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Bicycle, Bike Porn

Ritte gets it.

Bikes are serious business. There’s no room for humor or jokes in such a serious business. Ritte gets that and here they have a poignant little short that epitomizes just how serious it all is. Seriously.

And they make nice bikes to boot.

Advocacy, Bicycle, Bike Porn, Events, Portland

Ruckus raffles frames to support women’s cycling

You know how dry cleaning shops have tons of clothes that never get picked up?  Apparently that happens with bikes too. Ruckus Composites, a Portland Oregon based Carbon Fiber repair business, is making use of those bikes that never get picked up- those that would otherwise end up in the dead pile. This dead pile has been accumulating since they started in 2008- and now they found something to do with them.  They’re working with local and national non profit organizations as well as grass roots cycling teams, to repair and custom paint these bikes and raffle/auction them off to raise money and awareness for causes that they believe in. The proceeds from these frames will go directly to organizations in need, the bikes will go to the lucky winners of the raffles.
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The first two frames will be raffled in support of Presented By Let’s Race Bikes (PBLRB). PBLRB is a Oregon based project dedicated to supporting and enabling elite female cyclists to compete on a national level. They are breaking down the financial barriers associated with professional cycling by offering support to female athletes through crowd sourced initiatives. PBLRB has raised money to date with support from The Athletic and Sellwood Cycles in Portland OR. We are excited to work with them and proud to support their efforts in cycling.
To enter the raffle, you can purchase tickets online here, the raffle will end on June 17th. Ruckus will announce the winners and total amount raised for PBLRB on that date. Tickets can be purchased for 25 dollars a piece, or buy 3 for 60 dollars. Tickets are tax deductible(?) and the money raised goes directly to supporting the wonderful and talented women of Presented By Let’s Race Bikes. All the details about the project can be found here.
About Ruckus Composites: Founded in 2008 by Shawn Small, Ruckus is a Portland OR based company in dedicated to all things carbon fiber. From frame repair, to custom add on’s and after market products that complement repairs and the longevity of carbon fiber bicycle frames. Now with several employees and seeing massive growth, Ruckus is the leader in Carbon Repair in the cycling industry working with direct customers, bike shops around the globe and nearly every major frame manufacturer in the industry.
Bicycle, Bike Porn, fat bike

Nicolai fatbike with 18sp Pinion gearbox

Wow.  This could be a pretty cool way to go for those that are concerned with snow, sand, ice and other stuff mucking up their drivetrain.  Combine it with a Gates Belt Drive and you’ve got a pretty sweet setup.  Not sure on the weight, the price, or anything else- but I saw it on Pinkbike and had to repost it.  Schwing!

Bicycle, Bike Porn, Track

Two for Tuesday

New York will forever embrace the track bike.  On the track or in the streets, it will never go away and that somehow comforts me.  This just in from the East Coast:

Stanrdige x Eine – Red Hook Crit 2014 from FWD on Vimeo.

Stanridge Cycles will be working together with Ben EINE for the Red Hook Crit this year. EINE is a world renowned graffiti artist who has collaborated with Banksy and has work hanging in the White House. Ben will be hand painting the two iconic Stanridge High Street frames that will be raced during this years Red Hook series.

The custom bikes will be piloted by elite cyclocross racer Katie Arnold, and previous Red Hook winner Evan Murphy. Look for more from Stanridge as the bikes are done and race day approaches.

The ego, it’s the only thing that drives us forward isn’t it? You know it’s a competition. If you’re not going to take it fucking seriously than why bother doing it? You know you want to be the biggest and the best, up in the most amount of places, the most amount of photographs over the fucking internet in the most amount of countries in the world… stupid. It’s just mad. We were kids. 20 years later Banksy’s up for an Oscar and I’ve got a painting in the White House. You can’t make this shit up…. It’s just fucking mad. -Ben EINE

Also,

Affinity Cycles is celebrating 7 years.  With that they bring you the Kissena World Champions edition frame set and rainbow striped jersey.

Affinity is proud to have won 2 World Championship victories in both the match sprints and scratch race. Plus, with over 20 US National and European championships, the Kissena is the most celebrated and trusted aluminum track frame in the industry. They’ve custom designed their exclusive track frame with gold foil rainbow striped graphics, indigo sparkle blue paint and a CNC machined head tube. Only 40 World Champion frames are available, they can be purchased along with the new Affinity World Championship Jersey through the Affinity website as well as select retailers.

The jersey is also available for pre order here for the next 2 weeks and all Affinity frames sets and complete builds are available now.

