Thursday, September 27, 2007

stars 'n hearts

I finished up two more paint jobs this weekend, including Jesse's frame. This ting was the bane of my existence Sunday. I spent almost 3 hours applying all the masking only to have the paint wrinkle up once sprayed due to a chemical issue. I fixed that, but couldn't fully sand out all the wrinkles, so there are a couple of hearts in there with some texture in the paint, but it's not bad.

Then the colors disappointed me. The frame was supposed to be black and white, which it was. Then I added the pearl over it (which I thought would be translucent) and it turned my stark black into sort of a gunmetal gray. It's actually a really cool effect and color, but I was hoping for black. But Jesse needs it for 'cross so it will suffice for now, I can respray it after the season's over if he wants. It's still a super-cool paint job that will be killer with the BKB racing kits. Can't wait to see him out there ripping it up on this baby.

Just for the record, everything you see on here is painted in, there's not a single decal on the bike. Talk about a lot of masking...

I'm still madly working on getting the other two 953 'cross frames in my shop out. One if over half done, the other is getting there. More pic's of those coming soon. I've been held up on progress on them due to a very late shipment of the stainless dropouts and a few other bits. Those just showed up yesterday, so I should be able to get moving again on 'em.

In other news I've had absolutely zero progress on moving the shop, everything is still in disarray and I suspect it will be until I can get these next couple frames done. I should have time this winter to really get that space set-up how I want it, but not much time till then.

I finally got my 'cross bike all set-up this weekend and even snuck out for a quick ride on it yesterday. I've been running 3-4 times a week so I felt alright, but my technique was a bit off since I haven't been riding at all. I think I'll be fine though, I won't make it to a race till Oct 6th at the soonest, so I have a week or two to practice my dismounts.
I'm trying something new this year, in all my consolidations of bike stuff, I sold off the wheels I usually race 'cross on. I was thinking I'd use my Reynolds carbon wheels for racing, but I'm actually going to try something else first. I set up my King/Stan's ZTR 29'er wheelset with 'cross tires and Stan's goo. The ZTR rims are as lgiht as most road rims, and with the Stan's yellow tape and tubeless set-up, they're actually lighter than my old race wheels, plus they're tubeless, so I can run low pressure. The rims are wider than most road rims, but that only gives me more tire contact patch. I think this might be a great set-up for 'cross. They felt good last night, but it was a short ride, I'll write more about it after I spend some time on 'em.

Completely unrelated to bikes, I installed a new stereo in the Jetta last night. I'd been wanting to replace the old one for sometime and I've been kind of itchin to have a receiver with a good i-pod integration and HD radio capability. Not to mention I missed my old Alpines with high-voltage pre-outs, they just sound better than anything else.
So I scored the Alpine I wanted on Ebay and finally got it in last night and I'm thrilled. Not only does it sound as good as my Alpine's of old, but the i-pod integration is killer. You plug the i-pod right in the docking connection and the receiver is now your controller. You have all the same controls of the i-pod but they're right there on the deck and it charges your i-pod while you drive. Slick. Can't wait to hook up the HD radio (hopefully today or tomorrow).

If anyone in blog-land needs a basic car CD player I've got the Sony X-plod CDX-L550x I pulled out. It works fine, but is more susceptible to skipping if your CD's have scratches (as every Sony CD player I've ever had has been). Only one set of pre-outs, but if you don't have any amps, it's a great unit. $50 + shipping, how can you beat it.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Pay attention folks, #1 and #4 at Chequomegon, the Lalonde Bro's, both on singlespeeds. They rock, plain and simple.

I wish I could have been there, but I didn't get into the race this year and I had other priorities. I spend the weekend in the shop building 'cross bikes, three of 'em. One heading to Oregon, and two heading to where else? The Lalonde brothers. I'm pumped to have these two sporting a pair of hot BBC's this year, look for them on the BKB custom bikes.

Wish I had more picts to show, but I was in full-on building mode all weekend and didn't get around to using the camera yet. I'll get some this week. There's 2 953 'cross bikes in that mix, and they're looking nice.

Gotta give props to all the Kenwoodies turning in some big results at Cheq too. Ez, wins the singlespeed class (and places 18th overall), Thorny rockets through in 61st, TSP 81st, Tomac just a few seconds behind him in 87th. WW & Becko, third place tandem, and although no K'woodies, the Eppen's deserve props for a 16th place overall finish on tandem. Nice work all of you.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Coming along....

The house is coming along nicely. I finished up the wiring, so now my friend Levi is taking over on hanging and mudding the drywall. I can't tell you how excited I am to not be doing the drywall. Not only do I hate it, but I'm swamped with bike work, so this really helps out.

I'm putting the shop move on hold too, while I bust out a couple frames. I've been slowly putzing on a few for a little but, but now I really need to finish them up and get them out. I've had two holdup's on the stainless frames I'm working on: waiting for material from Reynolds, and getting my lathe set-up so I can make the headtubes. Well, the Reynolds order came in last week, and I finally got the three-phase power wired up for the lathe and some of the tooling arrived Tuesday.

So last night I was finally able to crank out a headtube and get the frame jigged up. The new lathe is awesome. The chuck is big enough to hold a whole headtube with no problem and the big tooling makes a world of difference in cutting stainless compared to my old small lathe.
I turn my stainless headtubes from 38mm 316L raw stock. For this frame I needed to add a bit of heatube extension above the lug, which is usually done by brazing a sleeve on the headtube. However since I was machining this and had a big enough OD, I was able to just turn the headtube extension right into the tube. Kind of a neat trick.

A few things worth noting since I've now gotten my third shipment of 953 tubing. Reynolds really seems to be getting the manipulation of this material down a lot better. All the tubes I received were right on spec for wall thickness and butting, which is a huge improvement over previous tubes. In addition the tubes are quite a bit closer to being truly round and straight. Only a couple had significant straightness issues (on all previous orders, none of the tubes was truly straight) and the roundness is within .010" (compared to .035" on early orders).

I also ordered a couple of new tubes Reynolds is offering just to see how close to spec they were. I'm pleased to report their new lightweight chainstays are truly lightweight. Until now, the 953 chainstays were a bit underwhelming compared to the rest of the tubing. But with these new stays and the better wall thickness tolerances of the main tubing, I can now built 953 bikes that are truly lighter than any other steel available. Of course as always, weight will depend on what you're using it for, but it's nice to know these light tubes are finally out there.

And finally, I'm pleased to say I sold the steel/carbon frame that I was pushing on here for a while. Built it up with a new Chorus group this week and shipped it out. Hope the new owner enjoys it as much as I did. I'm finally getting my stable down to a manageable size, which feels good.