Want vs need

October 20, 2014

Cheap go fast shit.

I love thinking about what we need vs what we want. The imagination often gets in our way. It will cost us money and slow us down.

I see riders in my area all day long on bikes that are too big (travel) for them, too heavy, too expensive and just plain fit wrong. It’s a shame when you consider that they keep spending more and more money for worse and worse performance. They think more is better but it’s often not the case. Even when they spend all the money they possibly can, the system doesn’t work properly together or is fit completely wrong to them and their riding style (if you can call it that). Typically, what they need is to spend less money and buy less bike.

This morning, Vernon Felton of Bike Magazine posted to the magazine’s blog about some value bikes that are available to people looking for a real mountain bike at low cost. I chimed in, saying that there was greater value in the market than the examples that he cited. After a few comments on his facebook page, he challenged me to do better. I accepted the challenge. I was quickly surprised that while I feel I was able to make a better list, I wasn’t able to do as well as I thought.

Several factors come into play when looking for a good mountain bike, especially in the value category. While Vernon’s or my experience do much in seeing through the marketing hype and fancy paint, there are benchmarks that a bike should meet.

1. It needs to be built to last. Mountain biking, when done right, is abusive to bikes. The frame and the parts need to survive to provide the experience we expect. Some bikes do this better than others and suspension bikes are always at a disadvantage to hardtails.

2. A quality fork w/15 or 20mm TA. You can find bikes with forks that don’t work for cheap money but nobody needs that. Some bikes will still be sold with 9mm QR’s which is a joke in the face of modern TA systems and how hard a bike is pushed these days. We expect smooth travel with good damping and anything less is unacptable.

3. 120mm-160mm of front travel. You really aren’t doing yourself any favors with less. I can ride a 100mm fork on a hardtail, but 140mm is really superior. I can ride 120mm fork on a suspension bike but with a 160mm fork, I’m going to actutally charge at the speed that the rear end travel allows.

4. 0mm to 125mm of rear travel. Hartails are rad in all but certain conditions. I love hardtails but I do admit that riding in Marin is perfectly suited for their use. Suspension bikes are really fun and provide a level of control that puts a smile on most peoples faces. Still, too much of a good thing is bad. 160mm of wheel travel in the rear is only useful in a small percentage of situations but is a penalty in 99% percent of riding. 100 to 125mm of rear is where you are going to get the most bang for your money and effort while pedaling around.

5. Hydraulic brakes, strongly prefering Shimano. Cable actuated brakes are absolutely unuasable in real mountain biking. Hydralulic is the only choice. Shimano makes the best brakes in the business. Period. I would much rather (and have) run the lowest level Shimano brakes instead of the best SRAM has to offer. The brakes are that good.

6. A dropper seatpost. Game changer is a word thrown around a lot these days but with regard to mountain bikes the dropper post really is that. They probably produce the single greatest change how we use the mountain bike since the advent of clipless pedals and disc brakes. They are a requirement if you expect to go fast, even on a hardtail. In fact, a hardtail bike without a dropper post should be considered a go slow bike rather than anything else.

7. A long front center. Compared to bikes of the past, a modern mountain bike has a long front end. Front centers in the range (for a medium) of 690mm for 29ers and 705mm for 27.5ers are what we are using today. This allows for much greater entry speed into whatever difficulty lay ahead. The challenge here is that a bike too long will be an issue when very tight switchbacks are common where you ride. A CC Angleset is used to move the front wheel’s position for longer front centers.

8. No more 26ers. I’m sorry to say the day of the 26er is over. They will still have uses for dirtjump, pumptrack, flow, and small peoples bikes but we aren’t going to see them on trailbikes again. In fact, for mountain biking with a hardtail, 29er wheels are the only choice outside of special circumstances. With full suspension, a 27.5″ wheels is usable but only if the rider is going to be riding very aggressively (or is small).

I didn’t have a lot of time today but I tried my best to put together this list.

Five hartails and five suspension bikes.

Hardtails:

* $1249. Kona Kahuna 29. Needs dropper. Understated elegance.

* $1550. Specialized Rockhopper Pro Evo 29. While the Crave Comp has a better part spec, the Rockhopper has a modern geometry that will allow for much better use.

* $1540. Trek Superfly 5 29. Needs dropper. World cup pedigree.

* $1699. Santa Cruz Highball 29. Needs dropper, angleset and fork extention.

* $1,399. Marin Nail Trail 9.6. Needs dropper, extended fork, and angleset. A solid but uninspired bike. The part spec is good and is probably suited for lots of abuse.

 

Suspension:

* $2,650. Giant Anthem X 29. Needs dropper. Still, there is no arguing that the Anthem 29er is one of the top bikes out there. As always, start with stock and go slacker and longer up front.

* $3,000. Giant Anthem SX 27.5. I have one of these. Amazing things. Toss an angleset in and a 160mm fork and you will be going fast up and down the hill.

* $2,799. Kona Process 134 29. The new Konas are just amazing. For so long, they were the dinosaur of the industry but the brand is back and they are good. They emphisize solidness and durability.

* $2499. Santa Cruz Bantam 27.5 Needs dropper. Needs Angleset and fork extended. A shame it doesn’t have Shimano brakes. Really sick hard hitting fun bike. I used to own a Butcher and it was a really great bike.

* $2,840. Trek Remedy 7 27.5. Needs dropper. Rough and tumble.

 

Close misses:

* $2,000. Specialized Camber 29. An incredible value but with a 9mm QR fork I couldn’t recommend it. Needs dropper

* $1100. Trek X-Caliber 8. Lack of a steerer tube that will take a tapered steerer. Off the list. Incredible value though. Needs dropper

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#stumpjumper

October 5, 2014

At the last minute on Saturday, I joined the Meet Your Maker Tour ride and picnic set at China Camp State Park. The tour is a great series of bike events that put builders and potential customers together where the action is happening. Riding together, talking about bikes, connecting. Sean from Soulcraft Bikes is the ringleader for the […]

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The fantastic.

October 3, 2014

This morning I was shocked. The day started like any other. It’s Friday and I’m going to go over to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass after work. Everything according to plan… The computer is fired up after arriving at work. I sit down. I check mail. Huh? An email in my inbox from Jamie Medeiros at Firefly […]

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Robin Williams Memorial Ride

September 15, 2014

Many people were shocked and saddened when they heard about the passing of Robin Williams. I was certainly one of them. To save a lot of useless and cluttered words, simply, Robin wasn’t one of the people who went out and changed the world; he changed the way we feel. I’m grateful for the gifts […]

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2014 McLaren Short Track Challenge

September 11, 2014

Another round of the McLaren Short Track Challenge. I showed up prepared this year. The bike was perfect. My problem lately has been lack of energy. Still, I pushed as hard as I could with an average heartrate of 170. That’s pretty good as my breaking heartrate is 178. I gave it my all and came […]

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I love Deore RD-M615 derailleurs

September 2, 2014

This has been a particularly hard year for me at Northstar with regard to bike damage. Rear derailleurs in particular. Several of the lines on the trails have been the bane of their existence. I think I’ve gone through at least six derailures in 10 days on the mountain. Horrible stuff. I had started with […]

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Failure

August 28, 2014

I design and make a lot of parts that I use on my personal bikes. I always want to be riding on the best bike I can. I ride them hard and I get to see what goes wrong and how. This one suprised me. I use a PVD stainless steel reducer on the top […]

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Astro boy

August 15, 2014

My day job puts me in the Physics & Astronomy Department at San Francisco State University. I’m primarily the department machinist and engineer. I teach a class sometimes which is nice, too. Pretty much, I help make sure our instruction and research folk are happy and have great tools. It’s a great gig. I have a machine […]

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The adult skateboard

August 14, 2014

I’ve been working on this for a while. Nothing serious, just picking at it. Most of my skating these days are done around campus at work or on odd days in San Francisco or when I travel. I love skating so much. Even as I get older, nothing makes me smile quite like stepping on […]

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Heartbreaker

August 11, 2014

Riding around the ranch yesterday I screwed up. I broke my heart. I was sucked into a game of Hunter/Killer. It’s the game I tend to play in races and hard rides. I wasn’t looking for that on this day but I found it. I seek my target, overtake/kill it, move to the next. One […]

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100% Effort

August 4, 2014

Sometimes on the trail, when discussing with some folks on how to clean an uphill switchback or ride a section of trail fast, the old expression will come up that you need to “put in 100%”. It get’s said a lot. Still, I don’t think people really know what it means. Here’s an example from the Tamarancho […]

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Chopper!!!

