Monday, December 17, 2007

Lalondage (the Marko kind!)

Snipped from the KCCX national's website, photo from action photos:

Single Speed Champ Beats Star-Studded Field

The Singlespeed race - the only non-championship event of the day - featured a star-studded field that included Travis Brown, the first-ever winner of the World Single Speed Championship (in 1999), and local favorite Cameron Chambers of Lenexa, Kan., the reigning NORBA 24-Hour Solo national champion.

But at the end of the 45-minute race, it was Marko LaLonde of Madison, Wisc., who rode away from them all - turning some of the fastest lap times the course had seen the entire event up to that point. LaLonde finished 28 seconds ahead of Brown.

Marko LaLonde of Madison, Wisc. beats a star-studded field of cyclocross single-speedsters

"The main thing was staying upright because it was so rutted," LaLonde said. "You had to stay really light on the handlebars and let the ruts take you. If you tried to fight it, you were going down."

LaLonde said he spent much of the last half of the race looking back, knowing that one mistake would open the door for someone else.

"I realized if I made a mistake, Travis (Brown) was going to catch me because he was pushing pretty hard. Toward the end, I was starting to play it safe and at least keep upright."

The website forgot to mention on other thing that you need to look through the results closely to see. Not only did Marko win the Singlespeed race by 28 seconds, he went out again that afternoon and finished 51 in the Elite Men's race. Damn!

Marko, congrats on a hell of a season! Now go get some rest, I can't wait to see all three of you brothers duke it out next year.

Big bike:

infact it's the biggest ever for me. 74cm with a sloping top tube. If you're wondering, yes those are 700c wheels with 28 c tires on them.
The headtube was so long that my headbadge looked silly on it, so I made a vertical logo to fill it up using some chrome paint!

I'm about out of time, so more later


Thursday, December 06, 2007

one more thing

I just found out there's a Route 29 frame and fork up on ebay:

Auction link!!!!

This one is non-suspension corrected, and the smallest size made, 17" Might be a great chance to get one for cheap since that price includes the fork.


winter has sprung

What a great week in MN! we got about 6" of the white stuff this past weekend, then another 4-5 Tuesday. This is the first time in years that I can remember having good skiing in MN in December. I got in a few laps at Battle Creek Sunday after the first snow and I was amazed how good it was with just that little bit. After Tuesday's snow it's now downright great! My hat's off to the volunteer grooming force at Battle Creek these days, they're doing a hell of a good job.

With snow also comes snow riding. I finally threw away my old studded tires last year but not because the studs were worn after 10 years of service, but rather the sidewalls had rotted out so bad I could no longer latex them up to repair 'em (that's a testament to how long home-made studded tires can last!) So I made up some new ones, but this time I went big. I started with a pair of Kenda Karhma 2.2" 29'er tires and put in far less studs this time, only 50 per tire. That's still enough that there's always at least one in contact with the ground. I may add more later if it doens't feel adequate, but after one ride I'd say they seemed to hook up about as good as my old ones which had a couple hundered studs each.

Usually I line the inside of the tire with a few layers of duct tape to protect the tube and that works great and weights a lot. Never worried about the weight before because these home-made studded tires were always heavy anyways. This time I used far less studs, so the tires weren't too bad for weight, so I decided to try a new approach. Tubeless.

Yup, I'm such a fan of the Stan's tubeless system that I thought I'd give it a go here. They claim the sealant won't freeze until -30F, so I figured it should be ok. Mounted them up on some Bontrager 29'er rims, stans'd 'em and went for a ride. So far they seem to be hold great, even at low pressure. I haven't gone super low pressure yet, but I'm going to try soon. Rode them Tuesday night in the fresh snow with the Large Fella, and they seemed to work as good as any other studded tire I'd used, but weighed about 2lb's less (for the pair). I like the big 29'er tire in the snow too, I think it helps. I ran them at about 25 psi, which worked well, but I'm going to keep trying lower and see if the Stan's holds up.

Last weekend I finally got around to cleaning up the Nuke-Proof rear hub I picked up from the Vitch at his last-of-Kenwood-Cyclery-garage-sale. I also happened to have a Nuke-proof front hub which makes this a set. Not quite a perfect match since the front is the Bombshell suspension hub, but close enough to be cool.

