1975 Albert Eisentraut A-Frame(?) Road Frame: USA Built - Custom "Black Lightning" Paint - 48cm x 52cm - 120mm (Near Mint)
Albert Eisentraut of Oakland, California is called by some the "godfather of American bicycle frame building". Albert learned his craft under the wing of the great master framebuilder Oscar Wastyn of Schwinn Paramount fame. Albert's apprentices include Bruce Gordon, Mark Nobilette, and Joe Breeze.
The frame number on the steerer is E040175, indicating it was the 4th frame built in April of 1975. (Source info on decoding serial number)
The features that identify it as likely an A Frame model (or more likely a custom ordered frame based on the A-Frame) are Eisentraut's signature fastback-like seat cluster, and the very finely filed pointy lugs found on most A-Frames. Fully chromed fork features a thin and shapely sloping crown (This fork has been seen on the Rainbow Trout more than the A-Frame, and thus indicates a custom build). The tubing is ridiculously thin (at the seat tube top), likely built with one of the ultralight tube sets that came out of the aero craze era. Much thinner than Reynolds 853 or Columbus SLX. Eisentraut was known for mixing different tubings for create a specific ride quality, and it's likely that's the case judging by how thin the seat tube is.
The geometry is a bit unique. It was likely custom built for an individual with short legs and long arms, and a preference for a stable yet quick ride. The chainstays are very long at 430mm, and the head/seat angles are fairly steep. It will have a long wheelbase, and the tight angles will keep it snappy.
The original owner told me he sent it to California to a well known frame painter, but he couldn't recall if it was Cyclart or Joe Bell. The paint appears very well applied. Even finish all around with no chipping present. The white details would have taken quite the artistic flair, and are under a clear coat for durability.
This is roughly a size small frame, and may fit riders in the range of 5ft to 5ft 5. It's well suited to those with short legs and a long torso/arms, or those who prefer a stretched race position.
- Top tube: 52cm
- Seat tube (c-t) 48.5cm
- Seat tube (c-c) 47cm
- Head tube: 86mm
- Chainstay length (center of bb to center of dropouts): 430mm
Near mint, recently restored and truly show-worthy condition. The paint is practically perfect, with just a few (3 or 4?) VERY light and small spots where the black has been rubbed to a dark grey. These really take some effort to find, as they look like they're part of the white lightning effect (which will keep this frame looking minty for a long time, camouflaged wear patterns!) No chips or scratches. Headset is buttery smooth and lubricated. It is near mint except for tool marks on the head nut.
There are two very minor issues. On the top of the top tube just in front of the middle cable guide is a paint-level ding that is so small and light that I didn't find it until my 4th time looking it over and the light caught the glossy paint just right. I couldn't get it to show on the photos at all. It's less than 1mm deep, 1mm wide and 2mm long.
The second is kind of odd. The top tube cable guide nearest the head tube is either just a bottom level guide without a full loop for the cable to go through, or the top portion of it broke off and in restoration it was filed down to a perfect cradle and painted over (see photo labeled cable guide).
- Frame number: E040175
- Rear spacing: 120mm
- Headset included: Campagnolo Nuovo Record
- Seatpost size: 27.2mm
- Bottom bracket threads: Italian
- Campagnolo dropouts and fork ends