Maybe "disaster" is too strong of a word. It was difficult to assemble since there were esentially floating parts, the upper plate, the lower plate, and the two fork tangs, that all could move in some way. The steerer and the forkblades themselves were held in position, but the crown wasn't completely secured. Normally it isn't neccessary. The complexity of the crown became an issue actually one day in Carlsbad, and the resulting argument between Mike Howard and Mario Confente resulted in Mike removing his work apron on the spot and walking out the door. Technically, that would have been the start of what became "Wizard Cycles". Later on when I left Masi, Mike and I began to build frames together.
There is nothing technically wrong with the crown at all. Even a simple pinning of the crown to the steerer before assembly in the fixture probably would have solved most of the problem. The rest would just required a little attention during assembly and it is fine. I actually like the twin plate crown except for it is more difficult to fit for the brake hole, especially for allen bolt fittings. But that's no big deal. I think they look better with the plates closer together and the "Baylis Modification" works for that. Ironically, I like the "Italian version" of the twin plate crown best, and here it turns out that it's not even a twin plate crown. I've been trying to make the Carlsban crown look more like the Italian way. This humors me to no end. Masi (or someone) has been useing the "saw trick" for a long time. Looking at some of the photos of the Masi Special Course track frame I see the same sawcut round track crown that Mario put on this track bike and his own personal road bike he built for himself at Masi Carlsbad, that belongs to Ted Kirkbride. They have been sawing these one piece crowns to look seperated for ages. At LEAST back as far at the late 50's!
The only "disaster" part of the crown was that Masi had it made specifically for himself, so he probably paid for them. I suspect there are some Itialian built GC's that have the actual twin plate crown on them, but I can't think of any off hand except for the one Chuck Schmidt has. I think his is the Fischer version if memory serves. Now that there is a difference, I have to think differently. Anyway, they were in use at Masi Carlsbad for probably less than a year. Seems like it was a waste to some degree. What I really don't understand is why they didn't stick with the sawcut crown, IT IS SO COOL! I really think it's funny that it turns out to be the same crown that on a bike 10 years earlier would be considered rather rare. It facinated me that all of these things happen. It pleases me that as we learn more, these details are what allow us to more accurately date the bikes.
My Roberson frame was built with a twin plate fork crown that he got while he was working there back in the late 70's. I have built some twin plate forks myself. It's cool to see them in use here and there because they are a neat crown, just a pain in the ass sometimes.
La Mesa, CA
> "So why did Masi do it the easy way for about one year (1972) and
> then come up with a real twin plate crown that was a disaster and
> abandon it within a year or so? "
> Can you expand on this point?? Why was the Carlsbad crown a disaster? Was
> this a production related disaster in terms of 'slow and difficult to make"
> or is there an inherent flaw in this crown?
> Bryant Bainbridge
> Portland, Orygun