Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Surly Cross-Check scorcher style...

Finished this really sweet single-speed scorcher style Surly Cross-Check today. Turned out great. Funny thing about this bike is the new owner is an old friend from when I worked at Pacific Coast Cycles pre-1993. One day he called me out of the blue and we reconnected a mere 17 years later. Recently he got the bug for a single-speed run-about and the end result is this bitchen Cross-Check - scorcher style with flipped Nitto Albatross bars. Drove up all the way from Newport Beach to pick up this bad boy. Thanks, Jeff!

surly 001

White Industries Eno crankset w/ 42t ring.
surly 002

Gamoh front rack.
surly 003

Phil Wood track hubs.
surly 004

Lots of silver parts.
surly 005

surly 006

surly 007

(What's playing: KWMR Faultline Radio - random music played randomly)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Busy, busy, busy...

Almost too busy to post anything. There have been some sweet bikes through the stand (I'll get some pics up soon). Not too busy to get a couple really nice rides in the past couple of mornings. Got out on the road yesterday for about 2 hours out to Kehoe Beach. Did a little couple hour mixed-terrain ride with friends early Tuesday. Spun around the Marshall Wall loop on Monday. Three solid rides.

Left the house at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday and was treated to the full moon setting over Inverness Ridge. Pictures didn't do this image justice.
img 039

img 042

Yesterday, I was out the door just as the sun started peeking over Black Mountain.

2010-08-25 003

Headed up and over Ottinger's Hill and out to Kehoe Beach. One of my favorite morning rides.

2010-08-25 006

Out early so lots of long shadows.

2010-08-25 008

2010-08-25 010

Some fans along the road.

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The trail out to Kehoe Beach.

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2010-08-25 016

Overnight tracks in the sand.

2010-08-25 017

Nice little Bontrager came through the stand. I hear they are whippy.


The view across the wetlands at Mt. Whitenberg on my morning commute.

commute 005

Then reality hits when I get to the shop. Burning Man is coming up. I know this because people come in looking for "Burning Man" bikes or wanting to get their Burning Man bikes ready to ride after sitting for the past year with the dust from the playa congealed on every moving part of their bike. However, unlike many shops, I'll make their bike safe to ride around the hot, dusty playa for one week out of the year. Here are a couple Burning Man gems.

Also been a crazy busy wheel builder. Seems like every wheel is getting built with either a White Industries hub, old WTB Classic Grease Guard hub, or a Hi-E / Cunningham modded hub.

Black White hubs.
Black White Hubs

WTB hubs ready to build into wheels.

WTB hubs

Might have to start a segment called who's on the couch.

Steve, Cowboy, and John.
Steve, Cowboy, John

Jacquie and Noah
JP and NG

(What's playing: Wilco Dash 7)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fendered Luna...

It's a very odd juxtaposition when someone of my stature (6'3") works on a bike ridden by a 4'11" rider. For one thing, it's really difficult to test ride it since this bike could probably fit through the front triangle of my bike. Regardless, it's a really nice custom bike by Luna Cycles that the owner enjoys the heck out of. It came in yesterday for some hammered Honjo fenders. It's strange. Looking at the bike when I was working on it, it looked like the curvature of the front fender was much better than shown in the photo. I'll have to fix that next time it's in.


luna 003

(What's playing: The Eagles Take It To The Limit)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New bike owner...

Almost forgot to add this photo. After all, what's a new bike without a new bike owner. Jacquie with her new ride.

Jacquie on her new bike

And interestingly enough, a guy touring south stopped at the shop yesterday on his DeSalvo bike. I wasn't able to really check it out, but it appeared to be a road/touring rig set up with low-rider front racks (where he carried the majority of his gear) and some kind of a largish off-the-seatpost gear holder. Looked pretty cool.

(What's playing: Stan Ridgeway Neon Mirage - the whole album is available to stream this weekend only. Check it out. Good stuff.)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Next stop, Rotorua...

A couple years ago, I posted a build of a bike that was being raced at 2008 Single Speed World Championships in Napa, CA. Now, I'm posting another bike build that will be raced at the 2010 Single Speed World Championships in Rotorua, New Zealand. This bike has its roots in the 2008 SSWC race. You see, its owner won the prize at the '08 event for racing on the oldest bike. In a bit or irony, the rider of the oldest bike won a new frame by Mike DeSalvo. What's even more interesting is that the winner of the new frame is married to a frame builder. Well, maybe "retired" frame builder is more apt.

Without being all cryptic, Jacquie Phelan piloted her WTB Phoenix at the 2008 SSWC at Napa and by having a bike made in '91, she won a new frame. Her husband, Charlie Cunningham, drafted the frame geometry for Mike DeSalvo, and with frame in hand, I built the bike for her. Turned out pretty nice. Built as a geared bike, but assembled as a single-speed.

Here's a shot I took at the '08 edition of SSWC in Napa of Jacquie aboard here prize winning Phoenix.
sswc08 032 (Large)

And here's her new bike all built up.
JP-DS 002

Nitto 1l bottle holder.
Neato Nitto

Head badge

Shimano was kind enough to send out a care package of parts including a set of XTR M960 series cranks. Great as a triple, not so great converting to single-speed. I had an R700 road compact crank that I fit up to the DeSalvo with a 34t ring. Turned out really clean. Low q-factor. High style factor.
Road crank

Sean at Soulcraft gave us the bro-buddy deal on a Convert chaintensioner. Happens to be the same tensioner I used on that '08 race bike too and the tensioner still sets up better'n anything else.

