Thursday, December 25, 2008

Kate's custom

I have not been slacking since the Rocky Show and was actually working on a special bike for Kate.  Alex, Kate's better half, was preparing a Christmas gift back in July for her and I had the luck to build this bike.

Here is a picture and there are more on my flickr site, go check it out.



What's cooking these days? A fixed gear commuter with all the fixings for even rando use. Some build pics to come.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rocky Mountain Bike Show

This past weekend, I was showing a few bikes at the 1st annual Rocky Mountain Bike Show. Turnout was pretty good despite the super nice weather. Having shown at Portland last Feb, a local / regional show felt very home like. Most showgoers are from towns along the front range of the Rockies and Colorado being a state popular for cycling, I got to meet a lot of bike nuts.

Apparently, I was the only builder showing a 650b mountain bike and most were very interested to see the semi-translucent finish with the swirl pattern underneath.



Roger's 650b all road bike also received lots of attention, the bike is now in a box ready for its trip out east. I hope Roger will enjoy his new ride and show his bike off to fellow east coast riders.



I am currently working on a special bike, but I will not be updating build pictures for now. It is a special gift from Alex and I think it is best to unveil the bike when it is all ready. So, there may be no new pictures for a little bit, but it will not be too long.

Cheers,
Renold

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Travis 29er

Travis had his bike assembled for a couple of weeks and we got together today to take some pictures. For all the shots, go here. He also took some pictures for me while I was working,  maybe I will upload some of them later. 






Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fort Collins is GOLD

Wow, check this!


On another note, Peter's bike is done and I am happy how it all turned out.




Monday, September 15, 2008

Our trip to Crested Butte was a very pleasant one, we did some bike rides and chilled out playing Monopoly at night by the wood fire. The scenery there cannot be beat and I have attached a few memorable shots here.







Another impressive encounter was during our first day driving out to Salida. We stopped at the Safeway at Frisco for a break and some lunch and met a couple that inspires me much. I first saw Scott and Paulie right before we turned into the Safeway store, they were riding their bikes across the road. I noticed that they were older, and did not pay further attention. While we were enjoying our lunch, they returned, only after about 20 minutes. They actually stopped right next to us and this time I noticed Scott's bike has a bike rack at the back and was carrying an oxygen tank. It is connected directly to his nostrils. I was impressed and inspired at the same time, here we were at about 9000 feet altitude and this older gentleman is riding his bike despite the fact that he was using oxygen support. He told us he had been to Alaska this past summer and was advised by his doctor to use the oxygen for a while to acclimatise. Whatever the reason, it shows me that there are a lot of hardships in life but we sometimes make it bigger than it is. Here is a picture of Scott and Paulie.

Monday, September 1, 2008

650b rocks


The past few weeks I was working on a new 650b mtb and was quite happy with the result. This is built for myself and also for a bit of front end testing / experimentation. The pictures here shows a rigid fork from an earlier 29er, and an old Psylo XC fork is also ready for test in the near future.

A quick build into a single speed before paint promises the instant gratification in me and a test ride was had at Lory State Park the next day. The bike feels great, and there is no complain so far.

Leigh and I had a very nice long weekend, and I am ready to start building the next bike. A cross bike for Peter. I think this will help him in his college career and give him a foundation to win some races. Pictures to follow on Flickr for sure.

This is the best time of the year here and we are taking a short trip to Crested Butte in a week. Can't wait. 


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A recent review


In the past few weeks, I have been busy building a 29er for Travis and also patiently waiting for a frame to return from paint. The frame came back and was prepped and shipped this Monday to TBE. It will be there for demo and display.

While the same time, I had one of my 650b road bike tested by 650b.com. The 2 part review is here and here. I am glad to read the positive feedback and accordingly there will be another part of the review that is more generic to the whole concept of road bikes with 650b wheels. 

This week I am starting another 650b bike, a mountain bike this time, no pictures yet, but will surely post them as they become available.

Have a good week.


Friday, July 25, 2008

A sad day in Fort Collins

It is a sad day in Fort Collins. I attended a memorial of a fellow rider, Rebecca Allen, who died after severe head trauma caused by a drunk driver hitting her and her riding partner from behind.

Her riding partner, Jennifer Garvey, is wife of my friend and colleague at Lee's Cyclery. She was injured but was able to attend. 

Many cyclists answered the call to attend the memorial and Lee's Cyclery actually closed both stores for almost 3 hours so staff members can attend the mid day service.

Be safe out there. But I am not sure how we can avoid drunk or unfriendly drivers. 

Monday, July 21, 2008

The bike that took so long


The bike that was 75% built before my accident is finally complete. Painted, assembled and test ridden. Here are a few pictures


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Reborn


It has been another long period since I last updated. Recovery is still in progress but symptoms are bearable and I can do most anything. The most important thing though is that I just finished my first complete frame after my almost career ending accident. I am very happy how things turn out along the process and I was paying extra attention to how my body reacts to the work of framebuilding.

