About Me

My photo
Back in my hometown of Jonesboro., Arkansas, United States
My name is Dimitri Harris and I have been building frames for over 9 years now. I learned the basics after spending two weeks with Koichi Yamaguchi. He is one of the most interesting people I have ever met and I am thankful to have worked with him. Since then I have just been building one frame after another and learning as much as possible along the way. I build steel fillet-brazed frames that go by the name of MEECH, which is an old nickname that I have had since I was a kid. I build mostly cyclocross frames because I love their versatility however I also do road,single-speed, and mountain bikes as well. Custom frames start around $1400. All the frames are handmade by me here in Jonesboro, Arkansas. I am insured and guarantee all of my work so if you are in the market for a custom steel frame I would be glad to build it for you. I am also building frames from carbon fiber so if you would like to ride a prototype frame give me a shout. Thanks for stopping by. You can email me at meech151@hotmail.com or call (870)897-6703 or visit www.meechcustombicycles.com Thanks.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Ride of 2011

My last ride for this year was a bit unique, nothing stellar but different none the less.  I woke up this morning and started building up the carbon frame.  Everything went pretty smooth but I hadn't considered having to route the front derailleur cable any differently and I quickly learned that those little plastic cable guides that I normally use on steel frames wouldn't quite fit the setup that I had.  For one, with all the carbon plies the bb shell has a larger diameter and then when you consider the chain stay setup has a big block of carbon there is nowhere to run the cable.  For the quick fix I just opted to drill a hole in the bottom of the chain stay the same size as a piece of cable housing and on the top I drilled a smaller hole
just big enough to run the cable through.  Kinda looks like a Di2 setup.  I probably should have just drilled both holes the same size and epoxied in a piece of housing and be through with it.  Now that I think about it, I didn't even glue the piece of housing that I used and if it somehow gets pushed up in there it will just be floating around in the chain stay, but I guess as long as the cable is through it I'm safe.  Ok, now for the test ride.  As soon as I got it all together I just jumped on it for a second in my jeans to take a quick spin around the block.  Thought I would at least make sure it wasn't gonna just fall apart.  I was extremely surprised how smooth it felt.  "Did I build this?" This was the first time I've been on a carbon frame since I started building frames with steel, roughly 4 years, and it was feeling pretty good, and the roads around the neighborhood here are a bit rough, all chip and seal.  So after a short loop I came home and parked it, got some lunch, put on my riding gear, and hit the streets.  It wasn't the greatest of days to be product testing. The wind was wailing on me about 25 mph and I didn't feel real good to start with.  The bike felt a bit awkward as a new bike always does, plus  my levers weren't tight and were slipping because I didn't bother putting any bar tape on, not to mention I cut my rear brake housing too short and it was pulling my bars to the left and I couldn't turn to sharp to the right or the brakes would drag the rim.  But none of this was gonna stop me from testing this frame so i rode on.  The bike rides really smooth when your in the saddle, way smoother than i expected.  When i stood up and torqued on it a bit I thought I could see the rear end swaying just a bit so I immediately thought that I didn't wrap enough carbon around the bb area and I got a bit worried that I might crack it, but I kept riding trying to get out of the wind so that i could maybe get a good feel of what was happening.  It didn't happen.  Good news is that it held up, and on the way home I actually stood up on a couple of hills and put a little leg into it (which is all i have these days) and I couldn't tell if it was flexing or not, it definitely wasn't making any cracking noises, not that I could hear anyway.  I'm not so sure that its the actual bb area layup and not just the carbon stays  flexing. Anyway a couple extra layers of laminate can only make it stronger.  So its back in the shop leaning against the wall waiting for the new year and I'm gonna go give it another test ride in the morning before the wind wakes up. It tipped the scales at 16.5 lbs and I can still shave it down a bit more, no weight worries here. Check out those pedals, think they don't have some miles on them.  I've got 2 pair, one pair is more than 10 yrs. old and the other set is over 12 yrs.  They are just as good as they were when I bought them and i've never touched 'em.  How could you even consider buying new ones? Its been a good year here at MEECH and I'd like to say thanks to everyone who has helped me out. Customers, riders, racers, family, etc. I wish you all well in the year to come.  Gonna be more frame building, experimenting, testing, etc. here at the shop.  Larry Yancey is fixin to go to the Masters Cyclocross World Championships here in a couple of weeks.  He's been putting in miles, drinking fruit-punch flavored gasoline, and slapping tigers for this one.  He said he wants to get MEECH some rainbow stripes and I'm all for it.  Happy New Year!  By the way, that elf has had way too much egg nog.

