Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A second WHUB, and season's greatings.

The holidays are again upon us. Meg and I are looking forward to seeing all of our family again. We have had a pretty huge family year so far. With two family wedding along with all of the other holidays, I think we've spent more time with our extended family than in any year I can remember. It's been really great. I have started to talk more with cousins I haven't seen in years, and it's bee great to spend time with my grandparents as well.

Christmas this year will be much like Thanksgiving was for us. We have no less than 6 dinners, family gatherings, or other social occasions to attend this week. It's really a lot of fun, and is a nice break from the rest of the world for a bit.

I should say that in some ways I am a bit of Scrooge when it comes to Christmas. Mostly I just don't buy into the larger materialism side of things. Don't get me wrong, presents are nice, I just think they shift the impetus off of family. Family and friends are what makes the holidays special for me. Last night was a perfect example. Four of my best friends got together with a few bottles of beer and played, (are you ready for this?) Clue and Uno. That's right, grown men, throwin down some serious Necklace in the Manor. It was a riot, and really set the mood for the rest of the week for me.

So there's that. To all of you everywhere, have a great holiday season. We wish you and your's all the best in the coming year. May it find you prosperous, healthy, and with dirt under your tires!

Here's one of the works in progress from this week as well. The second WHUB build. This set is also going to be built on Gordos, but will be 32h and use Competition butted spokes. These will be going on the Black buck with a rather special fork, and will be my main ride this year. I'll post more when I get it, take care.

Sexy Ashima rotor, oh so pretty.

I like the look of the silver spokes set against that much black. Should look good on the black frame and fork as well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cruiser Style.

I've always loved cruisers. It's just the curvy frames, smooth lines, laid back seating position, I just dig it. I've had a few cruisers in the shop over the years now, and they seem to sell just okay. They seem really polarizing bikes, either you love 'em or hate 'em. One particular bike had been laying around the shop for a few years. Sure, it was a little rough, but I saw it's true potential. It started here.

A long time ago, Salsa had some of their Delgado disc rims on close out, 26", 36h, Black only. Seemed like a good place to start. The markdown was something in the 75% range, so why not buy a few sets right? Got it. So wheels. With just a coaster brake to work with, cruiser wheels are inherently simple. Front hub, just some bearings, rear hub, bearings and a brake. You gotta love it. The hubs are pretty standard on this build, I wanted affordable stuff, but nice. The front hub is a 36h Dimension cartridge bearing bmx hub. You can't argue with the price, and the bearings are dead smooth. If they wear out I'll throw some Phil's in there and be set for life. I really like these hubs. The rear is a standard Shimano Coaster. It's not up to Appetite Seminar duty in Marin, but it'll suffice for around here just fine. The build is rounded out with 14g spokes and brass nips. Nice round wheels that should go around for a long time.

The first step in the bike's progress was to strip the handlebars, stem, fenders, chainguard and big ass seat off. Add the heavy as sin stock wheels and tires to that pile, and we're well on the way to a real bike. The bike has some alright stuff on it. The alloy cranks aren't that bad, the headset has bearings in it, and the chain is pretty good. So yeah, the stock frameset and not much else. The bike's new cockpit centers around an old school Tioga stem, cork grips, and an allow cruiser bar from JB Island. The weight savings on these parts alone is huge, and the lower, longer stem makes the seating position much better for bombing. The seat and seatpost are also standard Bontrager alloy fare, dropping further weight off of the 8lb tractor seat that was originally on there. The wheels are shod with my favorite 26" and 29" tire, the WTB Weirwolf LT. They are big, and they fit perfect. Combined with the wheels the roll like crazy and are so much lighter than stock it's not funny. They really complete the look of the bike as well. Plastic pedals are left on for flip-flop-ability.

So, in an afternoon of caffeine induced genius, (or madness, boredom, etc...) we went from mundane stocker to this. I like it, hope you do to.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fixed WHUB

Here you go. The WHUB fixed. Would look killer with a matching front, don't you think? You'd literally have two identical wheels. That'd be fun.
It's snowing and sub zero here currently. Looks like it's another afternoon for cleaning. Cheers.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Need a stem?

