About Me

My photo
Mountain Home, Arkansas, United States
My name is Dimitri Harris and I have been building frames for over 6 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, its 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 Mountain Home, 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.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Eddy Merckx crossing it up

Here is a pic that Steve Erickson forwarded to me of Eddy Merckx doing the cyclocross thing. I first saw this on the Arkansas Super Prestige facebook  page a couple of days ago, not sure if Erickson is a part of that or not but it seems like a cool gang to hang out with.  Looks like they're  a bunch of hardcore crossheads from around the state.  I love this photo because I never knew that Merckx was a cross racer.  After seeing this I started trying to find info on him racing cyclocross and didn't have much luck.  This is one of the cooler photos I've seen of Mr. Merckx.  This would hang nicely on any cyclist' wall, preferably mine here at the MEECH headquarters.

Stumbled onto this one as well.  Tell me thats not some prime real estate to be rolling on in the big ring.  Going so fast he lost his cap.  Ed has some nice hair. There are and have been so many great cyclist in the world, but if you whittled it all down I guess this is the man who would be left standing.  Hats off to ol' Eddy Merckx.  I'd like to hang out at his frame building facility for a few days, perhaps weeks.  Months? Years?  I'd come back a lean mean frame building machine.  "Hey Ed, r yall hiring?"  My Arkansas accent might get me the job. I'm working on a new paint job.  It turned out pretty nice and I was kinda stoked about it but it had a couple little imperfections and so with the advice of the guys at the paint store I tried to fix it and it all blew up on me.  I learned a valuable lesson the hard way.  DO-over!  I'll get it.  Check back.  chao amigos.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Future is...well, here.

Here are a couple of photos I took off velonews and bike rumor.  Looks like road disc brakes are happening faster than I thought.  These are a couple of pics of Formula's Di2 compatible disc brake setup that they are gonna use on Syn Nys's cross team this year.  They're way tighter than I ever imagined and apparently they already have them weighing less than Dura-Ace's caliper brake setup, not to mention better braking.  I thought the excess weight of disc-brakes would make for a real slow transition but that bubble has already popped.  I think this looks killer. 

Rear end looks nice and snug too.  

They were saying that these two little spots on the side of the lever were the Di2 buttons.  Good luck pushing those.  Maybe you have to install the buttons.  Maybe there is a summertime-button version and a winter-time button version, you know for gloved hands.  Maybe they'll add another button that will bring out a gadget-arm that reaches in your jersey pocket, opens up your Power-Gel, and squeezes it in your mouth so you never have to take your hand off the bars.  What could possibly go wrong with that?  GU all over your face.  When I was racing a few years back, about the time Power-Gel and GU became popular, I was getting ready for a time trial.  I put a vanilla Power-Gel just inside one leg of my shorts, which was a common place to carry them, to eat just before the start.  Anyway, I forgot all about it and was getting in line for the time trial and I noticed everyone sort of looking at me kinda funny.  So as soon as I rolled up to the start the girl doing the starting looks at me and says to her helper, "He must really like time-trialing." About that time I looked down and realized the gel packet had busted and white goo was running down my leg from the inside of my shorts.  Ahh, those great amateur racing days.  

Apparently this is the brake cylinder.  Fitting things like this into a brake lever amazes me but I guess when you look at micro-chips and things as such its not that big a deal.  It looks pretty well protected from crashes.  Wonder how much these are gonna cost us.  I want some.  Some schweet new road disc-brakes would be really nice to replace the calipers that we've all been using the past however many years but most of my problems don't stem from trying to slow down but trying to go faster. I'll probably be running my calipers and cantis for a few more years. Yesterday I went and did the Tour de Hills race in Harrison, and while brakes were of a great importance what I really needed was a throttle.  These here brakes from Formula are super-schweeet and exceeded my disc-brake imagination by a long shot.  I like 'em alot.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Harris Memorabilia

My mom is moving to Nashville here in a couple of weeks in order to be closer to her grandkids.  She's selling the house we grew up in and that means cleaning out 40 years worth of stuff.  Anyway my dad and his twin brother used to be prize fighters in their younger days and this is one of my dad's old trophies from his "dancing in the ring" days.  Its one of the coolest things I own and I love it.  My mom and dad are the greatest and I owe everything to them.  

