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, February 20, 2013

Finished Fork

I've been out in the shop most of today trying to finish up this fork and I finally got it done.  I will still have to braze the threaded sleeve into the head tube later but I don't know exactly where I'm gonna cut the steerer tube off at so I thought it would be a good idea to wait till I have a stem before doing that number.  Measure twice, cut once. But anyway the fork is done and I threw a wheel in it for a quick check and its perfectly straight.  I was truly relieved because this fork was built mainly from my eye than anything else as my fork jig didn't want to accommodate this setup.  The only time I used the jig at all was to hold the dropouts on the fork blades while tacking them in place.

Instead of just brazing some dropouts on the fork legs I had Bob cut a little 90 degree ledge on them so that they fit on and under the fork blade.  Just a little added safety since this is my first BMX project and I wanted to be all sure that everything stays in place as it should.  I brazed them on with a nickel-silver rod instead of a bronze brazing rod as the caps on the bottom of the fork legs are made out of stainless.  Bronze and stainless don't mate well but the nickel-silver is very similar, it melts at roughly the same temp and you even use the same flux.  I could fillet-braze a stainless steel frame if I wanted to and I've thought about it on occasion but just haven't pursued it for lack of interest in stainless and more interest in carbon,  which hasn't really been getting much attention here lately.  However, my carbon dreams haven't died yet.  Never say die.

Yes, I like it. Thanks for cutting the dropouts Bob.

Brazed for a lifetime of punishment.  This fork is so solid.  I took a fork blade in each hand and tried to force them apart and couldn't budge them, I'm not exactly Hercules though.  Regardless, this is by far the stiffest fork I've ever built.  Solid steel!

This may not look like much but it is the nicest fork I've ever built.  So much time and effort getting everything perfect since the jig really was no help.  Talk about measuring twice, try measuring so much that you forget what it was supposed to be in the first place and then you have to start over measuring.  There was no stone unturned in making this piece.  Its quite the relief to be done with it as this was actually harder to get right than the frame was. Now I need to do the cleanup on the frame.  I had planned on doing them both today but since I didn't get this done until like 2:30 the frame is gonna have to wait till the weekend. The weather should be a little better then and it will be much more enjoyable.  The shop was a comfy 35 degrees today as I had the garage door up and was basically outside. I hate working inside with the door shut because the noise can't escape, I'd rather freeze.  You'd think it would be the other way around as I don't hear that well. Normally I only work like that if the temp is above 40 but today I just decided to tough it out.  Its not that big a deal actually because people are working outside in it all day long.  A winter storm is supposed to be moving in tonight but I'm hoping it won't be as bad as they are predicting.  Fingers are  crossed.  The first frame I ever built for a customer was during the ice storm of 2008 and I don't think the temperature got out of the 20's for over a week after that. The power was out at our house for nine days but luckily my mom's power got turned on after only two so you can guess where we went.  I've got to put in a couple of days at the bistro but hopefully the frame will be finished up this weekend.  Now I'm gonna go and try to put in an hour ride to stretch a bit but I'm having to force myself to do it.  Oh well, I'll feel better afterwards. Salud!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Fork Work

I was able to get in a couple of good hours out in the shop this weekend so I just did a little work on this fork.  I got the blades all fillet-brazed up and made some caps for the ends.  I kinda surprised myself when I was checking the lengths of the blades and I didn't even have to hold the fork up, everything was perfectly straight and level.  No big deal I guess because thats the way its supposed to be however I didn't think the fork would stand up so easy, kinda like a bowling pin and hanging the level on the side didn't even budge it.  This is a one beefy fork.

Here are the ends of the fork after I brazed on a couple of caps.  The caps didn't start out looking like caps, they were just little squares of stainless steel that I brazed on and then cleaned them up.  Its a shame but they are gonna get messed up again after I braze the dropouts on but I wanted everything to be really clean and smooth so that there is a good tight fit.  You bar no time or expense if you want it to be the best.

I couldn't be happier with the way they turned out.  The work is almost invisible and its polishable.

Ol' Pinky turned "big 10" just recently and so I thought I'd throw in a quick pic that wasn't bike related.  We bought him a cupcake and I had to doctor it up with some big "10" candles. He's not very good at blowing them out, he about caught his face on fire.  "GRAB THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER!"  Just kidding.  He's like me and could care less about birthdays, I guess its better than the alternative.  If you look close you can see Louie in the background fixing to pounce on that cupcake while Pink's not lookin.  Louie has been a real terror to the squirrel world here lately.  He must've found some secret ambush spot because he's been bagging about one a day.  I don't like it but what can I do?  Mother Nature is what it is. You'll be glad to know that Pinky threw the entire cupcake up right after he finished and guess who got to clean it up.  I'm guessing too much sugar. Be back in a couple of days.  Chao.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday's Work

I can't believe how long its been since I actually did some fillet-brazing and while I wasn't worried about forgetting how I did feel a little rusty at first, but in the end I was able to lay down some of my nicest fillets.  I think that because I was still a little sick that I was just  extremely careful, took my time, and was really focused and they turned out better than I would've imagined.  Still got the clean-up work ahead but the better the fillets the less clean-up is needed.  Ever heard the saying "slow down to go fast"?  Sometimes its true.