famous words by Larry Yancey

Be cool,
be fast,
and stand on the gas!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Prime Real Estate for a Pain Party

Looks mystic now doesn't it?  When the gun goes off in Louisville, Kentucky on January 12 its gonna change quick.  Factory MEECH rider Larry Yancey is gonna be there serving up carnage.  Its gonna be a pretty big pain party.  Bloody knuckles, frozen toes, and maybe a broken nose, who knows, anything goes in the big shows. Some of those Speedvagen brass knuckles might actually come in handy at the Worlds. I'm gonna try to get Larry a pair before the start.  Got get'em Yancey

Friday, December 23, 2011

welcome back kotter- the barbarino song

Virginia, up your nose with a rubber hose.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Carbon Work

This first carbon frame is done for the most part and its gonna either get ridden or broken this winter.  I decided to put one last layer of carbon around the BB shell just in case I was wrong about what I might get away with.  I only sanded it down and I'm not gonna worry with trying to pretty it up until the ride part is dialed in.  I laid down a couple of nice wraps with the carbon but when I hand-wrapped it for compression I squeezed some wrinkles into it and had to sand it pretty heavily to even it out, you can see where I went into the uni on part of it.  I also may have used too much resin.  The temp was in the 30's in my garage and the carbon wouldn't wet out very well so I think i may have put it on a little too thick. I'm actually pretty tired of looking at that rear carbon stay, I hope to find some nicer stuff to work with in the future, however it was cheap and not knowing how this thing may turn out I didn't want to waste one of the sweet ones.  If it rides good then I'll have to eat crow.  Can I have some green salsa with it?  Red might look a little gross.  I was naive in thinking that I was just gonna epoxy on a cylinder bolt in order to tighten down the seat post.  As strong as some of this epoxy is it snapped off before it even got snug.  Luckily I had this Easton seat post clamp that just happened to fit so we're good to go as soon as I get a headset in it.  I also just epoxied on a hanger for the front derailleur and while it seems secure it may snap off under some stress, we'll see.  But that small stuff will be easily fixed, the ride of the frame is my main concern. I started on this thing around the first part of this year and I remember saying that by the spring I would be test riding it.  Guess I meant spring of 2012.  I did manage to stay pretty busy this year with orders and I hope that the year ahead will be more of the same.  Thanks for checking it out.  Catch ya later.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cross-Up Racing

Here is a photo I found on Jess parker's facebook page.  Its a photo by Jason Perry taken I believe at San Fran's Golden Gate Park.  Hope I got that right.  Anyway, I say forget running over barriers, freakin litter the courses with this stuff and just jump 'em.  Check out jasonperryphoto.net to find some more good stuff.  Thanks for the cool pics now how do I get it to blow up.

Fixie Progress

I made a little progress on the fixed-gear frame this weekend.  This has been a slow build because its not for anyone in particular and what started out as "just gonna build a simple fixie frame because I had some track dropouts laying around",  has turned into a one-off-fest.  I was just gonna throw some drop bars on this thing but then I decided to try my luck with some handmade aero bars.  With a little steel stock that was laying around and some airplane strut tubing from the Spruce I brazed up my first set and they're not so bad.  Let me change that, they're bad, they're "jam beef-mondo bad."  I built them fairly quickly and on Saturday morning I was cleaning up the brazing when I decided to test the strength.  I mounted them in the BB shell fixture on my alignment table and grabbed them on the ends and put a little body weight on them.  I felt a little bend in them before I got the entire $1.60 that I weigh on them. Where the aero tubes were brazed onto the stem tube was folding inward, stem was too light. What do you expect, I'm an ex-racer, I want my bike to weigh nothing.  Damn, not good, screwed-up, wasted time, yeah I was pissed.  Pffff, garbage can.  Wait just a second there hotshot, you can fix these.  So I ripped the bars of the stem, cut the stem tube off about one inch in front of the steerer clamp and used that as an inside lug and slid a larger beefier tube over it, and then re-brazed it with a mondo fillet.  The stem is the "beef", the fillet is "mondo", and the "jam" is just something that sounds sweet, "jam beef-mondo bars."  Now you can do tricep dips on 'em. If you hit a car with these something is gonna get scratched.  I included a couple of pics of the fork.  I still haven't brazed the crown race ring on yet.  I'm out of silver and i can't order any until my new credit card shows up.  Apparently someone got the number off the old one so its best just to change.  You can see the cut-outs I put on the inside of the fork blades so you can get an average sized tire in there.  I've made a couple of mistakes during this build but they were easily fixed and educational so no big deal.  Got a few more fine details before its completed but it will be done before long.  I cannot for the life of me figure out how I want to paint this thing.  Racey. Chao.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Black Cherry on Honey Gold

