A Cinelli Frame with Stories to Tell

Ray Keener holds his frame, built by Cinelli and ridden by Jobst Brandt back in the 1970s. Behind him is his Peter Johnson frame, built in 1980.

While visiting Ray Keener in Boulder, Colorado, I had a chance to see Jobst Brandt’s last Cinelli, the one ridden before he switched to Tom Ritchey and Peter Johnson frames.

Ray is lovingly restoring the Cinelli with a new paint job and no doubt some good components. While Cinelli made excellent frames, they had one design limitation (in hindsight) — lugs. That meant the tube diameter had to be one-inch or one-and-an-eighth for the down tube. Ray says the bike has a lot of flex, although it never seemed to affect Jobst.

By contrast, also shown in the photo, is a frame built for Ray by the Bay Area’s Peter Johnson in 1980. It’s fillet brazed, has no lugs, and that meant Peter could build bikes with larger diameter tubes.

Fillet brazing offered a big advantage when Tom Ritchey started building mountain bike frames starting in 1979. He used larger diameter tubes for more durable bikes.

Jobst started riding Cinelli frames sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s. He purchased his first one from Spence Wolf, owner of Cupertino Bike Shop, which Spence ran out of his house. Jobst showed me the receipt and I think the entire bike cost something like $157.

Ray still rides Peter’s bike day in and day out after all these years.

Jobst Brandt rides his Cinelli (circa 1977) in a field of poppies just off Mines Road after the long descent. Photo by Peter Johnson.

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