• Custom Built Frames And Bicycles
  • Road Lugged
  • Road Luggless
  • Road Forks
  • ATB Luggless
  • Singlespeed
  • Stainless
  • Suspension
  • Travel
  • Testimonial
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I was talking the other day with my 95 year old Great Aunt about my metal working skills and she made the comment that I probability get my inherent abilities from a long line of blacksmiths in the family.

Being a bicycle frame craftsman is more than just metal working, though. It takes an understanding of the rider’s balance, position for best power in the pedal stroke and how to get the lungs open so the human experience can maximize performance with enjoyment. I have taken competiive riders that never won a race to being the one to beat. This is what makes a master in this business.

I not only build one-off dream machines, I create complete bicycles that become your best friend on the road. Reliability I feel is more important than having the lightest machine, because of when -not if- failure happens, what good is that extra gram you took off worth?

As of the first month of 2010, I have ridden over -three hundred and sixteen thousand- miles on bicycles in my life. This experience provides you a great deal more in achieving your cycling goals than you can find from other sources. The following pages are here to provide you with an idea of what has been accomplished here at the Shoppe.

Steel is for real they say, and for good reason. All a frame really is created for is to support the load of the rider and components. When you add the fork, this “truss” becomes a steering apparatus. The dynamics change, and understanding this is what separates the “metal fabricator” from the “Bicycle Frame Builder”. You can find more on this in my editorials section on the "Low Down on Tubing" or "Philosophy of Frame Building".

So if you are looking for stepping up to the definitive of the cycling experience, contact a custom builder. Preferably you can find a local, however not everyone has the opportunity to experience this. The internet has been working for me and my clients since 1997.

I will say that I do not make these gems in numbers, just one at a time. Spirited friends to help guide you to your ultimate experience in cycling. For a selection of profiles, link here



Ahhhhh, the classic road bike. The definitive of the 70's European 10 speed brought up to today's standards. Using Henry James lugs which are available in either stainless or standard investment cast, this is where we start with the "Traditional" road frameset. The favorite tubeset is the True Temper Platinum series. Information on this can be found in my "Lowdown on Tubing" section.

As seen in the photos on the right, the imagination can be a great thing, and I try to do the utmost in being the provider of dream machines. Paint is Imron and the underling primer is VariPrime which has a phosphoric base to nutralize oxidation and is harder than the Imron applied on top. The finish on my "King Of Dimonds" was applied in 1993 and today looks like it was just applied even though there were times I put it through experiences that were more like wet sandblasting.

Prices for frames begin around $1900

Henry James Lugs

Ace Of Spades

My main reason I silver fillet braze is, well, because I can successfully.

The second reason I silver fillet braze is because it allows me to be completely free to choose any combination of tubing and geometry I feel necessary to provide the client the best and ultimate ride.

Depending on the outcome, I have over 400 tubes available to my disposal for accomplishing this task. True Temper Platinum tubing is my favorite choice, and if you are under 200lbs the S-3 tubeset is a great choice. More information can be found in my "Lowdown On Tubing" page.

Pictured to the right is an example of what I call my "Staytight" stay configuration. This allows over 5 times the surface area of a traditional fastback style and gives the rear triangle an additional boost to stiffness. This in turn creates incredible tracking qualities that help the rider achieve my goal to better steer from the seat of the pants. In addition, I have seen other frames come apart at the seat tube/toptube junction due to the high stressors caused from the combination of shorter seat tubes and longer seatposts. This join prevents any chance of failure in this area.

Paint is Imron and the underling primer is VariPrime which has a phosphoric base to nutralize oxidation and is harder than the Imron applied on top. The finish on my "King Of Dimonds" was applied in 1993 and today looks like it was just applied even though there were times when I put it through experiences that were more like wet sandblasting.

Prices for frames start around $1700.

Lugless Bicycle Frameset

The bicycle fork is what changes the main frame of a bicycle from a truss to a steering device. This dynamic change is, as I feel, the most misunderstood component of a bicycle that most consumers have.

