Monday, May 28, 2018

Old frame back in the shop

 As near as I can tell without combing through my records, this team issue fillet MTB frame dates from 1990. I built this in my garage shop before I moved the business away from the house. This one illustrates the materials that I had at the time, most of which have been out of production for a couple of decades. The Ritchey seat lug, Tange prestige tubing and Shimano dropouts are history. Tange has resumed making tubes but they are not the same as what is in this frame.
 I built this frame for a customer of a bike shop I had worked at in 1984-85. I never met the customer until today. He used to tear around on this bike all over the Santa Cruz mountains. Now in his '70's he wants to put a new shock fork on it and nothing will fit. I am replacing the whole front triangle so he can do it. This is quite a bit of work to do to an oldie like this but he is unlikely to use it if it remains the same. The bike was built for a Rock Shock RS-1 and the fork is toast. 1" suspension forks have gone the way of the rest of the obsolete things of early mountain bikes.
 One thing unique to this fame is that the customer had a friend hand paint the logos and pin-striping. It will be sad to see it all go away but after nearly 30 years I think that the frame could use a re-paint .
 I'm going to make it fit modern parts while still keeping the flavor of the bike as original as possible. Wish me luck !

Friday, May 25, 2018

Start of the June aluminum batch

Before I have to move my shop I am building what will probably be the largest aluminum batch of the summer , mostly CX race bikes. The season will start in September so I have to try to get this dozen or so frames to the heat treater by the beginning of July. With luck this fleet will be out on the race course as the season starts. These frames will be raced on at least two continents and some will be in many world-class events . I'm always really excited this time of year to try out the newest materials and see what I can do to surpass the previous season's bikes in performance and quality.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

650 Mtn. bike for sale

Every once in awhile I'll wind up with a surplus frame. In this case it is a 650 Mtn. frame that will take up to 2.4" tires. It is set up with a very nice component package without breaking the bank. The frame has a 22" top tube and a 15 1/2" c/t/c seat tube and is pretty much an all purpose hard tail. It even has rear rack mounts. If you are interested just email me or give me a call at the shop.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

22 years

 In July of 1996 I moved into 2533-D Mission st. ext. I paid rent there from that date but did not officially move in until October. At that time I was sharing the shop with Rick Hunter who had moved into the shop as soon as I started renting it in July.
 A lot has happened since I moved into this space. I really got established as a source for cyclocross frames, I bought my house , got married and started a cyclocross team with a lot of help. Most of what I did was a product of much help from a lot of people in the cycling community. I try to give back as much as I can but the debt can never be fully paid- I am surrounded by the greatest people- the riders, the team sponsors, my landlord, my neighbors, friends and my wife.
 Not sure how many frames I have built since I moved int this shop but I'm thinking that it is somewhere around 2,000- give or take. This shop has been a pivotal part of my career, giving me the location and space to really hone my craft and really make it sustainable while also providing a platform for me to give back to the community in whatever way I can.
 Now it is 2018 and my landlady is in hospice. She was the guiding force of this industrial complex and she used her iron will to keep this place a haven for artisans and craftspeople. This building is the last vestige of affordable industrial space on the west side of Santa Cruz. Now , with the failing health of the matriarch of this community it will no doubt be dismantled by the next generation who do not see the need to preserve the building as it is.
 This changing of the guard is forcing me to move my shop. Paperwork has arrived and even though I am not being evicted or even told that the status of the building is changing, I know that I will have to leave. Conditions of staying here are not acceptable if I want to carry on with my business as it is. I won't get into particulars but the climate within the management of the building is hostile- there is no longer a benevolent leader, just people who see the tenants as valueless and servile. This is in great contrast to how I have been treated over the last two decades.
 My hope is to find a spot somewhere in Santa Cruz where I will continue what I do. I will attempt to make the transition as seamless and rapid as possible to minimize the downtime and keep to my schedule of on-time frame deliveries. Last time I moved I had a lot of stuff to haul across town. Now I have at least double what I had in 1996 . I'll be cutting loose of lots of stuff in the next two months before I move to ease the transition and hopefully make for less clutter in the new location.
 I have several possibilities, all within the county and one only a couple of miles away- No matter how it shakes out or where I wind up I will continue- that is if this move does not kill me. If it does, your frame might be significantly delayed.
 I have too many great memories of this shop at 2533-D Mission st. extension and it will really sad to leave here. I feel like I have become part of this neighborhood and it has become part of me. Forces that are re-shaping the town, some good-some not so good are relentlessly at work.....I can't stand in the way of time or money coming into the west side and making it reflect the will of developers and speculators who know the value of the real estate and plan to capitalize on it.
 A good friend of mine said :" It's just business, don't take it personally." Well, I do take it personally and also , I don't do business that way. That said, I do understand that I am not calling the shots here and have to bend to the will of people who have a different set of ethics- People such as myself stand directly in their path of enrichment......I have to get out of the way.
 So, off I go to parts yet to be determined. I will post updates and my email will still work. As soon as I am up and running again it will be documented in every news form I can reach. My goal is to move out by the end of July. I will still be at work building frames until the last week of July if all goes well. I hope that I will be up and running again by mid August at the latest
 I have moved the shop several times before so this is not something I have no experience with. Many people have volunteered to help and make the move easier for me- I am very thankful for all the offers and no doubt will benefit from all the generosity. I'll be listing some stuff for sale- materials and maybe some bikes as well- all will be priced to go- money to offset the cost of moving and inevitable downtime.
While I am not happy that I am moving I do feel that there's a good chance I'll find a good spot with less stress from the powers that be. I also do not regret in any way my time here and consider it incredible good fortune that I had a chance to spend the bulk of my professional life here. I'll miss this place- a lengthy chapter is now coming to a close and a new one is beginning.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Steel gravel bike for L.A.

