Friday, December 19, 2014

Una Pizza Bike Show

A per the previous post, I was closed last Sunday to hang out, er, attend and display a bike at the somewhat annual Una Pizza Bike show organized by Sean Walling of Soulcraft Bikes and Anthony Mangieri of Una Pizza Napoletana.  Ten bucks got folks in to talk bikes and eat as much of Anthony's incredible pizza as you could rotating through the generous lines.  When not eating there were lots of friends and bikes to spend time with - John Caletti from Caletti Cycles, Bruce Gordon, Rock Lobster's Paul Sadoff, Sean from Soulcraft, Retrotec/Inglis Cycles' Curtis Inglis, Robert Ives from Blue Collar Bikes, Steve Rex, Paul Components' Paul Price, Cameron Falconer, Todd Ingermanson and his Black Cat Bikes, Jeremy Sycip, Rick Hunter, Josh of Frances Cycles, Alec White of White Industries, and a couple guys I didn't meet from Strawfoot

Before the party opened at noon, all the exhibitors took a casual cruise down to the Bayview area for coffee at Trouble Coffee - which, coincidentally, sits across the street from Cameron Falconer's shop.  It was a clear, cool morning and the mass of riders moseying through the back streets was most enjoyable.  

Between Bicycle Times's post and one from All Hail The Black Market, if you weren't able to attend, these will give you a good idea of what went down. 

Trouble Coffee - where you can get a damn good cuppa joe.

Like the sign says...

A tub full of Black Mountain Cycles forks

Everyone has an engine sitting under their table, right?

The Falconer workshop


Rock Lobster

Bruce Gordon getting ready


Falconer 29" wheel coaster brake bomber

(What's playing:  The Who Love Ain't For Keeping)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Pizza and bikes and frame builders

The shop will be closed this Sunday, December 14, for the somewhat annual Una Pizza Napoletana bike show with the Bay Area's finest frame builders and parts makers.  If you're in the area stuff your pockets with some cash and come on over.  Noon to 5:00.  

(What's playing:  Elvis Costello What's So Funny About Peace, Love, and Understanding)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Grease is noble

Recently, I had occasion to pull bottom brackets out of two different bikes.  Both bottom brackets were Shimano's Hollowtech II external bearing models.  One bike was a custom titanium Seven with full Dura Ace.  The other was a Norco (or was it a Novara?) steel framed touring bike.  The Seven has low miles and is stored in a barn about 1/2 mile from Tomales Bay.  The steel touring bike has seen a lot of miles and a lot of rain, including one 3' deep forging a week ago.  What do you think I found when I pulled each bottom bracket?

Not enough info, right?  Okay, the reason I pulled the bottom bracket in the Seven was because the cranks would barely turn by hand.  Something was binding the bearings.  This is a bike that isn't ridden in the rain.  It's cleaned and wiped down after each ride.  In other words, it's babied a bit.  To remove the cups, a bit of, uh, persuasion was used.  When they finally disengaged, there was a pile of powdered flakes inside the shell - looked a bit like sawdust.

And the cups were slowly being eaten away from the inside out.  The anti-seize looks like it only coated up to the end of the threads, leaving exposed aluminum.

No photo of the seized bearings, but the non-drive side wouldn't turn at all by hand.  

The original bb install was done with the copper based anti-seize.  For every mechanic, there is a different opinion regarding grease vs. anti-seize when installing aluminum parts into titanium frames or titanium fittings into aluminum parts.  If you've been around the work stand since the titanium fastener company SRP was around, you probably reach for the copper anti-seize since a little pack of "Ti Prep" was included with SRP bolt kits.  And then there's simply using grease.  Which one is most appropriate?

To find out which barrier to use, I called both Moots and Seven.  Both simply said "grease."  The guy at Moots did say some of the guys there also like to use the silver colored anti-seize for extreme conditions.  But both had a caveat:  periodic maintenance meaning removal, cleaning, regreasing. 

Back to the Seven.  What the heck happened?  Galvanic corrosion happened.  Galvanic corrosion happens when two metals with numbers on opposite ends of the anodic index interact.  The more noble titanium started a reaction with the lesser noble aluminum.  Check out the chart below.  Oh look, titanium and aluminum are at opposite ends!  And how many aluminum seat posts and bottom brackets are installed in titanium frames?  Yeah, a lot.  So get your non-conductive grease layer between your titanium and aluminum.  I like grease and I use it judiciously on bottom brackets - coating the whole thing and a layer spread inside the bottom bracket shell.  Yeah, it's a bit messy, but it really does protect the internals.  And if dirt and crud get into the frame from the seatpost area, the grease will also capture it.  Doesn't really matter what kind of grease. 