There is a lot to do to pick up whatever momentum there was before the accident, but I am really quite happy I am building on.

A few pictures of this frame that is going to TBE after paint.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

why 650B road bikes?


The recent resurgence of the 650b wheel size road bicycles has generated a lot of interest but there are still a lot of people seemingly on the fence about it. I just want to summarize some of the benefits of 650b wheeled road / touring bicycles.

I will not be looking into the history of the 650b size; others had covered this.

To begin with, 650b means an effective rim diameter of 584mm as compared to 622mm of 700c, and 559mm of the popular 26” wheel used in a lot of mountain bikes. Current tire width selections for 650b size ranges from about 32mm to 42mm for road tread while there is one mountain tread at 58mm (more to come very soon). This condition has ruled out certain application for this rim size, e.g. modern day racing. While tire choice is certainly on the short side as compared with 700c or 26”, those available are not bad at all for its intended purposes - mainly paved road use but also good for hard pack dirt or gravel roads. With this description, it meant most randonneuring and touring condition would be covered.

Looking from another point of view, it is beneficial for some riders to simply choose to use wider tires, no matter if they are using 650b or 700c wheels. Wider tires simply make more sense for most riding conditions, it provides more traction, more comfort to the rider and a lower chance of tube failure for heavier riders. So, if you have decided to use wider tires already, should it be with 650b wheels or 700c? Read on.

With a 32mm to 42mm width tire mounted, the resultant wheel diameter of a 650b wheel is quite close to a 700x23c wheel, this means that if you are used to modern sport bikes with such a wheel size, you will easily adapt to the 650b size since the gearing on the bike will feel very similar. However, you can also easily gear down for loaded applications or off road riding conditions. For those concerned about speed, I must say that riding a 650b wheeled bikes is not any slower than a 700x23c wheeled bike on most recreational sport riding provided that the bike fit well. The up side though is a much more comfortable ride which may give the rider a stronger ride for a longer duration.

Another thing about gearing is that with a wide tire 700c wheeled bike, it will be harder to accelerate or require down shifting more. If in a stop and go situation, it can be tiring with all the shifting duties. I think that on a 650b wheeled bike, a compact crank (50/34) combined with any road or off road cassette can cover most riding conditions easily.

A lot of riders chose to have fenders on their bikes dedicated for randonneuring, touring or commuting applications and this is an important issue. If you are planning for a bike for this use with 700c wheels, the resultant diameter of a 700 x 32c wheel plus fender clearance would mean a very high chance of toe overlap unless you are quite tall or require a bike that has a relatively long top tube. For most riders between 5’4” and 6’ considering this kind of a bike, a 650b wheel choice would make most sense. The resulting bike with 650b wheels will also look more balanced than a 700c wheeled one.

Some may ask why not use 26” (559 erd) wheels.  And I do agree if you plan to ride across regions that will not give you access to 650b tires, it may be prudent to use 26” wheels and tires.  Otherwise, a 26” wheeled bike is too limited to extreme loaded applications and makes gearing a bigger problem when a more sporty riding is called for. Some may also argue that wheel strength is an issue, but I think modern hubs, spokes and rims are so well developed that it is no longer an issue, just look at all the 29er wheel doing well even in rugged off road use.

In order to achieve good handling on such a bike, a low trail front end is best suited. It provides stable handling at low speed and when a front load (eg handlebar bag) is used. This low trail design can be achieved by a shallow head tube angle or a fork with high rake. A 650b wheeled bike with this design feels very natural, especially when compared with a bike with similar width tire on 700c wheels. The 700c wheeled bike feels a little clumsy on low speed or maneuvering around tight areas; the same feeling or complain some people have for 29er off road bikes. This is easy to understand, as your wheel diameter gets bigger the mass is also concentrated further from the bike and when turning your handlebar, there is more force required to turn the wheel. This feeling only happens at low speed, as the wheel is not needed to turn at higher speed when cornering.

In the end, I think application, rider body geometry, and fit specifics would be the key factors when choosing among these 3 wheel / rim sizes. A well designed frame with the appropriate wheel size will not just look good, but function to its fullest and handle optimally.

If you are interested to try out this wheel size, I suggest to skip the adapt-to-a-700c-frame route and go for one of the dedicated production frames although there are not too many to choose from. The geometry will be more appropriate plus if you use rim brakes and just put on one of those super long reach side pull calipers on a 700c frame I am not sure if it will stop the bike quick enough. Of course, a made to measure bicycle would be the best way to go with all the features that is desired, be it lights, rack, fenders, and fit and handling specifics.

Well, I will not go back to finishing the 650b I did not complete before the accident. 