July 16, 2014

This last Saturday, I drove out to Sacramento from Fairfax and back over the course of five hours. Upon returning, I had a crashed up 2000 Honda Shadow A.C.E. (VT750CD2). $600 with a bill of sale for the ‘Junk’ titled vehicle plus a spare set of pipes in superbe condition, a set of saddle bags, […]

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Baby needs a new pair of shoes

July 1, 2014

It was time to replace my old Shimano XC-60 shoes with some new Shimano XC-61‘s. Both size 43, while I could do 42.5 for pure raceday shoes. New shoes, gloves, or grips are always so nice. The XC-60 shoes have treated me very well so I was happy to get the new model. Still, I […]

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Sandbagging and other stories we tell.

June 30, 2014

This weekend was the Boondocks race at Northstar. Boondocks is probably one of the most fun courses you can race around here for downhill. It’s so fast but with just the right mix of jumps, rocks, crazy lines and requisite endurance. It’s really not to be missed. Sticks and Stones is the other to get to. […]

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Sickest bash/guide ring ever.

June 24, 2014

…aside from my own PVD Magic Ring. I love that thing. Luc Albert has a problem. A bike problem. He’s the king of the killer shit and it’s gotta be right. He knows what the pros use and how things should be so he had to solve this problem – how to have a killer XTR bash/guide […]

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Limelight

June 18, 2014

On my way to work this morning I passed a television or movie film crew on 18th Street near Valencia Street in the Mission District of San Francisco. They were busy setting up so I didn’t get a chance to talk to anyone about what they were specifically filming. Of course, I had to get […]

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Tree jumper

June 16, 2014

I did a quick photo shoot on Sunday morning. It’s a tree jump/ride outside of Deer Park in Fairfax. It’s got just enough ramp into the tree to make it up the stump but it goes quite steep very quickly. Approach can be done at a quick speed and it’s a fairly smooth entry. The base of […]

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500 proof

June 13, 2014

I got a new spring for my 2013 Giant Glory w/ RS Vivid shock. I’ve been using a 450lb spring since getting the bike together at the beginning of last season. It was the stock spring that came with the frame. My setup last season was a bit soft though as I was still nursing […]

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High stakes poker

June 12, 2014

Getting to work by bike. It’s easy. What’s hard is doing it over and over and over… One thing that makes it possible to do that is to have the right bike for the job. In general, a commuting bike should be light, fast, and comfortable. Since the rider tends to be in dense traffic, […]

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Northstar 2014

June 10, 2014

Downhill season has begun here in Northern California. Northstar opened this last weekend. Typically, the park was far from ready. Considering the lack of any real winter I wonder why they can open this late in the season yet still be totally unprepared. One lift was open with the other opening in 3 more weeks. […]

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Chainless Grudge Match

June 2, 2014

Until recently, there was just one time worth mentioning for the Endor Flow trail at Camp Tamarancho. It was, for the last 11 months,  Ronen Sarig’s 2:40 as validated via GoPro and posted on YouTube. It was the fastest validated time known for the trail. It, and he, was the target for any fast rider […]

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Scooter crash repairs

May 20, 2014

Late last October (2013), I had a pretty bad crash on my Yamaha Majesty Scooter. I was headed home from work around 5pm on Park Presidio in SF heading North to the bridge and then Marin. Just as I was passing Geary Boulevard, I was momentarily distracted and didn’t see traffic stopping short ahead of me […]

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Garmin 510 case swap

May 12, 2014

Recently, I went to mount my Garmin Edge 510 to one of my bikes. It twisted in all wonky so I looked further. I must have broken a mounting tab from the back of my on a recent ride. I had to fix it. I use GPS data all the time to track my progress, routes, […]

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Bike to work day 2014. Keeping it real in SF.

May 7, 2014

People have a lot of excuses. Excuses are one of the limitless resources I know. So many people craft and build lives that require a car then complain about having to use one as well as care and feed it. It’s silly. Build the life you want and find ways of keeping true to your heart. […]

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11 Speed – The offroad.

April 16, 2014

This past week, at the Sea Otter Classic, Shimano officially unveiled their new premier off-road group-set. The XTR M9000. Attempting to directly compete and regain traction against SRAM’s now dominant XX1 group, the new Shimano group has eleven speeds and a single chainring option. There are some differences with how the rear derailleurs function. The […]

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Sea Otter 2014. Jumping sharks with fat bikes.

April 14, 2014

I went down to Sea Otter again. I raced the downhill and spent most of my energy on practice and the race. I was able to get some time in the pits and booths for some pics. There are several things to mention. XTR Front Derailleur – Truly amazing. I’m a fan of 2X shifting […]

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2014 Sea Otter DH Bike & Race

April 10, 2014

2014. It’s time for another Sea Otter Classic. It’s always such a great weekend and so much fun. If you’ve never gone and raced then you are really missing out. Don’t just go, race! It makes a difference. You become part of the show and it’s a whole different thing. The weather looks to be […]

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NAHBS 2014, Charlotte

March 19, 2014

I love going to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS). Now in it’s tenth year, this show is an event where some of the most dedicated, inspired, and serious bicycle crafts people display and sell their work. Also, it’s a place where the geeks and aficionados can meet with the crafts people, to not […]

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The fender and the mudguard

March 14, 2014

Due to the drought that we’ve been facing in California, this post is coming up a lot later in the season than I would have expected. We finally have a little bit of rain and the trails no longer resemble dry summertime conditions. The slippery dusty hard trails has been replaced by soft slop and […]

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Engin Ti Road Dropout

March 4, 2014

This is something sweet that we’ll see at NAHBS. Drew Guldalian, of Engin Cycles, is one of the finest frambuilders in the United States. A 3 time winner of Best Mountain Bike prize at NAHBS. He’s, in my opinion, a framebuilder’s framebuilder. Like the folks at Firefly or Carl Strong, the work he does contributes […]

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Bikes change. We change. Trails change.

March 2, 2014

Over the years and more subtly throughout the year, how your bike fits you and how you fit your bike will change. This change isn’t just the simple  bio-mechanical fit, but also how you relate to and use the bike. It is a commonly held myth in the cycling world that the ‘fit’ of a […]

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Hyperglide

February 20, 2014

I recently got a call on the phone about a print that I had put up somewhere online with the details of a Shimano hyperglide 9 spd cassette interface. It turns out that it was the only dimentioned print of a Shimano Hyperglide interface found on the web. I had forgotten about it. It was […]

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Reverse engineering curves – The Sagitta

February 17, 2014

Here’s something fun and useful. I love when I get to get all math-y… A long time ago (2006), I put a blurb up on my wiki. It was a re-post from long ago that I had posted onto a skateboarding message board, probably back in 1998 or so. My web site, wiki, and now […]

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The bird is down (or How a bike frame should fail)

February 14, 2014

I build bikes, I tune bikes, and I ride bikes. I design them to work just right and then I ride them and find out if they really do. As a constructor, I’m ensuring that what’s on the paper matches what gets painted but most importantly, that what get’s painted isn’t going to get somebody […]

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Hadley Singlespeed hub

February 11, 2014

There are a few legends in the cycling world. For geeks like me and for the shredders, Hadley is up near the top of the list. Mike Hadley has been making hubs for a long time. You could make an argument that they are the best hubs ever made. You could also make an argument […]

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Skinny little bitch

February 8, 2014

I had some old Independent 101 mm skate trucks laying around and a set of wheels collecting dust. I figured I’d put them to work. An Indy 101 mm truck is very narrow. Typically, you’d be using side set wheels in a modern context to make these work for anything but a child’s board. I […]

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The ‘guide’ ring.

