Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A little repair...

A little picture pleasure of a repair to an old Potts custom fillet-brazed frame. The cable guides were about ready to disintegrate. Steve removed the old ones and brazed new ones on. In addition, he filled in some chain suck marks with a little silver and filed it smooth. Now it's ready for a new paint job and it will look just like new again after about 25 years.

You can click on the photos to go to my flickr page and then go to the full sized image.

Potts repair

Potts repair cable stop

Potts repair chainstay

Potts repair cable stop d/t

(What's playing: X Drunk in My Past)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chain care...

I like ProGold ProLink chain lube. It lubes the chain. When used at appropriate intervals, the chain stays clean and quiet. When used at appropriate intervals, the chains last longer because they run cleaner. In addition to using it on my chain, I also use it inside my cable casings for friction free shifting and braking.

These pictures are of my bike that doesn't get cleaned very often. When I do clean it, I never take the chain off to clean it. Never spray down the cassette with degreaser. Never have to because I use ProLink only when it's needed. Not every ride. Only when it's needed. Maybe every 3 or 4 rides in the dry and every other when it's wet or maybe every ride when it's really wet.

By using ProLink chain lube and replacing the chain when it gets to about 80%-90% on the ProLink chain gauge, the cassette that's on my bike has been in use since 1995 and has seen duty on 3 different bikes.

I see a lot of chains that are so covered with grimy oil. There's no reason to have such a grimy mess motivating your bike. The information is out there to maintain your bike so you don't end up with a nasty, grimy mess.

chain 001

chain 002

These jockey wheels are also 15 years old with very little wear.

chain 003

(What's playing: KWMR)

T-Shirt in stock...

Feels good to (finally) have t-shirts here. My old t-shirts were getting thread bare and well... So, here's the scoop: American Apparel t-shirts; any color as long as it's black; men's small, medium, large, XL, and a few XXL; ladies girlie style in medium, large, and a few XL. Price $24.95.

For a limited time (or not so limited), I'll throw out a Black Mountain Cycles branded package: t-shirt, water bottle, and pint glass - a $37.45 package for only $32.45. If anyone wants that shipped, it'll just be the cost of postage.

(What's playing: Otis Redding Can't Turn You Loose)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Carbon Bruce Gordon...

Who would have thunk? Bruce's sense of style and proportion are second to none. If you do one thing today, make sure you check out Red Kite Prayer's post on the bike Bruce made for the San Diego Custom Bike Show. The whole package is incredible, but I think I like the fork the best. The gentle curve of the carbon leg is perfect. Check out Bruce's flickr page for more photos and his blog post for more info on the bike.

(What's playing: The Jam I Need You)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sure it has 700c wheels, but what should I get...

In the previous post, David posted the following comment:

"Hi Mike,
When are you expecting to have those bikes for sale? How does this monster crosser differ from the likes of the Salsa Vaya? (Sloping top tube, BB height?) Or the La Cruz? (Tire clearance?) Is it more like a sport-tourer with bigger tire clearance? Can it handle the gravel and still be fast on the road?

Inquiring minds want to know."

Well David and inquiring minds, here's my best shot at answering and to the best of my knowledge, this is simply my opinion. I'm sure that for every internet forum, there will be a thousand different opinions. I don't necessarily believe my opinion to be correct or right, but I think I know my way around a bike and how it can be used. Here goes.

When are you expecting to have those bikes for sale?
I had to make a couple final tweaks to the frame drawings and get some testing information on the tubing I want to use. Tubing is finalized - it will be a heat-treated 4130 chromium molybdenum and double-butted steel. Wall thickness in the main two tubes will be 0.8/0.5/0.8. This tubing, in my testing of frames made with different tubing thicknesses produces a frame that has my ideal combination of ride quality, strength, and most important, confidence in my frame. If it's going to have my name on it, I want it to be something in which I have supreme confidence.

But to get to the question, I hope to have a purchase order issued within the next 10 days. Typical lead times are running around 60 days + shipping of a couple weeks. Best case scenario, frames here in early July.

How does this monster crosser differ from the likes of the Salsa Vaya? (Sloping top tube, BB height?)
I see my frame as a traditional cyclocross bike but with clearance for the Panaracer FireCross 45 tire. My preference is for a traditional geometry frame. Somewhat horizontal top tube (there is a very slight slope). My frame has a slightly taller bb height (less bb drop) than the Vaya. There's not huge reason why. I came up with my bb drop based on a bb height with good clearance when combined with 45c tires and with skinnier 32c tires. The Vaya, with it's lower bb height would make a nice stable, touring style bike.

The Vaya is also made with a taller head tube. Somewhere over the past several years, riders began to adopt a much more upright riding position. This might work fine for a touring bike and for an upright town bike, but to me, when the bars (either flat or drop) start rising above the seat level, the bike begins to feel like I'm riding a couch (again, my personal opinion). My preference is for my hand position to be several inches below my seat height with the top of the drop bars being about level to just under the seat height.

However, with the cr-mo steel fork I'm using, there is some ability for riders to get their bars up where it's comfortable. I do feel, though, that the bike performs best when the rider's weight is distributed as evenly as possible between the front and rear hubs. Sitting too upright lightens the weight over the front end and lets the front end come up easily on climbs.

