Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Steel That Sleeps the Eye

Hey gang.
Today, I present a bike for Eric Richter.

With Eric being here in Santa Cruz, the conversation
about this bike started with listing names of roads.
Names like Stetson, Redwood Lodge, Schulties,
Redwood Retreat, Mountain Charlie, Skyland,
Valencia School, Uvas Canyon, etc.

Names like that conjure up thoughts of tight, twisty, steep roads,
shaded by redwoods, with pathetic pavement, if any at all.

The conversation continued with the new re-release of Columbus' Max tubeset.
Eric, being a junkie of all things Max,
wanted a custom bike to add to his collection of bikes built
with these legendary tubes.

First designed when tubes were narrow and didn't
take the abuse under larger, more powerful riders,
the double oversized tubeset was like nothing before it.
Huge, ovalized profiles allowed a bike to remain in one
piece while being raced in events like Paris-Roubaix
and the Tour of Flanders.

We decided not to use the entire Max tubeset,
settling for the bi-axialy ovalized down and top tubes,
chain stays, fork blades, and fork crown.
These are the most instantly recognizable tubes of the bunch
and overwhelmingly responsible for the look and feel of the bike.

We took it step further and added the ability to run 28's,
with fenders, or up to a 35c tire without.

Disc brakes, Dura-Ace parts.
If you can't ride this bike there, that place should probably be left unridden.

Between the capabilities of the bike and the fact that
Eric is one of the coolest, nicest, most genuine people I've ever met,
it was truly was a pleasure to build this bike.
Thanks, Eric.

All right kids,
enough of the sentimentality.
When I went to see the tour
supporting the Houdini record
(was that almost 20 years ago?!?!),
I remember thinking that it simply
could not
be any louder.
Honey Bucket
Night Goat


Anonymous said...


This bike is such an amazing capture of the things we talked about! I'm humbled to have such a beautiful machine, and stoked to see where we go with it. Thank you so much!

G. said...

Amazing bike, very nice!

What kind of rims are those?



blackcatbicycles said...

as i said before, my pleasure.

eric works for easton/bell sports so he's got access to all kinds of cool stuff us civilians aren't allowed to see, let alone ride. i don't think anything here is prototypical, but i'm pretty sure there is some custom lacing going on. they are carbon, they are for tubulars. not sure of the specifics, but i do know they are badass.

Anonymous said...

G - It's an Easton EC90 SL tubular rim laced to some Easton 29'er hubs. I owe some people a lifetime of favors for this...

Colin M said...

Wow. That is a dream bike right there. I even like that the paint is subtle. Great collaboration Todd and Eric!

Anonymous said...

Great looking bike and again, another fine job by Todd and customer. Curious what does complete bike weigh, frame weight, and strength/stiffness of Max tubing vs OX platinum or S3?


blackcatbicycles said...

i didn't weigh the complete bike, but eric said it was around the 19# mark. the frame weight is around 3.6#ish. the fork is pretty beefy and the tubes are not a super light option. there are lighter options in true temper's platinum and s3.

the max tubes are very stiff. the oval profiles help but the chainstays (36mm tall!) and fork blades are both major contributors to the stiffness. to soften the max bike's ride, a different fork would go a long way. mini max or zona chainstays have the same wall thickness and alloy, and would soften the ride even more.

as far as comparing it to the other tubes, the max tubeset is just that, a tubeset. the s3 and platinum are alloys and offer different tubes made of that alloy to allow the builder to tune the frame around the rider. not so much with the max. if there were an identical set of tubes with the platinum or s3 alloy, i'd imagine the true temper would be stiffer, as the alloys are more dense and harder. as is, true temper doesn't make a chainstay nearly as large a diameter, so it's hard to give a fair comparison.

to be honest, i've never built a max bike for myself. i've built (mostly) s3 and platinum tubed road bikes for myself and really liked both. the s3 is decidedly a "race" tubeset. very stiff, very responsive. the platinum has a bit more spring to it. both frames were lighter than this particular frame. i rarely use an entire tubeset. its often better to mix and match to get what i want.

i have a set of "stiffness" measurements always taken on frames to quantify things. when measuring lateral bb stiffness (head tube and dropouts held, weighted bb shell), the max was as stiff as anything i'd built and measured. this doesn't accurately measure how the bike will ride, but it provides a number to attach without testing that may contribute to premature failure.