Turns out the rear axle was bent (nice sale Vitch!) but that was fine by me because I never inteded to use it. I bought the hub to make it a singlespeed hub. So I turned out a new solid stainless steel axle for the rear and intergraded the drive side spacer as part of the axle to strengthen it up even more. I needed to move the hub body over towards teh driveside to allow the cog to be in the right spot for good chainline, and to get rid of the dish in the rear wheel Came out great, very Phil Wood-esqe rear axle. They're not super light, but I think they're super cool!

Haven't decided what I'm doing with them yet, I have a set of rims in need of single speed hubs, but I might throw them on ebay first since they're so unique. If any reader is interested I'll sell the pair for $200. You'll have the most unique singlespeed wheels around! (both are 32 hole, rear is bolt-on style)

Hopefully I'll be taking a bunch of pictures this weekend with my new D-SLR camera (if it arrives), so look for some pictures of the homebrew 29'er studded tires soon (and the frame I finished up last weekend).

Till then, enjoy the snow!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

CX recap

This weekend was my last CX race for the year, and I'm just finally getting into my groove...

MN state CX championships happened at Basset Creek Saturday with a slightly modified structure. They split the B race into 2 race, B1 and B2. The B1 race was cat 4 and singlespeed classes 35 minutes long, the B2 was Cat3 and 45 minutes long. This brought up a dilemma for me, race singlespeed class or do the cat 3 race on my singlespeed or do both. In the back of my head I was thinking the both option would be best, after all it is the last race of the year.

Now backup a little: I was traveling for work most of the previous week which prevented me from riding or really getting in any exercise at all the whole week. I had flown back to MN Friday and the band had a late show at the Terminal Friday night. I had gotten up at 5am Friday morning and went straight thru till 2am Sat morning with the show, so by 10:30 am when I rolled into Basset Creek, doing 2 races was losing appeal. Also since I was running late and would have had to just jump right into the singlespeed race, I opted for the cat 3 race.

I think I made the right move. The start was a little odd, there weren't any of the familiar faces I was used to, I think everyone I knew raced the B1. Having a singlespeed race drew a lot of people out, there were only 2 of us (that I saw) in the B2 with singlespeeds, but that's fine gears don't help a ton on a course like this.
Gun went off and we rolled out the dirt road. Seemed like a surprisingly slow roll-out to me, so I weaved as much as I could to get towards the front. Got boxed in most of the first lap so I stayed where I was and rode comfortably, getting a feel for the group. After that I decided I should pick it up and just started slowly picking people off. The stairs run-up was really my friend this year, all that running training really paid off. I finally got to the point where it seemed I was riding with the folks who were at my same speed after about 4 laps, I stuck with the same guy for the next 2 laps. At the end I decided I had a bit left in me, so I did what I could and passed a few more on the run-up and coming in for 20th place. Doesn't sound impressive, but for me these days that's pretty good. Looking through the results it looked like I was about 15 places higher than most of the folks I'd been finishing with all year, so I went home happy.

I'm pretty sure I owe it all to Rowntree. He loaned me his BKB "metal" skinsuit right before the start and as soon as I put it on I could feel the power. In fact at the start line someone asked me why I was riding a singlespeed in the B2 race, if I was "too good" for the singlespeed race and another guy piped in that he knew I must be fast 'cause I had BKB across my chest. I guess that guy didn't really know me, or that my last name isn't Lalonde.
I had no choice but to go all out, didn't want to shame that skinsuit. Thanks for the load Rowntree.

Also apparently I must really dig in on the run ups, this is the second pic this season of me looking really pissed off running up the hills, it's where I make up my time.

The Lalonde brothers made the drive up for the race as well, which really added to the fast contingent in the A race. I got a lot of comments and compliments about their bikes and their super-star skillz. They didn't disappoint, Marko coming in 5th and Jesse in 6th. Nice work fellas!

Another interesting note, a guy nobody seemed to know finished third. I kept looking at him on each lap thinking I knew him, but couldn't figure out specifically who he was. Turns out it was Kurt Refsnider, who was one of my skiers back when I was coaching at Champlin Park! Nice work Kurt, good to see you've really found your stride as an athlete.

The shop is back in full swing, just finished up the biggest frame I've built to date. It's half painted right now and should be done and assembled next week. This one is a 74cm (yes, that's not a typo) frame. It's got slant six lugs, so the sloping top-tube helps make it look slightly smaller than it is. The headtube is 35cm long, which made for the longest fork steerer I've ever seen.

