A lugged steel frame is a thing of immeasurable beauty, but a frame that’s well-fillet brazed can be breathtaking. It’s almost a shame to cover it in paint, hiding the even seams, but a fresh coat can make the method appear like liquid. Massachusetts’ Nao Tomii is an expert in fusing two steel tubes together by fillet brazing, demonstrated by this 650B MTB.
Nao, traditionally trained and practicing as a sculptor, proudly used to title his frames in chronological order: the last Tomii seen on the pages of Cycle EXIF was Number 12. A couple of frames later makes this one Number 14 or 15, but it’s actually built for the same customer as Number 12, New Englishman Bobby Earle O’Brien. It’s a perfect match, albeit with even fatter tires.
Bobby’s new MTB shows off Nao’s buttery smooth brazing and eye for fine lines. A small section of webbing at the head and down tubes draw the eye along the fillets and down to the White Brothers LOOP forks and QtapeR axle. An ENVE wheelset, Rotor 3D cranks and a titanium seat post, stem and handlebar by fellow New England locals Firefly top the rock-solid build.