Thursday, December 21, 2006

Is that thing Ti?

I'm pretty sure those will be the four most commonly heard words directed at the new owner of this beauty.

Finally, some pictures of a complete 953 lugged bike. Sorry it took so long. One editorial note, I'm leaving the steerer uncut for the customer on this one, hence the goofy looking steerer in this picture.

It's a pretty flashy bike, decked out with all that Campy Carbon stuff, Eurus wheels, Carbon bars and post, and most importantly: a matching stainless steel headbadge!

I don't usually put tubing decals on my frames as I mix and match tubes quite a bit and I never felt the tubing mattered much to the finished product. But in this case I think an exception needs to be made. The stainless tubing is what makes this thing possible and besides, who can resist such a sparkly decal!

All the logos other than the 953 decal and the headbadge were etched into the frame. I had suspicions about how this would look, but in the end I'm quite pleased with it. All the lettering came out very crisp and clean. I enlarged my downtube logo a bit from my usual size. This helped fill the big 35mm downtube, but the larger font size makes the letting look more crisp as well. It shoudl hold up quite a bit better than any decal would as well. It's very difficult to scratch, I tried on a few test samples and the only way I could ruin it was to go over it with some kind of abrasive.

The owner requested his name etched into the top-tube as well, I thought that came out really nice. Hopefully he doesn't mind me showing the world his name.

The complete bike came in around 17lbs as shown (including those 2 weighty Record bottle cages!). Not bad for a lugged steel bike.

In other news, both bikes I posted last time are still up for grabs, Probably not the best time of year to be trying to unload a couple really nice bikes, but they're both really, really great deals. You know you want one.... buy 'em before they hit ebay!

Finished up another frame this week as well, a nice sport tourer. I added a couple of fun details to this one too. Here you see the top of the brake bridge with one of my "B" 's added on top. Then I brazed the headbadge on this one and will be masking the paint around it. Thought I'd try something different, I think it'll look pretty sweet after paint.

In addition, I'm getting better with my engraver, this one has the owner's name engraved on the BB shell right below the serial #. I had hoped to engrave my double "B" logo on the brake bridge, but by the time I got both B's on there, it was pretty darn small, I thought the raised letter was more visible.

Well, I'm about out of time today, Have a great Christmas everone and remember...

Buy my bikes!


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Still looking for that perfect gift?

Just in time for Christmas, I've decided I have too many projects and bikes hanging around the shop. Not to mention that developing this 29'er project and a custom fork crown have most of my monetary resources tied up right now, so a little extra cash couldn't hurt. Therefore I offer you the exceptionally unique opportunity to purchase a used Bob Brown Cycles bike or frame.

I've got 2 of them to offer right now, one for the roadies, one for the off-roadies.

First is BBC serial # 0304. it's a 60cm seat-tube x 57.5cm top-tube road frame. 73 degree parallel angles, 75mm drop, 41.5cm chainstays. The top-tube has a 2 degree upslope to get the bars up slightly higher than a level top-tube. Polished stainless lugs, Matching polished stainless lugged stem, polished S & S couplers and polished fork crown and all lettering on the frame is actual Sterling Silver leaf!

The tubing is Dedachiai Zero Uno (.8/.5/.8 wall). Lugs are Long-shen long points, hand filed to shape and hand polished. Rear dropouts are Henry James stainless with polished faces.
The paint is a custom mix, it's white with a metallic silver pearl over it. It's quite stunning in the sunlight.

The bike is overall in good shape, but the paint is starting to show signs of several years of traveling with me around the country. There are a few paint nicks and chips, I've taken close-up pics of the main offenders. Shown below, there's a good chip on the underside of the downtube that's been roughly covered with white paint (note the nice silver lettering). The top side of both seat-stays has a small chip above the dropouts from a packing incident. I simply wrapped this spot with white tape and it's pretty unnoticable, for the picture I obviously removed the tape. And the driveside chainstay has a couple bigger nicks shown below, towards the underside of the stay.

There's also a very small nick shown above at the edge of the top-tube coupler. This one is pretty minor, but it's on top of the top-tube, so I wanted anyone interested to know about it.

