After an embarrassingly long hiatus, Maietta Cycling is back in full operation at its new location: 10 Nate Whipple Highway, Cumberland, Rhode Island. Expect more and expect it more frequently.
I sold the 5th Anniversary Special Edition bicycle to a gentleman in Utah a few weeks ago. After receiving, assembling, tuning and riding it for a bit I received this very nice testimonial last night:
Tony, I’ve ridden the bike several times now and have to say that despite it not being custom fitted to my specs, it may as well have been!
I am very pleased with the handling and my body positioning on the bike. I’m one of those guys that likes going fast and riding long (60 mile round trip commutes with regular 50 mph descents and about 4000 ft of climbing) on the stiffest of carbon and aero aluminum frames. Despite my love of all things cycling, this has been my first foray into steel and wish I had been more retrospective from the beginning — the vertical compliance and solid feel of Abalone makes my carbon and aliminum bikes feel sketchy and unsubstantial by comparison. I realize not everyone can afford high-end custom steel frames, and that the marketing blitz of carbon “this” and affordable aluminum “that” seek to drive everyday cyclists into the misguided notion that steel is for old school types with tree trunk legs, barrel guts, and unkempt silver moustaches. I’ve had my ass handed to me on hill climbs by those types by the way, but I will never discount their preferences again.
Needless to say, you’ve gained a loyal customer and I count myself fortunate enough to possess what I consider one of the most fantastic bikes I have ever ridden.
Yesterday was a bog and productive day of painting. The previous night I had sprayed the white and green on Kevin’s frame to let it fully dry overnight. First thing in the morning I applied the head tube and down tube vinyl stencils, then sprayed the navy blue (which looks a lot brighter in the pictures). Great care was used to remove the vinyl stencils; it is VERY easy to scrape into the underlying color (green in this case). No mistakes were made and I was happy with how crisp the edges came out. Only three decals were applied: Made in Massachusetts, Made by Anthony Maietta, and the Columbus LIFE sticker. A first clear coat was sprayed and let to sit overnight. Today I will wet sand the decals to get smooth and then re-clear (final clear) this frame. In the afternoon I painted Jason’s frame. He sent me a picture of a frame for inspiration, a few adjectives, and the names of a few colors he wanted; beyond that it was carte blanche with me having design freedom. I love working this way and the painting process was very smooth and methodical. I had a plan, executed it, and there were no issues. This morning I will spray the first clear on this frame. Josh’s couplers arrived yesterday too. I will install his couplers and spray the primer coat today.
There has been a lot been happening at the shop since the last update. I started doing a retrofit of a 1999 Independent Fabrication Planet X cross frame with S&S couplers. The frame had a pretty well seized seatpost I had to remove first, and was able to successfully complete the removal with an overnight soaking of penetrating oil. As the frame sits right now it is sandblasted bare and I am waiting for the couplers to arrive from California. I also finished manufacture of Jason’s S&S coupled fixed gear road frame and shot the primer on it today. Finally I completed manufacture of Kevin’s dirt road frame. Today I started painting Kevin’s frame. The head tube and down tube will have bright green logos with the rest of the frame being navy blue. Bright colors need a base of white, so the first step was to shoot the head tube and down tube white. The green was then shot over the white and left to dry overnight. Tomorrow morning I will lay the vinyl paint mask on the head and down tubes and shoot the frame navy blue. If I had painted the green on top of the blue you would have seen an amateur looking white halo around the logo. The frame is going to look awesome.
Today was another productive day in the shop seeing continues work on Kevn’s dirt road frame. I started the session by mitering and welding the seat stays. Welding fastback seat stays used to be brain surgery, but now its nearly as smooth as the rest of the frame in terms of welding and the sense of accomplishment (practice) is really gratifying. This frame has a lot of braze-ons for maximum versatility. There will be two rear brake options: mechanical (cable) disc or traditional cantilever. As a result of the dropouts featuring the low mount for the disc caliper I schemed up a pretty unique cable routing for the disc option going down the side of the down tube and on top of the non drive side chain stay. I also developed a new (to me) and interesting fender mount. I was brainstorming some ideas and seeing what different pieces I could use, and I had the idea of using a sealed bottle boss in a brake bridge. It worked out perfectly with the OD of the boss matching perfectly to the ID of a brake bridge. At the top of the bottle boss a very cool ring was created. I made two; one for the seat stays and one for the chain stays. I am very please with how they came out. I also added the top tube cable guides and pieces for the front derailleur routing on the back of the seat tube. Friday I will finish the frame and get it sandlbasted and primed.
