Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Steel SSCX frame going to France

Continuing with the Euro export theme, this frame is going to France with the hope that there will be some CX racing again in the fall of 2021. There are some world cup races happening now but precious little at the local level thanks to Covid-19. This rider asked for the EBB and the 44 MM ID head tube as he has one of the few tapered rim-brake carbon forks on the planet. These forks came and went in the blink of an eye- I hope that someone has the sense to keep making them .
The EBB unit is from Squid bikes and seems to be the best one out there. They are rarely noisy and adjust without much fuss. The dropout has a place for a der. hanger so this rider could set up a 1X setup with wireless shifting.


Saturday, November 28, 2020

CX frame in aluminum for Switzerland

This is frame # 5 in the last aluminum batch of this year of 2020. It is also the 95th frame of the year, bringing me closer to that magic 100 frame goal- not a firm goal as the real goal is to make good stuff. If I can also hit 100 frames for a year it is just another plus. I know that next year I'll be changing to a 4 day a week work schedule so this will likely be the last 100 frame year for me.
The two features that set this one apart from most of my aluminum CX frames are the larger 56/44 mm head tube and the rear rack mounts. Another request from the shop that ordered this was to have down tube routing for the rear der. internal - I don't normally do this but I am not opposed to it. Most bike mechanics prefer to work on bikes with external cabling but this shop seems to be fine with this design.
The riv/nut on the bottom of the bridge is the upper rack mounting point- another specific request from the shop- Cyclecraft ,who has ordered frames from me for nearly a decade. Nice people-they some times visit and always bring some great Swiss chocolate.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Unusual bike for sale

If you are looking for a very versatile bike and you are around 5'7"-5'8" here's something to consider. I rarely have complete bikes for sale but this fall I have a few. One is already gone so here's the next one. It has some really esoteric components. The wheels are 29x2.5......really big tires for a townie. This is more than a townie, though as it could be nice on the dirt as well. The drive train is a Rohloff 14 spd. internal geared hub-super fancy and reliable German craftsmanship. Because the frame has the Paragon Poly-drops the bike could be set up belt drive as well. The front hub is a Son generator hub, one of the best.
The brakeset is the Magura MT-8. The bike has Ergon saddle and grips and a Race Face crankset. The chain is tensioned with a Squid EBB-the bike could also be set up single speed with this feature.
The front axle is 15 mm thru-axle so a variety of disc hubs could be used in place of the generator hub. There's lots of ways one could set up this bike-almost endless variants. The paint is a two-color scheme with some unique decal placement and some small white bands to separate the two colors.
Why do I have this bike for sale ? The customer decided on another type of bike after moving from one state to another so I built him the other frame. This is basically an extra and I do need the room in the shop. The top tube effective is 570. The seat tube c/t/c is 460. The bars are 720 wide. I rode it and I'm 5'9" so it did feel a bit small. The shifting is very precise and the brakes are hydraulic, powerful as one would expect. I did list this on my facebook page for more than I am listing it for here, so if you read this blog, you'll be seeing a much lower price. The bike does not come with pedals but there is a set of fenders that would fit with smaller tires-these are included with the bike. Price is $ 3,900.00 - very low when you consider what all of this stuff normally costs. You can email me at paul@rocklobstercycles.com if you are interested.


Steel gravel bike is a graduation present from father to son

That is correct.....pretty nice present, I would say. The bike is steel frame with an Enve G-series carbon fork. The whole component group including wheels is Shimano GRX-810. The post, stem and bars are all from Easton. The headset is King and the tires are the ubiquitous WTB-Nano 40's , the choice of almost everyone I know.
The customer was not very specific on the build and let me come up with something that was high performance without breaking the bank. I hope that the end result makes the owner happy after working so hard at his education.


