Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fleet Farm Follies.

Curt and I made a stop to Mills Fleet Farm on the way home from Frostbike last week. We are in the process of having new shop shirts and jackets made, so we wanted to look at some different styles and colors of work wear. Business settled, it was time to wander. There's just a lot of fun stuff at these kinds of places. Of all the eccentricities the store had to offer, these took the cake.Generous is correct.
Have a good weekend.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wheel Sale!

Time for a spring wheel sale.

From now until March 6th, take 10% off parts, and 25% off all wheel building labor on all custom wheels. Now's the time to order that set of awesome wheels to get your spring rolling right!

I also have a few sets of wheels in stock that are at greatly reduced prices.

The first is a set of Bontrager Race Road wheels. These are a solid upgrade fro any entry level road bike. They would also serve well as a nice set of spring weather or all around training wheels. Cartridge bearing hubs, bladed spokes, and a weight of 1900 gms makes these wheels solid performers for the money. Normal Retail on these is $350, sale price is $225!

The second set is a pair of gorgeous DT Swiss 240 disc hubs laced to Bontrager Duster Rims with DT Swiss Competition butted spokes. They are brand new, and are in unridden shape. Normal retail on this set of wheels would be $825, sale price is $650 shipped to the continental US. Local price would be $620 for pick up.
Give us a call if you have any questions, or if you'd like a quote on a pair of wheels. Happy Friday all.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Frostbike Product Highlights.

Frostbike offers a mid year exhibition for companies to release new products. This year was no exception. I'll say that there was not anything I would consider earth shatteringly new shown, but there are some seriously nice things coming out soon. Due to a mediocre camera, (I'll admit it may have been the operator,) and some pretty poor lighting, it was hard to get good photos of everything. Here are some notable favorites from the show though.

In addition to a totally new website, three Ti bikes, and the new Vaya, Salsa Cycles has some really nice accessories and some unique forks coming out this year.

There are a few new colors out for Salsa accessories for 2010. Purple, Pewter, and Orange round out their other offerings. There are two new forks of note from Salsa this year. One is a 20mm thru axle version of their Cromoto Grande fork! This uses a Maxle 20mm QR and should really make for a nice riding, precise handling fork for your 29er. The other fork is the Enabler, a 135mm adventure for that is suspension corrected. Want a fat front without compromising handling? Here's your answer. this fork comes with Fargo braze ons for versatility as well.
Also shown are the new cargo holders from Salsa. These are meant to hold small stuff sacks as you see here. They were early prototypes, I'll have more info on these as I can get it. Very cool stuff indeed.
This is a working prototype, from production tooling, of the new alloy rear rack. Side coverage is really nice for keeping looser bags out of the way. They are really adjustable, with easy to use fitment on most bikes.
Here is a working prototype of an ultra light low rider rack system. These were pretty cool, and would be nice with a set of really light minimalistic bags up front. Slinky. Homemade salsa in the background. It was good.
This rack was my favorite. It is primarily designed for use as a minimalistic front rack, but will mount fairly easily on the rear of most bikes as well. This may be the perfect little rack for the front of a Drakkar, Pugsley, Long Haul Trucker, Vaya or Fargo. There is a platform a little bit larger than an average six pack, and the addition of threaded braze ons around the periphery add another layer of versatility. I'll be getting some of these as soon as they are available. These are also examples of working protos from production tooling. This means that the end racks will look very similar to what you see here.
One of my perennial favorite stems, the Promoto Ti. Shiny, light, strong and sexy. These are some of the prettiest stems Salsa has ever had IMO.

All City Cycles is a new bike and component group from Quality. While their focus last year was on primarily fixed gear and urban type riding, they showed this great looking CX bike at the show this year. SS only with horizontal drop outs with built in chain tensioners, this is one hot looking bike. I love the parts spec on this bike as well. The ultra deep rims from Velocity should be stiff and strong. Laced to a set of All City cartridge bearing hubs with DT spokes, they should be a solid wheelset for just about any type of riding for years. This bike also showed some of my other show favorites from Sram and Avid. After a long wait, Sram has finally released their brake only road levers. They are identical to the older alloy and newer carbon Rival shifters, minus the shifting bits. These are priced competitively and offer much nicer lever feel and ergos than the Cane Creek or Tektro counterparts. Both are in stock now.

