While I am waiting on a few stem building components to arrive I spent a couple of hours cutting and fitting the tubes for my first carbon frame and other than sanding some of the rough edges off its pretty much ready to bond. The main tubes I am using are from Enve Composites while the rear end is a Dedaccia Firefox from Nova I believe. I bought it quite a while back and have forgotten which one it is. While everything is pretty much the same process as building a steel frame so far I have been as easy on the tubes as possible. After building quite a few steel frames I am pretty comfortable handling that material, being able to tell what you can and can't do with it. With the carbon tubes I feel like I am playing with crystal. So far I have done all my cutting with my tube notcher and hole saws but you have to be extra careful. You can see that I put masking tape around the ends to prevent it from fraying but you can also see the repair I made on the down tube up next to the head tube. It was the first cut and I tried to push the hole saw all the way through and it frayed a couple strands of carbon so I took some epoxy and touched it up and will sand it down later. It will be covered up by carbon patches so everything should be ok but after this initial mistake I started stopping the hole saw just short of a complete cut and then I took a Dremel with a little cutting wheel to finish it up and this proved to work better for me. To fine tune my miters I basically just used these sanding drums in my drill and they did a pretty good job. It is always a good idea to wrap some tape around the ends when cutting or sanding because you can see where I let the sanding drum slide over on the side of the seat stay. It just barely scratched it but it happens really fast. I am sure there are better ways of mitering carbon but these methods got the job done you just don't want to get in a hurry. I only had one down tube so I didn't need to butcher it. The dust that comes from sanding these tubes is my least favorite part so far. The stuff just feels toxic if you breath it and when it gets on your skin it can itch pretty bad, doesn't seem to wash off either so long pants, long-sleeves, and a breathing mask aren't bad ideas. In time I plan on dialing in the process a little better but the mistakes are a golden part of the process of anything you choose to do. I have to remind myself of this on a regular basis. Anyway, I am not far away from breaking out the Elmer's and gluing this bad boy together. Just kidding, I got some super aerospace epoxy somewhere in my junk draw that I have been saving for just the right moment, I think this is it. Time for all those intense gluing exercises from the first grade to start paying some dividends. Just when you thought you would never need to know this stuff for the real world. I have a few tubes leftover to start on the second frame. I already know what kind of frame its going to be and who's gonna be riding it, factory MEECH cyclocrosser Larry Yancey. Yep, I'm gonna build this first road frame for me and give it a little test and if all seems solid then the next frame will be a cross frame for Larry to put to the real test. I just like to pussy-foot around a little on my bike but if you really want to try and tear something up you send it to Yancey. Stay tuned. Chao amigos.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Just finished up Scott's touring bike so I thought I would post some photos of it while everything is still nice and clean. Scott wanted something built that was rugged yet comfortable for those long hauls and I think we have it dialed in, of course every frame I build is supposed to be rugged and comfy so this one isn't any different from other MEECH frames except this bike is built exclusively for Scott. I am not the most knowledgeable about touring cycling since my background was mainly racing however with a little (actually alot) of research and some phone calls to various friends and bike shops we were able to put together a recipe for success. Paul and Wayne from Ace's Wild coated this ride in a British Racing Green off a BMW color chart and added a few yellow highlights for contrast. Its a really dark green with metallic flakes so sometimes it looks black but when the sun hits it lights up. Scott is into "Classy not Flashy" so we left the mega-MEECH logo off and went with something a little more subtle on the chain stays. As long as the custom Pegasus head badge from Revolution Cycle Jewelry is on the front you know its a MEECH. Scott is a jeweler here in Mountain Home so Paul thought a couple of diamonds might be a nice touch on the top tube and the fork blades and I love it. We built it up with a Shimano mix of everything from 105 to Dura-Ace bar-end shifters. Its getting harder and harder to find good brake levers without the shifting built in but these Cane Creek levers fit the bill and look great as well. I have never used Paul's Components before even though they have been a hot item for a long time so I used this bike as an opportunity to check 'em out. Now I understand why so many custom builders use them. They are beautiful works of art, easy to install and set up, and just about as good as it gets. I'm gonna put some on my next cross bike when I build it up. Who knows when that'll happen. Just in order to get half the stuff done that I want to do before I die I'll need to live as long as Moses did, and I'll probably have to hire Jesus to help me. How much does Jesus get an hour these days? Believe it or not I have a frozen pizza in my fridge and if you look at it real hard for hours you can see Jesus in it. He's on the side of a dirt road changing a flat tire on his bike and at the top it says, "Specialized tires suck!" Ride Conti. You'll probably see it listed on Ebay in a few days. Have fun with it. Thanks to everyone who lent a hand on this thing. Chao.
