Friday, February 29, 2008

A new bike finished, and 36er teasers

It's been a bit of a busy time here at the shop the past few weeks. We've started to get the familiar spring rush of serious riders bringing their bikes in. After what seems to be a rather long winter, this is a huge sigh of relief for us. So the shop has been busy with repairs, building boxed bikes, and general straightening up after a winter's worth of projects and piles of parts. Many of my unused items have gone the way of Ebay to help that process.

We've also been completing a bunch of bike projects lately. The first bike is my Marin inspired 29er Klunker. The bike started out as an early 40's Schwinn built frame. I got the frame and fork from a fellow Rice county bike shop owner. After stripping the frame, a friend of mine came in the shop and asked if I was going to make it a 29er. Frankly, the idea for the larger wheels had not crossed my mind. First it was time to check if it would even be possible. The larger wheel did fit in the standard stamped drop out, although some chain stay manipulation would be needed to clear the larger tire. A few calls to the frame builder and we were off. That night, talking to Mike in his workshop, he asked me about just changing the drop outs instead of just pinching the stays. The stock drop outs are pretty thin and cheap, and this would take a potential damage point out of the frame. While I was looking through the supply book of frame parts, Mike disappeared in the back of the shop for a few minutes. He came out holding an eccentric BB insert, walked over to the frame and set it in the shell. The stock shell was only about 1.5mm smaller. After ten minutes or so of throwing ideas around, we decided on the final set up. Paragon had some disc drop outs that would just fit the curves of the rear end. The EBB would be fitted to the frame with just a little reaming, the head tube would be reamed 1.3mm to 1 1/8th threadless, and reinforcing rings would be added to the head tube. Back at the shop, I found a threadless 26" fork that was the right length and offset for the slack head angle. I removed the brake bosses, radiused the crown for greater tire clearance, and stripped the paint. Mike added the disc tabs when he did the frame work.

While the frame and fork were being altered. I rounded up all of the parts. I wanted the bike to have the look similar to the older klunkers, but with the modern components that I like. The discs were from Avid, the crankset Shimano external bearing, wheels from Profile Racing and Kris Holm, a massive 26t Boone courtesy of Mr Curiak, a vintage B 72, and a custom machined seat post. Last summer I found a guy selling some Ti motorcross bars on Ebay for $35. I bought the two that he had left. They are huge, 31"s from tip to tip, and they have a lot of back sweep. Rise is about 2"s from the clamp. I ordered some Magura motorcycle levers to complete the look of the front end, and some grips from Oddessy. I painted the frame, fork, and stem a nice rattle can red, and here's the final pics. Enjoy.

Also in the works are some modifications to my latest 36er. I am planning on getting some rims and tires as soon as I can. That will shcnge the wheels quite a bit, and should drop the weight of the bike to around 30lbs or less! That's with Profile cranks and a Brooks saddle. In the que as well are some serious changes to the front end of the bike. When finished these should make the bike track better, make the fork stiffer fore and aft, and will add the ability to adjust not only the handle bar reach, but drop as well. This will allow for a bar height of less than 37", or right on top of the tire! More info to come as I get closer to finishing it. Cheers, Ben.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Do you want this guy fixing your bike?

Yeah, you really do. Brandon our main shop mech is back from the cold tundra that is Bemidji MN. He'll be here through the summer while he is in line for a internship at NASA. That's right, in a few years you maybe able to say that your bike has in fact been serviced by a rocket scientist. Before leaving school his last project was working on a team that built a working hovercraft from scratch. It's good to have him back.

This morning was also an eventful on at home. The missus and I woke up to several gallons of water seeming in under our bedroom wall from our neighbors condo. Not good. Turns out their water softener overflowed and their floor drain was plugged. We'll see how that turns out, but three doesn't seem to be any long term damage so far. Needless to say, I was not happy. Oh well, what do you do? A shop vac and some towels has most of it cleaned up. Hopefully that, the furnace turned up, the fans, and the dehumidifier will take care of the rest.

Here's the latest fun project, new tubular single speed wheels for the T 1. I've had some NOS 36h Mavic GP 4 tubular rims laying around for some years now. Since my go fast wheels are going on the new bike, I needed some wheels for the Trek. Hubs are some generic Dimension SS/Fixie hubs. I love these hubs for the money. They look pretty good, and the bearings are so smooth. I happened to have some DT Revolution spokes in the right length. Three cross lacing and alloy nips round out the build. These spokes would be light for most, but I'm really light on wheels. I have some sets of these and have run them for years with no issue. The last choice will be whether to run the lighter weight Bontrager tubies, or to run some comfy old NOS Vittoria Pave's that I have laying around. Should be fun. The hub for the rear will be in tomorrow.

