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Thread: Townsend Cycles

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Townsend Cycles

    Hi Kevin,

    Another great question,

    The way I look at it is each frame out to the customer is potential advertising. If it gets noticed, the owner is excited about it and the process of getting it then it all comes back eventually. I feel fortunate to have positive responses back from clients on races such as the Furnace Creek 508 and the most recent build being ridden down the California Coast.
    The other thing is I feel I've received far more local media spotlight than I deserve. Maybe it has to do with not too many builders locally anymore but it's all good and I think every bit of media attention is beneficial to the whole community.


    This is a shot of Greg Page in last year's event. Many may remember him as a photographer for Bicycle Guide a few years ago & now a member of the 508 Hall of Fame.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Gregory Townsend; 10-27-2010 at 07:38 PM. Reason: photo

  2. #22
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    Now for some silliness,
    The first photo is one of the first races I did when I came to the US. I really liked the Danish patent crash hat,nicked by someone right after the race. After seeing Tony Gowland wearing one in the Skol 6, we all had to get them.
    The bike is a custom I had made when still a junior. It was the early days of 531SL & the builder wouldn't put on bottle mounts or gear bosses so I did them myself in shop class. I raced that bike for at least a dozen years before moving over to MTB for a stretch.



    second shot same bike, different paint job

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Townsend Cycles

    Gregory,

    Those shots are from the mid eighties? Was the second shot from a Triathalon?

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Maxwell Ostrom View Post
    Gregory,

    Those shots are from the mid eighties? Was the second shot from a Triathalon?
    I think the first one is around 1980 and the other is a Triathlon from the mid 80's. The only equipment changes were the wheels & pedals other than the usual wear & tear items. We modified Campag brake levers by drilling into the body and adding a pulley. They worked even worse than before but at least they were aero.
    I had lots of photos from racing in the UK, Eastway,the tracks at Herne Hill & Harlow but between moving & ex's they're just memories.
    Last edited by Gregory Townsend; 10-29-2010 at 03:41 PM. Reason: sp

  5. #25
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    Greg,

    Sorry I'm late to the party but thanks for being smoked out. It's a fun process and even though we've hung out at shows in the past (Pizza in Portland, etc.) it's interesting to learn more about you and your bikes.

    You mentioned one of your influences towards your classic style and designs as being cars. Are there any cars you are especially drawn to or specific brands? Or is it more about an overall style/aesthetic? Are there other types of designs bicycle related or otherwise that you find yourself interested in?

    Also being English to you find your frames more akin to the English club master framebuilders over say French or Italian styles? Or better yet - what does it mean to have an English style versus a French of Italian style? Can you actually put it into words?

    Also I think that folks should know that one of the things that's keeping Greg from building more bikes is that he and his wife recently adopted twins ( a boy and a girl); which not only takes a certain amount of perseverance and fortitude but can eat into building time as well.

    Thanks,

    Conor
    Last edited by conorb; 10-29-2010 at 11:15 PM.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by conorb View Post
    Greg,

    Sorry I'm late to the party but thanks for being smoked out. It's a fun process and even though we've hung out at shows in the past (Pizza in Portland, etc.) it's interesting to learn more about you and your bikes.

    You mentioned one of your influences towards your classic style and designs as being cars. Are there any cars you are especially drawn to or specific brands? Or is it more about an overall style/aesthetic? Are there other types of designs bicycle related or otherwise that you find yourself interested in?

    Also being English to you find your frames more akin to the English club master framebuilders over say French or Italian styles? Or better yet - what does it mean to have an English style versus a French of Italian style? Can you actually put it into words?

    Also I think that folks should know that one of the things that's keeping Greg from building more bikes is that he and his wife recently adopted twins ( a boy and a girl); which not only takes a certain amount of perseverance and fortitude but can eat into building time as well.

    Thanks,

    Conor
    Hey Conor,
    Quite a lot to think about here, I'll tackle some of it & need to get back on the rest.

