SQUAREBUILT BICYCLES, BROOKLYN, NYPosted: May 11, 2011
So not only do I get the chance to visit some great frame builders in the US, but I actually get to STAY at SquareBuilt. I am a lucky boy.
Lance Mercado started building bikes back in 2003 after studying at UBI in Oregon. He now has a very well-equipped workshop in the basement of his apartment on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, and specializes in urban-style custom frames, whether they be single speed, track, road frames or polo bikes. As I write this, Lance is designing a bike for a very small person, with a 650 front wheel and curved top tube. Lance really enjoys making any bike that’s a challenge, for instance freestyle bikes, or where the customer gives Lance the task of designing the right frame for a very specific job.
Take a look at this amazing video of Lance and his co-builder Alex making (and powder coating, then building up) a frame in just 9 hours (opens in new tab):
BikeCAD software comes in handy.
I watched Lance working on a frame. He decided to use lugs. Sometimes, when Lance uses lugs, he’ll cut the lug in half with a small cutting wheel, put the two halves on the respective tube, and then brass braze in the middle. The advantages with this method are that the lug doesn’t have to be manipulated to fit exactly to the angle required, and the points of the lugs can be made to lie against the tubes more easily. It is also easier to see the close fit of the mitre between the two tubes, and to make sure that they are pushed right against each other.
This time, Lance has decided to only use one half of the lug, and have it transitioning smoothly from a lug on one tube to a fillet braze on the other.
Next, Lance fillet brazes the adjoining tubes to the head tube,
Then any excess brass is filed back to smooth out the transition.
The fillets can be cleaned up further with an air-powered Dynafile.
Here are some more shots from around SquareBuilt’s workshop:
More pictures from around the workshop: