Thursday, December 25, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
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.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
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.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
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.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
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.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
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.
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
Monday, March 3, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
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.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
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.
Monday, February 18, 2008
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.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
Friday, February 8, 2008
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Monday, February 4, 2008
Thursday, January 31, 2008
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
Monday, January 28, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
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).
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
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
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.