Yesterday was one of those days in the shop where I just had a singular task on my agenda. I like to have a pretty clear plan for the day when I go into my shop to help keep me focused, and when you get it done and its time to go home you feel a real sense of accomplishment. Plate dropouts are not a TIG welders favorite thing to see come across the horizon, but I think I have developed my new system. For this frame Kevin wanted to use low mount (chain stay mount) disc brakes, which look a lot cooler than traditional seat stay mount disc brakes. Paragon Machine Works makes some really nice dropouts for this style of brake and we decided to use them. Hooded dropouts are in a TIG welders wheelhouse and they allow you to weld every joint on the frame and not deal with flux dripping issues inside tubes (particularly problematic when you weld one end of the stay at the bottom bracket). Yesterday I figured out a process to shape the tabs of the Paragon plate dropouts and weld on some arc’ed hoods. They came out awesome, and once they’re painted you will never notice they were welded on hoods. I also mitered the chain stays for the dropouts and the bottom bracket. Finally the chain stays were welded to the dropouts and dry fitted in the Anvil frame fixture. Today I will do the same process for the seat stays and weld the frame complete.
Yesterday I fully personified the builder/painter title I like to give myself. In the morning I wet sanded Tristan’s frame after the first clear, touched up a few spots, then shot the final clear. Before lunch it went in the oven to cure, and by the time I came back it was ready to receive it’s final 2000 grit sand and buffing. It made it on the UPS truck by 2pm, and it was on its way to Vermont in time for collegiate nationals. Within a half hour I was working on the next frame in the build list, Kevin’s dirt road frameset. Yesterday afternoon I mitered the front triangle, cleaned all the tubes and welded the seat tube topper to the seat tube. I only had an hour or so today to spend in the shop, so I just welded the front triangle and called it a day. The welding was very smooth today and I am really excited how this one is turning out. The rear triangle is going to have some pretty interesting stuff going on.
Today I painted Tristan’s new road racing frame. Yesterday I sandblasted and shot primer on it; then let the primer cure overnight. This morning I wet sanded the primer and shot the black. Tristan was pretty open with the design and let me have free reign over it. The down tube ambigram was painted on, while all of the other decals were standard issue peel and transfer pieces. This frame is very aggressive, very stiff, and I wanted the overall look to be “understated aggressive”. I also wanted it to match a large number of kit options as he is finishing up his collegiate season with UVM, riding for Team CF, and will likely use it for a number of years with a number of other teams. Tomorrow I am going to wet sand it and shoot the final clear. Even though it is a “team issue” frame, I want it to be the same caliber as every other frame leaving my shop.
Today I received the 42mm Columbus LIFE down tube I ordered from Nova Cycle Supply and was able to finish mitering the front triangle. This will undoubtedly be the stiffest frame I have built to date. The OD on the head tube is 36mm and the OD on the bottom bracket is 38mm, so I had to ovalize the down tube in opposite axis to be able to have complete miters. With the height of the down tube at the head tube joint so tall, I had to add a double miter to the top tube (essentially relieving it where it intersected the down tube). Before welding I added the cable guides and sealed bottle bosses to the down tube. I think I may have executed my best welded joint ever on the seat tube/top tube joint. As with frame 055, the seat stays are the last to go on and those will get welded Friday.
Yesterday I started on a replacement frame for Tristan Baldwin. I build a frame for him as part of the Team CF group last year around this time and used the geometry a local fitting service provided him (out of common courtesy I won’t mention that shop). I built the frame without seeing the customer’s dimensions and as it turns out, it was way off. I told Tristan I would build him a new frame designed by me at my cost; in return he’s going to race the hell out of it and spread the good Maietta word. This frame is going to be STIFF. ultra compact triangle with 42mm DT, 31.7mm TT, 31.7 ST and huge stays. Should be ready for paint by the end of the day today.