For something that weighs under 2lbs., the dynamic forces that it has to handle could be over 30,000lbs. So my question is: Why do most consumers look at the weight of this component when purchasing rather than how it is being used and what are the limitations to the fork that is going to be installed?

Carbon fiber when it fails is sheer. Steel forks bend before they fail catastrophically. Aluminum has a nasty habit for having the properties of running out of the number of 'cycles' it can complete before it too fails.

My advice, with the advancement in steel, the one place where strength and durability matters the most is in you fork. Saving a couple of grams (or oz) of weight in this area makes me ask my client "What kind of dental program do you have?.

And as for oversized steerers in road bikes, take a look at the number of tandem forks out there still running 1inch steerers that are over 30 years old.

The Henry James Crown is a proving piece of functional beauty. I bet my life on it - literally.

And so should you.

Match this with the True Temper steerer and fork blades and you have a 1.5 lb fork that complements the rest of your ride.


Henry James Fork Crowns


I cut my teeth in frame building with the construction of mountain bikes in 1993. In fact, I did it by using the AMP rear triangle to create full suspension frames. When the Columbus Metax tubing came out I was silver fillet brazing many a WARS racer with artilery for compition.

Well, the Metax tubing is no longer available, however the True Temper OX Platinum is very close in mechanical properties. Using JC Wiggles framesaver will make sure that corrosion will not be a factor and allowing a lifetime of pleasure and service to the owner.

Paint is Imron and the underling primer is VariPrime which has a phosphoric base to nutralize oxidation and is harder than the Imron applied on top. The finish on my "King Of Dimonds" was applied in 1993 and today looks like it was just applied even though there were times when I put it through experiences that were more like wet sandblasting.

ATB Luggless

I was at a Wisconsin State mountain bike race in 1994 when I saw what was to be my first glace a racer riding a "Single Speed". We all thought he was nuts due to the fact that the race was being held on a snow slope. But when this lad came in 8th in his class, well, we were all impressed.

Now it is almost a common place not only for the off road scene, but for the roadies as well. And if you accept the fact that there are a number of manufactures building internal geared hubs, then you realize that the versatility of these gems could be the future of the bicycle.

Paint is Imron and the underling primer is VariPrime which has a phosphoric base to neutralize oxidation and is harder than the Imron applied on top. The finish on my "King Of Diamonds" was applied in 1993 and today looks like it was just applied even though there were times when I put it through experiences that were more like wet sandblasting.

Available in lugged or luggless, let the imagination decide on the outcome!


Single SpeedSingle Speed

I will not elaborate too much here because I have dedicated a complete page to this tubeset.

I will say though, that I cut my teeth building bicycle frames using the Columbus Metax tubing. Examples for this are available on my profile photo page or just go to the tab with Testimonial above and read about Shane's experiences.


953 Stainless Bicycle Frames

This is where it all started for me in frame building. Adapting the AMP rear triangle on a Schwinn main frame. Major cool points. I couldn't get any of the major magizine players to publish any of my "traditional" framesets, so I was motivated to create what should have become a standard for Schwinn. We called it the "HardleyDaviSchwinn".

Call it what you like, I began building bicycle frames for others with the help of AMP. If you have an ol' AMP frameset and want an upgrade to a state of the art main frame, drop me a line. Or if you want to adapt to a Schwinn, do the same, because if you take a look at the current X-country suspension frames they are still working with the "Horst Link" design.

Prices start around $2900 for a custom rear triangle.

King Of Diamonds

Suspension Frames

If I were to classify myself as a particular type of rider, it would be a tourist. One of the greatest hurtles to climb when traveling has nothing directly to do with the bicycle. It has to do with getting to the destination of the start of the ride with as little fuss a possible. Here lies the solution, of which there may be many ways to accomplish, however one method was already in my little bag of tricks, so to speak.