My dad went on to train fighters in the service and wherever he was living at the time and I have a killer scrapbook with some great photos to look back at from time to time.  When I was about 4-5 years old my dad bought a couple of pair of boxing gloves and decided he was gonna teach me how to fight.  So he tied a pair on me and then the other pair went on my older sister, who by the way was 5 years older and alot taller.  Anyway, she knocked me over the coffee table and that was my boxing career in a nutshell.  The damn gloves were so big and heavy I couldn't lift my hands to protect my face.  So my dad cut the gloves off and said, "Peewee, you better find another sport."  And I guess thats how I ended up on bicycles and motorcycles. You can't hit me if you can't catch me.  ;)
This is an old pencil drawing that someone did of my dad and my uncle Johnny.  Its on some pretty frail,old paper so I had it framed.  My uncle Johnny was a character.  My dad told me that when they were in the army together one morning they were supposed to go on some long hike with all their gear in their backpacks.  My uncle told my dad, " There's no way I'm gonna carry all this crap all over God's green earth!"  So he just put a little food in his and stuffed the rest of it with wadded up paper to make it look big and fat.  Couple of miles down the trail the sergeant noticed my uncle cruising and checked his bag.  When he saw that  my uncle was basically carrying air around in his backpack he made him fill it up with dirt and drag it around the rest of the day.  I would pay out my nose to have seen some of that stuff go down.  I like the way the artist drew a couple of bombs as their hands up at the top.

This is my dad putting in a little training.  Those legs don't look too shabby.  He could've turned a gear in anger I imagine.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Website is up and running.  Still have some work to do to get everything dialed in but it can be viewed here:
 www.meechcustombicycles.com
Thanks to LC Creative Productions and everyone else who has helped me along the way. 


Dimitri Harris
MEECH Custom Bicycles
Mountain Home, Arkansas


Fly with MEECH







Thursday, April 12, 2012

They're Getting Better


Here are some pics of the second frame I just finished painting.  This is my personal road frame made from S3 Superlight tubing.  Its a solid all-around ride that I put aside in order to test out the carbon frame.  However with this new, schweet paint job I may have to rebuild this one and do a little carbon to steel comparison now that I have a good feel for the carbon frame.  I wish I had both bikes built up so I could compare them equally but I don't have that many components.  

This paint job was another done with rattle cans but it turned out way better than expected.  I got a little bit better feel for working with the stencils, only problem is that the letters have kind of a raised edge on them and I would like to smooth it out a bit.  I put three coats of clear-coat on and that smoothed it out a little but you can still feel them.  I did have a couple of light runs in the clear but they were easily wet-sanded out with some 2000 grit paper and then I hit them with some everyday wax.  Buffing compound would do a better job.  Parts of the frame have sufficient clear-coat however there are a couple of spots that it needed to be laid on heavier.  Lighting is one of my issues right now.  I'm working out back in a storage building that doesn't have much light at all and I can see one side really clear but the back side not so well.

I about lost my breakfast when I realized I forgot to paint the seat cap white.  Not that big a deal but I've grown accustomed to the standout seat lugs.  They just look so much better.



This frame has a head tube made for an integrated style headset.  Little heavier but looks better.

This was a Duplicolor metallic black.  Since this was my personal frame I thought I would try a different brand and see the differences for myself.  Its about half the price of the stuff I was getting at the automotive paint store but its not quite as good.  It lays down nicely though.  I do like the more expensive clear-coat though.  Some of the specs on this frame are from the metallic paint and the other is dust.  For some reason dust was extremely attracted to this frame and it didn't want to wipe off.  No clue, but a little Windex helped shine it up.

What the hey...is that a...no way, a cat hair in the clear on my head tube.  LOUIE!  There are also a couple of pretty good scratches on the head tube where I tried to tape off the head badge and scuffed it with the razor.  Little bit more caution next time chief.
This is an old Ritchey stem that I decided to give a little custom paint.  It was actually already white and black but it was kinda scratched up so I jut sanded it down and put a couple of coats on it to match the frame.   I build custom stems as well but the steel ones are a bit heavier than these.  However, they are built for you in your colors and I can even have them engraved for you, not to mention they are built to last a lifetime.  I've never had any problem out of Ritchey stems or any other for that matter.