    I love vintage motorcycles & autos mostly for their varied designs. Funny since I donít really like to drive much. Iíve had friends that have restored/shown cars in as varied events as Pebble Beach Concourse to Reno Hot August Nights. The shows are great but I really prefer to see the racing like Goodwood or the Historic Races at Laguna Seca.

    A few my favourite designs are Zagato Double Bubble, Fiat Bat concepts, Porsche Abarth, vintage Scaglietti Ferraris,1940 Ford Pickup, Nissan Figaro, Velocette Mac Sport, Lambretta, Megola, Ducati Imola Desmo,Vincent Black Shadow, Delahaye. In SoCal thereís the beginning of Hot Rodding and Iím attempting to learn from the locals about some of the shops & talent that started it all.
    . Thereís many more that I canít think of off the top of my head, but you get the idea.
    I have a set schedule for building with two evenings a week and Saturdays after riding. Iím actually on track for a pretty good year.

    The biggest change has been riding time has suffered, I also havenít raced in a few years & donít know when/if Iíll return. The masters class is pretty competitive & Iím not sure I want to dedicate the time it takes anymore. I couldnít beat those guys who are former pros or Olympians in my twenties, no chance of doing it now. I do get to bust my nut against the hot guys if I want to take one of the many group rides around. If any of the local pros show up then I get to stare at my stem praying I donít lose the wheel in front, otherwise Iíll hear it from those that have to fill the gap.

    Iíll need to get back on the other questions, you know Halloween.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Townsend Cycles

    I guess I don't really have any questions that haven't already been answered. I just want to say thanks for being Smoked Out and I like your work.
    Eric Doswell, aka Edoz
    Summoner of Crickets
    http://edozbicycles.wordpress.com/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/edozbicycles/
    In Before the Lock

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Townsend Cycles

    Thank You Eric,
    I guess it's not too painful.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brick Top View Post
    Thank You Eric,
    I guess it's not too painful.
    please inform/remind the others atmo...

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    please inform/remind the others atmo...
    I used to be a 98lb weakling, and hipsters used to kick sand in my face. Then I got Smoked Out, and things took a turn for the better! The hipsters all want my frames, and the ladies, well the ladies all want MY frame;)
    Eric Doswell, aka Edoz
    Summoner of Crickets
    http://edozbicycles.wordpress.com/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/edozbicycles/
    In Before the Lock

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by edoz View Post
    I used to be a 98lb weakling, and hipsters used to kick sand in my face. Then I got Smoked Out, and things took a turn for the better! The hipsters all want my frames, and the ladies, well the ladies all want MY frame;)
    I'm far to old to attempt to be hip, this is my mid life crisis & just tell the missus it beats a corvette & girlfriend

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Townsend Cycles

    Eric Doswell, aka Edoz
    Summoner of Crickets
    http://edozbicycles.wordpress.com/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/edozbicycles/
    In Before the Lock

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by edoz View Post
    Thanks for the link Eric,
    Pretty cool, I guess itís a result of getting Smoked Out.
    The story on that bike is I made it to race at the Mildenhall Rally grass track in England. I still have hopes of getting back but I think Iíll need to make another frame, I doubt the missus would like me damaging it.
    Itís the fifth frame I made and delivered it to JB at the same time as the one for my first client mentioned earlier. After discussing the paint, I went home & waited patiently. When JB called to say the frames were finished & would be ready for pick up, I nervously asked how they turned out & JB said the burgundy one with the stainless was stunning and the green track bike was OK. Needless to say it was a very long drive to San Diego trying to figure out what went wrong. I almost fell over when I finally saw that it exceeded all my expectations. JB was still not too excited about it and we wrapped it up for the drive home.
    Once he saw the bike built up JB did say that it turned out pretty nice but was still under whelmed. A couple years later he did call up to say that I ďhit a home runĒ with the paint scheme on that bike and that heís had other clients requesting it for either new builds or for classic repaints. That meant everything to me and it underscores the importance ofrelationship between builders and painters. I greatly appreciate the knowledge I gain from working with JB and his very experienced crew.

