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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Schwinn Sting Project

I've got an interesting build to start here in the coming days for Matt who has been a BMXer all his life.  I can't give you all the details because its a secret.  Actually I don't have all the details, just some vague numbers and a handful of BMX parts but numbers and parts are what dreams are made of, or something like that. I have so many things that need to be taken care of both bicycle related and not and I always feel like nothing is getting accomplished.  I have one frame in the paint booth getting a little touch-up work that has been the number one priority, I have Yancey's back-up frame half painted that I need to get finished, and about 2 others that I need to get painted as well.  I wanted to get all this paint work done before starting on any more frames or taking any more orders and my plan was to get it all done between now and the New Year and then start with a clean slate.  Thats still the plan, we'll see how it goes.  Paul has been busy building his house and has had limited time to spend painting and I can't paint in the winter because I don't have any climate control in the shed out back.  People tell me to just throw a heater in there but its not quite that simple.  You have to have some fresh air coming in from somewhere and that fresh air this time of year is cold.  "Well D, why don't you just get you a good respirator and suck it up for a while in there?"  No thanks!  I don't think thats a good idea for a much desired long life-span, nor is boxing yourself up in some 10' x 10' shed, filling it up with explosive fumes, and running a heater.  I would like to get these frames painted but I'm not gonna put my eye brows on the line, sorry Virginia.  Actually I'm willing to put my life on the line for frame building but I'm not interested in going out in some stupid fashion like blowing myself up. 

 "How did he die?"
"He locked himself in a storage shed with a little heater and started spraying flammables everywhere and KABOOM."   

Anyway, no worries mate.   I just spoke with a guy who builds hot rods here in town and he has a full shop with a paint booth as well and he agreed to let me rent booth time from him on occasion which is an ideal scenario for me.  I can get some real painting experience in a professional environment and hopefully start to paint all my frames, or at least a lot of them. So while progress here has been a little slow lately my original plan is gradually coming together.  My job at the bistro has been a blessing in some ways and a beating in others.  Its allowing me a little more financial freedom but at the same time taking me away from frame building.  Don't worry, I'm itching to build frames more than ever but this is the holiday season and  so I'm just gonna focus on getting these handful of things done between now and the end of the year and put a fresh-laid plan to work in 2013.

This build here is gonna be a slow build as I'm new to the whole BMX thing but I'm all sure Matt is gonna bring me up to speed pretty quick and once we have all the small details out on an open table it will be some interesting fun.  I love the whole BMX thing and I've always wanted to get the MEECH name out there on a track somewhereand this is my opportunity.  I'm sure I'll have some more to add to this shortly but I need to go run Dizzy dog this morning and let him spread the love if you know what I mean.  I've been a little sick these last couple of days but I think I'm on the downhill now.  

Wonder what video game that is? This looks like a fun room to be hanging around in huh? So anyway, back to this BMX thing.  I never was a BMX racer in my time as there wasn't an abundance of BMX racing in my area, or any that I knew of.  Motocross was always my dream but I never got to race on a motocross bike until I was like 20 yrs. old.  My parents weren't big on the whole motorcycle thing so I had to wait until I got old enough to go at it on my own.  I had a couple of motorcycles when I was young but never did any racing only jumping and popping wheelies around the neighborhood.  When I was in the 11th grade I actually talked my mom into co-signing on a loan so that I could purchase a CR125.  A couple of years later I finally got to take it to my first race.  Man did I suck.  In the first moto I got stuck in the gate so everyone was long gone by the time I actually got going, except for this one guy who was picking up his bike from a first turn crash.  So there is the entire first turn with one rider picking up his bike and me coming down the straight at 50 mph like I'm gonna catch up.  About the time the stray rider gets on his bike I come sliding into the first corner and take him out again.  Man was he pissed.  I had 15 feet on either side of him to go around and I slammed straight into him.  Who knows what happened in the 2nd moto?  All I know is that my dream to ride faster and jump farther than everyone else at the track was shattered.  No factories were gonna call and sign me up and give me free bikes like I had planned.  Pure devastation embodied me but life went on and I eventually won some races in the years to come.  Dirt tracks with jumps and whoops is right up my sleeve so to get my name out there on the fast track is something really appealing to me.  I like seeing people go fast and high and if they are on one of my bikes its just that much better so I'm really stoked with this build.