I had to make the steerer from straight guage 4130 tubing as I couldn't find a butted steerer long enough. Amazingly I was able to find butted main tubes long enough thanks mostly to the popularity of 29'ers. So the frame is mostly Reynolds 631 tubing, double oversized.

I'll try to get some pictures of this up here once it's built up, it's hard to visualize how big it really is without wheels on it! The owner is one tall guy, I'm glad he'll finally have a frame that actually fits him! Just can't find frames this big anywhere anymore.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, cheers to another great CX season.


Monday, November 05, 2007

shop n rant.

long time between postings lately. Too much going on to have time to write...

Lots of big happenings though. The biggest of which is I'm pretty much done with my big shop move/remodel. It was a ton of work, but the end results were worth it, I love the new space. It's actually not a lot bigger in total area, but much cleaner, brighter and properly laid out.

Most of my tools now reside in cabinets and drawers instead of hanging from every corner and wall possible. That should help keep the expensive tools clean and rust-free.

I installed suspended ceiling in the shop and insulated above that, so it's nearly sound proof to the living area above. It's also physically separated from the house utilities (furnace, water heater etc...) and from the living area, so the dust should be contained a lot better. The lighting is probably the single biggest upgrade, between more lights and the white ceiling, it feels like daylight in here now. gotta love that.

Hopefully sometime in the next month or two I'll have time to update my web-site and include a proper virtual shop tour!

I've also consolidated some equipment to save space. Got a bigger belt/disc sander and no longer need and bench grinders. Got rid of some overlapping metal and woodworking stuff, etc... All in all it's a lot less cluttered.

Speaking of that, I've got 2 bench grinders that I have no need for if anyone needs one. Local would be better, but I suppose I could pack & ship. First one is a nearly brand new Craftsman 6" grinder. 36 and 80 grit wheels and I can throw in the best wheel ever invented, 3M scotchbrite deburring wheel ($25 wheel). Great for deburring and polishing. It's got a handy light too. I think I've used it about 3 times, just never needed this one. $35

The other one is a little bigger, it's a home-made 8" wheel grinder/polisher. It might look a little rough, but it works great, especially for polishing. I've got 2 or 3 grinding wheels and several polishing wheels to fit it. 2 speed belt drive. High speed for polishing is great, the motor has plenty of power for polishing or grinding. it doesn't have a switch, I just had a switched outlet, but you could easily add one or just plug it in as needed. $20, take it home today!

'cross. 2 races since last I wrote: powderhorn and Ham Lake. They were about as different as 2 courses could get. Powderhorn was incredible. The Hub did a stellar job setting the course and running the race. Spectators everywhere, huge hill run-up, what more could you ask for. Thanks to lunaticbiker for the pic.

All the running I've been doing really paid off on the hill, I felt like I really made up time there, but the long rolling part of the course was tough with the gear I had. Oh well. (yes, the hill is as steep as it looks in the pic)

Ham Lake this past weekend was completely different. very flat course with a ridiculous 2 single barriers. This was another SPBRC race, and while I appreciate the fact that they're putting on races, I hate what they consistently do to perfectly good 'cross courses. Seriously, 5 years ago this course would have had 5-6 barriers on it staggered throughout the course. Now there were 2 about 30 seconds apart on the whole damn lap. Lame.
The only thing left to give the roadies any grief at all was the twisty sections of doubletrack where it seemed everyone forgot (or didn't know in the first place) how to handle a bike off-road.
Seriously, this really gets me fired up about MN 'cross in general (not ripping SPBRC here, I'm ripping everyone). 'Cross courses around here used to be really good and offered a real advantage to those that actually had some 'cross skill. Now all the whiny roadies set up the courses to be as easy as ridable as possible because they don't like gettin' off their bikes. If you want to do a road race on grass, go do Chequomegon and stay home for 'cross season. The whole point of a 'cross race course is supposed to be to prevent the riders from getting in a rhythm, that means variations, hills, barriers, logs, whatever. Yeah I know UCI rules and all that crap specify # of barriers allowed, but come'on here none of these local races follow the other UCI guide lines and they don't need to, we're not racing for UCI points here. I don't think I've been on a course yet this year that met the UCI minimum width guide line for the entire course, not to mention all the folks with disc-brake equipped bikes out there, etc...
Every race should have at least 3 sets of barriers or natural obstacles that require you to break your rhythm. Triple barriers are even better. Stop softening up 'cross to try and get more riders, there's already too many out there for the # of race divisions we have. Powderhorn was the closest thing to a real 'cross course I've seen this year. Nice job Hub.
end rant.
end post.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

