Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mukluk Release/Winter Arrival Party

We have a lot to celebrate folks.  Our shop remodel projects are almost finished.  There are a ton of snow bikes going out the door.  Winter is finally bringing real snow and weather.  All things considered, things are great.  To celebrate all of this we are holding a little gathering of people at the shop Saturday.  The plan is for good food, good drink, and good friends. We will be kicking things off at about 4 pm with food and beverages.  We are planning on having a little bonfire out back, and there'll be good conversation and pinball inside. Good people are coming from quite a ways to hang out, and the night promises to hold the potential for great conversations.

 We hope you can join us this weekend.  Anyone is welcome to come.  You may bring what and whom you'd like.  This should be a hell of a lot of fun.  There will likely be children here, and this will certainly be a family friendly affair.  The focus of the evening will be on Mukluks and Pugsleys, mixed in with a fair amount of other fun bike talk.  A few of the guys from Salsa Cycles will be down with some new 2011 bikes as well.

I hope your week is going well, and I hope to see you all soon.  Have a great week. 

Rolling Darryls.

I was able to order 4 of Surly's new Rolling Darryl rims today.  They will be here tomorrow. 

These sell for $160 per, and are shaping up to be one of the nicest rims available for fat bikes.  These are available on a first come, first serve basis.  Supplies are being limited, so these are some of the only ones we will be able to get for a while. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A few more Mukluk photos.

These things flat out rock.  I'm stoked for all the fat bikes that will be out there this year.  These will be yet another option to choose from for serious winter riding.  That's always a good thing.

Here's the cute one.  An XS.  It's tiny, and fit's it's owner perfectly!  Tons of stand over clearance and the correct effective top tube length.  Interestingly enough this is also the smallest production 29er capable bike I know of.  It's a 13" seat tube.

It just looks good.  With the proper stem and spacer set up this could easily fit the smallest adult riders.  It should be a great option for those shorter stature riders, or for female riders who need shorter TT's for an appropriate fit. 

These are going to be killer bikes.  They come together really well, and the components all play nice with one another.  We are excited to be getting these out to customers, on time no less.  The rest of the bikes should be arriving some time in the next two weeks.  Framesets should be along shortly after that.  I will keep updating these as well get more bikes or info. 

We will be closed Thursday at the shop for Thanksgiving.  We will be open normal hours Friday and Saturday.  Happy Thanksgiving from Curtis, Meg and I.  All the best to you and yours.  

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The first shipment of Mukluks are here.

We received 5 of our Mukluk completes this morning.  We will be working our way through building these today and will be contacting customers whose these bikes are for.  These are awesome.  More to come!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tandem teaser shots.

Here are some of the before photos of the Schwinn Town and Country tandem we are working on.  It dates to somewhere in the late 50's.  It is a bit of an oddity.  The bike is fully fillet brazed, has a Paramount style curved stoker seat tube, and has 650b wheels!  The bike needs new wheels to be really ride able, and the cranks and drive train need serious work.  This thing will be quite the stunner when we are done with it though.  It's a perfect winter project for the long days ahead.

Paint and patina are really cool on this bike.  It is very dirty, so it'll take a while to wash away all the old grease and to polish up all of the shiny bits.  The major components of the bike are in quite good shape.  It'll be a lot of polishing and hand work to bring it back to it's former glory.  The chain guard below is shown with a partially polished upper, and the lower as we received it.  With steel wool and Mother's chrome polish these parts will just glow when done. 

The bent seat tube is one of the finer points of design on this bike.  The wheelbase is quite short for a tandem.  It should handle pretty well when completed.  The wheels are in pretty rough shape as you can see.  These will be rebuilt with modern spokes, rims, and tires.  It should make this into a very ride able bike.

Here's the drive side of the front drum brake hub.  This thing is a work of art.  The bearings are dead smooth, and the brake mechanism is in near perfect working order.  I can't wait to get this built up and running. 
The spoke holes are an impressive 94mm center to center.  This thing is a beast!

That's how we are starting the week.  I hope your week goes as well as ours is shaping up to be.  Have a good one.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Drum brake

We have started on this project.  It's going to be a good one.  It starts with this simply gorgeous hub.  This bike will be a lot of work to get up and running again.  It won't take a lot of money, although the time involved will be rather lengthy.  It's a perfect project for these coming long winter days.  Have a great weekend folks.