A lot of the older Schwinn's were fillet-brazed so how much better can it get for me.  This frame here was fillet-brazed and then chromed.  You don't see much chroming these days, not sure why.  Maybe its the cost involved, maybe its the EPA, I have no idea.  Anyway, the finish on this frame I'm starting is the least of my concerns right now, I'm just ready to get this party started. Stay tuned.  Venga.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Alright, just wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  I had no pictures of my own to share at the moment but I didn't want to just write Happy Thanksgiving cause that would be lame.  So what did I do?  I googled "turkey bicycle" to see what would come up and this is what I got, along with a bunch of photos of people riding bicycles in Turkey.  So up above is the first photo.  Not bad.  We have a good looking turkey(is that what they call a Tom turkey?), he's pretty well buffed, standing along side of a nice looking steel bicycle, that if you put a racing saddle on and raised it a bit, threw some drop bars on it, and added some of your favorite pedals, you might make it through a cross race or two.  Its possible, you don't know, you might.  I also can't help but to get a little turned on just by looking at that prime terrain.  Kind of a loamy hardpack if there ever was such a thing.  Thats MX lingo. Looks a little like what I used to race on in the Georgia Dome. I never saw any turkeys hangin out around the Georgia Dome though. Saw a lot of bums and bag ladies that said they could do lots of talented things for a dollar.  "You'll do what 'toothless bag-lady wearing five sweaters and three toboggans'?  Is that why you cut the fingers out of your gloves?"  After reading this you are all gonna be thankful for something, I guarantee it, even if you only have one tooth.  So anyway,  what do you think happens in this turkey-bicycle picture here?  
Does the buffed turkey grab the bike and put his turkey legs to good use and make a smooth get away before the ax gets him, or...

...did he ever even learn to ride a bicycle in the first place when he was just a young gobbler?  Apparently this turkey here never learned to ride a bike and ended up like this.  I think this is more of a pig than a turkey.  I don't know but I bet it sure taste good.  I'm getting hungry now.  Nice job of weaving the bacon. Thats kind of a 3k Bacon weave on that frame. The hidden skills of some people never ceases to amaze huh?  Now just coat it with some high-end epoxy and you'll have one of the stiffest riding birds in the peloton.   Why did the thought of racing ostriches just come to my mind?  I prefer cantilever brakes on my cross bike but I think if I raced ostriches I would probably go with disc brakes on both of his ankles.  Talk about face-planting. In one of my older post, probably like 3 years ago, I was talking about MEECHcross racing, and I believe I said that I would start the race out by shooting a flaming turkey out of a giant slingshot.  Where do I come up with these ideas?  Don't worry, the turkey would not be alive and on fire, at least not for long anyway.  Although, to be more of a  humanitarian I could just launch a live turkey out of the giant slingshot and then he could just proceed to fly on and everyone could applaud the free-stylin pardoned turkey, without the fire of course. I wonder why chickens never get pardoned?  I mean chickens get eaten everyday whereas the turkey only has to escape the holiday a couple of times a year.  Imagine how a chicken would feel if he got bought for a Thanksgiving dinner.  He'd be like, "WTF MAN, I GET ONE STINKIN DAY OUTTA THE YEAR THAT I DON'T HAVE TO COVER MY ARSE TO KEEP SOME CLOWN FROM CHOPPING OFF MY HEAD AND YOU UP AND DECIDE THAT YOU DON'T LIKE TURKEY, WELL HOW BOUT YOU LEARN TO LIKE IT JACKASS!  FOR PETE"S SAKE MAN!  WHAT ABOUT HAM or STEAK, or EAT SOME DAMN FISH FOR CRYIN OUT LOUD!  CAN'T I JUST REST FOR ONE FREAKIN DAY AND TRY TO ENJOY WATCHING SOME FOOTBALL WITHOUT SOME CORN NUT  TRYING TO KILL ME?" 

 Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  Hope you get the opportunity to get in some miles on the bike, and that you can ride faster than this turkey did. That may be a chicken under all that bacon, who knows?  Rock 'n' Roll.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Anne's 5K

Anne did the White River 5k run for charity on Saturday morning.  They actually had a full marathon and a half marathon as well to benefit a charity for the people of Kenya.  The marathon was a qualifier for the Boston Marathon and they had a pretty good turnout.  It was pretty cold (felt real cold to me, low 30's at start time) and foggy but it didn't phase her and she went out there and knocked it out.  She was just about talked into doing the half marathon a couple of weeks earlier but after realizing that trying to run 13 miles with only a few days training is not a good idea she opted for the 5K.  Anne and I aren't runners, me especially, but she went out on a couple of 8-10 mile runs on a moments notice to try and get ready and then when she found out there was a 5k as well she decided to play it smart.  So we woke up early got her to the start line and after 30 minutes we were back in the car ready to get back in a warm bed.  Runners are crazy people.  Right before the start I had a little deja vu when Anne said to me, "Why am I doing this?"  And I reminded her it was for charity and she said. "Alright."  It reminded me of myself back when I was racing bicycles.  I always hated early starts and lots of times I would say to myself, "What am I doing here?"  I guess its for the love of racing, or charity.  One of the sponsors for this event was Christ Community Church which just finished being built inside the mall next to the bistro where i work.  I kinda got to know the minister there, Brother David, as he comes in to eat pretty regularly.  Anyway, he and some of his colleagues go to Kenya about once a year in order to help out in certain areas where the people are less fortunate.  The organization is World Vision and they are stationed all over the world trying to help out impoverished nations.  Anne and I may never go to Africa as missionaries but we are gonna sponsor one of the kids over there.  I was always a bit skeptical about sending money to these organizations as I always thought that the money would end up in the wrong hands, however after checking World Vision out I felt confident enough to give it a shot for a year and see how it goes.  There are plenty of people and animals that need a little help right here locally but I guess theres nothing wrong with trying to reach out a little and make a difference.  Hopefully it helps someone out that is in need.  I'm going into it with a positive attitude.  Maybe one day I'll get a MEECH frame on the African continent.  Ever watch the Tour of Africa on TV?  Its a trip.  Not exactly the Tour de France.  Those guys are racing on whatever they can find.  I saw one guys crank just fall completely off.  There was no team car or anything to help.  He had to fix his own bike to finish the race.  And then another guy was off the front solo when a tiger just ambushed him and dragged him off his bike and into the bush.  Ok, I'm pulling your leg a little now but it is Africa.  

