Saturday, April 21, 2007

not much time

I'm short on time right now, but I wanted to get some pictures up here for the soon-to-be new owner. It's almost done now. Just need to finish assembly. The pictures still appear slightly more teal than it looks in reality, but heck that could be my monitor too. enjoy.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

59 hours

Left till Fruita Fat Tire Festival Departure! I can almost taste the Hot Tomato pizza now.

Paint is on the tandem, I sprayed the final clearcoats last night. I tried to take a couple of quick pictures of it, but you really need to see this thing in sunlight to get the real color.

The fluorescent lights of my shop make it look a touch more teal than green, but it's really a dark green. I'll get some pictures of it in sunlight soon.

I spent 4 hours last night doing all the lug-lining. Yes, 4 hours straight trying to keep the hand steady. Despite the shear volume of lug lines, I think it went quite well. Now I've got a few hours of removing masking and it'll be a frame! More pictures later.

In preparation for Fruita, I picked up some new tires for the 29'er. I've had a few sets from Kenda, and while they all perform well, I'm really tired of their crappy weight labeling system. I got a set of Small Block 8, 29'er tires and right on the packaging it says " 500g +- 25g". They average 560g, seems to be a flaw in their measurements. Kenda Karma tires, clained 550g, out of 4 tires, they average 640g. That's a pretty big difference for something being sold as a lightweight tire. Kenda, get it together.

Made a few more minor adjustments to the 953 road bike last night, hopefully I'll get to sneak out one more ride on it before Fruita to make sure everything is good to go on it. Since we're driving the hippie van out there, we're taking road bikes too, so I'll have the 953 bike out west. If you're going to be out in Fruita for the Festival and want to check it out, let me know.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

forgot to mention

I meant to also note in that last posting that I've updated the Sale page on my website with a bunch of new stuff and pictures. The shop is filling up with random stuff again, mostly parts left over from bike builds, many new, some old, some odd. check it out. If it's not gone soon, it'll go on the 'bay.

That's it, got to get back to working on bikes. buy stuff, it'll make you happy.


Monday, April 16, 2007

finally, spring.

It finally came this weekend, real spring weather that I was in town to enjoy. And by "enjoy" I mean work in my shop noticing that it was real nice out.
Well, not totally true, I managed to get out for a great ride yesterday late afternoon. I thought I'd just go for a nice spin out around Cottage grove and hit some hills (Fruita is only 7 days away and I'm still about 2 months away fitness-wise). It was time to test out the 953 bike, and it was beggin for hills. I made a few adjustments to the bike, and headed out. I hit the hills in Cottage Grove first and it felt great. The handlebars on it are a touch too narrow, need to change those out, but the frame was great. Really stiff, really light. Felt like a good steel bike, but lighter.
I was having fun, so I headed east, towards Afton figuring I'd turn around before I made it all the way to town. Well, I spotted a group of about 5-6 riders turn onto my route ahead of me, so I decided to catch up and see if I could sit with them a little. I eventually caught them heading into Afton, oddly enough on a long downhill (Usually I catch people on climbs and get dropped on decents, part of being light, but tall and not aerodynamic). I was easily pedaling past them, so I took the front of the line figuring they'd just in my draft, but a mile down the road they were nowhere to be seen. Oh well, back to riding on my own. I head out of Afton up Stagecoach Rd to Indian Trail. One of my favorites, but in reverse. By this time the hills are really starting to catch up to me. My training regimen of riding once every 2 weeks doesn't seem to be helping me much. Both quads are on the verge of cramping, so I take a GU and manage to struggle home. Didn't feel so hot the rest of the night, but I felt like I really hit it hard and better to feel bad now than out west (as if this one hard ride will get me fully in shape!).

The bike was great. The rear end is very stiff, it's definetly a bit more firm than my other road bike, but hte biggest difference I noticed was actually switching from the Alpha Q sub3 fork to the Reynolds Ouzo pro on this bike. This fork feels way stiffer than my Alpha Q. It was quite surprizing, and I'll be curious to see how i like it as the roads improve (things are pretty bad in MN in the spring). The frame actually felt quite reminicent of my RB-1 when climbing, quick and stiff. I actually think I could get away with standard oversize tubes in a 60cm frame for someone of my weight and still have a very good riding bike.

The bulk of my weekend went into trying to finish up the tandem. I managed to get all the base paint on it on Saturday, but my plans were thrown off a bit when I discovered my paint supplier changed their hours and were no longer open on weekends. I need some green basecoat. So I did soem checking around and managed to find a place carrying House of Kolor stuff and got the materails I needed. I tried somethign new, their dry pearls to develop the color. This stuff is amazing, I applied it over a black basecoat and got the most beautiful dark green I've seen. Here's a quick shot of it curing. Note: I love painting S & S tandems compared to regular tandems. Spraying in three sections is far easier than trying to get the clear to lay down smooth on one large item. I've got a few hours of lug lining and detail work ahead of me, then a couple more coats of finish clear and this will officially be a bike! Can't wait to see this one all built up. I have all the parts in now and it will be a head turner!


