Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New road frames on the way...

Within the next couple of days, the new run of road frames will be on the water headed here from Taiwan.  It should be roughly 3 weeks before they show up here and become available to ship out.  I got a photo from Taiwan of the light blue and I am psyched at how it came out.  I may have to build one of those up for myself.  Hmmm.  


(What's playing:  Led Zeppelin Rock & Roll)

Time is running out...

Time is running out to get yourself a custom color cross frame.  As per this post, I am offering the chance to get a cross frame painted in any of the past colors I have done if you want something different than the green or gray that will make up the bulk of this new production run.  August 31 (yes, I now know there are 31 days in August) is the deadline to get payment in full to me for a frame painted in your choice of past colors (champagne, orange, root beer, light blue).  The price for these frames is the same as the standard color even though my cost is a bit more.  And the price is unchanged since day one when I first offered framesets - $595.  So far, the response has been pretty darn good with orders for champagne, orange, and light blue, as well as orders for green.  Anyone want a root beer frame to get all the colors represented? 

Availability for this run of frames is still looking like sometime in November.

The previous post with the photo of the green sample tube didn't turn out great as the actual color is a bit darker.  Here's a shot that better represents the actual green color.  It's cool.  Floyd thinks it's cool too.


(What's playing:  Ultravox Reap The Wild Wind)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Custom cross frame colors...

The current batch of cross frames is just about sold out.  I've got a couple 65cm frames in orange and gray and a few 56cm and 59cm frames in orange.  I place a new order about a month ago for more cross frames.  There are a couple of minor changes to this next run:  increased bottom bracket drop by 5mm (4mm on 50cm and 53cm as their drop was already more than the other sizes) and a slight s-bend to the chainstay for better crankarm clearance.  The S-bend is not as pronounced as the US made frames.  It's an 's' bend, not and 'S' bend.  Lead time for frame production is roughly 80 days, then they need to go to paint, boxing and shipping.  All in all, I'm looking at around early November for delivery.  If it's earlier, great, but early November is what I expect.

Colors!  There will be a new color for the cross frame that is inspired by Floyd, the shop frog.  The second color will be gray.  I'll probably split the color 50/50 through the size mix.  That is unless you want a custom color.  Well, not totally custom, that would be too difficult to manage.  I can, however, manage the coordination of a color that has previously been used in the run of any of the road or cross frames.  There is a catch, though.  I'll get to that later.

So, say you want one of the new frames, but you're not quite digging the green or gray.  What you really dig is the light blue that is coming on the newest run of road frames (in paint this week, by the way).  Or you like the orange, or root beer, or champagne.  Here's the catch:  through the month of August, with a non-refundable frame payment in full, I'll arrange for your cross frame to be painted in light blue (or orange, or root beer, or champagne).  Those are the only color choices and it requires a non-refundable payment for the full frame price.  Did I mention the payment was non-refundable?  Just making sure.  

Pre-payment price doesn't include shipping, unless you want to add it.  Frame prices remain the same regardless of color - $595 for all sizes except 65cm, $545 for the 65cm (because it's made with a bit thicker main tubes and is not heat-treated).  Shipping costs are $25 to the Pacific Time Zone, $30 to Mountain, $35 to Central, and $40 to the Eastern Time Zone. 

There you have it.  I get to pick the two colors for the production run and you get to pick a different color if those two don't float your boat.  Win-Win!  Time is running out.  The door to the custom color program closes at the stroke of midnight on the last day of August.  I think that's the 30th because July just had 31 days and I don't think there are two months in a row with 31 days each.  

Floyd Green
In person, the green is a bit more yellow and there is a yellow/gold pearl/metallic to it.  It's cool.

(What's playing:  Neko Case Set Out Running)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shop frog...

Yes, you read that right.  Some shops have shop dogs.  I have a shop frog.  A Pacific Tree Frog, or Pacific Chorus Frog to be precise.  He (and I know it's a he because only the hes croak) showed up early last fall.  I walked into the bathroom and there he was at eye level on the top of the ladder.  It's eye level if you are 6'3" and it's a 6' ladder.  I thought "what the hell is this guy doing in here?"  I scooped him up and deposited him in the garden out in front of the shop.  My good deed of releasing him back into the wild done.  Or so I thought.

Next day he's back on the ladder.  Well, okay.  If that's the way you want it, you got it.  I started taking photos of him whenever I saw him and posting them to the Facebook.  Folks dug him.  A friend of mine named him Floyd Renfield.  Floyd just because and Renfield after the fly-eating character Renfield in "Dracula."  

I told a herpetologist friend about him last October or November.  He said enjoy it while you can because frog breeding season is coming up and he will be out of here in search of a mate down in the wetlands about 1/4 - 1/2 mile from the shop.  Sure enough, one day in November he's gone.  Not unusual because he's not there every day.  But one day turns to one week and that turns to one month and that turns to 6 months.  

Every day, I'd glance to the ladder out of habit.  Did that until May 17 of this year with no sighting. Just under six months since Floyd was last seen and there he is on that day in May.  My herpetologist friend was pretty amazed the frog came back.  Pretty sure it's the same one.  The markings are saying same frog.  And now three months later, he's a regular in the bathroom on the ladder next to the sink.  When he's not taking care of the fly and spider population or on the ladder, I think he resides within the sink in the overflow because he came blasting out one day while I was rinsing the coffee pot.  

So now it's three months until November when he headed out for the frog breeding ground last year.  It will be interesting to see if he shows up again next spring.  There's a full set of Floyd photos on my flickr page, but here's a few.  