Here she is trying to stay warm before the start.  You can tell she is just so excited about getting to run at 7 o'clock in the morning in 30 degree foggy weather.  Its always cold and damp down by the White River even on hot summer mornings so I was glad I wasn't doing it.  Good job baby, when is the next one? I'll drive you there.  Check out the sweet cap she's wearing.  Whats that say?

We took Dizzy with us.  I'm pretty sure that Dizzy would've had a good finish and probably qualified for the Boston Marathon.  He was dying to run, I had to hold him back.  He was like, "26 miles, pfff, no problem, be back in a minute."  Dizzy backs the racing scene 100%, he loves it and was made for it.  He's a good dog and we love him even though he makes us all dizzy.  Thanks for checking things out.  I'm working on some things and hopefully will get some posts up before long.  Things just seem to be moving in slow motion.  Hang in there with me.  Love ya!  chao.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cross Racing is Tough on Your Stuff

I had to do a little repair work on Branton's cross frame when I got back from the Texas.  I posted a few days ago that in one of his races in Little Rock he took a pretty hard hit.  He didn't actually crash I don't think but whatever happened slammed all of his body weight down onto the saddle, breaking a carbon wheel and bending the extended seat tube right above the seat tube cluster.  I just assumed that it happened right where the butting starts to get small even though I didn't think I would have left that door open.  After cutting if off I found that the bend was still in the fat part of the tube, a tube butted 8/5/8, so it was a pretty solid hit.  It made his 73 degree seat tube angle about a 69.5 degree angle.  I didn't take a photo before I cut it off but I still have the piece out in the shop, I'll try to get a photo of it.  At first I wasn't sure how I was gonna fix it.  There was no room left to braze on a seat lug and how in the world do you replace a seat tube in a fillet-brazed frame.  I mean I know how to do it but I could build another frame in the amount of time it would take to cut all that out and file all the brazing down, to perfection mind you in order to get a new seat tube in there.  Then I thought that I would braze a sleeve inside the seat tube and then braze another seat tube mast onto the sleeve.  That would've worked but right before the machinist started cutting the sleeve I stopped him and thought, "Wait, we can just use one of my seatpost, turn it down to the correct height, and just epoxy it in."  Oh yeah,"... and hope it holds up."  The idea was not just for getting it fixed as easy as possible but to get Branton back on his bike for some cross racing asap.  I mean this happened in the first couple weeks of the cross season.  Can you imagine waiting all year long for cross season to get here and then a couple of races in your bike is in the shop.  That would suck.  If any brazing would have taken place in this scenario then that means some repainting would have to take place and that might have added two or so more weeks that Branton was missing races.  Branton is very fond of cyclocross racing and seems to be fond of his MEECH as well so I wanted to try and get this resolved as quickly as possible.  The last little issue with Branton's frame was that when we built it he wanted the rear brake housing to be internally routed and out the back of the seat post and straight down to the brake boss and that why this little hole is cut into the post.  It also needed to be cut at a little bit of an angle because the holes, the seat tube vent hole and the hole in the back of the seat tube didn't completly line up making for a difficult feeding of the housing all the way through.  Anyway its done and back in Branton's hands.  Now all we have to do is wait and see how strong JB Weld really is.  Branton is gonna put it to the test real soon.  Cross your fingers.

This just shows how the cable comes out the back of the seat cluster.  Oh yeah, and make sure the saddle is perfectly in line before JB does his thing or its all for naught.  The saddle is tilted up a bit in this photo but that doesn't matter because that part is adjustable however after seeing this photo it reminded me that this is how I used to run my saddle years ago before my brain was fully developed.  What was I thinking?  Don't know Virginia but I don't do it anymore.  "Is your brain fully developed now?"  Apparently not Virginia or I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you now would I?"  Gonna go look for some older photos of Branton's frame.  Be back in a second.
There that didn't take long.  This was fresh out of the paint booth roughly a year ago I think.

