Thursday, November 29, 2018

headbadge for 40th anniversary bike

Yes, this is what will hopefully be on the head tube of my 40th anniversary special bike. This bike will be shown at the upcoming NAHBS, along with a few other complete bikes. This show might be a special one for me and I'll be bringing some merchandise to commemorate the occasion. I'm not sure that I'll ever do another bike sho so if you want to see my work be sure and get to Sacramento in March. I'll be next door to Mike De Salvo who himself is having a 20th anniversary.......might have to make a 20-40 shirt !

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Aluminum gravel tandem frame

 Yes, that's what it is. I don't think there will be another one at the upcoming NAHBS but then I could be wrong. This has been a vision of mine for about a year and in the last two days I have devoted all the time to making it happen.
 While it isn't quite done yet , it is about 90% completed. I still need to put all the bottle mounts on and address the final alignment, maybe install rack mounts in the rear. The frame will be paired with a Rodeo Labs fork. Originally I was going to do a project with Rodeo Labs but I was not able to meet the timeline they needed. I'll still use their fork on this bike as it seems to be the only carbon fork stout enough for tandem use. It also has rack mounts as well.
I'm waiting for the tandem cranks- they should be available next month. I am still figuring out what to use for wheels- as many spokes as I can get and some really strong wide rims . The bike will have 700x40 tires to start . The frame weighs 9 lb. 1 oz. and is made from 7005. The down tube, seat tube and chain stays are NOS US made Easton tubes from the late '90's.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

40th anniversary frame and fork

 Yes, it has been 40 years since I built my first frame. What does one build after 40 years to commemorate four decades of putting bicycle frames together ? The sensible thing to do would be to build something I have never owned, so that's what you see here. It is a touring frame, fork and the frame has an integral rack. Correct, the rack is welded to the frame. Bad idea ? I don't see it that way. As long as this bike is mine it will be a dedicated light touring bike. I live in a relatively dry climate and will not be carrying that much on the bike- hence the light touring designation. That said, it is probable that I'll be doing some 90-100 mile days on it going from town to town. I have gotten back in to doing short 4-6 day tours after a couple of decades of concentrating on work and cyclocross.
 This bike will be fitted with 650x42 Pacenti tires. I bought the tires at least two years ago thinking that I wanted to try them. I did not have a bike suitable until now. My goal with this bike is to build it up and have it and a few others on display at NAHBS in Sacramento this coming March. Of course, I could just blow off the show and go on an extended bike tour but since I have already paid for the booth I guess I had better show up. I do want people to see this frame as it shows off just about every skill I have as a bike builder. Some of the frame features make me proud......some of them maybe not as much. When I got to building the fork I did get a bit impatient. I'm hoping that some skilled work by the painter will make it all look seamless and good. I am proud of the lugs- they are not all that special but they were given a good deal of attention with the files . I'll let the people be the final judge of my work- that said, the lug shorelines will be the furthest thing from my mind when I get on this bike and start riding south.....or north.
 In short, this is a pretty odd build- 650 wheels, integral rack, flat mount disc brakes, lugs with a fillett brazed BB, sloping top tube, 12 mm thru-axles front and rear. Something tells me that there won't be another one like it at the show. The combination of old and new is sure to make some folks scratch their heads and think that the builder is a bit nuts. -I'm fine with that. Nobody has to understand it except me. After 40 years, this made sense to me. It will have a use. If it didn't it most likely would have not existed.I would like to thank two former builders for a bit of inspiration and materials:
Michael Knepp for the cool fork crown
Bruce Gordon for his collection of riffler files
Mitch Pryor.....he was next to me at the last show and I got to see his touring bike- inspirational


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Yes, that's a 1" threaded steerer

 This is not an older frame but one I just shipped out this week. The customer requested smaller diameter tubes and a threaded fork. I had to make some calls to get the gold headset but here's the result- a tig welded steel frame that is below 4 lbs. with a look that was popular about 25 years ago. The bike will have modern components and will be in Kansas by the end of the week.
 This fork crown is the same one I used on countless builds back in the late '90's. The brake bridge is also a popular one from that era. I had a nice time building this one, even if the sourcing for some of the bits got a little difficult. It all came together- the only thing I could not get was a gold top nut for the headset. I had to go with silver but the gold Jen Green headbadge makes up for that.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

SSCX for Boise, Idaho

 This steel frame will be going to a long established shop in Boise. The flat-mount is paired with an internal route on the down tube. This setup is getting to be a popular feature as it eliminates all guides from the top tube on a single speed frame. Di II frames look pretty much the same and I'll be displaying one in aluminum at the upcoming handbuilt bike show in Sacramento early next year.
 The team color paired with the red decals is identical to my own bike- I really like the combination of colors.

