A couple of recent photos of new Wizards during construction.
In addition to what Dave has mentioned, there are
a lot of other things that have been added or are being
worked on for the IBFE.
The new hotel location will be a more intimate place,
one that we can mingle and meet one another for before
and after show activities, like meals and such. The room rates
will be significantly lower than the previous location; and it's
right in the coastal downtown area where all the "action" is!
The Gaslamp Quarter is a few blocks away, as is the Little Italy
section of San Diego Old Town is also nearby. Trolley lines
run all over the place, including to the Mexican border.
Riding from that area is easy and Mission Bay and the beaches
(not to mention the airport) are all right there. The location
is unusually excellent for an event such as this. The hall itself
(Golden Hall) has hosted most of the famous rock acts of
the 60's and 70's including Frank Zappa several times,
the Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan,
The Yardbyrds, The Doors, Them, Pink Floyd,
Jefferson Airplane, Buffalo Springfield, etc. The list goes on
forever! Most of these were in the first few years; the concerts
continued up until 1997, ending up with Yes as the final
concert. We are working on the return of the expanded
version of the MotherFluxers to play Golden Hall during the
show ( probably at a party on Friday night ) on the main stage.
We will have an expanded hands on seminar schedule in 2011.
We have a place on the show premises where we can do
hands on brazing demos along with the technical info on same,
plus the standard clinics on fitting, filing and lugwork, and jig
and fixture making. We are adding the "Bicycle Framebuilding Parts"
swap meet in 2011. There will be vintage lugs and bits for sale or
trade from the stashes of a considerable number of framebuilders.
Newbies will find a gold mine of cool old school and modern
framebuilding parts to make nice frames from in the future.
We're working on a "special theme" for the 2011 show.
We're going to feature Cyclocross racing and cyclocross
framebuilders as the focus on builders in 2011. There is likely to
be a local cyclocross race held nearby in Balboa Park, where the
finish is probably going to take place Paris-Roubaix style on the
San Diego Velodrome! Not at all unlike the following day, as
we party down on the last day of the show ( Sunday ) while
watching the coverage of the REAL Paris-Roubaix in France.
In addition to all of our activities, the 3rd annual San Diego
Colnago Gran Fondo is happening just down the street in Little Italy
that same Sunday. Last year there were 3000 registered riders there.
I expect there will be even more in 2011. They will have at least 2
full days to come to the Framebuilders Exposition while they are in
town for the ride. This weekend in San Diego will be absolutely full
of cyclists and bike related activities.
The Saturday Taco and Beer Party will be held at my new
workshop on my property out in La Mesa, just about in the same
area that the party in years past was at Joe Bell's shop. I'm a little
closer to the show location. We'll have a blast at my place for $10
per person which includes all the Carne Asada and Chicken Tacos
(and rice and beans) you can eat and beer and other drinks.
Party on 3 sky decks with views of Mexico, coastal islands, and
local mountains and landmarks.
The critical part of the show this year is that, on account of the
new venue, we will need more operating capital up front this year.
What we need most, that which will insure that we can do the best
job of organizing and promoting the show, which benefits YOU
the most; is for the exhibitors ( both framebuilders and non-builders )
to commit to coming to the show EARLY this time. We can't wait
until close to the show. It would do all of us the most good if we
collect the money for the booths right now, or very soon.
Our prices are still oriented towards making the event HIGHLY
profitable for you to attend and as inexpensive as we can make it.
PLEASE help us do a good job for you by making your decision to
display, network, and socialize with us as soon as possible.
Do it now so it won't be a problem during the late in the year
Holiday Season, when there is no money. We're still offering an
additional discount of $100 off the booth price for
FRAMEBUILDERS who are east of the Mississippi River.
I spoke to a bunch of these guys while at the Cirque recently.
There will be a LOT of builders coming from the East, Southeast,
and Midwest areas. The Europeans are trying to work out their
schedules ( we may have some major surprises in store ) and
the Asian builders are looking into the dates. Would like to see
some builders from Australia make it to the show.
The invitations will be going out to everyone soon.
Thanks for taking time to read this. We hope everyone will
join us in this great show of International Brotherhood
amongst the framebuilding community. Please plan to add to the
quality of our event with your presence and a display of the work
that you do. Do it soon, so we can plan the best event possible.
Thanks you, all.
