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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Branton's Custom Crosser

Just finished building the fork and cleaning up Branton's cross frame this afternoon so I wanted to get some pics up before it goes over to Ace's for some color.  This   was a unique build for me for a couple of reasons.  Its the first time I have used internal rear brake routing and its also the first time I have used the custom cutout in the right chain stay in place of the usual indentation.  

I like the way it looks, clean and custom.

Branton wanted some down tube shifter bosses brazed on instead of the top tube mounted triple cable stops.  When racing cross he prefers to suitcase the bike instead of shouldering it.  I have only done 6 or 7 cross races myself but it always seems like I end up suitcasing the bike as well, seems quicker but its just a natural reaction for me.  Whats really a natural reaction for me is riding the bicycle versus carrying it.  One of these days I'll get my MEECHcross racing track built and the only reason for carrying your bike then will be if you break it by casing a double-jump.  My dreams are bigger than my pocketbook.  I'm starting to get a little frustrated because over the last year I have tried at least a half-dozen times to win the lottery in order to start MEECHcross racing, all to no avail mind you.  I didn't think anything was more difficult than cyclocross racing but winning the lottery is proving to be much harder than I expected.  Becoming an astronaut is a joke, besides, when I win the lottery I'll buy my own rocket, just like Richard Branson.  I'll race him for pink slips then I'll have two rockets, maybe, you never know when it comes to rocket racing, thats a dangerous bit. Speaking of NASA, they better hope I don't become president, which is gonna be way easier than winning the lottery or some rocket race, because I'm gonna slash their budget by half and use the other half to buy bicycle stuff.  It'll be better than just blowing it on the moon and Mars.  I say give that to the Russians, let'em go some place warmer and get'em off our coat tail for a change.  If by chance they make anything of it we can just blow it up from down here and not mess up the Earth, give Russia to the polar bears.  More money & bicycle stuff for the U.S., no Russians, a thriving polar bear population, and a beautiful custom cyclocross bike all in one blog post.  I'm surprising myself now.  I think I've been watching too many Tosh.O marathons.  I just realized that I forgot to add the anti-brake chatter cable stop on the fork that Branton was wanting so the frame isn't actually finished, but all that other stuff is taken care of.  If there are any Russians out there that can read this, I'm just messing with you.  I like the Russians, they are fun to party with.  They can drink a couple of liters of vodka, beat you at chess, then go out dancing. How do they get anything done?  They don't, thats why it failed. It's a shame that the United States can barely keep up with them.  As for all you clowns at NASA, you can consider yourself unemployed when I'm elected.

You won't see another serial number like this ever, guaranteed.  I'm burning the mold as we speak.

You route the cable housing in from the back and out the front.  In through the out door.  Isn't that a Zeppelin album?

Can't wait to see how Branton decides to paint this dude.  Check back for the finished product.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

These Go To 11... | This Is Spinal Tap | Classic Clips

When Campy came out with 11-speed this is what always came to my mind.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Couple of shots of the pre-cleanup fillet brazing.  I was in my hometown for a couple of days and just got back to work on Branton's frame.  This frame is coming together nicely and the alignment was spot on after I pulled it out of the jig.  Actually I only tack it in the jig and then do the brazing in my stand, but I always put them back in the jig after finishing the bottom bracket area.  The heat will usually always pull something a couple of millimeters one way or another but I won't have to touch this one.  Call it a bonus.  

We are gonna run the rear brake housing through the top tube and straight out the back.  I thought it would be difficult to feed it through since we decided not to braze in a brass tube, but by feeding it through the seat tube first it almost fell out of the top tube on its on, couldn't believe it.  One night I spent hours trying to feed a cable through my old Orbea time trial frame.  I finally went over to my friend's house, Jeff Hudson, who built my alignment table for me, and we worked another couple of hours before emerging victorious, but I was bruised up pretty badly and a couple of days after not achieving the time I wanted at the state tt championship that frame was on Ebay.   It wasn't the bikes fault, it was just that I knew my time trialing days were over.  If I get the urge to suffer again I'll just go to a cross race and do a couple of laps.  A few braze-ons and some clean-up work and this thing should be done, oh yeah, and a fork. Check back in a couple of days.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Branton's New Build

Here is the upstart of a new cross frame for Branton over at the Highroller Cyclery in Fayetteville here in Arkansas.  If you're familiar with the Joe Martin Stage Race, Hell's Kitchen, and a couple other spring classics you know the area, its some pretty sweet terrain.  