Re-make of a 1991 MTB frame

The fellow who owns this frame used to ride it frequently  in the Santa Cruz mountains. Somewhere along the line the bike got mothballed in the garage as the non-suspension design was not suited to a much older rider. This model was the 'team-issue fillet' with un-filed bronze fillet brazed joints.I probably made about 150-200 of these before I switched to tig welding. I have owned a few myself and bought back one from 1987, single speed # 1. This frame is one of the last examples of the style before I went fully into welding.
 The owner has a very strong sentimental attachment to the frame and wanted to continue riding it. Things are different now as he is a grandfather and wants to ride the bike with his grandchildren. The rigid fork and super aggressive handlebar position had to go. I told him that making the bike able to use a modern fork would require replacing the front end of the frame. He said " Go for it, otherwise I will probably not have a use for the bike." Mountain bike collectors might frown on doing this type of re-build and I'm not that keen on it myself but the sincerity of the customer won me over. He is not likely to ever sell the bike but would rather pass it on to a grandchild.
Now the frame is made to take a 140 MM fork- it still runs 26" wheels but will now accept disc brakes. It is still built with the same method, unfiled fillets. The whole job cost less than half of what a new frame would run so according to the customer it was the right path to take. This was one for the books- I'm glad a local who has been riding the trails around here nearly as long as I will keep riding his old bike again.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

CX frame in 7005 for Seattle area

 This frame has two firsts for me on an aluminum CX frame. # 1, dropper post port.# 2, fr. der. boss. With all the stuff going on in the lower part of the seat tube a clamp-on fr. der. would not really work.
 This frame also has fender eyelets on the dropouts and one under the seat stay bridge. It does rain where this frame is going. The stem and fork have been painted to match. It's a nice package- all in the team color.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Gravel frame in steel for Sausalito, Calif.

 This one is paired with the new Whiskey flat mount fork and a King headset. The rear hydraulic line goes inside the down tube- this is becoming a very popular feature on my steel frames, even if it is an additional $ 100. The routing of the rear der. cable under the tup tube is for general trail riding and not for CX racing as it is not a bike that will be shouldered. As of this month I have build 19 of these this year in steel, making it my most popular frame. I have done nearly that many in aluminum as well.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Old frame gets a new life

 This is Rock Lobster MTB frame # 0128. I think it is from 1991. It started its life as a fully rigid bike and has been in use for most of the last 27 years. Now it will have a new front end paired with a Fox fork and a disc brake on the rear. Bike collectors might be angry to see an older bike get re-purposed like this but the owner wants to keep riding it and these changes will make the bike much more useful to him.
While the bike will have a modern fork and brake set, the frame will retain the old look with bronze fillet brazed joints. The tubes are larger diameter but from a distance the frame will still look like it did before the work was done. This is an old customer and this kind of re-do is something I normally do not take on. You might be looking at the last one right here.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Partly traditional steel road frame and fork for Kansas

 This customer wanted something a bit off the beaten path-a frame with modern welded construction but with traditional diameter steel tubes and a 1" threaded fork. This frame looks very much like something I would have built about 25 years ago. I even put on the Bocama head tube collars from that time period- you can still buy them.
 The straight blade crowned fork was my go-to style in the early to mid '90's. The new aspects of the frame are the s-bend stays and the fact that the frame is only 3 lb. 13 oz. , quite a bit lighter than what I was building in the '90's.
Having a pump peg, a chain hanger and a front der. braze-on , this frame has most of the things I can put on a bike other that rack and/or fender mounts. I used to have a bike like this in about 1998 made from Reynolds 853. This frame is mostly Columbus with a NOS Tange head tube that I machined down to the same thickness as a Columbus SL head tube. The brake bridge is one I used a lot in the '90's- I called it the 'star wars' brake bridge as it kind of vaguely looked like one of the small spacecraft in the film.This was a real trip down memory lane, back to the time I was building frames in a metal shed on Gross rd. , about 6 miles from where I am now.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Team CX frame

 Since this frame will be built up with a Sram CX-1 group it is set up post-mount for the brakes.
 I also have been building quite a few flat-mount frames for Shimano . Some of our team bikes will be sporting the Paul's Klamper mechanical brakes and I will have those in photos in the upcoming weeks.One of the flat mount bikes just got built and it tipped the scales at 17 3/4 lbs. with tubelesss clinchers- that's lighter than my bike by over 2 lbs. !
With the season only a week away from starting, this is pretty much one of the last couple of team bikes to be delivered.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

CX race frame to Seattle

This customer is going big- the frame you see is nearly identical to the frame I built for the same customer last year. Two bikes means having a fresh one in the pit- hopefully someone working there to hand off the bike and wash the muddy one when it comes in. CX season is almost here !


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Steel gravel frame for a local

Every once in awhile I get to ride with this guy. I'm honored that he chose me to build his next bike. This one is steel with a flat mount matched to a Whiskey CX fork- the newest one with the flat mount as well. Most likely this bike will get set up with Shimano- the stuff that always works.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

New shop

In case you were wondering, yes- I did move the shop, although it is only a block from the old location. The new shop is at 719 Swift st. # 10 in a much newer building. I am sharing the space with a woodworker. Our respective spaces are well defined and my space is in the back. I have an open floor plan, something I have not had in more than two decades. The shop phone is out at the moment so email or my cell (831) 334-5874 would be the way to get in touch with me.

