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fillet brazed bikes and other observations(27 posts)

fillet brazed bikes and other observationsmoschika
May 22, 2003 9:42 PM
whatever happened to fillet brazed steel bikes? and to some degree steel bikes?

i've mostly ridden mtbs but got into road riding too a few years ago. partly due to reading this board. back when i started mtbing a fillet brazed frame was the shiznit. top bikes were fillet brazed. now they're almost extinct.

in the road riding world it's either lugs or tigged aluminum, carbon or titanium frames. were unlugged, fillet brazed steel frames ever popular?

i've also noticed less preference for local small frame builders. most people on this site seem to have more 'popular' frames and bikes. it doesn't appear as common for people to talk about their new soulcraft, sycip, curtlo, etc, as say colnago, de rosa, bianchi, litespeed, etc. why is that?

just curious what other's thoughts are on this.
re: fillet brazed bikes and other observationsstinkfoot247
May 22, 2003 10:04 PM
I never heard of a fillet brazed frame, does any body have a pic.
I would be hessitant to buy bike from a "local small frame builder" I think it's the image that's portrayed to me that you big names are the leading technology and that if I want the best bike, that would be the place to go. I don't know if I'm right on that is the case. And I guess I would also have to say if I had the money to spend I would probably buy a moots or something just for bragging rights. Just like buying tommy hilfiger clothes or something like that. I don't know if you would consider vanilla bicycles small frame builders but I have grown an interest in them.
still some aroundtarwheel
May 23, 2003 4:23 AM
Landshark and Lyon are two frame builders that make filet-brazed bikes. Both are located in the NW and have pics on their websites: and Lyon frames are a real steal (and steel) for the money -- about $800 for a full custom frame and fork. Landsharks are a bit pricier but have incredible paint jobs if you're into the tie-dye look (although he will paint more conventional schemes as well. generally has a good selection of Landsharks for sale and a few Lyons.
that's interestingmoschika
May 23, 2003 6:48 AM
i can see your point in thinking that the 'big' names or at least those seen on tv are the leading edge of technology but to think that small builders wouldn't be? not many small builders i'm aware of have an R&D department other then their own riding experience or feedback from customers. but the materials seem to be the same. at least for the steel frame builders i'm aware of.

and yes i think vanilla is a small frame builder. beautiful bikes.
re: fillet brazed bikes and other observationsAkirasho
May 22, 2003 11:18 PM
... compared to many other ways of joining alloy tubes in a bike frame, fillet brazing is a bit more labor (cost) intensive... so it's rarer... but not gone (fillet brazing occurs at a much lower temperature than welding, this having less of a negative impact on the alloy's properties post heating).

Notice the fillet transitions 'tween tubes on this frame... very smooth and aesthetically pleasing (built by CoMotion).

As reported by the owner of this frame (housebrand for Gaansari Cycles), CoMotion had no problems doing fillet brazing and indeed, were enthusiastic about the project.

I miss the old "Hot Tubes" section in the old Bicycle Guide/Bicyclist magazine... there you would see a variety of frame building techniques... in those days, TIG welding was less popular (both small and large frame builders) than today (time and money).

BTW, I'm considering selling a kidney to pick up a 853 Van Cleve...

Be the bike.
how much do kidneys sell for these daysstinkfoot247
May 23, 2003 1:50 AM
I was going to put an ad in the paper but I don't know what kind of price tag to put on it. I was thinking around 120K.
What's the price range on the fillet brazed bikes, sure is pretty. And any disadvantages besides time + money. thanks for the pics
those are some nice jointsmoschika
May 23, 2003 6:37 AM
i personally like the aesthetic of fillet brazed frames. maybe because when i was getting into cycling(mtbing) those were the frames i would drool over.

that's why i got a curtlo mtb. it's a fillet brazed steel frame.

but i just wasn't seeing stuff like that in road bikes and wondered why. even in mtbs it's not seen all that often now a days.

am i turning into a retro grouch already? say it isn't so.
love those jointslaffeaux
May 23, 2003 10:17 AM
To me fillet brazed is well worth the few hundred $$. Both Sycip and Strong will fillet braze a frame, I've research both. My next bike will be a fillet 'cross bike from one of the two.

All bikes should look like this:

Fillet Braised: Landshark, Casati Lazer...Spunout
May 23, 2003 2:44 AM has a selection of Landsharks. Casati Lazer is a beauty, fillet braised EOM 16.5 tubes.

I ride a Lemond that is TIG welded, not pretty welds at all. Not as bad as AL (unfinished), but not pretty.
May 23, 2003 5:27 AM
I bought a used Landshark frame/fork off ebay about 2 months ago and after buildup, its my favorite bike. I have a great Italian steel lugged frame, but the Landshark has a much better ride.

The brazing is incredible, you absolutely cannot see a weld anywhere on the frame. It also has tapered tubes on the main triangle /stays that make it very rigid but still produces a great feel. For example, the toptube butts to the headtube in a horizontal oval tapers to round in the center and then to a vertical oval taper at the seat tube. The downtube is just the reverse. I couldn't afford a new Landshark, the frame/fork start at around $1,600, but mine was only $212 and included a Record headset and a bottom bracket. If you see one that is your size, you won't be disappointed.
It's not that bad.djg
May 23, 2003 5:49 AM
I think that Landsharks start at around 1200, not 16. Also, GVH will sell a complete bike for 2k--these included custom builds and not just in-stock models.

I believe that Vanilla also offers fillet brazing, in addition to lugged.
It's not that bad.cdhbrad
May 23, 2003 6:07 AM
Check the pricing on his site. The cheapest frame only is $1,250(not full filet brazed)and a steel fork is 225. The cheapest fully brazed frame is $1,489 with a fork for 225. That's $1,475 and $1,714 respectively.

