February 23, 2010

The Stevemobile

While building this frame, I came to a really strange realization – it had been something like 6 weeks since I built a hardtail. What with the holidays, a vacation to AZ, and several people in a row ordering full suspension bikes, I found my chainstay mitering fixture covered with dust – crazy! I think that might be the longest I’ve gone between hardtail (or road) frame builds ever (meaning, in the last 6 years, since I started doing this silly framebuilding thing).

So anyway, luckily I still remember how to do it. This is Steve’s new 29″ setup, with some rack mounts and nice relaxed geometry. Built beefy, not light, but to be built up with a full XX grouppo (whew!) and King/Arch wheels. Should end up being quite fast and light even with a pretty burly frame.

As a side note, some of the more geeky readers may notice that the rear brake hoseguides have been TIG welded in place, rather than silver brazed. The powdercoat guys were having a lot of trouble getting the flux out from under the guides, which resulted in a lot of resprays and delays. No fun for anyone. So now I TIG ’em, which is a pain, but means that they stay clean and don’t cause problems at the powdercoat end. The old style cable guides (they look like this) from Nova didn’t have this problem because they had far less space underneath the guide to get gunked up.

So why change to the new style guides? Simple, they’re the same price, weigh about 1g each instead of 5g (yes, I know, that only saves you 15-20g for the whole bike, but it’s free… I’ll take it), are *stainless steel* so that when your hose rubs through the powdercoat (which it will) they don’t rust, and best of all – they can flex a little bit, meaning that you’re creating a far less gnarly stress riser where the guide is attached to the frame (or fork). I get them from Kirk Pacenti’s site . Kirk only sells a few items, but the stuff he has made is all very creative, fills a needed niche, and is probably worth having. He also was responsible for bringing 650b offroad tires, rims, and forks to market, which is a huge deal. A great guy.

I probably buy materials, tubing, brazeons, and various crap for building frames from at least 30 different suppliers – if you are just ordering stuff from Nova, or whatever, you’re missing out on lots of good stuff. A big part of being a framebuilder, believe it or not, is staying on top of this kind of thing and surfing supplier websites (plus bitching and moaning to get them to make the part you want) in search of the cool new stuff.