La Mesa, CA
The first announcement is that the SD Show will
be the "International Framebuilders, Exposition"
next year. Same time and same location (but in a
larger building). There will be more hands on
demonstrations related to framebuilding skills and
techniques and frame fitting. We are working on
signing on a publicity agent who will handle the
job of spreading the news of the show. We are also
working on getting some of the best Asian custom
builders to join us here. We're pretty sure some
big Italian names will appear next year, a deal
that has been brewing for a while. Also some of
the smaller European custom builders are working
on coming to America to see in person what the
renaissance of lugged steel framebuilding looks
like up close.
The party that has been at Joe Bells' workshop for
the last two years is going to be at my new workshop
and (by then) newly renovated house. We are also
reforming the MotherFluxers, a framebuilder composite
band, that is planning a return performance sometime
during the show weekend. The members are Paul Sadhoff
from Rock Lobster on guitar, Stephen Bilenky on
electric bass, Jon Norstand of Thursday Bicycles on
lead vocals and saxophone, Ross Schafer (founder of,
and formerly Salsa Cycles) on guitar and vocals
(unconfirmed but likely at this time), and myself on
drums. If we do this, it's going to be a good show.
The final announcement is that an organization
whose purpose is to promote framebuilding and
framebuilders in every possible way, and to as much
of the general public as possible AND to insure that
the highest level of skills and traditions of the craft
are passed on to the next generation of framebuilders.
This group is the Independent Framebuilders Guild.
Information on how to support this effort is at
Framebuildersguild.org. This is a traditional
type guild and entry is open to pretty much everyone,
in various degrees. One of the first projects slated
for the organization is to begin the documentation of
the History of Framebuilding in America. That's a HUGE
project at it will require the contributions of many
people; I'm certain many of whom are on this list.
So that's about it.
La Mesa, CA
International Framebuilders Exposition in San Diego, 2011
Framebuilders and all,
The second annual San Diego Custom Bicycle Show
is now all set to go. The Booth spaces are nearly gone,
I think there are only two left. Our show takes shape
in slightly different ways that some other shows.
Each year we learn how to put on a better show and how
to make the process easier. We focus our attention towards
having a good show for both the exhibitors AND the
spectators. We want all framebuilders and those interested
in framebuilding, to have a great time here, and especially
come away with more knowledge about our craft.
We have just finished working out a deal with the Fit Kit
organization whereby any framebuilder attending the
show can become a certified fitting technician for free,
by attending the 5 hour seminar to be presented during
the early part of Thursday, the day we will set up the booths.
The seminar will run until 4pm Thursday. We will also
be presenting our live hands on framebuilding technique
demonstrations featuring myself, Dave Bohm on lugcutting
and jewelers saw work, and hopefully again Rob Roberson
and some fixturing demonstrations along with some stand
up comedy. Last year he presented a super informative
seminar and was quite humorous while doing it
We have a great crowd of builders coming to the show,
both old timers and newer and younger builders.
As always there will be a sizable group from Oregon
(primarily Portland) coming down and having their own
Community area, so to speak. Mark DiNucci is scheduled
to show also. Oregon will be well represented in San Diego.
The Northern CA builders are coming down, along with
several from CO, AZ, and TX. Wayne Bingham is
bringing a display from Mel Pinto Imports in VA also.
Our primary aim is to make every framebuilder feel
welcome and equal. We believe that we all need to
work together towards some common goals that will
bring our craft to the public as often as possible and always
in a positive light. We also feel there is a lot of tradition
in framebuilding that should be respected; and we hope
to preserve the traditions of high craftsmanship and design
in framebuilding. We feel the best way to accomplish this
is to support and encourage those who are the small
craftsman buiders, regardless of one's situation; and to
help a new generation of framebuilders carry on the true
craft of making handmade bicycle frames.
Please check the website at SD Custom Bicycle Show
and make plans to attend our event. We have spent more
time with advertising this year and less time soliciting
vendors, since finding exhibitors to come to San Diego
and have a good time is not difficult. We're looking
forward to all of the great bikes; but honestly the best
part of these shows is the social part.
Hope you can join us. We see the future of custom
framebuilding as a bright one, as long as we keep the
traditions alive as we move into the future!