Chart sourced here - a simple search for "galvanic corrosion" will yield plenty of reading material.

Back to that Norco touring bike.  The owner wanted to be proactive and asked me to pull the bottom bracket to make sure it was all okay because he had been riding in the rain and had recently submerged the bb riding through a stream.  If he was doing this kind of riding, my first thought was I would also drill a drain hole in the bb shell.  I pulled the bb and found plenty of grease on the threads, on the plastic center tube, and coating the spindle.  And there was already a drain hole in the bb shell.  Who ever installed the bb for him originally had done a great job.  I told him so and I wish I could remember the name of the shop who installed the bb for him to give them props.

One final thought on that Seven - if that bike had lived the same life in Phoenix, AZ, there would have likely been no problem.  However, since it lives in a barn that is not exactly sealed like your home interior and is near a salt water bay in a high humidity region and the riding it sees is along said bay, the salt in the air is what really acted the part of conductor between the titanium and aluminum and got the corrosion party started. 

"Hi Mrs. Titanium, can Ti come out and play?"
"I'm so sorry, Al, but you know you and Tye don't play well together when you aren't dressed properly.  Why don't you go home and have mum dress you properly, then little Al and little Ti can have a grand time."

(What's playing: New Order Shellshock)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Black Friday Sale

I'm personally not a fan of Black Friday.  I have no desire to grapple for $50 flat-screen TV sets (my old CRT TV works fine - as long as it gets a sharp slap to the side to coerce the screen to light up).  Pretty much, if I can't get it at a bike shop or a grocery store, I don't really need it.  Or want it.  And if that's your M.O. as well, then you are in luck.  I'll be having a Black Friday (and Saturday, and Sunday) Sale on select items.  

Items I'm tired of seeing day in and day out will be marked (or not - that's a lot of work to mark stuff down) down by a significant margin.  What's going to be on sale, you ask?  Well, let's see.  Here's a partial list without prices because I haven't figured that out yet, but they'll be killer prices.

Velocity Synergy rims - 650b and 700c
Velocity Blunt and Blunt SL 650b rims
Pacenti PL23 rims - 650b and 700c
(I'm thinking something like $40 max for the above rims)
No Tubes Alpha 340 and 400 rims
Velocity Razor 700c silver rims
DT Swiss 440 rims
Shimano 6700, XT, CX50, CX70 cranksets
Vee Rubber XCX and V12 tires
Kenda Nevegal 29" tires
Pacenti, Schwalbe, and WTB 650b mtn tires
Lobster type gloves
Dura Ace 7900 34.9 front derailleur
Clement 33mm cross tires
A whole bunch of black 3d forged threadless stems for 26.0 handlebars - these will be super cheap.
26" wheel SKS fenders

Basically, if you see something that catches your eye, make me an offer.  The more dust that's on it, the more I want to see it go away.  The vintage bikes, however, are not for sale.  Sorry.

I'll have coffee and Bovine pastries on hand Friday and Saturday.  If you want cream or sugar for your coffee, you might want to bring your own as there really is only one way to drink coffee in my book.  Some beer too for after noon.

See something you like?  Friday.

Addition:  A bunch of mechanical road disc brakes from Avid, Hayes, and Shimano will also be on sale for as much as half-off.  I've also got a Surly Steamroller frameset 53cm in Cream that I need to be gone as well as a used Bianchi Vigorelli 63cm frame/fork/headset/brakes.


(What's playing: Stevie Wonder Superstition)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Turning tubes into frames

The MUSA cross frames are coming along nicely.  I got an update from Cameron Falconer yesterday.  Frames and forks are welded.  The fiddly bits are next to be brazed on.  They should be going to the powder-coater by next Wednesday.  When they get back to me, several are already spoken for, but there will be a few available for purchase.  Here's what is going to be available:

56cm disc brake w/ segmented fork - 2 x orange, 1 x green
59cm disc brake w/ segmented fork - 2 x orange, 1 x green
Price is $1800 + applicable sales tax and shipping.