Cheers,

Renold

Thursday, May 1, 2008

It's been long


Wow, it has been long. It is approaching 8 weeks since my accident, which I initially thought would be over in a short time, well, it turned out to be way worse than I thought. I am still recovering and had just started hand therapy this week.

It was 1:20pm or so and I was going lazily to my fitting appointment at Lee’s south store. This was a kind of a special appointment, my client, Judy, was going to meet me outside the bike shop as her husband had asked her. This was supposed to be a gift from her husband, Dan, as he was planning a couple of bike trips with her for this summer and also a way of staying fit. 

Wait as she did but no one came to meet her and invite her to the fitting studio.

It was such a nice day, temperature was about mid 50s, sun was shining, it was a day when there could be no excuse to not ride. I decided it should be a casual easy ride to the store so I just wore casual clothes but put one my riding shoes since the pedals on the bike was clipless. I decided to wear my helmet, which I sometimes did not wear especially when my wife was not in town – a desperate hope to blend in with the young and hip college bike riders.

Not a minute from my home along the bike path, I laid face down on the ground, my body half turned. I did not feel much pain if any but noticed the lost of my front teeth. I was gasping from the sudden change and yelled out two “Help”. I could not quite move but wanted to turn my body so I can lie on my back and take a break to catch my breath. I heard a lady voice from a distance; probably from the sidewalk about 100 feet away, asking if I was okay. I saw my right arm and tried to move it but it did not obey. I tried harder and this time it moved but it flopped to the side and hit the ground. I could not feel any pain from my arm hitting the ground. Now with my torso pretty much lying on my back, I tried to turn my hip and legs as well so I can really lie down, but again, my legs were just kind of flopped. I was finally lying down. I thought, ok, just rest, give it 15 minutes and I will get up.

About this time, a gentleman stopped by to check in on me and let me know an ambulance was called. I asked this gentleman to call in to Lees and inform of my mishap but I forgot to ask someone to fetch Judy from outside the store.

A runner stopped by who happened to be an EMT asked me a few questions and helped the other EMTs who arrived on an ambulance. I was strapped onto a board with my head secured and loaded into the ambulance. They were very concerned if I had broken my neck, but I kind of knew my neck did not break because I moved it quite some and there was no pain at all and I can feel it too. However, I never thought of what was really injured.

In the ER, I received quite some attention and went through x-ray, cat scan, and finally MRI. My upper lip was cut through and required 6 stitches. It was 4 weeks later that my dentist found a fragment of my broken front tooth embedded on my upper lip on the inside that was never checked in the ER. It took another small procedure to take it out since the 4 weeks of healing had took that in as part of the new me.

About 7 hours after the accident, a technician finally came and let us know what the doctor found was injured after seeing the MRI results. They injected a steroid through my IV to help fix the injury. After some research since I got home, it was revealed that if the steroid had been injected earlier, maybe the healing would have been faster and more complete. At this point they finally informed me and my wife, who just arrived from Utah (she was on a business trip there), that I have to stay in the hospital for a couple of nights. No one in the ER thought I would have to stay, but also, none of them thought my extremely numb and tingly arms and hands would last so long either. So, we spent another 2 days in the hospital and were sent home after that.

Our neurosurgeon visited the next day and told us that I had a form of spinal cord injury - spinal cord contusion. It was swelling and bruising of the spinal cord, and it happened on my neck region (cervical), which controlled pretty much all the functions from the neck down. I regained all leg movements and normal sensory in the ER, but not my arms and hands. Doctor said we should just let it heal but it would take some time. He asked us to visit him again in 4 weeks. I was a little shocked that it would take so long but somehow their positive attitude seem to indicate I would be completely back to normal in about 3 weeks.

During the first 3 weeks, anything that graces or touches my hands would cause me much discomfort and so I did not do anything at all, just sitting around or sleeping. But sleeping usually only last 2 – 3 hours each session as any body movement causes discomfort and woke me up. I gradually improved along this time and we visited the neurosurgeon who further explained my condition and the fact that I have a genetically narrow spinal canal, which makes this kind of injury a higher occurrence. I also got a taste of what it is like without hands and how life changes under the circumstances. In fact I was quite close to becoming a quadriplegic and I guess I had a glimpse of what it was like during the first couple of minutes after the crash.

In the last few weeks I have been able to do more by myself with various ways of coping and avoiding the sensitive areas. I am not sure if my hands will be completely back to the way they were, but I am hopeful that my hand therapy will complete the loop.

Totaling all the losses, I had missed my first trip home (Hong Kong) after 6 years, 2 very nice pieces of cycling garment were cut up in the ER, the shoulder trap of my messenger bag, my cracked helmet, the front wheel of the bike was toasted, as was the front fork and the fender, but most importantly, 8 weeks + of my productive life, and of course all the medical bills that are arriving. I have medical coverage through my wife’s employer, but there are all sorts of deductibles, overages and uncovered expenses.