In addition, this was the first frame I clearcoated over the polished stainless lugs, which really brings out the shine in the stainless, however it had a downside on the seatlug and rear stem lug. The clearcoat doesn't adhere to the polished surface very well and I've had some chipping of the clear around the seatpost binder and the stem binder bolts. It's not noticeable from more than a foot away, but if you get in close to look, it's there.

I'm really focusing on the little flaws here because I want anyone who might buy this to know exactly what they're getting, but honestly this bike is still in pretty good shape, but it's not in show-room condition. I've been planning on refinishing it for about a year now and I'm realizing I just won't have time to do that for quite a while. It's still a great riding bike though, so I figured why not offer it up to someone in it's current state. I also couldn't bring myself to strip it down and do a full repaint quite yet because it's not _that_ bad and I hate to lose to beautiful Sterling Silver logos in the process.

Let's talk about how neat this bike still is. Even in it's current state, I get compliments on it wherever it goes. The lugged stem is a great finishing touch, and with the full silver Campy Record kit that is on it, it will turn heads.

The picture below shows the downtube lug and it really captures the look of the paint in the sunlight. Lots of silver sparkle, but overall still looks white.

The bike currently has a full Campy Record kit (9 speed) on it from 1999. It's the last generation campy with all polished aluminum parts and no carbon, which is why it's on here. Everything on the bike is polished basically. The wheels are 28 hole Record hubs with Sun Venus deep v rims (polished of course!). Bar is TTT Prima, Avocet saddle, Campy record post. Complete this bike weighs in at about 19.5 lbs, which isn't bad for an all steel S & S bike. It rides great. Anyone local to me is welcome to come over and check it out or take it for a spin. All components are in excellent condition both mechanically and cosmetically as are the S & S couplers.

I'm flexible on how it's sold, it could be a frame and fork, could be a whole bike if you want, or I can sell you whatever portion of the parts you want. If I were to recreate this frame and fork today it would have a price tag of about $2500, the stem would be $300, and the build kit would be another $2000. I'm thinking I'd like to get $1000 for the frame, fork,and stem or $2200 for the whole bike (minus seatpost, and pedals). I can make you an excellent deal on any S & S accessories you want to go with it as well.

Bike #2:

BBC serial # 1013 Headshok singlespeed S & S mountain bike!

Sorry for the crummy pics, I didn't take the time to setup a proper backdrop.

This one has a 19.5" seat-tube, 23.5" top-tube, 50mm BB drop, 72 degree head angle (with sag), 73 degree seat angle. The frame is very light, it's Columbus Foco mtb tubing, 35mm downtube, 31.8mm top tube, 28.6 mm seattube. Track dropouts with stainless steel faces (to prevent paint damage), wishbone style seatstays. Two panel BBC/Kenwood racing limited edition paintjob. Entire frame is fillet brazed. The fork is a cannondale Fatty SL, 70mm travel, damping dial with 5 position damping adjustment (including lockout). The fork was recently rebuilt with new seals so it should be good to go for a while. Air sprung, oil damped, very nice smooth action.
I also have a 50mm travel fork that matches this bike, if you prefer shorter travel and less weight, this is the option for you. This fork has modified steel legs and reduced height similar to the one shown here(scroll to the bottom of the page).

Here are a couple of closer shots. The paint is in great shape on this one, overall condition of the bike is excellent. This was designed and built as a very lightweight cross country racer. Therefore it's not the stiffest frame on earth, but it's very light and climbs great. If you want a bike for huckin' big gaps, this isn't it. It's a full-on race machine. Infact I rode this bike to a 3rd place solo finish at the 24 hours of Afton (as a singlespeed), and 2nd place team finish at 2 hours of 9 mile.
The parts are also quite light. Currently it's built up as follows:
Wheels: Rear- Ringle singlespeed freewheel hub, 28 hole laced to Velocity Razor rims (dark blue anno) with 15g spokes. Front- Real hub, laced to Velocity Razor rim (dark blue anno) 15g spokes. Tires Michelin Comp-S lites.
Cranks: Specialized cold-forged, the super-nice old style 110bcd cranks, very low Q, polished finish (note these cranks aren't shown in the above picture), Shimano UN72 BB
Stem: Cannondale Headshock, Bar: IRD Carbon Riser.
Brakes and levers: Cane Creek Direct Curve
Seatpost: Ritchey WCS, Saddle Bontrager Ti (I might want to keep those)
Headset: custom machined to fit headshok! Sealed bearings, aluminum cups.

