I think Bill Davidson is going on 45 years of frame building here in Seattle at this point. Forty-five years of solid craftsmanship and terrific design without any of his bikes seeming too “traditional”.
Sure, there are a lot of steel Davidson bikes still out on the road, but that’s just the start. I worked for Bill and his partner Bob Freeman at Elliot Bay Bicycles when I first moved to the area back in 1999. It seemed like everything was titanium in those years but I also assembled a lot of custom bikes that were steel like this Impulse (some lugged, some tig welded and a lot of them incorporating custom elements like custom painted racks & fenders or integrated S & S travel couplers) and even a few with carbon fiber tubing.
This particular bike was probably made in 1993. Made in Seattle, at the shop on Western avenue just a few blocks north of the Pike Street Market. With a splattered paint job straight out of a Miami Vice episode, this Impulse model is a great representation of Bill’s work in the 1990’s. The frame contains dozens of thoughtful design elements. I like the way Tange Prestige steel tubing makes a bike ride, and that’s the tubing used to build the frame. It has Campagnolo horizontal dropouts so the rear wheel can be moved to change the wheelbase or correct alignment issues. There’s a chain hook on the seatstay and a pump peg on the steerer tube. The rear brake cable runs inside the top tube, and there are diamond-shaped reinforcements around the bottle cage mounts. Oh, and the Silca pump and the Blackburn bottle cages were painted to match the frame! It’s beautiful work and there are lots of thoughtful touches.
The components are mostly from the Dura-Ace 7403 group. The original owner upgraded it with the lighter Dura-Ace 7700 brake calipers. It also features the slightly older Dura-Ace aero seatpost and we added the timeless Dura-Ace handlebar stem with the single hidden entry point for tightening the quill and the bar clamp. The red wheels are the iconic 1990’s Mavic Helium clinchers with Michelin Pro tires.