I have to thank all the fine folk who helped at the scene, especially the EMTs, the nurses at the ER, friends from Lee’s who stopped by and called during my recovery, friends and neighbors who helped to take care of Lucky and offered words of encouragement along the way and of course my wife. She had gone through much hardship to dealing with a husband without hands for this period while holding down a full time job.

I should be gradually getting back to building frames and fitting riders soon.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Hello there - it has been a while since I wrote.  I had a bit of a mishap the other day - actually, a bit more than a mishap as it was a bike crash.  The crash was a major face plant which resulted in several lacerations on my face including a clean through cut on my upper lip and two teeth getting knocked out.  The crash landed me in the hospital over the weekend because of ongoing tingling and pain in my hands and arms.   The pain is now under control and some of the swelling has reduced, so I was released from the hospital and am now at home.  Looks like there will be some time needed for the healing process and I really can't do much work right now, if at all for this week.  This is a big bummer for me as I was getting started on a new frame.   

Monday, March 3, 2008

 This is a short clip of my recent brazing on the 650b frame being built. It took me sometime to edit this video. But it is fun and useful to review it. The actual time it took to braze both joints on the headtube was much longer, but I think most people will be very bored to watch the whole process and so here is the condensed version. 

cheers,


video

Thursday, February 28, 2008

update on build pictures


I just did an update to flickr of the 650b bike build. Still working on the video I took the other day. Well, took another brazing session of the head tube as well. Now, I have too many videos to cut and I am not good at it, so be patient and it will be ready soon.
cheers.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A new 650b winter bike being built

The past couple of weeks I have been working on another 650b winter / rando bike. Here are a couple of pics along the way. I took some short clips when I brazed the dropouts too, but those will take some time to edit. Click for more pictures.

Cheers.




Friday, February 22, 2008

riding the 650b mtb


The weather had been nice the last few days although it is still wet and a bit muddy at places, I took the 650B mountain bike out for a couple of rides. As compared to my 29er it feels to have a lot less to deal with, especially around tight switchbacks and muddy spots. It goes around corners very naturally and hold its line very well, turn in on this bike is quick with a 72deg head angle mixing with the F29, G2 (51mm rake) fork. I think I would enjoy tight singletracks on this bike much more than a 29er.

Although it does not eat up obstacles as easily as a 29er (the difference is not big), it is a very good medium between 26er and 29er, plus going back to what I mentioned before, this wheel / tire size is simply a much better equipment choice for certain riders, when combined with a properly designed frame.

The neo-moto rides nice with its big volume, I played with tire pressure for quite a few different settings and was happy to stay with relatively lower pressure. I believe the velocity blunt rim also helped to provide a wide footprint but not create easy snakebites. I bottom out the front tire a few times on sharp rocks but did not get a flat.

All in all, I really enjoyed the last couple of rides, but of course, will test it out further to see what needs improvement.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Review by Gordon - 650b winter bike

As promised from last week, ride report from Gordon. The below is the full text that Gordon sent me, I did not change a thing.

For those who do not know Gordon, he is from Scotland and you will know once he speaks with you. He is an excellent mechanic and works at the north store (Laurel and Mason) of Lee's Cyclery in Fort Collins. If you would like to speak with him direct, visit the store during Friday to Monday, his winter work hours.

Here is what Gordon has to say: 

hi Renold, thank you very much for loaning me the  white rando bike.  It was the the perfect bike for  the time of year  i took it for some longish rides  well long for this time of year  and it performed  beautifully.

I made some minor modifications from the bike you delivered to me , i swapped out the  Brooks saddle  for my own one that has been broken in a bit , i put on a couple of water bottle cages and attached my carridice saddle bag,  changed my pedals and i was good to go.  

My first impression of the bike was how attractive it was with the ornate lugs, custom stem and matching white fenders it drew a lot of admiring glances wherever it went.  i rode it around town for a couple of days when i fist got it to get used to it before going on any big rides. i was struck by how stable the bike felt even with my saddlebag swinging around behind me i was able to confidently ride no-hands while adding or removing clothing, eating stretching whatever. the tires took a little getting used to as they were about twice the width that i normally ride and to be honest i would probably change those out for something a little smoother and narrower like a nifty swifty, especially if i was going to riding primarily on the road. The first decent ride i took it for was over rist canyon ( about a 10 mile climb) and then back to fort collins via masonville about 55 miles, i was nervous about  doing the ride  at this time of  year as there are some icy patches, and a lot of gravel or salt on the roads and it also features some fast twisty descending but i need not of worried, the bike handled really well and the disc brakes helped me stay in control at all times. I also managed to hang with a racer out training on his light full carbon bike on the way up the canyon which was big surprise for me i thought i would get dropped like a stone as i'm sure i was on a much heavier steed.
The only things i didn't like on this ride were the position of the right shifter which was on the top tube and was fine while you were in the saddle but when climbing out the saddle would cause you to hit it with your knee  causing  the  rear derailleur to shift you into higher gears  which would reduce my progress to a crawl, the only other thing that annoyed me was a noise during every rotation of the wheel but i traced that to a low spot on the front tire which i fixed quickly when i got home and was never a problem again.
I also took the bike for some longer rides (around 80 miles) up the poudre canyon and the bike was very comfortable and i could have ridden it all day long had my fitness been a bit better. Another thing i would do if it were my bike would be to put a 48 or 46 tooth large chainring on the crank as this would give me more useful gear ratios as i found i was cross chaining a lot when i was in the big ring.
All in all this is a great bike to ride and one that will give somebody years of great riding in almost all terrains and weather conditions.