February 7, 2014

I hate calling these things bash rings. The only bike of mine that really has a bash ring is my full on DH bike. That lands ring first on rocks. For the rest of my bikes I like to think of them as guide rings. They keep the chain from falling off the big ring […]

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Old Caz 2014

February 2, 2014

The San Francisco Bay Area is an incredible place to be a bicycle rider. There are so many incredible places to ride road and dirt in pretty much any direction coming out of San Francicso. You can do some sweet  road rides directly out of the city or ride killer singeltrack in Marin. Some rides […]

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Skinny cranks

January 17, 2014

Here’s one of my favorite new bike setups. Skinny multi-speed mountain bike cranks. XX1 cranks with two chainrings and a guide ring. This setup is  going on my Firefly 29er Hardtail and I just did it on my Anthem 27.5. I’ll have just 7mm of clearance from the fat Ti chainstays. Sick! Enough, I hope. I’ve been a Shimano guy […]

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Hipster pants…or something like them.

January 14, 2014

I’ve got a real problem with hipsters. They completely lack authenticity but they are also compelled to blaze this into everyone’s faces and with such arrogance hidden beneath faux irony. Everything they do seems to be for show and they suck the life out of anything that was once cool. Then, when the corpse of the […]

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2014 Giant Anthem 27.5 hype bike

December 31, 2013

I broke. I needed a faster bike. I got my ass handed to me at Annadel State Park a few weeks ago by a couple guys on tight FS 29ers. I was on my heavy Butcher. Proabably the worst tool for the job of XC dash and run. 26″ wheels with trail tires mounted, coil springs, […]

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Bean Can Top Tube Armor

December 27, 2013

Ever have a buddy destroy a fancy carbon frame in a crash for something as silly as the handlebars smashing the top tube. It’s an epidemic. Fuck that. For the past few years I’ve been struggling with fit on my mountain bikes. Even with my own designed bikes, I know where I want the grips to […]

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Firefly Fe Road Dropouts

December 13, 2013

These went live today. So cool. It’s been interesting watching all of this unfold. A year or so ago, I designed a pair of titanium road dropouts for Firefly Bicycles. They turned out pretty good. Everyone was really stoked on how they looked and worked within the bike. Recently, Jamie contacted me about a pair […]

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The Butcher revisited

November 19, 2013

The long term update. Three years ago, I put together a new Santa Cruz Butcher APP bike. I was looking for a super tough, cheap, simple play bike that I could do anything with. That turned out to be quite the learning curve for setting up longer travel trail bikes. The way that I initially put […]

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Finishing the job right

October 31, 2013

There are right ways of doing a job and wrong. People talk about this a lot but somehow few really stick to it. Recently, while trying to solve some gearing issues, I ordered a custom chainring from Warhawk Industries. I wanted to get a 32t and 34t ring in 80BCD. I ordered the part with 2.5 […]

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Spider attack!

October 25, 2013

I’m a Shimano fan. Some things about Shimano just can’t be argued; they make the best brakes, pedals, and cranks….PERIOD. I’m also a big fan of RockShox forks, Truvativ stems, posts, and bars. My big problem is that lately I’ve been buying SRAM cranks. Sorry, I do love Shimano cranks. Many years ago, Shimano introduced […]

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Fast and furious…scooter

October 17, 2013

My new (to me) Yamaha Majesty scooter had an issue. The gearing was way too tall for it. It kept the bike feeling pretty mild. Something many people like in a scooter but not something I do. I want every bit of the bike working. This gearing was so tall it left a lot on […]

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The krunk of the klunk

October 14, 2013

This Saturday was the annual Biketoberfest party in Fairfax. Typically everything you see is as expected. This year was a bit different as there were some serious klunkers and folk surrounding the Koski tent. Pretty insane stuff. Many things I hadn’t seen. Share on Facebook

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Drilling holes in perfectly good bike frames

October 4, 2013

Things have been changing a lot with modern mountain bike specifications. Dropper posts, long front centers, cable routing, and 142mm rear spacing to name just a few things. When it comes to dropper posts, it’s settled that internal or ‘stealth’ routing is the standard and preferred way of doing things. Bike frames that are just a year or two […]

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Little brother and the family

October 2, 2013

I’m not easily impressed when it comes to seeing bikes out in the wild. I’m not saying that there aren’t a lot of people doing great things, but when you’ve been looking closely at the finer points of cycle design and fabrication for close to 25 years it takes something special to stand out. This […]

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PVD TRON Light Cycle

September 25, 2013

The Light Cycles in the movie TRON have always been an inspiration to me as a cyclist, motorcyclist, and a skateboarder. Who among us hasn’t dreamed of hammering out a few fast laps on one of those things? Such a connection, so ripping! Cycle after cycle. Around and around… just like in a cyclocross race. http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=kLWELFZ-XdM http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=-3ODe9mqoDE Here’s […]

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Two Scooters

September 22, 2013

We often hear about the search for the vehicle of the future. Americans like to believe that it’s an electric car and that we are still years away. It’s not that. It’s not even a car. It’s the lowly scooter and it’s been very available around the world for over 60 years. The truth is the […]

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Warp Drive Engin

August 18, 2013

The PVD Warp Drive Engin. Named for the source of the speed and advantage of the NCC-1701 Starship Enterprise. Literally, built for speed. Faster than light speed. Drew at Engin Cycles is making me a couple of bikes. This is the first. It’s a hardtail Enduro style bike. 27.5″ wheels, a stealth dropper, low, slack, and […]

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Charlie’s War

August 4, 2013

This is a brand new (one week old) Cunningham road bike (#E5GH). Utterly amazing. While Charlie Cunningham had done a small run (5-10) of road bikes back in ancient times, this is just one of two road bikes build since, the other being Charlie’s personal road bike. Cunningham’s are a probably one of the most […]

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MCBC Locust #2 Loma Alta, Big Rock, 680 and White Hill

July 29, 2013

This Sunday I rode the MCBC Locust ride. A fully legal and friendly ride done at a quick pace. It’s not a race but folks like to see where they stack up. This was the second in a series of three rides. This route was Loma Alta, Big Rock, 680, and  White Hill. The first […]

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Shadow+ short cage issues

July 22, 2013

…. or non-consensual product testing. (Note: I am currently in communication with Shimano regarding this issue.) The new Shadow+ clutch system is an incredible addition to an already incredible 10-speed drivetrain (Dyna-Sys). Originally, the 10-speed offroad shifting was better than any other off road system they’d produced to date. Light, precise shifts with the most rare of […]

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Putting a skateboard together…properly

July 12, 2013

I’m a known hater. I love some things though and one of those things is skateboards. Riding them specifically. Because of that, I really don’t like stupid gimmick skateboards like the 4 foot longboards or toy plastic novelty decks that have become all the rage lately. The pain inside me that occurs when seeing people riding […]

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2013 Boxxer Team damping fluid

June 24, 2013

In the last post, I updated the spring and bottoming function in the Boxxer on my DH bike. I rode it after and it was very much improved. Now, I’ve be swapped out the damping fluid and lubing the seals. OEM production rarely provides very good seal lubrication. Lubing the seals with the right lube […]

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2013 Boxxer Team and Glory Tuning

June 17, 2013

After my first real weekend riding the new Glory at Northstar, I obviously had some tuning to do. The 2013 Boxxer Team/R2C2 fork was the main focus. I was only getting about 165mm of 200mm of travel out of it and only sagging the fork about 25%. Rockshox does provide a tuning guide and a service manual, […]

