Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday filler...

Been lagging at posting. Not because of lack of cool stuff coming through the shop or content on which I want to expand, but it's just been damn busy. And I'm all for busy over blog. But that's me. In the mean time, here's a couple of shots that will have to tide folks over until I get a chance to expand on them. Happy Friday!

bike 010

ti 004

Pereira Roarin' 29er

(What's playing: Black Sabbath Paranoid)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Analysis time. What happened to Andy...

Truth be told, I haven't really followed this year's Tour de France. I'm still interested, but not overly interested. I do like to give the day's stage a glance at and I'm especially interested in the tour bikes and how they are set up. However, even that doesn't seem to be of much interest because they are all pretty much the same, but with different paint jobs.

Then something dramatic happens. Andy Schleck loses his chain climbing. He was simply climbing and not shifting the front and his chain drops. Hmmm, interesting. While the whole world was beating up Contador for attacking the yellow jersey during a mechanical, Lennard Zinn offered his take on the cause behind the chain drop. It's a good read, but I have something additional to add that I think help explains it better.

I read Red Kite Prayer (a well written on-line cycling site) this evening and was very interested in the photo sequence of the chain drop incident. Here's what I saw in the photos.

If you blow up this photo, you can see Schleck's chain looks very slack - kind of like he is in a very small cog in back combined with being in the small chain ring. Comparing Schleck's chain position to the other riders, it looks like he is in a pretty small cog in back. Then in the next photo, his back wheel hops, indicating his back wheel locked up.

Here's what I think happened. Andy Schleck's chain was possibly a bit too long. The rear derailleur could not take up the slack in the chain when he was in one of the smaller cogs in back. He's climbing at a rate like you or I can't imagine. He's working the bike to establish a gap. The only way to go faster up a hill is to pedal faster or to go to a bigger gear. Unfortunately, when you are in the condition these riders are in and you need to go FAST up hill and you are standing and you are in the small ring, the only option is to start finding a bigger gear by going to smaller cogs. I don't think his derailleur could wrap the chain that Andy was asking of his derailleur as he started finding smaller cogs and the chain got caught up in the derailleur and, as described by Lennard in his tech piece, the derailleur caused the chain to lock up, making the rear wheel hop and dropping the chain off the bottom side of the chain ring.

Welp, that's my theory anyway. Thursday's stage should be interesting. Heck, I may even try to find a live feed and watch it. Or maybe I'll ride my bike and read about it later.

(What's playing: KWMR's show Coast Highway Blues)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Far West Fest....

This Saturday, July 17, 2010, the fifth annual Far West Fest will take place at Love Field in Point Reyes Station. It's a fantastic music, food, beer, crafts, art, beer, music...all day festival. The only one of its kind in Marin County. Music all day long from 11:00 - 7:30 pm. Outside on a baseball field! How can you top that! Anyone who reads this and is within driving distance needs to make the trek to Pt. Reyes on Saturday (you guys reading this and taking note?).

Why the plug for Far West Fest? Well besides benefiting my favorite radio station, KWMR, the baseball field, area pre-schools, being able to listen to live music all day and drink beer (have a designated driver), I'm going to be there with a Black Mountain Cycles booth. I'll have examples of my soon to be unleashed road and cross frames and I'll have some nice Black Mountain Cycles items for sale - pint glasses (which if you bring your own glass to the beer garden, you may get a price break on a pint), water bottles, coffee, t-shirts, and I'll show off some Salsa and Surly bikes.

So, sorry for having the shop closed, but do come down around the corner (follow the sound of the music) and spend some time enjoying the great music and atmosphere in Point Reyes Station. The weather is supposed to be stellar!

My Bakersfield & Beyond co-host Amanda and I emceeing last years' Far West Fest Red Meat set.
(What's playing: KWMR Riding the Rails - The Americana Express)

A quick one before I dive into this...

...summer is bringing out the bikes in need of repair. Still have to work on these in addition to building the Pereira. But that's not what I came here to talk to you about. I came here to talk to you about the freaky coincidences that seem to happen here.

Sunday morning I finally had a chance to break open this new old stock Morrow coaster brake hub to inspect the grease/oil and make sure decades of sitting in a box hadn't turned the grease to a sticky varnish (it was a little sticky), reassemble and then build the wheel for a pre-war Mead Ranger.

After I had the hub disassembled and the parts laid out in the order they came out, and I mean literally after I had finished, a friend and his riding crew came in. When he saw the hub, he gave me a tip on reassembling two key parts. Because of the tip he gave me, I realized there was only one way to reassemble them and that they had to be assembled together onto the axle first before dropping the hub shell down onto the axle. Because I have been so busy, I had been putting off working on the hub for about 2 weeks. It's crazy that the exact moment I chose to work on the hub, someone who was familiar with it came in and tipped me off to a key assembly operation. Thanks Cameron!


