May 30, 2012
Our favorite MPLS expat frame builder, Brad Wilson of Capricorn, recently posted these stunning photos of a bike he built for himself as an R & D project featuring a three piece top tube design.
Here's what the builder himself had to say: I built my first frame like this last summer, then three more over the winter. It’s a distinctive look, and the first thing that people notice. The impetus for the design was to build into the frame something of a leaf spring– a passive form of suspension that would allow the front end a little more wiggle. My main concern for this frame was that it would be too flexible during hard, out-of-the-saddle climbs, or that the weight in the front bag could initiate a wobbly feel. I did notice a little of each of these concerns while riding but nothing that felt excessive or uncontrollable. Even in fast descents over broken asphalt with a couple hairpin turns thrown in the bike still goes where you point it. There are understandably trade-offs of having a more flexible frame– it’s not built for sprinters or racing, for example. And while I don’t have a weight for the frame I’m almost positive that a little more steel goes into it, so it’s not for ounce-counters either. What it does do is take the edge of vibration, and it seemed to do that about as well I could’ve expected.
It's always awesome to see someone really trying something new.