While the slogan of Chapman Cycles reads as ‘Modern Bikes for Vintage Souls’, it’s interesting to make note of the flatland BMX frame that Brian Chapman recently built for himself — executed with the same meticulous care and craftsmanship that he pays to his touring frames.
The BMX is a tight little ship of a bike, which Brian whips around with utter grace and speed, but a complete juxtaposition to the cyclotouring frame shown here, which is as elaborate and considered as any of the bikes built by the French constructeurs.
Brian’s workshop is located in Rhode Island, the smallest of the 50 US states, which shares a border with Massachusetts, his home state. Social riding around the island is a major influence on the type of frames he has come to specialise in these days, namely award-winning commuters and light tourers.
This particular tourer was presented to the public at the Bike Cult Show in NYC in August, where it wowed the crowds with the level of detail Brian takes pride in. The hand-carved lugwork is superb, demonstrating that he is willing to spend time creating something truly unique.
The front and rear racks, essential to any touring bike, were custom-built to specification, including removable lowrider attachments. Brian has worked a lot with NOS brakesets such as the Dura-Ace set on Josie’s Roadie, and the pair of Mafac Racers were installed here.
Brian strives for complete integration in his bikes, a real challenge when it comes to involved frames like these, but one that he relishes. Supernova E3 lights in the front and rear will illuminate the night roads, powered by a dynamo hub with internal wiring.
A nice complement to the Mafac brakes is the NOS half-step Avocet crankset, a setup which eliminates duplicate gearing (Velo Apocalypse explains this extensively). Brian sourced a pair of Avocet toe straps to match and followed by sewing on toe clip leathers as well.
For Brian, it’s all about the details — like a set of spare spokes that double as a chain-slap protector, a Lezyne pump painted in the same colour and, upon request of the customer, a whale design, carved out of the bottom bracket shell.
It would be a grand sight to see this bike fully-laden, a steadfast craft ready for adventure. You can see more of Brian’s work, not to mention his kick-ass flatland skills, on the Chapman Cycles website.