He probably has a deal with GVH to deliver frames/forks on a consignment/spec basis, but that's just my guess as to how GVH prices them cheaper than the prices shown on his own site.

My point was that if you see a used Landshark, in good condition, and your size, its probably going to be a good deal and a great ride. I sure wouldn't part with mine for a lot more than I paid for it.
May 23, 2003 6:19 AM
And if you want oversized tubing (as a tall guy, I would), Landsharks are even pricier.

OTOH, GVH now has a bunch of "Gary V" filet-brazed Zona frames (standard size tubes) for a grand. He doesn't "divulge" the builder, but they look an awful lot like Slawta's (Landshark) work.
Right on Gary V?cdhbrad
May 23, 2003 7:06 AM
I think you are right about those Gary V frames. I think that deep Burgundy metallic paint on them looks great too.
No argument here.djg
May 23, 2003 9:30 AM
I was just pointing out that they can be had, even custom, a bit cheaper than you suggested. Clearly you got a deal. As for the "not full filet brazed"--I guess you are right, in that the standard model appears to come with a lugged (and brazed) bottom bracket, with the rest of the joints filet brazed. Looks pretty nice to me, but I suppose it's a little different.
Buy From GVHSharkman
May 23, 2003 9:58 AM
There is no sound reason not to buy from GVH. I bought a Landshark from Gary a year ago, equipped with Dura Ace for $2,300. If I had wanted a custom dimensioned frame, the price would have been the same. Why pay the prices on the Landshark website when Gary has a much better deal.

I cant think of a reason

Fillet Braised/tiggedtwin
May 23, 2003 9:27 AM
If a small frame builder is really good at tigged welding it is almost the same look as fillet brazed. I have a frame from a small frame builder in Ok. and its tigged and I had one that was fillet brazed because of the high quality they both looked pleasing to the eye.
Moser Leader AX...Duke249
May 23, 2003 5:47 AM
Is another Italian bicycle that is fillet brazed. I have one and it is an absolutely wonderful frameset. The joints are very well done and it is quite an interesting frameset with very clean lines.

FWIW, there's a 57cm on ebay right now (not mine!)
love that Moser AX...tarwheel
May 23, 2003 6:19 AM
Unfortunately, Red Rose isn't importing them any more. Where is the seat tube clamp on your frame? It doesn't appear to have one.
All that Chrome!!cdhbrad
May 23, 2003 7:12 AM
What a great looking bike. That's what I love about Italian steel bikes, they still like to use Chrome on the fork and stays. My lugged steel frame is early 90's and has a full chrome rear triangle and full chrome fork. Sure get's people's attention.
seatpost has internal expander.colker
May 23, 2003 7:28 AM
proprietary post? maybe. why moser bothers with this set up?
oops! you can still buy a Leader AXtarwheel
May 23, 2003 7:58 AM
Just checked the Red Rose Imports site, and they do still import the Leader AX. They quit importing the Pro Evolution, which had the same paint scheme.
Moser Leader AX...Tarheel71
May 23, 2003 5:22 PM
I have a '97 Moser TK-1, looks very similar to yours but is red and white. They are unbelievably clean-looking frames and are pure racing frames--I'm not sure I could even put a 25 mm tire on the rear, very little clearance with a 23.
re: fillet brazed bikes and other observationsgeeker
May 23, 2003 6:05 AM
I have an old "Team GT" cyclocross frame that's fillet brazed 853 steel ("oversized" tubing w/ 1-1/4" downtube), Henry James dropouts. GT had team bikes built this way, although they only sold aluminum. Bought the bike used, paint was in bad shape, had frame stripped and powder-coated, no more logos. I like it a lot. It's spoiled me, because I'd kind of like to get a road frame, but something of equivalent material/quality seems like it'd run $1500 or so (comparing Landshark's site with oversized tubing, dropout upgrade).
i have a lugged/filleted roadframe....Stinky Hippie
May 23, 2003 6:41 AM
...built in 2001 by one of Gary Fisher's old welders from back in the day when Fisher did all his frames in fillet. There ain't nothing prettier than a seemless filleted frame. (Frankly, I think Tig welded steel is ugly)My frame builder is local to me and did a beautiful job. I'd put it up against any frame out there in terms of quality and ride quality. Put his fillet work alongside a landshark and there is no question who does a better job.

Feel the gin
A few comments about fillet brazingNessism
May 23, 2003 7:54 AM
Fillet brazing is done with brass and requires quite a lot of heat to get the brass to flow. While the temperature of brass brazing is lower than TIG welding (where the actual steel tube is melted), the amount of heat applied to the tube is greater. Think of it this way, TIG welding is done quickly and at high temp with a narrow band of heat- get in, get out...done. Fillet brazing requires a lengthly preheat cycle before brazing and the actual process takes much longer and has a larger heat affected zone. The extra heat used during fillet brazing also results in more heat distortion. Bottom line is that TIG welding is less evassive to the tube and more falult tolerant as well.

Another thing to consider is the finishing operation, fillet brazing requires a fair bit of filing to smooth out the joints. If the builder is not careful, the tube may be undercut where the fillet ends - not a good thing with modern super thin tubes. Bottom line here is more time and more care is required.

One nice thing about fillet brazing is that it's cheap to purchase a brazing torch whereas a TIG rig is many times more money. I think this is why more of the old timers did fillet brazing.

Just food for thought.

It's all about the timeyeah right
May 23, 2003 8:28 AM
I'm building a fillet brazed bike right now. It takes forever to file down the fillets and finish the bike. Tig bikes just fly out the door and there's not that much of a price difference so most builders just do tig.