    Now for a bit of history on grass track, It may not be as popular as it used to be but there are scattered festivals around England & Scotland where grass track racing is featured. One nice thing is that folks that have no interest in cycle racing will show up just because it is really that exciting. The races feature most of the events in a regular track event but itís laid out on a field. The turns are the most difficult and thatís the reason the tire need to be firmly attached. At least there are no splinters if you go down.
    I recently saw a picture of an IF grass track bike and figured Iíve made the big time. At least I got to introduce an exciting type of racing that many hadnít heard of before.
    Cheers,
    Greg

    Grass Track Racing - Fixed Gear
    2010 Mildenhall Cycling Rally

  14. #34
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    I donít know if itís quite cricket but Iím going to answer a question Richie presented to Conor from Vendetta a few days ago regarding stainless lugs.
    http://www.velocipedesalon.com/forum...s-15630-4.html

    Iíve struggled with stainless and although I would like to offer it for clients, many times I think Iím not going to anymore.
    My take on it is if Iím going to do it at all then it has to rival the work of Dazza or Dave Bohm. Lofty thoughts maybe but thatís the goal.
    One concern I had early on was poor castings on some lugs that revealed voids after spending much time sanding. This is on main triangles that have already had much time spent on them. If they're small then it may not be a problem for the client.The next question is what to tell the client? If the client decides to just paint then I've still wasted the time spent getting that far.

    The next thing is the time it takes to get quality polished stainless. Iíve made three frames this year with the whole stainless treatment. Lugs/crown and sometimes drops, I donít do stainless bottom brackets so that settles at least one question. The time it takes me to go through the steps puts me behind on other pending builds and even though I charge a fair amount, itís not the same as time spent on the frame.
    And then thereís the mess! The sanding part isnít too bad but is pretty hard on your hands. Sometimes I just get away from it for a few days and work on other projects till they feel better. The final buffing may be a small part of the process for shinyness but makes one nasty mess all over the shop if you donít have an exclusive dirt room or do it outside like Dazza then itíll take even more time to clean everything. $$
    One other problem is what to do about paint & clear coat. One camp doesnít clear over the lugs, this gives the advantage of being able to polish out scratches after the frame has been painted. The trade off is the lug edges may be exposed and paint can flake off.
    JB clears all the stainless and I assume does the same for all the builders who send stainless his way. The issue with the lug edges is solved but the stainless now cannot be buffed or the clear will blur. If the stainless gets any kind of nick or scratch at the painters then it will be under the clear for good.
    The question comes up about chrome plating as an alternative. For most instances I prefer the look of stainless over chrome so lean to stainless for that reason. If a frame is going to get any plating, I would prefer to polish it anyway to ensure nothing bad happens to it.
    In my not so brief explanation, I guess Iím going to continue for now but I there may come a day that I say itís just not my cup of tea anymore.

  15. #35
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    it's your time and your money atmo.

    does the polishing time pay as well as if it were used to do more/continued framebuilding? is a SS polished part a profit center the way additional braze-ons might be? the way i look at it, the business is divided into units, and your life style depends on making the units planned so that the payments to you resemble making a living and a sustainable one at that. the fewer non standard issues you deal with, the easier it is to make the units. if you factor in a few oddball requests, some clients who email all day long, or some special features that further delay the unit's completion, as long as it's in the business plan - fine, you can roll with it. but if there's no structure to the unit (frame), or the making of it, or the amount you need to sell in order to make that nut, you're screwed. you'll forever be trading money at best, rather than making it atmo. otoh, if they pay you large for polishing, and doing all of it makes more coin than forging on to fill other orders, more power to you. according to my opinion, the SS thing is rooted in look-at-me framebuilding; it's a method folks with skills more likely over to the left side of the developmental time line use to get peeps to give their work some attention. harsh? of course. but this is trade you are all in, not art school. once the bell rings and class is out, the idea is to make a living and support yourself - and to support yourself well.