Most important, however, the bike has to look balanced and "right."

Or the La Cruz? (Tire clearance?)
The La Cruz's limitation is tire size (and the fact that it is not currently available from Salsa). I would say the La Cruz is a lighter weight version of the Vaya in both weight and cabability.

Is it more like a sport-tourer with bigger tire clearance?
That could be an apt description/use of my frame. I, personally, wouldn't use it for extended tours or load it down with racks and bags. The tubing choice wouldn't be appropriate for loading it down. You'd want a more stout frame to handle the additional load of a touring bike. However, if you want to throw on some nice 38 tires and hit the weekend B&B loop that included road and dirt roads, yes, it would make a nice sport-tourer.

Can it handle the gravel and still be fast on the road?
Absolutely! My primary purpose for this bike, though, is to be ridden off-road. While I ride mine almost as my mountain bike, it isn't designed as a mountain bike and shouldn't be ridden off-road with abandon. The bike needs to be ridden with some level of finesse off-road. The Panaracer FireCross 45 tires are not good on the road. Their big square knobs are darn slow on road. Knowing where you want to ride will dictate which tire to use. The FireCross 45 tires fall at the exact opposite end of a tire that performs best on the road. With a proper choice of tires, the bike can perform well on the road and on gravel. More volume, more knobs = better off road.

Well, David, I hope that answers some questions.

And coincidentally, it appears that Salsa had the same idea for a frame color. On close inspection, it looks like they chose the exact same color of brown that I did (a very nice brown with a hint of pearl/metallic. Great minds think alike, eh Jason?

img 033

(What's playing: I'm in KWMR's studio A managing the board for some pre-recorded interviews)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mixed terrain ride...

Four days, four rides. Pretty good streak of rides going. Three rides on the cross bike, one on the road bike. Today, it was a cross bike ride. Some pavement, some dirt, some single-track, some fire road. The day started out a bit warmer, then got colder up on Inverness Ridge. By the time I got home, my toes were pretty chilled, but it wasn't really cold. Early in the ride, I broke a spoke on the non-drive side. A couple of weeks ago, I broke a spoke on the drive side. Not bad for a wheel that is 15 years old and has seen duty on two other bikes. However, it seems like it's time for a wheel rebuild.

This is a steep dirt road with a grade probably in the 20% range.

img 020

This little critter must have met its demise not too long before I came across it.

img 022

Looking out over the Point Reyes National Seashore.

img 027

Looking out on Drake's Bay. No matter how many times I ride up here, it always looks a little different.

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What will be the Black Mountain Cycles monster cross bike. Maybe I'll call it the Ridge, since I love riding up there. I love riding this bike more every time I ride it.

img 033

Super fun single-track.

img 036

(What's playing: Merle Haggard I've Seen It Go Away)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

T-Shirts coming soon...

Welp, after almost 3 years, it looks like I'll have t-shirts soon. The t-shirts will be American Apparel. American Apparel costs significantly more than the standard beefy t type, but I like the American Apparel t-shirts better. Quality first. No shortcuts. The logo is about 4" square and centered over the sternum. I think I'll have these within 2 weeks. Stay tuned!

tshirt 001

tshirt 002

(What's playing: Elton John Someone Saved My Life Tonight)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Salsa Vaya...

These things are hot. So hot, they are totally sold out. Jason and crew must be pretty damn proud of this bike. There's only one thing I would change on it (more later), but overall, it's a sweet ride. I'm not an official Salsa dealer this year (couldn't swing the initial order requirements), but I will continue to carry the Fargo and Vaya bikes as they become available. The first shipment of Salsas are out of stock, but I have a 57cm bike that is ready to become your new bike. Pretty sweet bike for $1549.

vaya 001

Smart gearing choice. Compact road crank coupled with 11-34 cassette.
vaya 005

Avid BB5 disc brake. Post mount on the fork. Personally, I would have spec'd the BB7 brake since the brake pads are easier to find, the pads are a little larger, the BB7 brakes feel a little more powerful, and the dual pad adjustment is more convenient.
vaya 006

vaya 008

vaya 009

vaya 010

vaya 011

(What's playing: X Fouth of July)

What's at hand...

Sometimes, one needs to use what's at hand. In the case of this cross bike, the owner needed headset spacers and used what was at hand - headset crown races. It works.

headset 001

headset 003

What's playing: Chris Gaffney Loser's Paradise)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

OS Bikes...

There are about 40 complete OS BlackBuck complete bikes available. Framesets have been sold out. Even though the parts are not current model year, the whole package is really nice. One of the best riding 29" wheel bikes of all-time and one of Steve Worland's (from What Mountain Bike in the UK) favorite riding bikes when he visited the shop a while back. and test rode one.

If you want to have what will one day be just as classic as an 80's Steve Potts bike, there is a limited opportunity. One size only. If you have an inseam between about 32" to about 34" or 35", it's your size. Call or e-mail for more info. Price is $1600 for the complete bike and one went out the door yesterday.

(What's playing: Buck Owens Tall Dark Stranger)