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Crazy stuff on the street

June 12, 2013

I live in a fantastic part of the country. We get a lot of passionate people using a lot of cool hardware in front of everyone. Here are three that I’ve come across in the past week. I saw this Morgan 3 on Bryant St. in SF while picking up some parts from SMP Machine. […]

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The PVD R3 Slalom Truck

May 28, 2013

This is a post long overdue. Way back in 2001, I was in San Francisco and Oakland visiting for a west coast marriage reception for my new wife and I (a long since dissolved affair). I had needed to move back to Massachusetts to pick up the pieces of the family business after my father […]

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2013 Giant Glory

May 20, 2013

2013 Giant Glory. A real DH bike. 8″ of rear wheel travel front and rear. Perfect for complete trail annihilation. Every mountain biker should get out chairlifting on a real DH bike at least once a season. More if possible. Downhill riding is one of the best ways of improving your trail riding/Enduro skills. I’m […]

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Fox Racing Shox tour

May 16, 2013

I went down to Fox Racing Shox for Dealer Day. It was pretty cool. We were able to see the new museum, R&D, and HQ in Scotts Valley and tour the manufacturing and service in Watsonville. Defiantly worth doing if you never have. I was impressed. I wish that we were able to see the machine […]

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The stopwatch doesn’t lie

May 9, 2013

“The stopwatch doesn’t lie. The tape measure doesn’t lie.” Daley Thompson Long before Strava came on the scene, a few people and myself in Fairfax were trying to devise good ways of having ‘non-sanctioned’ races in the hills around us. Doing runs at different times would take attention away from the crime we were looking to commit. Compact GPS […]

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74-Z Flowmaster

May 6, 2013

A lot of work was done this past winter let primarily by Davey Simon, Jim Jacobson and a few other main players and a ton of volunteers. The result is the Endor Flow Trail in Camp Tamarancho, BSA. So much work was done on this trail by so many volunteers that I’d have a hard […]

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Praxis PF30 BB Conversion

April 26, 2013

I hate the BB30/PF30 bottom bracket interface. It’s pretty much common knowledge that I do. I’ve shown why its lame in theory. I also pull out my hair when I have to work with them in practice. Wtf happened with the drinking water in the bicycle industry that allowed this garbage to be widely adopted? I’m in […]

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Sea Otter 2013

April 22, 2013

Sea Otter Classic 2013. Fun I used Sea Otter this year as an excuse to get in shape and down on weight. It worked. I started in January and by race day I was down a legit 15 pounds and feeling strong. I’ve eaten so many raw vegetables in the past few months I don’t […]

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SRAM Spider

April 15, 2013

A while back, I took the time to design a very elegant spider for SRAM cranks. I loved the result but it was buried inside a digital world. I wasn’t going to make it out so it lived there. This happens often enough. A nice idea, some time put into it, and a completed design […]

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Green washing

April 12, 2013

I tend to use a bit of oil in my shop. I do a bit of suspension tuning and bleeding of hydraulic brakes. As the brakes on my bikes use mineral oil, I end up with a fair amount of high quality waste oil. As we all know with the “Four R’s” or Waste Hierarchy, reusing suspension and […]

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Singlespeed setup

April 1, 2013

With all the buzz lately on carbon fibre long travel bikes, 650b wheels, and enduro racing, the lowly singlespeed has fallen to the back of the cool kid pile. Recent rain has got me to dust off my singlespeed bike. Thus, I’ve got some stuff to say. Singlespeed bikes are my more hated bikes. They hurt […]

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Jake’s Commencal Supreme 24″

March 27, 2013

Mary Moncorge is a great friend of ours here in Fairfax, CA. Besides being the reigning Strava Queen of the Mountain on pretty much any patch of dirt you’re going to end up rolling over (50 pages!), She’s super nice and takes care of her folks. Jake Harrell, Bryan Harrell’s son, needed a squishy bike […]

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Pay attention!!!!

March 22, 2013

What the fuck is this? How is this even possible. This comes out of a $10,000 bike. It was ridden this way for over 500 miles, probably a lot more. This wasn’t a college beater. I just don’t know what to say. I’m absolutely appalled. I’m not an inocent. Not by a long shot. I […]

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The stem problem and reverse engineering

March 12, 2013

The stem is an incredibly important detail on a bicycle. It places the handlebar in the proper position relative to the bottom bracket and the saddle regardless of what lies beneath it. Where the stem holds the handlebars can make a bike fast on climbs, or fast on descents, or great for all day comfort. There […]

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X-Fusion guts

March 8, 2013

I recently set a bike with an X-Fusion Velvet fork. The wheel diameter is 704mm so I had the fork set up for 650b and 80mm of travel. That choice proved to be poor as it increased the length of the fork more than I designed for (478 vs 467mm) and I actually had plenty of […]

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Bleeding better

March 4, 2013

Here’s some nice stuff for bleeding Shimano brakes. This allows you to push fluid through the system in both directions. Each method has advantages. My preferred fluid is Pentosin CHF 7.1 (BMW# 81221468879). It’s nicer than the Shimano fluid. Waste oil goes into my chain lube bottle because it’s also my favorite chain lube. Another […]

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Hollywood.

March 1, 2013

This was super cool. May 1st, 2013. 7:30am. I’m riding my motorcycle to work the nicest way I know how. Marin back roads and twisties. Getting from Fairfax to the Golden Gate Bridge is awesome. Bolinas/Fairfax (BoFax) Rd. to Ridgecrest Blvd. to Panoramic Hwy. to Rt. 1. People take long vacations to ride these kinds […]

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What to bring with you on the trail

February 27, 2013

I’ve been riding mountain bikes for over 20 years. In that time I’ve had to walk out of the woods, run from weather, try to start a fire to avoid freezing, ride a bare rim for 20 miles, and do a host of other crazy fixes on the trail. Things will go wrong. Things always go […]

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Repack to Rwanda

February 24, 2013

This is good. From Repack to Rwanda: The Origins, Evolution, and Global Reach of the Mountain Bike. From July 2012 to February 2013 an amazing exhibit of bicycles and their development was shown in the international terminal of the San Francisco International Airport Museum at (SFO). The curator of the show worked very closely with Joe […]

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Micro 2X Cranks

February 20, 2013

These cranks are for Jake Harrell’s PodRacerOne. Bombshell Velocity 155mm cranks drilled to accept 64mm rings so that he could have a 2×9 drivetrain on his bike. The little man needs some gears to get up those hills! It’s hard to get high quality 165mm cranks for multi speed mountain bike. Hell, it’s even harder to […]

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Odd allen wrenches, crazy hubs, broken parts, and graphics.

February 15, 2013

This post is going to catch a lot of little things. I usually post on a single topic but a lot of small things have been piling up. I just ordered some very odd sized allen wrenches. In larger increments, 13, 15, 16, 18, 23mm allen keys are next to non-existent in the US. Needing one of […]

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Raider!

