Albert Eisentraut

Albert Eisentraut

Was: Bicycle Ensemble, 543 East Eleventh St., Oakland, California

A great podcast interview with Albert Eisentraut by Diane Lees on the “Outspoken Cyclist” Sept. 2014 HERE

Updated 3.1.2019

Albert Eisentraut acquired an appreciation of hand built bicycles at the elbow of legendary Paramount maker Oscar Wastyn in Chicago, and Albert, in many ways, is the dean of modern (post Korean War) USA custom frame builders. His frames, especially the famous “Model A” frames of the 1960s and 70s, had a special sculptural aesthetic and unorthodoxy in their shaping. This set Eisentraut bicycles apart from the European mimicry that influenced other builders at that time. Albert Eisentraut grew up with cycling in his blood.
Following in his father’s footsteps, he began racing in 1955 on the Kenosha Velodrome. He gained an appreciation of hand built bicycles working as a mechanic in the shop of legendary Schwinn Paramount maker Oscar Wastyn in Chicago. According to Albert, Wastyn didn’t teach him the craft, “More than anything, I learned from Oscar that one person could make a bicycle by himself.”
Albert built his first frame in 1959 in his father’s basement aided only by a frame jig that he machined himself. In 1969 he became a full-time frame builder, working for Velo-Sport in Berkeley, CA.
Branching out on his own in 1971, his clients include world class racers George Mount, John Howard, Mike Neel, Tom Prehn, Tom Schuler, Connie Carpenter, Miji Reoch, and Sheila Young.
Albert has also taught dozens his craft; his notable students include Bruce Gordon, Joe Breeze, Skip Hujsak, Mark Nobilette, and Bill Stevenson – making Eisentraut the American godfather of modern day frame building. Albert commented, “The only constant in my life is the forever changing bicycle business.”
His sons also worked in the shop, “if the frame has the Eisentraut name on it, an Eisentraut had his hands on it”. The business is now closed, with reports of a rare frame being made for insiders, but no public offering…

Special thanks to Brian Ignatin

Bicycle Guide Sept-Oct 1987

Investment cast lugs

Photos taken at New York Bike Show in late 1970s

Deciphering serial numbers

Example: the serial number on the BB and on the fork steerer tube is E130475. This translates as being the 13th frame built in April of 1975.

Thanks to Bill Kloos and Ed Litton

A tape measure showing earlier location

Brian Ignatin's 1973 track bike

Custom made for Bill Best for use in the 1973 Detroit & Los Angeles Six-Day races, the last such professional races held in the United States. Belgians Ed Demets and Willy De Bosscher won in Detroit; Australian Graeme Gilmore and West German Klaus Bugdahl won in Los Angeles.

#E020773 (2nd frame built in July, 1973)

Made for John “Marmaduke” Dawson, founder/leader of the “New Riders of the Purple Sage” a 70’s San Francisco area rock group.

Mid 1970s "A" frame

Note Eisentraut’s unique bottom bracket shell with integrated cable guides.

1977 Eisentraut 'A' frame #100377

Using the unique and short lived cast lugs & bottom bracket.

The model "Limited,"

Model produced in the late 1970s to provide a lower priced alternative to the custom ‘A’ frame.

Bruce VanRemortel's "Neo-Classic" Eisentraut