Do you feel like something is missing from your ride? Are you continually searching for that ever elusive high rise stem for a drop bar conversion? Do you like the old school aesthetics of tall stems and no spacers? In a world where bland Thomson stems are everywhere, here's your solution not just to buy a stem that will work, but to buy the stem you want. Mike Pofahl has been building bikes and parts for over 20 years. He specializes in fillet brazing, and can do just about anything you can think of. Prices for stems start at $100, a bargin compared to many. Here are a few examples. Give me a call or shoot me an email if you are interested in one.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Get your WHUB's!

We now have 135mm Black WHUB's in stock. Give us a call if you're interested in the concept, or are ready to give it a go on your own bike!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hovercraft Lives!

Here you go. The first working test of Brandon's hovercraft. Bear in mind, it's never been driven before, it's 10 deg or so out, and this is its first test. Pretty damn cool all things considered.

Any body need a budding engineer to train?

Front end goodness.

Real big wheel. This Is the eventual front end for my winter project. The hub is a black Paul WHUB. It is a 135mm OLD front hub, and it's huge. The official specs are not up on Paul's website yet, but the flange diameter is 54mm, with a flange spacing of 82mm! For comparison, a non disc Surly 1x1 measures 54mm at the flange, but only has 64mm of flange width. So for a disc hub to have almost 20mm wider flanges, you can imagine what that does to your spokes' bracing angle. You get more stiffness and strength for the same set up, at near the same weight. This is assuming the same spoke, rim and tension set up on a standard hub to the WHUB. Spoke length ends up being a normal 291mm, and final weight with skewer and rim strip ends up being 1255gm. Not to for its intended use.

Spokes for this built are straight 14g black DT Swiss spokes with black brass nipples. This particular build is a 36h Gordo rim from Salsa.

Paul is not currently offering this hub in a bolt on version, something I hope to see from him in the future. My solution to this is to use a DT Swiss RWS skewer, which allows for a higher clamping force than a traditional QR.

Pictured is a Weirwolf 2.55" tire. This or the Bontrager XDX 2.1" will be the go to tires for the build. The combo of huge volume with low rolling resistance is going to be perfect for the bike's use. The tire measures a full 60mm on this rim at 35psi.

I really like the look of this shot. Seeing the ends of the hub is a little weird, but soooo good! I look forward to looking down at this turning along for the foreseeable future. I am sold on this concept fully. If you're looking to have a rigid bike built, why not? We will be offering these wheels in whatever set up you'd like. Pofahl is getting a fork made for me, in addition to the winter project. Stop on in if you'd like to see this set up in person. Cheers.

Jim's KM

Here's one of the latest builds to leave the shop. I think this bike personifies almost all of the things I think a bike should be. Simple, comfortable, repairable, and fast. Between the big tires, steel frameset, go fast wheels, big sweep bars and a Brooks saddle, all points are covered. It's also a simple bike drive train wise. Stronglight 5 bolt, 94 BCD, square taper cranks mated to 40-30t double front chainrings and a smart XT 9 spd drivetrain make for a light, durable set up. Shifting is handled by Paul Thumbies, and brakes are BB7's with Paul Love levers. The wheels are Bontrager Race X Lite's, a really light wheelset using DT's proven 240 bearings and drive mechanisms.

Over all, if a guy had to have one bike, this might be mine. For the money, the performance offered is killer. With the frame and wheel set up, it can be run as a SS or geared bike easily. With the drivetrain parts, he should have a servicable set up that will last for a decade or more. Oh, and it looks good!

More to come later. I've got a fun wheel project to build this afternoon.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Riding, kind of.

I rode the trainer for a little more than 2 hours today. It felt good to move again. It wasn't a killer workout, but it's a start. With the 42t front ring, I can spin along pretty well in 7th gear on the Rohloff. This is the gear where all the planetary gears are moving, so logic follows that it would be the most efficient for break in. It's already gotten smoother since I've started riding it, and there's only about 200 miles on it. I am loving how this thing works. It is everything that I had hoped for, and it should be perfect for the new bike set up.