February 13, 2013

This is a fun little bike. An interesting exercise in design. After participatin in all five of the Bay Area Prestige Cyclocross races in series and the first of the mixed-terrain Grasshopper Adventure series, a need truly arose for a different kind of bike for me to use. I had been using a well converted 29er bike, but that still […]

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Breezer, Series 2, 1980-81

February 8, 2013

The other day, Steve Garro of Coconino Cycles posted an image to his Facebook wall that got a bit of attention. This probably isn’t a new image for some people to see but it got a lot of attention. Specifically, it got my attention. I was in the mood to really think about some bike design […]

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The danger of referencing ‘setback’ in bike fit

January 31, 2013

Saddle Setback is often referenced when transferring a rider fit from bike to bike. There is a danger to generalize this setup dimension and get religious without paying attention to true details. The point of this post is that a rider and fitter need to pay close attention to the details of this saddle placement. […]

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The church of Charlie

January 22, 2013

Fairfax is the cycling epicenter of the Bay Area. A perfect combination of road riding and mountain riding close to a lot of people and the San Francisco Bay Area. Of course, it’s known as the birthplace of mountain biking. I’m lucky to live there. A lot of folks in town have participated in changing […]

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Gemini Beta Road

January 14, 2013

The road bike was finally completed. A nice comfortable road bike. Solid. A note on seat tube angle. Some will instantly comment on the 71 degree seat tube angle on this frame. This frame was designed for use with a 0mm offset seatpost. Using a traditional 25mm offset post would have resulted in a 73 […]

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Three-card Monte

January 2, 2013

On my holiday Europe trip and skating around Paris on Christmas Day, I ended up at the base of the Eiffel Tower with it a bit too crowded to hike up the stairs to the top as I had planned. I was chilling out on the Pont d’lena Bridge across from the tower watching people […]

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Toyota!

December 31, 2012

While in Paris, France recently (xmas eve, 2012) and skating up the Avenue des Champs-Élysées toward the Arc de Triomphe, I came across the Toyota concept store. This is one of the most important retail locations on earth so this store is selling the brand ‘Toyota’, not specific cars. They set up their own little museum culminating with their hybrid technology ala Prius and […]

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Doing things right.

December 27, 2012

“I can make a streetfighter out of anything!” That was the title of a post made by some internet clown in the BARF-Garage forum a few years a go. It really stuck out as the whole “streetfighter” thing was in full bloom around then. Essentially, this guy had ‘invested’ in a $3.60 hack saw and figured […]

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Hacking for fun and profit.

December 21, 2012

I found someone’s old Nikon Coolpix P2 while cleaning up the other day. It was missing a battery and charger that would have been far to expensive to replace on an old camera that I didn’t even need. What to do……? HACK! Hacking into something for fun is a great way to learn. You learn how to […]

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Tactical Photography!

December 18, 2012

I’m not a great photographer. I don’t really claim to be. I use photos to document what I see. This means I need to keep a camera close by. Camera phones are a nice tool for folks, but a real camera high resolution (18MP APS-C) and interchangable lenses is irreplaceable. The help with this I’ve […]

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PF30 to Profile Adapter

December 3, 2012

Daniel needed a nice adapter for his fancy new bike. He’s running fixed LSD with Profile type cranks. Needed adapters to the PF30 we built into his frame. Simple stuff and problem solved. On most bikes these adapters could have been made of delrin. The issue is that Daniel does a bit of crank and […]

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Engin Dropouts!

November 29, 2012

Over the years, I’ve had the luck of being able to meet, know, and work with some of the best people in the hand-built bicycle industry. It’s very cool being able to talk with peers about how they see the bicycle and what they want to do with it. I hope to be able to […]

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14mm Fixxie

November 27, 2012

Daniel came by the shop today with a nice little job. He’s starting to build up the fixxie freestyle frame he built in the shop. He needed a left side drive 135mm spaced fixed hub with 14mm axle for pegs. Not the easiest thing to find. It would be even nicer if it had a […]

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Canon EOS-M and the cell phone upload

November 7, 2012

I’ve been putting off a new camera purchase for a few years. When my last ‘point and shoot’ died, I was left with my Canon 40D DSLR and a camera phone. I love the 40D but it’s really not fun to have with me all the time. Also, it’s pretty dated compared to even the […]

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The spreader bar

November 6, 2012

I made this handy tool a while back. A Spreader Bar. It works very well. This bar was intended for hanging from the ceiling and suspending from or in-line on the ground connecting hands and feet. It’s a little long for some uses but will cover a very many. It’s 5 feet long, only weighs […]

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Failure modes and the Titanium Fat Chance

October 22, 2012

This month, I’ve broken two Shimano XT cassettes (11-32, CS-M771-10-bL). The smaller cog carrier, #Y1YR98040 (18,20,22), has failed in exactly the same way both times. This is something that is very rarely seen and even rarer to see it the same way so soon for one person. This is certain to be an engineering or manufacturing […]

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Pinhole insanity or f/64

September 21, 2012

Geeking out on camera stuff lately. An interesting project is the quality Canon EOS pinhole lens. I’ve got it completely engineered and the hard parts solved. I just need to get up off my butt and make it. It’s funny how some simple projects sit. Maybe posting this will spike some interest. Designed around 34mm EF-S […]

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Cyclocross conversion

September 17, 2012

Healing up from my wrist injury last September has been quite a journey. It’s been very discouraging but giving the situation I’m glad that I got out the way I did. Things could have been much worse and I am grateful. Still, I miss cycling well. The past month has seen a bit of improvement […]

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Old school.

August 28, 2012

The other day, I was having a conversation via Facebook with an old friend, Dave. We were talking about something having to do with his new bicycle. This and that. At some point, he flashes a picture on the message saying “Hey! look.” I was blown away. A world from so long ago… It was […]

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Simple. Thinking inside the box.

August 20, 2012

The box. People talk about it. They talk about being outside it. It seems that they often fail to even understand the box or it’s bounds. Usually, those claiming to be outside of it are firmly planted deep in the darkest depths of the box. I try to always keep my work inside the box. […]

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Tactical dog leash

August 19, 2012

I had a little sewing party in my kitchen on Friday night. I had two things to do; fix the strap on my messenger bag and make a neat dog leash thing. I was derailed from completing the strap as my ‘unsticher’ tool broke. So I put more energy into the leash. It was to […]

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Weight loss of scooter tires due to wear.

August 17, 2012

I just changed out my insanly worn out tire from my 2001 Honda Reflex 250 scooter. It’s such an amazing commuting machine. I had to get it back up and running asap. Nothing can really match this thing for the job it does. I could live without my motorcycle but not my scooter. I decided […]

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27.2 to 27.0 Seatpost Modification

August 15, 2012

My friend Donald Reni has a problem. He owns a Bridgestone bicycle. Other than that, he’s got another problem. This is supposed to be a shit bike. A shit bike is what I call a bicycle that you can ride and lock up around the city worry free. It’s not fancy, it’s not worth much, […]

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A Ruota Libera

August 13, 2012

Thanks to Sean Walling at Soulcraft and Una Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco has it’s own custom bicycle show. For the second year, I figured that I would spend my time looking at the people. Those photos are posted on my Facebook page so folks can share more easily.   Two bikes stood out from the […]

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The Zee short cage problem

August 11, 2012

Shimano has recently issued the new Zee line of parts. Essentially, Zee is just SLX for downhill and gravity bikes. Zee is a very nice line of parts and essentially makes up for the problems with the Saint line of parts – cost and weight. Don’t get me wrong. Saint is awesome. I use many […]

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Bicycle gears

August 9, 2012

This post was inspired by a conversation that I had the other day when I bumped into my friend Cameron Falconer at Java Hut in Fairfax prior to the each of us leaving on a ride. I was on my neat Firefly 29″ bike and he was on his road bike. Somehow the discussion of gearing […]

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Textiles are the new black.

July 28, 2012

To manage all the gear that goes to the range when I’m  shooting, I finally broke down and bought a proper range bag. I searched around and found that one of the most recommended bags is in fact one of the cheapest. The MidwayUSA Competition Range Bag ($44.99, #259680). I got one. It’s a fantastic […]

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Dealing with a spare tube

July 23, 2012

Here’s a cool thing. I was having a discussion with Chris Ioakimedes this past Sunday. He had a tube in his pocket, still in the box. It turned out that we both usually leave them in the box so that they don’t get damaged. It seemed like such a bulky awkward way of dealing with this issue. […]

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When I talk about a longboard…

July 20, 2012

When I talk about a long skateboard, I’m usually talking about something very different from what most people are talking about these days.   Let me first make a clarification. There is a longboard that is used in real skateboard racing, downhill and slalom. I’m not talking about competitive skateboards used in these specific racing […]

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In another direction…

July 18, 2012

Here’s something fun. Looking into making this little project. An odd form of bling. What is it? The guessing will begin! Share on Facebook

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The hair trigger

July 11, 2012

Not really, just some fine tuning. This is my first real “cuttin’ metal” modification to my AR-15 platform. I’m playing with the stock trigger mechanism trying to make it work well. Similar to my work with motorcycles, I’m trying to focus on modifications and cash outlays that actually make a difference and return on the […]

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Special tools are just so fun! Especially suspension tools.