That's all for now. Enjoy the nice weather this weekend. Cheers.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Exciting news, and back to work.

After hunting around for the right time and place for the wedding, it's official, Meg and I are getting married on the 18th of October! It feels good to have the date now, and to have the locations set. Meg got her dress a few days ago, and just needs some slight alterations. We're planning on getting married at this little country church in the middle of gorgeous prairie restoration land, with the reception at the local ballroom. Both locations were a bit difficult, as we're planning the wedding to be small at 250-300 people, with the reception at 350-450! I have a huge family, and we both have a ton of friends that can come. We are both blessed that most of our family live well within driving distance.

After an exciting weekend of kicking tires and talking with folks at QBP, it's time to check back in to reality. Up on the list for today is a couple of wheel builds, a handle bar swap on a gravel road burner, shipping some savory bits off to customers, a new drivetrain for a nice DA Madone, and maybe some hot laps of the bike shop on the trailer puller, (new geared KM for commuting duty.)

On the to buy list for this summer is a trailer from these guys, Bikes at Work. Meg and I are planning some fairly large home projects this summer, both some large landscaping work, and sheet rocking and re insulating three rooms in our house. Northfield is about 3 miles across and mostly flat. I'm imagining hauling that 350 lbs of sheet rock, ply wood, fire wood, or mulch every day! What a tool for not only living green, but for actually practicality as well. We live less than 1 mile from Menard's, downtown Northfield, equipment rental stores, and the local compost site. That means self supported access to all the building supplies, free mulch and firewood, and equipment if needed. We don't own a car trailer, so many of these items are hard if not impossible to move easily. This should also be a huge help in particular for setting up the 4th of July Crit, where the whole of downtown is blocked off, and car travel is useless. I am thinking of getting a few extra hitch kits as well, and starting a rental type program. This may be a project to approach the local food coop on as well.

I heard from Aaron Pidde at Blonde Fabrications that my new super secret project is nearing completion. Stay tuned for some teaser shots and then it's off to paint. Aaron is also the builder of the third 36er that I know of. He is the guy who had it, and raced it at the Chequamegon Fat 40 this last fall. There are some fun pics of his bike at that website as well.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Just an update from Frostbike day 1. We saw a lot of new and exciting stuff at the show today. Salsa's new line up is truely a tour de force this year, with promises of much more to come at Interbike this fall. It's hard to imagine what more can be coming, but it should be fun to watch. While they did not have any show models of their new big rim, the Gordo, they did have some examples on a bike. It is a hugely fun thing. On the same bike was my favorite item of the show, a 2009 sample fork from Rock Shox. It is a Maxle Thru axle Reba 29er, internally adjustable from 80-100-120mm! I'll post pics later, but it looks awesome.

More to come. Thanks.

Frostbike Saturday.

We will be closed today to attend Quality's Frost bike open house. This is a great event that they are gracious enough to host every year. There will be many vendors there with their '08 product lines. It's always fun to see the new stuff, as it lets you actually see and feel what you can only see in pictures. I did not attend Interbike this year, so many of these are items I have not seen yet.

While it will be fun to see what is new, Frostbike for me has always been about the people. It's a blast to see everyone that shows up. Last year was particularly fun because I took my parents. It was the first time that they really got a chance to get a feel about what I do, and it was great to show them around. After the show last year, my mother and I drove to the airport to catch out flight to Bolivia. That was a trip to remember! I'll post some pics from that trip tomorrow.

So here's to the nice weather today, and I'll be back with stuff to talk about later. Brandon, Sean, Stew and I will be leaving at a comfortable 10 o'clock to get up there, and I'll be posting pics of some of the fun. Have a great weekend, get out and ride!

Reading Sean's post from earlier should serve to everyone as a reminder. These trails were closed because of irresponsible riders. Take care when you're on the trail, be respectful of everyone, and we can all enjoy what we have now for years.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Carleton's Arb

I had an article published in the Carletonian today about opening up trails to bikes. See it here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Finally getting things rolling on the blog end for the shop. I've been meaning to start this for a long time. With recent actions on various message boards descending back to simpler high school days, it was clear that I needed to start this in earnest.

Hopefully this will become a place to stay current with what things are going on here in little downtown Faribault, (it really is spelled that way.) This will be a place to learn in depth about what we're doing, and also just to see some nice ride pictures and the like. That may be current topics such as new 36er tech, or just what beer is on tap for the evening.

More to come later. Welcome, and thanks for playing.