Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thompson Custom Bicycles

Though e-mail correspondence, I was invited to take a sneak-peek at the Thompson Custom Bicycles workshop in Olympia. The whole thing is a smaller scale operation all run by Corey Thompson, a professional frame builder. I was originally just asking about a few different frame building techniques, but got a whole lot more.

This is Corey's personal bike and an example of his attention to detail. 65Ob rando machine with fully integrated racks, fenders, brakes, and lighting. He brazed the stem and fabricated the rack as well. Grand Bois Maes bars, Stronglight cranks, Schmidt Son hub, Mafac Raid centerpulls, Honjo fenders, Berthoud saddle among other goodies.

 Smart gearing with good priorities. Corey said he plans to tackle the PBP this year on this, best of luck to him on that endeavor.

Up close of the fork crown. He made it out of sheet metal, bending the lower plate to the exact curve of the fender. Mono lug head tube similar to early Alex Singers, but Corey paints them instead of chroming. Brazed on centerpulls.
Good positioning of the front light; not too low and on the right where traffic is.

Close up of brazed on rear light. Sorry about bad focus...

A mid 6O's Rene Herse that Corey owns. This is one of their production models, which is remarkable considering the attention to detail.

They mitered down the bottom of the fork crown from the original size and brazed plating on the bottom of it to cover the gaps. The result is a nice smooth contour to accommodate the fender/tire curve.

Corey said this was an Austril[?] or something, can't remember. Pre-war Australian track frame complete with cut-outs in the lugs in the shape of Australia. That's pride I guess...

Close up of Australia on the fork...

An incomplete frame in a box.

When I stopped in, the majority of what Corey was busy with was frame and fork repair. This thing was in the process of getting a new fork. Steel for the win.

This whole experience has pretty much steady my already firmly grounded resolve in pursuing frame building. It took many years for Corey to get to this point and I don't doubt at all that it was a lot of hard work, but as you can see the final result was well worth the effort. Just need to find a job, ugghh...

In less exciting news, I moved my H-bar bag from front to rear with far less grace than anything else in this post:

With the bag in front, I lost a lot of control due to the high-trail geometry of the front end, plus the precariously high positioning of the bag... Wheel flop was also more noticeable of a problem. Though less accessible now, it makes general riding much more pleasant.
Some shit threadless stem I shimmed onto the seat post with the proper amount of Pepsi can. Found some bent-up bars that were unusable and chopped the drops off, leaving a bar the exact size needed for the bag rack attachment. The result is ungodly ugly, but this bike clearly isn't built for it's classy good looks.

Still going on plenty of road [and the occasional off-road] rides. Got super pumped on this group called the Cyclos Montagnards, its like the PBP but I don't half to pay an arm and a leg to get there. I wanna ride the SHIT out of these routes!!! OMG bike me so damn EXCITED!

1 comment:

  1. I've been emailing Corey a bit too and hope to go visit him in the next couple of weeks. Should be fun!