Monday, May 31, 2010

Old number one

If this bike looks old to you, it is. I built this frame in 1978 and it was my first. I rode it for a few years but it never really rode right so about 16 years ago I removed the rear triangle to go about fixing it. From that point until yesterday it hung from a hook , neglected but not forgotten. I spent a few hours yesterday and a few today and now it rides reasonably well. I'm riding it around without paint just to be sure that it will be worth the cost of powdercoat and clearcoat. I'm shooting for the original color and maybe I can find the original lettering that I used. This frame was made 6 years before I came up with the Rock Lobster name. The original decals said " Routier" which was the name of the street I lived on at the time. Maybe I should call it "Trescony"-the street where I live now.

I spent too much time on the lugs and not enough time on the geometry. Now that it is fixed to a degree I'll ride it a bit. I'm thinking that it might be fun to make use of this old rusty hulk .

Friday, May 28, 2010

Last frames of May

In the last three weeks I have built nine frames. These are the last six, four of which were built this week. I have been working super hard trying to get back on schedule and I think I'm making headway after many weeks of slow-going and delays. This batch is all Easton 7005 and pretty much a mixed bag for the most part. There's a 29er s/s , a road frame, a track frame and three 'cross frames. I decided to feature this mass-start track frame as it has some new dropouts that I have had access to as of late. They are aluminum with stainless bolt-on faces, something I have been wanting for a long time. Hopefully this will be a part that I can use regularly in the future.

The customer specified semi-aero pear-shaped top and downtubes. The rest was up to me.

Here's a detail of the dropouts.....yes, ther is a screw missing. I'm looking for it, trust me !

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tourer/randonneur frame with a British look.

The color combination and panels of the paint are definitely a nod to the style of bikes from Britain in the '60's and '70's. The paint colors are not unlike a series of four randonneur frames I built in 1995, two of which wound up in Paris Brest Paris-one being my own bike which I still have hanging in my shop. I'm not sure that this particular customer got inspired by my bike but the similarity is unmistakeable. Putting some curves in the stays helps to make for a more distinctive look than most of my welded bikes.

I had to shoot a detail of this part of the frame because I fell that it has a nice 'flow' to the lines. I don't always get so lucky......I have an artistic background but the way this particular frame came together has more to do with how things were flowing in the shop that particular week. I hope it rides as nice as I feel it looks !

Touring bikes are coming back !

I seem to have a run of touring bikes going as of late. Folks are making time in their lives to go bike touring again. Maybe it's people out of work, maybe it's students getting the summer off. Whatever it is, there is a new interest in touring like I haven't seen in quite a few years.

Friday, May 21, 2010

7005 road frame for Chicago

Some of you must think that I only build bikes for people in Chicago. Not true but this month there will be at least three going to the windy city. This frame is going to a young racer who will be a leadout man for the team. I put some heavier tubing in it to give it some stiffness for that final few KM's of fierce racing. I even put some 'cross bike seatstays that I modified a bit to make them a little narrower , more road-like.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

cyclocross frame bound for Chicago

The customer for this frame wanted to have the ability to get a low bar position. With this short headtube I'm sure he'll have it. I'm in the midst of a 7005 batch that is open-ended , meaning that I am not sure how many frames I'll include in this lot. I have such an abundance of orders that I could theoretically stay on this batch for a month but realistically this will be a two week batch , maybe 6-7 frames total. This is # 1.

1996 road frame

Somewhere back in 1996 I built this frame. It has all the earmarks of something a bit earlier such as Cinelli cast lugs and Shimano vertical dropouts.....stuff I haven't seen for sale in a long time. Nevertheless, my records show that this frame was indeed built in 1996, just before I moved to my present location. A friend bought it from the second owner and it appears to be all original down to the 8 speed Campagnolo Chorus gruppo. The original owner bought the frame unpainted as he had a painter other than the one I used in mind.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tour of California photos

Here's George Hincapie beginning his torturous climb up Bonny Doon rd. The peloton wasn't really trying for the course record on the climb ....a lot of talking and joking for the most part. Tom Boonen can be seen a couple of rowns back .
Here's one of the larger chase groups turning onto West Cliff drive, just a few minutes before the Versus television coverage was ubruptly terminated so not to interrupt a pregame hocky playoff show.......the horror !

The very last Team Carbon ??

