About Frances Cycles

Bicycles are an argument for localism. My building process reflects these ideals as best as possible: I don’t own a car and drive little, riding frames out the painter’s in Watsonville. Most all of the materials I use are sourced within the US, and some in the Bay Area. My framesets are built by hand, one at a time, slowly.

Bicycles offer a way to move around in the world without sacrificing the beauty and safety of our neighborhoods or the quality of our air. Currently, here is enough food in most parts of the world to power everybody’s bicycle into the foreseeable future without causing a crisis.

I design and build beautiful functional bicycles that best fit the end use (transportation) while maintaining a commitment to elegant design and artistry. All frames are brazed steel with or without lugs.

Each frame is an individual, for each rider, and each rider has a different set of needs.

The configurations that I have been building roughly fall into a few archetypes (you can find images in the Archetypes gallery):

The light tour-ready road is quick and compact, with a riding position that you can handle on centuries and longer tours, and has brazons for fenders, and a rear rack.

The Randonneur design is a little longer and heftier with generous clearances and all the brazons it takes to carry you and your camping gear well lit through the coastal mountains and valleys of California.

Fixed-gears and track bikes. Stiff, quick, stable handling and elegant simplicity.

The Bici Corta fixed-gear is my remake of the Rigi design. He seat tube is split to allow the wheel to tuck under the rider and short the wheelbase. The front end is tight, but no toe overlap. It doesn’t ride like a Rigi.

The Diffusible fixed-gear employs the Ritchey beak-away couples for easy travel. It is available in track or street geometry.

I have always loved mixtes, and offer a Frances mixte with elegant curves, upright posture, and quick, smooth riding.

The Small Haul is a high performance road touring cycletruck. It’s quick and surprisingly light. The front basket is rated to carry up to 80lbs (good size Labrador), and you can throw your touring gear on the back rack or in the numerous other places offered by the bike’s unique shape. This design features the Frances Cable Steering System.

The Cycletruck is a low-riding long john for hauling heavy and awkward loads up to 200lbs. You can move around fast with tools, kids, and groceries, all at the same time!

- JOSHUA MUIR, SANTA CRUZ, 2008.

Santa Cruz

Tools of the Trade

Something I built