I really like the shifter set up I have been running. I do not find it an issue to reach down to shift. It is very similar in technique to using an old school down tube shifter. Kind of a modern retro-grouch approach. I am working on ways to integrate a shifter mount into the winter project. I am a bit torn as to just how that plays into things, though it's a minor matter. I had a good design day today and hammered out a lot of the details for geometry and such. I need to discuss that and a few other matters with the builder, who has a lot more experience in that field than I do. Rough plans so far are for a matching frame, fork, and stem. Meg's already picked out the color!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Procal city bomber

Some time ago, I purchased an older Fisher Procaliber from my old boss Mike. It's a sweet little race frame set from about '95. To my knowledge, this bike was never offered as a complete, and was the last steel frame set raced by the Fisher team. Several things make this bike different from stock models at the time. This bike has very tight geometry. It has a 1 1/8th head tube, where almost all high end models had Fisher's "Evolution" 1 1/4". The chain stays and seat stays are very tight, and have very small bridges. The bike also has Ritchey dropouts. There are no fender or rack eyelets or bosses on the frame. The fork is uncut in the picture, the steer tube is incredibly short, almost like a threaded fork would be. It's a really fun bike to ride. I have really passed up 26" wheels for off road riding, as I have found 29ers to be what my body likes best. This bike still sees quite a bit of riding around town, and on occasional beer runs or the like. The bike is really quick, and the riding position puts you decidedly in attack mode. I have always run the bike as a SS, though it may undergo a vintage geared revival this winter if I have funding.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


We've gotten the first real batch of snow here in Faribault this week. Tuesday night dumped four solid inches on us. Last night we got another inch. As much as I hate to admit it, this pretty much is the death throw from my MTB'ing fr the year. Sure, I'll get out and ride, but the fun fast hard paced rides of the summer are gone. Between my asthma, (sucks to it,) and the hard ice and ski tracks that usually form on my favorite trials, this is about it. It's snowing really nicely here right now. Not blowing or heavy, just light idyllic flakes out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

The Karate Monkey is in full out winter commuting mode. It mainly gets ridden around a 6 block area in town, so it's not a big mile cruiser. Comfy, upright, small, and simple, it makes getting errands done far faster than by car or foot. This fall we added a BoB trailer to the shop fleet. This makes it possible to get bulkier items like wheels and frame sets to the UPS store 4 block away. This would be a real pain to walk, and to drive there you have to actually drive 7 blocks and go though no less than 2 stop lights and a stop sign. This makes it much easier. Mark, you should be seeing your wheels in a few days. Thanks again.

In getting the KM ready for winter, I threw a pair of Panaracer Fire XC Cross tires on it. I have had these tires for years, and have yet to find a better multipurpose tire for the mixed conditions around down town. They are narrow at 45c, but super aggressive. The narrow width cuts through the slop without wallowing around like some wider tires I've used. They also provide copious amounts clearance around the huge Planet Bike fenders. All in all, I hate this tire for almost everything, yet it's a perfect beast for the 5 month winter.

Here's a shot of the current roller set up. The Big Apples are a little hard to get up to speed, but hold it extremely well. They are a little bumpier than the Conti trainers I usually run on the road bike, but these are the best thing for this set up. My goal is to put 500 miles on the Rohloff over winter, so that it is getting close to broken in by spring. Having 5 months to do put on that many miles should be pretty easy. We'll see what's left of the BA's by then. They are shedding a lot of rubber on the rollers, but they are brand new. We'll see I guess.

My new favorite headset. Cane Creek's new 100 is simple, elegant, non-logo-ish, and pretty. My only bitch is that the top cap is black! Seriously, two colors can't be that hard. It's a bit of an eyesore on an all silver set up. I swapped this out for the black CC on my Rawland fixie. I have a silver Salsa that made it's way onto it for good measure.

Latest shop snack. Man these are addictive! At least they are better for you than chips.

One of the new shop additions. It's old, it works, it's loud, and is just a blast to kill time with. We'll be playing this a lot this winter. Stop by and give it a try!

Here's a shot of what's in the stand today. A killer Rawland Monster Crosser, with 29er x 1.8"s wheels AND 650b x 2.3"s! That's the way to rock it. The Santana is here for a tune, shifters, and cables. I love this simple bike, it's just gorgeous. The owners are really great people, and it's always nice to see them.

48h, 4x wheels! Damn.
Here's a little shot to remind you of what's waiting for us. I know snow's just arrived, but I miss Summer already. Take care.