 

Alaska, Bicycle, Bike Porn, bikes, fat bike, Gear

New Bike Day: Fatback 190 Rocker

If you’ve been reading a while, ya’ll know my affinity/fascination/obsession with fatbikes. I’d wanted one since I moved to Seattle, but since my move back to Alaska it became a “when” not an “if” I was getting one.  I looked around a bit and figured out that the main thing that I was looking for was fatness.  I wanted to be able to float over the soft terrain without having to lose 75 pounds because let’s face it, that won’t be happening.  That meant a frame that would allow for 100mm rims and the fattest tire which is currently marketed at 4.8″.  I also didn’t want an offset wheel, and something that I could throw a 29″ wheelset on in the summer would be nice too.

I went with a Fatback 190 Rocker.

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Fatback Bicycles is not a big brand that has a bunch of backing, it’s a couple passionate dudes in Alaska.  At the forefront of Fatback is Greg Mattyas. Greg was born and raised in Anchorage- racing bikes and skis and being awesome.  He opened up Speedway Cycles in 2007.  A busy man, Greg spends his time juggling bike shop dailies, furthering the sport of fatbiking, going on epic adventures, family life, and innovating fatbike technology.  Fatback was one of the first mass produced options offering an alternative to Surly’s Pugsley- with a few notable features that set them apart.

  • They’re a bit lighter than a Surly. Being aluminum, they weigh in at under 4lbs for the frame.
  • They are made in the USA.  The aluminum frames are made in Oregon.  For a while they were doing steel and ti frames, which were also made in the US.  (They have recently added the carbon Corvus frame that I’m fairly certain is made over seas.)
  • Symmetrical rear wheels.  I like them- Surly doesn’t do ’em.  Figure it out. Makes for a nice transition to a 29″ summer bike with the same frame. Nuthin’ on Surly, but I like symmetry.
  • Fatback has been integral in the advancement of fatbike technology.  After starting with a 165mm rear hub, Fatback swapped to the 170mm symmetrical rear hub, which is currently the industry standard (though it’s really looking like 190mm might be the future.)
  • Fatback was a sweet funk band.  No- I don’t think that there was any relation to the brand, but FATBACK was awesome.  Check ’em out:


Anyway…
I met up with Greg at Interbike and asked him what I had to do to go home with a Fatback.

Apparently Fatback production was lagging and demo bikes had a couple more stops to make before they made it back to Alaska- but he’d make something happen.

When I got home, we emailed back and forth (more than he would have liked to, I’m sure.)  Even so, his communication was prompt- which was much appreciated.  I was fixated.  I wouldn’t stop until I was riding along the beach- on sand or snow, with 4.8″ wide tires underneath me at 8psi. Thankfully, things came together.

I’ll skip the part where Melissa got a bike and I didn’t… and just say that we left Anchorage with a Fatback for her- thanks to Robert at Speedway Cycles. He sold her on a a 14″ Fatback Deluxe which-  jealous as I was, I was super excited to see her so excited about a bike.  She loves it!

Well, I got the email about 2 weeks back that my bike was done.  Alaska being Alaska, it helps being creative on shipping.  I made some calls and the Lynden Transport barge was headed out of Anchorage the next day.  Greg had one of his guys bring it to the office and off it was- on a boat across the sound- to arrive between my loving legs a few days later.

On it’s arrival, the folks at the shipping company were all-a-chatter:

“Where’s the motor?”

“That thing is huge!”

“Is that a bicycle!?!”

I just smiled.  My bike was finally here! In all of it’s “mountain bike on steroids glory.”  It had seemingly traveled in the freezer van, as it was covered in frost on receipt of the bike. That’s okay.  It’ll see a lot colder temperatures in the future.

There it was- my Fatback.  All dressed up with a Revelate Designs frame bag and “gas tank” with no place to go (pedals were stored in the frame bag,) I walked it home and made it ready to ride.