Friday, November 19, 2010

New wheels in stock, and a sneak peak.

Due to the increase in orders for similar custom wheels, we are now stocking a pair of White Industries road wheels. 

These are fairly standard traditionally laced wheels.  This pair consists of a 28 hole front and a 32 rear.  They are laced in a standard three cross pattern with DT's Competition spokes to brass nipples.  The rims are Hed's premium Belgium C2's. 

These weigh in at 1730 grams, and should easy last 10 years under normal use.  Stop by and check them out today.  Cost on these puppies is a reasonable $675.

Also, here's a sneak peak of an upcoming project. 

Drilled Vicious on a Maverick hub and fork.  It's pretty.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Finally, a matched pair.

My front custom Phil Wood hub came yesterday.  It's a great match to the gorgeous rear hub I already have in stock. 

This hub is custom in the fact that it is a 135mm rear spaced hub for rear disc brakes.  The side by side comparison of the two shows just how big the rear hub really is. 

The color match is spot on.  The only thing I could have done to make them match better would have been to order the Phil SLR cut out option.  This would have machined the oval shaped holes in the flanges.  It only saves a bit of weight, but it would have looked nice. 

As it stands it'a pretty extraordinary hub set.  I can't wait to get them built up and rolling.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday update.

Meg and I are back in town and back at it after a nice weekend in Duluth.  It'll be a busy week again here at the shop.  I have another White Industries hub set coming in to be built up as the first project.  These will be laced to DT's RR 415 rims with Sapim spokes for a light, traditional wheel build.  I am also expecting the long awaited arrival of my matching blue front Phil Wood hub for my Mukluk wheels.

Speaking of Mukluk wheels, I have decided to make a change.  Rather than using Surly's new Rolling Darryl rim I will be using a modified Vicious Cycles Fat Sheeba.  The reasons for this I will explain later, but it's going to be really cool.  Work on that front may start yet today. 

We are also making a lot of progress on our new product displays.  My good friend Eric was kind enough to come down today and cut our Maple plywood into shelving and bases for our new floor displays. 

Using his trusty Prius utility vehicle, and working in gorgeous 35 degree full sun, this is going swimmingly.  Curtis and I plan to start staining the wood later today.  We are hoping to finish up the displays yet this week.

That's all for now.  More to come this week with details of our new arrangement, new displays, and new products to the shop. Happy Wednesday all.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's here folks. Time for fatbikes. Just a quick reminder, we do have an 18" and a 20" Pugsley assembled and ready to ride. Are you ready for the snow?

Friday, November 12, 2010

From the depths of the basement.

We're doing quite a lot of reorganizing in the basement in preparation for the season to come.  As we move along, things I've forgotten I own will no doubt turn up.  Here's the first one.  Fitting I think.  Happy Friday all.  I think it's from 2004.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Salsa Spearfish ride.

Yesterday I was fortunate to be able to test ride Salsa Cycles new Spearfish dual suspension model.  I rode the bike in it's complete form around Murphy and Lebanon Hills.  The weather was really gorgeous yesterday, and the trail conditions were as good as I have seen. 

The bike I rode was identical to factory spec.  It features a full Sram X9 2x10 drive train, Elixer brakes, a Reba tapered steer tube fork, WTB Wolverine tires, and Formula hubs laced to Stan's Arch rims.  I rode a size large bike, fitted with a 110mm Promoto stem and an 11 degree Salsa bar. 

This is a really handsome bike.  The hydro formed tubing really gives the bike a very flowing look.  Pairing a tapered head tube with a very large box type TT/DD/HT gusset, the front end is massive looking.  Stand over height was impressively large thanks to a very sloping top tube.  The triangular seat tube brace is even curved downwards, maximizing stand over while keeping the flowing lines going. 

Here you can see the down tube curving to meet the bottom bracket shell.  The shock mount/seat tube brace area looks really refined on this bike.  Overall there is a presence of put-togetherness, of simplicity and of class.