Before paint:

(What's playing:  BBC Radio 6 - Don Letts)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

No two days the same

One thing is for sure here in West Marin - no two days are the same.  One day it's overcast and the next day it's clear as can be.  A side benefit of the variety of the weather is that even if you do the same ride day after day, it will feel different.  Sunday's ride was overcast and damp.  Cold at lower elevations and warmish/humid on the ridge tops.  Monday was met with a high pressure system and cold, dry air that warmed quickly.  I'm not sure what I dislike more - 50 degrees with a damp chill or a clear and dry 39 degrees.  Either way, my fingers and toes suffer.  It makes no sense to bundle them up because by the middle of the ride, you're shedding clothes.  So, you embrace rule #5 and pound through the temporary pain because the pain is temporary.  Especially with views/scenes like these.

San Geronimo Ridge

Tomales Bay from Bolinas Ridge

Sliver of early morning light as the fog lifts

and in b/w

South on 1 as the fog lifts

Long shadows

How long can this tree hang on?

Alpine Lake on the road bike

Looking south from Bolinas Ridge

Feeling small in the trees - San Geronimo Ridge

Clear and dry on Marshall Beach Rd.


And the perfect finish to a ride - espresso from an old Bialetti espresso maker in an even older Franciscan coffee cup.

(What's playing:  X Beyond and Back)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

MUSA frame update

While the window to order your choice of frame size, canti brake, or disc brake is closed now, there are still some frames available and you can have your choice of color.  Here's what is available:  56cm or 59cm frames for disc brake only.  Forks will be segmented style and there will be hourglass shaped rack/fender mounts on the fork legs and seat stays.  Brakes will be mounted to the seat stay.  However, you will have your choice of either International Orange or a bright green powder coat.  

So, if you're after a 56cm or 59cm disc brake monster cross frameset, price is $1800 and you can choose either one of these two colors.  Production on the frames will be happening within days - there was a bit of a delay getting all the parts ordered and received.  Big thanks to Curtis Inglis at Retrotec Cycles for helping with some dropouts that were out of stock at Paragon Machine Works.

These tubes will be turned into sweet monster cross frames soon.

International Orange

RAL 6018

(What's playing:  Bob Dylan Tombstone Blues)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Finally feeling fall-like

Fall's been well under way for the past month.  Two more months until winter.  However, it was only in the past couple of days - today especially so - that it really felt like fall.   We don't get the big color change in the tree leaves here.  Some trees change, but most just lose their leaves.  For me, the signal that summer's over is the change in the shadows due to the sun being lower in the sky.  And even though the sun is out, the skies clear of clouds, there still a chill that hangs in the air well into the noon hour.  

It's those mornings where you set out with arm and knee warmers and by 10 or 11, you still have them on because it's just not warm enough to shed them that make you realize the Indian Summer days are over.  And West Marin has some spectacular Indian Summer days.  High pressure builds over the deserts of Nevada/Utah and pushes dry air out over California.  This results in warm days - warmer on the coast here than during the traditional hot summer months.  The riding during these days is spectacular.  They are the days I look forward to all year.  

But fall has set in.  The sky might have been clear and the sun shining bright, but it wasn't hot.  Not bad, but not summer any longer.  The arm warmers and knee warmers stayed on all day where last week they came off mid-way through the ride.  

That doesn't mean spectacular riding is not still to be had.  On the contrary, Sunday and Monday were great days on the bike.  I was able to get out on two three hour rides back-to-back.  And West Marin did not disappoint.  Sunday's ride brought me through Sam Taylor State Park, up and over into Nicasio,  over to the Marshall-Petaluma Rd. and the Marshall Wall, and back down Hwy. 1 into Pt. Reyes Station.  I've been riding the Marshall Wall quite a bit recently and after dropping a 20 lbs. it's really become not a big deal at all.  I find myself seeking out climbs or riding known climbs at least a cog or two smaller.  Feels pretty damn good.  

Monday's ride was one of my favorites.  And with my new found lighter weigh self, I tacked on what I would usually consider a separate ride - two rides in one.  How can it get any better.  The ride out to Pierce Point is one of the best out here.  Good climbing, good descending, and, most of the time, you have the road to yourself.  From Pierce Point, I come back via a dirt road, well a ranch road/cow track, to the L Ranch Rd./Marshall Beach Rd., which is some sweet Strada Biancha-like gravel road.  From there back to Pt. Reyes Station is usually a pretty good ride by itself, but Monday, I took the climb up Mt. Vision Rd. and came back to Pt. Reyes Station via the Inverness Ridge Trail.  This trail is pretty much a hiking/mountain bike trail, but I like to ride my road bike or cross bike on it.  It's perfect for either one.  Challenging, but not crazy.  

And how to end such a great ride?  Lunch at Perry's Deli in Inverness Park, of course.  Their West Marin Reuben sandwich is spectacular.  Not something you want to eat daily - or even weekly, but every so often, I need one.  

