Sunday, December 5, 2010

Maintain Radio Silence

By all outward appearances it might seem that I've not
been up to much, as I haven't posted in a while. Not quite true.
Lately I've been working on some tools.
Sometimes making the tools to make bikes is more fun
than making the bikes. Probably just novelty.

In the past on this here blog I've kept the posts
specifically about the end product. There is, of course, a lot of
work that goes into each bike. Much of it quite mind numbing
to those unfortunate enough to be watching.
There are plenty of people blogging about their
processes that are better spoken than I, so we'll let
them do the excellent job they do.

This post, however, I'm going to deviate from the usual course a bit.
Machining bits of aluminum into tools is way more exciting
(and photogenic) than me building bikes.
Here are some images from the making of a tubing bender. The benders
that I've been making will double the amount of sizes of
tubes I'll be able to bend- just how I like them.

In the past, I've chosen music that is
somewhere between mainstream
and a bit obscure. Something that maybe
not everybody has heard of, but is easy
enough to be accessible if someone were
to look further for more of the same.
Sometimes though, an artist very obvious
and well known must be given their due here.
Fact is, if you're not listening to Miles Davis
you're only doing yourself a disservice.
Not everybody can get into the later, avant
guard stuff from the 80's. I have a
hard time with it. However, the classic
Kind of Blue is genre defining and
cannot be ignored.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Double Trouble

Yo folks.
This post is gonna be short on words and long on pictures.
I'm sure y'all are fine with that.

These two bikes are off to Japan.
Both twenty niners. Both single speeds.

The shop in Japan that bought these bikes is called Circles.
They've got an impressive list of builders they work with to
get customers on some pretty cool bikes.

Some of the super light versions of the swinger dropouts.
Sculpted a bit more, and they come with a set of titanium bolts.

Something about the color combo on this one.
I always like the way the bikes look when they're all taped
up with blue and green masking tape ready to get painted.
These are some of those same colors.

Both the bikes have a new segmented fork I've been working on.
The crown matches the gusset on the downtube
to make sure you know it's a black cat.
They cost a bit more but i think they are pretty cool looking.

Thanks for watching.

I'm not one who's fallen blindly in love with all the
"new grass" out there, but I'm quite fond of Langhorne Slim.
This show that's on the you tubes is worth checking out.
A reasonable selection of songs and good sound.
Just try not to look directly at his ruffley shirt.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Then there was the KARP

This is Danny Buzzard's new ride.

It's name is the KARP.

Somehow he talked me into only listening to the band, Karp, when I worked on the bike. A pretty funny experiment until about hour five. With about thirty five more hours to go, things got a little grim. Stuck to it though. Only Karp, and love, went into this bike.
Not doing that again.

I really like the color combo on this one. The two greens look pretty good on the black.

Thanks, Danny.

Gonna throw down some Sleater-Kinney for the music pick.
Here's the best live stuff I could find before I got bored to tears.
Gotta love three piece band with no bass, and the
fact that all of them can sing is pretty alright with me.

Friday, October 1, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different

From last post's show pony to this post's workhorse.

Full blown touring rig.

There really is a lot more going on with racks than it would seem. A lot to keep in mind when designing and building them. How are you going to mount them? Are the mounts going to interfere with the function of any of the components like brakes and their cables, quick release skewers, fenders, etc. Can you mount them in such a way that if disaster does strike, the owner can walk into any bike shop and buy a rack off the wall that will fit? Can you keep the weight low and within the wheelbase, and on the the steering axis, over the contact patch, so you're not fighting the weight, so the bike will steer light? Oh yea, can you make them look nice too?
Tall order.

Decided to go with a very straight forward frame design and racks that follow the lines of the bike. Tried to go traditional, but not boring.

This bike is getting finished just in time for a trip to France.
Baptism by fire.

I had a really good time making this bike, thinking about all the good times that will be had aboard it. There is something pretty amazing about a touring bike.

Today's music pick is the Weakerthans.
Nestled somewhere between folk and punk.
Good stuff. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Goin' to Vegas

Yo gang, here we go again. Today's fresh one.

I was asked by the folks over at Syncros
to build a bike frame to show off some of their new goods
for Interbike, the trade show in Vegas.

Very flattering to have people out there who want to
associate their work with mine.
Thank you.

If you will be lucky, or unlucky,
enough to be at Interbike this next week,
come check out the bike and let us all know what you think.

There are bikes to be built here at the shop, so I won't be attending.
No rest for the wicked.

Several posts ago I referenced Pinback.
Worth revisiting, I reckon.
They are one of the few out there that I can just
turn Ye Olde Ipod to "all" and happily listen
to for hours in the shop until the songs run out.
The writing is fantastic, the musicianship is excellent,
and it's just the right tempo to lose yourself in the task at hand.
Check them out.
They always seem to speed their songs up a bit live,
so I thought I'd add some live songs and some studio.
More standout music from San Deigo...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mustaches Wild

Hey y'all. Here's the latest black cat to roll out the door.

Curvy, butted True Temper top tube meets curvy,
butted Dedachai seat stays.
Custom bent by yours truly.

I'm pretty attached to this shade of green.
I know bright colors are all the rage right now,
and really, that's fine with me. I even like some of those colors.
Really though, give me an olive green bike to ride through the trees.

Nothing says "classy" like a neatly trimmed mustache.
There are some out there who have bugged me relentlessly
for a black cat head badge. Well folks, here it is.
I really think the best reason for going to an oversized
head tube is more real estate for your mustache.

Quicksand anyone?
Their first record, "Slip", is an amazing piece of work.
I wore out several cassette tapes listening to it.
There might be a digital groove worn
into my ipod playing it these days.
There are very few records out there
where all the songs are so good.

The second (and final), "Manic Compression",
is also a very good record
but it didn't have the advantage of being as
mind blowing-ly ground breaking.

I remember seeing this live video about 10 years ago.
All the segments are pretty good.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ashton's Uber Custom Machine

Hey there folks.
Here's the newest bike to come out of the factory.
Its got some details to it that required a lot of time on the
machine tools.

A Campagnolo Hiddenset head tube, a custom slip fit bb30
bottom bracket shell, internal hose routing,
and a split-able belt drive dropout.

The part that the pivot bolt runs through is separate
from the rest of the dropout. The original dropout had the
top of the flange shaved from the eyelet, and it now nests
within the part attached to the seat stay.

The paint turned out pretty slick too.

The manufacturers of the belt drive said that it
wasn't possible to have a 16 1/2" chain stay on a
29er and run their belt. well, here it is.

I'm not making another one though.
Don't ask.

For the last week I've had, not just a song,
an entire record running through my head.
Good thing its a really good one.
Karp's Self Titled LP (yes, it's called "self titled lp")
is either one of the best records you've ever heard
or its just unintelligible noise and screaming.
you'll love it or hate it, if you don't love or hate it already.
Sorry none of those were moving pictures.
If that's what you demand, then here is 29 1/2
minutes of live action.