Tuesday, December 08, 2009
In the meantime, here's a link to some more pics that weren't in the mag:
He's the man.
Friday, November 13, 2009
It's looking really good, just need to unmask the couplers and it'll be ready for assembly. If it looks kind of familiar, that's because it's almost the same paint job as my personal lugged S & S tandem. But this one has a few notable improvements that I hope mine will have someday. All the cable routing has been designed to come off the frame using only one set of cable splitters, which makes packing much easier. The lugs are a little different style, I prefer this new seat-lug style. And of course the geometry is fit to the new owners.
On a totally unrelated note, all those pics were takes with my new phone. I picked up a new droid eris to replace my dying cell phone and I'm loving it. I need to adjust the white balance a little for the fluorescent lighting in my shop, but I can actually do that on the phone. Pretty nice, it seems to be a pretty fun toy thus far.
State CX chamionships this weekend! I probably won't be racing due to ongoing foot-issues, but I'll be there cheering. Hope to see you out there.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Still worth seeing if you can.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Once they're tacked I take them apart and fillet braze the joint. After that, I carve the points and bore out the ID to fit the tubes perfectly. Having proper machine tools and figuring out a method to bore and mill the lugs after brazing has really helped me too.
I usually install all the S & S couplers in the tubes before I build the frame. Some guys do it after, I prefer before since I have a handy jig that holds the tube in perfect alignment. That makes it really easy. Here's a big boom tube getting a really big coupler 1.75"!
Once I have all the couplers in, tubes mitered, and lugs finished, it's time to assemble and flux. Here's the frame ready for brazing. Just preping the tube ends, fluxing and re-assembling the whole thing in my jig can take a couple hours, but when it's ready to braze, the lugs fit up perfectly and all the tubes are in perfect alignment. You'll note the c-clamp on the head tube to hold the lateral tub lug in place. That lug doesn't wrap around the headtube, so it's needs to be secured for tacking.I started out with a full container of flux. Here it is after fluxing one frame:
I'll also go through several Oz. of silver on just this main triangle. There's a whole lotta lugs on there. If you click on the full frame pic you'll also see how I do my extended heatubes these days. I pre-braze a sleeve on the headtube, then turn the whole thing down on my lathe to make it match up to the upper headlug. It makes brazing the lug easier later on.
In other news, I haven't been on a bike in over 2 weeks. I don't like that. Gonna try to make it out to the Wirth 'cross race this weekend, hopefully I can get on a bike before then. Otherwise look for me, I'll be the guy cramping up at the back of the B race pack...
Monday, September 21, 2009
953 with paint.
I like the blue, it adds some nice color to what otherwise tend's to be the industrial look of full 953 frames.
I finished up 4 paint jobs this weekend, talk about busy. But it's always good to get work out of the shop. I'm slowly working on catching up on my backlog of stuff from the last year of turmoil. Next up is a fully lugged tandem that the future owners have been more-than patiently waiting for.
On a totally unrelated note, I have the barter of the century for someone if they have what I want. I've got a set of nearly new Record skeleton brakes, which are fantastic brakes. Only problem is they're black and I want polished brakes on my personal bike. So if anyone out there has a set of new or like new Chorus skeleton brakes or like new old polished record brakes (the pre-skeleton style), I'll swap ya. Or I'll sell 'em straight out for $175.
Friday, September 04, 2009
Here's what happens when you have too little brake pad area on your discs at Leadville. Tore 'em up good, even removed some chunks of metal from rotor! I think the race may have been a bit too much for the avids. One thing I know for sure, Avid pads are 100000% better than any aftermarket pads. Clarks's brand seem to be the bottom of the barrel. We completely burned up a set of Clark's pads in one decent. the Kool-stops made it through a few hours more, and the Avid OEM pads held up for multiple rides.
Onto new stuff, here's a 953 frame I'm finishing up right now. It's just about set for paint. This one is getting partially painted. I think it'll be a great looking bike!
All stainless with stainless couplers:
The headtube and headlugs will be painted to add some color. Fork blades will also get painted to match.
Regular 4130 fork blades though, so those need paint. Still no stainless for blade options....
Here's one I finshed up a few months ago but never posted pics of. Paint is "Black Pearl"
Sach's lugs, always nice. Double taper seatstays to keep the seatlug attachment looking good.
Rare fork crown for 24mm round blades. Looks really nice and skinny.
"B" brazed onto the brake bridge
The paint really pops in the sunlight, it's actually a rainbow effect of sparkles!