As a reference to Gordon's comment, I want to add that he had been riding a full carbon race bike for the past 2 years and he is planning to sell it since he had just acquired an older Tomassini in steel and going back to the roots with down tube shifters and all. I was excited to learn this about 2 weeks ago and knew that he is planning to do the next PBP too.

His comment is very spot on and I think my test of the top tube shifter has just concluded, if I were to do it again, I would either have to move it closer to the head tube or to the stem, but for the next one I am currently building, it will be on the down tube.

A slideshow from before.

video

Friday, February 15, 2008

more 650b info soon

Yesterday I picked up my 650B rando / winter bike. It was loaned to my good friend Gordon while he was between bikes. I talked to him briefly about some test comments. He was very positive and said he would write something up to post here.
I then went on to return a couple of items I borrowed for use at NAHBS, Heath Garvey of Lee's Cyclery is interested in displaying my bikes on an event coming up later this month. It would be a nice way to introduce YiPsan Bicycles to Fort Collins.
I have been tracking back to happenings during NAHBS and thinking of builders who inspires me. Among all the master builders, his work speaks a lot to me and will serve as an inspiration for my work. I know a lot of people were very impressed seeing his bikes live. 
I would like to thank Darrell for sharing tips openly and sincerely.
Alright, I am heading back to the shop. I started another 650B rando / winter bike. This time with Rene Singer lugset.



Monday, February 11, 2008

NAHBS Post show review


NAHBS came and gone with the blink of an eye. It was a fast 3 days for me, a first time exhibitor. The fine folks at Portland did not just show us how much they love custom handmade bicycles, they also showed us their hospitality, it was impressive.
Before I go on, I would just like to thank the staff of Chris King, for helping out all the exhibitors. In fact I was the last exhibitor to leave the hall last night. I was slow in packing up my 4 bikes and caused 2 of King's staff to wait until almost 9pm to pick them up to head back to their warehouse pending shipping today. Thanks again. Portland rocks.
As for YiPsan Bicycles, it was a very positive event for us. Lots of excitement and compliment for the 650B mtb and the Firecracker fixed gear. My stems also have received lots of demand and I explained to most who noticed them that a nice stem completes the package for a custom bike.
Thank you also goes to cyclelicious, 650B Palace and sixfiftyb.com for coverage. I am sure I missed some, so forgive me if I do, and check back for new update as I get up to speed in the next few days.
 
Withdrawal symptoms are kicking in and I am feeling the impact of lack of sleep, talking too much, laughing too hard and trying to memorize all the names of the nice people I met the last 3 days. Congrats also to Black Sheep Bicycles for winning the best Ti bike award, fine folks from Fort Collins, CO, my fellow neighbors.
I am now waiting for my flight home and excited and ready to get in my shop and get some new frames made. For those who are near Frederick, MD, and did not come to NAHBS; the Firecracker fixed gear and my personal road bike are on its way to TBE for show / light demo and I am sure Tom would welcome you to stop by to check them out.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Day 1, NAHBS 08

Day one of the show is over, and I am very excited to have met a lot of industry / press folks and other show visitors. Even though this was supposed to be a slower day with much less people in the show, I did not have much time for lunch or sitting down.

I just updated my flickr pictures and full set of show bike firecracker and 650B mtb is now online. Check it out and see if you like it.

Again, if you are going to the show the next 2 days, stop by booth 618 for some chinese new year treats and say hi.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Live from Portland, it's NAHBS 08

Portland I have arrived. An early morning flight from Denver got us here safe and sound, and I am very excited to get started. I am now at my hotel room (can see the OCC right from my room) Will have lunch shortly and then get into the OCC to started putting my bikes together.

I just noticed that my 650B bike was linked from cyclelicious, how cool.

You know, maybe I just did not sleep enough, I thought I saw Tyler Hamilton on the same flight. Maybe he is here to promote for Parlee?! Anyway, it is going to be a good show.

