Sunday, July 8, 2012


Damn you Will Crissman!

WC showed up at Putney with a sweet new Commonwealth frame.  What was unusual about it was it was made in Massachusetts and was not Steel or Titanium!  It was the black sheep of custom bike frame materials...Aluminum (shudder...).

I've never been a soap box kinda guy when it comes to frame materials.  It just turns out most of the frames I have ridden offroad have been steel.  Since 1997, with the exception of a brief stint on carbon, I've been on steel.

In 1994 I built up a sweet Cannondale.  I did C'dale's frame swap program and traded in a POS Centurion for a "Killer V".  It was (is) a great bike.  I had it pimped out with Onza HO brakes and Topline Cranks.  But I fell in love with a rigid steel Stumpjumper.  It was the last of it's kind.  But no one was buying, and when it's price dropped to what we were going to spend on a bike for Mrs. CB2, I offered her my Killer V which she graciously excepted,

The maiden ride on the Stumpjumper was the first time I cleaned the Old Gasline Climb; a steep loose rock little brute.  How I was able to make this climb on a rigid bike that was almost 3 pounds heavier was beyond me.

Love story lalala.

In 2001 I decided to take racing more "seriously", the Stumpjumper was too heavy to race (the frame weighed all of 4 pounds) and got the carbon frame...which I seriously broke in a race.  Then I got another which broke Just Riding Along.  When it was replaced I sold it, and stuck with steel.

Anyways, WC brought Al back into my consciousness.

Then I saw a really light, really cheap European branded Al frame on ebay.  With a little creativity or a tensioner I could build up a cheap light singlespeed HT.

Someone else got to it first.

But I had been in communication with the seller, and he had another he could sell for the same small money.
I was all set to pull the trigger when a Cannondale Caffeine 3 with an EBB popped up.  Cannondale; I've heard of them.  Almost as small a monies as the RCZ (ever heard of them?).

I snatched it up.

My plan as always to do it on the cheap.  I'd use my spare wheels, my Manitou Minute fork, and parts off the dearly departed to build it up.  I ordered a reducer headset off ebay.

Then I noticed how long the Cannondale's headtube was.  Too long for any steerer on any fork I own.

So now I needed a fork.  Bikeman had their housebrand, Carver.  They have an all carbon, tapered steerer, stupid light fork for a nice price, so I got one.

Now I needed another different headset and now my econo racer had almost tripled my initial projected budget.

The frame showed up, was better than the seller described, and I started to transfer parts on to it.  When I got to the seatpost, the hole looked awfully big.  My 1994 C'dale uses a 27.2 post, my 1997 C'dale road frame used a 27.2,  The Sunday Princess uses a 27.2.

This frame does not.

Friends came through with a loaner until the next unexpected expense arrives.

For the record, my total expenditure was less than a new brand name frame.  Even a less expensive brand name frame.  Or a decent wheelset.   Just the moneyball started rolling a lot faster than I was expecting.

Review and pictures tomorrow.


dougyfresh said...

The Commonwealth frames are amazing. I might get one. Parssons is getting one made right now.

The geometry and the things they do for fitting these big wheels in the frame are out there. I like the philosophy.

wcrissman said...

You're welcome. I love my commonwealth. It is totally awesome. Nothing wrong with a little aluminum. Foilin' up! See you out there, Charlie.

CB2 said...


Alby King said...

Seems I missed this one.. I have something uncanny and tin-canny on the way. Of the SS variety as well. Maybe, just maybe - you, me and some course somewhere.