Friday, May 27, 2011

Cross build available...

I'm trying to get various sizes of cross and road bikes built for folks to check out. Here's a cross bike I put together. It represents a lower cost version of the #1 cross build kit with a few things changed like the seat, hubs, rims, brakes, cassette, tires... Still a very nice build, but comes out to $130 less at $1865. Size 59. Could be yours...

Avid SD v-brakes w/ appropriate pull levers, WTB Pathway tires, Woodchipper 31.8 46cm bars. I put it together with v-brakes because, well, because I wanted to. I think it turned out pretty nice. My personal preference is for cantilever brakes, but these are nice and manage speed nicely.
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WTB Speed V seat w/ cr-mo rails, HG50 cassette, Salsa Delgado Cross rims with Deore hubs and DT Competition butted spokes, triple Sugino crankset, SLX rear derailleur.
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Pretty tall bar position, but I wanted to let a customer ride it and knew he would appreciate the position. He settled on a custom build Fargo that I'll be putting together this afternoon. He did say he loved how my bike rode, but really wanted something with a suspension fork, which the new Fargo frame allows.
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(What's playing: The Beastie Boys The New Style)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Black and white is the new pink...

Put together two really nice mountain bikes this past week. Black and white. One old. One new. Both California. One SoCal. One NorCal. Both named after an animal. One sea living. One land living.

The Yeti is a mid/late 80s F.R.O. I've never really got into Yeti during their early years when the Mountain Bike Action crowd fawned over them. They were heavy, they used a BMX headset, and the editors of MBA loved them while they panned the bikes that I loved from the NorCal builders whose bikes I rode. And today when people "restore" these old Yetis, they use way too many anodized parts. This Yeti, however, turned out really nice. Very understated in its parts choice and color.

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The Rock Lobster from Santa Cruz's Paul Sadoff is a very clean, understated, 29" wheel single-speed built with the best parts from Northern California: Phil Wood, Paul Components, White Industries.

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RL Bits

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(What's playing: Sean Wheeler & Zander Schloss Spiritual)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pink is the new pink...

Or whatever that phrase is supposed to mean. Black is the new black. It does seem that anti-freeze green is the new black this year. Whatever. It's still ugly. What's not ever ugly is a pink bike. Started in 1985 by Specialized with their Stumpjumper Team model, pink has always been a bike color that demands of its rider one thing: to ride the legs off any one who dares to sit on your wheel. And do it silently with just your legs doing the talking. I've never been able to manage that fitness so I've never had a pink bike.

This iconic pink bike made its way through the shop recently. It's been raced all over the world at many Single-Speed World Championships. In fact, here's a photo I took of it being raced at the Napa edition of the race and some shop shots.

JP at SSWC 08 Napa

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The RM-3 (aka the Ibis) bar.
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Lookit all that clearance around those chainstay mounted roller-cams with a full 2.1 tire. The brakes follow the contour of the chainstay.
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Now that's a straight chainline.
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Mom always put my name on my clothes, but not my bike parts.
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(What's playing: The Beatles I've Got A Feeling)

Monday, May 16, 2011

What's behind you...

What's ahead of you? Mirrors and bicycles. Some folks can't ride without a rear view mirror. I can't drive a car without a rear view mirror. Probably spend as much time looking back as looking forward. Not because I'm worried about being caught speeding, because I keep my speed within that range that doesn't get you ticketed. I spend a lot of time looking back while driving because there is a lot going on on multi-lane roads and I want to make sure if I need to move/turn left or right, I want to do it so I don't upset the balance of traffic.

I don't utilize a mirror on a bike. Why? Don't know. Just don't. I've never felt the need. I sell mirrors and there are a few I like to sell because they seem to work well for folks who like them. But when they ask me what I use or recommend, I simply say I don't use one.

What I do use on the bike are my ears. I ride in a consistent manner, never swerving around or riding all squirrely. I also usually ride solo so I'm not worrying about moving over because I'm riding two abreast.

The main reason I don't use a mirror is my wonder at "what does it really do?" Sure, you can see what's behind you. But what do you do with that information? Move over? I'm already over. Bail off the road because something's coming up? Bail off where? There's no shoulders out here. Some sections, if you bailed off, you'd sail off a cliff or down a ravine or into a thicket of poison oak.

I hear some folks say they move off the road and stop when they see a vehicle coming up behind them. Somehow, I doubt that vehicle would have hit the rider and that could be moving off the road every 30 seconds. Although, I'm sure some folks would swear they would have been hit if they hadn't moved off the road. And for that, I don't doubt their feeling because they say the vehicle went by without moving over after they bailed. And why should it move over after you bailed? It had no reason to move over any more. My hope is that the driver doesn't expect that action of every cyclist they come across because I'm not bailing.

But if you want a mirror, I'm happy to sell you one of the few I stock.

(What's playing: Boston Don't Look Back)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Project 18 pound...