Also on this bike are the new Avid Ultimate cantilever brakes. These are going to be cool. They are super stiff and smooth in operation. The same brake also has two settings, wide like a Mafac touring set up, or closer in like a more traditional brake. This lets you choose between power, modulation, aesthetics, and clearance depending on your preference and needs. These will be on par price wise with other premium type brakes, but they offer some obvious advantages.

Sram Force cranks and Ritchey components round out the rest of the build. Really a good looking package I thought.

Civia Cycles also has a growing line for practical, well designed, good looking products. The one that caught my eye the most is the new Bryant. Offered with many options such as both caliper and disc brake mounts, single speed, geared and belt drive dropouts, and full fender and rack mounts, this is a cool bike. They offer a few full bike options as well. This belt drive/Alfine internal hub bike is my favorite. Look for it to retail for about $1680. We should be able to order these soon, give me a call if you are interested. This bike features the new Alfine compatible STI shift levers from Versa, and should make a killer all year commuter. Civia Cycles also offers a growing line of premium and standard fenders in alloy, composite, wood, ad bamboo. A functional, aesthetically pleasing touch for an discriminating commuter, townie or coffee shop rig.
26" townies in several configurations are also offered. These are nicely done bikes are reasonable prices. I'll have more on these in the future as many are not around for purchase yet.
New Sram stuff I'm excited about. 10 Spd barcons. Nice.
The single brake levers. Available in alloy or carbon, these are going to be the cat's meow in road SS brake set ups.
Big purple 1.5" headset from Cane Creek.
Other pretty colors. These are rally nice kit. For the doubters, I do think these are as good as King. Just a matter of personal preference at this point! Gorgeous stuff all around. Note the new color samples of pink and orange. The pink hue is especially nice, very bright.

So there's the recap. There is a bunch of stuff I would have liked to put up here, but I could go on and on about new fun products. Stop by or give us a call if you are interested in anything here, or if you have any questions about more products coming this year. Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Weekend Frostbike Review.

Whirlwind is about fitting for how this weekend played out. We had a great time hanging out with friends, eating awesome food, and ogling new and exciting bike parts. Friday night brought us to our annual meeting after hours at Mike's in Northfield. This is where I started working in the industry. I have a ton of amazing memories in this place, and it's a blast to be able to share that with friends. A huge thanks goes out to Mike and Stew for hosting a great night.

Food by Greeks, a combination of toppings including Gyro and onion, Greek salad, Kosher salami and feta, and sausage and mushroom.
Wide selection of beverages on hand.
Most of the crew. Marty, Guitar Ted, Stew and Mike pictured left to right.
The illustrious Mr Oney.

Monkey Bike madness beginning.All 6'5" of Marty reaching an inevitable end.
The graceful recovery.
Hot lap video following GT on a Pug. Actual laps were much faster than this appears. Blue groove rubber lines were laid before the evening was through. Two spots were even the site of airing out at points through the night. Definitely the fasted indoor riding going on in the county.



That's all from Friday night. It was a hell of a way to start the weekend off. Thanks to all for coming and making the night awesome! Tomorrow I'll recap the show, along with photo highlights of some cool upcoming products. Cheers.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hell of a week.

So this week has been crazy. My mother's father had a large heart attack, (as opposed to the small cuddly kind,) on Monday morning. Obviously my mom needed to be with her father and that's where my part comes in. My mother happened to be babysitting my 10 month old niece while my sister was on a little vacation. Being the only one with the capability to easily call in reinforcements at work, I got to play mister mom for most of the week. Meg was able to get most of the week off as well, so we watched her and a lot of daytime tv together. My niece has been coming off of a bad ear infection, so the first few days were a bit difficult. For a normally exceedingly happy baby, it was obvious that she was not feeling well at all. By Wednesday the medicine was working, and she was pretty much back to normal.

Thankfully my grandfather is doing very well, and they are hopefully he will make a full recovery. My mom credits the fact that he walks 3-5 miles a day for him being able to physically withstand such a trauma. Having 12 kids, 30 some grand kids, a large faith community, and a loving wife praying for you probably didn't hurt as well. It's been a trying week but it all seems to be working itself out.

Tonight some friends are coming into town fora little pre-Frostbike gathering. It should be a nice way to unwind and prep for the weekend of still more friends, great new bike parts, and some good stories. I'll be taking a lot of photos of worthy components and goings on, and I should have some of that up as soon as Sunday morning. Take care all, have a great weekend.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fatbike Building.

The project for today. It should be a killer bike.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Toys of a different sort.

