks...

    With these stations set up in this way, do you think that you flow work through the shop differently? For example, do you build multiple frames at once to minimize setup times?

    BTW, I'm not too far away. The next time I drop by Toby's I'll knock on your door.
    Riordon Cycles
    Newburyport, MA
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  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by cement shoes View Post
    Tony,

    Do you ever find yourself with a lack of motivation to head into your shop after 40 hours at the full-time gig? If so, how do you overcome that? What is the most challenging aspect of juggling a full-time gig and the frame shop? Finally, tell us about that main tube mitering fixture. Did you make that or have it made? Have you compared it to other setups? If so, how does it stack up? I'm really enjoying your smoked out in particular since I also have a full-time job, mortgage, etc. Your shop is really nice. Well done and keep up the great work.

    Thanks,
    Tom
    Hey Tom. Thanks for the question; it was great to see you in Richmond. I've miss your Flickr posts (March 19th bro)!

    To be honest, there really is never a lack of motivation to get time in the shop. Being in my shop and mitering a tube or under the welding helmet is one of my favorite places to be and things to do. If anything, I find it hard to muster up the motivation to go to my engineering day job! I haven't had an Office Space day yet though, where I just decide not to go! Being under my welding helmet with 110% of my attention focused on a tiny weld puddle is a very cool feeling. There are so many commitments and obligations in my life, but being under the helmet creates this small world where basically nothing else matters. I digress, haha. With the limited time I do have in my shop I have developed some techniques to not feel overwhelmed by so much to do in such a short period of time. When you first start building you don't really know long things take (how long is it going to take me to weld these seat stays, how long will it take to shoot this coat of clear, etc) so there would be times when I would get into something that would blow apart my time budget and it created some pretty stressful situations with all the other commitments in my life. These days I have a pretty good grasp of how long tasks should take, and when I go into my shop I have a good agenda for what I want accomplish that night. For example: I'm going to miter, weld and check alignment on the front triangle. When I leave that night and have that work completed I feel a sense of accomplishment and don't feel bad I didn't miter and weld the rear triangle too. It might seem OCD to get down to this level of planning and goal setting, but it has really helped me gain productivity though a systematic chipping away at the tasks to build a frame. From an early point on my apprenticeship my biggest problem was that I didn't slow down enough. If you think you have to do A, B, C, D, and E in one night then you're going to rush through them all and quality will suffer. Now, I only do A, B, and C and I don't feel rushed so the quality is better as a result. Truth be told, I often hear the Radiohead lyrics "Slow down" in the back of my head when I feel I'm trying to do too much too fast.

    The hardest part of juggling everything is maintaining a healthy marriage with my day job, 25% business travel, fitness goals, and framebuilding desire. I am not in my shop every night and my wife and I make certain to plan certain nights during the week when we are both free and home (she is a high school Spanish teach and part time licensed massage therapist). Maintaining a healthy home life is extremely important to me.
    Anthony Maietta
    Web Site | Blog | Flickr
    "The person who says it can not be done, should not interrupt the person doing it."
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  12. #52
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    Hey Tony,

    It was nice meeting you too. One of the show highlights for me was seeing you chat with Mr. Pegoretti about your GPS bike. I thought that was really cool. I've got Flickr stuff coming soon. I promise. I owe my wife a website update. She is holding photography hostage until I complete her work.

    I agree with everything you said about shop time and how it makes you feel. The organization is definitely key and something I struggle with. I've always been like that. I find my long weekend shop day is much better for me productivity wise. For some reason, it's much easier to focus on one or two macro goals and get them done. Weeknight evenings are actually harder. I have to constantly remind myself to focus on 1 thing and 1 thing only until it's done. I have a longish commute to my day job provides the perfect time for "office" work. I use the time to do design work or take care of accounting tasks, so my actual shop time is used making stuff.

    Juggling the family time is the most difficult for me too. My daughter just turned two so she knows when I'm not around ("Daddy working. Daddy in shop."). That's hard. So, I'm getting there. I really really appreciate you taking the time to explain how you deal with it all from your end. What you wrote above is definitely something I'll be taking back to my shop. Thanks again!
    Tom Palermo
    www.palermobicycles.com
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    Palermo Bicycles
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  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by cement shoes View Post
    Finally, tell us about that main tube mitering fixture. Did you make that or have it made? Have you compared it to other setups? If so, how does it stack up? I'm really enjoying your smoked out in particular since I also have a full-time job, mortgage, etc. Your shop is really nice. Well done and keep up the great work.

