Saturday, October 30, 2010

What's in the stand, pt. 2...

Part 2 of today's What's In The Stand installment is a little something-something from over the hill in Fairfax. I got a phone call yesterday from a guy who has been following this blog for a while. He called to find out if I am going to be open today (yes), since I note in on my "When & Where" page on my website that I sometimes take a weather day. It also turns out that we know each other from way back in the day when I worked at Pacific Coast Cycles and he was a customer and one of the Bubbas. Bubbas were customers and riding buddies at the shop. Sure wish I still had one of the old Scum Bubbas t-shirts.

Anyway, a call from the past yesterday to find out if I'm going to be open today and oh, by the say, do you have any Cunninghams in your shop that I can check out? Why, as a matter of fact, I do have, not one, but three Cunninghams in the shop to check out. One is my mountain bike, the other two are a friend's road Cunninghams. Road Cunningham - rarer than hen's teeth.

The current road 'ham is one that got built up for its owner with a mostly NOS selection of Mavic parts: 862 front derailleur, 801 rear derailleur, 630 S.S.C. crankset, 430 brake levers. The wheel is a new custom, Hi-E Cunningham modified 28h hub with Mavic OR 10 rim. If you look closely, the left flange body is also threaded. When Charlie built the hub, all he had was threaded flanges (high on right, low on left). The hub is spaced at 133mm and builds a virtual dishless rear wheel with a 6-speed Regina freewheel.

If anyone wants to check out this bike, hurry, it's going to be heading to its new home Monday (well, maybe Tuesday).

#31 001

#31 008

#31 003

#31 007

#31 024

#31 020

#31 016

#31 027

#31 013

#31 012

#31 004

#31 010

#31 006

#31 026

(What's playing: Nick Cave Stagger Lee)

What's in the stand, pt. 1...

Here's a bike that was recently in the stand. Custom Steve Potts 26" wheel mountain bike. The owner originally was going to go with flat bars. However, after visiting my shop and seeing all the mountain bikes I have with drop bars, decided to pull out her old WTB drops and thumb shift adapters to organize the build around those two items.

Building a bike around parts from the 1980's in 2010 is not so easy. Things have changed, yet they really haven't. Because the thumb shift adapters only accept Shimano 6 or 7 speed thumb shifters and decent wide-range (with close ratios) cassettes aren't available in 6 or 7 speed, that posed an immediate challenge. The solution: the Shimano 7-speed thumb shifter has an extra "click" in it allowing the use of an 8-speed cassette. There are decent wide range 8-speed cassettes available. The base for the build is now established.

The wheels are built with a set of White Industries MI6 hubs. I like the hubs from White Ind. better with each wheel I build with them. Rims are WTB's Laser Disc Trail and spokes are DT Swiss 14g butted Competition. Just a nice wheel that will last for damn near ever.

One of the things I really like about the White Industries hubs is that they are light, cheap, and strong. Well, relatively cheap when compared to some of the other wallet-draining hubs on the market. They are light, while at the same time, they have a stainless steel (instead of aluminum) hubshell. Why is this important? Because with aluminum, you are stuck replacing cassettes with ones that have aluminum spiders every time you replace your cassette. Standard steel cassettes will dig into and damage aluminum cassette bodies. I see riders all the time who bring their bikes in to the shop in need of new chains and cassettes who are limited to more expensive cassette replacements which sometimes, they don't feel they can afford. The White Ind. hub gives the owner options.

The rest of the build is fairly straight forward: XTR derailleur (XT up front), RaceFace cranks, Avid BB7 road disc calipers, Thomson post, Brooks seat, RockShox Reba fork, WTB Wolverine tires. The green Salsa seat post clamp, quick release levers, and King green headset are nice touches. Yes, there are a stack of spacers under the stem. If it had been known that drop bars were going to be used on the bike, the front end geometry would have been slightly different. As it sits, the position is perfect and a custom stem that eliminates most of the spacers is on the table.

How 'bout some pictures?

potts 002

potts 007

potts 015

potts 010

potts 009

potts 008

potts 006

potts 005

potts 003

(What's playing: KWMR Morning Glory)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

First two frames...

In all my years of getting bikes ready for photo shoots, sales meetings, tradeshows...every thing always, always comes down to the wire. You can plan to have frames and parts months in advance, but something always happens that really pushes the envelope. I ceased stressing about deadlines long ago knowing that being stressed doesn't make things happen faster. Being stressed doesn't make things appear that you are waiting for. Being stressed only causes those around you to think you are a royal ass.

Biketoberfest happened in Marin last weekend and for the third year in a row, I signed up for a booth space. It's a great event. Lots of people, good food, and lots of great tasting beer. I've been working and waiting for my own shop brand of frames since I opened my shop over 3 years ago. I've been riding on sample road and cross frames for over a year. With only a couple of very minor revisions, the production frames are the same as those sample frames. I'm very pleased in how the samples turned out and how they ride and am equally pleased how the first two production frames that I received for the event turned out. And it wouldn't be a bike event if the bikes weren't finished at the last minute, or in my case at 5:00 p.m. the day before the event. It always works out.

So the day of the event arrived and I got there super early to drop off the bikes and booth materials before heading out on a ride with Sean and his wife from Soulcraft, Paul and his girl from Paul Components, and Keith, one of Sean's riders. They were all on single-speed mountain bikes, except for Sean's wife. I rode my cross bike with 45 tires. I think that bike is just about perfect. It handled the single-track deftly and the rocks cautiously. But it was a superb ride.

So, here they are, the first two frames. The color for these two turned out great. Originally, I was only going to have the road frame in orange and the cross frame in brown. However, a couple of friends expressed interest in owning a champagne color road frame and an orange cross frame, so I ordered road frames in orange and champagne and cross frames in orange and brown. I think I like the orange cross frame better than the brown and the champagne road frame better than the orange. In any case, I think the bikes turned out beautiful. As they sit in the photos, the road frame with a SRAM Apex build weighed in at 20 pounds 1 ounce in the 56cm size. The cross frame with a mix of parts weighed in at 23 pounds 3 ounces in a 56cm. Both are weights without pedals.

Click on the photos to go to the flickr site for more photos.

cross 001

bmc 001

(What's playing: David Bowie Let's Dance)