Thursday, March 3, 2011

No. 1: Cecil Behringer

We're going to go on a little journey back into the past. Earlier I described the Vincent Dominguez family lineage.  I thought it might be fun to post a small piece on each of his and Erik Noren's progenitors. When you trace the thread back on most of the Minnesota bicycle builders you eventually get back to Cecil Behringer.

"Quick now pupils, what's the connection between gold golf balls, $10,000 racing bikes, pacemakers, wheelchairs and dentists drills? Cecil Behringer of course." continued


A track bike belonging to Dale Brown. More pictures.




Here we see a Behringer road bike made with aero tubing and internal cable routing. More pics.















Describing Behringer as a bicycle builder doesn't really get a handle on the man. Originally I thought I could wrap all of the builders into one posting, but when you start with Cecil things get more complicated.

"Cecil Behringer was a six-day racer, velodrome designer; builder, frame maker and renaissance man! He was well know for his collaboration with Pino Moroni." - Classic Rendevous

In the late 70s he built probably the only lugged titanium bikes every made (not bonded) by brazing them in an oven filled with inert gas. Not only are there the frames with his name on them, but it seems that most or all that carry the name of his buddy Pino Moroni were probably made by Cecil too.


6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lugged titanium sounds really cool! -Tony

Greg said...

I own a Behringer road bike and had a track bike built by Cec also. He was quite the guy, I spent many hours taking with him about bikes, components and many a subject unrelated to cycling. I have often considering hanging my road bike on the wall as a piece of art. He was truly a craftsman.
Greg

Gunnar Berg said...

Thanks for commenting.

Apparently Cecil was quite the guy.

Ruki444 said...

Hello. I worked with Cecil for a number of years. I was one of the builders of the Shakopee Velodrome. He also taught me how to build frames and through him I also got to know Pino Moroni.

The two of them were really quite the pair. Pino was also working with titanium. His hubs and bottom brackets were machined down from blocks of the metal. He did build a couple of titanium frames on his own but mostly he collaborated with Cecil, making parts.

I don't recall Cecil mentioning using an oven for titanium frames. As far as I remember he was doing a form of silver solder, working in a vacuum. I was with him one day in a machine shop that had a vacuum table and they were doing some work on that, but I don't remember much more. It may have been for a project the machinist was working on.

A few of his achievements were: inventing a brazing compound for the Polaris Sub so the hull welds wouldn't crack anymore under pressure; he worked on the Alvin submarine, and during the last few years of his life he was working with partners on a system for detecting plastique explosives in airport scans (detecting the resonating frequency of the substance)and also had worked on a portion of a project that he deduced was for a flying saucer (after conferring with other engineers who were working on other portions of this 'need to know' project.

The last complete bike he had at his house before he died was a track bike that was exactly my size. I kept bugging him about selling it to me but he wouldn't, saying I could have it when he died, but unfortunately he didn't put that in his will, so I assumed one of his sons got it. I actually found one for sale on Ebay just a month ago but it was way too expensive and a tad too big. So it goes.

Cecil's bikes were extremely sensitive in handling characteristics so only the most experienced professionals could really benefit (his words at least). I don't think he ever built one for a European Pro, but don't quote me on that. Professional racers always rode what the sponsor provided.

He was undoubtedly the first frame builder in the world using silver solder, which is superior to braze because it's worked at a much lower temperature so the metal isn't fatigued as much. All of the classic builders such as Colnago always brazed.

That's it for now. Take care.

Gunnar Berg said...

Who are you? Contact me at neilmberg(at)gmail.com

Virginia said...

Ruki444 - That bike you are referring to? My father got it. He has recently passed and we are loking to sell. Please contact me!
virginia.mattson@yahoo.com