The details:

  • Fatback 190 Rocker frame (The Rocker is the rocker dropouts allowing chain tensioning/belt compatibility)
  • Fatback Aluminum fork with hella braze-ons.
  • SRAM X9  2×9 drivetrain with Gripshift
  • FSA Comet cranks
  • Kona WaWa pedal
  • (F) Surly Rolling Darryl rim to 135mm Fatback (import) hub (4.8″ Lou tire)
  • (R) Surly Rolling Darry rim to 190mm Fatback (import) hub (4.8″ Lou tire)
  • Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors (one argument for mechanical brakes is price- the other is field repairability.)
  • FSA bars, seatpost, headset, stem

Overall weight: 32.5lbs

First impression.  It’s big.  Tire pressure was higher than it would be if I were on soft sand or snow- about 25psi.  I was riding alongside a curb, turned the bars and BOOP- up and over it.  The bike just rolled right over it like it was no big deal.  It was almost comical.  Pedaling felt a little sluggish at first- the wheel weight is far more than I usually have to contend with.  Once I picked up some momentum things were going good.  I wasn’t going to set any speed records, but the momentum was decent and once you just get used to the fact that you’ve got two speeds: 1) slow and 2) steady- it’s not half bad.  The 2×9 SRAM drivetrain operated via Gripshift worked well, even with the 4.8″ Surly Bud tires on 82mm rims and a 190mm rear hub pushing the drivetrain so far out.  No chain rub on the tires whatsoever.

I will say you shouldn’t get a fatbike expecting a mountain bike.  It’s a different animal.  Sorry.  It’s fun- but it WON’T BE AS FAST AS YOUR 29″er… Unless the terrain gets soft.  Then? Then I’ll be passing you by as you walk out.

No… I didn’t do anything epic.  I just rode around town. But I had fun.  I got out of the saddle and cranked on the pedals- the super wide bars giving lots of leverage.  Apparently the rocker dropouts weren’t secured, so they slipped  and the tire started rubbing on the frame.  I got it fixed up and tightened down and it was good to go.

Since then I’ve ridden on the mudflats of Hartney Bay, up the Ibek Slough Sands and on the Copper River Banks.  I’m excited about more adventures- when weather agrees to the travel plans.  I’ll be looking into a packraft next, which opens up way more terrain- even just paddling across the Copper River where the bridge is washed out and riding out to the Million Dollar Bridge would be fun.

I was thinking I was going to go with the Clownshoe rims, which are currently the widest fatbike rim available at 100mm.  I was dissuaded at the last minute by two reasons: 1)Lots of folks are going with 82mm rims, and since the frame will still run 4.8″ tires, it was splitting the difference.  2) More importantly- Clownshoes were back ordered and I may have had to wait another month for my bike.  So that settled that.  Rolling Darryls it is.

By no means is the honeymoon over- I am really digging the build and everything about the bike.  What I am seeing though is the insane cost associated with a growing, but still niche market.  Everything costs more.  The bikes themselves aren’t cheap. The Aluminum 190 XO1 bike– basically what I have, retails at $3700.  I got a bit of a deal as it’s a used bike- a prototype, even.  But it’s still more than I’ve plunked down on a bike ever.  I’ve got a boner for some studs, but the only factory studded tires available are the Dillingers from 45NRTH- coming in at $225…  Each.

I’ve got a few things that are on my list of upgrades though.  Things like:

  • 45NRTH Dillinger studded tires
  • I’d like to try 180mm rotors for a little more stopping power.  They come with 160’s to give more heel room, so I may start with the front.
  • A Schmidt SON dynamo hub (laced to a Clownshoe rim) Yeah- they make ’em in the 135mm spacing for the front.
  • A 29er wheelset for the summer.  Likely the Surly Rabbit Hole rims.
  • Jeff Jones H-bars.  
  • A Gates belt drive.  I’ve had mixed feelings on my Gates system on my SSCX bike, but for a beach tour- I think it’d be the best way to go.  Single speed.  The grit and salt can wreck havoc on a chain drive.  Derailleurs and all that- just take it off. It’s all the same grade, you don’t need gears.  A great option to have and one of the reasons I went with the rocker dropouts.
  • A packraft.  Because, that is the next step…

 

Interbike confirmed that things in the fatbike world were, as most of America- getting fatter… Of course there’s a way to lighten the load without dieting – carbon.  The carbon steeds at Interbike were under 29lbs complete with 4.8″ tires.  If that’s your thing then you can look towards the folks working in that medium.  There is the the Fatback Corvus, the 9:Zero:7 Whiteout and the Borealis Yampa to name a few.  Though I do like carbon, I wanted a bike that could be thrown around a bit.  I see the carbon option for the racers more than the adventure tour types.

So get out there and ride your bike.

 

Bicycle, Bike Porn, Events, Travel

Interbike 2013

Interbike 2013.  2 days in the desert at Bootleg Canyon, 3 days at the Mandalay Bay.  In that time I consumed 10 supplement bars chopped into bite sized pieces, 14 energy gels, 9 Dixie cups with some sort of recovery drink, 147 beers, 18 shots of whiskey, 1 shot of Ass Juice, 8 gin and tonics, 19 whiskeys on the rocks, 6 32oz margaritas, and 4 Bloody Susans.  Even with all the liver training I do, my body hurt by the end of it.