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Complete gravel bike going to Sierra foothills

During Covid, bicycle parts are in short supply and one has to get resourceful. I have about 5 builds going right now but with the scarcity of parts from the suppliers, this is the only one that has been completed so far this month.
The customer specified Shimano GRX-810 and fortunately I had most of the parts in stock. I did have to wait a coupld of weeks for a right hand shifter but when that came I was about to get the bike rolling. I had a set of I-9 hubs and some Whiskey carbon rims that I had originally bought for myself but the customer comes first so this lucky guy og a set of deep-section carbon tubless wheels at a time when none were available.
The bike has a 7005 aluminum frame and is sporting a Jen Green silver headbadge. Originally I wanted to get a Whiskey post to save the customer money but when that was not in stock I opted for an Enve which matches the fork and is probably a better post as well. The dark blue decals match the King headset and BB in Navy pretty well and the whole thing has a bit of a Mercx '90's look.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Chris King 2020 open house show bike for sale

That is correct. If you are 5'10" and want a team CX/Gravel bike with pretty much the ultimate cool build and you don't want to wait 10 months to get it, here is your chance.
The top tube is 560 mm. The seat tube is 525 mm C/T/C and the head tube is 155 mm integrated. 

Components are the following:

King gold anodized centerlock dischubs laced to Enve carbon tubeless rims. The BB and headset are also gold king units.

Bar, stem ,fork and post are Enve carbon as well. Tires are WTB Nano TCS 700x40

Crankset, brakes and shifters are Shimano GRX`810 and Ultegra- long story...I call it the Covid group. 

Saddle is a Brooks Cambium and the tape is Brooks leather. This is a really posh build. For those of you that don't speak posh, this is one sick build. You can have it for $ 5,000. Think about it.......the frame and fork are usually $ 2,300. A wheelset like this is about the same. I think this is about a 40% discount from what it would cost to order one and this is a new bike-unridden and not a demo. You can reach me at paul@rocklobstercycles.com if you are interested.


Steel Disc/Road frame for So-Cal.

Here's a frame model that is getting more popular every month. With the Di II and internal hydraulic routing this frame will look pretty uncluttered.
The frame will be fitted to an Enve tapered disc/road fork with a thru-axle. The tubing is all Columbus ,even the head tube. The mix is Zona and Spirit.


Sunday, November 1, 2020

Its pink ! Steel all-road gravel bike for east bay

Can you tell that this customer used to work for Paragon Machine works ? If you look at the hardware you'll see a lot of it on this frame and fork. First off, the dropouts are Paragon's 'Rocker' style that allow the bike to be used as a single speed or with an internally geared hub where chain tension must be adjusted.
The head tube, steerer and front dropouts are also Paragon parts , as is the BB shell. There's a seat tube reducer that allows a 27.2 post to be fitted into a 31.8 diameter seat tube.
Other featured that I added were the flat mount on the fork and internal rear brake route on the down tube. There's a lot going on with this frame and it should be able to be used in a variety of capacities.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Number four

