A Late 80’s Georgena Terry Gambit

I acquired this late 80’s Georgena Terry Gambit a number of years ago.  I don’t remember whether I purchased it just as a frame, or as a full bike.  I was attracted to it at the time because I imagined the long head tube and small front wheel (a 24 incher) might make an interesting reinterpretation as a cycle truck of sorts.

At the time, I hadn’t paid much attention to the provenance of the frame, nor to its geometry.  Recently needing to clear some space from my shop area, I brought the bike out and started to think about its purpose in life.  With its Made in Japan brazing, using Cro-Mo lugged steel tubes, the bike would definitely not be considered a low end offering. So, I thought I would add a few components to make it ride-able, and then donate the end result to to Community Cycling Center so that the right cyclist can enjoy this interesting bicycle.

Original to the bike was the front Araya 24 inch rim laced to a sealed bearing Suzue hub.  A nice and competent front wheel.  The geometry of the bike is not ideal by my standards, with more wheel flop than I prefer.  However, its short 51 cm top tube, made possible by the small front wheel, allows this bike to be a comfortable ride for those of shorter stature. The easy reach to the front of the bike, even with traditional road handlebars, is the whole idea behind this frame style.

    

For the front end, I threw on a salvaged Claud Butler road bar set mounted with Shimano  non-aero brake levers.  The road-ish style and leather bar tape seemed about right for this bike.  Plus, I enjoy setting up the brake housing on non-aero style hoods, for that nice vintage look.

I used Shimano down tube shifters, but set the drive train up for a single chain ring up front.  A Sakae crankset completes the build, and works amazingly well.  A funky Pletscher rear rack adds utility.

This bike is an interesting example of the quality of steel frames which can be found in the 1980’s.  While not technically vintage by my standards, this frame is an excellent example of the cycling industry’s offering of this era, with Georgena Terry being one of its most important innovators.

2010 Custom Cyclocross Sweetpea

This 2010 Sweetpea is NOT a vintage bicycle. But, it was custom made here in Portland by Natalie Ramsland, frame builder and owner of Sweetpea Bicycles.  It is a fillet brazed steel frame featuring curved rear stays and an 11 degree sloping top tube, with braze-ons for cantilever brakes and over the top tube cable routing, as well as fender and rack mounts.

I purchased this bike as a frame and fork in 2011, after it had been ridden for one season as a cyclocross racer by a team rider here in Portland.  The rider had been recruited to a new team with its own brand, so she wasn’t going to be competing on the Sweetpea any longer, which had been custom built for her cyclocross racing endeavors. So she listed the frame for sale and that’s when I snapped it up.  The original fork was carbon, shown above, painted to match the frame.  I rode the bike with the carbon fork for several hundred miles after building the bike up.  The feel of the carbon fork was very alarming to me. It felt dead and kind of strange. The fork had no control feel as compared to the precision and comfort provided by a steel fork.  Once removed from the frame, I examined the beautifully painted carbon fork only to discover tiny cracks around the fork crown.  My conclusion was that the carbon fork was failing.  I sourced an exact match in length and rake from Surly – a black lugged steel fork with cantilever braze-ons – and then removed the Surly logos once I had the new fork mounted.  What a difference that made to the handling and comfort of this bicycle.  And, I really like the contrast of the black fork against the cream colored frame paint.

Ramsland’s work on this frame is very nice and the custom paint job draws much attention.  For the rear brake hanger, I used a Problem Solver’s solution to accommodate the small space between the hanger and the straddle cable.

The rest of the build was done with some of my favorite components, as well as a few new ones that I wanted to try out:  Paul’s cantilevers, Shimano derailleurs, and a Velo Orange compact crankset.

I used  700c Mavic CXP 21 32 spoke rims on Shimano Ultegra hubs – a very beautiful and competent wheelset.

Here is the complete build list and frame geometry information:

Fillet brazed steel frame with lugged steel Surly fork, custom geometry. Shimano 8 speed bar-end shifters; Shimano levers, 105 front derailleur, Deore rear dear derailleur Shimano 11-30 8 speed cassette, Shimano cartridge sealed bottom bracket. Velo Orange Grand Cru crankset 48T/34T. Nitto Crystal Fellow seat post; B 115 bars, Selle Italia Lady Gel Flo leather saddle, 700c Mavic CXP 21 rims on Ultegra hubs, 32 spokes front and rear (built by Wheelsmith), Michelin Trans World Sprint cross tires, Velo Orange Headset and Stem, Wipperman chain, Paul Touring Cantilevers, Newbaum’s cloth bar tape, Gear inch range: 30 to 116.

Frame geometry:

Seat tube 49.5 cm (effective)

Top tube 52 cm

(effective)

Wheelbase: 100cm

HT degrees 72 degrees

Fork rake:

47mm

Top tube slope 11 degrees

Seat tube degrees 71.5

Rear spacing 130 mm

Frame brazeons:

2 bottle cages, rear rack mounts, fender eyelets front and rear

The bike is for sale on my Store page. If you are interested in purchasing just the frame and fork, please get in touch.