July 10, 2012

The 2012 Rock Shox SID RLT on my new 29″ mountain bike needs tuning. Because of my injured hand, I’m really not hitting the front end as hard as usual and it’s resulting in a ride that is too harsh and not using all of the travel. I’m going to change the oil in it to a […]

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The toy gun. Lot’s of bang for less.

July 6, 2012

The goal of putting this gun together was to ease my way into the AR-15 system while having a rifle that would be cheap to shoot a lot and usable at the local indoor range. A 22LR system is obviously the way to go here. I also wanted to keep the gun light as I […]

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BLITZSCHNELL!

June 9, 2012

Blitzschnell means “very quick” or “like lightning” in German. That’s a perfect descriptor for this modification that I’m making to my Ruger 77/22 22LR bolt action rifle. I’m replacing the stock striker spring with a Wolff Blitzschnell Striker Spring (23lbs vs 19lb stock). It’s part of the #30375 Rifle Performance Pack. The goal in replacing […]

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Santa Cruz is one of the best brands in cycling.

May 21, 2012

This is true for a number of reasons but here is one that you probably haven’t heard of. THEY LISTEN. I deal with lot’s of technology and meticulous setups on bicycles. I find problems and issues with bicycles and components often (but not in this case) long before others even know it is the case. […]

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East Coast Meets Best Coast – Firefly!

May 17, 2012

The Firefly/PVD Serenity. After designing the new titanium road and mountain bike dropouts for they guys at Firefly Bicycles in Boston, it was time for my payback. A nice titanium mountain bike. Of course, the design of the bike would be as specific as the dropout designs. I had a vision of exactly what I […]

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Gun tuning with springs and oil

May 15, 2012

I got down to finally replacing the Heavy Buffers Modified AR10 Buffer Spring on my AR-10. I’ve been having some cycling issues that have outlasted the break in period on the gun and I want to get that resolved. I had initially wanted to put a DPMS LR-308 Rifle Buffer Spring (#308-BS-10B) into the gun […]

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PF30 Hell For A BB92 Guy

May 10, 2012

My new bike is going together. More on that later… Working on PF30 for the first time is not going well. I’m a known BB92 guy. I know it’s the best way of doing things. The world, it seems, doesn’t agree with me. Thus, PF30 is taking over. Grrr… The new bike has a PF30 […]

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Back in focus, finishing the GSX-R forks

April 23, 2012

I finished working on the forks from my GSX-R750 K8 this Sunday. I was able to take a short ride on the bike that afternoon and a longer ride on the way to work this morning. The results are simply awesome. Not just in the functioning of the forks themselves but completing the whole bike […]

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The Gixxer fork – A loss of focus

April 13, 2012

I’ve got an amazing motorcycle. A 2008 GSX-R750! It’s pretty well modded and specifically put together for my needs and goals. I’ve done everything to it that I’ve wanted to except for one last detail, the fork. Typically, tuning the fork of a motorcycle is one of the first things that I do, not the […]

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Sorry Lorri

April 3, 2012

This is an apology to Lorri Lee Lown. I was wrong about something and insisted that I was right. I argued that the increased friction caused by heavier riders and the increased drag due to their larger size overcame the increased downward forces generated from gravitational pull compared to smaller lighter riders making the heavier slower. Doubts […]

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SPRINGS…cause it’s spring!

March 31, 2012

Ask anybody that has studied physics about springs. They’ll tell you about Hooke’s Law, the linearity of coil springs, and brush them off as the most simple topic. They probably got great grades. Some of them probably got masters degrees or PhDs. The problem is is that they don’t know what they are talking about […]

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One more for the road; Sweet Jesus!

March 28, 2012

It’s happened again… I joined up with the guys at Firefly Bicycles to get another dropout done. This time it’s for road bikes. Firefly makes a lot of extremely elegent and fast road bikes. The craftsmanship put into them is borderline obscene. The pride the owners of these bikes take is about the same. Any […]

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Aaron Gwin @ Fontana City Nationals

March 26, 2012

I was at the Fontana City Nationals this weekend. A great venue and a great event. Aaron Gwin was in the house during Saturday’s DH practice. I got to meet him and take some pictures. He’s a pretty low key guy. He didn’t race on Sunday. The bike was essentially stock other than the obvious […]

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Ghosts in the machine.

March 22, 2012

This showed up on the interwebs. I can’t possibly imagine what’s coming… Share on Facebook

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…and it begins again.

March 19, 2012

Chips are flying this week. Lot’s of stuff to do. Crazy computer cutting robots! 2012 PVD Chainguides for Santa Cruz V-10. More bomber. Stealth layout. 2X compatable (for TR, Butcher & Nomad). Share on Facebook

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A tale of three tires

March 15, 2012

The mountain biking season is entering it’s second phase, summer. The first rains in the late fall mark the first phase, the racing season marks the second. The Sea Otter Classic is just around the corner and the 1st National Series Race is even closer than that and the Pietermaritzburg UCI WC is this weekend. […]

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You don’t know anything unless you’ve measured it…

March 12, 2012

You never know anything unless it’s been measured. That’s the rule any engineer lives by. Most people think of suspension systems and tuning them as some sort of voodoo or black art. The #1 problem with these folks is that they really never understood the role that springs play in the system or how springs work in a […]

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Spring perch slippery shims.

March 9, 2012

When a spring in a shock is compressed two things happen; the spring twists and the spring cocks. When this happens, the spring needs the freedom to do this otherwise the restriction results in mechanical friction in the shock, slowing it down in an uncontrolled and unpredictable way. In motorsport, you would use a hydraulic […]

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2012 NAHBS, Sacramento

March 6, 2012

Hey folks. Here are my pictures from the 2012 North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Sacramento California. Enjoy!   Share on Facebook

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Santa Cruz Butcher Pivot Pin Issues

February 27, 2012

***THIS ISSUE HAS BEEN RESOLVED – SEE THIS POST*** I like my Santa Cruz Butcher. It’s a fun, solid, no-frills trailbike. I got it for that reason. I didn’t want to mess with it and I wanted solid.A creak had developed in the main pivot. I hate that. I hadn’t taken it apart when I […]

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Headspace Shims!

February 23, 2012

I just made a few of these little dandys. They are shims that are placed within the split bolt of the Ruger 77/22 to adjust the chamber headspace. A 22LR firearm should be headspaced to the absolute minimum to get the most accuracy possible from the gun. Many guns will come with far too much […]

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Power pin!

February 17, 2012

So, I ordered up a nice little 22lr rifle to reduce my shooting costs and light enough to practice some off bench shooting. It’s a Ruger 77/22 All-Weather. It’s a gun slightly more expensive than it’s competition, but it’s got a great reputation for use, it’s made in America, and it looks awesome. Plus, it’s super light […]

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Ever dreamed of finding a Wicked Fat Chance in a pawn shop?!?!

February 11, 2012

Today I stumbled on the proverbial pot of gold for bike folks, an early Wicked Fat Chance at a local pawn shop.  The bike apears to be a late 80’s or very early 90’s frame. It’s still got the pressed in BB bearings that were phased out in 1991. Honestly, I don’t need it but […]

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Shimano XTR. Chainring QC Issue?