5 daze

seems like more time has passed since that last post, but lots has transpired. chronology here.
Thursday night, greatDerailleur show at the 400 bar. We played the middle spot between two other bands, two bands that should thank their lucky stars we were there otherwise they woulda been playing to an empty room. First band literally played most of their set to the 5 of us and a couple of our friends that showed up early. Last band (speaker speaker) was from Seattle and consisted of a couple of just out of college age guys clearly just trying to make it across the US getting shows anywhere they can. No local fans since they weren't local, and loud as hell. I think they were good musicians, but the sound dude had them way too loud for the few people that were left in the room. Drove me to leave 3 songs into their set. Thanks to all the fans who came out for our show, we had a great time. Thought our set went really well.
Friday: head to the Vitch's for his final, clear-out-all-the-Kenwood-cyclery-crap-from-my-basement garage sale. I wanted to get in a ride so I decide to ride my bike over to chez-vitch in south Mpls. I had a couple alterior motives as well. I was going to meet TSP and Tomac in Longfellow and ride in with them, so I hauled the two suspension forks I had for them over in the b.o.b. trailer. The Vitch still had my S&S 29'er from his trip to singlespeed worlds in Scotland, so I planned on picking that up and hauling it home in the trailer as well.

Got to the sale to find a few other kenwoodies there picking through the goods. Most of the stuff I recognised from the shop as stuff I had passed on then, but I did pick up a few goodies. Most notable in my book: the Waterford sign from the shop (will look great in my soon-to-be renovated shop), a full Modolo speedy brake kit, with lots o' small parts for brakes (I can't imagine anyone else at the same could have used that one) and a super-cool aluminum chainguard that will inevitably end up getting polished out and fancied up for a BBC someday.

Add in a pair of shoes for a customer of mine, a few other odds and ends, all the extra clothing I brought and I had a really full trailer and messenger bag.

Loaded everything up into the b.o.b. with a bunch of bungee's and duct tape and set off on my way about 10pm, the temp had dropped to the point I could see my breath now. Ordinarily it's about a 50 minute ride home from the Vitch's, but that trailer kept feelin' heavier and heavier the closer I got to downtown St. Paul (probably had something to do with knowing I had 2 big hills to hit before I got home). I stopped for a short rest near downtown. I had the foresight to know I'd be doggin' it near the end, so I brought some food which I promptly scarfed down. Got back on the rig, checked the clock. It was 11pm.

Finally rolled into my driveway about 11:15. Felt good to get inside and warm up. The Xl bailey bag on my back kept that part of me warm, but my feet were getting a bit frosty.

Sat, put the finishing touches on two 953 'cross frames and got one of them ready to ship out to Oregon. This one is double oversize tubing with a neat seatlug that I'm really digging. I like the clean look of the seatstay sockets in the lug, my only grip is the lug is a looser fit on the top-tube, hence there's more silver visible between the lug and tube and it's harder to make that look clean. This one has indented 953 chainstays which I was able to manipulate to get 50mm of tire clearance between them! This one is a disc only frame, no canti mounts, and just hose guides brazed on the frame.

Pardon the bad picture placement formatting, blogger sucks for placing pictures.

The other one is heading to Marko Lalonde for the rest of his 'cross season. He's been ripping it up out there this year too, including finishing 11th and 14th this weekend at the UCI double header in Cincinnati (nice work darkness)! I'm really excited to have him and Jesse racing for me this year. And for the record, brother Jesse won the Badger 'cross in Madison this weekend

I wanted the logos to pop out a little more on this frame, so I painted in some panels instead of my usual etching on the stainless. I like the look.

This one had a whole lotta custom stuff. I had to make the track dropouts from scratch, this was the first side-tack seatstay I'd done on a 953 frame. I was worried about how much silver would show around the stays, but now that I see it done, I love the look. It shows off the inverted tube brazed in to make the scallops (no investment cast plugs here, those are for the lazy). The chainstays are the first 953 bent chainstays (anywhere as far as I know) and when combined with the indentations give clearance for 2.2" 29'er tires. It's a cross bike by design, but it's got clearance for full 29'er tires and is actually just about the same geometry as my personal 29'er. I really love these 'cross/29'er rigid frames, they're about as versatile as a bike gets, and they handle both applications extremely well.

