A Brief History
Many things in life have a story behind them, and this is no exception.
I started building Brodie frames in 1986, and Brent Martin was one of my first customers. Sloping top tubes were new back then, and the local hardcore element of mountain biking questioned the design, asking “how do you carry it over your shoulder?” They also thought it looked like a girls’ bike, which wasn’t cool either. But Brent wanted one anyway. Brodies were so new that even Brent wasn’t so sure about the name, because he took half of the decals off, so one side said “bro” and the other side said “die”.
At this time Brent was building log cabins in Whistler and training for triathalons in his spare time. He’s also a natural athlete. With his new Brodie Romax, he decided to enter the Cheakamus Challenge . . . one of the years’ biggest mountain bike off-road races from Squamish to Whistler. A bit to his surprise, he won! That season he became unstoppable. This photo was taken shortly before the Canadian Championships. His right wrist was injured, and he was skeptical about his chances. The race was held at Mount Seymour, in North Vancouver, over a very demanding course. Brent became the ’86 Canadian Champion anyway, and no one ever questioned the sloping top tube design again . . .
In December ’09 I thought about all of my frame jigs and fixtures that had been sitting upstairs in my office unused for at least five years. I wanted a new Gas Gas trials bike, and figured that if I sold the jigs and fixtures I could get that new Gas Gas. One afternoon, after lunch, I put an ad on Craigslist. Less than 12 hours later I had emails from Sweden and Switzerland! Not to mention all the local emails and phone calls. And Brent was interested too. He had a vision of a bicycle frame building course somewhere here in the Lower Mainland. He bought the jigs and fixtures, and I got a slightly used ’09 Gas Gas . . .
Now we had to figure out what to do. Brent set up meetings with Capilano University, which has a bicycle marketing and repair program, but there was no shop space for frame building. Next we approached BCIT, but ultimately they weren’t interested. In April 2010, I looked up UFV (University of the Fraser Valley) on the Internet and their homepage said they were interested in new courses. We had meetings and reached a deal.
So, the “inaugural” frame building course was setup to start Sept. 27, 2010, and we are still going strong.
About the Course
INSTRUCTOR: Paul Brodie
- Learn the art of steel frame building in this “hands on” two (2) week course. Location is UFV, in the Aerospace Centre, 30645 Firecat Avenue, Abbotsford, BC. [Map It from UFV]
- Class size is limited to (4) students. Minimum age is 15.
- Brief MTB history
- Frame design / geometry
- Tube selection
- Full scale drawing
- Shop safety
- Tube mitreing
- Jigs and fixtures
- Welding / brazing
- Finish work
- Students need to have a clear idea of what style of bike they want to build and their choice of front fork.
Here is some basic information to help you prepare for Framebuilding 101.
Firstly, please remember this is Framebuilding 101, not Framebuilding 301. I know there is sometimes a BIG temptation to want to add as many features as possible to your frame, but this is not always wise. It takes most students the full two weeks to finish a basic frame without doing anything fancy. I don’t want to discourage you from trying something a little different, but if you take on too much you run the risk of NOT finishing your frame. If you are unsure, please email me and we can discuss what you are thinking.
TIRE SIZE: You need to know tire size. This means the actual diameter and the width. Better still, a cardboard cutout of the tire’s profile which lets you know exactly where the widest point is. This is very important for your full-scale drawing. For example, it is NOT enough to simply know that you are using 700c rims. Knowing the exact diameter and width will allow you to accurately draw the clearance for the chain and seat stays instead of simply guessing, which is not good!
FORKS: You need to know the type of fork you will be using. There are two measurements that are critical. 1) the offset, or rake, and 2) the axle to crown measurement. You cannot complete your drawing without these.
If you have a bike you are currently riding, it is good to bring that, if possible. It’s a good starting point for discussion of your frame drawing, even if you don’t like some of the measurements or angles on your current bike.
CABLE ROUTING: If you are using a front derailleur, you need to know if it is top pull or bottom pull for cable routing.
In summary, the more information you have the better. That way you will be able to focus more energy on building a great frame!
- Frame material is 4130 cro-mo, TIG welded or fillet brazed. Sorry, no lugs.
- Wheel sizes: 26″ / 29″ / 700c
- Brake mounts: disc or V-brake. Style: MTB / single speed / cyclocross / road / cruiser
- Paint: not supplied
- $2,800 for the two (2) week course, no GST. Mon-Fri, 8am to 4pm.
- Some frame building parts have a higher cost than others. This course is based on an “average” tube set, dropouts and braze-ons. If you opt for premium components, there may be an up-charge.
- Bicycle gruppos will be available (for course participants) at wholesale pricing. Please let us know in advance if you are interested.
- Due to the ever-changing nature of the bicycle industry, UFV reserves the right to alter its curriculum at any time, for the betterment of its classes.
- If you need accommodation, UFV offers guest housing. The cost is currently $50 + GST per night.
Photo & Video Gallery
- Momentum Magazine: Frame Building 101
- Cycle EXIF: Paul Brodie
- Mike Freda Video (Student, Feb. 5, 2011): Frame Building School 101
- CBC (Apr. 18, 2012) Interview with Paul Brodie
- NSMB.com: Build a Brodie
- Paul’s Blog: Bike Frame Building
2014 Course Registration
To Register, call 888-823-8734 or 604-504-7441. Please provide the Course number you wish to register for.
- STARTS February 3-17: (Course # 20050) Paul Brodie, 10 sessions, Mon–Fri, 8 am–4 pm, $2,800..
- STARTS March 31-11: (Course # 20085) Paul Brodie, 10 sessions, Mon–Fri, 8 am–4 pm, $2,800.
- STARTS May 26-June 6: (Course # 40024) Paul Brodie, 10 sessions, Mon–Fri, 8 am–4 pm, $2,800.
- STARTS July 14-25: (Course # 40025) Paul Brodie, 10 sessions, FULL.
- STARTS Sept. 9-19 (Course # TBA) Paul Brodie, 10 sessions, Mon-Fri, 8 am – 4pm, $2,800.
- STARTS Oct. 27-Nov 7 (Course # TBA) Paul Brodie, 10 sessions, Mon-Fri, 8 am – 4 pm, $2,800.
Thank you for your interest in this course. And thank you, Brent, for your vision.