February 11, 2012

Mary was re-gearing her Nomad this morning. Putting a 26 tooth ring up front to give here knees a break climbing on the, now heavy, bike. We were checking the ring spacing when we found something off. I really hope that this is the only one that slipped through QC. #Y1LR26000, Chainring 26T-AH, FC-M980 It’s as if […]

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Itsy bitsy spider chuck

February 9, 2012

I made a neat little spider chuck. It’s for machining the bolt of the 308AR for accuracy. A spider chuck allows me to locate the bolt exactly according to the several features that I decide are important regardless of the shape of the part. Since these parts are forged and then machined in very elaborate […]

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New sight for the LCR!

February 2, 2012

I wasn’t happy shooting my Ruger LCR +P for a few reasons. Shooting outdoors was ok, but indoors wasn’t so hot. Josh Orlando and I were shooting at Bullseye and we both agreed that a change should be made. It was very difficult to sight in with the stock sight. I got parts ordered while doing […]

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PVD-DMR308

January 31, 2012

The dedicated marksman rifle (DMR) – A rifle designed to fill the gap between an assault and sniper rifle. A battle rifle that can maintain accurate rapid fire at ranges up to 600 yards. I decided that it was time to invest in a nice rifle. Something that I could shoot long range (up to […]

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Arisaka!

January 26, 2012

Early this morning, local MTB talent Ben Cruz and one of his bro’s were in the woods in Novato. They were getting a hit lined up involving a stump or tree of some sort. In the stump, they discovered a duffel bag with a few Japanese war rifles in it. Arisakas. This is a boy dream. […]

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PVD Toe Spikes!

January 24, 2012

My favorite racer Mary Moncorgé is sponsored by Sidi Shoes for 2012. Since Mary rides her bike a lot, in Marin, in all weather conditions and since she will be racing Super D, Enduro, and DH, she needs to have her shoes working great on and off the bike. When roots and dirt get wet, they get […]

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NATO 7.62×51

January 13, 2012

I’ve been geeking out on guns lately. Sourcing parts to assemble a nice SR-25 Type rifle. More on that later. Here’s a nice print of a NATO 7.62×52 / Winchester .308 round. Share on Facebook

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PVD Micro-DH – PodRacerOne

December 23, 2011

This is a pretty special bike. A juvenile DH race bike for my friend Bryan Harrell’s son Jake. Jake has been racing ABA BMX (ranked 4th district CA04) for the past two seasons and is absolutely killing it. As mountain bikers and living in the best place you can for riding trail, it is only natural […]

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RGB vs. CMYK

December 16, 2011

This is a quick little thing. Most folks have seen this before but it’s nice to remember. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RGB_color_model http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CMYK_color_model A fun project to get working correctly in Ai. Give it a try. Obviously, I had to convert the CMYK colors to RGB for this demonstration to be seen on a light emitting source.   Share […]

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The Gixxer is back!

November 15, 2011

Since getting my wrist completely shattered at RFT and not being able to do much of anything, I dropped my motorcycle off to BRG Racing to have some work finished that I had started on my motorcycle. I had the motor half apart already but there was no way that I’d be able to continue the job […]

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A current print for an upcoming bike.

November 14, 2011

I’m getting a 29er type bike built for me this winter. All I needed to do was design it. I’m looking for it to be a nice tight fire roadie/crosser that can still ride real singletrack quickly with tires maxing out at 1.9″. Special attention is going to be put into getting the largest chainrings possible […]

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Trigonometry

November 10, 2011

I absolutely love trigonometry. It’s how we come to understand circles and curves. I work at the Physics & Astronomy Department at San Francisco State University. Every semester a few students will express their unease, confusion, and problem doing trigonometric work. Over the years, it’s been shown that, all of them, have never been given […]

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Very fancy dropouts for Firefly Bicycles

October 23, 2011

A long, long time ago (1998?) I designed the disc brake dropouts for Independent Fabrications. I knew the whole crew there as we had all worked at Fat City Cycles together. The reason for the design was simple, I needed a new bike and I use Shimano parts. That was the moment that Shimano had […]

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Things going wrong, the bad way.

October 22, 2011

Things went pretty wrong at the Tara Llanes Classic. I’m bummed. Not just because of getting injured but because I really thought I had a shot at 2nd place in Cat 1, 40+. Grrr. I even had a cool bike for MegaDH. I got kicked off a big jump really bad on my warm up […]

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MEGA DH !

September 23, 2011

This weekend is the Tara LLanes Classic. http://www.tarallanesclassic.org/. It’s what is called a Mega DH. Mega DH is essentially Super D’s wicked brother. A very long DH race with no emphasis on real climbing but a bunch of pedalling at high speeds could be involved. The key is that the course will involve true downhill trails […]

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PodracerOne – Big Evil, Small Package

September 4, 2011

Jake Harrell is the son of my friend and business partner, Bryan. Fairfax Cyclery!!! Jake and Bryan have been racing a ton of BMX lately and Jake is proving to be a seriously fast kid. He can’t wait to get out with dad and the bros for the downhill rides. Problem: There is really nothing […]

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BB86 is 30% stronger than BB30

August 16, 2011

Simple leverage. Didn’t anybody else do the math? BB30/PF30 has proven to be a complete mechanical failure. It was obvious from the outset and I had made good arguments against it when it was first being rolled out. The Shimano system is clearly superior but for some reason cyclists thing that everything has to be […]

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PVD Dummy Shocks

July 5, 2011

The proper setup of Downhill and long travel suspension bikes often requires the frequent removal of the shock as well as having the system in a topped out AND bottomed out state. These little dummy shocks allow the rear end to be easily fastend in place to adjust things like chain length, cable routing, chain […]

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Ashland 12 Mile

July 2, 2011

Ashland Super D, Cat 1 40-55 Men, 42:26, 14th. Super fun race. A poor showing for me. Ran with full fixed high post. I was a bit out of shape for the climbing and could have saved some time with a dropper post. Can’t wait until next year. I would expect at least a 39 […]

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The Area Under The Curve.

June 14, 2011

Thinking about this today. What about the area under the curve with regard to shock rate? Should the area be similar for differerent types of bikes? The shape can change, the duration and the magnitude but will in the end the area be similar? I’m going to think a bit about this… Here’s the curves […]

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Making a dollar out of fifteen cents.

June 9, 2011

Cheap stems are rad. They do just fine holding the handlebar in place and come in many sizes. Most are even lightweight. What’s the problem? Tolerances. Most cheap stems are cast or use cast parts in a weldement. These parts have deviations that cause a problem. The issue is that the bottom side of the […]

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PVD Eccentric Shock Reducers

June 7, 2011

I read an artical online about a guy that made a few eccentric reducers for shocks to use for adjusting ride height on bicycles. It was a great idea although his execution was rather poor. I instantly decided to add that option to my PVD Reducers. Pretty cool. 1mm offset at both ends of the shock […]

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Specialized P3, Best shit bike ever!

June 5, 2011

Mary Pralinsky wanted a beater bike to take to the jumps and to the pump tracks. She wanted something cheap and unbreakable. Nothing can touch a Specialized P3 when it comes to that. The bike is heavy and indestructable. She found someone selling a used one with 90% of the parts for $200 and picked […]

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Super Beetle / GTI Strut Modification

June 4, 2011

So…. My friend Matt gave me a call. He had purchased a basket case VW Super Beetle project car. The car had had a lot of work done on it but wasn’t completed and it needed an engine. Matt had a line on a Porsche 914 engine that would drop right in. He purchased both […]

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Super D(set) Suicide

June 1, 2011

A Super D bike is a very special kind of bike. 90% DH Trail with 10% Climbing. Super high speeds on smooth to aggressive surfaces. You need a light bike but something that works right when treated rough. 160mm frames tend to work especially well in this situation if set up well for pedaling and […]

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Gemini (Alpha) – 150mm Hardtail Trailbike

June 1, 2011

Named for NASA Project Gemini, since it’s the bike after Mercury. This is the first of a pair of bikes, one mountain and one road. They will reflect a snapshot in both disciplines of my bike design techinque. They will share several design cues. They will proabably be painted the same color. Since these will […]

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There’s something about Mary.

