Now and then we get asked to build up bikes other than fixies. Here’s a few shots of a road frame I just put together for a good friend. Its based on the same design principals I have always used. Simple, light and fit. Since this rider had a few special requests, making a custom frame was the best way to answer his needs. Mainly:
1) Need extra seatpost exposure for special gear. OK – well, I’m not the biggest fan of compact (read sloping top tube) frames – but in this case it fit the bill.
2) Durable for train transports and general daily abuse. So, we built up some Wright style drops with replaceable hanger. And using extra beefy chainstays to further the durability especially when tossed into a rinko.
3) Snappy performance – but also ride-able for 250km+ So, we chose tubing combination that has good rigidity , yet retain more suppleness in the rear triangle.
4) Easy to service and maintain just about anywhere. So, I’m using a very standard 28mm BB with also very standard integrated headset for oversize steerer. The finish is hand brushed so its easy to clean and has a couple extra drain holes for accumulated moisture common to rides around here.
Side view of the new bike.
Top Profile view
Rear Triangle View
No nonsense rear drops with micro-size eyelets for rack or fender.
We’ll be building it up this weekend, so stay tuned for a full ride report. I’m pretty sure the new owner will like this ride!
I had our fabricator send me one of our welder ‘spot check’ samples. This is a simple test that tests the quality of fabrication and welding. The goal is to be able to examine the fabrication and welding procedure to spot any inconsistencies and also use as a QC tool for the welders. All of our fabricators are certified welders and keep their skills at top notch. Take a look at the images below so you can how the welds are produced on the bike frames we sell.
This is a close up of the joint detail. The tubes have not been burnished or polished so we can see the slight discoloration of the weld. This discloration is one of the important keys to grading Ti welding. A Silver or Straw color is preferred. If the weld is out of range and inert gas not properly applied, then the discoloration may tend towards a blue finish.
This is an image looking into the tube. You can see a small hole which is used to allow full circulation of the shielding gas. In addition you can see small spot weld on the top which is used to hold the cap. All of our welds are conducted with full internal shielding and use of a trailing gas shield. Looking at the weld penetration we can see that it is uniform and again coloration is within the ‘Straw’ allowance. This shows a nearly textbook perfect weld.
Now looking into the 90 degree tube. Here is where we can inspect the miter and also the weld penetration. Any gap in the miter will result in a weakened joint. And its particularly important to maintain a very consistent weld to avoid either ‘cold welding’ or ‘mottling’. Our tubes are CAD/CAM machined, then checked many times during the construction process for a perfect fit. Only a perfect fitting miter will result in the strongest frame. Combined with high quality welding and you will create a frame that is as strongest and durable as possible.
That’s it for now! I just wanted to post this to show the quality of workmanship and how we approach the building of every frameset.
The nice folks at Nicole sent me an email regarding a Sunday ride that perked my interest. It was basically a re-run of the Hakone Ekiden route starting from Tokyo. Since I missed the <in>famous TCC /PE Ekiden No Mae rally in which the cyclists actually ride the narrow window in front of the runners, this was a close second in honor of my fellow TCC / PE cohorts.
The ride started from Nicole Cycles in Aoyama, then routed onto the National Route ’1′ which was the same as the Ekiden. From there we went to Yokohama, then Odawara. The last couple of km to Hakone terminal became a mini-sprint finish / start to the next leg which was the gruelling climb itself to Moto Hakone. We regrouped then began the climb. I was riding a 49/22 and since JF had ridden this nearly same route WITH the Ekiden No Mae crew, I was pretty confident it would be a workable choice.
The climbing route is twisty and steep, with some grades over 15% and mostly 10-12% for the last few KM of swtichbacks. Not so fun on a fixed gear! A couple of the Nicole ‘hillys’ set a hard pace and I struggled to match them once the hills turned hard. Though I managed to sit in a solid 4th until I was claimed by a completely numb right foot from the cold. I stopped briefly to swap in some bio-heat pads and lost a position. Then jammed back on the bike to catch my 4th place mark just in time for the summit. Though I promised myself to ride this as an LSD, the hill just took over and I couldn’t resist a little hammering.
We regrouped, then had something to eat at a small Izakaya overlooking the gorgeous valley. In spite of the freezing weather, the sun was out and the views were awesome! Having tucked in some grub and reheated our bones, we descended back, then hammered into Odawara. Rinko’d the bike from there and made it home in time for steak dinner with the clock hitting about 140km on the road.
The Nicole group fielded some beautiful bikes. Here’s a couple of my favorites:
And a sweet Black and Yellow Cinelli with all the goodies!
Shameless plug for Nicole – they are great people and for sure if you need some Euro sweetness they will help! They don’t just sell bikes – they ride them too! I’m looking forward to my next ride with them.
P.S. And they were totally ‘fixie friendly’ !
The weather has turned quite chilly here. In ‘zero’ range (30′sF) and with windchill, even much colder. I hate being cold – and especially my hands, head and feet. I’m slowly dialing in my go-to kit for winter rides. Here’s what I’ve got so far. It fits my ‘Jam Econo’ style – the total kit (including shoes) cost less than 20,000 yen!
- Betones Cycling Undershort
- Crane Winter Bib (fleece lined with windstop on the front)
- Surly MTB wool socks
- Specialized cyclocross shoe
- Thermoactive pad on TOP each toe area – great tip! This works awesome
- Cheap sock pulled over the shoe
- Embrocation on the knee areas for a little extra heating action.
- Pantagonia wicking shirt (LS)
- 2XU LS Jersey
- Crane Jacket
- Pearl Izumi Wind Jacket
- Pearl Izumi beanie (too cold , imo)
- No winterpads on my Limmar – need to get a helmet cover or winter insert
- Poly neck buff from 100yen store
- What hands? They froze!
- Thermoactive pads did help quite a bit , though not a perfect solution
- Tokyo Taxi Driver cotton gloves
- Windproof shell gloves from 100yen store
Once I get the extremities dialled in , I’ll be fine.
I promised myself (and significant others) that I would not train ‘seriously’ and just enjoy the health, fitness and mental benefits of riding again. Since I am somewhat competitive by nature, improving my performance so that I can partake in selected social matches is embedded into my psyche. Now that I’m <alot> older and a little wiser, I take a much more moderate and somewhat lazy approach.
Here’s my ‘Lazyman’s Training Plan’ :
1) Ride whenever you feel like it. More than less is better.
2) Get at least 1 ride per week out in the mountains – all day.
3) Enter at least 1 cycling event per month. Having some goal is good incentive.
1) Ride ‘fixed’. Its at least 1.3x the effort of a freewheel bike and concentrates more on technique and smoothness. Things that old, lazy men, like myself can appreciate.
2) Hit the gym a few times a week. No more than 60-90min. And only use free weights. Free weights are the ‘fixed gears’ of a gym.
3) Get your heart rate UP several times a week. Interval training stresses your overall cardio / energy system and boosts metabolism. You get massive quality from short periods.
4) Get your power UP several times a week. Personally I choose a big gear workout and drag a tire down the river path. An hour of this really puts a steady, HUGE load on your big muscles.
1) Enter events that will challenge you. Personally I love hillclimbs. So, I enter them. Other people thrive on enduros and brevets. It doesn’t matter – just choose events that you can get excited (and motivated) to do.
So, what’s this work out to? In a little over a year since I’ve started, I’ve lost more than 20kg (44lbs), regularly hit rides that are 150km+ and include 1500m+ climbing, FTP is over 250watts compared to under 100watts when I started and I’m moving up steadily in the hill climb events gaining places every time I ride.