Friday, August 21, 2009
We finished. That was the main goal, so mission accomplished. Unfortunately we finished 4 minutes over the 12 hour mark, which is the official cutoff for the belt buckle. So we went home buckle-less, but feeling pretty good about finishing.
The start was fairly miserable with 38 degrees and rain for the first 15-20 miles. It kind of demorialized me a bit, but Robin just kept going, which helped get me back on track. She's waaaay tough. Descending the powerline was pretty incredible. Rain and mud made it almost impossible for me to see, and it was a solid line of people going down, so I couldn't really let the bike run. It handle so much better with some speed, so the low speed maneuvering around the washouts and ruts was tedious. But we made it down safe and sound.
After the first aid station, things picked up, I started feeling better, this section always feels pretty good since there's a lot of slightly downhill road. Cruised to the dam feeling alright, and headed up to Columbine.
This is the biggest climb on the course (but not the hardest). 10 miles, 3700 ft. We ground out the whole dirt road section pretty well. Had to use the granny a bit but overall, we stayed in higher gears and made up some time. As usual most people we walking the 2 miles from where the road ends to the turn around point and we had to walk a lot of it. It felt pretty good though to get off and stretch the legs by walking. Just to put this in perspective, even the first year I did the race and was on 8:30 pace, everyone was walking this section.
We stopped at the top, got some food, put on more clothes and get ready for a long descent. In hindsight, we spent too long on top and should have just grabbed food quick and left. It started sleeting on us at the stop things were cooling off.
10 miles flying down the mountain wizzed by, brake pads were totally glazed over by the bottom, but they were still working (just noisy). Hit the aid station and then hit the road to powerline.
At this point I was fearing we wouldn't make the time cutoff at the last aid stop, but Robin was fearless and pressed us on. We just kept riding.
Made it to the last major aid station with plenty of time to spare and it was clear that we were actually making up time now and had a real chance to make it under 12 hours.
Unfortunately after the last aid station is when the course really hits you with both barrels. We had a short section of pavement, then right into the powerline climb. This one is truly the hardest climb on the course. Coming at mile 75 and too steep to ride in many sections. Heck, last year was even the first time Dave Weins (6 time champ) rode the thing.
So we walked for a while, rode a bit, walked a bit, rode a bit. You get the idea. Till finally we got rewarded with the killer decent down the back side towards Tourquoise lake. One thing was really consistent, we made up tons of places on every decent. go tandem.
After battling powerline for over an hour and decending down to the lake you're rewarded with a ridiculous paved climb that goes about 50' short of the gates of heaven. The only reason people don't go insane at this point is the road is paved, which feels like heaven compared to the last 80 miles...
Made it up that one too, middle ring all the way. 10 miles to go, mostly downhill and we've got almost an hour. Feeling good. We rocked down St. Kevens. Seriously, that bike rips down hills and we were passing people right and left. Made it to the "boulevard" as the call it with about 15 minutes left, but I seemed to have blocked out the fact that there's a 2 mile dirt climb to get to town and then another mile of uphill pavement after that. We were blown, but kept giving it all we had. Finally crested the paved hill and had a decent to the finish. Put it in the big ring and pedaled for all we were worth, but it was too late already. Crossed the line and saw 12:03 on the clock. damn. then somehow the official results have us at 12:04. who knows.
Anyways, we finished. Robin did incredible for her first bike race ever, what a way to start.
We both felt pretty gassed afterwards, but honestly, it was the best I had felt after any of the 4 times I've now done or attempted the race (and 2 of those times I only rode 75 miles!). We really trained well considering the lack of continous climbs in MN. Our biggest mistake was simply spending too long at stops and me taking too long to get my head in the game in the morning.
Overall, a great trip. Did I mention the next day we got in the car and marathoned it straight home, 16 hours. Amazingly our legs didn't even feel too bad after that.
I gotta give some major thanks to our incredible crew: my Dad, Alex, Steve and Amy. We wouldn't have had a chance without you all. Thanks!
(edit) oh yeah, apparently some pro roadie did the race too and pretty much the entire internet bandwidth for leadville is used up on pictures of him. Should anyone happen to come across any pictures of us on the tandem in the race, please let me know. I know they're out there, there were tons of folks snapping, but I haven't found any as of yet.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
knee deep in lead
Monday we rolled into the mountains and headed to Vail. Stayed there for 2 nights to do some acclimating. We rode up vail on the tandem tuesday, which I think proved to be a harder climb than either of the major climbs at leadville. Incidentally, the marriot resort in lion's head has valet bike parking. Seriously, 24/7.