    Quote Originally Posted by Brick Top View Post
    I don’t know if it’s quite cricket but I’m going to answer a question Richie presented to Conor from Vendetta a few days ago regarding stainless lugs.
    http://www.velocipedesalon.com/forum...s-15630-4.html

    I’ve struggled with stainless and although I would like to offer it for clients, many times I think I’m not going to anymore.
    My take on it is if I’m going to do it at all then it has to rival the work of Dazza or Dave Bohm. Lofty thoughts maybe but that’s the goal.
    One concern I had early on was poor castings on some lugs that revealed voids after spending much time sanding. This is on main triangles that have already had much time spent on them. If they're small then it may not be a problem for the client.The next question is what to tell the client? If the client decides to just paint then I've still wasted the time spent getting that far.

    The next thing is the time it takes to get quality polished stainless. I’ve made three frames this year with the whole stainless treatment. Lugs/crown and sometimes drops, I don’t do stainless bottom brackets so that settles at least one question. The time it takes me to go through the steps puts me behind on other pending builds and even though I charge a fair amount, it’s not the same as time spent on the frame.
    And then there’s the mess! The sanding part isn’t too bad but is pretty hard on your hands. Sometimes I just get away from it for a few days and work on other projects till they feel better. The final buffing may be a small part of the process for shinyness but makes one nasty mess all over the shop if you don’t have an exclusive dirt room or do it outside like Dazza then it’ll take even more time to clean everything. $$
    One other problem is what to do about paint & clear coat. One camp doesn’t clear over the lugs, this gives the advantage of being able to polish out scratches after the frame has been painted. The trade off is the lug edges may be exposed and paint can flake off.
    JB clears all the stainless and I assume does the same for all the builders who send stainless his way. The issue with the lug edges is solved but the stainless now cannot be buffed or the clear will blur. If the stainless gets any kind of nick or scratch at the painters then it will be under the clear for good.
    The question comes up about chrome plating as an alternative. For most instances I prefer the look of stainless over chrome so lean to stainless for that reason. If a frame is going to get any plating, I would prefer to polish it anyway to ensure nothing bad happens to it.
    In my not so brief explanation, I guess I’m going to continue for now but I there may come a day that I say it’s just not my cup of tea anymore.
    Last edited by e-RICHIE; 11-05-2010 at 08:47 PM. Reason: gwammar

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    it's your time and your money atmo.

    does the polishing time pay as well as if it were used to do more/continued framebuilding? .



    I think we'll have to agree to agree with everything you just said.

    First I'd like to separate the decorative stainless from the functional parts.

    The functional parts are the ones like dropouts, braze ons & front derailleur mounts. You make what I think is the finest front mount in your stainless version. I don't polish those but just sand and then nylon brush the mounting area. This allows for adjusting the front derailleur without damaging the paint and rusting underneath. I feel thatís more than just adding a bit of flash but adding long term value. I also donít bother polishing dropout faces, donít understand the need.
    My goal is to make a well fitting sensible bike that the client will be happy with for years. The decision for decorative things like lug shapes and whether to go stainless etc is one of the last things we discuss.
    Thanks to the advice of Dazza and Dave Bohm my hope is achieve the quality I want within the desired time frame. If I canít then the decision would simply be not to offer it anymore.
    Last edited by Gregory Townsend; 11-06-2010 at 07:36 PM. Reason: quote

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by conorb View Post
    Greg,
    Also being English to you find your frames more akin to the English club master framebuilders over say French or Italian styles? Or better yet - what does it mean to have an English style versus a French of Italian style? Can you actually put it into words?
    Thanks,
    Conor
    Thanks for the question regarding style Conor,
    I guess Iíll start with types of bikes I really like since Iím not sure how to answer the style question.
    I suppose I favor road fixed gear bikes over most other styles. It may have to do with riding so many fixed gear bikes over the years, even when it wasnít the hip thing to do. I like the simplicity and the connected feeling with the bike, especially when riding anywhere with climbing and descending. Iíve ridden my fixed gear on the big group rides but seem to prefer to either ride alone or in small groups. I also commute, (when I get the chance to) on a road fixed gear but use two brakes for safety.