Its hard to tell here but the seat tube is ovalized with the width of the BB shell and I like the way the fillet looks on it and the overall look.

Nothing new here, just a brazed chain stay junction and a lop-sided camera angle.  I'm always leaning a little to the right with the camera for some reason.  I have to make a conscious effort to line everything up because what appears to be straight to me at the moment is usually just a little off.

Some photos make it easier to overcome.  This isn't my chosen seat stay design for a BMX or mountain bike frame as I'm always concerned about strength, but I brazed these things on as strong as I could and if they come off they're gonna have to rip the sides of the seat tube off with it.  I really want to see this shot after its cleaned up.

Quick shot of the integrated head tube.  The integrated look is a favorite of mine however it does add a small amount of extra weight, just a small amount, I probably shouldn't even of told you.

These are the Park integrated cutters.  These are actually my favorite little stash in my tool box.  They don't get used much so it always seems like a special occasion when I break them out.  They are nice cutters and they leave a perfect fit for the integrated bearings.  
I finally got some new road shoes.  I opted for new old-school look with the laces.  I haven't even had time to put cleats on them yet.  We'll test 'em out here shortly and I'll give you the lowdown.  All I can tell you now is that they are very light and fit like gloves.  Well, gotta take ol'Dizzy for a run before I go to work so I'll catch up to you a little later.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sick Days

Sorry for the absenteeism the last few days.  There just hasn't been much to blog about these last few days.  I've was sick for  four or five days and am shaking the remains of that off now.  Prior to getting sick, and yesterday as well, I had to go to my hometown of Jonesboro and get some dental work done in order to fix my implant that has been coming loose.  None of this is worth talking about its just that during all this I've been thinking about how I've been neglecting the blog.  Anyway, I'm home and heeled up for the most part and gonna be back in the shop today finishing up the fillets on this BMX frame.  How long have I been saying that?  I feel like half  the days in my week have been stolen from me. The last six months or so have been a bit frustrating.  Have you ever been in a huge crowd of people, like in the mosh pit at a concert, and no matter which way you want to go you can only move in the direction that the crowd moves?  Or perhaps you've been in the ocean before and no matter how hard you try to swim in one direction it just keeps pulling you further away from the beach.  Thats what is going on right now with me.  Its almost as bad as being on the back end of a tandem.  Just rollin with it until I can get back to where I want to be.  I've got more frames to build and paint than I've ever had before so thats a positive thing my good friends and now I'm gonna just try and build on it.  I've been working 4 years hoping that my frame business would take hold and just as soon as it starts trying to get a grip I've had to pull the reigns in.  Nightmare!  Ahh, but those longer, warm days are on the horizon as is road racing season.  You guys better be riding.  Don't wait on me, I'll try and catch up down the road and should you ever find yourself in the ocean being pulled further from the beach try swimming back in a diagonal line instead of straight in, this worked for me the one time I was in that situation. Maybe I need to be trying to figure out a diagonal line to taking care of all this business i can't seem to get done.  I'm gonna think on that one.  Chao.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A MEECH in the Wild

This is photo of Branton Moore's MEECH that was spotted out in the wild of Fayetteville, Arkansas.  This bike, like so many other MEECHs, is extremely well cared for.  Cleaned, lubed, and ridden hard.  Taken for regular car rides, vacation destinations, and best of all to the races.  This is textbook care for your MEECH.  Thanks for the photo Branton and thanks for riding a MEECH.  Hail to the Highroller Cyclery.  Love you guys.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wooo Hoo, New Files!

Just opened up this package yesterday.  A frame builder's dream come true, all new files and handles.  I've been needing new files for like a year now, probably longer however I just kept grinding it out and making them work.  I'm almost embarrassed to say that this is really the first set of new files I've gotten in the 4 1/2 yrs. that I've been building frames.  I knew nothing about files when I started building and so I started off with three files, a 10",12", and a 14".  I didn't even know that there were files with different coarseness and so I built probably my first 15 frames with a set of second cut files.  Geez, the pain I've caused myself.  So after a year or so passed and I discovered there were different cutting grades I purchased a set of 3 bastard files or first cut and I've been using those 6 files every since until this day.  Now granted, I've purchased a few other files from time to time, small files, round files, etc., but for the best part of 4 1/2 yrs. of building bikes I've used the same six files.  One of the highlights was when I first moved to Mountain Home. I still had not been building a full year and on one particular frame I was having some problems and I got my friend Bob Davis to come over and give me a hand.  Bob is 83 yrs. old and has a machine shop full of over 100 files just laying around all over the place, not to mention thousands of tools that I don't even know what they do.  So anyway, he is sitting down with a cup of coffee and I'm filing on a tube all the way across the garage when he said, "We're gonna be here a while because that file has seen some wear."  Then I told him it was less than a year old and he looked at me with a puzzled look and said, "Yeah, but whoever had it before you used the dickens out of it."  And then I says, "I bought this one new."  And the conversation ended with him looking at me and just shaking his head in disbelief.  It felt kinda good inside to have impressed an old-timer like him.

