I’ve had this bike for
almost two years about six years now. Here’s a New Years 2022 update photo:
People are shocked that it’s ‘new,’ since it’s steelier and beautifuler than most modern bikes. It’s a Frances, out of Santa Cruz, custom built by Joshua Muir for someone who is not me. I like it.
It checks all my boxes: steel, fillet, gigantic, “all this by hand” custom, built with American tubes and fitments. Also a crazy color I did not pick. Color-matched stem and custom racks. I’ve met the builder and I like him. I think he’s a genius. Have you seen his cargo bikes??
I have three friends that regularly text me links to green bikes “YOU SHOULD BUY THIS.” This one I saw on Craigslist, looking for “custom.” The ad didn’t even say “Frances,” just “custom by Joshua Muir.”
“I know who that is!” I met Josh at a Portland NAHBS, or similar bike show, and fell immediately in love with the bikes and the pretensionless air of his whole presentation. Zero other builders had Nashbar brakes on their bikes. Josh had borrowed back bikes from his friends and customers, and they all had workmanlike quotidian builds, instead of self-conscious overwrought bling like everyone else.
This frame is unselfconscious bling. The color is amazing. It’s a metal flake green called Illusion Mist. The stays are bowed in a trademark way, and the stay ends and custom stem feature whale fluke details. The tubing is all True Temper, because Josh bought up as much as he could afford when TT got out of the bike tube business, and the fitments (dropouts, lugs, crown) are all Henry James or Pacenti. The stem and racks match the frame. Maybe one day I can afford a Wayfarer trailer, painted to match.