Easton has discontinued this particular carbon-stay rear end so in effect, this will be the very last Team carbon frame with this configuration. That said, Columbus and Dedaccai both make a similar carbon stay kit that i have used and will be using in the future. The new feature on this frame is the larger headtube that accepts the tapered-steerer forks that are now required in frames for the European market. I can now build frames for the Cane Creek headset and the King 'Inset" out of aluminum.....something I have been waiting to be able to do for almost two years. While the larger headtube is not very sleek looking, it will integrate into some oversize tubing a bit better . A frame with this setup and a BB-30 would be pretty current, although by September I'm sure a whole boatload of new standards will be on display at the trade shows. I'm doing my best to keep up with it all but it is king of silly how all of the tools are piling up and becoming obsolete after a year or so.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

T.O.C. ride start 8:00 a.m.

This is not a random scattering of cyclists in a parking lot. What it is , or was could be called the start of the 125 mile Tour of California stage 3 ride. Somwnere between 40 and 50 riders started from the shop ( actually my neighbor Jeff Traugott's shop) and went up the coast to ride the best of the second half of stage II , only about 10,100 ft. clmbing and 125 miles of some of Nor-Cal's best coastal mountain roads. The ride for some of us ended with a climb up Bonny Doon rd. before dropping down back into Santa Cruz-all in all, nearly ten hours of fun and pain . Jeff says he will host it as an annual event. Me, I think one was quite enough. Next year I'll probably opt for the 90 mile version and skip the big climb at the end.......I'm so sore today I feel like I was in a bar fight the night before.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

flamin' red steel hardtail

The tig team s.l. mountain frame, something that I have been building for at least 16 years pretty much in this form. Only stuff that you wouldn't find on the 1993 edition would be the bigger headtube and the disc brake fittings. The wishbone stays , headtube gussetts and machining are much the same as back in the day. I was hoping to build a 25th anniversary mtn. frame last year but there was no time. I guess I'll have to wait until the 30th anniversary !

Scandium mtn. frame with no discs !?

Bound for Washington state, this frame proves that some folks still like rim brakes. This customer is pretty fast in the dirt so maybe the brakes aren't a big factor-stay off them and you'll go faster ! The color in the photo is actually more orange when seen in person. It's schoolbus yellow, one of my all time favorites, especially with the red decals. The rear triangle sports one of the Ahrens design upper yokes, not a bad thing to have with cantilever brakes .

This one will travel very far

Not all the frames out of my shop wind up in the neighborhood. This one is going to Switzerland, just as soon as I can put the bottle bosses and seatstay cable stop on. ( I ran out of them....rookie move.) The main tubes of this frame are Easton Scandium and the wieght is low, 2 lb. 14 oz. This is typical for a full on race frame of this style. Maybe it will be in a lcoal race, maybe in a world cup. It should handle either scenario about the same.

Monday, May 10, 2010

An old school color

Back in 1989 neon colors were the thing to have. Way back before shocks, clipless pedals , rapid fire shifters the big concern for folks was color : The color of the bike, components , whatever. The brighter the color, the better. This frame is actually neon orange , even though the photos don't come close to showing how really blindingly bright and shiny this 29er single speed turned out. When neon died in the early '90's , I was happy to see it go. Now I'm really happy to see it back with attitude. There really is nothing that screams out " Hey, can't miss this !" like neon orange. It's like 1989 all over again.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My new Anvil fork jig.

Anyone saying that there is a better fork jig than this is totally full of crap. Don Ferris makes Anvil jigs and if I weren't so financially challenged I would have everything in his catalogue. This fork jig replaces a really crude one I have been using for over 15 years. I can't say enough about the amazing facility and workmanship of this product. Any doubt that this is a 50 mm fork rake can be eliminated by reading this scale. The jig has scales for every relavant dimension of a fork .

Now that I have a ton of fork orders I can really enjoy the formally dicey and aggrivating process of building them. I actually can't wait to use this jig each time the need comes up.

why there haven't been any frame pictures lately..

I may be a bicycle frame builder but every once in awhile I build other stuff. Here are some fixtures to hold pieces of wind turbine blades for trade shows. Someone I know who used to be a bike racer created a company that services the wind-powered generators when they have damage. In order to show various equipment used in the servicing process he needed displays that could hold the sections of blade in either horizontal or vertical position. This is not a sculpture garden but four of the fixtures I built this week. I hope they are satisfactory.....I'm not really accustomed to building stuff like this but i do have the equipment to do so.