There, that looks better.
Monday, May 28, 2012
Just finished smoothing out the fillets on Jonathan's frame and shot a couple of photos to show the work. It seems like its been forever since the last frame I built, I've forgotten which one it was. Anyway, my schedule these last couple of months has been all over the place and since I started painting a little bit I've had to focus on a little more than just the building. I don't even worry about numbers anymore, I just focus on the project at hand and when its completed I go to the next. This frame turned out really nice and Jonathan is hip to let me paint it for him, and I don't think he's that scared either. He's a pure racer and doesn't seem too worried about the paint but I'm still gonna try to surprise him with a bada$$ paint job, after all, its gonna have my name on it. Crossed fingers.
Some of my fillet brazing shots. You may get tired of looking at them, I know sometimes I do, but I do it so that people can see what kind of work is under their paint, which is what makes a frame good or not. You can paint a piece of crap gold but go try and spend it. Actually all the framebuilders that I know do really good work. Custom framebuilding is all about how good can you make it. There is a lot of heart and soul in a handmade frame, not to mention blood, sweat, and sometimes tears. I've never actually cried while building a frame but there have been some times in the past that I wanted to, but i didn't, .....seriously I didn't. If you make a mistake, you can cry about it, throw tools at the wall, or whatever but when its all said and done you're still just gonna have to fix it, might as well get on with it. I take my time when building a frame and it cuts down greatly on mistakes. This frame was all smooth sailing. I had a friend that once threw his TV through his window when his football team lost and caused him to lose a little money. Instead of just paying the bet, he paid for a new window and a new TV. He still said it felt good and he'd do it again. It was good entertainment, much better than the game.
Secret code? Winning lotto numbers? Can't tell ya.
First time I've used HJ's dropouts. They're not bad to work with. I guess I need to do a little filing on those edges.
Little personal touch done by Mark at Mainline Awards here in Mountain Home, he does the bb shells for me.
Got a little Enve huh?
I always make sure they're perfectly aligned before painting. Throw a level on the table and a level on the main triangle and if it needs tweaking, tweak it. Let's paint. Gonna go get some primer tomorrow and hopefully knock out a paint scheme by the end of the week. Check back to see what I pull off. Hasta luego.
They say what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, but I think this Giro has pretty much killed me. I am dead. I am on my hands and knees,” Cavendish said. “The Giro is the hardest grand tour in the world. The Tour is different; it’s the racing that makes it hard. Here the mountains are diabolical. It kills you.”
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Ryder Hesjedal became the first Canadian to ever win a grand tour. The Giro was excellent this year and kept people on the edge of their seat the entire race. Ryder put the "pedal to the medal" in the TT and made up more than the 31 seconds he was trailing by to Joaqhim Rodriguez. My man, Roman Kreuziger, blew up in spectacular fashion on Tuesday and fell back to like 20th position, but he did win a mountain top stage on Friday so thats better than nothing. Hats off to Ryder Hesjedal, he definitely deserved this one. This was a tough fight as everyone was just riding against him. Now let's all sing Canada's national anthem. "Oh Canada, Oh Canada....." Somebody else is gonna have to jump in and carry the tune because thats all I know. Ah forget it. National anthems suck. Lets listen to Jack White tear up a guitar. He's from Detroit, thats close enough. Chao.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
This road racing frame is all cut and fit for Jonathan. He loves the criterium so we kept the frame tight and compact and tweaked the geometry just a bit from his other race bike and we're hoping to tap into that perfect position.
Nice tight miters all the way around to start things off. He likes to stay low and out of the wind so the head tube is a stocky 120 mm.
These beefed up chain stays will keep the rear end nice and tight in those 40+ mph sprints.
Decided to go with some Henry James stainless dropouts on this ride.
Just waiting on the bb shell that has that custom engraving and then we'll get everything tacked in place to lay down some fillets.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
This was a little package the UPS man brought me yesterday. I always get a fuzzy feeling inside when I get some new carbon fiber stuff to play with, it just feels like something is about to go down. In this case its my first carbon repair work. While I'm more interested in building carbon frames I thought it might be some good experience to do a few repairs along the way just to learn some more about the process. I feel like it can only make me more confident when building my frames and if I can help someone get their busted carbon frame back on the road or trail its a win win situation. I got a nice little sheet of some pretty butch uni-directional and some 2x2 to match the pattern on the frame as close as possible. Got some new fillers as well to build some "Beefy Mondo Fillets" on the next frame. There won't be any flex issues in the next frame.
This is the frame I'm gonna be working on shortly. This is one beefy mountain bike frame for sure. The top tube took a hit and just has a small smashed in spot. I just sanded the clear off to get to the core. I learned something real quick. Always take a picture of the frame before you start rearranging its face so that you can repaint it to match later. I was too anxious to see the damage and didn't take a photo before I started to work. Fortunately Jonathan said he likes the industrial look and will probably go with the raw carbon repair look. It was fairly easy to find a photo of this frame on the internet so no worries, but just for reference purposes a before and after pic can't hurt anything.