Sunday I raced. What a day for cross, raining and about 45 degrees all morning, got the course all wet and slick in time for the start. I stuck in the B race and I think my total lack of training will keep me there this season. Started mid-pack right behind Freeride and rode most of the first two laps just a person or two behind him. There was a huge pile up right at the start and we both managed to get around it. About lap three I was feeling good so I ramped it up and passed freeride and a few others. I kept it going till the last lap, and once again I hit the wall on the last lap. I didn't lose a lot of ground, but I could tell my last lap was considerably slower than the rest. That was confirmed by the Cutshall superfans who were gracious enough to give me hand-ups during the race and unbeknownst to me were timing my laps. Thanks Team Ultra!
Good day of racing, however I will whine about the stupid course. The Ridley folks (formerly Alan folks, *wise-ass Alan comment deleted*) put on this one and they usually do a great job, but this year taking out two full sets of barriers only to replace them with a series of 12 180 degree turns (think of a riding your bike through the line que at a Disneyland ride) was 100% lame. It did nothing for the race and kept the people with any kind of real 'cross skilz from using them. Oh well, other than that it was a great race.
Alright, I'm outta time, so write at you later.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Derailleur tonight

Don't have a lot of time to write today, but thought I'd post that my band (derailleur) is playing the 400 Bar tonight in Mpls at 9pm. There's a cover, but not much, swing by and check us out.

Pic's very soon of the two 953 frames I'm finishing up this week. It's been crazy, but I've managed to get three frames cranked out in the past 4 weeks!

Lake Rebecca CX mini recap: Hot, too hot for cx. Felt like I rode well for not really training much, finished mid pack at 27th. I was in the top 20 most of the race till I hit about 40 minutes, then I popped. bad. Cramped both legs, struggled to make it up the final run, but I'm sure got stronger in the process. Hopefully I'll last through the last lap next weekend.

Thanks to sideburns for all the great pics on skinnyski.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

catch up

I've had so many things I wanted to write about lately, but never had the time...

Friday: JL and friend KT make the pilgrimage up to St. Paul to get JL's new frame. I meet them at the shop about 11 and they get into building it up. JL simply brought up a big crate o parts, added in with a new frame and fork and we ended up with a bike.
Pretty great build if you ask me, 29'er wheels with crows on 'em, drop bars, Sram brake levers with pink hoods (where does he get this stuff?) White ind. eno crank, pauls brakes. Swank.

Afterwards I had the pleasure of sneaking in a nice ride at wirth with these guys. Thankfully JL and KT took it easy on me and it was a really fun ride. I hadn't been to wirth in a while and man were there trees down everywhere. Still, it was good to get out on my 'cross bike and ride with these guys.

JL was rockin the 'crows on his bike and seemed to really be flowing well at wirth, but honestly I think he could have been riding on rims and looked smooth. KT was on the soulcraft cx bike rockin' it out and making it look too easy. I was psyched to try out the Stan's/panaracer tubeless set up would work on the hardpack at wirth. Happy to say it was good, I ran 'em low around 28psi and while I did hear the rims hit a few roots, they stayed true and held air perfectly the whole time.

After that, I headed back home to pack up some stuff and head north to my folks cabin to help them out over the weekend.

Sat: Got slots done up north, we pulled up all the boards off the deck in order to refinish them and correct some design flaws the previous owners installed. Then cut up a big oak that had fallen the previous week.
Sun: finished up my trip north helping my dad set up a big shelving unit in the new garage they're building. Quite a lot of change up there, can't wait to spend some time up there next summer.

Side note: driving up and back I got to try out my new stereo in the jetta. In short it was awesome. The ipod integration is so seamless, I can now see why their next model up is an ipod only receiver, no cd player. It sounds at least 95% as good as playing an actual CD, which is a night and day improvement over every other ipod playing scheme I've tried in there before. Just set it on shuffle and you've got an instant roadtrip soundtrack.

