“Trust the truss”


Nothing has garnered as much attention, love and lust as the Truss frame bikes I have built. I used to call the bike the “Major Taylor” and was inspired by a photo in the book “The American Bicycle” on page 79. Iver Johnson of Fitchburg MA built the truss bike and was a racing sponsor of Marshall “Major” Taylor. Taylor [if you don’t already know] was a world champion and world record holding cyclist of the mid 1890s to about 1910. The bike that Taylor actually rode did not have the truss…it was added for the everyday rider. I did not discover this until I read a book about Taylor.

People ask me about this bike all the time and wonder if I still make it. I did not feel it was right to use Taylors name and no longer use the Major Taylor name and now call it the “Truss” frame. The Truss frame was made by Iver Johnson before they sponsored Taylor.

The Truss is an extra option for the Light Roadster bike I make, which can be found…on the options page.

The Truss bikes I have made evolved over the years. The first bike was built to look as much like an 1890’s bikes as possible for me. I made it with a black frame and red rims, which was what Taylor rode. I used very small tubes [1″ dia] to give the look of an 1890’s frame and with the steel one piece crank and ring also gave that old look.

MajorTaylor 010

Now making the bike like this got the look that I wanted and everyone loved it, but then people wanted to buy the bike and I had to modernize it, so it would fit into peoples lives more easily. The original bike had a lot of BMX type components [cranks, BB, seat post], which are not compatible with moder parts [spd pedals, track parts etc…]. I came up with a new model that was more people friendly, but it lost a lot of the style.

MajorTaylor 049

This next bike was a compromise, but still had some balls. However people still wanted to modify it. The biggest issue was that I only wanted to make this bike a fixed gear and with a drum front brake [or no brake]. That way you could have the red powder coated rims [the coated rims don’t work with rim brakes]. Not a big deal, you don’t have to have coated rims, but it tended to slow people down with making a decision. I had to change my ideas of trying to stay true to the “Major Taylor” theme and just make a anything goes bike…with a Truss added in. This next picture was a very nice variation.

Glenn S. 004

Now as many of you may know I now only build complete, fully equipped Roadsters and Cargo bikes. Bicycles that have all the accouterments, such as a  dyno lighting system, front and rear racks, stand, fenders and a bell. The Light Roadster has a lot of variety on the Options page and the Truss is an option. I have had many people that really wanted the truss and then in the end backed out, thinking it to frivolous. But I think if you like, buy it. It is just a tube and it looks great! Some worry that it will add weight…yea right. It is a 5/8″ x .028 tube…not much. Some ask will add stiffness to the frame…it must…but can you feel it…probably not.

I say if you like it, just get it. It looks awesome and can be had on the Light Roadster. Recently Stef C and Phil S fell in love with it and they did not hold back 😉



I would like to say thank you to all that told me how much they enjoyed my last post. That cross country trip had a big impact on me and got me going in the direction that I wanted to go.

Betsy and I just got back from a week long trip to Texas. When Betsy gets to go to a conference I tag along and we get a little trip out of it. We get to stay in a nice hotel that we would never do on our own, along with seeing another part of the country. We added some days to this trip, so I could visit with my family. The conference was in San Antonio and I made a mission to find some good Mexican food and I can say that I was successful! I brought our folding bikes and we rode all around, but not for many miles. It was over 100 everyday! It actually felt really good. It has been raining so much here in New England [almost everyday for 7 weeks] and cold too [down to 45 sometimes]. The Texas heat was great, but a week is a good amount of time for it 😉 We rented a car and drove to Fredricksburg [a little cute German town] and the toured the LBJ Ranch [which is a National Park]. Then on to Austin. My brother lives near there on a ranch and we went to see him and also spent some more time with him and my mom over the few days we were there. Betsy and I also got to get some more great riding in on the Hike & Bike trail along Town Lake. This is a 10 mile loop made of hard pack crushed stone that runs along the lake/river that runs through Austin. Austin is a great place and I always thought I would end up there [I am from Fort Worth]. We met some nice people on the trail [the folding bikes atract a lot of interest] and had some more great Mexican food and margaritas 😉

On the last night we did not want the trip to end [and then went for a dip at the hotel…in 90 degree water], but the next morning we were ready for home, New England and work. We came back to a perfect 10 weather day and cleaned the house, clothes, mowed the lawn etc…and then rode the tandem [with the BOB holding our chairs] to town to watch some Shakespeare in the park [yes our little town].


After a good week off I am back in the shop and making some nice bikes that will be posted on Flicker soon!


About antbikemike

Bicycle frame builder
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6 Responses to “Trust the truss”

  1. Ray says:

    I could use a truss for my hernia.

    ALERT: Major Taylor Association George Street Hillclimb is this weekend!


    520 Main Street, Fitchburg

  2. Tarik says:

    “Trusst” would be a more succinct titile

  3. glennS says:

    The Truss Rocks!
    I have mine set up as a SS and all that “extra
    weight” of the truss tube (1 lb, maybe) is more than offset by the extra style points.
    A true one of a kind ride, I love it !

  4. lastchild says:

    The truss in unique, retro, and Mike is a visionary for invoking it. Anyone who would complain about the weight is missing the point, and the point to me is “retro shizzle”. Maybe I’m a bike-fashion-victim on some level, but I love mine. I tire of seeing all the fat tube/carbon fiber/Lance wanna be’s/ultimate technology/ad nauseum. I like to think that Mike’s bikes are a direct backlash to all this nonsense. I think some people are just afraid to try something different for fear of not being (Oh my god!) ‘cool’. I think doing what you enjoy is cool. I think it took some balls for Mike to bring it (and one-piece cranks!) to the table again! Obviously the response to the bike shows there was a market void waiting to be filled. Even though I somewhat wrecked the concept with the copper bike, I tried to stay as true-to-form as possible with my MT. Thanks again for building it, Mike!

  5. Jon says:

    I have an original Iver Johnson truss frame, which had been broken and badly repaired at some point or another.

    I got it rideable, rather than restoring it, and I love to just sit and look at it. The lug work is phenomenal in that, unless you look closely, you can’t tell it is lugged. The lugs are flush with the tubes, and lend a “welded” appearance from a distance.

    I love your version, Mike.


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