I should preface my riding impression by first saying that I don't really like full suspension bikes in general.  That's not to say that I don't understand the merits of full suspension, nor that I am against the idea of it.  Simply put, for most of my preferred riding, I like riding rigid bikes.  I have owned, and still do own, some very nice dual suspension bikes.  Currently I have a Titus Racer X 29er, but I have owned many Gary Fishers, and some other dualies over the years.  All of these bikes are bikes that I ride very seldom, often when recovering from injury, or as specific use bikes for various locals.  Even the Racer X, which is a very efficient bike, is just to squishy for my tastes to be an every day ride.  

The Titus is a similar bike in design to the Spearfish.  Both are designed for a 100mm front fork, and both have 80mm of efficient rear travel.  I like my suspension bikes set up so that the shocks are minimally noticeable.  I prefer stiffer suspension that provides comfort and control without the feeling wallowing around.  I had expected the Spearfish to ride similar to the Titus, and it does, only better.  In every respect, the Spearfish is just a much tighter bike.  It's more precise though corners.  It's smoother climbing both in and out of the saddle.  In every aspect, the Spearfish bests the Titus.

I think the thing that most impresses me about this bike is the performance for the dollar it offers.  This is not a $5000 race bike.  There is not a bit of titanium or carbon to be seen.  All of the parts are mid level performance parts from big companies.  It's really like everything is as nice as it needs to be, all at a hell of a reasonable price.  The X9 10 speed grouppo really works well.  It never missed a shift, I loved the double front, and it looks really great.  The Elixer brakes in 185/160mm worked really well too.  I was easily able to adjust the lever position for my XXL sized hands.  The brake pull and feel was very consistent as well.  Brake feel is one of my big pet peeves when it comes to bike set up.  These didn't disappoint.  The other components on the bike also worked well.  The stock saddle is comfortable, the bar and stem are light enough and look great, and the Salsa grips were grippy.  The wheels and tires worked very well once I dialed in tire pressure.  I love the addition of Stan's rims on Salsa factory specs.  This will please a lot of other folks I would guess as well.  

Bottom line, this bike is a bike I could see myself riding regularly, in it's stock set up no less.  Those of you who know me understand what a big deal that is.  The Spearfish, it's a game changer. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gravel week

I've gotten out riding gravel everyday so far this week. This marks a big change, as I've not been seriously riding since my return from Arkansas in October. Despite the unseasonably warm temperatures, winter is coming. I'm trying to take every advantage of the remaining warm weather to get as many miles in as I can. I have asthma, which makes riding at a hard effort, or for long distance in the winter difficult.

If I'm to get back some of the fitness I've lost in the last few weeks now is the time. Fitting this in with what is still a busy shop schedule is going to be a bit of a challenge. Thankfully with day light saving time in full effect there is a lot of time in the morning to get 20-30 miles in before work. 

This week has been off to a nice start so far.  I rode a hard 45 mile ride with some friends on Sunday. This ride was full of little rollers. There were no real killer hills, just many smaller ones quite often. I really like riding these kinds of hills, as I find it builds up fitness much quicker than a few hard hills at long intervals. Monday we got out for a nice little 17 mile ride. This was hard and fast, with several really burning hills thrown in there. Tuesday we rode a bit longer 25 mile ride, this one with serious wind for the first half.  

The roads are in near perfect shape right now.  Some of them are a bit dusty due to the lack of rain.  In general they are about as hard as they get. Many of the roads have easy tire paths as hard as concrete.  Going with some of the tail winds we were turning along at an easy 20 mph. 

Today will be something a little different.  Guitar Ted and Captain Bob are due up from Iowa at about lunch time.  We plan to grill up a bit of lunch at the shop, then head up To Murphy to meet up with Gnat.  There will be a few fun bikes on hand to ride. It is shaping up to be a perfect day today, I'm very much looking forward to it.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Light fat bike cranks.

The title of this post about sums it up.  Here are the latest crank offerings from e13, also known as The Hive. These are compatible with the 100mm bb shells currently used on all production fat bikes, the Salsa Mukluk and Surly Pugsley included.  Bottom line is that these are about the lightest, sexiest, and stiffest cranks you can throw at fat bike.

Here's the money shot.  The 100mm compatible spindle. 

These things are as visually stunning as their standard offerings.  They are also one of the lightest set ups you can run on a fat bike.  The set in our shop weighs 887 gms with bb and spacers.  That's close to the weight of a normal XT crank from Shimano.  These are also priced pretty competitively at $350.  If you want go fast fattie cranks, these are as good as it gets.  Stop in and check them out for yourself.  