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

So much going on, lets start with the bad. We're in a winter storm watch tonight here in the cities. That sucks, really truly sucks. I'm sooo ready for spring to come it's not even funny anymore. We've had some really warm weather earlier this spring, but of course I was out of town for all of it. Ok, I don't even want to talk about the weather anymore.

Let's talk about utility biking. I don't know why, but I love combining errands with riding, they're just two great tastes that go great together. Maybe it's because riding time is so precious to me, maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment, but there are few rides I enjoy as much as one where I'm loaded up with stuff going from store to store.
I did just that yesterday I had 4 packages to drop off at two different places and a few other misc errands to run. One box was a fork, which is pretty long, tough to fit in the messenger bag (even my XL Bailey), so out comes the BOB trailer. Hitch that baby up to the RB-1 fixie, throw on some knickers and your stylin! or at least you got a rig that turns a lot of heads in town.

If you're not buying it, you really ought to give it a try, I think you might have fun. Besides, it's a great way to get in some riding while conserving some gas and milage on your car.

shop talk:

The tandem is coming alone nicely. Actually as of tonight all that's left is some finish sanding on the frame and it'll be ready for paint. My pictures aren't coming along as quickly as the frame, but here are a few more.

Here's a shot of the frame as it sits completely jigged up and ready to braze. As you can see I have all the lugs completely done prior to brazing the frame together.

From here I flux everything up, tack it and pull it out of the jig for the first alignment check.

This frame is full of details, little things. Here's one that I like, the bike is built for a disc brake in back, caliper in front.

The owner wanted mounting for a light rack and possibly fenders along with the disc caliper in back. That can get tricky, so rather than try to cram all of it on top of the seatstay and have to do funny things to get the rack stays to clear the disc caliper I moved the caliper between the chain and seatstay. This has a few benefits on this particular bike. First, it tucks the caliper neatly between the tubes which tend to make it look cleaner and be less prone to getting damaged. Also it puts the brake load on the chainstays rather than the seatstays which is good here. The tandem chainstays are quite beefy and since this bike doesn't have a rim brake, I can now use a lighter seatstay to save a touch of weight. Finally I got to make a neat brake mount with a little more style to it. I carved this one from 3/16" plate. Still have a little cleanup and shaping to do on that brass fillet, but you get the idea.

I also chose to use Henry James Dropouts on this one, which is a departure for me. I typically don't care for them much, but they really fit this application well. The tandem chainstays are larger diameter than most, so the large touring dropouts fit the diameters really well. Most forged dropouts tend to look a little small in these larger stays. Plus they're stainless, so they'll be a nice touch to go with the stainless couplers and headbadge.

I'm getting excited to see this thing done and painted. I think the whole bike is going to be stunning once it's built up. All the parts are coming together and hopefully it'll have paint on it this weekend.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Lugs galore

Yeah, lots o lugs, and they're all on one frame. This tandem is coming along pretty well. These pictures aren't quite up to date, the frame is further along than this, but I haven't had time to take pictures today.

The third eccentric is in as well as all the couplers. There's a whole lot going on around the rear BB shell. The lateral tube now nestles down in right on top of the rear shell and passes right over the top of the thrid eccentric. Here's a shot of the rear BB lug all mitered up and ready to braze. I'm also adding a taller point on the seat-tube socket.

There's six couplers in this frame as I do with most tandems. Placing the couplers was a little tricky with the davinci drive, they needed to be immediately infront of the drive in order for all three sections to fit in the 26" x 26" case.

I have my own system for installing couplers in new tandem frames. Since I design the frames with tube butting to fit up to the couplers, I have to install the couplers into the tubes before building the frame. The jig shown in the photo is how I align the tube while installing the couplers. The jog holds the tubes in perfect alignment while I braze in the coupler.

This is my favorite part of most lugged tandems. The headlug. Yeah, singular, not plural. I combine all three lugs into one continuous shape. For this one I welded the three lugs together then fillet brazed on the port. I was able to start with Slant Six lugs for this one , cut them up a bit and work them into this design. I really like the look. Certainly a pile of work, but this whole frame is and it'll be worth is in the end.

Here's a quick shot of how I start off the other lugs. I miter up sleeves to fit around the tubes, then I jig up the frame to ensure the tubes are at the proper angles. Next I tack the sleeves together in my jog with a couple tiny welds then I remove the tacked lug from the frame and fillet braze it in the vise. Finally I finish file the whole thing and shape it up, then it's ready to be brazed into the frame.

Well, it's late and I'm tired, so the rest will have to wait till later.