...and this was the original setup with the Ritchey seat cap.  I believe the integrated seat post above is much cleaner and solid.

...and this is, well do I really need to say?  Anyway, we saved a frames life and it didn't even lose any blood, uhh, I mean paint.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Good Article on Discs vs. Cantilever on Cross Bikes


If I raced enough cross races(or any races) to have an opinion about this I would give you mine however I don't.  When Yancey and I talk about this we always end up saying that its not slowing down that we have trouble with, its going faster.  One thing I would like to say is that I hope an industry standard doesn't decide this for us.  I think it will be really neat if the industry continues to offer us both options, and continues to innovate both options, so that the individual can choose to their own liking.  I'm all sure that there are plenty of situations that could favor either type of brake but it would be real interesting to watch pro caliber racers (and amateurs) have a continual battle of the brakes.  Not only that, but they may sell more bikes if they play their cards right.  Some racers like to have one of everything for any situation that may arise.

Its TEAM CANTILEVER vs. TEAM DISC all across the world. Its a whole other reason to start watching more cross racing.  Maybe people would just start jumping into the cross scene just because they want to ride for one team or the other.  Each side would become an army, growing in numbers, recruiting new members, salaries would skyrocket out of control. It would turn into the battle of the century and the presidential race would just be some event that nobody cared about, unless, the candidates were racing cyclocross.  Ooooohhh!  Now we're racing.  Then we could say things like, "That pussy can't run a country much less ride a cross bike."  Then the future presidential candidates would become younger and tougher, more macho, cause it takes a badass to race cross.  Instead of seeing these news clips of people like Bill Clinton stopping by Mickey D's during his morning jog we would be seeing images of a president bunny-hopping barriers and crashing, we would get to see what kind of man they really were.  Nothing against ole Bill, he's a man who knew how to get things taken care of if you know what I mean. 

  I have one story about myself and Bill Clinton. 
 I was in the 5th grade and and our class went on a field trip to the state capitol when ol' Bill was the governor of Arkansas.  He was a young buck back then, about 32 years old with thick, brown, shaggy 70's hair, he looked like a swinger to me with all those swanky clothes that everyone was wearing back then. So after the grand tour of all the Arkansas history we all went in a big room and Gov. Clinton came in and started greeting us all, shaking our hands and high-fiving us.  Don't ask me how but somehow I managed to get out of the house that morning with my Linda Carter "Wonderwoman" t-shirt on without my mom catching it. I must've had a jacket over it or something cause she never would let me wear that thing to school much less to the state capitol to meet the governor, por Dios.  That shirt was reserved for weekends only.  My t-shirt was from that 70's era of Farrah Fawcett and Charlie's Angels, remember that?  It had a sexy Linda Carter wearing her skimpy little Wonder Woman outfit showing a little leg and cheek with that magic gold rope hanging on her side. My whole bedroom back then was decorated in posters of nothing but dirt bikes and Farrah Fawcett riding a skateboard in a bikini. So anyway, when it came my turn to shake ol' Bill's hand he took my hand and looked at me with that big ole Bill Clinton grin and said, "I sure do  like your t-shirt young man." And the rest is history.

Another president story that I always thought was funny was the one about George W. taking the Tour de France bike that Lance Armstrong gifted him and instead of hanging it on the wall or putting it in some kind of safe haven for showing off, Georgie decided to take it on Air Force One and stick it on his trainer so he could get in a few miles while flying around the world.  Now thats a hardcore cycling enthusiast, flying and riding at the same time.  I bet he was probably wearing one of Lance's signed yellow jerseys and drinking from the same water bottle too.  You think old "W" may have tried some EPO?  Who knows, I mean he was hitting the trails with Armstrong there for a while.  This calls for another billion dollar investigation.  Go check it out boyz, lets get to the bottom of this. Bill Clinton in the White House eating a Big Mac while swanking out with a young intern, George W. on Air Force One pretending he's winning the Tour on Lance Armstrong's bike, and President Obama, who looks to be pretty fit and would probably make a pretty solid cyclist, would rather just have a cigarette and make some homemade brew.  I can't help but to like all of them.  All you can really say is, God Bless America.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

DD2 Rotax - Dallas Karting Complex

Here is a video that gives you a good idea of what it felt like at the Dallas Karting Complex.  This kart here is a little more souped-up than ours and seems to hold the speed a little better out of the corners.  This is brutal fun! Normally after an experience like this the old Dimitri would have dropped everything he was doing and sold everything he had and tried to become a professional shifter kart racer.  I'm not sure what to make of myself now.  I'm reassessing the situation as we speak. One thing for certain, this is a drug.