I also saw a Moots van as we left the airport to head to our hotel, I did not know they are exhibiting, but it would be good to see their stuff too.

A little postcard memorabilia for show visitors, if you want one, stop by booth 618 to check it out. See you this weekend.

Monday, February 4, 2008

seat stay brazing

A short clip of some of my work. This is the brazing of the seatstay cluster of the singlespeed cross bike. I learned a lot trimming down the clip with iMovie and also see that I could have shot the footage better, oh well, next time.

This frame is now at TBE being build up for demo rides.

I intend to make a clip of all major framebuilding sequences, but it will take some time. Check back for more.

Ought to start packing for HAHBS too, see you there.

video

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fenders for the 650b rando bike


After a long delay with my painter to finishing the fenders, I got them back 2 days ago and spent some time fitting them in and trimming off excess stays. They are low cost Planet bike fender but look very well matched with the fat (650b x 41.5c) Fatty Rumpkin tires. This is now a perfect winter bike or long distance (aka rando, brevet) bike. I hope my scottish friend Gordon will enjoy it. See more pictures here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Firecracker fixie - NAHBS 08 Preview

Well, final preview of my show bikes. Full set of pictures including complete bike shots will be prepared between now and show time and I will try to upload them between Feb 8 - 10. Some good folks have kindly posted my Flickr pictures on MTBR.com and thebikesite.org. Thank you for the kind words, I hope to see you all there.

Here is my way to celebrate Chinese New Year - a fixed gear code named Firecracker. The first day of show will actually be the 2nd day of Chinese New Year and it is an important day to a Chinese. We have prepared some treats that goes along the theme of this fixed gear. If you are going to the show, please stop by booth 618 to check out this fixie and some treats.

A preview slideshow here, or still pictures on Flickr.

Now, back to getting ready.


video

Monday, January 28, 2008

650B MTB - NAHBS 08 preview

Got this back from Keith last Friday and had finally put it together and took some pictures. This is all I can post now. Hopefully to tease you enough to come to actually visit NAHBS 08. It is so near and I am feeling never being ready for it.

Anyway, check this new slideshow here, music is by my good friend Phil McIntosh, or go to my Flickr for still pictures.

Now I am off to get Firecracker ready!


video

Friday, January 25, 2008

The heat is going up - NAHBS

NAHBS is really only 2 weeks away and I can feel the tension. It is also good to see some press about it too.

Back to getting ready. Hope to see you there.

Renold

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

SS Cross test ride


Well, it is actually not much of a test ride. It was quite cold and a bit windy today, but I thought if I do not go out today, I might be too busy to go in the upcoming 2 weeks leading to NAHBS (North American Handmade Bike Show).
So I waited for pretty much the warmest time of the day and headed out, it was good fun rolling on the bike path towards Pineridge (my intended test route) but once I hit dirt I realized the light coat of snow from Monday was hiding a thick sheet of ice. I thought I would give it a go but a couple of skid and fall, I was ready to turn back.  Traction was nowhere to be found  with my 35c cross tread and even short downhill coming back prove tricky. I got off the bike at one point but even my winter shoes were not able to provide much foothold. 
I wonder if my 650B x 41.5c sucker cup tired bike might do better.
So, I instead rode on the pave trail for a bit. I guess I will have to ask someone else to help on the test ride!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This 650B thing

I have been trying to follow some of the comments and happenings in the blogosphere about the 650B wheel size. It surprises me in a few ways. Before I start, let me lay down my position so if you disagree and not want to waste your time reading, you can ignore this. I am with the 650B movement and I am happy that it has arrived to the current state in such a short time.

I see a lot of people trying / considering to put 650B wheels on 26” mountain bikes and 700c road bikes. While I understand that this is common to do to just find out more, but it will never be a really good answer as the handling of such bike is not really what a proper 650B bicycle will be.

Why? First off, BB height will not be correct / optimal after the conversion. Some may ask, what is the big deal. To me, it is a big deal. Without a proper BB height for the designed use, weight balance of rider over the bike will not be optimal, for most 26” mtb frames, it will be higher while for 700c road frames, it will be lower. Then, there is the front end geometry to worry about. With a different wheel diameter in front, combined with unchanged rake of your fork, trail will end up bigger or smaller. The result, again, will not be optimal. Of course, depending on what tire width you chose for your 650B, it will also affect the contact patch size. Lastly, chainstay length. Some believe shorter is better, but I disagree with this notion. Chainstay length should again be application specific and it is a factor within a whole pool of factors for designing a frame.

I think 650B is best suited for riders of certain body specifics. Height, weight, riding style, and application. In fact, that is why 650B had survived in Europe all these years. During the popular cyclotouring era, 650B was the wheel size of choice. Because of application and road condition at that time, it really is the best. Some riders who carry on the cyclotouring sport have chosen 700c with 30-ish tire size in modern times but I can tell you this size is not optimal for a lot of riders. 