There are numerous aspects of framebuilding, related to making
hand built bicycles in small numbers. Most importantly, there are
the considerations and concepts of designing the frame. This will
include "fitting" the frame, which includes looking at the client's
body dimensions, riding style, intended use, and rider's age. The
other part involves selecting the materials, actual construction,
There are countless theories and formulas, and even computer
generated models, which are supposed to help us determine a
particular frame for a given rider. There are many factors that
must be taken into consideration. Many builders will simply
copy designs that have worked in the past. My method is to
study the machine (s) the rider has had experience with, up to
the point of ordering a new custom bicycle. I then ask a whole
lot of questions about their experiences with their bicycles.
Some of the questions are asked of every client, while some
questions will be specifically related to that individual. I probe
for the key bits of information, about how to best suit the rider.
I consider how to improve what may be lacking in their
previous bikes. Sometimes the client is just seeking a
frame with distinction and flair, beyond the readily available,
that performs as well as what they have. Note that great riding
bicycles can come from anywhere, including high production
companies. Each framebuilder has a personality and style
of their own, which is reflected in the frame. High volume
companies cannot do this. I believe my method is one of
the most sound, owing to my many years of riding, racing,
building for myself, and building for others......... this is one
of the reasons why people seek me out.
Once I know the needs of the user, it becomes a matter of
how much time and effort one is willing to put into making
the frame special and distinctive. Most people call this
"craftsmanship". This is where debate sometimes begin......
which frame is better? It really is a matter of personal taste.
Certainly, there are some methods of making a distinctive
machine that requires great skill and a good eye for aesthetics.
To a client that cannot detect these subtle differences, this may
mean nothing. The same goes for designs that are more than
what the client expects or likes.
I feel that my work falls in the middle of these extremes,
in that most can appreciate my style, even if they don't
really understand how much effort it takes. That being
said, I generally don't go to the extreme, trying to make
my lugs look like jewelry. I make a bike that pleases my
eye and satisfies my soul. Even though my extra effort is
not always rewarded monetarily, my "payment" for this
When the finished product makes the client happy,
and if some appreciate my skill and effort, then I feel
complete. Builders who refuse to put in the effort, much
of which involves lots of time, without financial considerations,
are simply not driven as craftsmen, in the purest sense.
These people are in the "business" of framebuilding.
Framebuilding was apparently my destiny and purpose
in life. Therefore, money only, is not a consideration in
my work, as compared to my need to fulfill that destiny.
I am satisfied that some consider me to be one of the best
framebuilders of all time; and that is what motivates me.
That may sound "corny" to some; but the truly sensitive
observers see that in my work.
Talk is cheap. The work must speak for itself. Simple as that.
Baylis Handmade Cycles.
My framebuilding career started by accident. As a young
racer in Southern California during the "bike boom" of
the early 70's, I was at a bicycle race in Escondido, CA
in 1973. I was riding a Masi Gran Criterium, built in Italy.
I was aware of the legendary Faliero Masi. Like most bike
racers, I considered Masi to be the best of the best. On that
day I never dreamed that I would actually meet the man face
to face. As it turned out, the new Masi factory had been
established in nearby Carlsbad, CA and most of the principal
people involved had come to the race to watch. I had no idea
there was a factory nearby. When I was able to meet the plant
manager, Faliero Masi and Mario Confente I was stunned.
With my Masi in tow, I sheepishly approached Faliero to get
his autograph on my paper racing number. He signed it and
handed it back. He had a sparkle in his eye I'll never forget.
Even at 65 years old he was full of energy and charisma.
For some unknown reason, having never considered
building bike frames, I sought out the English speaking
manager, Roger Smith. I asked if they needed any people
to work at the new Masi factory. It was disappointing to hear,
"I don't think we need anybody right now". The following
day, I had to deliver a Rolls-Royce for the dealer I worked
for. The Masi factory was right off the freeway in Carlsbad,
so I whipped the Silver Shadow off the freeway and stopped.
Roger Smith was surprised to see me. There were no
applications, I just wrote my name and number on a piece
of paper. Asked if I had any previous experience, I told
them I built some wheels and painted a frame or two in my
garage with an airbrush. Apparently that was good enough;
the following week I was working at Masi. I was the fourth
American to be hired. Originally, they wanted Italian
workers, but lucky for me, due to visa issues,
that was not going to happen.
My first duties involved building several hundred wheels.