Interbike has become something of a pilgrimage for me.  My fifth year attending, it’s a time to see friends that I don’t see often, if ever, outside of this annual trip to Las Vegas.  Interbike is 750+ exhibitors, representing 1200+ brands, selling their goods and services to wholesalers, retailers, and manufactures.  Working Media (the reason GMG is allowed in) is present to cover the new and sometimes exciting products that are available, to help build the buzz about the coming year.  This year was a little different, with the final day being an “invite-only” consumer day- where retailers could invite their top customers to check out the floor.

Along with having a different events company put on the show, Interbike changed location from The Sands Convention Center to Mandalay Bay.  The new location seemed smaller, but also ran smoother on the registration end and I for some reason found it easier to find the venue.  The small venue made the inside feel a bit cramped, like exhibitors were stacked on top of one another. Mandalay is also in a less convenient location on the strip- reducing the number of cheap hotels and bars within a close walk.

Outdoor Dirt Demo:

I had some much appreciated company at Dirt Demo this year, as Felix and Kerry flew in from Seattle to hang out.  We walked in the dust and drank beers in the desert while we looked at bikes.  My focus on a personal level this year, was looking for my next bike which- with my move back to Alaska, is a fat bike (spoiler alert: Gon’ get myself a Fatback.)  Fatbikes have seen a lot of growth recently, with carbon becoming a very popular frame material.  Fatback has the Corvus9:Zero:7 has the Whiteout and Borealis has the Yampa.  Along with new materials- there is a shift in rear spacing- with 190mm becoming pretty standard, allowing for the fattest tires currently available (4.8″ wide on a 100mm rim.) The carbon frames are using through-axles, so the actual spacing is 197mm (3.5mm extra is needed per side)  Felt even had an electric (albeit aluminum) concept bike there, called the FatE.

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Broke out the calipers to measure tire width and it made a couple manufacturers nervous.  When I checked the Surly 4.8 Bud and Lou tires on a 100mm Clownshoe rim, they came out to 4.55, for whatever it’s worth.
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The Fatback Corvus is available for pre-order HERE.  They didn’t have one available to ride, but this 3-D printed version was built for mock-up, and I’m feeling confident that it will be at least on par with the offerings from 9:Zero:7 and Borealis.  You may wonder why I’ve got such a boner for Fatback.  For one- they are in Alaska.  By in Alaska I mean- go to Speedway Cycles in Anchorage and talk to Greg, the owner.  They ride here, they tour here and they race here.  The changes these bikes see in them are due to the terrain and environment in Alaska.  Other fatbike builders have an “Alaska Connection.”  Maybe they started here, maybe they went to school here, they likely come back to visit.  Also- Fatback has their aluminum frames made in Oregon.  So there.

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Felix found a bike he liked- the Santa Cruz Heckler.

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Dirt Demo is much mellower than the inside show- fewer people and a much more relaxed feel- but it’s only two days.  So come Wednesday morning- it was off to the show.

I had bold plans to Strava my travels during the day to make some sort of “Blogger Battle” but the GPS signal didn’t work too hot in the basement of a massive hotel/casino.  Oh well.  On top of that- I wasn’t armed with a fancy camera like Felix had (he was the cameraman for the above shots)- I may have forgotten it in Seattle after an extremely late night of pizza and beer drinking with the rest of the GMG posse.  But I did have my phone- and since hey- I’m not a product photographer, I’m a blogger.  I’ll just tell you what I saw, show you some mediocre photos taken with an old iphone and you can look it up later.

Sometimes there are new products at the show that really impress me.  This year seemed to be the year of the fatbike- or the E-bike.  I don’t really know much about the E-bikes and though they are really getting better, I think they have a way to go to really gain a foothold in the younger US market.  Fatbikes, however- are the new fixed gear, it seems.  Bikes become less of a “niche” when companies like Kona, Salsa, Trek, Specialized, and even Motobecane have them.  They are popular for people that live near sand or snow, or just want a big ol’ whip to throw around and play on.  They are getting lighter, and for $1600 you can get some 85mm carbon rims that weigh 590grams (Currently in production/available for pre-order, and yes- that is $800 per RIM) from Borealis.  Also stay on the look out for some lightweight rims from Stan’s NoTubes in the spring.  It will be an aluminum 80mm rim weighing in at 487grams.  It should be available as a complete wheelset as well as the rim only.