This one has an Enve fork painted to match. This was not an easy color to duplicate but Allan Neymark as usual nailed it. The cable guides are under the top tube to keep the bike looking trim. This one has ample room for 700x45 tires.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Aluminum 29er tandem

 This is a first on a couple of levels. This is the first aluminum tandem I have made and it is also the first 29er tandem as well. I had some mis-steps and re-do's in the process as one would expect with something that is pretty much a prototype but the result seems to work.
The riders here are friends and they were very helpful through the process. After one short test ride they piloted this bike to a win at the Sea Otter classic- a race they got second place in last year. You can see that the height difference in the riders made for a challenging build but it looks to be successful. This frame has given me inspiration to build a gravel version some time this summer if I have the time.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Last frame of 2017

 Awhile ago I got the idea to build and/or re-purpose some frames to make fun of classic collector bicycles. Yes, this might not be that popular of a thing to do but my distaste for fanatical over-zealous collectors of all stripes has driven me to do this. Yes, I was a fanatical collector of things-just as bad as the people I am lampooning but somewhere in my earlier years I saw the whole neurotic insanity of 'aquisition-disorder' for what it was.....a sickness.
 Here's something I created to get the attention of bike collectors at the Eroica, California. No....I do not see anything wrong with bicycle collecting when it is by people who genuinely love bikes-That is a pure and unassailable thing. My beef is with the folks that will really tear you apart if you have the wrong valve caps, spoke nipples, tubing decal, toe straps, cable name it. They are the self appointed guardians of 'period correctness'. O.K , high standards for show bikes is something I do understand but I have the distinct feeling that a few individuals are merely trying to elevate themselves above other vintage bicycle enthusiasts in an endless battle over period-correct bicycle parts. To these few sad folks I present this priceless Cyrus Mego frameset. Since it is the only one ever made it has the distinction of being rarer than any other bike on the planet-except for the ones that don't actually exist.....those are indeed harder to come by.
 I made this frame from lugs that must have been at least 50 years old. It amazes me the amount of old frame building stuff out there- bits that were created to produce a real distinctive rolling statement....but somehow these bits sat unused for decades. I spent many hours on this little wonder and it did really well on the 130 mile route at the Eroica ridden by one of my team riders.
 Now I am putting it up for sale......sad to do this but the expense in sending a whole team to the Eroica has to be dealt with. You can read about it at  there's a lot of sarcasm there- hope that everyone enjoys the humor.
I have loved old bikes since they were not old bikes- I raced with a hair net and wool shorts, toe clips and all the stuff that is considered 'classic' these days. I'm not a newcomer to this old-bike world and anyone who thinks I don't appreciate old bikes has not come to my shop and seen all the relics hanging from the rafters. A couple of years ago I rode the mid-distance of the Eroica and wrote about it. A person who read what I wrote was offended and urged me not to come back as I did not understand the event.
I did come back, I did enjoy myself and I brought a team of about 10 riders who rode mostly on a fleet of old bikes that I had restored just for the occasion. What I understand about the event is that you are supposed to show up with an older bike, some appropriate clothing and have a good time. That's exactly what we did and no doubt we will be back again.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Special 650 aluminum commuter with steel fork

 This is what custom frames are all about in my opinion. Just try to find something like this in a store-or anywhere, for that matter ! An aluminum frame that can take a tapered fork, Di II, fenders and generator lights F&R. Here it is- with a steel fork made for a special rack that has a straight steerer with a converter crown race to fit the oversize headset. Not only that, the color is a chocolate brown with some coarse gold metalflake. The only conservative touch are the original black and yellow logos, just like the ones on bikes I built in the mid '80's. I really hop that the customer in Brooklyn , N.Y. is happy with the work I did to make all these ideas become a reality.