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.