"Don't ask me what I think of you I might not give you the answer that you want me to." Oh wait, that's a song lyric. What I meant to say is don't ask me how much my bike weighs because I don't know. I think I weighed it once, but promptly forgot. So it was an interesting task that was bestowed on me to build one of my frames up to weigh 18 pounds without pedals. One aid was to forgo my steel fork (which with a 1 1/8" steerer tube does add a bit of weight, but rides great) in favor of a carbon Seven fork the prospective owner already had. The length was within a few millimeters of the stock fork so handling won't be changed.

It's been such a long time since I looked at weights of components. My research came up with a SRAM Force build. Compared to Ultegra, the Force parts (shifters, derailleurs, cranks) are quite a bargain compared to Ultegra and also weigh quite a bit less to boot. Double bonus. So, here she is. All 18 pounds 6 ounces (without pedals or other gear) packed onto a 62cm frame. Pretty damn good. Handbuilt wheels with Velocity A23 rims, White Industries hubs, 32 spokes front and rear, brass nipples, DT Revolution spokes up front and on the left rear, DT Competition spokes on the right rear, Conti 4-Season 25c tires. Ritchey WCS alloy seat post and stem. Salsa 46cm bar. Salsa quick releases with stainless shafts. Just a bunch of good, quality components that will last a long time. Nothing chosen because it was stupid light. And it turned out to be a great looking bike.

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And now that I've spent about a half hour watching various covers of "Oh Well," here's the original and a pretty great cover by Tom Petty.

(What's playing: John Stewart July, You're A Woman)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Road bike review...

There's a nice review of the Black Mountain Cycles road (and cross) frameset available in the spring issue of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition's "Pedal Press." Check out the pdf of the issue at the following link. The review is located on page 22. Black Mountain Cycles review.

Here's a picture of James' road bike taken recently up in Mammoth. There's a heck of a lot of snow up there that hasn't melted yet. Really cool shot.

Snow Bank

Also got a really nice call from the owner of a Black Mountain Cycles frame from Utah who called to say he is loving the ride of the bike. Very cool. Thanks!

(What's playing: Monsters of Folk Magic Marker)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hey Nick, you forgot to include...

Granted, I'm far off Nick's radar, but it's really not so difficult to find road frames with clearances for fatter tires. I've got a stack of them. And they can take up to a 33 tire, easily. I enjoy Nick Legan's column in Velo News, although some of the questions are becoming a little mundane. In the "not mundane" category is one of today's questions: "Where can I get a road frame with clearance for fatter tires that I can race?"

Part of the issue may lie in the belief that in the year 2011, a "race" bike is assumed to be carbon fiber. And once someone has it in their mind that in order to be competitive, one needs to have the lightest machine and that machine has to have a carbon fiber frame. Heck, just this week Cannondale unveiled their new race frame that weighs in at 685 grams! Holy Frack! I remember when a light carbon road frame was one that weighed under 1 kilo. Why design something that then needs to have weights dropped down the seat tube to bring it up to the UCI minimum weight? Oh well, not going to go there.

The writer of the question about tire clearances pointed out an important feature that manufacturers do no take advantage of to offer more tire size versatility in their frames (and forks). Too many road frames and forks are designed around short reach (39mm - 49mm) that do not take advantage of designing so that the brake pads get mounted at the bottom of the slot. If they did this, all of these frames could easily take a 25 - 28 tire. But no, the brake pads are invariably positioned at the top of the slot making even a 25 a tight fit.

So, to answer the question "where can I get a road bike that I can race that has clearance for 28 tires," I can answer "at Black Mountain Cycles." A steel road bike is just as raceable as a carbon bike. It's not the machine. It's the engine. And I guarantee that if you show up at a road race with a steel bike, you will be seen as a bad-ass, bucking the trend. Just make sure your engine is tuned properly.

These photos are in the previous post, but they do show off the clearance of my frames nicely.

That's a 33.333 tire in there.
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The brake is a standard reach caliper (47mm - 57mm) with the pads at the bottom of the slot. Lots of clearance with a 33.3mm tire.
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(What's playing: KWMR Morning Glory)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Some recent builds and info...

The owner of the cross bike I built several weeks ago has been by several times. Each time he tells me how much fun he's having riding the bike and how great it rides. Really nice to hear stuff like that. A few more have gone out since then. And I'm trying to get a few more sizes built to have on display and to test ride at the shop. That's going slow since I've got to work around the other regular repairs which are pretty steady.

Here's a couple of recent builds for your viewing pleasure.

This road bike went to Jeff in Fairfax. Pretty soon he'll be pedaling all the way around Nicasio Reservoir and back to Fairfax.
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This cross bike is going to be used by Katie for commuting in San Francisco.
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This 59cm road bike is built with slightly modified Road Kit #2 and is available for sale for $2325.
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I'm really stoked on the finish of the bike and the look of the decals under the clear coat.
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(What's playing: The Byrds Yesterday's Train)