to see more.
Photos from first brochure
(taken by the Webmaster)
Heart shaped lug cutout
with hanger, circa 1980
stay cluster treatments
Fonvielle's aesthetic aim was a nearly Shaker like simplicity; he
foreswore razzle dazzle cutouts and multi color paint jobs. He was
VERY conservative in his design approach and scrupulous in his
integrity for build quality. He would study and sweat the relative
matching of pre-curved Reynolds fork blades, for instance. In the
beginning he had only gold or black (choice) head badge decals, no
down tube decals at all. Sounds like he was a retro-grouch, but
actually he was a really great guy, very happy and generous.
I took the B&W photos for his first brochure, and he & I argued
because he didn't want any superlatives in the text... He said people
could just look & see his workmanship, so he didn't want to brag about
it... and if they didn't see the quality of the work, he thought they
should wait till they were more knowledgeable before getting one of
He died of an unforeseen heart failure in his basement while riding an
exercise bike. McLean was a non smoker, a vegetarian & a fit person
who only a year or so before his death had married Lanier. He was
finally becoming well known after an 11 year career run at making
frames. Toward the end, Cycle Imports in Cornish, Maine, had become an
effective national sales outlet for the frames.
frames were displayed in the Cycle Imports booth at a few New York
International Bike Shows and sold around the country in small numbers.
There were a surprisingly large number of orders going to Texas.
During the peak years, my shop (Toga at first, then changed to cycles
de ORO) sold an average of two frames a month.
years, McLean built 4 frames for me personally; I have three now,
including the first one he made for me in 1975. I sold it and it
changed hands many times when, through sheer luck, I was able to
rescue it from ignominy... It was offered for sale to the shop as an
unidentified "junker" ltossed in the back of the seller's pickup!
I am the
"official" source for what remains of the Silk Hope and McLean decals,
which are available free to owners doing restoration; however I will
only send them to bonafide professional bicycle-painting businesses,
to ensure that there will be no sub-standard paint or not-really
McLean's work out there with new McLean decals.
Note: as per McLean's preferences, Silk Hope frames may also have
McLean down tube decals, but McLean frames may not have Silk Hope
Dale Brown, updated 2.12.2016