Friday, March 21, 2008


Finally got in a couple rides this week. The mercury hit 55 Wednesday so how could I possibly resist. Rolled around St. Paul mostly, across summit, through minnehaha falls, to fort snelling and over to lillydale. The lillydale trail doesn't get plowed so it still had a good layer of glacier on it so I opted for the hilly road route instead. While my legs were not ready for any hills, the view was good. Perfectly clear day, nice view of downtown coming back home. I managed to drag this one out for almost 3 hours of fixie action. felt good. felt bad.

Thursday was warm again, but not quite as warm, about 45. The forecast was for big snow Friday though so I figured I might as well go for another spin before I was snowed off the roads. Road north this time through roseville to run an errand. Felt great for the first half, till I figured out I had unknowingly been reaping the rewards of a tailwind. The ride home felt brutal, and to make things worse I popped a rear spoke abotu 2 miles after I turned around which threw the rear wheel waaaaaay off. Rode home into a stiff headwind with a rear wheel rubbing the brake and frame. Oh well.

Got home, fixed the offending spoke and re-tensioned the wheel. Hard to complain when it was a wheel built from used parts about 20,000 miles ago. I just can't escape my inner cheapskate.

I had to pull off the cog to change the spoke. It's probably been 3-4 years since that cog came off, I was amazed that I got it off without too much ordeal. But I was amuzed enough at the appearence of the gritty cog to snap a pic. I love how much crap is caked inside, yet the teeth are nice and polished (and hooked!) from chain wear.

Ahh, the little things in life..

And pushing on with all my forking lately, finished up three more forks this week. here's two of them.
I've felt like all I've done the last few weeks was build forks. Don't know why, but people keep asking for 'em. It'll be good to get back into some frames next. I've got a whole slew of stainless frames coming up in the que.
enjoy the snow you locals, happy Easter.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Last week, customer and now good friend Scott Cutshall was interviewed by the 'strib for an article about his weight loss and life change. I didn't know when it was going to be published, but whaddya know all kinds of 'strib readers let me know this morning:

I checked my email to find I was inundated with requests for information about Scott's bike and what it would take to get one. Most of them probably won't make the commitment (money and lifestyle) that Scott did, but man am I overwhelmed at how many people his story is affecting. It's great!

As most folks in that situation will probably not like my current custom bike pricing and lead times, I'm working on a way to put together some lower priced options for people just looking for a bike that will hold up and give them a comfortable way to exercise. So if you happen to be one of the many folks who read the article and got inspired, then looked at my website and became terrified by the prices, email me and let me know what you're looking for. I might still be able to help you find something more in your price range, even if it's not a Bob Brown Cycles frame.

I'm getting worried now, because I know there's another upcoming large publication coming out with a much more detailed account of Scott's story. I suspect I'll get even more inquiries then.

So far my favorite emails have been the ones from well-meaning folks thanking me for touching Scott's life and giving him this incredible means to transform his existence. Hmm. I just built him a bike. Really. He's the one who did all the work, made the commitment and followed through on it. He did pay me for the bike, so really I just did my job. So thanks to the folks sending me emails, but really Scott is the one who made the magic happen, my hat's off to you my friend.

I've been slowly update the website. I'm adding a FAQ to the information page to help answer the emails I get most often. Updating content here and there as well. Nothing big, but trying to keep it current.

Also have a couple of big tools I'm looking to sell if anyone out there in blog-land is looking. First is my Miller tig welder.

Model SR-150-32 industrial DC tig machine. Make no mistake, this thing is truly industrial duty. It's currently wired to run on single-phase 220v power, but can be re-wired to run single or three phase, 220v or 480v. Range is 0-200 amps, but when running off single phase power it peaks out about 150 amps (still plenty for most welding). The machine has switchable high-frequency start built into it (on-off, or continuous hi-freq), adjustable post-purge timer for changing the length of purge after the weld. Remote contactor and amperage adjustment via foot pedal. Both contactor function and amperage adjustment are switchable. The unit is mounted on the original Miller factory running gear to it's very easy to wheel around. The running gear also has hooks for hanging cables/hoses and a stand for the argon bottle on back, so you can wheel the whole welder around as a unit easily.
I am planning on keeping the Smith argon regulator and the weldcraft torch, but I'm willing to negotiate those into the price if you like.
The machine is quite heavy, so shipping my be impratical. I think it weighs about 400lbs. I can deliver locally if desired.
Just to clarify, this welder runs on single-phase electricity, so it can be run off most household 220v power. There are many 3-phase only welders with the same model # in the miller line.
Anyone interested is welcome to try it out in my shop, it's all wired up and ready to burn some metal.

Dumore 1/2 hp tool-post grinder kit.

This is a complete interior/exterior Dumore tool-post grinder with a large selection of spindles, wheels, pulleys and belts. Most people won't even know what this is, but if you're insterested in it, you know what you're looking at. works perfectly, fits my 13" lathe, but would also work on bigger machines. email me for complete specs and a list of what is included.

pretty heavy, so if shipped, it probably needs to be 2 boxes. Includes the original steel case as well (not pictured). $1000/obo. This kit sells for over $2800 at J & L!


Friday, March 14, 2008


I had to do some traveling this week and found myself in Las Vegas for a convention. A big convention, the Con-Expo show (2.2 million sq. ft. of show!)
My feet still hurt from walking, I spent 4 days walking the show and still didn't cover all of it. Lots of neat stuff, but none that really pertains to bikes, so I'll spare you the details.
The bummer of it was getting home though, my flight got canceled due to a mechanical problem with the plane. crap, 300,000 people trying to leave vegas and me without a flight home.

I spent about 2 hours on the phone with about 6 different people and went through getting booked on 4 different replacement flights, each one getting changed about 15 minutes after I booked it. Northwest finally saw the light and got a replacement aircraft en-route to get all the people they stranded out. The highlight of all that must have been the gate agent that simply turned around and abandoned her post on us. She literally flipped out and started ranting about working three hours with no break, said she couldn't take it and left the counter unmanned to go take her break while we stood there. And amazingly enough we were in the first-class/elite check-in line which is supposed to get the "good" service from Northwest. nice.

On to bike stuff. I managed to get a big frame refurb job shipped out before I left town. Long time readers might recognize this as there are a few pictures of it on my regular web-site. The owner had a little spill and wanted a couple of changes, so I did that brazing work and repainted the whole thing. Came out pretty nice.

I've been inundated with fork requests as of lately, so I've also been cranking out forks. Three of them in the week before I left! I'm not sure what's happening, but there must be a world shortage of steel forks this spring, I've never built so many.

Product review: I picked up a Chrome backpack in Feb and I've finally had a chance to get in a few rides with it. I got the Ranchero, which is their medium sized bag. Overall the construction is very good and it fits incredibly well (as it should for the price). The bag conforms perfectly to my back and doesn't move around at all when riding (even off-road). It's definitely harder to dig through than a typical messenger bag since it's pretty tall and thin (read: it's a big, deep pocket instead of a wide open pocket). But that's simply part of being a backpack instead of a messenger bag and it's also why it stays in place so good.
Every store I've gone in with it had yielded comments or questions on where someone else could get one, which seems like a good thing. Overall, I'm really pleased. The one big (in my mind, really big) thing missing is a good way to carry a u-lock in a handy spot. Chrome could really take a lesson from Bailey on all their bags when it comes to the design of pockets. The Chrome outer pockets don't hold much of value so you have to resort to storing medium-small things in the main pockets. Not having a quick way to access a u-lock annoys me, especially when it would have been so easy to sew on a low pocket for it. Maybe I'll add my own.

Well, I'm tired, till next time.