In preparation for a #TallBikeTour next year we are expanding the flock. We created this double Marin framed mountain tall bike. With half Bear Valley and half Pine Mountain it feels pretty light with all that double butted cromoly loveliness. Managed to add in the beer bottle opener, just in case:-)
A chap contacted me for a possible interesting project based on a Dahon De Bike. Make a non folding lightweight mini velo with similarities to the Dahon. Knowing not too much about them I laid my hands on this little beauty for a test ride. Really good nick for a bike of that age. I’d have to say it’s somewhat flexible(!) and pretty intricate to fold. Even has a jocky wheel come out when it’s folded. Hope the project comes off as it looks pretty good fun and i’m sure would ride a lot better than the original.
Having done about 10 Mountain Mayhem 24 hour MTB races, when we heard this years 20th edition was going to be the last we thought we’d see if we could get some of the old team together. We got a team of 5 so after an absence of quite a few years and the first chance to ride one of one of my own bikes we were on for the race. The 29er did the business. Added some suspension forks a but kept the 1*10 gearing, which in honesty wasn’t quite enough, with a 34 front and 36 rear (and old legs) I could have done with a lower first gear. Great weekend had by all.
Roasting hot day but very cool dawn breakfast.
One of the nice things about making bespoke bikes is can choose the geometry. I decided to go fairly aggressive head angle (for a fat bike) as the last thing I wanted was a barge. It’s steeper than anything else I saw in the market so although it keeps your attention on the descents it’s pretty awesome fun on twisty single track. Trying out a shorter stem, in spite of my natural xc tendencies also seems to help the fun!
I was making some truss fork dropouts and having some issues with the way the boring tool was mounted. I’d been using shims to get the right height but it was never very satisfactory so finally got round to making a tool mount. I can’t tell you how much better it was to use. The tool was much more stable and so much quicker to use, all for 20 minutes of making the post mount, result. Time spent making tools is time saved in the future. Lesson learnt, again!
The weather was far from snowy but first test ride on my fatty completed. Great over dry sand and pretty darn good fun over anything else. It seems to need a different amount of body movement to turn it at speed but tramped along on the road and flat pretty well. Need to experiment with tyre pressures and some bigger terrain next. Bring it on!
After having a go on a friends fat bike I was gagging to build one. I’d been collecting the bits for some time and finally got round to finishing it. Most seem to have pretty slack angles. The one I rode seemed like it did to so I decided to go for 70.5 degree head angle. It’s certainly doesn’t seem slow to turn. Can’t wait to get it off road.
A friend of mine wanted a new road bike. After talking to him about how and where he was going to ride it we decided on a cross bike. Alfine 11 hub, Columbus Zona tubing, 853 forks, custom Brooks saddle, Chris King headset, Avid SL road discs and the rather cool Microshift STi levers. We put a split in the frame using the Paragon dropouts to run a belt drive eventually. He kindly let me do the frame design and choose the colour!
I’ve been using the Christmas break to progress my Fat Bike. I had been collecting the parts for a while but was convinced to build it by having a go on a friends. Really want to finish before it snows or maybe before the sun comes out and go to the beach. Mix of Columbus and Deda tubing with Ritchey dropouts. 4 inch tyres fit ok with some room to spare. Will have to wait and see if 4.8s will squeeze in.
The slightly long awaited birth of my eldest’s bike for Uni. Finished a while ago but never posted. We went away from the fixie idea having seen how lumpy Newcastle and the surrounding countryside is. Hopefully this will make the commute a little easier and enjoyable. Just about enough clearance for 2 inch tyres if desired.
Inaugural bamboo bike ride was great fun and turned a few heads at the local cafe. Unfortunately we were one down due to late delivery of some wheels but the other two faired well. Interesting the amount of attention the unfinished ‘lugs’ got. It really did look like it was just tied up with string – cool!
When I was at Spin London last year I showed Sjoerd from Vellowland a doodle of an idea for a fork I had. Always been fascinated by the Cannodale Lefty fork for it quirkiness. He liked it so having found a front wheel I eventually got round to knocking this up.
Now I need to finish it up and do the frame to match.
Some time ago I bought a Sturmey Archer S2C hub. I’d read a bit of bad press but wanted to try the idea out as umpteen years of pulling away from traffic lights and gurning up hill on my single speed left me thinking it might be a good idea. Fortunately I picked it up nearly new built into a wheel for the price of the rim alone. Maybe that should have told me something.
It started off ok but did start making some strange noises and the gear change was just unreliable. It was good to be able to chose when to change gear , if indeed it would change, except it needs a little backpedal. When the big gear gets to much when going up a hill, you slow the pressure and try to hook the lower gear. If you backpedal too much you hit the rear brake or if it doesn’t change pretty quickly you come to a grinding halt, stuck in the big gear. So I thought i’d try an SRAM Automatix instead.
I built a new one into a wheel and immediately found the (well documented) automatic gear change was at the wrong point. It started well, again, in the lower gear but you get to about 60 rpm and it changes up. Annoying on the flats but impossible to use on a hill with sticking below the gurning rate of 40 rpm. Who designs this stuff? Thankfully (thanks to Dave McCraw’ s website) there’s info on that there interweb of how to fix it. A few minutes to whip the hub apart and effect a change and things are much better. Test rode it to Brooklands Motorcycle Show today and enabled lower gear hill climbing but with big gear for the flats and down.
The lower gear for starting off is nice but need to remember it’s got a coaster break when hopping up curbs!
It seems that most of the nuts on single speed wheels look ok when new but cut up, rust and look pretty dreadful after w while. As part of a steam punk bike build we were looking to add various amounts of brass components and knocked up these brass wheel nuts and bottle cage bolts. They look soooo much better than the standard steel ones!
I finally got round to finishing the build of my Bamboo framed bike. The weather was looking up so thought it was about time. Of course the forecast is now wazzing down all week. I decided to go 8 speed for ease and, as someone kindly put it, traffic light colour scheme. We’ve got a Bamboo ride out planned in July so must give it a try as soon as the weather clears.
I had the great opportunity to build a balance bike for the grand daughter of a friend of mine. She chose the colour to match the new Tomo Bikes kit (or because it was a pretty colour!). Got some adjustable dropouts which with a bit of filing could make the angle needed for the chain and seat stays. What is a chain stay on a balance bike called? I wanted to go for a sort mixte look as it was for a young lady! Happy riding Amelia.
Having had a night with a few like minded friends I got round to building my bamboo frame up today. The Bamboobee frame comes as a kit with the box making the jig. All worked out ok with the need for a few adjustments of some dodgy joints. I decided to use some black pigment to colour the hemp used in the kit. It did make it look extra messy! Just needs 48 hours to set but looking forward to getting it out of the jig. Can’t wait to see how it rides.