These first two pictures of the files and this torch are the main part of most frame builders business, steel frame builders that is.  This little torch and the files have been probably my favorite purchase of my entire life.  I truly enjoy building a handmade bicycle frame and watching someone go riding or racing on it.  Incredible feeling for me.  I love it.  Ok, a jig is a necessity if you plan on building many frames but lots of people have built their own jigs for minimal cost.  I purchased a Bringheli right off the bat because I was planning on building more than a couple.  The jig is a worthwhile investment and if you no longer want it you can probably get most of your money back if you decide to sell it.  I don't think I'll ever sell mine though.  When I die you all can put my ashes in a bicycle frame, seal it up with some nice fillets, and then ride me for thousands of miles.  Ok, I'm officially drifting now.  Lets get back to the present.  Bicycles are great though aren't they?  They have been a huge part of my life.

Seat stays are tacked and in place and that means the frame is all together now and is ready for some of the finishing touches.  Still have some work to do but its all on the downhill.

Thanks for checking things out.  Its Superbowl Sunday and I could care less who wins as I don't like either team in it, but I'm sure its big day for them so I hope its a good one.  Chao amigos.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Friday, February 1, 2013

Yancey's Ride at the World's Cross Championship

For starters, not the prettiest of days, but this is cyclocross racing and there really isn't anything pretty about it. Here is Yancey's MEECH after a quick spray at the World Cyclocross Championships.  It was a brutal day for everyone.  I think the pit guys had it almost as rough as the racers did.  Larry was changing bikes every half lap and luckily he had an old friend in Nate Rice, who was a mechanic in Jonesboro for a while, helping him out.  Nate is a pro cyclocrosser as well as mechanic and his race is coming up I believe today in the Masters 30-35 or 35-39, I'm not  exactly sure but either class will be pro level competition.  Anyway, Larry got a front row start after a good qualifying race on Tuesday and I think he got a decent start off the line in the main but the course was such a mess that the race was basically up for grabs for whoever had the least problems  I suppose.  Larry did say that it was a day for the guys who produced big horsepower and could just power through the slop.  They had winds gusting around 35-40 mph as a chain of storms was blowing across the central states these past few days.  Apparently by the end of the first lap Larry's front wheel wasn't evening spinning and I'm guessing those guys were running even more than they were riding.  Definitely not my kind of race.  I never was big on riding in the mud be it on bicycles or motorcycles.  I always felt like you didn't get a chance to show your true ability or speed, however I guess if I would've won a mud race then i would be happy about it.  Some guys are just naturally good in the mud and I take my hat off to them.  I really admire all you guys who get out there in this slop and put the hammer down.  Its super-hard work and its about as rough as you can be on a bicycle's components.  Larry spent quite a few hours and days prepping both of these bikes for the race and now he's gonna have to tear 'em all down and clean 'em all up after a 45 minute race.

These are photos taken by Nate and his crew in Louisville that were posted on Facebook so I kinda stole these.  Even though the bike doesn't look so bad here I think it was the kind of mud that they were racing in that made it so bad.  All mud is not created equal.

Thats looks to be about a 5 lb. blob of Kentuckey mud covering up Larry's new TRP mini V-brakes. They're red as you can see.  After building the bike up he took it for a couple of training rides and said the brakes are awesome.  Unfortunately slowing down wasn't a real problem in Louisville.  

How do you race a bicycle when the front wheel won't spin?  Can it even be considered a bike race?  Oh yeah, it's not a bike race, its a cyclocross race.  That MEECH headbadge looks good though.

This is half, if not more, of a rider's race this year at Louisville.  If you don't have a couple of bikes I think you're in trouble.

This is Nate looking a little dapper.  Larry said he couldn't have done it without his help so thanks go out to Nate and all the others who helped out.  Larry managed a top-10 finish this year and I know he was training for a podium spot all year long so I'm sure he wasn't completely happy about 10th overall but on days like this you can finish
 anywhere if you even manage to finish at all.  Bottom line is he just put in another hard race at the World Cyclocross Championships. If you are into cyclocross at all this was the place to be.  People are traveling from all over the states and other countries as well to ride in this mess, unbelievable.  Larry was there grinding it out, sporting the MEECH logo for me as he does all year long and I appreciate it.  I have to give a bow to all the racers giving it a dig in Louisville and to the pit crews as well.   Thanks for lending me the photos Nate and I hope you have a good race this year.