    The other style that I enjoy is the all rounder style that can handle many types of terrain. Iím used to riding on and off road on road bikes and think a good road bike is capable of many trails most people think only mountain bikes can. I do get looks from the MTB crowd on the trails when riding my cross bike. Most think itís just a novelty and too fragile but for the few areas I canít ride Iíll just carry it. It also gives me the advantage of riding to the trail. I donít care for needing to drive to ride my bike and prefer to ride to the trails wherever possible.

    There seems to be a renewed interest in the French cyclo sportive and randonee bikes, though I must admit I didnít know much about them until recently. Maybe combining the style of the classic British all rounders with the functionality of the nicer French ones is something I could get into, if only I could figure out what that means.
    Cheers,
    Greg

  18. #38
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    I thought it time to revive my smoked out thread. This starts about 35 years ago.

    I had frequented the London shops that had small staffs building custom frames and even entertained the thought of working at Witcombís. There were also a couple of local frame builders either building frames from the back of a bike shop or in their own workshops I would visit occasionally.
    A mate who was always on the cutting edge of new equipment order a time trial frame from a guy named Pongo in Mansfield, near Nottingham.
    Over the next couple years I traveled a few times to Pongoís workshop. It was a shed outside a house and pretty spartan with regard to tooling. There was the ubiquitous frame fixture that most British builders used mounted on the wall. There was also this disorganized look about everything but you could tell that Pongo knew where everything was and knew a thing or two about making bikes. He had worked previously making frames for Paramount Cycles and prior to that for Carlton. He was reputedly trained by Gerald O`Donovan.

    Pongoís specialty was bikes for the testers but he built a road bike for me. He did his usual tricks of making holes in the lugs, drops and even the steerer. Reynolds 753 wasnít available to builders yet so I decided to go with 531sl Continental gauge tube set.
    I got to see the frame under construction and also asked Pongo to paint an old track frame to match in black with gold lug lining. It was definitely a Lotus JPS paint scheme with gold Mavic rims and even a bit of gold anodizing on the Campag parts.
    The one thing that has stayed with me all these years was the notion of one guy at the workbench making bikes that rode to Championship medals and many personal bests.

    I recalled back to Pongo when I was starting out building frames. The reality was that I wouldnít be building many competition bikes so needed to figure out if there was really any reason to, other than my own desire. Iíve been lucky to utilize my fitting experience and a good percentage of my clients have received well fitting bikes not available in stock sizes.
    I have been pleasantly surprised by what started out as building bikes for friends has grown slowly to now be mostly locals who have seen someone on a bike I made or maybe have contacted me because of the renewed interest in handmade bikes.
    Iím proud that I have met every person that Iíve made a frame for and also that Iíve had a chance to ride a bit with many.

    Alan ďPongoĒ Braithwaite passed on a few years ago and I still have the original Aende made while I was a junior plus also two others. One is a frame that was crashed and now in pieces. Someday, hopefully Iíll have the honour of bringing it back to life.
    I see my old bike every day and think back to all the races and great rides with friends while riding it.
    Thanks to Pongo,







  19. #39
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    Default Re: Townsend Cycles

    Thanks, Greg - That's awesome. You are lucky/smart to have gotten those photos! - Garro.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
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    Default Re: Townsend Cycles

    Greg - That rocks. Really rocks.
    "It's better to not know so much than to know so many things that ain't so." -- Josh Billings, 1885

    A man with any character at all must have enemies and places he is not welcomeóin the end we are not only defined by our friends, but also those aligned against us.


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