Sunday's ride in the shadow of Black Mountain as the fog lifts.

Restoration project on the side of the Marshall-Petaluma Rd.

Turkeys - it is getting close to Thanksgiving.

Climbing the Marshall Wall.

Hog Island on Tomales Bay.

Monday's ride heading out Pierce Point Rd.

Vague dirt track and some cow herding out on Tomales Point.

We don't have a lot of gravel roads, but this one is really damn sweet - L Ranch Rd.

Inverness Ridge Trail

The West Marin Reuben

(What's playing:  Chuck Prophet Ford Econoline)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sachs - What's In The Stand

(Post edited 11/24/14.  Every month or so, I check the stats of the blog for curiosity's sake.  Today, I noticed a spike in views from the Velocipede Salon website.   Seems a lot of the comments decried the amount of time the owner waited.  Richard Sachs weighed in claiming the time the owner waited is incorrect.  It would have been easy for him to e-mail me and correct the wait time.  I'm simply going by what the owner told me on several occasions.  Whether or not the wait time was 4 years or 14 years, it's still a great looking bike.  And so, I am editing the post to remove text regarding the wait time for the frame - MV)

Earlier this week, I posted about a set of wheels that turned out so nice, I wanted to keep them for myself and hinted that the frame they were destined for was special.  One of the most sought after frame makers in the states these days is Richard Sachs Cycles.  The bike industry is typically made up of companies who over supply bikes to the market and then have to discount them deeply to make room for the next model year and the next big thing.  That's pretty much the complete opposite to Richard Sachs' model of business.  His demand is to high and output so low that he has a wait time or several years for one of his frames. 

What one does get after waiting is a beautiful frame.  The lugs are nicely shaped and crisp.  The overall aesthetics are very, very pleasing.  The paint job by Joe Bell is flawless with its deep red coat.  It's a right proper looking bike that I'm sure will be great fun to ride.  If this was mine, I think the first ride would definitely be one with a bunch of dirt thrown in.  It just looks like it wants to go anywhere. 

I was pretty excited when the owner came to me to have me build his bike that he waited years to get.  There were a few parameters for parts that we knew we wanted to stick to.  Campagnolo.  We both agreed that new 2015 Campagnolo Super Record cranks with their Shimano-esque 4-arm design wouldn't look proper on this bike.  And we thought the RS version of the 2014 Super Record would be appropriate.  Super Record RS on a Richard Sachs, get it?  You already was the wheelset - HED Belgium, Chris King, Challenge Strada.  There were a couple other items that needed to be individually chosen that were out of production - Campagnolo Record seat post and Campagnolo quick releases.  Both of these were sourced from the great folks at Euro-Asia Imports and really make the spec of the bike dialed. 

(What's playing:  David Bowie Kooks)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Monster Cross V4 frames arrived

One phone call last Friday to the tucking company who will be delivering frames, "Yes, the frames will be delivered on Monday.  Please call back on Monday before 10:00 a.m. to get a delivery window."  Monday morning arrives.  I think I can get out on the bike at 8:00 a.m. and get a 90 minute ride.  What's that?  Rain?  Really?  On the day frames are going to be here.  Dang.  Not feeling like I want to start a ride now in the rain, I get a couple of things done, go to the shop, call the trucking company, "Yes, we said delivery on Monday when we spoke on Friday, but now the delivery is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday."  

Okay, I can deal with that.  Finish up a few things at the shop not wanting to stay too long since I am closed on Monday.  Head home.  Get an email from the company who handles the shipments through customs, "Mike, we have pushed the delivery company to deliver the frames today.  Is that okay?"  Yes, of course!  Call again to the trucking company to find out the delivery will be made before 4:00.  It's only noon.  So back to the shop to wait.  I do have the good fortune to get an order for a new complete bike build while I'm at the shop - it's going to be a sweet 62cm gray cross bike with White Industries cranks.  

Truck arrives about 3:00, rain is long gone and it's a pretty nice day and I'm unloading the truck and then loading them into my storage.  I do like days when I have a better handle on the schedule, but this one was okay.  Maroon (or as was commented on the Facebook page - Black Cherry) and Dazzling Blue.  I was a bit nervous about an entire shipment of colors I had no history with, but they look great.  Really.  Much better in person than in the photos.  All sizes in stock in both colors.  $595 each (65cm is $545 because of the lack of heat-treatment due to the thicker walled main tubes).

(What's playing:  KWMR's The Barbarian Beach Party)