By taking the design of the AMP suspension and remove the rear shock; replacing it with at "Wishbone" rear triangle. This is how I came up with the "Travelight". More on this with its own page...

Travelight Introduction

For the original concept bike:

link to OS-Link

Travel Bicycle Frames

Shane drops an email and shares his experience of many years riding on a complete Desperado Cycles ride!

Shane stopped in and purchased his Metax ride around 1995. Early in 2009 he dropped an email:

A shot in the dark, how are you?  Did you move from mad town, i saw tailwind Deerfield, doefield, WI on your logo, I must be thinking of venison.  I hope all is well, life never lets up on any of us.  I have a four year old daughter who I tow around, secretely planting the biking addiction, hoping she'll like it and I can ride the divide with her for her high school graduation. 

My body is soar, shattered tibial plateau from the half pipe at tyrol, neck fracture from winter park on trents piece of shit +++, it was bar time i guess, but the sweet metax bike makes me feel good, and definitly has take the years better than i have. 

At least five years on the wors circuit, probably eight, countless hours of training, countless hours of joy riding levies, smecker, strawberry hill cali, taos, tyler tx, winter park 3 or 4 times, the continential divide and two bob carts, so many countless, unbelievable miles.

  And finally, that front whell you built me, the one that the bike mechanic in big sky looked at and said your done, you ain't gonna make it, well, finally, that whell isn't with us.  I left the bike in the garage this winter (2009), and i think the extreme cold had its way and snapped the Chris king hub flange.  Ha, I outlasted your whell.

Give me a shoot, let me know your still alive, I know when I'm dead and burried someone will be riding a sweet ass bike!

Custom Metax Bicycle

The biggest concern to both the rider and frame builder is fit. If you live anywhere in the Wisconsin area then you may want to set up an appointment with myself for a “fitting”. I am located in the north central part of the state near the town of Antigo. One of the reasons for moving to this location is to be able to ride with my clients in both road and off-road experiences right out my door. I can accommodate up to 7 extra sleepers in beds if needed in my home or motels are available in Antigo. You may want to go camping out the “Back 40”. Fitting usually takes 2-3 hours of time to really get a grasp on your riding style.

I set you up on a stationary trainer on your current ride and then make adjustments from there. I have a Salsa adjustable stem that allows me to correct body placement over the top tube and front wheel axle. Even if you think that you fit your current ride you may be surprised in the slight changes can make in stem length and rise.

If you cannot stop in for a fitting, ordering a frameset online doesn't have to be a chore. I have a form to fill out on your riding style and a little about your body geometry. If you have a trainer handy, then use either a tripod to hold a camera or get a little help from a friend to take a few snapshots of you spinning. Make sure that you have a bit of a sweat going on so that your body is loose on the bike.

You may already know the geometry of the frame you would like built.

After discussing about the use of the new machine, then an appropriate geometry will be discussed and a little about the component package that will go along with your dream machine. A bill of sale will be given before all this is started so you have an idea of what your costs are going to be. I have over twenty four years experience with this activity.

The time that it usually takes to put a frame together is approximately 6 weeks after the start of build. (Not date of deposit). If a whole machine is to be assembled, then time could take around 8 weeks depending on component manufacture's inventory. Send me an E-mail indicating your intention.

My database is set up to accept payments prior to your date of build. Some have found that it is easier to make payments when it is most convenient and this method does not put a bind on their pocket book. I have had some clients take as much as 2 years to finish their payments, but they now have a lifetime of enjoyment out of their investment.

A $1000 non-refundable deposit is required to begin your project. This secures the client with a specific time for build; allows me a measure of commitment from the client with time taken to work out what is exactly going to be built before the time allocated, and allows the purchase of frame tubing before the build. One week before the scheduled period of build a payment in full with a casher’s check or money order. Your money is an investment of a minimal of 40 hours of work, which is the time that is specifically appointed. If it is found that there is some question of what is to be the final product, the client is responsible for making this apparent before final payment.

Parts for complete bicycle are paid in full before the build.