(Okay Noah, you don't have to see that pink bike any more)

(What's playing: Merle Haggard Live and Love Always)

Thursday, July 8, 2010


It was bound to happen. The odds just weren't with me. However, I'll bounce back and right now there are several way bitchen bikes in the shop that will be in the stand soon. In the mean time, I give you my recent What's in the Stand. "I'm not proud...or tired." Guess, without looking it up on google, what song that line came from and there's a Black Mountain Cycles t-shirt in your future.

The name says it all. Now where's Molly Ringwald when you need her?
That's some fancy joining of tubes that you won't find at any handbuilt bike shows.

Integrated headtube? Ah, painted headset cups. Clever!
To remind the Wal-Mart employee who's trying to figure out where to score his next 40.
Bathed in the gentle wash of sunshine.

Balance in the universe will be restored shortly, because this early 70's Masi Gran Criterium just came in for a restoration to get it into riding condition.

(What's playing: KWMR)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mixed-terrain goodness happening in Marin...

There are a couple of sweet mixed terrain rides coming up in July in Marin County. The first is Carlos' La Ruta Loca Randonnee, a brutal (so say the participants) on/off-road ride from the city through Marin's dirt and paved roads before recrossing the bridge back to the city. Check out the information at Carlos' blog It Followed Me Home. This ride happens this Sunday July 10. Bring your climbing legs as the elevation gain is in the 15k range.

Then on July 23-25, Chris Kostman is putting on his Rough Riders Marin Rally. This ride is sure to bring in folks from all over, including Jacquie Phelan. This event is sure to be a bit less masochistic that La Ruta Loca.

(What's playing: KWMR)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Friday's repair run down...

Friday was titanium day, that is for sure. It's not always like this. Some days there's a steel bike too. However, yesterday was most assuredly titanium day at Black Mountain Cycles. First up was a really sharp looking painted titanium Serotta cross bike that got a new stem and Salsa Woodchipper bars. The Campy 10s Ergo levers work very nicely with the shape of the Woodchippers.

Serotta painted ti cross bike

Next up was another Serotta titanium bike. This was in for a check-up before the owner heads out on a 750 mile ride from Astoria, OR to Pt. Reyes Station, CA. Oh yeah, the owner of the bike is about 75 years old and can ride the heck out of his bike still.

Serrota ti

Then came a Zinn road bike. This particular Zinn used to be Lennard's personal bike and is now owned by a 6'9" local resident. The interesting thing about this bike is that the seat height with the 195mm cranks is very close to my seat height.


And finally, even though this bike was finished the day before, I'll put up some more detailed shots of the frame and components because it's just a damn cool bike. Yep, talking 'bout the Merlin Newsboy complete with custom touches by Charlie Cunningham and Steve Potts.

Merlin Newsboy

Custom Cunningham modified Hi-E front hub with 118mm spacing fit into a Steve Potts made Type II fork with a clear powder coat.

Merlin Newsboy

WTB New Paradigm 140mm spaced rear hub.

Merlin Newsboy

Fitting new cables is not an easy task, but it now has new cables.

Merlin Newsboy

Rear brake is a Cunningham custom installation of a WTB Toggle-cam brake.

Merlin Newsboy

Merlin Newsboy

Cables coming out of the down tube have to make a short, quick bend to their respective stops.

Merlin Newsboy

Top-view of the mud guard protecting the toggle link from the elements.

Merlin Newsboy

Maybe today I can finish the Davidson and De Rosa I haven't been able to get to...

(What's playing: KWMR)

Friday, July 2, 2010

What's in the stand...

The past several days have seen more than my fare share of sweet bikes in the shop for repair or to be built. The level and quality even surpasses what I typically see. Top notch, all of them. The first one in the list of "to do's" was an Ibis tandem that needed some help to get the drag brake to run "drag" free when it wasn't engaged. Then it was simple things like new tires, shifting and brake adjustments, timing chain adjustment...

Ibis Touche

Next up was a Kirk road frame that was getting built from some nice Campy Chorus 10s parts from a race bike that no longer suited the owner's riding style. The Kirk is built in a style that I really like. Clearance for big tires, room for fenders...just a clean, comfortable bike.

Ibis + Kirk

Kirk 07

Kirk 06

Kirk 05

Kirk 04

Kirk 03

Kirk 02

Sometimes, you can't take all the racer out of the rider. I'm sure this bike is going to ride fantastic with tubular tires.

Kirk 01

Last up yesterday was a Merlin Newsboy in need of new cables. Not a fun job routing the cables through the down tube. But after 10 years and the last person to work on cables being Charlie Cunningham, this one will be good for another ten.


That was my Thursday. Today will see a Davidson road bike, a Zinn titanium road bike, and a De Rosa Neo Primato road bike in the stand. Happy Friday!

(What's playing: KWMR)