Friday, November 05, 2010

Friday morning cruise.

Today has been a good day already.  This week has been pretty hectic.  We've been lining up new products, readying new product displays, getting big shop repairs out the door, and solving some pretty big problems for some customers.  After a week of sometimes quite literally running around, it's time to slow down for a few days. 

Curtis is taking off to Chicago for a weekend away with friends.  We are waiting on large stocking orders to come in next week, so business in the shop will return to normal for a few days.  There are a few normal repairs to do yet today.  After that the idea is to drink coffee and plan for next week in equal parts.

My morning started off in a near perfect way.  I started by waking up before dawn and enjoying a relaxing breakfast at home.  My parents are having a garage sale this weekend, so I went over this morning to help move cars in preparation for that.  The weather today is supposed to be some of the best for quite a long time.  I decided to take advantage of that by borrowing one of my father's classic cars for my commute.  As it was still only 30 some degrees, the convertibles were a bit out of the question.  The logical choice was the hard top Corvette.

I left Northfield for work with a mission.  I wanted meat.  Many of you have heard me talk of the wonders that Nerstand Meat Market holds.  Some of you have had their famous double smoked ham cooked over a charcoal grill here at the shop.  I've taken some people there as a mid ride stop for wonderful turkey jerky.  It was for a bit of smoked goodness that drew me east towards Nerstrand this morning.  On the way I took the curvy roads past the beautiful Valley Grove Church.  The hills and fields were gorgeous bathed in welcomed amber morning light. 

This car is a true classic driving machine.  Free of modern luxuries, you can feel this car working.  You can feel the suspension working around corners.  You can hear the whine of the transmission and the rear differential.  Visually it is a feast for the eyes as well.  There are so many shiny red curves and shiny points of chrome on this car it is amazing.  Watching the reflections of the morning light play off these bits is awesome in and of itself.  Driving this car is a truly visceral experience.  It is a joy. 

Here's a shot of the vehicle and destination.  It was a wonderful way to start the day.  Happy Friday all.  Have a great weekend. 

Thursday, November 04, 2010

New Rohloff Wheels

I love Rohloff hubs.  I love the way they work.  I love the way they build up into wheels.  I love the way they look. I love the fact that they are bullet proof.  I pretty much love everything about them. 

This set up is going down to a savvy customer in Arkansas.  The wheel build around the Rohloff is equally matched in terms of reliability and dependability.  The wheels are built on Stan's Flow rims with Sapim Race spokes with black brass nipples.  These should provide years of good service, and should require very little maintenance. 

To match the rear, the front wheel is built with a ubiquitous 32h Phil Wood hub in black. 

This set up will be geared at 38t x 16t to match the Ozark hill climbs.  The chain ring up front will be a nice alloy ring from e13.  Since this will be set up will be used on a full suspension 29er, a Rohloff chain tensioner will be used in conjunction with Rohloff's excellent chain guide up front to keep the chain where it should be.

Give us a call if you have any questions about Rohloff set up, or if you are interested in what a like set up would cost.  With the ever rising cost of replacement parts like cassettes and chains, this is a more viable option than ever to a traditional high performance drive train. 

Monday, November 01, 2010

This morning's frost made for quite a refeshing wake up. I started the day early with some final engine building with my father. Motorheads among you will note that it should not take nearly this long to build an engine. You're right. This has turned into a bit of a back burner project for my dad and I. We both had crazy busy summers and this kind of slipped for us.

Sunday we made a lot of progress by priming and painting the block and heads. Today I finished sourcing the stainless bolts to hold the oil pan and intake manifold on. The majority of the work now revolves around bolting parts on to the exterior of the engine. Soon we will have to pull the old motor and transmission out of the car to get things like the fuel pump and distributor to swap over. That will also free up the engine bay, giving us room to repaint and touch up that as well. From there we can work on putting the new motor and transmission into the car. All in all we are making steady progress now to finishing the project.

The rest of my day will consist on working on winterizing our gardens and our house. We have mulch to put on, trees to stake out, holes in our foundation to seal, and brush to move. This should clear my to do list for ride time this week. It's going to be a good week.

I hope you all have a good Monday.