For as far back as I can remember, I've been helping my dad rebuild classic cars. When I was little dad had a 1940 Chevrolet Business Coupe. It was colonial yellow, had a custom rear seat for us kids, and had a 350 Chevy that went like heck. It was a fairly common thing to spend weekends taking trips places in that car. It was great.

While bikes really are where my passion lies, I love working on cars with my father. I started working at what was then my grandfather's repair shop when I was 12. It is largely what I credit for building a lot of my mechanical aptitude and taught me a lot about things like work ethic and how to treat customers right. Although I also learned that that was not the work I wanted to do for my vocation, it turned me on to what is a whole different kind of fun.

Much like a lot of us swap around bikes in our personal collections, my dad goes through cars. It's largely for a lot of the same reasons as well. You get a bit bored with a thing, maybe you're looking for a different ride or handling feel, or maybe it's just not the right color anymore. He does tend to keep the older cars quite a bit longer than modern stuff, (to which my mother jokingly refers to as the car of the month club!) After 20 some years he finally sold that yellow car. It was time.

Since then he's had a few rather nice cars. On of my favorites has always been a 1963 Mercury Comet. It's a bonnie red little convertible with red upholstery and a white top. Dad bought this car pretty much done, and we have driven it for about 5 years now just as we got it. It does have some issues though. The motor really needed to be rebuilt, it smokes a bit and uses some oil, and the tranny is just about mush. That needed attention even more than the motor. After much discusion we decided this was the winter to put in a new drive train.

This week marked the start of the rebuild. Dad purchased a 302 V8 out of a 1977 Ford F150. The engine was stripped down to the component parts, and the were all prepped back to original bare metal. The engine came with ford flat top pistons, which combined with a set of 1969 302 GT heads should have it running at about 10.5/1 compression. It'll be plenty snotty, but with a very mild cam it should be a very smooth running engine.

We also had a friend of his put a rather nice automatic over drive transmission together. This should allow the car to shift more positively than stock, while the overdrive should put final drive mileage to about 24 mpg. Believe it or not that's about what our 1967 Mustang GT averages. That's 6 mpg better than my old minivan!

Last night we spent a while starting to port and polish the intakes on the heads. This is basically sanding the metal smooth around all of the air paths to make the air flow smoother and more easily into the combustion chambers. It is kind of fun really, and to look at the starting point compared to the smooth shiny end result is rather impressive.

So here you go, a shot of the humble beginnings of a fun project. I'll update with more photos as the rebuild goes along.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Busy February

It's been a busy start to the season already. Last week we had a nice Beef Gravy Brown Cross-Check come through for a local gravel commuter. This week brought the Vaya to a new customer from the Twin Cities. Tomorrow we'll get the majority of the parts for a kick ass Pugsley build for a guy from Rochester. This is all combined with a big uptake in shop repairs, and other people coming in to look at more normal bikes.

Despite the recent snow dump, (or maybe because of it,) people seem to be chomping at the bit for spring and real riding. Looking forward to Frostbike at Q in a few weeks, true spring is just knocking at our door. For you winter loving types, there's still a bit left to enjoy. For those of you looking to be done with it, it's just around the corner. Take heart, it'll be hotter than Hades soon enough! Cheers.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Snow!

We have snow. Northfield got what looks like about a foot, and Faribault has more than that. It's still coming down steadily here. Though many people have been saying they are ready for spring, I'm happy to have a real winter for once. Enjoy it while it's here, we'll have 90 degrees, humidity, and bugs soon enough. Happy Tuesday.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Salsa Vaya

We received a new Salsa Vaya this week. First impressions are very good. I like the parts spec for the money. The bike comes speced with a wide range drive train via a 50-36 compact double for the front, and a 11-32 cassette in the rear. This affords the rider a near triple range of gears, while having a better chain line and a simpler set up. Wheels are nicely done with cartridge bearing, high flange hubs from Formula, laced to DT's lightweight 470 disc rim. The Conti 42c tires come ready for anything. The are undoubtedly a source of a lot of the bike's weight, but they look ready to survive the apocalypse. Adding to the overall versatility of the bike, I am sure it will fit the latest batch of Monstercross sized tires. 45's should clear and would look just right on this bikeThe paint and graphics work for me, I really like the light blue on dark brown paint scheme. Little touches such as an embroidered saddle with matching bar tape make the bike really look the part of a clean, refined all rounder. All in all, this should be a nice bike for a person looking for an affordable entry into a gravel machine, or something that will carry reasonable touring loads over varying terrain.Nice work boys!