The very first frame one builds is very significant. The second one maybe not quite as much but still it meant that you didn't stop at one. When you get to the fourth there's not much fanfare or significance in terms of a milestone to most observers but this frame seen here , being my fourth was probably more important than the three built before it.
What I was trying to do with this frame was to show that I could be artistic, even though I was very new at frame building and pretty much didn't know crap about the craft - other than bits of advice I had gotten and my experience building the first three frames. I was hell-bent on emulating the style of a great builder of the day-Bruce Gordon. I was so taken with his work that I devoted at least 200 hours of painstaking work to create this frame and fork. I got some exotic Art Stump rear dropouts, some Columbus PS heavy track tubing and some long point Prugnat lugs - which I would devote many hours to , completely reshaping and sculpting them to the best of my beginner's ability.
At the time I was getting ready to start my second season of racing- something that I loved to do but was woefully bad at doing. I was on a bike that was much too big and with my half hearted training along with a problem with a bit too much partying had trouble keeping up with the lowly cat. 4 fields. I was always getting dropped, even in the flat race. My back was usually in pain and in spite of my enthusiasm I was usually pulled out of the race well before the finish. It was very discouraging.
I decided that a better fitting bike might help and I had the better part of a winter to try to build one myself. I spent many nights after work in a garage filing and fitting. I didn't want this frame to be a hastily put together affair-I wanted it to look different, ride different and be something that nobody else in the field had, for better or worse. After many weeks of spare time spent breathing metal dust and cutting my fingers on sharp steel edges I had my frame and fork ready to paint. There was only one problem- the Tassajara road race was the next morning.
In order to debut my new bike at the race I would need to paint it and assemble it the day before, hopefully getting in a short test ride to make sure that it would hold up to the 18 miles of the race from Danville to Livermore, Calif. Not having time to do a proper paint job I took out a can of black Rustoleum and went to work. Soon I had the frame and fork a nice semi-gloss black, pretty much obscuring all the time consuming fine work I had done on the lugs- the bike looked 100% un-noteworthy. I took it out for a short ride and did the final adjustments.
The next morning I loaded up my 1961 VW bug and drove to Danville for the race. I had an older racing buddy with me who told me to get out and ride around until right before the gun goes off for my race. I rode the new bike through the neighborhood while about 90 other cat. 4 riders lined up to start. I must have been pedaling around for 30-40 minutes before I got back to the starting grid. Just as I rolled up the gun went off and I immediately rode around the entire field and got to the front. My older racing buddy was happily yelling at me to go as fast as I could.
About halfway through the race I was sitting near the middle of the field at the start of the main climb of the day. All at once a whole group of riders fell into a huge pile that blocked most of the road. Only five riders were ahead of the crash and they sped off. I managed to get around the huge pile of bikes and bodies and heard someone behind me yell : "Go Go Go !!". I'll never know if they were yelling at me but go I did on my brand new black spray-painted garage built wonder. The bike felt really quick-much quicker than the bike I had been racing on the year before. It didn't take long for me to get up the climb and catch the leading five riders. When  they saw me they were a bit surprised but they welcomed me and I started pulling pace as we knew that the prizes went six-deep and we didn't want any other riders to catch us.
We crested the climb and started down a long flat stretch into a block headwind. Our group began shrinking-someone on a Peugeot PX-10 in a Bell helmet was really putting on the pressure and soon there were only three of us. After a few miles I got dropped and the two leaders rode away from me. I was not doing very well in the head wind and saw that the other three were going to catch me. I sat up and when they caught me I got back into the pace line. The finish of the race was just after going under a freeway overpass - it had about a 100 yard drag uphill. I started the sprint in the back of the other riders and passed them all right before the line- I was third !
 After wishing I could just finish a race for the previous year , now I was in the top three . When I got my prizes I realized something - my back had not hurt during the entire race-I had always assumed that my back would hurt during a bike race.......now it didn't and I started thinking that maybe there really was something to having a good fitting bike . It was about at this point in my life that I thought that I would have a future in bicycle racing and frame building. Well, the racing didn't really pan out-although a couple years later I won a race on my 10th frame. 

A word about the photos. All of the photos of the bike except for the last one are what it looks like currently. The last photo was taken not long after I finally had properly painted it. The blue was sprayed on catalyzed polyurathane. The darker portions of the frame were a not so successful gun-bluing treatment.The decal on the down tube says :"Routier" which was the street I lived on at the time. My first 6-7 frames were branded that name. When I repainted it silver in 1982 I branded it with my last name and had painted it ,along with a fleur de lis on the head tube and seat tube. There's probably about 8-10 branded this way. In 1984 the brand was changed to Rock Lobster, as it still is today.

A word about the history of this bike: This bike was my main bike for only a couple of years.It was really stiff and the more I raced, the more I wanted something that ate up the road shock . When I built my 10th frame, number 4 went into mothballs for a few years. In 1985 my girlfriend at the time needed a new bike -I let her take a spin on it and she liked it. She was 5'10" so she fit on the bike well. Earlier this year I asked her if I could come over and take photos of the bike as I had not seen it since we had broken up in 1990. Not only did she say yes to the visit, she gave me back the bike saying that she no longer rode it. That is why I have it today. I have done a tune up on it and was registered to ride in in the Eroica California this year but with Covid it got cancelled. Not to be deterred, I took the old bike out for a ride a few weeks ago and remembered just how quick the front end felt and how stiff the frame felt. It is a very distinctive bike and even though it was built by a 24 year old with very little frame building experience , I  can say that it is a good bike.......a very odd bike, rough at the edges but still a good bike.