I almost thought there wasn't any actual damage until I got a little deeper and looked closely. This is not damaged very badly and should be a relatively easy fix. You could probably keep riding this frame without issue but this top tube is pretty thin so a small fix now is better than having it crack in half later.
I drilled a little hole to check the thickness of the tube and its much thinner than I thought a mountain bike would be. I have everything I need in place to work on it but its gonna be a week or so before I actually repair it because I have a steel road racer that I just got started on for another Jonathan up in PA. I'll try to remember to post the repair work on the site so you can see the finished product and hopefully after that I can get started on my second carbon frame. I better go change the oil in the vacuum pump. Thanks for checking things out. Chao.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
The Giro has the first week behind it and today should start heating up a bit with the first uphill finish. I believe today's stage is a little over 200k, from Recanati-Rocca di Cambio, two places that I have no knowledge of whatsoever because I've never been to Italy. This years Giro has 2 of my favorite riders in place for overall contention. I've been a fan of Roman Kreuziger for a handful of years now and he's just about do-up for a podium in a grand tour. And you gotta like Ryder Hesjedal, ex-mountain biker who just never quits pushing and seems to excel in the toughest conditions. While these guys aren't quite ready for the top step of the Tour podium they are good grand tour riders right on the edge of breaking through. Dig in cause the dig is on.
"Ryder" is such a great name for a bike racer, but if I ever have a kid I'm gonna go with "Moto", and for their nickname I'm gonna just call'em "Wheels."
"Ryder Moto Wheels" is an excellent name. Yeah, Ryder Moto Wheels Harris it is.
Man, I don't see either Kreuziger or Hesjedal in this race. Oh well, lets watch it anyway.
Friday, May 11, 2012
Jan Ullrich was one of my favorite bike racers of all time. I used to love the way he would turn his cap around backwards and just time-trial people's legs off. In velonews this morning
they had a short story about Ullrich publicly admitting some of his past mistakes in his blog. I'm glad he finally did it. I always thought he was super-cool and I was kinda certain he used PEDs like everyone else around him, I just wanted him to admit it. I know Armstrong dominated Ullrich, but Ullrich isn't a dick, he seems much more genuine. He was fun to watch, both on the bike and off. He kept things interesting because you never knew what he was gonna do. Besides keeping Armstrong nervous in the Tour all the time he also did some other memorable things. Like the time he apparently took ectasy at a nightclub and then backed his Porsche into a rack of bicycles and sped off. And my personal favorite was when he was motor-pacing the day before the Tour prologue and crashed through the rear windshield of his team car. Thats good stuff. I can relate. I once ran into the back of a parked car on the side of the highway and put my head through the back glass. It broke my Scott CR1 in half right behind the head tube. The derailleur cables were the only thing holding the two pieces together. An ambulance came, then the police. I didn't need an ambulance and the cops just looked at each other and said, "How are we supposed to write this one up?" A friend of mine happened to drive by and offered a ride. "Where are my sunglasses?" They were in the back seat of the car under a pile of shattered glass. It didn't hurt too bad. If I wouldn't have been wearing that cycling cap it might've messed me up. My neck still pops a little when I turn to the left. I would love to meet, or better yet, ride with Ullrich. We could share those stories. I think it would be a blast. I wonder how long Lance Armstrong is gonna carry that bag of rocks around?
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
My blogging has slowed quite a bit here lately. I've had too many things going on that don't jive with frame building and I've been trying to tie up all the loose ends and start spending some quality time in the shop. One of the projects I've been working on is learning how to paint bike frames. Paul and Wayne have been building a house and since I've always wanted to paint some of my own frames this was the perfect opportunity to get some practice. Here are some pics of my third paint job. The third time is not always a charm as I learned on this one, although it was educational and while I pulled a little hair out (...alot), I'm glad I worked through it and came out on the other side. When I originally finished this frame I was pretty happy with it but then I realized that I didn't get good coverage under the top tube. It wasn't really that bad I didn't think but the guys at the paint shop said it needed fixing. Thats when the horses got out of the barn. So I taped off everything except what needed repainting and sanded the clearcoat off (..so I thought) and reshot the top tube with the champagne color. About 10 seconds later major wrinkling started to set in. I had no idea what was going on as this is all new to me. "So what happened?" I'm not exactly sure Virginia. Apparently I didn't sand all of the clear coat off the paint and when you combine that with the fact that neither the paint or the clear was completely cured it just all sort of fell apart. I actually did this a couple more times before talking to the paint guys and they said to let it dry for a couple days and then reshoot it. So I did and that got me to this point.
In the end the frame turned out pretty good. After all the trouble I had I was afraid it was gonna be bad. It does have a couple of imperfections and I still have a couple of small runs in the clear coat that I need to buff out but if that goes as planned (fingers crossed) it will be a success. Still needs a head badge.