    Thanks,
    Tom
    My main tube mitering setup follows a design I made for Hot Tubes while I was an apprentice there:



    I designed in tube miter phase alignment for the top tube and down tube, and there was a scale on the bar for easy center - center length measurements.

    When I opened up my own shop I made a quick and dirty knockoff for myself:



    I have different heat treated blocks for 1.125", 1.25", 1.375", and 1.5" diameter tubes. The arcs in the pieces were wire EDM cut and hold the tube very securely; with about 350 degrees of surface to surface contact. Both Hot Tubes' and my setups suffer from the clamp blocks varrying in centerline height between the sizes. One will cut perfectly in the center of the tube and another will be 0.015" off; requiring a tweak and re-cut. If I had the loot right now I would buy an Anvil setup in a heartbeat. The zippering v-block clamp setup is by far the best I've seen. ANT/Mike Flannigan has a Sputnik setup that works well too, but the setup requires multipe clamp blocks still. Your question has lit a fire under me to upgrade my setup again (curse/thank you!).
    Last edited by anthonymaietta; 08-27-2010 at 03:08 PM.
    Anthony Maietta
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  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by briordon View Post
    Cool thanks...

    With these stations set up in this way, do you think that you flow work through the shop differently? For example, do you build multiple frames at once to minimize setup times?

    BTW, I'm not too far away. The next time I drop by Toby's I'll knock on your door.
    Thanks for the follow-up question.

    The work doesn't really flow differently through my process; although the work does flow completely through my shop now. Before I had the second and third Nichols, for the CS and SS, I mitered those tubes on Toby's Bridgeport across the hall. The Anvil CS fixture was a breeze to setup on the Bridgeport, but the Anvil SS fixture always was a bit finicky to get just right (though I'm sure if I had the 2-bolt block from the beginning it would have been easier). It would take me an entire night's work (~2 hours) to setup, cut and cleanup just the CS and SS. Having to turn the head ~45 degrees, and then leaving the machine cleaner than when I found it was always time consuming. Lastly, my frame was always in my JMan fixture back in my shop across the hall, so doing dry fits, and subsequent recuts (if necessary) was a PITA walking back and forth. Now, with all the machines perfectly setup I still do one frame at a time from start to finish, but there is no time wasted on setups. It takes me 15 minutes to do now what used to take me 2 hours before. I could put a price on the machines and fixtures I bought to get that 1.75 hours of my life back, but that time is more valuable to me than the dollar figure.

    I built 5 frames for Team CF in April and I did these as a batch. There were 2 groups of 2 identical frames, and a fifth (3 different geometries). It was an experiment I wanted to try for myself. People tell you things, but sometimes you have to do it yourself to really grasp it. Mentors like Carl Strong have steadfastly said that it was no faster for them to do a batch or one complete frame at a time; so long as your setup is efficient and well-tuned. This is the entire mantra of lean manufacturing and one-piece-flow. After doing all 5 frames as a batch, I agreed with Carl. I thought it would be faster to do 5 ST/BB sub-assemblies, 5 CS/dropout sub-assmblies, etc. Not really. If I was doing 10 identical frames I might cut all the tubes in batches (all 10 TT consecutively, etc), but that's about it.

    I'd love to have you over to the shop. I'm there most days after 4:15.
    Last edited by anthonymaietta; 08-29-2010 at 10:28 PM.
    Anthony Maietta
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  15. #55
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    Default Re: Maietta Cycles

    I posted the text a few weeks ago, but the full alumni profile article went live on the WPI website today. Check it out here. It'll go in the Winter print edition of Transformations.
    Anthony Maietta
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    "The person who says it can not be done, should not interrupt the person doing it."
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  16. #56
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    I am firm believer that the first hand experience is the only true way to really learn something, but I also believe there are times you can't learn what you don't know. Practicing bad technique does not make you better at something; you just get really good at the bad technique. However, practicing good technique will eventually lead to sustained good technique. Waiting for spontaneous epiphanies does not make practical sense when you’re building bicycles people will ride in the real world. I struggle to write this without feeling like I am discrediting the mentors who have taught me what I know. The lessons I have learned throughout my framebuilding career thus far have been invaluable, but I feel I have come to point where I need to take the next step in my education.