The next two days we did sections of the course. That helped refresh my memory, gave Robin the chance to see the course and gave our lungs a chance to remember how little oxygen there is around here. The trail seems to be in really good shape, so if the weather will stay dry we should have a great race sat.
Today was a full day, we headed out to leadville about 9am, did a little shopping as I wanted a new camelbak and Robin needed some socks and new gloves. The bike shop in town was closed, but the sporting goods store across the street was open. Much to my surprise, they had exactly what we needed at great prices. Honestly, I think they had a much better selection of usable accerories than the bike shop...
Next we drove down to the start of the columbine mine climb, but not after getting lost trying to find the dirt roads that aren't on maps which take you there. Finally find the start, get the bike set to go, and head up. Up the 3000' elevation, 8 mile long climb. About halfway up I notice that my face is really getting soaked with sweat, moreso than usual. I reach up to adjust my helmet only to discover I forgot my helmet! It's pretty much just a dirt road, so we proceed up. We climbed all the way up the road in the middle chainring, which is what I hope we can do sat. there's a few sections in the last 2 miles that require walking, but during the race that whole part seems to turn into a line of walkers.
Get to the top and turn around to start the descent, sans helmet. Needless to say I had to take it a little easy going down the rocky sections, but we made it safe and sound.
Drive out a couple miles of dirt roads to get back on pavement and head back to town. Just about as soon as we hit pavement the car starts making a crazy loud sound. First thought is flat tire, so I pull over. But I noticed the sound stopped when I shut off the car, not when I stopped moving, maybe a thrown belt? nope. Downpipe on the exhaust broke loose from the flange, so the engine exhaust was going right into the engine compartment instead of through the muffler, truly deafening.
We pull into leadville and find a repair shop that looks pretty much just like a junk yard. I talk to the guy and he's willing to take a look. I figure it's best to do that today since he'll probably have to order VW parts from denver. Leave the car with him, go eat lunch and walk around leadville. Come back an hour and a half later expecting some bad news and the guys says "it's done". He welded up the flange, sounds great. $80 and we're on our way, I couldn't believe it.
From there we high-tailed it to breckenridge for massages. Not just massages, but the best damn massages either of us have ever had, wish we could take these guys back to MN.
finally, back to copper mtn for dinner and sleep.
Friday, August 07, 2009
I think I've got the bike all dialed in for the race. The last 2 weeks has been almost constant tweaks to get things ready. I wish I thought my butt was ready for 12 hours straight on tandem, but it'll have to deal. New chain, cassette, rings, rebuilt the fork with heavier oil, got all the creaks worked out. I switched the rings out to 22-30-44, so with the 11-34 cassette, that'll give us a huge range. The gears sound really low, but I'm running 29 x 2.5" tires which give huge wheel diameters, and I remember how much walking was involved in my last tandem attempt and I hope the really low gears will help.
Maybe I'll start to have more time to post here once we can slow down on the training. I forgot how much time this race consumes.
Friday, July 24, 2009
But as I pulled the bike out I realized I grabbed the wrong bag of riding gear. Instead of the bag with my shoes in it, I brought a couple jackets and gloves. No shoes = no ride. Damn, all that driving fer nuttin'.
I really hate stupid people, and I hate it even more when I'm on the top of that list...
Speaking of things that drive me nuts, Reynolds is waaaaay up on that list right now. I can't seem to get 953 tubing from them to save my life. I've got 2 frames just waiting to be built if only I could get the tubes. For now I just move ahead to other work and check the door everyday for a package from England.
Finished up an 853 single road bike, just waiting to get some good pictures if we ever get a sunny day. It's got a neat Black-pearl paint job that really pop's in direct sunlight.
In the meantime I'm starting on a fully lugged S & S tandem, should be killer!