In case there are two DeSalvos with the same parts, same color, same size, this makes it easy to tell whose it is.

Cinelli Unicanitor saddle. Believe it or not, this all plastic saddle is one damn comfortable saddle.
Cinelli Unicanitor

There are probably some saddles in the JP/CC household that are also tagged "CC."
J.P's Unicanitor

(What's playing: Beat Farmers Big Rock Candy Mountain)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

If it gets any better than this...

I gotta say I had my doubts about this project when the owner presented it. However, in the end, this has to be one of the most incredible bikes to come through the work stand. The bike started off as a v-brake equipped WTB titanium Phoenix. The owner had a vision and I have to say, the vision turned out way better than I expected thanks to the help of a couple of pretty incredible guys - Steve Potts and Charlie Cunningham.

The frame was first sent to Steve to have the seat stay mounted canti brake bosses removed and roller-cam bosses added to the chainstays. Cable stops were relocated and the frame was treated to a fresh bead-blasting giving it a like-new appearance. While it is a WTB ti Phoenix frame, the "Steve Potts" decal on the down tube is appropriate since Steve made the frame originally (he made all the ti and steel Phoenix frames) and did the modification to it. The frame does retain the original WTB head badge.

After Steve performed his work on the frame, it was sent over to Charlie Cunningham along with the Fox suspension fork. At Charlie's workshop, a roller-cam brake was converted to a toggle-cam, the bottom bracket cable guide was created and added, and the mud guard was crafted and installed. Pretty standard fare. Although the cable guide is pretty damn cool.

Then the magic happened. Although, I'm sure Charlie doesn't see it as magic, but a simple design that has been perfected and incorporated into its present configuration. The front brake is a one-off custom lever-link brake. Well, actually a two-off brake as Charlie made one for himself that he installed on one of his bikes with a suspension fork. When I visited him last week, he commented that the addition of the lever link on his bike with the suspension fork transformed the ride of the bike. This version of the lever link brake is one of the most incredible feeling brakes. The feel through the brake lever is of a brake that has virtually zero friction. The brake's power and modulation are well beyond what one feels on any disc brake. I'd go so far as to say it's probably the most outstanding brake I've ever felt.

After Charlie crafted the front brake, modified the rear brake, and made a new fixed angle seat post, it all came to me for final assembly. I feel incredibly honored that Charlie entrusts me to finish the assembly of the brakes and dial in the bike. In the end, the bike turned out incredible. Not enough adjectives to describe it. Friggin' awesome.

Lever link brake

Lever link brake

Lever link brake

Cable routing

Lever link brake




Funny that out of 112 links the connecting pin is pictured here.

The bike just looks so right.
Potts / Phoenix

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

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Grab some coffee, it's gonna be a long one...

Sorry to do this. I don't like long blog posts. End up not reading them at all or skimming too fast. Thought about multiple posts, but I just want to get this off my chest and get working on a really cool bike. You know what I'm talkin' 'bout... So, here goes. Not going to get mired in the details. Pictures speak for themselves with a bit of assistance.

Went for a ride yesterday. Saw this monster of a salamander scuttling across the road as I climbed the Marshall Wall from Hog Island Oysters. That's a 45 shoe for comparison. I tried to get it off the road, but the two times I tried to pick it up, it slipped out of my fingers and I didn't really want to grab on tight (you know what I mean if you've tried to pick up something slimy that didn't want to get picked up). Hope it didn't get squished by a car. That'd be an ugly sound.

ride 2010-08-02 002

ride 2010-08-02 004

Built up a really cool Surly Cross Check. Well, actually just swapped out some parts. It's going to be used as a commuter in the city. The new bars and fenders really change the bike's personality. Sweet bike!

surly 003

surly 001

Finally got the Pereira Roaring 29er finished. Well, it's waiting for the correct seat post which is back ordered.

Pereira Roaring 29er

There are a lot of really cool details.

Pereira Roaring 29er

Pereira Roaring 29er

Pereira Roaring 29er

Pacenti fork crown
Pereira Roaring 29er

Pereira Roaring 29er

Pereira Roaring 29er

Paul Components chain keep with lower edge filed for clearance from the inside of the White Ind. Eno crank.
Pereira Roaring 29er

Pereira Roaring 29er

Pereira Roaring 29er

Pereira Roaring 29er

The frame was built as a single speed, but the owner wanted to run it as a one-by-nine. I found some really nice aluminum cable guides from Jagwire that are held by a strong 3M double face tape. After locating the exact position for the guides, I masked off the location and scuffed the clear coat so the tape took a really good bond. I tested this method on a junker frame and it took a pair of needle nose pliers and a strong grip to peel the guide off. They are on there.

Pereira Roaring 29er

Pereira Roaring 29er

Pereira Roaring 29er

Because they are aluminum, the guides can be formed to the smaller diameter shape of the chain stay.

Pereira Roaring 29er

A Cunningham and a Steve Potts single speed came in for service and repair too. I don't just work on new bikes.
Cunningham + Potts

Steve Potts SS

Steve Potts SS

Steve Potts SS

And also had to deal with some bikes that aren't quite like the ones above...

bike 010

What's that grinding sound?
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Oh, my chain trying to saw through my derailleur cage.
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What's wrong with my cranks. It's hard to turn them.
You'll need a new bb

Could it be because the bearings are square?

(What's playing: Muddy Waters Rosalie)