Monday, October 22, 2012

What the hell was I thinking...

I've been meaning to write this post for quite some time.  Every so often, I check in to the Blogger stats for this site.  Sometimes, there will be a bunch of visits from various bike forums.  I gave up on bike forums several years ago.  Too much time involved and the whole anonymity of the thing is a big turn off.  However, I do appreciate it when folks post links to my site pointing folks to something I wrote or to my road or cross frames.  

I'm not sure where the term "deal-breaker" came from or how it came to be used as frequently as it does within modern lexicon, but I find its use in regards to my frames interesting.  Like the fact that the monster cross frames are designed around cantilever brakes and not disc brakes is a deal-breaker for some.  

The other popular deal-breaker is that there are no seatstay braze-ons for a rear rack.  To be honest, the lack of seatstay rack braze-ons was one of those "doh" moments.  Something that doesn't take away from the overall ride of the bike, but adds a level of versatility.  They didn't make it on the frame because I don't ride with a rack and never even thought about them.  It also seems a lot of folks really don't like p-clamps.  I don't know why.  I've seen plenty of touring contraptions come through my shop with a multitude of p-clamps securing racks and fenders and trailers to all manner of bikes from carbon race bikes to rickety old Free Spirit 10 speeds.  I also did a cross-country tour on a mountain bike with p-clamps securing the rack to the seatstay.  Some of that tour even included some pretty rough off-roading across the La Sal Mountains and across Pearl Pass.  The rack, bike, and p-camps are still all in my possession and completely usable today 23 years later.  

I'm not going to beat the p-clamp to death and am happy to say that the second production run of monster cross frames (ready to ship from Taiwan very, very soon) has seatstay braze-ons for rear racks.  Disc brakes, however, will have to wait.  This run of frames is rim brake only.  Why?  Because there are still a lot of folks who like rim brakes.  They are simple and work great.  Yes, I get that disc brakes have scads of power, but most people, myself included, don't need all that power.  And yes, I know all the pluses of disc brakes.  I also know that the frame and fork have be beefed up and then the frame that got the nice review in Bicycle Times won't be the same.  As the reviewer, Karen Brooks wrote: "Some steel frames feel like lumps of lead to me, but this one has a light and lively personality."  Light and lively is my goal. 

These frames are a reflection of me and the type of bikes I like to ride.  I'm also a bit of a Luddite, curmudgeon, throw-back... and so I like canti brakes.  In fact, the more technology and "new" is forced down on me, the more I retreat.  Don't fear, disc brake folks, I am working on a disc version.  It's just going to take a bit of time because I am reluctant to give up my deal-breaking canti brakes. 

3-Speed Cross

(What's playing:  The Beastie Boys Railroad Blues)

16 comments:

Michael said...

The fact that you would rather take the time to design a frame with disc brakes in mind instead of just slapping some mounts on an existing model is, to me, the antithesis of a deal-breaker.

Guitar Ted said...

Mike, I appreciate your viewpoint. I happen to have a lot to agree with in your post today.

Disc brakes on forks, for instance. I really like the way the fork on my BMC rides, and sticking a disc caliper on it? Well- I just can't see how that's going to work in terms of ride quality, but fortunately, that isn't my cross to bear.

Still, I look forward to the disc version with some anticipation, because your past work would point to a pretty awesome result for this future model, in my opinion.

H.O.M.E. said...

Well, haha, this whole day i have been coming up with build ideas for this frame. I was also coming to the conclusion that I would just ride it with canti´s and not worry about getting disc brakes. Paul Neo Retros it is!

Ari said...

I like my monster Cross just like it is. There are plenty of bikes out there that are stiff and dead. What the Heck! Sean Kelly used to ride a Vitus 979. Since when do we amateurs need such stiff frames?? When you get the CAntis full of mud you open them up, scoop out the muck, reconnect and away you go.
Ari

classen said...

Speak the words brother Mike.

gypsybytrade said...

As if we were never able to ride bikes before disc brakes. The BMC Cross bike features a highly tunable "disc brake", which use an extremely large rotor-- proportional to wheel size-- that is integrated into the design of the wheel. Stopping power is excellent, mud clearance is proven, and modulation is top-notch.

Great frame, Mike. I'll still be looking at the canti version when the disc bike lands. Not a deal breaker, but a little more clearance for all the nice 2.1" tires would be nice-- call it a dealmaker.

nicholas

Tim said...

A distillation of what I have heard from friends, forums, forams etc. etc., "Discs = Power".

1) Rear brakes are just shy of useless to me, whether I'm on a bicycle or a motorcycle.

B- Existing rim brakes are just that, they exist, the wheels exist, the frames exist, the world is full of them, forever. Neat!

III. If you want discs, slap a disc on the front and enjoy your existing frame. All you need is a fork and wheel. Go ahead, Leave us all behind and keep the power where it belongs...in the front.

DINO SAUR

Oli said...

Good on you, Mike! Don't dilute your own philosophy to please others, or you just end up like all the rest. Cantis 4 lyf!

utahDOG! said...

Amen!

Tim said...

Unrelated to cantilevers, but I Just got back frim an EPIC RIDE out to Marin French Cheese. Grabbed the usual; beer, baguette, jalepeno spread, and a triple cream brie. Lady running the register says that it's special price today; $20 for EIGHT brie rounds!!! So I ate almost an entire round, then struggled home with 7 rounds of brie in my rolled and tied up flannel shirt. That, my friends is hot sweaty cheese. It is also about $104 worth of brie. Guess what's for dinner?

jimmythefly said...

Cantis for life! Or mini-vs's?

Chris said...

All I know is my BMC Cross should be here very soon and I can't wait! Mine will have the Mike approved Paul Mini-Motos... but I'm sure the Paul Touring I have on my other bike would work just fine as well.... now I just have to figure out a way to talk the wife into a BMC Road...

BluesDawg said...

Mike - Still loving my monster cross bike with its lowly Tektro cantis. No need for more braking power on the dirt roads where I like to ride, especially since I switched the stock pads for Kool Stop salmon pads.

One suggestion if/when you develop a disc version, make the fork available as a retro-fit to the existing frames. Not sure I would want one, but it would be nice to have the option.

Benny

blackmountaincycles said...

Thanks, Benny. Good tip on the fork length too. That is my plan since I want to make sure it's not suspension correct. Suspension wrong?

Doug said...

It must be time for somebody time to babble about mini-V brakes, especially Paul's...
I was the last guy to buy V brakes, but in the intervening years I have come to appreciate the power and easy setup. The $5 V brakes on my KHS tandem stop that bike better than cantis IMO. I like TRP minis too, but Paul's partz are the best! No more fork shudder is a wonderful thang!

blackmountaincycles said...

Doug, years ago, I tried all kinds of brakes on an Ibis tandem - different cantilevers, various contraptions of IRD brakes. Finally when v-brakes came out, a set of LX v-brakes stopped the hunt for the perfect brake for that tandem.

Another thumbs up for the Paul Mini-Moto.