MEECH Custom Bicycles
Mountain Home, Arkansas
Friday, June 17, 2011
I am way behind on my first carbon frame project. If things had gone as planned I would've already ridden it and given you the lowdown, but I have been busy building frames for customers and various other projects that take precedence over my own personal desires. The riders/racers of MEECH Bicycles are my number 1 priority right after my family so I have to take care of you guys first, but when I get up to par on those things then its time to play a little. I'm not quite there but I'm getting closer. I just received a batch of "carbonified tubes" from Enve Composites and hopefully a rideable bicycle frame will come out of this pile. I'll post the progress as I make progress, if I make progress, or at the least I'll post the mess I make. I'm gonna take my time because these things are just too nice to be wasting. I've included a mug shot of Pinky the super-hound. I talked Anne into giving him a mohawk the other day, now he looks like the butt-head that he can be. When Anne and I first started dating I didn't care much for ol' Pink, and he tried to kill me on several occasions, but over the years we've become a solid team. Jeez, you can't believe how freakin' loud his voice is. The greatest thing about little dogs is that the messes they make are much smaller. Ever clean up a pile of puke from a dog that weighs 100+ lbs.? It takes almost a whole roll of paper towels, sometimes it takes 2 rolls if their vomit makes you vomit while you're cleaning it up. I'm drifting now into gross territory. Lets get back to the carbon. There, much better. I was getting nauseous.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Here is a quick photo of Steve's custom road bike that he just got finished up. He is the only one so far to have this style logo on his frame. It was inspired by the old Yamaha YZ logo from the early 80's. Motocross has always been in my blood since I was a kid. He said, "It's comfortable, fast, and super-stable." Thats what I like to hear. It looks ready to race to me. Thanks Steve. Enjoy the ride.
Fly with MEECH
Monday, June 6, 2011
The Arkansas Democrat Gazette published a story about me and my frame building this morning. It was a pretty in depth article about how I got started and what goes into building a custom frame. It was some good publicity for me and the people that ride my frames. Its nice to get recognized. There are a lot of lonely days in the shop but days like this make it all worthwhile. Check out that butt-shot. I'm definitely not a Kardashian.
RV's frame is cut and fitted for the most part. Still gonna trim the seat tube and head tube a bit. Gotta take a couple days off and go to my other life which is remodeling a small rental building but when I get back the engraved BB shell as well as all the small parts should have arrived and be ready to go, then we'll be ready to play with fire and I have been practicing that since I was 4 yrs. old. Ever played with a railroad flare? Unfortunately I have. We accidentally burned the neighborhood baseball field up. My dad wasn't happy about that in the least. I couldn't help but to laugh as I was getting my spankin though because his eyebrows were burned off. My butt hurts just thinking about it. Be back soon.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Here is the beginning of a new road frame for RV out of Austin. My first and only framebuilder's show was the Texas Handmade Show in Austin. They definitely got a lot of custom bicycles rolling around that town and I am glad to be getting one of my frames amongst them. Just got done cutting and mitering a couple of tubes and I always like to do a little check to make sure things are in line. I think I have the camera tilted a bit, luckily the level never lies. We have established that I am not a photographer. I actually have the rest of the tubes mitered but am waiting for RV's bottom bracket shell to be engraved. "Chava" is in reference to Jose Maria Jimenez, my favorite rider of all time. I put a lot of care into each miter. I spend about as much time on each miter as I do when I make a cheesecake. This means that I am either really slow at filing miters or I'm extremely fast in making cheesecakes, either way a lot of love goes into the both of them. I have read of builders doing their miters in less than a minute and thats great if your in a miter race but I don't like to rush. When this frame is done, the pave should melt away under you just like a bite of my cheesecake when it touches your tongue. I'll be back with more photos later. Miter race. I wonder what the payout is on one of those? Who cares?