All together the complete bike weighs in about 18.5lbs with the 70mm fork and S & S couplers! It's a little lighter with the short travel fork.

You might notice in the top picture I have 2 chainrings on it. I often did that for traveling as I could have a big gear for riding on the roads and a low gear for off-road. Sometimes I wouldn't know how much off-road riding would be available where I was traveling, so it was good to have a big gear to cruise the roads.

This is an absolute one of a kind bike. It is a used bike, so I won't offer any kind of warranty on it, but the frame is quite sound and will provide years of service if not abused. This is really the bike for a lighter weight finess rider who want's to go light and fast.

Again, anyone local to me is welcome to take it for a spin. Brand new this frame and fork would cost about $2500, parts are probably another $800. I'd take $1000 for the whole shebang (minus seat and post), which is a stellar deal. Or make me an offer. or if you want any other parts let me know, I can probably get them for you. Frame and fork and headset alone :$600

This one has just been hanging aroung the shop, there's nothing wrong with it at all, but at this point a complete and utter 29'er addict and I can't see that I'll use this one much anymore. If you want any S & S accessories I can make you a great deal on those as well.

email me with any questions


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

a few pics

Today I've finally got a few pictures of things.

First, let's start off with the 953 frame. Here's how it looks today, but it's going to change slightly. The customer decided to go for etching in the logo in the downtube instead of the black decals shown here. It will also be getting a stainless headbadge (see below).

My headbadges finally came in. Actually, they're just stainless letters, but I make 'em into headbadges. To the left is what the raw letting looks like. These can be brazed right onto the head-tube, or brazed to a stainless backing to make a more traditional looking badge.

To the right is what the final product looks like when brazed onto a backing and curved to match the headtube.

Cranked out another bedframe as well this past weekend. This one is a little different from the one I made for myself. The headboard is styles differently, and the frame comes apart into smaller sections (the house it's going into has a tough corner at the top of a set of stairs, so it needed to be reasonably compact). Once again, I like the look, industrial, but not overly so.

The frame is all 2" square tubing as usual, but the internal tubes of the headboard are 1" square. The two side beams are bolted to the headboard, and the foot beam is bolted to the two sides so the whole thing comes apart into 4 pieces. The finish is my usual black oxide coating hand rubbed into the steel, then clear lacquer over it to give it some shine and prevent any rusting. I like that finish because you can still see the shininess of the metal below, but it's nicely darkened. Looks much better than paint. Someday I should try it on a bike frame just for fun.

I've got one more like this to make, then hopefully an entertainment center. I think I'm going to be adding a page to my regular website with some of this kind of stuff on it for sale, so if anyone is interested, let me know. Doing some occasional projects like this is a fun diversion of frames once in a while.

I'm putting the final details into a nice little sport tourer frame this week too. Once I have that done, I'll probably have some time to crank out a couple more Route 29'er frames. busy, busy, busy!


Friday, December 08, 2006

long time, no write.

I haven't had the time or the inclination (at least not at the same time) to write here lately. I was out of town for 5 days at Thanksgiving, then got sick at the end of that trip. Spent most of the next week in bed, then had to leave town again. Fun stuff.

But that's not to say that a lot hasn't happened. Sure being sick and out of town slows me down, but I've still managed to get a few things done.

First off I had the good fortune to finally get to meet up with Doug Fattic over Thanksgiving. He lives about 25 miles away from my in-law's in MI, so while we were over there, I made a trip over to his shop. For those who don't know, Doug is another framebuilder, located in Niles MI. His work all looked great, and he's known more for his painting skills. We spent quite a bit of time talking paint since there are so few that actually do paint. He's got a pretty killer set-up for a shop, he owns 7 acres of land right in town with a lovely old farmhouse on it. Then there's a 1100 sq. ft. concrete out-building a couple hundred feet away in which is his shop. So his commuite is a short walk out in the yard.
He's got a tremendous amount of equipement sqeezed into that building too. I always thought I was kind of an equipment whore, but he's got me beat by a good amount! Toys everywhere, and he knows how to use them. I guess that's part of teaching framebuilding classes, you need to have stuff for multiple people to use at the same time.

