While Australia’s custom frame builders are a smaller contingent than that of, say, the US, their diminutive population is compensated for by their extra large personalities and talents — befitting to the size of the land on which they live. Take, for example, Queensland’s Joe Cosgrove. Apart from having a reputation as one of Australia’s best painters, he’s also been building frames under his ‘Frezoni’ banner for 30 years.
When Melbourne’s Andrew Blake acquired a ‘Frozoni’ on a local forum in a condition that could only be described as ‘a renovator’s dream’ — attached to a mag trainer and missing decals, saddle and front wheel – he returned it to Joe’s for a full restoration.
Joe was actually able to match the serial numbers to the entry in his record books: 15.4.82, meaning Andrew’s frame has just turned 30 years old.
Andrew continues: “The frame was built early on when he was building frames for Kevin Thompson, a racer/importer who fit people to bikes and had Joe build the frames, hence the lack of decals.
“Then I left it with Joe to be set to 130mm, add a front mech braze-on and repaint in pearl white with period decals (current decals have an Australia in the ‘O’, and are larger to suit oversize tubing). The original decals had all degraded, so Joe recreated the artwork digitally.
“Another Frezoni-owning friend in Brisbane was coming down to the track world champs, and I’d arranged for him to bring it down for me. Luckily the artwork and final clear coat was all done in time. Then it was just a matter of building it up with a mismatched collection of parts I had earmarked for it, including a few things I’ve had sitting around for years waiting for the right project, such as a NOS Ultegra 1” headset and a Nitto Pearl stem.
“The build went smoothly, the only hiccup was tire clearance. Designed for tubulars and 47mm reach brakes, the fashion at the time was skinny ~19mm tires, so even with narrow Grand Bois Col de la Madeleine 23mm tires (22mm on Open Pros), there’s only a millimeter or two between the tire and the underside of the SRAM dual pivot brake. The splash tape just seemed right!”
In 2010, Joe collaborated with another Australian framebuilding legend, Darrell Llewellyn McCulloch, applying paint to Darrell’s Lucentezza Custodian. The frame traveled with Darrell to the 2010 North American Handmade Bicycle Show, where it won the award for ‘Best Paint’, apt recognition for Joe’s level of skill. If you’d like an award-winning coat of paint on your beloved frame, contact Joe through his Cycle Design website.
Special thanks to Andrew Blake for the story and photography. See more on his flickr stream.