Custom Framebuilder
ALLEZ - Jose Vicente Araneta () - May 11, 2009 - 12:00am

When I started out cycling back in the late 80’s, the material of choice for bike frames was steel. There were basically two kinds of steel, hi-tension and chromium molybdenum, or chromoly for short. Hi-tension is heavier and cheaper while chromoly is light and therefore pricey.

Cycling purist always believe that steel is the best frame material. It is cheap and can be easily fabricated and fixed. However, compared to the newer materials in aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber, it is heavy. A high-end bike in the early 80’s would weight as much as 22lbs. These days, a fully functional, 14lb bike is common in the professional peloton. In fact, the UCI set a 15lbs limit for safety considerations.

Custom steel frames were the raged then. There were lots of custom frame builders in Manila but there was something magical in personally watching your frame go from just tubes to a double diamond frame. In those days, the place to go to was ASP Cyclehaus. The shop was owned by Vicente “Jun” Farrarons, a witty, chain-smoking, Spanish mestizo.

Jun wasn’t a welder but he knows his bikes that he could direct a welder to build a frame with his specs. I had my first frame built at ASP with welder Macario Sacay. My second frame, a lugless beauty, was also came from ASP, this time with Sammy Sy directing probably the best welder ASP had, Camilo Labandero. Both frames are now gone, but I wish I could buy back the second one back. Moises Pongasi, a cyclist from Lapu-Lapu, was also a custom framebuilder in those days. Although his frames didn’t break down during races, it didn’t have the finer detail of the ASP bikes.

Today, no one in Cebu is building custom steel frames. Cheap aluminum frames from China is making it impossible to make a living out of it. But there is one framebuilder, a Luzon based framebuilder named Ave Maldea, who is making a name for himself despite stiff competition. At Php16,500.00 for a top of the line custom frame, Maldea’s work are in such demand from cycling connoisseurs here and abroad that you have to wait weeks to get one. Compared to a custom, US$4,000.00, Dario Pegoretti, it’s worth the wait! 

These days, the best frames are made out of carbon fiber and titanium. The best carbon fiber frames are made in China while nothing can beat the artistry of American framebuilders when it comes to titanium. But for the cycling romantic, steel is real. Me, I’d like to build one up one day.

Padyak Pinoy 2009

If you haven’t heard about it, there is a big-time bike racing going on in Luzon! But nobody seems to hear about it, not even local media. Anyway, I just wish our boys- Robert Villaber, Jaybop Pagnanawon, Randy Carbonera, Albert Basirgo, Judemar Villarosa Nilo Barbalose, Roy Carbonera, Earl Cadampog, the best if luck! Considering the talent of our cyclists, a top 10 overall would be a miracle but a stage win is always there for the taking if they’re in the right place.

Race Results CAT C2 Mandaue   REKLA CRIT MAY 9, 2009

1- RONALD NAVARRO, 2- ALLAN DUNOG, 3- NANNY QUIJANO, 4- DANNY SIMBAHON, 5- HEIDE ESMALI, 6- CALIXTO CRUZ, 7- JAIME NOYNAY

Finally, Giro d’Italia is on! You can watch it “live” here: www.steephill.tv. Just click the appropriate site and you want watch Lance Armstrong, Ivan Basso, Levi Leipheimmer and the rest in action!

ALBERT BASIRGO AVE MALDEA CAMILO LABANDERO DARIO PEGORETTI EARL CADAMPOG FRAME FRAMES IVAN BASSO JAYBOP PAGNANAWON
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