Basically just have a few miter shots to to look at.  I always try to show some of each build here on the blog.  A lot of customers like to see their frames progress from a drawing to a finished product. Videos would be nice on occasion but I never have anyone around to shoot 'em. You can see where I always clean off the coating on the inside lip of each tube.  It helps to have a good clean surface all the way around for the little internal fillet to stick to.  Yamaguchi is the one that taught me how to do that so I always try to pull a little extra brass inside the tubes for a little better bond.  I imagine its a little stronger however from what I've seen a good solid fillet on the outside is sufficient.  I've practiced and played and tried to rip brazed joints apart and all I've ever come up with is wadded up tubes that eventually tear apart behind the fillet or where the butting starts to taper.  When I first started building my main concern was a frame breaking apart at the fillet and after roughly 100 frames its yet to happen.  If you start out with some good clean surfaces and scuff the ends of the tube inside and out the only thing left is to flow a little concave of brass (keep the heat down but make it flow), and you're gonna be hard pressed to break that.

Decided to put a little custom chain ring clearance on this frame.  It looks so much better than an indentation.  Its a little more work but well worth it. I meant to take some pics of the actual process but forgot.  For the most part you just file a groove where the inner chain ring would touch, find a piece of tubing that is the correct diameter (preferably a meaty piece of tubing, I use head tube material),  then braze it in.  I cut off the excess with a Dremel and then start cleaning it up with a file or anything else that works for you.  Pretty easy and its a clean, custom look.

I included a couple of random shots for fun.  This tripped out looking photo was supposed to try and show where the butting in the tube starts but I didn't do a real good job.  It basically looks like I'm spying on my neighbor.  In the summer time sometimes my neighbor will walk around the yard in a little skimpy yellow swimsuit, but before you get too excited let me warn you, my neighbor is a hairy, fat dude.  Which reminds me, the other night I got an earfull.  My wife likes to watch that show the Biggest Loser.  I had never even watched one episode because its not my kinda thing.  When she's watching her shows I'm usually in here on the computer playing chess or messin with the blog, ebay, etc.  So I decided to go join her to watch TV because she's always telling me I don't ever watch TV with her.  Its not true but anyway I went in there with good intentions and said, "Hey baby, who's winning on the Fattest Loser?"  Whoops.  I botched the name a little bit.  So she set me straight on how those people are suffering and don't deserve to be made fun of.  It was an honest mistake.  I mean why do overweight people deserve all the sympathy?  Why can't skinny people get a TV show?  We suffer too.  We're not getting enough food to eat while these people are being locked in a room with $20,000 worth of Godiva chocolate.  I say chow down wide load, forget your team, when is this opportunity ever gonna come around again, you can start dieting again tomorrow.  The way i see it, they have an obligation to stuff their face, thats what the audience wants to see.  Do you think everybody wants to stand around the water cooler the next day and talk about how Fat Albert didn't eat the candy.  No way!  They want to see him on the security camera stuffing a $1000 worth of Godiva truffels in his pie hole until he falls on the floor vomiting chocolate with a complete look of failure on his face.  Don't be fooled by his teamates, they want him to eat it too, that way they are assured a place down on the farm for some more TV time. Fat people, skinny people, drug addicts, workaholics, we're all the same, but I would like my shot in that Godiva room.  I always wanted to take my dalmation Mickey into a grocery store just once and just let him run wild.  I always would park, leave him in the truck (the inside with the window down), then I would dissappear for a while and come back with bags full of food.  He'd look at me like, "Man, why don't you take me with you, I like food too."  I can just see him walking through those automatic doors like the Gates of Heaven, with a million different smells filling the air, his nose would be pointing straight up, he wouldn't know which way to go.  I'm pretty sure he would go straight back to the meat department, or perhaps the deli because that food is already cooked. Who could pass up baked chicken and ribs with donuts just down the aisle?  Moto Mickey kept me on my toes at all times.  Man, that construction worker was pissed when Mickey stole his box of Captain D's fish and chips.  Only thing left was a torn up box and the cole slaw.  Not even a dog will eat that crap.

