Monday, April 25, 2011

Friday Night. Virgin, Utah

I had just come off a backpacking trip in Zion that had happened somewhat at random with a man of many aliases up in SLC.  We go way back.  High school.  Bike shops.  Tailgating even.  We were three or so beers into our post hike celebration when our take out shuttle brought us past Virgin BMX Track.  There were cars  in the parking lot and before long I found myself there too.  I walked up to the registration tent and asked if there was an "Idiot's Class."  The lady said "sure" and I was signed up to race before I knew it, pants and sleeves and a borrowed full face helmet.  I was describing to her the General and wondering if he would qualify for cruiser class.  He fit right in despite his 26" wheels.  People were were most friendly helping me get acquainted.  One dude even offered to let me borrow his "real" cruiser.  I told him thanks but I only knew how to ride mine.

My competition was a man by the name of Quentin, owner of Over the Edge Sports in Hurricane, UT.  Quentin would quickly teach me the difference between "motos" and "motos," yet I'm still not sure I understand.  We wound up waiting on the mound until our moto (?!?) came up.  There would be two motos and then a main event.  The winner of the main is the only one that counts.  I was to line up at a different slot every time. 7-2-4...or something like that.   I took my position against the start gate, staring down the start slope to the straightaway ahead of me.  A large step up off the starting gate then a tabletop before the 180 degree bank turn.  Some sounds were made indicating the get ready.  I stared down the track.  Just me, the track ahead and the noises inside my helmet.  The gate dropped and we launched, both of us clipping in rapidly to our pedals.  Quentin was riding a proper 24" crusier, built light with mountain bike parts and semi slick tires.  It was his turf.  I had him going into the first turn but blew it when I came unclipped and never managed to chase back.  Two and a half more straightaways and two more bank turns.  I was winded.  And...I was hooked.  Speed and flow and momentum.  Smooth is fast...and fast is oh so smooth.

Next Moto:  I managed a track stand until the gate dropped.  I was actually slower out of the gate but managed to make up my gap by pedaling into the step up.  I had Q into the first turn but stayed too close to the bottom of the bank and killed my own speed by washing out my tires only slightly.  Chased.  Out of breath at the finish.  Stoked.

Main Event:  Gate Drops.  I didn't manage a track stand but my riding felt on.  I had Q going into turn one but he took it on the exit.  I rode smooth through the second step and table and took back the lead.  Into turn two and out.  Short table top.  Check.  I lost it in the rhythm section and Q darted across to the other side of the track to dodge my loss of flow.  We were neck and neck into turn three.  He took the exit and I chased him into the finish with a cheering crowd.  Later folks would tell me it was good race.  It felt good and I was winded deep deep down.  Hooked on BMX.

I congratulated and thanked my competition.  I'm ready to go again.  At race end I mowed down a plate of dutch oven chicken and scalloped potatoes from the concession stand.  $6.  Seriously people, this is the next big thing.  It'll sweep the nation.  Just you wait.  I still can't stop talking about it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Beast

Its here again.  Hope to see you there.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I ended up with this today

....well really I first drew up this design around xmas time.  Then after I drew it I saw something similar on a bike shown at NAHBS, on something respectable like maybe a Black Sheep.  This was my first attempt and there will surely be more to follow.  I made up a plywood jig with a removable steerer on a slide so you can adjust reach.  The steerer is fixed at 71 deg with the bars on a 20 deg backsweep and I added 4-5 deg of upsweep by placing a shim at the ends of the bard.  I'm very pleased with the result.  Good brazing too.  The alignment is better than all but one of the stems I did two weeks ago.   On a quick early morning spin up the the mailbox they feel stiff and solid.  Can't wait to ride tomorrow.  Its been good here.  The thaw is coming about nicely.....RICHARD

I think I will call them the MOOSE-STACHE bars
somethin' like that

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Ray's Tourer

I'm snowed in today so that gave me the chance to pretty much wrap up Ray's touring bike.  That being said its April and I'm just now finishing my first bike of 2011.  Ray is known about town for his exquisite taste in bikes so that said I was a little intimidated to take on this project, but more so, I was honored.   He had some cool ideas and I hope my take on them more than meets his expectations.  This bike is getting a full XT drivetrain with Paul Neo-Retro cantis.  It will take full racks and fenders and can be built up geared or single speed, versatile as always. It features some items I've never used before, like Campy long throw dropouts, and a bi-plane fork crown carved out of 3/16" plate chromoly.  That said, there are a lot of hours into this bike.  I'll get some finished pics up fo sho, but for now here's some of the build process.

this project took lots of brain power and time and probably won't be repeated for a while...or at least without a mill.

barrel adjuster for rear brake (adjusting your brakes with a rack on is a serious hassle)

bottle bosses cleanly brazed with silver

the square stock comes out....uh oh...what's this going to be?....

A Kickstand Plate.....WHOA COOL!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Stem Jig

I've been wanting to do stems with frames and along with that make a batch of sizing stems for fitting purposes to keep around the shop and loan out as needed.  I came up with this jig from mostly scrap around the shop with some 4130 tubing and a trip to copper state nut and bolt to buy way more hardware than I ended up using in the final product.  The steerer clamp is 1" pipe brazed to the angle iron and I've just been using a 1 1/8" sleeve for the bigger steerers.  I made two bar clamp pieces for 1" and 1 1/4" bars.   The jig is straight as best I can tell with machinist squares off the angle iron.  I've had mixed results with the stems as far as straightness...this is HARD....or rather building a stem is easy, building a straight stem is hard.  Especially with hand files.  I've made four stems so far.  I've been trying to dial in the most efficient process and have that part down I think, but now I'm going to go back and do some blanks of just tubing without binders to figure out the best tacking sequence and hopefully get a repeatably straight end result.  To check straightness (handlebar twist in one hand rests higher/lower than the other) I used an extruded piece of aluminum rectangle, a straight 7/8" "handlebar" about 30" long and some shims from PMW.  I clamped the center of the bar in the stem and clamped the faced steerer clamp to the aluminum and measured the gap between the two at both ends of the bar with calipers.  Two (first and fourth) were 2mm off centerline, one (second) was 7mm off, and one (third) was dead center.  Whoa!  I've been trying to figure ways to check other planes of alignment, but they just don't seem as important.  If you have any ideas (BOBBY) I'd love to hear them.

Friday, April 01, 2011