Friday, August 10, 2018

CX/ Gravel frame for S.F.

 Nice fade on this one- maybe one of the nicest fades I have seen on one of my frames in many years. This paint was courtesy of Allan Neymark. He told me over the phone that it was 'beautiful' - he's a guy who usually never gets excited about his own work. He has a reason to be proud of this one.
 The Whiskey fork is painted to match. The flat mount in the rear coupled with the post mount in the front is by design. This frame is getting Paul Component 'Klamper' mechanical disc brakes that fit either style with the proper adaptor.
The King headset is the NTS taper that is on most of my steel frames.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

New frame, new shop

 The frame you see here is the first frame built at my new shop. Yes, I'm still using an electrical box for the photo shoot- didn't want to give up that tradition just yet. The frame is for a customer who is currently living in Mexico. He will be coming back to the US in the fall and his frame will be ready for him.
 In the coming weeks I'll be putting up photos of the new shop so that people can see how the layout of the workspace is much better than the old shop. Sure, the old place had character but there were some real issues with my welding area. I have a nice open floor plan and I'm already enjoying the space .
I have storage for about 35 built bikes and 40 frames. It really looks like a bike shop. If you would like to visit you can find the shop at 719 Swift st. # 10, Santa Cruz, Calif. 95060. It is only about a block from the old place but it is literally on the other side of the tracks. I think I'm on the right side now !

First full work week in the new shop

 I have to say- moving might have been a total pain but the new shop is looking to be a better environment to build in. My new welding area is free of clutter and the new welding table is at a height that no longer tortures my lower back. Maybe it took a couple of decades but now I have a much more comfortable setup for welding. It's amazing what one can put up with when the work flow is really heavy for a number of years.

Now, all my machines are in a row and my mitering setup is only a few feet away from the frame jig- in the old shop I had to walk across the shop to get the tubing cut. Everything in this new shop was located to save steps over the course of a typical day.
Ironically, my list of builds is shorter than it has been for nearly a decade. I still do have 22 frames on order but in this new shop I don't think it will take long for me to get through that list. Could it be that I might run out of work now that I am in a new more efficient shop ? - Stay tuned......maybe in 2019 you'll be able to order a frame one week and have it delivered the next week. Not a good situation for me but for the customer it would be pretty nice.
Here's some of the work I have been doing since I opened the doors for real last week- a couple of coffee table bases and the start of an aluminum CX frame. I have only about 5 more aluminum frames on the list- the bulk of my pending orders are steel. I will be resuming the steel work in a few weeks.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Finally welding in the new shop.

This does not look like much but it does feel good to fire up the welder after almost two weeks of moving. This project is for the guy I am sharing the space with- he's a fine wood worker and these will be bases for two coffee tables he is building. I might be doing more of this work if my quality is good enough.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The shop has migrated to the other side of the tracks

 This picture was taken yesterday just before I closed the door for the last time at 2533-D Mission st. ext. Since the fall of 1996 this has been the place I spent countless hours welding bicycle frames together. I might have built nearly 2,000 frames in the space , created a cyclocross team with some help from a few folks , had the good fortune of getting some great racers on my bikes in national and world class events , even won a few local races myself. Now it is time to go.
Although I am crammed into the very back of a commercial space that I share with a talented woodworker , the place really has a bike shop feel- more so than the last shop. There are almost 40 bikes up on hooks and room for nearly 30 frames. I'm still getting things put away and organized- things will be a bit different from now on- the place is much cleaner and will have an open floor plan. The frame building area will be much more efficient and I hope to waste fewer moves. The bike assembly area will have an organized tool board and a nice wheel building station. All of these improvements are out of character for me as I used to thrive in chaos. Now I'm going to attempt to thrive in orderly surroundings. Even on the last day of moving there were two complete truckloads to the dump and recycling......I got rid of so much stuff as I was really worried that I would never fit it all into the new space. I'm still not sure that it will but at least now there's a bit of hope that I can be up and running by Monday.
I started moving about two weeks ago while still prepping frames here and there. I fell off a ladder last week, hit my head and got a concussion, twisted my ankle and got scraped up pretty well. I am still having issues with dizziness and walking- that said, the move went surprisingly well, mostly thanks to the community of friends and associates I have built up over the last couple of decades. Without these people I would not have been able to pull off this move. Now all I have to do is pull off working in a new shop with high ceilings, high rent , freshly painted walls and plenty of three-phase power. It could be way worse.
From now on it will be Rock Lobster cycles  719 Swift st. # 10  Santa Cruz, Calif. 95060. This could almost be considered a 'destination' shop'.....not because of me but more because of the work of many people that went into the creation of this place. I walked in there yesterday afternoon right after sweeping out the old shop and looked at the new place- I liked what I saw. Hope that you do too.