This is my favorite piece of framebuilding clothing.  Its a vest that my wife got for me a couple of Christmases ago.  Its warm and leaves your arms free to move.  My favorite piece of cycling clothing is a vest as well.  That and a cycling cap are worth their weight in gold.  If you look closely at the vest you can see feathers coming out of about 5 different spots where I occasionally stuck it with a hot brazing rod.  I've actually got a brazing rod sitting on my bench out there now with a feather melted to the end of it. So if anyone out there ever gets a frame with a hairy fillet you'll know what happened. Maybe next year I'll get a new one, kevlar.  Chao amigos.

Monday, January 16, 2012

World Championship Pain Party

Here are a few photos from the 2012 Masters World Cyclocross Championships that were held in Louisville, KY this past weekend.  Factory MEECH racer Larry Yancey had a solid performance and finished 7th overall.  Starting from the back of the pack the gun went off and Yancey immediately started passing riders and was in mid-pack when they came to a slick, fast downhill.  Larry had been checking out a secret line on the outside in the races before his and as soon as he got to it, hit the gas, kamikazied the downhill, and railed into the lead before anybody knew what happened.  He held it down for quite a while before the national champ (I should know his name but I don't) got by.  It was  pretty knarly conditions even by cross standards.  The riders were carrying an extra 10-15 lbs. of mud on their bikes while navigating snotty downhills with nasty frozen ruts.  Crashes were abundent as well as some excellent competition.  Check out that last photo of Yancey on the final lap, think it was tough?  Larry came home stoked and I believe he has already started training for next year's worlds which just happens to be here again in 2013.  It feels great to have had one of my frames at such a prestigious event.  So thanks Larry for riding a MEECH and next year I'll have you another frame ready to go so that you can have a clean pit bike every lap.  Ride on everybody!

MEECH Custom Bicycles
handmade in
Mountain Home, Arkansas 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Venice Beach Custom Bicycles

 Wood, bone, skulls, danger, blood, springer front-ends, pneumatics, fully twisted, laser-cut, mirrors, scissor racks, rattlesnake tails, and custom stereo.  And you thought NAHBS was cool.  If you said custom chain ring clearance around these guys they would look at you like you were crazy and then probably assume that you just had some sort of learning dissability.  Thats alright.  Try riding it up Alp d'Huez. Different Strokes, different folks.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Masters World Cyclocross Championships

World Championship racing going on in Louisville, KY now and the rest of this weekend.  Yancey is locked and loaded and will be heading to the start line on Sunday.  Go thrash'em Larry.

Stay cool, fast, and on the gas!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cleanup complete

In the Yamaguchi frame building book he says how he enjoys finishing the frames, sanding and polishing and making the joints beautifully smooth. As I mentioned in the previous post, the cleanup work is not my favorite part of the build however it is a very important part of the process and I always try to remember Yamaguchi's words before I start and all the way up till I'm finished.  I think trying to make the perfect fillet is one of those things that you can work on a lifetime, just like trying to build the perfect bicycle, luckily neither the fillet nor the bicycle has to be perfect to be enjoyed but you strive to get as close as you can.  Ever onward.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fun is over, and the work begins.

Drawing the frame up on paper is relaxing, getting a proper fit on the tubes is interesting, brazing is enjoyable business, then comes the clean-up.  Filing, sanding, more filing and sanding.  I don't particularly like the cleanup work but its how its gonna shine when I'm done that gets me through it.  I don't consider it a bicycle frame until its finished.  Check out Braze-On Man.  He was the center for the Redskins but since they didn't get into the playoffs he's got a little free time to lend a hand.  The old Bringheli jig has served me well on many frames. I quit counting frames after #10 but I imagine I'm getting close to #100.  The last couple of years I've tried to get away from giving any attention to unimportant numbers, like age, etc., and just focus on the tasks of the day.  One time I actually forgot that it was my birthday.  I was filling out an entry form for a motocross race and asked the girl behind the table what the date was and she said..., and I said, "No lie?", and she said, "If I'm lying, I'm dying, and there's gonna be a lot of boys crying."  As I was walking back to the pits I started thinking that since it was my birthday that I might have a really special race.  It was if you consider bent bars,  a smashed pipe, and a trashed radiator special.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

