Thursday, September 11, 2014

Kenda Slant Six 29x1.8

I don't have much time to keep up-to-date on new product via cruising the web these days.  And I don't have reps visit me to keep me informed on new products.  So, I take it upon myself to try to seek out new goodies.  I get most of my parts from Quality Bicycle Products - a really great distributor out of Minnesota.  Because of their super easy to use website and the fact they have just about everything, I end up ordering more things than I actually need.  Recently it was Oberto's beef jerky that fell into that category. 

Every so often, I'll cruise the tire category.  The ability to narrow down a product search like tires is really great.  I'll start with 622 bead diameter tires, narrow that down to folding and/or tubeless compatible.  Then I'll narrow it down to widths.  Oh, what's this?  A 1.8" size?  Hmmm.  Narrow down and it tells me that Kenda now has a 29x1.8" tubeless compatible Slant Six tire available.  I've got to check that out.  

Here they are.  I don't know how long these have been available, but dang, this is a pretty nice off-road tire that fits very nicely in the Black Mountain Cycles monster cross frames.  I got some in today and mounted one up on a Velocity A23 rim with out sealant, just to check fit.  Sure enough, with just a floor pump, it inflated easily and looks great in my frame.  Actual width on an A23 is 43mm casing and 45.5mm tread width.  The claimed weight is 601g +/- 30g.  I weighed one at 590g.  

Will I immediately change out the Nano 40 tires I'm currently running?  No, but I would definitely consider mounting a set up if I found myself wanting to take my cross bike on an all off-road ride that was more technical than the fire roads and trails I currently ride or if I needed a bit more cush because I was getting soft in my old age.  Regardless, this is a great option for tires in this mid-40 size range.  Good stuff.

The offset nature of the A23 OC rim means that securing a tubeless valve may be tricky because the nut doesn't pull the valve's seal straight into the rim.  Okay, not ideal.

9mm of clearance, Clarence.

Probably a bit buzzy on the road, but good on hardpack.

(What's playing:  The Specials Ghost Town)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cross frame updates...

Two updates on cross frames today.  First, the Taiwanese made cross frames are ready and will be in a container on the way here next week.  Container shipments leaving the factory are typically done on Tuesdays, if I recall.  What that means is that 57 cross frames in Maroon and Dazzling Blue in all sizes, 50cm - 65cm, will be making their way across the Pacific with an estimated arrival 3-4 weeks or so later.  Once I know the vessel the frames are on, I can track the shipment a bit closer.  

Has anything changed on the frames?  This 4th production run of frames is the same as the 3rd run with one exception:  the addition of a mid-leg, low-rider braze-on on the fork.  That was a lot of hyphens.  I opted for the mid-blade eyelet because that one is most versatile, allowing low-rider racks to be mounted and with a long option strut, the Nitto M18 rack fits as well. 

As of this writing, the availability of frames is wide open.  There is one 59cm blue frame spoken for and that's it.  It's been a very hectic, busy summer so I haven't had much time to do much flag waving on the sale of these new colors.  And yes, two brand new colors for me - that makes me a bit trepidatious, since, except for the first run, all frame runs have used a popular previous color.  Gotta throw things at the wall to see what sticks. 

Just as a reminder, here is the Dazzline Blue and Maroon (ignore the red) colors for the frames.  I'm hoping to get a photo from Taiwan today of the frames before they get boxed to post.  I'm curious to see them too!  

Fork boss location configuration.  The forks are only getting the low-rider boss added.

The second update is on the MUSA cross frames.  Still taking deposits for a run of the MUSA frames that is scheduled for October (that's next month).  I'm looking at offering two colors - the same International Orange as the first run, and a green that was chosen as a color by a customer who has one of the frames on order.  RAL 6018 will be a second color option for this run of MUSA frames.  Price will be $1700 for frame and fork - same specifications as the first frames.  These are a yearly (if that) offering, so don't hesitate if the idea of a really great US made cross frame for $1700 appeals to you.  

I've been enjoying the heck out of mine.

(What's playing:  Tom Waits (Intro) to Nighthawks At The Diner)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bruce Gordon Rock 'n Road...

I was pretty stoked to be asked to build this bike for Bruce Gordon.  It's funny, though.  Bruce is always cited for being a traditionalist when it comes to his bikes.  Steel tubing, 1" threaded steerer tubes...  The reality is that couldn't be further from the truth.  One look at some of the showstopper bikes he's produced for NAHBS, including this amazing lugged carbon fiber bike.  Yes, a carbon fiber frame.  It's a fallacy that frame builders who focus on steel shun carbon fiber.  A good frame builder works with the materials they know and the right material for the right application.  And Bruce works with steel, titanium, and, yes, carbon fiber.  He is a constructor, or constructeur, if you prefer, making frames and components.  

For this customer, steel was the material of choice and the parts of choice were the newest electric/hydraulic system from Shimano.  The "rust" powder coat finish is nicely set off with the Rock 'n Road gold/blue decals.  It turned out really great.

First prototype tubeless compatible 650b Rock 'n Road tires.

Wires and junction box neatly tucked into the down tube.

Shifting done and adjusted.  

(What's playing:  KWMR Release Me)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Build, build, build...

Is the saying that August arrives like a lamb and leaves like a lion?  If not, then I changed that.  And you can trademark that.  August started off like any other month, but by the time it was almost over, I had a stack of complete bike orders lined up in the queue.  First the Black Mountain Cycles builds + a Seven.  Then I'll save a really fun build for a separate post.

Build boxes and wheels on tap and ready.

The first build was Dan's cross bike.  If you check out the parts closely, you may be scratching your head and saying "what the..."  Campy 10s shifters, RaceFace mountain bike crankset, Shimano 9-speed cassette and derailleurs...  It works.  I'll go into more detail in another post.

Emerson's cross bike was destined for Michigan.  Pretty much a straight forward build kit #1 with Clement MSO 40 tires.  A sharp looking bike and the last 56cm green frame to leave the building.  56cm and 59cm green frames are sold out.

Tylers's 62cm gray cross bike was also based on the build kit #1 with SRAM bar end shifters, but had the brakes upgraded to Paul Components Minimoto. 

Ken's cross bike.  This is one of the 62cm MUSA frames build by Cameron Falconer last year.  It got a special treatment with the Enve carbon fork and parts from his other cross bike transferred.

Aaron's single-speed cross bike destined for New York City.  I dug how this bike turned out.  It's a 65cm frame with some back-swept bars.  It feels really good.  Paul Components Hi-Flange 36h hubs with Velocity Dyad rims, Phil Wood bottom bracket, Chris King headset - a really sweet, together bike.

Nathan's cross bike.  We wanted to get the weight down on this one.  The basis for the build was the Shimano build kit #3, but we upgraded the cranks to the CX70, seat to the Rocket V Pro, seat post to a Ritchey WCS, and tires to the 120tpi Clement MSO 40.  As it sits there it weighs 21lbs. 13oz.  Watch out South Dakota!

And finally, this new Seven was built with existing Zipp wheels and new Red 22 parts for a great customer.  We created a 52/36 Red crankset out of a 46/36 crank with a 52 ring replacing the 46.  He'll add in his front wheel and seat / seat post when it arrives.

Watch this space for something off the charts cool from Bruce Gordon.

(What's playing:  The Raconteurs Many Shade of Black)