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I have waited nearly a year to build this bike: I first ordered the frame from Alien Bikes as part of a group buy last October, receiving it last May.  Despite the ridiculous wait, the frame is gorgeous and well-made, especially considering the low $350 pricetag for a hand-made lugged steel frame.  I used wire brushes to remove most of the phosphate coating from the tubes, exposing the raw steel and bright gold flux around the lugs.   The inspiration for this build is a classic Italian racer, something that looks like a throwback to the 1940’s or 50’s, but built from a mix of affordable modern and vintage parts.

For more pictures, click here to see this bike’s photo set on Flickr.com.

The wheelset is Velocity Deep-V with “silver-spangle” rims that match the frame color beautifully.  The crankset and seatpost are 70’s-vintage Campagnolo Nuovo Record, with a Dura-Ace chainring and Surly cog (49/18 gearing).  The vintage Brooks B-17 saddle and crazy adjustable stem give it a lot of flavor – the stem is truly 1940’s vintage and hand-made, a lucky eBay find.

Keeping with theme, I added a pair of Soma Major Taylor bars, but the Salsa cross lever and Shimano RSX brake are a bit anachronistic.  I’m probably going to switch the bars soon, and I’m hoping to find a vintage brake lever that matches better.

This is the steepest track bike I’ve ever ridden, and it’s taking some practice and learning to get comfortable on.  However, I am already enjoying the way the steel soaks up road vibrations, much better than my aluminum Fuji Track Pro.  This bike is still a “work in progress” but I’m very proud of it, and it represents my best custom build yet.

3 Responses to “Alien 53cm fixed-gear custom build”

  1. […] finished this build at the end of September, showcasing  it in this post.  However, I very quickly ran into a bunch of problems when I started riding it.  The Major […]

  2. Seth says:

    I love the bike. I have a work in progress bike, which is an old lugged Peugeot which has a raw frame. I am thinking of painting just the lugs and then having the entire frame powder coated with a clear powder coat. Any thoughts? Are you planning on clear coating your frame, let it patina, or just keep it from getting to wet and too rusty?

    Cheers,
    Seth

  3. naptrax says:

    I’ve never seen a bike with painted lugs and a raw frame, but it might look very cool. Regarding the powder coat, I’ve learned that you can’t do a clear powder coat on a raw bike; you can, but it won’t properly adhere to the steel without a primer coat first, which defeats the purpose. without a primer coat, it will last about a year or so before it starts to rust under the clear coat.

    I am planning on letting my bike patina slowly; I wipe it down after rides and go over any rust spots lightly with some steel wool. I like how it’s going so far, but I do admit it’s been hard to relax and just let it patina, LOL. it was supposed to be my “beater” bike but I avoid riding it in bad weather.

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