Once I built them, I was taught to properly glue and mount
the silk tires. After this I did sub-assemblies of bars, brake
levers, and stems into complete units. I did the same for toe
clips/straps to pedals, saddles to seat posts. When all of the
bins were full of parts they needed to assemble complete
bikes, I was moved to the beginning stages of framebuilding.
I think my first task was to file the front dropouts that had
been brazed to fork blades. We did hundreds of forks at a
time. It took no time at all to learn each basic task under these
conditions. Each time I successfully completed my assigned
task, I was moved to the next operation. I filed rear triangles
at the dropouts, then was taught to cut and ready caps for the
seat stays. After they were brazed, I filed them by the hundreds.
I was taught to shape the raw lugs and prep them before they
were used to join the tubing. I was then taught brazing,
and brazed some front dropouts to fork blades.
the paint department, where I was the assistant to Ron Smith
(no relation to Roger). This is where I learned the paint sequence
and techniques I still use today. I also was able to learn the art
of applying varnish decals to the painted frames. I hand painted
yellow trim in the cutouts as well.
My time at Masi came to an end. One of my roommates
and fellow workers at Masi, Mike Howard, who was being
groomed as a brazer there and myself, decided to strike out
on our own. Jumping ship was something they tried to prevent.
But Mike had become frustrated with Mario, as they were
trying to build forks with "twin plate" fork crowns. Mario
was difficult to work with. The previous brazing trainee had
left, having a difficult time with Mario over similar issues.
Mike and I quit and we moved back to Orange County,
and began to build the notorious Wizard Bicycles. During
that two year period we both learned a lot about the craft
and a little, very little, about the business of framebuilding.
We built about 75 serial numbered frames. We built a few
for ourselves as well. There were probably about 80
frames or so total.
At Wizard, we put a lot of time into each frame, which made
them highly regarded. We weren't making much money though.
In mid-1976, we received a call Masi in Carlsbad. They had
fired all of the crew and only the shop manager, Gian Simonetti,
remained. They wanted Mike and I to come back to Masi as
foremen, and assemble a new crew. By then the newfangled
"investment cast" lugs were being used. I became the painting
foreman, head painter, and the person who trained the guys to
shape and file lugs, as I did the painting of the Wizards and did
all the lugwork. Mike was the brazing foreman, since he did the
fixturing and brazing of the Wizards.
That lasted until sometime in 1977 or so. Medici Bicycles was
formed in Los Angeles. Mike and Gian became the principal
builders of the Medici bikes. I was to be the painter, of both
Confente and Medici bicycles. However, instead, I opted to
stay in San Diego county and build frames under my own
name. I have been doing so ever since, under a number of
working conditions and in situations that exposed me to a lot
of other builders. From this one learns a lot. I still do this even
now, whether teaching beginning builders or spending time
or visiting with other experienced builders. Teaching is one
of the best ways to learn things.
Growing as an artist and craftsman never ends.
Challenging oneself is what makes you grow and expand.
Falling into a routine and doing the same thing over and
over again doesn't satisfy me. This may work for many
others, but results in being good at one thing. I prefer
working on a broader set of skills and perfecting them,
which keeps framebuilding fresh and exciting.
I get my inspiration from this.
Brian Baylis, February 8, 2010.
Welcome! For those who are not familiar with my basic nature;
just having this blog is a departure from my ordinary preferences
for doing business. There are a number of reasons for this; most
of which will become clear as you read through. Since I am not
a "typical" type person, one should expect my approach and
blog to follow suit. I fully intend for this to be the case.
Unlike blogs whose purpose is to promote and advertise,
my purpose shall be primarily, but not exclusively, to
educate. Additionally, I intend to help you understand
what is real and what is fantasy, as related to the process
of designing and building custom frames. From this,
I hope the consumer and enthusiast will learn to think
and reason for themselves, and see frames from a
more educated perspective.
Our craft has recently turned towards business techniques
of mass marketing. This is partly due to people using
the internet. There are always two sides to these things.
Some information is good. However, some things are aimed at taking advantage of the
the internet. There are always two sides to these things.
Some information is good. However, some things are aimed at taking advantage of the
trusting nature of people, in a negative way. If you are comfortable
with ignorance and are susceptible to believe whatever is
printed, no matter what the source, then there is no point
in reading any further.
However, if you prefer to expand your knowledge and
understanding of the handmade bicycle, please join me,
as I try to post some of the things that I have learned
in the last 35 years.
in the last 35 years.
Brian Baylis, February 5, 2010.