I decided to go with a much simpler paint scheme this time since this is all greek to me.  That first frame I had my head in the clouds a bit and tried to do too much.  I have another older cross frame that I'm fixing to start on.  Haven't decided on the colors for it yet.  Thinkin about some Ferrari red or maybe some Black Cherry.  Oooh lala mamacita.  Remember that time we were going to the races and we stopped and ate at the Dragon Mama's Asian Koozine and later that day you threw up on that guy's leg in the crit.  Man, every lap after that the peloton would do a big swerve right in the middle of the finish line straight to avoid that puke. I'd like to see that on video.  On second thought, no I wouldn't.  Chao.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

(Bike) Polo Invasion




Beer, cigarettes, and dog fights.  Sounds like a typical weekend at Michael Vick's house.  Just kidding.  I had to say it.
I like the way none of them are wearing helmets.  I think I'll opt for the full football defensive lineman's helmet with a lense over the face mask.  I'm not worried about my head, its already screwed up, but I would like to keep my teeth. And for the record, I like Mike Vick and I'm glad he got a second chance, just don't mistreat the animals man.

Bike Polo Anyone?

Yesterday i threw the mixte-style frame back in jig to try and get it finished up.  I've been bouncing back and forth on a couple of things and this wasn't a priority but now I'm back on it.  This is actually a bike that I started building for my wife after she told me she would like to have a "normal" bike.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I had no intentions of making more frames of this style unless I got some request for them and a couple days after posting some photos I got a call from a bicycle polo guy who just happened to buy one of my cross frames.  I knew people played bicycle polo but I don't know anymore than that.  It does sound like a cool way to pass a Saturday afternoon, or whatever day they decide to play on.  Anyway, I don't think they are wanting any S3 Superlight tubing on their frames, probably something more like straight-gauge water pipe.  Something that will handle a mallet-wack to the down tube.  It makes me wonder if under extremely intense polo circumstances if some of the players take some anger out on their competitors bikes.  You may not want to show up at a bicycle polo match on your cute carbon fiber, Alberto Contador replica, with the $3000 Zipp wheels.  A pissed-off goalie can wreak havoc on just about anything.
  GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL!!!! 
 "Oh yeah."   SMMAAASHED TOOOOPPPPP TUUUUBBBBE!!! 
 "You BASTARD!  This was a Christmas present."  
"Great, go tell Santa and maybe his elves will fix it."

I always tack the rear triangle first. Then I can throw a wheel in it and if something is out of alignment it just makes it a little easier to fix.  Its just personal preference.  When I first started building frames I always built the main triangle first.  Six of one, half-dozen of another as far as I can tell.  I prefer to get the hard part over with first.

I always throw a quick level on the dropouts and chain stays before tacking.




I braze the bottom bracket area last and then throw it in the jig to let it cool off.  Its definitely the area that receives the most heat so if something does get out of alignment it can only benefit from cooling off in the jig.  If the frame needs tweaking its usually not more than a couple of millimeters.  Quite a while back some builders on one of the forums told me to braze in a sequence.  For example, 12 o'clock to 3 o'clock and then 12 o'clock back to 9 o'clock, then 6 to 3 and 6 to 9.  It seems to have helped quite a bit at keeping the frames straighter after brazing.  Thanks to whoever you were.  A couple of braze-ons and some clean-up work and this thing will be ready for some paint.  Since its my wife's bike it will probably end up being painted something like pink and green.  Its her call.  I still think I can throw  some aero-bars and a disc-wheel on this thing and lay down a good time trial.  We'll never know.  Website is getting really close, just a little tweaking.  Thanks for checking things out.  Chao.
This is what I like to see when it comes out of the jig.  For the super-tweak you have to break out the height gauge.  This seat tube had a 1 millimeter difference from the bb area to the top.  Oh the humanity.  When I started building frames 4 yrs. ago I checked my Scott Cr1 just for the heck of it, I assumed it was perfect, it looked perfect, and it was off by 4 mm.  Now excuse me while I rid myself of a millimeter.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

How bad could it actually be?


