Thursday, March 08, 2007

Expo'd out.

I'm a little slow posting a recap, but this past weekend was the Minneapolis Bike Expo. This was my first year there, and only the second year of the show. Overall it was a good experience, but a lot of hassle to prepare for and set up.

I split a booth with The Route, as we were debuting the new Route 29'ers at the show. I managed to pull together 9 bikes which really filled up my 10' x 20' space!

Fortunately the Route has some nice display fixtures for me to use, which really helped. Having and end booth helped too, I could have bikes hang off the side for people to see as they walked down the side isle.

There were 2 other framebuilders there as well, Dave Anderson (who is doing the Powdercoat on the Route 29 frames) and Vincent Dominguez. Along with them, there was a full array of local shops and big manufacturers present, lots of bikes! There was the same cool test-track for riding bikes in the center of the show complete with man-made obstacles for trying out your mtb'ing inside. All in all, lots of fun stuff to see, I wish I had more time to browse, but I was stuck manning the booth nearly the whole time.

I'm gonna blow my own horn here for a minute because I think I probably had the showiest collection of bikes in there. The 953 bike definitely caught the most attention, it was the only one at the show and the first stainless frame most people had ever seen. Lots of questions on it, some folks knew exactly what it was, others had never heard of anything like it. It was fun to see the look on peoples faces when they picked it up, people assumed it would be heavy just because it was stainless.

I also managed to throw couplers in my original 29'er and refinish it. I decided to try another copper plate job on this one just to have something totally unique to show off. I have to say, it came out incredible.

I did the same basic process I had done about a year ago on a Nature bike, but I tried a new clearcoat which is deeper and glossier. I used a downtube decal instead of etching in the lettering, and made up this spiffy new antique looking headbadge.

I also built up a rigid fork for it with my new crown, I'm really diggin how that looks under the copper.

This bike was the original inspiration for the Route 29 bikes. It has the same lugs and same general geometry, but different dropouts and tubing.

In addition to these fresh bikes, I also had three Route 29 bikes there. One in each color, and each frame option. The silver singlespeed caught a few people's eyes with my new sleek sliding dropouts.

These are my own concoction. The slider inserts and the thrust washer are machined from aluminum in my shop, then I blast the inside surfaces to roughen them up and make a really good high-friction surface for clamping to the dropout faces. They use a single large m8 bolt to clamp down which when combined with the design of the clamp assembly provides more holding force than the more common two m5 bolt style. Not to mention they look a hell of a lot better than another other slider I've seen. Small and unobtrusive. The non-drive also has a disc tab machined into the insert, for those who want discs with their single.

The Route guys even came through with some pretty nice photos of the built up bikes for a brochure. Here's a shot of the singlespeed all built up and ready for action. Note the WTB 2.55" tires fit both front and rear with plenty-o-space.

The Route bikes are officially available now. There are 2 built kits available, one with Sram X9/ raceface cranks/stem & bars, Reba 29 fork with pop-loc, handbuilt WTB wheels and Avid cable discs for $3299 complete.

The second is an XT built kit, White Brothers Magic 29 80mm fork, Race Face stem, bars, Thompson post, handbuilt wheels and Hayes hydraulic Discs for $3499.

The singlespeed with a rigid fork is $2699. Custom build kits are available, so just as the fine folks at the Route for your custom build!



Hjalti said...

You sure do some pretty stuff. Thanks for sharing it with us. Does the slider require a frame with the chainstay curved up the way it appears in the photo, or would it work with any track fork end? Also, will you be selling them separately?


Bob said...

It won't work with any track fork end, and the frame needs to be designed around the dropouts. If you just tried to retrofit them onto a frame with track ends, you'd end up with really narrow rear axle spacing and far less bottom bracket drop.

The chainstays are just curved to get the horizontal slot parallel to the ground, I don't like changing the BB drop as you adjust the chain tension.