Few shots of Phil's 650B before I pack it up and ship it.  This frame has a couple of custom features that I haven't used before.  The rear brake cable hanger along with the seat stay bridge are new as well as the hand-crafted seat stays.  The paint scheme is definitely one-of-a-kind.  Phil matched up the Black Cherry Pearl with some Honey Gold and its making me hungry just writing this. Waitress bring me some dessert.  Paul and Wayne did a super job on this thing.  Check out that barber's pole that you can ride on, style points here.  Even painted the water-bottle cages to match.  A finely painted seat lug is becoming a signature touch on all MEECH and MOTO-BICI frames, its so simple yet so cool.  Love it!  Plenty of braze-ons on this horse.  Besides the usual  we added some for a pump, racks, a chain-hanger, as well as a third pair of water-bottle bosses. Is that a threaded steerer?  You know it, as good as ever.  This is the second frame that Phil has bought from me.  He was one the earliest customers of MEECH Custom and its always nice to have repeat business.  Thanks Phil.  And when you get this beauty built up please send us some pics.  Its going in the mail asap and will be there in plenty of time to put under the tree.

MEECH Custom Bicycles
Mountain Home, Arkansas
Finely Crafted Handmade Bicycle Frames

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Experimenting, Playing, or Just Screwin Up?

Here are a couple of pics of the fork I'm working on for the fixed gear frame.  Super simple design that I got from a friend's old Raleigh from the early 70's with a couple modifications.  The crossbar part is gonna be cut down a little so that its not so swanky (I think I'm gonna name my first-born Swanky.  Wonder what he'll grow up to be?). Although, the more I sit here looking at this picture its kinda growing on me as is, it just doesn't quite fit the style of the frame I'm building. Maybe on another frame, something a little more James Bondesque.  FACT:  I've never watched an entire James Bond film.  I've seen bits and pieces of just about all of them but basically couldn't sit through more than 15 minutes before changing the channel.  They just don't do anything for me.  So anyway this frame is kinda leaning toward a time-trialy sort of direction and I wanted the tire to fit really tight in the fork.  Guess what chief?  You measured once and brazed it up twice now the only rubber that will fit is a 20c, hence the cutouts in the side of each fork blade. Now you can get a 23 maybe 25c in there but its as snug as love.  "You just gonna leave it like that?"  No Virginia, I already brazed in a couple of patches but I forgot to shoot photos.  Its coming around and its even more custom.  Right now its at the machinist (he's the guy with the Raleigh) and he's cutting a crown race ring for it and making me a couple of custom...., well thats a secret for now but you'll see it soon.  Check out those custom dropouts.  I was gonna braze some stainless face plates on them but I didn't have the cutting blades I needed so while not wanting to go get them I noticed some spare change sitting on the alignment table and thought, "...those nickels are about the right size, wonder if those are brazeable?"  Who knows what type of garbage they use to make money these days. I heard they put ground up chicken lips in the center of quarters, who knows what's in nickels. Not sure if thats true or not but they are brazeable and make for a pretty sweet, fat pair of custom fork dropouts.  Trying to clean them up after brazing is a bit difficult and they got a little filed down.  Apparently chicken lips turn brownish-red after heating them up to 1250 degrees, but you can tell that they're jen-u-whine authentic nickels because if you look real hard you can see Jimmy Carter's head. Jimmy wasn't that great of a president but he is doing some pretty noble stuff these days.  I heard the Jews and Palestinians are gonna spend Christmas together and give each other presents. Boxes wrapped up real pretty with bows that make neat sounds when you shake them.  It'll be one to remember. Unfortunately, after all that work I realized I brazed the nickels on the same side of the dropouts and therefore they're useless. Unlike you Virginia.  Dude, when its 35 degrees in my shop, my brain flows like molasses. FACT:  I'm thinking of the south of Spain right now.  Oh well.  I just got Phil's 650B tourer back from Ace's and it looks sweet.  Gonna post some pics of that later today.  Hasta luego.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Finished? No, but close.