 The 2012 Paris-Roubaix is over and Tom Boonen has won for the 4th time in his career.  Didn't look like much of a race to me.  He dropped everyone with around 50 km to go and soloed in like he had a motor on his bike.  As Paul and Phil were talking about the fastest Roubaix ever I became interested, a little more so than usual.  First off, when I saw that Boonen finished in roughly 5 hrs. and 55 minutes I thought "whoa, how far is this race actually?"  I had always thought it was 168 miles and like a 7 hour race, and depending on the edition it looks like it is roughly 150-165 miles. My typical 100 mile rides (back when I could actually ride 100 miles) normally took around 5 hrs.  Granted, we always stopped at the store and got some Gatorade and a couple of corn dogs and some nachos, you know with that cheese thats been in the bucket for about 3 days, and the girl always snickers at you when you ask for extra jalapenos.  They really help get you through  those last 15-20 miles.  Anyway, our rides were on perfectly paved roads and this Boonen cat, Tommeke I believe they call him, did roughly 65 more miles, much of it over roads like the ones pictured above and he only needed 55 more minutes to cover it all.  What was even more interesting than that was that the fastest Paris-Roubaix ever was like in l964 or '65 and they averaged 28 mph over 165 miles.  That was over 45 yrs. ago.  So then I started thinking about the differences in the bikes back then versus what they are riding now, and finally I just arrived at the thought that I want to watch that 1964 or '65 race.  It has to be at the least a little fascinating.
Bike looks a little small for you Tommeke.  Oh well, I always heard that pro bike racing was a circus.


The old timers always think the guys these days have it too easy so they get out there the day before and plant a few surprises.  Then on race day they stand around out in the fields all day drinking beer and laughing as riders hit the mines that they planted.  Oh what fun!

This isn't so bad.  I've gone to school dances with girls who had teeth worse than this.  "No honey, you've got a very pretty smile.  Now just remember to keep your lips tight when they snap that photo, and then we'll go dance over there in that dark corner."
Just what I suspected.  I started looking at 1965 bicycles and here is the Bianchi Specialissima from that year.  Now this may not be the bicycle that won Roubaix however you can imagine Bianchi was at the forefront of bicycles during this period as they are in any period.  

And what is it made of?  You guessed it.  Steel!  What more do you need to know?  Steel is faster than everything else, period.  Not only that, but I think I discovered where Specialized got their name.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Next

First paint job is complete.Whats the verdict?  Well, I can't call myself a professional painter yet, after all this is the first one, however it is doable and the second one is already in the works.  After making the first initial mistakes I sanded it down, cleaned the slate, and reshot it.  I worked out the stencil and logo issues I had on the first attempt and I have to say I was pretty happy with how it turned out.  There were a couple of rough spots around the edges of the letters but other than that not bad.  So now its time to clear coat it.  I had a fresh can of clear coat that the catalyst had never been broken so I planned on using that.  What I forgot was that when I bought this clear a while back I had them put a pearl finish in it. So thats why it has that frosted look to it.  Each coat of clear I put on the frame it got a little more frosty looking.  Ever onward!  Just roll with it.  It is what it is. Let's get the next one in the booth.  Progress to be made.  I'm pulling out the big guns on the next one.

This is an older used frame that was laying around so I stripped it down and decided to make use of it. Its a solid cross frame with a mono stay and its got some nice fillets.  The fork is a 1 1/8" steel so its beefy and solid and should ride like its on rails.  Should you want to lighten it up a little for the races you can always throw some Easton carbon on it.  You could make it sub-18 pretty easy.

Handmade and painted by me in Arkansas. Ace's Wild Custom is still the man when it comes to painting the customers frames however I'm gonna continue painting random frames in order to make them a little more my own and perhaps before long they'll start looking sweet.  There is a certain satisfaction that comes from building your own frame and painting it makes it that much more special.  I'm a fly fisherman and so quite a few years  ago I started tying all my own flies.  Then I started building custom fly rods.  That first fish that you catch on your own fly you have to give him a big kiss and then show him the rod that hauled him in before sending him  back out on his way.  It gives him something to tell his buddies later that night at the bar.  He'll say, "Man, I swear it looked just like a real sow bug, and you should seen the stick that cowboy was carrying.  I know he didn't just go buy that at the fly shop, no way man, that stuff was custom."  This conversation at the bar between fishes never takes place though if you decide to throw him on the grill.  Although his buddies might be hangin around the bar having a beer and be asking if anyone knows where their buddy is.  Fish do some crazy stuff man.  Ever seen Arizona Dream with Johnny Depp and Vincent Gallo?

Theres that trademark painted seat lug.  I have to say this turned out rather nicely.  I like it.

