Building a Bicycle Frame with Dave Yates – Day 1

2012 April 13
by Chris Vernon

Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5

I spent the first week of April 2012 with Dave Yates in Lincolnshire building myself a bicycle frame. This photo blog charts its progress.

Reynolds butted tubing

Here are the Reynolds butted tubes at the start of the process. The head tube, top tube, and seat tube are 631, the down tube 853, seat and chainstays 725 and the forks Reynolds R.

Brazing bottom bracket

Within a couple of hours of arriving I was brazing the bottom bracket lug and seat tube. At this stage we hadn't really thought about the eventual geometry - but it was safe to say it would need these two components! It was really good to get stuck in without having to just talk for hours at the start of the week.

Brazed bottom bracket

The finished article. Dave's happy so I'm happy. A lot of brass went in, it's gone all the way through and none's on the floor. The joint's good. A bit of shot blasting and filing will clean it up nicely.


I'm using cast vertical dropouts which have to slot into the chainstays. They are cut and filed to look like this.

Rear dropout

Before brazing all the surfaces must be cleaned with emery paper and flux applied to prevent oxidation of the surfaces.

Rear dropout

Lots of brass makes a solid joint. Still needs lots of filing to make the cast blend smoothly into the stay.

Seat stays

The fork blades are prepared, ready for the dropout in the same way.

Front dropout

Front dropout securely attached to fork blade.

By the end of the first day I felt like I’d achieved a lot. Dave’s place is next door to RAF Coningsby, home of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. There were Spitfires circling above the workshop, which, along with the oxy-acetylene torch and the sunshine made for a very special day.

Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5

3 Responses leave one →
  1. July 6, 2012

    I found your blog because I’m a beekeeper, but by weird coincidence my boyfriend has done the same bike building course with Dave Yates as you!

    Happy beekeeping.

  2. July 12, 2012

    Wow – small world. How long ago did he build the bike? Is there a photo on-line anywhere? I’m building another frame at The Bicycle Academy ( next month. So much fun!

  3. Fernando permalink
    August 27, 2012

    Hi, Chris!
    Your project is great!

    I live in Brazil and my name is Fernando. I am not an athlete, but I use my bike for everything, such as taking my son to school, going to work, making small trips and tracks. My body is quite asymmetric, and I have serious problems fitting a bike for my peculiar anatomic proportions. So, I began to think about a personalized frame. Do you know any protocol for fitting frames to body dimensions?
    Thanks a lot,

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