It was a great visit, I really enjoyed talking to Doug and hearing some of his stories from England in the 70's where he learned to build. He's a great guy and for anyone looking to take a framebuilding class, I would highly recommend his. He knows what he's doing and has a good teaching background.

Lets see, what else....

I finished up the first Route 29'er (that's the name of the production bikes) prototype and it's out for powdercoating right now. I'm pretty axious to see the results. It was a tough decision to go with powdercoat because in general I'm not a fan of powder over lugs. The powder finish is thicker and tends to obscure the detail on the lugs. However it's also very durable and considerable cheaper/faster than wet-paint which is pretty attactive for this application. I've got most of the graphics worked out for the decals, so I'll have those on order soon.

I promised the owner of the 953 frame I'd put some more pictures up here of the completed frame, so I'll have some next week. I'm etching in the logos on the frame instead of using decals. It looks really nice.

Headbadges! Yes, they came in early. Again, I'll have pictures soon, but they're nice, cut stainless with my overlapping "B" logo. Should be a nice touch on future frames.

Engraving. I am finally figuring out how to use my Pantograph machine and it's working pretty well. I engraved the serial Number and owner's name on the BB shell of my most recent build with good results. I'm still working on figuring out how the cleanly engrave wide block letters so I can recreate my logo on more items, but I'm getting close. I think once I get my micro end-mill adaptor made, that should solve my problems. Again, pictures soon. I made up a nice little jig to hold BB shells on the engraving table, now I need a small rotary table on there, so I can put my name on the raised dropout faces!

Crowns: I made more modifications to my crown design based off the prototype, thickened up a few areas, and increased the size of the fork blade ports slightly to fit more blades. I also shortened the overall height, which I feel makes it look better. I also changed the width, so the front and back of the crown are parallel with a small radius out at the steerer tube area.

Other stuff:

I'm hoping to crank out a couple more steel bed frames this weekend. People have been seeing the one I made for Beth and myself and liking it, so I'm making more. I'll probably add some pitcures to the website soon, under a class of "other stuff I build". There's a growing number of things that fall into that category, and I think I'd like people to know about them. I've got another entertainment center to build for our living room coming up and a few other small ideas I'd like to see come to fruition.

Are bike builders all audio nuts too? I've noticed this trend, I know Curt G is into nice audio stuff, while I was Doug Fattic's shop I noticed some ADS monitors in the shop, which are aweful nice for an industrial setting. It's one of my older passions. I started building speakers in college and still enjoy it (although I don't have much time for it now). My Jetta has a pretty swell combination of parts in it, but recently I had been really annoyed at mystery noises and speakers cutting out. So I finally took things apart one night last week and found a loose connection in one of the cross-overs for the front components and a loose voice-coil dust cover in one of the speakers. A few minutes with the soldering iron and some super-glue and things were instantly improved. I'm still amazed at the sound from the ADS 320 components I've got in there. They're 17 years old now and still have the clearest sounding vocal range of anything I've heard. Had to repair the flexible surrounds twice in that time, but otherwise they seem to hold up great, that's amazing for a set of speakers that have been in and out of 4 different vehicles now.

I've been having issues with our home stereo too. Actually not the stereo, but one amp in particular. I've got an older Audiosource amp in there running the masive 4th order bandpass sub I built into the bottom of the entertainment center. Well, somewhere inside that amp is a power relay that isn't funtioning right, so it only turns on occasionally. I hear it click in and out when it actually decides it wants to turn on, but I can't find the stupid thing. Once the amp is on, it works great, but it just doesn't come on very often. I need to tear into it a but further, but in the meantime I found another solution. I picked up a set of Def-tech 2002's off ebay which were in terrible cosmetic condition, but all the drivers and amps are perfect. Thankfully that made them sell for a song. So I'll be refurbing those and putting them in the living room. That solves 2 problems, the first if the mystery amp power thing, since these have built-in poweder subs, I won't need my external sub amp. Secondly, we both want a new entertainment center, but I've been hesistant to build it because the sub for our existing sound system is incorporated into the base of our existing entertainment center. I was going to have to cut up the existing one and remove the sub, than make a new, nice looking enclosure for it and place that in the room. With the sub built into the new speakers, that problem is solved too.
Anyone local want a fairly nice hand-made solid Aspen entertainment center with a really good sub suilt into it? you'll want a new amp : )

I promise pictures next week. Really.