Well, isn’t that just the cleanest silhouette you’ve ever seen? Not a single derailleur to mess up the picture. For the past couple of days, Paul Brodie has guided us through the steps involved with building the world’s best shaft-drive cruiser. Here’s the big reveal.
There’s a multitude of reasons the shaft-drive transmission isn’t an industry standard, even though, in theory, it sounds like a good idea: no exposed moving parts, no greasy or snapped chains, no skipping gears, etc.
The facts are that a shaft-drive requires much weightier construction, and make wheel removal more complicated when repairing a puncture. Most of the advantages claimed for a shaft drive can be realized by using a fully enclosed chain case.
A shaft-drive needs less routine maintenance than a chain-drive but a well-adjusted belt-drive answers the same issues, with less weight and more standardized production. Still, Paul Brodie has created a perfectly working model, in a delicious frame.
The custom integrated stem and handlebars, forks and bi-laminate frame are a modern interpretation of a classic design. It doesn’t matter what the stats are, Paul’s cruiser just craves to be taken for a ride. It’s a masterpiece from a master builder.
This concludes Paul’s NAHBS fabrication insight, but if you like this sort of thing, you’ll love his autobiography, Paul Brodie — The Man Behind Brodie Bikes. To purchase the book, ask for it at your local bookshop (ISBN-10: 0995065802, ISBN-13: 978-0995065802), or head to Amazon.com, and if you’re in Canada, you’ll have to go through Amazon.ca.
PS: Just over a month ago, it was his anniversary just over a month ago, which makes it fifty years that Paul’s been making things out of metal.
Big thanks to Mike Freda for the photos.