As for off-road, 650B has its place too. Kirk Pacenti will tell you one of the main reasons is for long travel full suspension bikes, and I completely agree with that. On top of that, it is also very nice for hard tails. As you might have read that many people have switched to 29ers over the past few years, and most of them will cite the better momentum, how much easier it is to roll over obstacles, etc. These benefits will also appear on a 650B bike, not in the same magnitude, but the characteristics is there. Also, bear in mind why some 26” riders tried 29 and did not change. They will tell you cornering is just not very natural, slow technical handling is cumbersome and that their climbing prowess is not as good. This is where 650B will shine just like a 26” mtb plus some of the benefits of 29er. But these are simply generalization. Like for road bikes, the choice should be rider driven, their body dimension, riding style and application.

I believe riders of 5’4 to 5’9 are major benefactors of this wheel size. You will have a bike that handles properly, no toe overlap, fit properly with correct weight balance. As tire and rim choices expand, we will see more discerning cyclists switching to 650B wheels, and purpose built 650B frames.

So, my suggestion is go ahead and experiment, but a really nice bike is most likely a custom made to measure bicycle, consult your favorite framebuilders and allow them to give you suggestions, not just on wheel size, but also on fitting and frame design. Also, visit the upcoming North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) in Portland, Oregon. I hope to see you there.

Monday, January 21, 2008

SS cross

Just finished this singlespeed cross bike yesterday, I was about to take pictures and the battery died after 3 shots. Well, now it is done, I feel quite happy with both the bike ad the pictures. Hope you like it too. Sorry for the unsightly cable hanger in the front, I did not have the steerer mount type, but anyway, a custom stem with an integrated hanger is really the way to go. I am planning to ride it tomorrow. Today is way too cold, it is now 9 deg F outside. A view from my work area.















This bike will get to TBE in the near future, maybe not in this trim since I need some of the components for other uses, but will be ready for demo rides, etc..... For those who is not going to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, TBE is the place to go to see my bikes. And they have IF there too.

See the slideshow here or go to Flickr for still pictures. Cheers, Renold


video

Thursday, January 17, 2008

In case you have not seen this

For whatever reason, I forgot to link this here. Check Flickr if you want to see more still pictures.

Working on quite a few different things this past week, not much to show, but there should be something quite interesting near the end of next week.


video

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thoughts from snowshoeing

Last weekend, I went snowshoeing with our neighbors and had a very good time. The snow covered trails with tall pines on both sides were a nice break from city views. It adds to the effect that it was mostly snowing the whole time we were hiking. More pictures here.
This weather however highlights the fact that the gear that I used during the trip was really not up to the task. We moved to Colorado for only 1.5 yrs and I did not have the kind of gear for the high country in the winter. Sure the experience is what counts, but when snow started gradually soaking through and getting to your skin, it puts a damper to your enjoyment. This resonates with my sometimes cheap bike components purchase thinking that I only need something basic and ultimately paid the price of being cheap! Well, I swear I will not do this to myself again. How about you?

A new slideshow- NAHBS preview part 2

Other than the IR heater yesterday, I also got my other piece of shipment. A big roll of black photo paper. Those who had seen the other slideshow of my 650B rando style bike will know, the white color with the white background is kind of hard on your eyes (will update this soon too), so I got the black paper now and really liked the result when I pictured my new road bike. This bike is also heading to NAHBS 08, so a little preview here and I hope it whets your appetite and maybe go to Portland on February 8 - 10 to check out the bike live. Here it goes, a little slideshow with Soul II Soul as background! For still pictures, check my Flickr pages, or other slideshows - my website.

video

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

But it's cold outside


Wow, finally, I got my new infra red heater. Can you feel the heat? They really do a much better job than fan heaters or other indoor ones. Now I think I can work in my workshop during the remainder of this winter.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A new slideshow- NAHBS preview

So, just put this short slideshow up. This is my wife's new bike and to be shown at NAHBS. video
See more here.

Oh, I also have updated some photos on Flickr and a slideshow on my own site, check it out.

A new beginning

Finally, I have time to decide and start this blog. Before this, I had started to write something down on my laptop, maybe I can just post them as one big post now. Here it goes:

10/18/07

It has been almost a week since I registered Yipsan Bicycles llc. There has been crazy getting things together with all the government type form filling, opening a business bank account, trying to catch Don to get registered to go to NAHBS and of course all that there is to go with a modern day business.

