We are the “Selberbruzzler”, an amateur frame building group based in Vienna/Austria. Far away from being professional builders we are proud to be invited by e-RICHIE to join this forum with our story of success and failure.
As many good ideas it all came up while drinking beer and talking about bicycles. It was almost four years ago when my friend Ernst told us that he will no longer just bolt components on bicycle frames, no, he will braze his own frame. Unfortunately all of us had no or only little experience in metalworking which is something that cannot be compensated by ambition and theoretical knowledge. But we all know that experienced people and knowledge are somewhere out there. This was the initial spark of approaching the community in an Austrian bike forum and the beginning of our frame building story.
Soon after the first appeal we found a small basement workshop run by a passionate part time mechanic who offered us his location an evening once a week. In addition a professional toolmaker joined who constructed and built our frame jig which is still in use today as well as a CAD programmer. He is the author of the very versatile and easy to use bicycle design software rattleCAD, of course freeware (rattlecad.sourceforge.net). Other friends followed, all eager to dig deep into the secrets of frame building. Our first attempt was quite chaotic, the bike was (and is still) working but driving double tracked with much too short chain stays so it could only be operated with a worn 21mm tire. This first bike was followed by several lugged frames progress was visible, we all were getting more experienced and repeating mistakes and errors became less and less common.
From the beginning our philosophy was also to share the failures and let the public take part. So we posted every tube cut too short, every flux burned too hot, every wrong aligned chain stay and drop out section, every improper lug angle etc. in the internet forum an became quite famous in the German speaking frame building scene. One of the main advantages of this approach was that even established frame builders (namely Georg Blaschke, Ulrich Vogel, Kai Bendixen, and many others) and a lot of amateur frame builders joined the forum and provided valuable hints and knowledge which increased our learning curve and reduced the number of our mistakes. Two years ago, motivated also by the professional builders in the forum, we got the chance to have a booth for non commercial builders at the European handmade bicycle exhibition in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany. There we presented our work the first time, established further contacts among the professional builders and created a lot of public interest for our work.
Sebastian also joined our team, he is building titanium frames in his garage, amazing stuff! Thorsten Buurlage from Germany is also part of our informal collective; I posted one of his bikes here in FNL. No comment! This year in April we had our first appearance at the “Bespoked” - the UK handmade bike exhibition in London. Of course again without any commercial interest. It’s all about passion!
Ernst started with fillet brazing this year to build a bike for his son, and so far numerous frames of all different types left our workshop. Some of them were already posted here in FNL.
I invite all of my friends from the “Selberbruzzler” to present their work and intentions here in the following posts. And all here in the forum: Have fun and share our passion! And of course don’t be shy to ask anything you want, especially regarding our failures!
Here the list of our “factory riders”:
Ernst Wabek (aka Noize; founder)
Manfred Petrovic (aka Hermes; co-founder)
Thomas Kaider (chief mechanic)
Michael Müller (our toolmaker)
Andreas Schröder (aka Cardellino)
Manfred Rosenberger (rattleCAD author and developer)
Benedikt Welz (photograpy and good advice)
Sebastian Schindler (aka bastl; titanium welder)
Thorsten Buurlage (in a class of his own)
Philipp Reichel (aka Pippo; co founder, head of international marketing ;))