The rear end turned out nice from the start. After reshooting the top tube with color I ended up scuffing the whole frame and giving it all a good coat of clear and I think that helped pull it all together. Everybody loves a sexy rear end.
This is a little 59cm frame I built a while back. I put a sloping top tube in it to keep it tight and shave some grams. Its got a 1" steerer with a straight-blade fork. This is a solid, all-around ride that will fit a variety of riders. For some reason as I was building this frame I kept thinking of it as a 16 gauge. I don't have a need for shotguns these days but if I did I think I would probably buy an old Browning 16. Do they make shells for those anymore?
It wouldn't be fair to not show some of the imperfections. This is part of what got repainted and when I peeled the tape off the second coat of champagne base kinda lifted off. Not sure why. Maybe I didn't get all the clear off right here and the new base coat just didn't stick. But if this little blemish slows you down any then you're not a racer, your a poser. I've been both and a racer is much better.
Check out those super-red dropouts. Yowsa mamacita!
The stencil layed down pretty good. There is one spot above the "H" that has a little feathered look but everything else was pretty tight. I'm ready to do a 3-color paint scheme now.
One time I actually did let some horses out of the barn. My dad had a few acres north of Jonesboro and he let one of his friends keep their horses there to keep the grass eaten down. I use to take my motocross bike up there to get a little speed work in on occasion. So I pulled up to the gate and I saw the horses about 100 yards away, no worries right. I'll just unlock it, jump in the truck, drive it through, and jump back out and shut the gate before a horse even thinks of leaving. Besides, the horses weren't even paying any attention to me, so I thought. So I unlocked it, pushed the gate open, and jumped in the truck. Soon as I sat down I noticed the horses were kinda walking in my direction. Hmmm, no worries, they're still 75 yards away and I'll just roll in, jump out and shut the gate. Before I got through the gate they started trotting. So they're 50 yards away and I'm getting out of the truck and gonna make a run for the gate. They decided to run too. Good luck trying to outrun a dozen horses to an open gate. They went by the truck, through the gate, and took a left on the gravel road before I started to run. It looked like the start of the Kentuckey Derby as they rolled on the gas and there was so much dust in the air I lost sight of 'em. First thought, the same one I had the time I accidently did a handstand on my motocross bike over the finish line jump in Covington, Tenn., "This is not good!" So I unloaded my trusty little RM 125 and went looking for them. About a 1/2 mile down the road they had gone up into the backyard of someone a couple of farms down. Now I imagine the people were a little surprised to see a dozen horses come running up into their backyard that morning and I probably added to that surprise when I came buzzing up in there on my 2-stroke. I rolled up in there about 3rd gear and the horses took off again, out of the neighbor's driveway, took a left on the gravel road (apparently these horses were lefties) and it was race on again, only this time I was on my horse buzzin right at their bums. I couldn't believe my luck when they came to the entrance of the farm and hung a right and ran straight through the gate. I was down-shifting and closing that gate at the same time. Wheew! If there had been one car coming down that road it could've been bad. So you see Virginia, the other night when I told you I was a cowboy, I wasn't just whistlin' dixie. Actually I'm a Redskin at heart. I don't care much for cowboys.
MEECH CUSTOM BICYCLES
Mountain Home, Arkansas
Monday, May 7, 2012
Since it looks like disc-brakes on road bikes are only a short time away I started wondering what would be next. Anti-lock? Traction control? You know that your average high-end road racer cost as much as a new motocross bike right now don't you? However with the MXer you get a state-of-the-art motor and a suspension that will let you jump over a bus and not feel the landing. And Kawasaki is already selling the traction control on their KX. The other day I stumbled across some limited edition Colnago, don't think it had disc-brakes on it, but anyway the retail on it was like $18,000.00. Por Dios Senor Colnago! Que piensa usted? It weighed 15.5 lbs., thats over the UCI weight limit, virtually a tank by todays standards. Funny thing is, somebody will actually buy one. The other day we got caught out in a little shower and with my worn tires when I would stand up on hills and put a little leg into it my rear wheel was unhooking. I wouldn't mind a little traction control on my MEECH. My wife's car has a little bell that lets you know when you are about to back into something. It starts out really slow and gets faster the closer you get. I like it. Maybe we can get something like that on our bikes that tells us when we are about to slam into something head on. Preferably some sort of robot-like voice that when you are descending a dangerous mountain it could give you a heads up. "YOU ARE GOING TOO FAST. PLEASE APPLY BRAKES NOW. YOU ARE GOING TOO FAST. APPLY BRAKES NOW. TOO FAST, TOO FAST! STOP YOU CRAZY SOB! YOU ARE GOING TO KILL US BOTH YOU IDIOT!..........AN Ambulance is on the way. NICE RIDE YOU COWBOY!"
Actually, having a robot guy to talk to on those long solo rides isn't that bad of an idea.