Monday, October 19, 2020

BTRB- big tire road bike in steel with fork

Here's a solution to bad roads in your neighborhood- a road bike that is able to run up to 700x33 tires without being a gravel bike. The frame will have longer reach caliper brakes -this makes it an easy conversion of you have a road bike to strip down- all you would need are a pair of 47-57 reach calipers and some larger tires .
The fork has a Pacenti design 'Mitsugi' crown. I bought heavily on these a couple of years ago and really like working with them. They take a 1-1/8" steerer so that you don't have to go retro on the stem or headset.
This one has fittings for fenders as it will probably wind up seeing all sorts of weather and conditions.


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Why there aren't as many posts this year

Hello, folks. I'm facing my busiest year ever and I'm 65 years old.......I'm so busy that all my time is taken up at the welding table and other shop duties so photos and stories will be limited for awhile. I'll do what I can to show the recent builds when I come up for air.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Early Masi visits the shop

A friend of mine has been given a pretty cool old bike. The reason I have it is to have the paint in the area around the BB shell touched up. I didn't do the work but sent it to Joe's bicycle painting in Watsonville. About two weeks later it came back and it is perfect. The original decals and patina are still on the frame but the rust and missing paint on the BB has been dealt with. Now my friend has the task of building it all back up again. The bike has what appears to be all original Campagnolo from the day it was originally sold.
The workmanship of the frame is really good, even for a Masi. This one is an Italian one and an early one at that. It is exactly my size but hey- it isn't my bike ......maybe I'll get to take it for a ride some day.

27.5 SSMTB frame in steel

Paragon makes a few options for adjustable dropouts but the most elegant and compact are the 'Rocker' model. They may not have the adjustment range of the 'Slider' but they are less expensive and look a little tidier.
There are a number of different inserts. On this frame you'll find the no-der-hanger right side and post-mount left side. Welding these dropouts to the frame is more involved than some other dropouts but not having to weld on a brake mount saves time so it works out time wise.
Like most of my MTB frames, this one has the Nova Cycles wishbone seat stays- a feature my frames have had since 1987 , although back then I had to bend the tubes myself in a very primitive way. This frame also has dropper post routing and there are no lines or cables on the top tube so it has a very clean look.

Classic Euro CX frame and for for Lancaster, Pa.

After not building hardly any frames like this last year , 2020 is a year where I am back at it building the classic rim brake CX frames. This style has been my stock and trade for several decades and in that time has been my most popular model.
This one has fittings for fenders so it can be a good commuter as well as a race frame. The crowned fork is an item I seem to be building every month. With all the great crowns available I'm happy to make these pretty much any time. I used to not be keen on making forks until I got my Anvil fork jig - it has been a real pleasure to work with. Although they are no longer produced every once in awhile one shows up used for sale. If you want to build great forks you should be on the lookout for one.
Speaking of the fork, this one has a Pacenti 'Artisan' crown and these are available from Frambuilder's Source in Portland. The blade and steerer fit is very good so they are nice to work with. Back in the '70's and '80's the crowns we used had to be augered out to fit the tubes- a major time toilet. I'm glad that quality stuff is available now, even if I had to wait half my career for it to show up.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Three team CX 7005 frames going all over Calif.

One will go to Fairfax, one to Auburn and one to San Diego. All of these are team CX race frames and they got built even though there's pretty much no CX season. I'm sure they will get a good breaking in anyway. I'm thinking of changing the name of this frame to "World Cup" seeing as a couple of these have made it there. I might be the only one-man shop with frames being raced in CX at this level these days. The pro sport of CX is dominated by big corporate brands.