The other day, I had the pleasure of meeting Taavo and Martin down at FSC to take a look at their newly arrived Fall line. In addition to their mechanic's shirts, tweed shackets and impeccably tailored suiting, the fellas at Freeman's have new Fall offerings of beautiful deadstock wool/cashmere Revere Coats(you have to feel them), deadstock wool shawl-collar Codger Jackets, heavy japanese cotton flannels(perfect) and handsome umbrellas from Fox of London(est. 1868). But that's another post.Let's talk shop.
Bikes, for me, are always works in progress. Switch out saddles, find that elegant quill stem, throw on different pedals, have to have the Montmarte bars from Velo Orange. I think Taavo may be similar in his tinkering. Take one Surly frame, mess with it for a year or two, give it a unique gun metaled and hand painted finish, add a coaster break and deadstock pedals. Now, take that bike and clone it.
The FSC bike has been a year + long project in the making between Freemans Sporting Club and Freeman Transport of Missoula, Montana(No relation aside from friendships forged through the process).
The hand-made steel frames come from Freeman Transport, (which are a couple of guys Doing Things Right) founded in 2006 by Nathaniel Freeman and Ben Ferencz, and are finished here in NYC by the FSC guys.
It's an upgraded yet fairly faithful repro of Taavo's own neighborhood beater(compare the photos for yourself).
His own dislike for tow cages and knee problems(is that what the popping is?) lead to building the bike sans cog and lock ring but with a bmx-style coaster break and deadstock platform pedals for an easier ride. Also adding to a more up-right posture while riding are English 3 speed style tourist bars.
Add a Brooks saddle(naturally) and big white Schwalbe tires, finish the frame off with the same "secret rust finish" and some hand-painted FSC action and there you have it, the FSC town bike. Not quite a Porteur, certainly not a Randonneur, the FSC bicycle rather re-interprets and updates the Pashley Path Racers of the '30s.
Bikes are extremely limited, if not already pre-sold by now. It's worth a trip down to Rivington to have a look. And while you're at it, treat yourself to a haircut and shave.
A big thanks to Taavo, Martin and Ben.