 

The thing that pretty much pushed me over to commit to doing this was NAHBS, and the fact that I have to just commit and jump into the pro level. I am in a lucky situation where I could have just stayed as a hobby builder for any ten years or a lifetime. But I have been wanting to be a pro builder for quite a while already. I know most pros would say that this is not the way to turn pro, I did not have the classic trained up in a production environment kind of thing. I tried, but did not get in. also, most pros would also say you need to find your niche before going in, well, I do not have a niche, seems like most niche are kind of occupied. Do my frames top others, no, they do not. But they are pretty good by itself. Do I have customers lined up? No, not one, well maybe one since I was lucky again to have a friend who owns a bike shop to agree to be my dealer. Well, his wife rides one of my frames.

 

Enough with all the negative, I think by keeping a regular pace and work hard, there will be a tomorrow for me as a pro framebuilder. I may not be the next Sachs, but I am confident that I will have my little foothold in the field.

 

There are still a lot of loose ends that may mean I cannot show at 08 NAHBS, but only time will tell. I am more concerned if I have the absolute best stuff to show rather. All the expenses is also a concern. I cannot keep spending crazy but it looks like my next 6 months will have at least $10K worth of spending.

 

The feeling of jumping into an unknown is nauseating but I grew up sailing, so occasional puking is not a big problem. I will hopefully post this as my first blog when it became available. Thanks for reading.

 

10/30/07

Time goes by quickly while I was trying to register to exhibit in the next NAHBS, arranging for all necessary business necessities (insurance, website, graphics, etc……). Just trying to put up a simple one page website costed me lots of time, but anyway, it is up for now, a single page, single picture letting you know of how to contact me, but more will come as I have better pictures of my frames.

 

On the other side, I attended one of Serotta International Cycling Institute’s Advanced Fitting class yesterday. It was very informative and I get to meet many national and regional fitters to exchange experience which broadens my horizon. Equipped with such knowledge, I am capable of providing even better fitting services and of course design your next frame in the best possible way to fit you and provide the ride quality, build quality and aesthetic quality that you have been seeking for.

A small batch of tubing has arrived yesterday and I better inspect them and have them ready for a couple of builds that I have planned.

 

Happy riding.

 

 

11/2/07

 

Wow, just got my macbook yesterday and have been busy trying to hook everything together. I have just successfully retrieve files from my old PC through our wirelss network, cool, but it took me some time since I am very new to Mac and really not good at all with computers. Anyhow, next up is to get the network printer to print from the Mac. Hope it will be smooth.

 

Oh, one cool thing now that makes a Mac not so different than a PC is the fact that it runs on an Intel chip and also the amount of software available to help. Case in point, I downloaded OpenOffice from OpenOffice.org, it is free and pretty much can replace Windows Office. I am sure there will be some restrictions, but most likely good enough for my purpose.

 

Well, more later, need to get everything ready.

 

 

11/28/07

 

wow, it has been too long since I last wrote. Work has been moving on and I think I should be able to hit the deadline to get frames for the show to my painter. Some other work has been slow though, but I have kind of expected that to happen. It is not critical for the time being but it needs to get on to be ready.

 

We have also been thinking of ways to promote YiPsan during the show but we have not confirmed on anything yet.

 

Just finished a 650B MTB with paragon sliders, it should head out to paint when I finish the stem on Friday. A fixed gear to replace my other one is also on the way, about half done. I am improving as I go but still see lots of room for improvement mainly in my efficiency rather than fit and finish.

 

Spending has also been crazy and I am feeling quite concerned. I guess I have to trim down on something else that I planned. And I know this is a constant for business – change!

 

12/14/07

 

well another long stretch that I did not write anything, mostly because I have been pushing to finish frames for the show. Now they are with painter, Keith Anderson, I feel a little relieved and was actually slacking a bit in the past couple of days. I did put together the photo taking area though. Fluorescent light fixtures given away by a neighbor together with a big roll of photo paper hung up creates an area where I can try to take some good pictures. Now I would like to see the first couple of frames back to start  shooting. Work in the shop does not end though, there are still wheels to build, parts to line up and some headbadges to get ready for putting on frames.

 

 

12/26/07

 

wow, another 2 weeks! Christmas has come and gone and I have lost some time due to the festives. Things are going along, and most things are on schedule. The first 2 frames are back and pending for taking pictures. I am still learning to take good pictures and also learning as I go in editing them and making them into my website. There are so much new things to learn to make this happen, it is a bit overwhelming. But then, learning new things can be fun. Like using this mac instead of a PC, I just upgrade my mac OS to the Leopard that was released when I bought my macbook, it got me to learn more about backing up and also different settings and functions. Now, the next thing to learn is my all new Adobe CS3. It will help me prepare designs and web authoring and I am quite excited to do it. The only thing is the lack of time and concentration on my part.

 

A powdercoat frame had just been finished as well, it will be a winter randoneur type bike and I plan to loan it to a friend to test it out and give me some feedback. Also on design stage is a couple of bike I am planning to build for demo at The Bicycle Escape. Wow, even thinking of all this feels busy already.

 

Hope all is good with your holiday, happy new year to all.