I did some work on the carbon frame this weekend and while I was gonna put one more layer around the BB shell, the itch to test ride this thing got the best of me and i said, "Screw it, I'm gonna ride this thing and if it breaks, pffff."  I think its strong enough but what do I know?  I know we're gonna find out.  Last night I put a coat of epoxy over all the joints just to see how it would clean up with some clear coat.  It wasn't bad but the clear showed the imperfections and unevenness in the layers, kinda like paint will do, so today I decided to sand it down and try to even it out a bit before putting any clear on it.  Honestly I'm not to concerned with how this first one looks.  Its gonna take some practice to make the lay-ups look professional for sure and I'm gonna start just as soon as I know the frame is structurally sound.  This frame has 2-3 layers of carbon around all the joints and I used two, actually three different types of carbon.  I used some uni-directional tape first, mainly because everyone acts like that is the best for strength in bicycle frames, and then on the head tube and BB shell i covered them with some braided sleeve carbon.  It was mainly for aesthetic purposes but it also stretches in different directions very easily and drapes around the curves much better.  On the seat tube/seat stay juncture I tried a little different technique just to experiment.  After putting a couple of layers of uni, I took some carbon tow and wrapped everything really tight and pulled the layers into the corners.  I built this frame using wet layup and hand wrapping it.  I bought a vacuum pump a while back but haven't mastered the vac. bagging process yet.  My plan was to put one final layer of carbon over all the joints and then vacuum bag the whole thing but I ran out of some of the bagging supplies needed and I just can't wait any longer to test ride this thing.  The only section I'm really concerned with is the BB shell.  I don't know if 2 layers is sufficient but I'm gonna find out before long.  I just need to get a couple of thin sleeves machined to house the headset cups and come up with some sort of seatpost clamp and then I'm building this dude up.  I know your supposed to test the first one by finding the breaking point of the frame but I can't bring myself to break this thing just yet.  Breaking it with a steel bar seems a bit lame to me anyway,  that has nothing to do with bike riding at all.  I'm gonna put this thing on a 10% grade and slam it into the big ring and sprint like its the finish of a race.  If that doesn't break it then I'm gonna descend the hill and lay into the front brakes as hard as I can without going over the bars and if that doesn't break it then I'm gonna ride it off a curb.  If it passes all this then I'm good, cause thats the way I ride everyday.  After putting the braze-ons on (if you want to call them that) and the derailleur hanger the weight creeped up over 2.5 lbs.  I wasn't real pleased about that but it is a 58cm and I didn't slope the top tube too much either so I'm hoping that I have some room to shave weight off the next one.  Some of the weight may be in the Dedacciai rear stay setup, not sure.  Anyway, its all educational.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Montagna Ridiculoso

Damn!  This is a photo from cyclocross back in the 30's.  Next time your dad or your grandpa says, "....back then men were tougher than they are today.", maybe now you'll believe 'em.  Remember, back then the bikes weren't made with True Temper Superlite tubes,  probably weighed about 40 lbs.  See that wooden fence down there at the bottom of the hill, they were bunny-hopping it.  Now who's the cowboy?


I got the fixed-gear frame I was working on tacked the other day and now that I have Yancey's frame repaired I can get back on it.  The repair took priority over this since everything was already in the jig I wanted to stick it first.  This frame has a 4 degree forward sloping top tube just for kicks and to get the front end a little lower.  Might want to trim a couple of feet off the top of that head tube D.  I will.  I still haven't decided what style of fork I'm gonna build for this thing.  I have two ideas floating around in my head and I may not use either.  One was an aero-bladed steel fork.  It would be strictly for looks, but the ride could be a bit harsh so I may go with something a little more comfortable, but its gonna be a straight-blade for sure and its prolly gonna have curb-feelers.  Not sure that will go with the rattlesnake down tube.  We'll see.