Mon: usual day at work, but Beth and I decided to celebrate our anniversary a day early with a nice dinner. We headed to a new place in Minneapolis (although they're in plenty of other cities), Fogo de Chao. For those that haven't heard of it, they bill themselves as a Brazilian Steakhouse. The set-up is a bit unusual, but really pretty sweet. There's not really any menu, everyone gets the same treatment. There's an incredible salad bar to start off with, fresh everything, cheeses, salads, veggies. All top notch fresh.
Once you get through with that, you're given what looks like a coaster, but it's red on one side and green on the other. Set it out green side up and they start bringing around the meat. They've got about 10 different meats, mostly beef, all exceptional. They literally walk around to your table with a spit of meat and carve whatever you want off right at your table. I truly don't know how to describe how good all of it was, I can't even pick out a fav. We just ate, ate and ate some more. They'll bring as much as you want.
The only thing that was better than the food was the service. Truly the best service I've had a restaurant. Period. I think I've got a new favorite restaurant.
Price was even quite reasonable for the quality of food and service you're getting. Dinner is $42 per person, or they have a lunch for $24. Definitely not applebees pricing, but trust me, this place is a great value.

alright, I better stop writing about this, I'm getting hungry. who's up for lunch tomorrow?

Finally today: spent some time giving some 953 chainstays the magic hands treatment. I needed some extra tire clearance for one of the 953 'cross frames I'm building. Reynolds has had a lot of difficulty forming these stays and I think I've worked out a method for reshaping and ovalizing them. Wish I could tell you, but for now, gotta keep that under wraps. I'll be pushing this one step further this weekend working on the worlds first 953 bent chainstay frame. This stuff isn't easy, but the more I work with it, the more I learn. Gotta love learnin'.

Reynolds will be happy to see what happens this weekend too, they've been great to work with on this project supplying me with raw materials for testing out a few methods. I think they're as eager to find a way to provide a bend 953 stay as I am to have one. coming soon (hopefully): 953 29'ers!

That's all I have time for now, gotta go find me a steak.


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.


Friday, August 31, 2007


It's pretty bad when I have to go back and look at my own blog to what I wrote about last time because it's been so long since I've posted. I've been back in full-on Bob Brown mode tearing apart our house, so I haven't had any free time to think, breath, eat, or write (well at least to write).

As I mentioned last time, I'm working on a simple project o re-do my stairs in the house. Well that scope has turned out of control, I have the stairs all turned around and functional, and I frames in a new closet and a new hallway, but I seem to keep finding more things to include in this project.
Here's a shot of how things are looking today, the stairs are sloped the "right" way now. I had to build three angled steps near the bottom to make the turn into the new hallway, but I think they came out pretty good.

I also decided to just frame in an entire room surrounding the furnace and water heater. The problem with having a metal shop in your basement is you make a ton of dust, and if your furnace is basically in the middle of your shop, all that dust makes it way into the furnace and into the rest of the house. Sooooo, I figured if I can section off that part of the basement and keep it clean, hopefully we'll have cleaner air upstairs as well. It also give us a really nice big storage area that should be free of shop-dust.

Of course after moving the stairs, I needed to relocate half the plumbing in the house since it was now located right where we'd be walking through. That ended up taking the better part of a whole weekend on it's own, but now about 75 % of the house has new copper plumbing. I was amazed, I sweated about 50 individual copper fittings during that process (there were a LOT of elbows!) and when I turned it back on, not a single drip. Guess all that brazing pays off when it comes to being a plumber.

Since I was on a role with the remodel, this seems like the right time to do my shop relocation as well. I'm taking over the other half of the basement to make the shop bigger and better. This part will be a long project I'm guessing since I can't really drop all my framebuilding right now to move the shop, so I'm slowing plugging away at it. I started with the heavy stuff though, moved the alignment table and all my tubing storage. Then with the help of local framebuilder and all around good guy Dave Anderson, moved my 2000lb horizontal mill across the basement and moved my new lathe into the shop.

Did I mention I got a new lathe? I picked up a really neat Clausing 5914 lathe from a 3M surplus sale. It's big, 12" x 36" bed, 1200 lbs of good old 'merican steel! Sorry I don't have any great pics of it yet, but once I have some free time to clean it up and get it wired I'll take some.
It's mighty nice, takes 5C collets right in the headstock with no adapters, has a true variable speed drive with hydraulic clutch and brake, turns about a million threads and has a nice big 1.375" spindle bore. In short, it's a true industrial machine, and I'm excited to give it a new home.

So this weekend I'm giving the basement the full court press. Gonna try to finish up the drywall and wiring on the house parts and get a bunch of my shop cleaned up and functional, and see how much stuff I can get moved to the new shop. I'm also planning on insulating and finishing off the ceiling in the new shop space. That should keep things quiet upstairs and give me more fire protection when using the torch. I'm still debating just drywalling the ceiling or installing a drop-ceiling with fire-resistant panels.

