The first frame I built. This frame also serves to exemplify my best work. Constructed under the direction and watchful eyes of Paul Wyganowski in his workshop from December 2001 through July 2002, in several two- to four-hour evening sessions during each week, and sometimes on the weekends for longer stretches, totalling about 120 hours of labor.
About 90% of the bronze brazing and 95% of the silver brazing were done by me. The remainder was done by Paul to demonstrate brazing technique, particularly heat control. The tube coping, filing, and finishing were done entirely by me. There was a lot to learn, and I learned a lot building that first frame. Still, there was, and is, always more to learn.
All the tubes are Columbus SL, except for the top tube and fork blades, which are Tange Prestige. The wall thickness for each of the main tubes (except the seat tube) at the butts is 0.8mm (top tube) and 0.9mm (down tube). Because the frame is so small, the frame and fork together weigh under 1.4kg.
The frame was built for 700c wheels to fit a light rider with short legs (relative to torso length) and a long reach, who stands 155cm tall. The frame size is the equivalent of a 46cm x 52cm diamond frame – made to fit a 66cm inseam and long torso.
The slope of the top tube is the result of mistakenly cutting the seat tube too short — the seat tube length was supposed to be 46cm (with sloping top tube), but ended up being about 38cm (exactly less about the length of a Stanley tape measure…). Hence, a long seatpost was fitted.
The frame was sent to Joe Bell for paint (Imron #51078) in the late Fall of 2002. Due to a high work load at Joe Bell Professional Bicycle Refinishing, I did not receive it back from paint until March 2003. But, it was worth the wait:
The frame was built up with a full Dura-Ace 7700-series group. Wheels were hand-built by Colorado Cyclist with Mavic CXP-33, red-anodized rims, DT Swiss spokes, and the Dura-Ace hubs I sent them. Of course, now all my wheels are built by Paul Wyganowski or Andy Tetmeyer (Hed) or myself (depending on availability and willingness).
This bicycle supplanted the owner’s Georgina Terry-style, Shimano 105-equipped Panasonic to great delight.
By no means was this meant to be a show bike. This was simply a labor of love meant as a gift. Even so, Domínguez Cycles was awarded “Best Fillet-Brazed” at the 2011 North American Handmade Bicycle Show held in Austin, Texas, for this frameset. To have the hard work (obsessively shaping the fillets and polishing the stainless steel…) put into this frameset recognized by others is much appreciated by me. The focus, patience, and attention to detail I put into this frameset are still the gold-standard for which I strive, and by which I evaluate all my other work since then.
This bicycle has been displayed at the Minnesota Bicycle Trade and Fitness Exposition in 2007; at the NAHBS in 2009, 2010, and 2011; at Minnecycle 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2016; and, at Third Thursday: Bike Night at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 2013(?).
Minor component changes were made since it was built: A color-matched stem replaced the original Thomson stem (2007); shorter Dura-Ace cranks were fitted (2011), thanks to a generous donation from Wayne Stetina at Shimano USA; a replacement chain (2011) was fitted, also Dura-Ace 7700-series; the chainrings were replaced with red-anodized T.A. chainrings after the first set wore out (2011); and, new tires and handlebar tape are fitted every couple of years or so. When last seen in 2014, it still looked like new, even after many fair-weather miles. With best wishes for many more!
The construction photos were taken with a Nikon CoolPix 950 digital camera (1.9MP:1600×1200), and I no longer have the original files, so that’s all there is. Shown above are the medium-resolution images I still have. The photos of the frame freshly back from paint in 2003 were taken with a Nikon F90x film camera using Fuji Velvia ISO 50 slide film, scanned in later using a Nikon Super CoolScan 5000 ED slide scanner (4000dpi), so those are much higher resolution. Other, later photos were taken with a Nikon D700 digital camera (12.1MP).