    I build steel high performance road and cyclo-cross frames and they are 100% TIG welded; front triangle, dropouts and fastback stays. I made the decision to do this from frame #001. The framebuilder who taught me to TIG weld has a signature style that is a hybrid of techniques. He welds the TT/HT, TT/ST, and DT/HT joints, uses silver brazed lugs for the BB and dropouts and silver brazes fastback stays. I received first hand advice on how to position the TIG torch and modulate the amperage/filler/distance ballet on the three joints he welds, but I was really left to my own hard knocks to develop my technique for the BB, dropouts and fastback stays. My joints have always been strong, but in the beginning they looked more like toothpaste than dimes. Aesthetically they are much better now, but I want them immaculate.

    By nature I am a very ambitious person who strives to continue to improve, and recently I decided I needed to seek some point specific advice from an expert on how to get to the next level. I am not content being viewed as a competent hobby framebuilder; I want to be viewed as a legitimate framebuilder considered in discussion with the professionals. I knew who I need to contact and recently made the decision to do so formally. I first was introduced to Carl Strong at the 2008 North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Portland, Oregon during his “Business of Framebuilding” seminar. His presentation was stellar, he was very well spoken, and he has fine tuned the business model I would love to mature my business into. When I look out at the North American framebuilding scene Carl and his shop are a bar that motivates me each time I lay a TIG bead.

    I approached Carl about a possible visit to his shop to take what I have billed as an "Advanced Welding Class". I explained that I was out west for a business trip at the end of September and was wondering if he was willing to help bring my game up a notch. Over the past couple years we have exchanged emails and phone calls about framebuilding specifics, but this would be in person and more intensive. Topics would include a review of my TIG welding technique in general, tacking/aligning technique, specifics related to BB/fastback stay welding, and an introduction into Ti welding. In the same email I explained that it would be a Saturday, I asked about local hotels to stay at and which taxi service to use. Additionally I broached the subject of compensation; and offered to pay for his time while being open about knowing how impersonal that would be. He replied within the day and kind of blew me away. Not only did he accept my request, but he offered to pick me up/drop me off at the airport (possibly swinging by Dave Kirk’s shop if available), and offered a bed at his house with its own bathroom. The only thing he asked in return was to blog about the visit and to return the favor to a young builder when I am older. In preparation for this Carl has been mining my Flickr account, blog and FNL to find the specific areas of need (also asking about my current equipment to help optimize its use).

    Carl has said this many times that I can remember, but I have seen this evident with countless peers in the industry: we compete for the same customers, but we also share nearly all of our secrets to each other. It is a very unique industry in this sense; and for me personally it is such a stark contrast to the cut-throat industry I work in during the day. I will be sure to blog about this visit and will post pictures on my Flickr account. We will be welding the front triangle of Maietta #050; which will be my new personal road bike to be displayed at NAHBS in Austin.

    I am so grateful in advance to the time and knowledge Carl is putting into this visit. Thank you very much Carl.
    Anthony Maietta
    Web Site | Blog | Flickr
    "The person who says it can not be done, should not interrupt the person doing it."
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  17. #57
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    Default Re: Maietta Cycles

    rawesome atmo.
    tony - you are taking a small step but one that will accelerate your game exponentially.
    it won't be long before you quit your day job and join the commercial framebuilders union.
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  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    rawesome atmo.
    tony - you are taking a small step but one that will accelerate your game exponentially.
    it won't be long before you quit your day job and join the commercial framebuilders union.
    I hear you changed your dates just a bit - a good thing as I will be around and look forward to a visit.

    Dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com

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  19. #59
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    Default Re: Maietta Cycles

    Tony et alii-

    Way cool. I want to chime in on Carl's unselfish hand extension. Though I have not taken his handshake.... yet, I am beginning to see how these career framebuilders are genuine mentors. Extremely unselfish and I hope they understand the appreciation of passing their know how to better this craft.

    Good on ya'll (weee bit of southern influence there!)
     
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    Default Re: Maietta Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by anthonymaietta View Post
    It'll go in the Winter print edition of Transformations.
    Very nice. Look forward to getting our hard copy (class of '88).

    --Mark
     
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