What is that on the chain stays?  I'm not sure.  I thought I had a swanky plan but sometimes things don't go as planned.  Oh well, live and learn.  Don't think this is the last time I'm gonna get swanky with it.  Its just gonna take a little time to dial it in.  One of these days I'm gonna do a full-on graffiti bike.  I'm gonna paint the tires and everything.   Imagine just painting over a $3000 Super Record gruppo.  I think that might be considered bike blasphemy.

It actually looked much better before the frosty pearl clear coat was added.  It won't affect the ride, it may even help pick up some swanky women.

For some reason every time I scroll down to the next photo the font changes sizes.  What the ....?

Whats next?  You'll see next week.  I've got about three more frames to paint and then I should be a professional.  Just kidding.  If there are any frame builders checking this out and you've never painted one of your own frames, let me tell ya, it ain't easy.  You should go give your painter a big thank you hug and maybe buy him a gift.  Always tip the painters. Gotta keep'em happy.  The website is getting closer to done.  I hoped it would be finished already but it needs another week or so.  Have a good weekend and Happy Easter.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

No Cigars

A couple of days ago I decided to try my luck at painting one of my own frames.  Sounds easy enough huh?  Painting is like working with carbon fiber, its really easy to make a mess.  Anyway, the epoxy primer went on pretty well and after sanding it and smoothing out all the fillets I was stoked to do some painting.

First I sprayed the frame with epoxy primer straight out of a can.  Its pretty cool because now they  put all the good stuff in a rattle can but its not your everyday $5 can of paint.  They're charging like $15-20.  Not cheap but it did turn out to be some good stuff.  Also, after starting this little project I realized that this way is much better than just running out and buying a compressor and all the painting accessories only to find out you can't paint after all.  The way I see it, if you can get a frame looking good with a rattle can and you plan on continuing to paint, then buying all that stuff will be justified.  After the epoxy primer is cured I hit all the joints with a filler primer that is sandable and its supposed to help clean up any imperfections, but it actually just shows you if you didn't clean them up enough beforehand.  The letters in this text are looking bigger than normal.  The other day the power went off and my computer got all screwed up somehow.  I was trying everything to get the settings right and now I've changed everything when apparently, according to my wife, all I needed to do was right click.  Pffff!  I'll work on it but if it goes anything like all the other projects I'm working on its probably gonna be a while.


Ah, this looks much better.  The text not the painting.  The painting is jacked up.  I actually have the base coat looking pretty good but working with these stencils is proving more difficult than what I thought.  I did two things wrong that I know of.  First, and I knew not to do this, but I put the first coat on too thick.  Light, thin coats, one on top of the other.  I knew to do that but I didn't realize how thick I laid it on in the first section.  Second mistake, I didn't let it dry long enough before pulling the stencil off.  I just wanted to see how good it was.  Can you blame me?  Too thick of paint means the paint is actually as thick as the stencil and when you peel the stencil off the paint comes with it, and if the paint isn't dry its even worse.  Accept it, embrace it, fix it!  Its all educational. 
Parts of it don't look too bad.  Whats with the font on this thing?  Every time I scroll down it changes the size of the letters. The painting is more predictable.  The "MOTO"  looks pretty good, although its not the hot pink that I normally use.  I didn't have any of that, its at Paul's shop.  Paul has been building a house these last couple of months and probably will be for a few more, hence me attempting to paint my own frames.  Its just something I always wanted to do and this is the perfect time for it.  Wait till you see whats under the taped off section of the chain stay.  I tried to get creative but I probably just screwed up.  I had so many ideas in my head for the paint scheme that I forgot it was the first time ever that I was gonna paint a frame.  "Hey hotshot, might want to keep the first one a bit simple since you don't have a clue as to what you're doing."  No way man, I want it to be so complicated that I pull my hair so hard that my feet come off the ground.  Pain and anguish is what I'm in search of.



At least the seat cap turned out ok.  It should look even better with the clear coat.  Apparently that part can be a little tricky as well.  Oh well, I'm on a mission now.  This font changing size has my head all screwed up.  Isn't there enough crap to do without your computer playing mind games with you.  So anyway, I've already sanded all the mistakes and reshot the base coat where needed and I'm gonna give it another shot tomorrow but for now I'm going to bed.  Chao.