On the bike front, I'm still managing to get some work done, moved a couple coupler jobs out of the shop this week and one repaint. And I sold off the steel/carbon frame I posted here a few weeks back. However I do feel like I'm falling behind as I have a few 'cross frames I really need to get done before 'cross season really starts up.
Reynolds has been holding me up on some of that work though as they just shipped their August 953 production run this week (three weeks late), so I've been waiting for tubes. They're defintely getting better at delivering the stuff (a few weeks late is better than 6 months late) but it will be nice if they can actually get caught up and stock some 953.

That's about all I have time for right now, try to write again soon,


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

rampin' up

Things are really starting to heat up around the shop. I feel like I've been spraying paint for a month straight right now, I just kind of let a bunch of repaints build up. Here's a pair of Molteni orange frames, one an S & S retrofit, one a Merckx restoration. The Merckx will be adorned with a record kit soon, should be a find bike for the owner!

I've been hit with the last minute rush before singlespeed world champs in Scotland as well. Got two more coupler retrofits to finish up this weekend and I think I'll have all those taken care of.

I've got three bikes to get assembled this week too, man stuff is just piling up!

The blog-sale last posting was pretty successful, but I've still got a couple things left. The steel/carbon frame and fork are still available as well as the Ritchey carbon bars. In addition I've got an IRD shimano 10 speed cassette for sale, brand new 11-23. $40.

In tangentially related news, I've started on the last really big part of our home-remodeling: turning the basement stairs around 180 degrees. I've done just about all the pre-work including a lot of demo. I think this weekend will be the big push where I'll actually pull out the whole existing staircase and build the new one. I don't think it will take long to make it functional, but the finish work will take some time. I intend to build a new hallway in the basement and frame out a new closet upstairs next to our front door, so there will be a pretty fair amount of drywall work to do (which I hate). Not looking forward to that. But I am really looking forward to having the stairs moved. It will really change the layout of my shop space and give me a lot more space. I've got grand plans for the shop this winter, but I'll write about that some other time.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

more stuff for sale

Two postings in a row, must mean I need to sell stuff!

I still have this frame available, if there aren't any bites in the next week, it's going on ebay. The group sold, so it's down to just the frame, fork, headset and seatpost. It's a 58cm effective top-tube, 60cm effective seat-tube. lugged steel front, columbus super-muscle carbon rear. Frame weighs 3.6lbs. Matching Alpha Q sub 3 fork, Record threadless headset and Wound up carbon seatpost. Chromillusions color changing paint. you really need to see this in person to appreciate it. Nearly perfect, there's one small paint chip on the left chainstay, otherwise the paint is perfect. Email me for more pictures and details. $1500/ frame, fork, headset, post.

FRM CL2 TI brakes. These baby's are about the lightest thing around, lighter than the Zero Gravity brakes which everyone mistakes them for. I've got a pair of them for sale, they have been used about 10 times, but are truly like brand new condition. These weight 96g per complete brake including the pads! (per my Ohaus balance). They work great and I cannot tell any difference in feel between these and my Record dual pivots. Great way to save some weight. I don't think anyone is importing these into the US anymore, so here's your big chance to have some super-euro brakes nobody else has! $200/ set (front and rear). Priced to move! More info here.

Flite Carbon saddle. This is the lightest flite made, carbon insert, carbon rails. Actual weight 156g. Brand spankin' new. Retail is about $160 online, this one is yours for $120 shipped.

TTT Less XL handlebar. 42cm width, 31.8 clamp, used but excellent condition. Less than a year old, 221g actual weight.

Ritchey Carbon Evolution bar, 42cm. This is a fabulous bar, 200g very stiff, very comfortable shape. It's wider on the tops, and sweeps back slightly, shallow drop, typical flat top Ritchey shape. Specs are here. Retail is about $275 on these, these have less than 5 rides on them and are indistinguishable from new $200.

Reynolds Ouzo Race Aluminum bar. 40cm, new, anatomic bend, 31.8mm clamp, 220g.

Thompson X2 road stem, 31.8 x 1 1/8" clamps, +/- 5 degree, 100mm length. excellent condition, like new. $50, or buy any bar above and get this stem for $40!

Those are the highlights for now, it's all going on ebay if I don't get bites here, so act fast!