First Build of 2012

Yesterday afternoon I started a new build.  Its a 59 cm road frame with a sloping top tube that tightens it up quite a bit.  The majority of the frame is OX Platinum with a 31.6 mm down tube so it should be pretty light and with tighter triangles it should eliminate most of the flex that is common with larger frames.  This is where I think fillet-brazing is an advantage because you can build up a good concave around the bb shell and I think it produces a stiffer bb area than say tig welding.  You would think that a lugged bb shell would produce the stiffest steel frame but all the lugged frames that I had seemed a bit sluggish.  I'm not an expert on lugged frames at all.  I've never built one basically because I chose fillet-brazing as the technique I wanted to use and I've stuck with it.  There are plenty of good builders out there who produce some beautifully crafted lugged frames and my hats off to them.  Maybe one day I'll build one but at the time I'm not interested.  I still start every frame build with a hand made drawing at 1/2 scale.  This is the way Yamaguchi taught me and its the only way i know so I've stuck to it.  I've never used Bike Cadd and its embarrassing that I don't know how.  Its supposedly super-easy but I've just never got around to messing with it, besides, starting each new frame by sitting down and drawing all the details by hand is a great way to start out, it pulls you in sync with the frame, and its kinda like running through your notes before you take a test, its relaxing and one of my favorite parts of the build.  After the drawing I start the build with a perfectly level junction between the bb shell and the seat tube, its much easier than filing the seat tube, putting it back in the jig to check it, and then pulling it out again to make corrections.  Just level the seat tube in the vise, and file the miter until the bottom bracket shell is level and you should be good to go.  Once you do a good tight miter you won't settle for anything less on the ones that follow.  The 59  mark on the seat tube shows where the top tube would intersect if it was horizontal and then when you throw in the slope, this one is 5 degrees, it actually intersects the seat tube at roughly the 54 cm point.  This is probably boring you to sleep so I'll shut up now.  The weather here in Mountain Home has been beautiful these last few days.  Today it was 65 degrees and sunny.  It felt like a spring day and i was moving pretty quick in the shop. If this is global warming  then I'm all for it.  Just kidding.  I do not like cold weather at all but I'm a big fan of polar bears.  Bottom line is its outta my hands, if they need me to adopt a polar bear some day I will.  Pit bulls, hah! Imagine riding up to the base of a hill when you know that the 3rd house on the right has a polar bear.  Can you say cardiac arrest?  "Boy, you know where you are, you in the jungle baby, you gonna diiiiiiieeeyyyyyyeeye."  That was an Axl Rose reference, I do those from time to time.  One time Yancey and I hit this little kicker outside of Jonesboro that is about a 15 percent grade for about 50 meters and there was a pit bull loose in the yard.  Man we were dancing on the pedals like Marco Pantani and Jose Maria Jimenez while that dog was singing "Your ass is mine."  I'm just glad it was Yancey's chain that was slipping and not mine.   This frame was cut and fit by 2:00 so I put the files up and got a cup of coffee and went for a ride.  I have about 4 or five rides on the carbon frame without issues so I'm gaining confidence in it.  It is amazingly comfortable on the road and rides great when you're in the saddle but when you stand up and kick it has a little flex.  To tell the truth it doesn't ride much differently from the carbon bikes I used to ride, like the Look KG 171, 281,381, etc.  I think the flex is not really coming from my carbon layup but from the smaller diameter carbon tubes that I used.  The head tube area feels rock solid, its just the bb area that seems to soak up some of your out of the saddle kicks.  No worries.  On the next one I'm going with a little larger diameter tubes and maybe a couple more layers of carbon and we'll see how it changes things.  I really want to figure out how to build carbon lugs.  Thats what I want Virginia.  I'm gonna tack this frame in the morning so maybe this weekend I'll have some more pics.  Thanks for checking it out.  Hasta luego.