The Frog
I think this is the first photo I took back in September, 2012.  Still had long hair then.

The Frog
He spent some time bar hopping.

The Frog

The Frog
What are you looking at?

The Frog
Wall crawler.

The Frog
Can I get to the top of the ladder in one leap?

The Frog
Frogs don't stick too good to mirrors.

The Frog
Contemplating how to turn the water on.

(What's playing:  Peter Case Something's Coming)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Footnote from a bike shop...

As a sole-proprietor, owner/operator, one-man bike shop, it really is all about me.  I'm not necessarily comfortable with that.  I try to avoid using "I" when I write a blog post, but that's pretty much impossible so I limit its use.  Even though it pretty much is all about me, I want it to be about you.  I want folks to come in and enjoy the experience.  To some people, there isn't much to see in the shop.  To others, there's an endless supply of things to check out. 

I almost didn't write that post on the "Not A Real Bike Shop" because I didn't want (still don't) to make it seem like I was snooty and that the people of commented that it wasn't a real shop were somehow contemptible.  It's not that way at all.  Black Mountain Cycles simply wasn't their kind of shop and I'm okay with that.  Honest.  In the same way that I love riding my steel road frame with 30mm tires, it's okay if they love riding their Trek Madone with 23mm tires.  Now, if they ask for my advice about tires size, well, then I'm going to let them know that fat is where it's at.

I do appreciate all the positive comments here and on the Facebook page.  The comments about not being a real bike shop didn't sting.  Those folks simply have a different local bike shop experience where they are from.  Being in a tourist town, I have folks from all over the world come into the shop.  I'm sure the shop they frequent is great at providing them with their needs.  If all the shops were the same, it would be pretty boring. 

(What's playing:  Devo Gut Feeling)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Not a real bike shop...

I have a confession and an apology.  I've learned recently that I'm not a real bike shop.  I feel the need to apologize to everyone who purchased something from me or had me work on a bike.  If you feel I've pulled the wool over your eyes with my pretending to be a bike shop, I sincerely apologize.  I didn't mean to do it.  To me, a bike shop is a shop that fixes and sells bikes and parts.  I do that.  However, that doesn't cut it for some people.

Within a couple day period about a week ago, two couples came into the shop with expectations that were dashed.  The first couple approached the front of the shop and I could hear him tell her "look, they're a Trek shop."  There was a newish Trek Domane in the rack at the front door that I had worked on earlier that day.  With expectations of seeing rows and rows of Treks brilliantly shone off with low-voltage spot lights, they set through the front door.  A quick cursory glance revealed a rack of old mountain bikes, a bunch of weird looking orange bikes with roadie bars and knobby tires, and all lit up with fluorescent strip lights.  They stopped about five feet in the shop after I gave them a "howdy, how are you guys doing" from my truing stand.  He turned to her and in a not so quiet whisper told her "this isn't a real bike shop."  I almost laughed out loud and probably did have a quiet cough to suppress any comment that was ready to spill out.  They turned and abruptly left as I called out "have a great day" to them.  Wow, that just about made my day.  Not a real bike shop.  I was a little crushed, but bounced back within seconds.  

A few days later, a dad, mom, and a kid walk in and look around.  He asks me what I sell.  I tell him I build custom bikes and sell my own brand of road and cross bikes.  He follows that with "oh, so you're not a real bike shop."  His reasoning for what makes a real bike shop was one that sells Trek, Specialized, or Giant.  Then they left.  My head was reeling after being told I wasn't a real bike shop for the second time in a week.  Could it be true?  Was I kidding myself?  Was I lying to every cyclist who came into my shop and proclaimed "now this is a real bike shop." 

Naw, those folks just didn't know what scores of other people know.  They don't know that I build bikes and wheels for people all over the country and in other countries too.  They didn't know that I've been doing this bike thing for 25 years.  They just didn't know and obviously didn't want to learn either.  That's okay.  They did give me fuel for a new t-shirt.  Black Mountain Cycles - Not A Real Bike Shop.  

 Not a real bike shop.  The sign and bikes out front are simply lures.

Once inside, you'll discover no hybrid bikes, no comfort bikes, no carbon bikes, no Pergo wood floors, no low-voltage lighting, no mannequin displays.  Not a real bike shop.

(What's playing:  Skeeter Davis Under Your Spell Again)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Don't stick out...

Don't stick out, or I'll cut you off.  If you're the threaded end of a quick release skewer, that is.  Most complete bikes are supplied with quick releases where the skewer end doesn't extend past the adjusting nut.  However, if you buy an aftermarket set for your bike, chances are that you just bought a set of quick releases with extra-long skewers to fit any situation.  On a steel bike frame, dropouts are typically thinner than those that are on aluminum or carbon frames.  What to do with that extra 5mm threaded end sticking out?  Cut if off, of course!

Here's my trick to cutting down quick release skewers.  First, install the quick release and tighten to the frame or fork.  Measure the amount sticking out.  Thread a 5mm nut onto the skewer end stopping at the point you want to cut.  Clamp in a vice and cut off the end of the skewer with a hacksaw.  The nut is now still threaded on to the skewer.  Spin the nut further down and file the rough cut end or spin it on a grinder wheel.  Now that nut you threaded on earlier becomes a die of sorts as you remove it, it further cleans up the thread end.  Finally, reinstall it all and clamp to an appropriate tension.  




Didn't make the cut.  That piece of shift housing is there because the length I cut between two stops was just that much too long. 

(What's playing:  KWMR Release Me)