I have this sense that I could have devoted the entirety of a magazine to Bruce Gordon’s career in cycling. He was as multifaceted as a diamond. From his frames to his tires to his pumps to his racks to his toe clips and even his cantilever brakes, Bruce was an original.
There are two bikes in particular that really highlight just how original he was and demonstrate how deep his knowledge was, because unless you had as broad a skillset as Bruce did, you couldn’t have done either of these bikes.
The first was his carbon/ti road bike built in conjunction with Mike Lopez. Lopez was the man responsible for helping Specialized do the Epic Allez and Epic Stumpjumper back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. What Bruce and Lopez did could be considered an Epic on steroids and psychedelics.
Making lugs out of titanium sounds cool. Until you understand just how hard it is to work with titanium. And then once you know how hard it is to work with titanium when you look at what Bruce did in creating these lugs you can’t help but wonder why he’d devote so much time to a result so few would appreciate.
Thats a lot of titanium to turn into chips.
This titanium fixie is a bike that I can imagine many people would dream of building, but almost no one other than Bruce Gordon could have built. It is arguably the world’s only titanium bike constructed with lugs so that it looks like a steel bike.
That Bruce would go to the trouble to produce an integrated bar and stem and yet replicate the diameters of a stem clamp and bar seems an unnecessary attention to detail. But that’s Bruce.
Bruce machined his own titanium headset for the bike and then went the crazy extra step of giving it a wood inlay. That headtube/toptube lug was made from two different piece of billet machined into tubes, then tacked and welded and then the bead was filed smooth so that it looks like a single, cast lug.
Of course, what’s good for the upper headset bearing is good for the lower.
It’s hard to understate the amount of work necessary to smooth the weld bead on each and every weld throughout this bike. There are six, possibly seven welds in this shot alone.
Sure, that cable guide that looks like it was brass-brazed in place looks cool, but what’s really remarkable is how Bruce extended his clear coat millimeters beyond the green to make sure it was well-protected.
Bruce’s classing descending circular windows motif got a reworking here almost as if they are a series of waves rolling in. Again, a truly original look from Bruce, and done on a lug that has more work in it than some forks. Just how the tubes were bonded into the lugs is something that Salsa founder Ross Shafer helped with.
This is perhaps my favorite detail of the entire bike. The seatstays are bonded into two caps that have been welded to the seattube and feature Bruce’s squared-off finish. As with his steel bikes, the seat binder is hidden in the seatstay caps, which have been given artful points that echo the lugs elsewhere in the bike. I wonder if Bruce bothered to count just how many hours went into this one joint. It hardly matters; the effort and the intellect behind it will stand as a rare achievement in frame building. He truly was one of the most original frame builders ever to wield a torch.