Bicycle frame jigs (3/4)

Here it goes a small selection of some of the most reputed pro fixtures out there. We are leaving the amateur ones for the last planned entry of this saga.

  • Henry James Universal Jig is a natural evolution of their original frame jig introduced in 1990. All the parts are different now, but the purpose and concept have not changed. The Jig still builds any style of road or mountain bike frame with fork built-in capabilities.

    Henry James makes a versatile jig for $4000, a good choice for lugged bicycle frames.

  • Sputnik Tool frame jig. The Sputnik competes with the Anvil fixture for the most reputed jig. Its base starts out as a 1″ thick cast-aluminum plate, blanchard ground to ensure a perfectly flat surface to build the jig up from. It locates and holds all the tubes at the proper centerline distance off the jig base. All tube contact points are stainless steel and all aluminum parts are black hard anodized for smooth action and durability. The vertical and horizontal motion of the head tube assembly is done using dual-vee linear bearings and rails. Quickly and easily adjustable plates for the seatstays and chainstays ensure that both stays are in the same plane. All measurements and angles are direct reading on the jig. No rulers or formulas are needed to figure out how to set up the jig.

    Everywhere the tubes are secured to the jig there is a purge line that allows argon to flow into the frame, displacing the ambient oxygen that could contaminate the welds. A backup gas is always necessary for titanium frames, for example, and still recommended for steel alloys.

  • Anvil Journeyman. The current Type 3.1 is probably the best frame fixture out there ($4250 base price plus many optional parts). Instead of a compact plate design it implements several arms that hold together the parts of the frame.


    It also features purge lines for TIG welding gas backup

  • Bringheli. Best value jig for $1450. The BB drop is the only calibration, so the money you save on the front end will be eaten up in setup time.


    Bringheli’s are very underrated fixtures. They sell a complete comprehensive kit of tools on their website for framebuilders, as well as tubing sets and machined parts for building a bicycle from scratch

  • Arctos. It is built on a backbone of super-stiff T-slot aluminum extrusion. The fixture can handle anything from a micro mini BMX frame to a 29er tandem. Any BB style, any tubing, any head tube size, any welding technique. Adapters are available for most bottom bracket shells. Dummy axles for track, road, and mountain spacing ship with the jig; BMX and 150mm are available separately. A tandem add-on is also available. The biggest issue that has been reported is how the BB is floating out in space. More complicated than it need be for figuring BB drop. Building from the BB up is a better alternative.

    The Arctos is not cheap to boot (around $4000) and not always in production.

  • Bike Machinery Hydra. The only good European-made jig is available for 12000€ ($16000). It is a production oriented frame fixture: hard to tweak the center line, nothing to measure angles (only distances) and does not work with oversize tubes. The E version is a computer controlled monster that will automatically setup the jig for the tubing assembly.


    Made in Italy, these units are as hard to find as pricey

  • Granite/aluminium/steel cast flat plate + custom machined fixtures. Flat surface is more important to the beginning framebuilder than a dedicated frame jig. For a pro it is still essential for alignment checks and straightening. 36″x48″ metal plate with a 1″ hole bored could be a great choice because you can fixture it unlike granite tables where clamps are not easy, or big, and no magnets are useful. Blanchard ground tables are found in the custom market. For instance, Bringheli’s C-Channel alignment table is available for $850 ($2100 full-size).

    Granite offers best flat tolerances and it is easy to find and cheap (even something “kitchen alike” local-ish to reburbish). Steel requires maintenance and aluminium can be fragile but light which is a good thing if you have not found a permanent location for the table.


2 responses to “Bicycle frame jigs (3/4)

  1. Hola buenos dias Ustedes venden estas matriz para armar marcos de bicicletas de varias tallas ???? Este es mi correo eizainduvi217@hotmail.con

    • Desafortunadamente no Andrés. Sé que en Europa no se distribuyen estos productos que son raros de encontrar por aquí, y han sido importados directamente de EE.UU.

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