It’s always a pleasure to feature the work of Rhode Island’s Brian Chapman. His “Modern Frames for Vintage Souls” instantly transport us back to a simpler and slower countrified air — especially his latest creation: an elaborate randonneur that he detailed himself.
Box and lug lining is a nearly-lost form of detailing that few painters or builders are willing to spend the time on, simply because the style isn’t in vogue, and there is sadly less demand for the curly lugs that suit the brushwork.
Admittedly, it’s a finish more suited to a Jack Taylor or a Rudge-Whitworth than a Stinner or a Speedvagen, but Brian won’t let the intricate tradition slip out of sight, although his hand was somewhat coerced.
Brian and his customer, Mark, are both proponents of the indispensable website Classic Rendezvous, a community who appreciate pre-1983 bicycles and hold in respect ‘keepers of the flame’ such as Brian and his Chapman Cycles.
Classic Rendezvous hosts a number of events throughout the year and it was at one of these in Greensboro, NC a few years ago, that Brian and Mark met. Brian’s work resonated with Mark and eventually, they got the ball rolling on a frame of his own.
They had a good working relationship and Brian worked quickly, so the build ended up only taking two months to complete — from fit to design to build to finish. The brief was for a 700c lightweight randonneur with a carbon fiber content of zero.
Drillium was encouraged, in keeping with the style of the era referenced. However, reliability was prioritised over weight, which is just over 20lbs as shown with fenders, lights, dynamo, rack, and bell.
Brian built the frame with a mix of Tange Prestige and Columbus Zona and SL tubes and a set of modified Rivendell lugs — a perfect match for the Pacenti Artisan fork crown. Suntour dropouts were drilled and brazed with stainless faces on the insides.
The lights are powered by a Velogical rim dynamo, activated by a Dia-Compe brake quick release near the seat cluster. Brian maintains that he is a builder first and a painter second, but Mark made him push the limits of his abilities — with spectacular results.
Chapman Cycles Website | Facebook | Instagram