For your fatbike rack- look no further than Old Man Mountain.  Handmade in Santa Barbara, CA.

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Revelate Designs, based in Anchorage, AK can hook you up with outfitting your bike (fatbike or otherwise) with frame bags, pogies (handwarmers) and other bike luggage.

And there was some other, non-fatbike related stuff that was cool too.  Some of the stuff that really stuck out:

  • Feedback Sports has their Rakk Stand, the Velo Hinge (my favorite of their new stuff), the Velo Column and their Pro Truing Stand (which also has a disc brake rotor gauge.
  • Fyxation is gearing up fixed gears, by selling their SixFix.  It adds a derailleur and six speeds to your track end bike.  Now people are converting fixed gears!  It will come as a $300 kit including rear wheel, 6sp cassette, shifter and derailleur.
  • Blackburn is doing some cool things with a redesign on their racks, making some new lights (like the variable power, self adjusting Central Front Light), and is working with pannier security with their Interlock rack and bag combo.
  • Velo Orange has a new frame in the 29×2.1″ Camargue (named for an ancient French horse, known for it’s ruggedness.)  They’ve also got what their calling “Crazy Bars”  a 22.2 handlebar with 23.8 horns.  They’re making a Grand Cru front bar bag– $200 and made in Baltimore.  Also digging the Pass Hunter– basically a rando with cantis.
  • Smith is doing good things in the helmet department with the Forefront.  Available in 11 colors (Wow.) it should be available in March and retail for $220.  It uses Aerocore® design, made with Koroyd™.  Lightweight, “30% more impact resistant than EPS, it’s lightweight- has an optional light/camera mount, is goggle compatible, washable, antimicrobial, their “performance glasses fit nicely in a groove above the visor (which is removeable.) The material is pretty cool, it looks like a bunch of straws glued together, allow for good ventilation.
  • Gripstuds makes screw in studs for the DIY’er.  Not a bad (or cheap) option for those that want to customize their tires, shoes, whatever.  They’re about $1 per stud, but really, you don’t need a whole lot, and they are carbide, and much lighter than making your own studded tires with screws.
  • Swrve makes awesome stuff.  They’ve been making lots of things in the US, but it seems like some production is moving elsewhere…  Check out the new Durable Cotton Trousers, and a beautiful Selvage Denim Work Apron.
  • Slip Not Chains seem a good idea if you don’t want to commit to studs and would be better in snow (but probably not as effective as studs on ice)
  • Brooks had some cool stuff like their Cambridge Rain Cape ($160,) Their VEGAN Cambium Saddles and the Brooks MT21 ($70)
  • Lezyne had a couple new things- notably, the new Digital Floor Drive pumps.  What I like about Lezyne is that their tools are designed to be rebuilt when broken, not thrown away.  Even the new digital display will be backwards compatible with their Floor Drives- if you’d rather look at a digital display- swap it out.  Also cool is their Porta Shop tool kit.
  • King Cage.  Titanium and Stainless bits for carrying liquids and things on your bike.  They had a really cool handlebar flask that has two shot glasses onboard.  It’s in production.  They’ve also got the bar bell- a bell that’s a shot glass.  Ron at King Cage might even drink more than I do…

image[4]I think that about wraps it up.  I made it through another Interbike.  Next year I really hope to get Greg and Bryan down to help cover it.  I also need to bring a stunt liver.

Whether you love it or hate it, Interbike does something for the bike world.  It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times.  I see people I like and people I don’t- because after all “Just because we both ride bikes, doesn’t mean we’re friends.”

Bicycle, Bike Porn, Events, Handmade Bicycles, Seattle

This Thursday in Seattle

This Thursday is the Pioneer Square Art Walk.  Stop by Il Corvo Pasta at at 217 James St. (Between 2nd & 3rd Aves.) where a handful of bicycle craftsmen will showcase their work in making handbuilt bicycles.  There will be champagne (for sale at a “reasonable rate.”)  It looks as though Hampsten and 333fab will be in the house.

I don’t have many more details, but I suggest you check it out.  5-9pm this Thursday.

Bicycle, Bike Porn, Cyclocross, Handmade Bicycles

Orlowski SSCX Bike

orlowski-sscx-2013

Spotted over at 75grad, this beautiful singlespeed cyclocross bike built by Orlowski is a piece of art and more proof cyclocross bikes just might be the best bikes in the world (even in Germany and Poland). Unfortunately for me (and probably you) the article is in German. Check out the photos of the frame building process and the finished frame HERE. Maybe we can get FLX to translate the article for us…