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
One set of what look like nitto knock-offs, very nice, same bend but the stem clamp area is buldged for a smoother look than the nitto shim. 26.0 clamp, $35
One set of narrow M-bars that were OEM on the 1992 Bridgestone OX-2. These are 25.4mm clamp, and the tubing is smaller diameter to take MTB style brake and shift levers. They're really hard to come by. $50
ACS singlespeed happy meal. ACS clam 19t freewheel and silver singlespeed chain. A match made in heaven. both brand new in the box. $20
One pair of used Shimano brake levers. pretty nice, a couple scuffs but nothing major. great levers if you don't use integrated shifters. Perfect for that fixie or to go with a set of moustache bars above! $25
Also, I've got 2 brand new Avid brake rotors, a 140 and a 160 roundagon style. Several Avid disc caliper adaptors, 203 F & R, 160 F
Friday, June 12, 2009
I was completely disheartened, but felt ok despite slamming all my body weight into the top-tube. As I slowly walked back towards the parking lot, Pat Sorenson was talking to me and mentioned that they (Penn) had a 21"Superfly over at the demo tent I could use. At first I just wanted to pack it up and head out, but then I figured: when else do you get to thrash some else's $4000 carbon mtb for a full race? Off to the Penn tent I went, got the bike set-up close to fitting and I set off, about 10 minutes back from the start of the race, but I was riding. Took me almost a full lap to figure out the shifting, it's been a while since I was on a gear bike and this thing had shifter I had never used.
The superfly climbed really well, felt almost as good as my singlespeed (but not quite). Unfortunately it had the worst BB creak I've ever heard, so everytime I'd get out of the saddle, the BB would scream at me. The farther I rode the more I realized the saddle was way too low, so I ended up doing more out of the saddle riding, thus more screaming from the BB.
The geometry on that thing was odd though, considering it was the largest frame they make and I have a very short torso, the top-tube was still too short for me. I've never had that problem on a stock bike, they're always too long. Also had some pretty back swept handlebars which don't help that situation, and which I hate the feel of. All in all, not the bike for me, but I'm thankful I was able to borrow it and at least ride 4 laps.
Finished dead last, but hey I did let everyone else have a 10 minute head start....
I'm sending some pic's off to spot about the belt, and I've got another spare in the shop, so I'll probably give it another go. I suspect there was a defect in this one as one side of the failure looked different than the other in terms of how the carbon fibers broke.
(edit) since my first writing I already heard back from Carbon drive, they're sending my belt in for analysis of why it failed, but it looks like there was some kind of defect in it originally. They were quite concerned about this and making sure I wasn't hurt, and they're sending out a new belt today. I still don't think this is a flaw with the system, just happened to get one that might have been mis-handled somewhere along the way. Their customer service is truly incredible. -BB
And finally, I have done some more shop work, just haven't been updating this blog. Here's a couple lug shots of the frame I just wrapped up (but still needs paint):
They're Sach's singer lugs, but with the shorelines changed a bit. You can't see the front of the headtube but they're nice tall points out front and the side profile is cut back quite a bit. I'll post more pictures once it's painted. Otherwise this one is pretty much a straight-up road frame, nice and light though with all .7/.4/.7 853 tubing and Zero chainstays.
Monday, June 01, 2009
new month, new post
The beach was great, but the rental bikes we were able to find were crap. They had exactly 1 size available. I'm 6'-1" and my sweetie is 5'-2", she fit on these bikes, you can imagine what kind of circus act I looked on them. I should have brought a bike I guess, oh well.
We've been getting out as much as possible on the tandems to try and get some Leadville training in, but I'm getting a little worried. We really need to start upping the ante on training if we're going to finish (note: my thoughts have now gone from the first tandem team to get the big buckle to just getting a silver buckle...). On the plus side, I think we're a great team for climbing. We've been hitting a lot of hills on the road tandem and I think Robin is the best stocker I've ever had for climbing, which will come in handy out west!
The 953 for my next frame in line should be showing up any day. Reynolds still has a 6 week min wait on that stuff, but that's can easily be planned around.
I completed what constitutes an "overhaul" (in my mind) on my fixie this week too. Replaced the tires, cleaned it up and cleaned the chain. feels like a new bike! I'm going to try and get out on a coupld rides this week and then hit Buck hill Thursday. I made the first Buck hill race of the season despite not realyl being in any kind of racing shape. It went better than expected, finishing pretty much in the middle of the expert field. That race went well until I completely popped in the last lap. I'm aiming to avoid a repeat of that this week.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
My Mother was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer last February and passed away last Wednesday. Her funeral was today, probably the hardest day of my life. I was truly overwhelmed at the people who came out to help up celebrate her incredible, but far too short life. So many faces from the past, so many people from the present and many more whom have been thinking and praying for her for months. You all mean the world to me. truly.
I don't think I can write much more that that right now, but I wanted to say thank you to all of you out there. I don't know what I'd do without you.
I love you Mom,
Thursday, April 16, 2009
It took me a few stops with the allen wrenches to get everything lined out (this was a new frame too, so I had some seat adjustment fine tuning to do as well). Once things were in place, the belt performed flawlessly.
