NAHBS 2016 Best Lugged Frame Award: Mark DiNucci and the art of the detail
DiNucci creates his lugs with investment casts, and they are proprietary to him. But anyone who looks at his bikes closely will see that his investment in framebuilding is total. Nothing escapes the eye of this master.
Mark DiNucci has beer. He calls out to let his friends know this as he passes them in the aisles of NAHBS, and he jokes profusely while strolling through the crowd, it's a good day: he's just won a NAHBS award. In fact he's just won Best Lugged Frame, one of the most coveted accolades of the year, for a bike with exquisitely formed, and very thin, lugs. DiNucci, who is based in Oregon, USA, has been building bikes since “1972 or 1973,” as he recalls it. Where did he learn such a high level of craft? “The school of hard knocks. It’s called the empirical formula,” he quips.
Mark DiNucci with his award winning frame, painted and built. Photo: Paul Skilbeck
DiNucci’s painstaking attention to detail fans out into every aspect of the bicycles he builds. For instance, he applies extra brazing on the more important joints of a bike to make them stronger. In tandem with Reynolds he took an 853 tubeset and created up to nine levels of butting within the tubes. He’s picky about the sizing of the seat tube, having specified .02mm over-thickness near the top to enable him to ream it for a seat tube exactly the way he likes for a very snug fit.
DiNucci creates his lugs and dropouts with investment casts, and they are proprietary to him. But anyone who looks at his bikes closely will see that his investment in framebuilding is total.
The gear-side chainstay is flatted and bent outwards near the dropout, adding clearance for the gear cluster. Photo: Paul Skilbeck
Compare the right and left side chainstays and dropouts. Quite a difference! Photo: Paul Skilbeck
"Be sure to get a shot of the chainstay bridge, that's my favorite lug on the bike!" Says DiNucci, pointing to a detail that many would hardly notice on the built-up bike. To the critical eye of a frame builder though, details such as these can make a world of difference. Nothing escapes the eye of this master.