Paul Brodie is a name that will be familiar to those old enough to remember when the majority of mountain bikes were made from steel. He’s one of the founding fathers of the Canadian mountain biking scene and these days he teaches Framebuilding 101 at the University of the Fraser Valley.
One of his graduates, Karen Massier, is also the UFV co-ordinator for Framebuilding 101, and other continuing studies programs, and this is now her second frame, which recently won two awards at the 22nd Spring National Cruiser Ride & 10th Annual Bicycle Show & Shine in Richmond, BC, Canada.
The two awards were Best in Show (People’s Choice) and Best Custom Bike. Her bike, the enigmatically-named Lady Karma, is a stunner and she was gracious enough to pen some thoughts about the build process for the readers of Cycle EXIF.
“After building my first frame in the Framebuilding 101 class at the University of the Fraser Valley I wanted to make another frame. This time it would be pretty and curvy. A women’s bike built by a woman. I also wanted to make it a functional bike that could perform well as a city or commuter bike as well as a pretty Sunday ride.
“Meet Lady Karma. She took me 9 months to build but was so worth it. I am pleased with the outcome. My initial inspiration came from Nantucket baskets. They are very functional and of course pretty. I wanted to up-cycle as many parts as I could so I started with a tossed out BRC cruiser frame. I cut the curvy down tube out of it and brazed it onto Lady Karma.
“More curves were needed in the design so I rolled the seat stays and the twin top tubes on the new tube roller that the UFV Bike shop just purchased. To keep the lines clean on the frame I wanted to have as little cabling as possible. I opted for the Shimano Nexus 8 internal hub with a coaster brake. Internal cable routing for the hub was then necessary. To make the bike more functional I added a front disk brake for increased stopping power.
“Lady Karma needed to have a side stand. I wanted a built-in one and because I was making my own frame I could do that. I sourced an old cruiser bike for sale on Craigslist and met up with the seller in a parking lot in Bellingham, Washington. I handed over my money and I got a rather beat-up old cruiser frame and this is how I got my built-in stand.
“Since this was a ladies bike it needed to have a lot of shiny bling on it. I thought a White Industries crankset with built in bash guard would look nice. I also purchased beautiful hammered textured Velo Orange fenders and some Velo Orange rims which went nicely with a polished Surly front hub.
“Thanks to the guys at Velocity Cycles store in Langley, BC who set me up with some shiny parts. I was able to up-cycle a nice set of chromed handlebars and an aluminium stem. The stem needed some polishing, so yes I got my hands dirty but it was worth it.
“Since Lady Karma was to be a classic it seemed only right to put a Brooks leather saddle on her and matching leather hand grips. A rear rack painted pink with a vintage name plate I had as a child and a shiny chrome bell adorns Lady Karma.
“My deadline was to have this bike completed for the 22nd Annual Spring National Cruiser and Show and Shine in Richmond, BC. The week before the event I realized the fork I had purchased was all wrong and I needed to source another one. Because I was using 650b wheels it was a bit difficult to find one as the selection is small but I searched the box of unwanted forks at the UFV Bike shop and with a little modification found the perfect one.
“My painter was on stand-by just waiting to go. I always find the hardest part of the build is selecting the paint colour. It had to be pink of course for a pretty bike. I agonized for weeks over this decision, selecting every paint chip from the hardware stores and examining them in different lighting. I found the perfect colour and had the local auto paint store mix it up. I also used some leftover cream colour paint my painter had.
Photo by Paul Brodie.
“Lady Karma was completed for the Show and Shine at 9pm the day before the event and took two awards. Best Custom bicycle and Best in Show. I couldn’t be more pleased with my pretty bike. Special thanks go to my mentor and instructor Paul Brodie from Framebuilding 101 at the University of the Fraser Valley.”
And we’d like to thank Karen for taking the time to write about her frame building experience. Inspired? Find out more about the Framebuilding 101 class at the University of the Fraser Valley on their website. A search for Paul Brodie in the Cycle EXIF archives will reveal some amazing bikes built by Paul for previous NAHBS.
Frame Build and Design: Karen Massier
Painted by: Paul Brodie
Photography: Karen Massier unless noted.