Early on I discovered the hard way why Spot recommends axle tugs for use the with belt. I am running a king rear hub with fun-bolts, which hold incredible well, however you need to be able to really fine-tune the angle of the rear wheel to hold the belt on the cog. I had the wheel centered and it ran fine in the stand and on the street, but when I hit the first hard climb the belt popped off the inside of the cog and my knee slammed into the top-tube. I thought I just skipped the belt and it needed more tension, so I retensioned it. Next climb, same thing, but this time I slam my leg into the pedal. ouch. I readjusted the wheel again, but this time angled it slightly toward the non-drive side. Problem fixed, but I'll still be ordering up a set of tugs as cheap insurance against this.
I kind of wish Spot had put a guide ring on the inside of the cog as well as the outside to prevent this from happening, but I suppose that would make wheel changes a little more difficult (but not much).
After that initial episode, it was nothing but ear to ear grins. The belt was silent the whole time, and smoother than even a brand-new singlespeed chain set-up. No flex that I could feel and I didn't see any decernable wear-in of the belt or cogs on this 2 hour ride. Tension at the end was just as tight as after my last adjustment on the trail (at the start of the ride).
I think I really need a fixie with this, so much smoother than a chain there and no more grease on pant legs when riding around town. I wonder if the belt will stiffen up in a MN winter? it would be great to not have a rusty chain.
Had a few rides on the 29'er tandem now too. It's mighty sweet, that fork eats up anything I throw at it, and the brakes seem to be braking in. They grab much beter now that I've worn in the pads a bit. It'll take more riding to know for sure if they stay, but things are looking up.
My last build wasn't of the wheeled variety, it was more furniture (yes steel furniture orders get mixed into my que with bike orders). It was another entertainment center, but bigger than my last one. I'll have pics up soon, but it came out great. This time I used wood for all the panels instead of mixing sheet metal and wood. I like the look. I'll try to post pics tomorrow.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The paint is a very metallic candy orange. Called Mandarin orange, and that's a pretty good description. Pictures don't do it justices though. Just about all the tubing is ovalized, so it looks think in the pictures, but you're looking at the skinny end of the oval.
Used my old Ritchey tandem cranks, just too hard to find anything better. I really like these, especially compared to dropping the money for either a new Middleburn set of the Davinci cranks (which would be my next choices).
Thursday, March 12, 2009
long time coming
I'll try to get some good pictures soon, but for now these will have to do.
And, since it didn't sell on ebay, the green 29'er will be my new ride this year. But with a belt drive! I created a way to retrofit the surly dropouts to take the belt drive without needing any repaint work. Looks like it will work very well. I'll let you know. If you have a frame with Surly track dropouts and want a belt drive, I may be able to make that happen without a dropout replacement!
I think this will be great for traveling. Since this frame has S & S coupelrs already, I won't have to mess with a dirty chain when I pack it up now!
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Installed the 29'er spacers in the fork today as well. Once the final clear is hardened up I'll be assembling it.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Big wheels + big fork + big bike = go fast!!! ( I hope...)
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Maybe I'm extra cranky from being sick all week, but lately these people have been getting to me. I've had several email inquiries this week alone from various people trying to figure out who certain bloggers were 'cause they wrote something that rubbed someone the wrong way...
I see more and more people writing really critical stuff about other people, but hiding behind some made-up name on blogger with no real information about them, or even a profile. You're cowards, all of you.
I have no problem with people having and expressing opinions quite different from mine, but at least own up to your opinions. I do, and yes from time to time it's caused me a lot of grief, but at least those who were pissed off knew exactly who it was that pissed 'em off.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
not much new
I like the white with black pinstripes, it matches the lettering pretty good.
got a new bianchi Celeste paint mix from my paint guy and he did an incredible job matching the blue pearl in it. I'll post some pics soon of that one.
Also got word today that I'm officially in for Leadville this year! Guess that means I need to get that tandem frame built soon so we can start training. All the rain up here this week has pretty well decimated our snow, so I'm hoping for a warm March to start riding. Things could get ugly if it just get's cold and we have to deal with ice for another month...
I think I'll work on building up the tandem wheels while I'm sick, that's a good resting sort-of activity for me. I'm just not good at resting, even though I know it's best for me. There's just so many better things to do!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Made up this custom disc-brake retrofit to a co-motion tandem using a therapy brake adaptor. Had to machine a custom hub spacer, then machine the seatstay clamp for the torqu arm. The mount had to be modified as well and the chainstay needed to be coersed a little to clear the big 203mm rotor! seems to work well though.