April 5, 2011

This past week has been all about Mary. Two of them in fact. Mary Pralinsky and Mary Moncorgé. Mary Pralinsky is a friend of mine racing DH as an expert this season. Mary Moncorgé is racing PRO in GRT and nationals with Santa Cruz Alliance. Both needed fully prepped race bikes for the season. They were nice enough to come to […]

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Refining gearing for long travel suspension

March 22, 2011

My SC Butcher bike has some serious drive train issues that make it less than fun to be on. It functions, but it’s so floppy and loose that it ends up being something that I think a lot about on a ride. That sucks. Gonna fix that. I don’t want to strip the bike down […]

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DIY Framebuilding Lecture

March 3, 2011

Hey folks, Juliana Gallin of How-to Night SF was nice enough to invite me to lecture on how folks can build their own bicycle frames at home. Of course! It’s easy. How-To Night at Bazaar Cafe Wednesday March 9, 2011  •  7 pm  •  How to Build a Bike From Scratch Bazaar Café 5927 California Street, between 21st & […]

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PVD Magic Ring

February 16, 2011

Inspired by products designed and made by Magic Motorcycle in the early nineties. Some wild stuff. Probably not the best, but intriguing to say the least. Especially if you are a machinist type like me. So, 2×10 has taken hold in mountain biking. It has a place but certainly 3×10 does as well. Shimano has […]

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Some cool ‘day job’ stuff just has to go on the site

February 10, 2011

The radar mount was installed today. I mentioned it in an earlier post. Very cool. It took some planning, lots of rope and safety harnesses but it was installed without issue. A 40 foot drop on one side and an 18 foot drop on the other. No screwing around on this job site. Share on […]

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These are the fun days of development

February 8, 2011

I’ve been quite busy lately… The modular throttle project is just about done. Final testing takes place this weekend but this revision is assumed to be the last. Prototyping has been a long process for this. The engineering was quite a learning experience for such a simple little part. A 60 degree variable rate cam that […]

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Cool Radar Mount

January 12, 2011

This is a neat project from work. It’s a straddle mount that will sit on top of a wall above the water treatment facility on Ocean Beach. It will support a 9′ rotating radar boom against anything the Pacific Ocean can throw at it. 0.375″ stainless steel, plasma cut and welded together. Share on Facebook

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Gemini Conception

January 7, 2011

These are the all new PVD headtubes for the 2011 Gemini bikes. A pair of bikes following Mercury. A road and a mountain. They should be completed prior to NAHBS for all to see. Show bikes made to be ridden hard, put away wet and taken out again and again. Top bearing is Cane Creek […]

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Mercury.

December 23, 2010

Named for the NASA Mercury space program. Seriously rad! The 2011 PVD Mercury Trailbike. Tapered head tube, 2×10 designed, DMFD, ISCG05 w/slider, BB92, with clearance for 3.0″ tires. Like all PVD Trailbikes, this bike is designed specifically to completely dominate Marin California singletrack. The time tested and challenged design sets the standard for high speed […]

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Convienience is king!

December 19, 2010

2008 GSX-R750 Tie Down Tabs for rear end. mounts under the passenger peg bracket. A nice feature for transporting or working on the bike. Share on Facebook

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fiftyfifty

December 6, 2010

Math and numbers rule! You can learn a lot from them. This weekend I put my nose to the grindstone and measured the weights for my bike and weight distribution. Bike weight (full of fuel) – 444.5 lbs. Ride weight (no gear) – 203 lbs. Gear weight – 18 lbs. Weight distribution – 49F/51R (note […]

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The PVD 60 Degree Throttle Prototype

December 1, 2010

Here’s a fun little project. Motorcycles have engines. We all know that. What few truely understand is that we use our throttles and gearing to access and make use of those engines. Asside from gearing issues that I will cover later, throttles typically need modification so that we can get all that power we have […]

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2008 GSX-R750

November 4, 2010

Here’s the new bike. Soon you’ll be seeing a lot more tuning projects based on this. I’m super stoked. Share on Facebook

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Keeping hope alive and fear in the heart.

October 31, 2010

It’s not easy making things and bringing them into this world. It takes a lot of time, energy, money, devotion, and lonely days in the shop. I’ve got so many projects started right now and many more that I’d love to start. Why not? Life. Lately I’ve been really putting a lot of energy into […]

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PVD Tapered Head Tube

September 17, 2010

It’s been a few months since I’ve build a bike frame. I needed to update my geared trail bike with a few new updates in my design but one issue was lagging. 1.125″ straight steerers are effectively dead. It’s all tapered now. The light carbon forked folks like it. The burly slopestylists like it. Everyone […]

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“Adjustable suspension” by Fox

September 11, 2010

As the proud new owner of a 2011 Fox Vanilla 36 160 fork, I finally got around to give it the TLC that it deserved. I had already swapped the stock ‘blue’ spring (039-05-102, 45 lb/in) for a stiffer ‘green’ spring (039-05-103, 50 lb/in). That’s a pretty simple task and takes about 5 minutes. It […]

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Fancy New All-mountain Bike

September 1, 2010

 This past April I moved to the Bernal Heights neighborhood in San Francisco. Quite a culture shock for me to be sure. Fairfax is a very differnt place. This part of SF is about 15 minutes away from one of the major casual DH/Jump locations in the bay area, Pacifica. An odd thing about Pacifica, […]

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Stuff Breaks.

August 30, 2010

Riding at Northstar this past weekend. My trusty steed the Intense M6 finally had an issue. 2.5 seasons of riding and the pivot link pertch broke off. I was able to get a good day of riding in on Friday, but at the bottom of the last run of the day the snap cracks and […]

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You don’t know anything unless you’ve measured it.

August 26, 2010

You don’t know anything unless you’ve measured it. A very wise tuner passed that statemet down to me. I learned a lot from him. Dan Kyle. Look him up. People get pretty spooked about suspension. They get lost. They get confused. I used to. Then I bought a spring scale and everything made much more […]

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Cyclocross bikes are not mountain bikes!

August 25, 2010

Lately, I’ve been trying to recruit some folks from the city to go ride mountain bikes. Not fire road burns, but honest singletrack trail mountain biking. It’s an amazingly hard thing to do. I ask, “Would you like to go ride mountain bikes with me?” They say, “Maybe, I usually ride over the bridge to […]

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Pancakes on the mountain.

August 9, 2010

On Sunday I rode up to West Point Inn for the pancake breakfast. I saw plenty of friends there that had the same idea. Sadly they were on cross bikes while I was on the mountain bike intent on trail riding. The ride – Tenderfoot: Cypress: 777: Gravity Car: Railroad Grade: West Point Inn: Railroad […]

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Out of office reply.

August 7, 2010

Sorry, I’m out of the office right now. I’m busy elsewhere doing important things… Share on Facebook

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Trails don’t suffer fools gladly.

August 5, 2010

I ride my mountain bike on single track trails. These trails, I keep assuming, are my friends. I spend time with them. I love them. I fix them when they are hurt. I work hard to keep a quality relationship with them. I forget to think about what the trail thinks about me. What does the […]

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Riding the wrong bike.

July 26, 2010

Anybody that knows me will already know that I am the first to question a person’s equipment choice on a bike ride. I question actively, vocally, and (in my mind) friendly way. One major tenant of mine is that cyclocross bikes are stupid bikes. They excel in only two situations; cyclocross races and mixed terrain […]

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Countries that suck!

July 23, 2010

#1 on my list is, of course, England. Top reason: BSC (60°) thread, special case, 13/32″ x 26 tpi. Let’s just call this the Sturmey-Archer thread from hell. It’s doesn’t conform to SAE, ISO, JIS, DIN or any other modern standard. It’s not even Whitworth (55°), which you might imagine. It’s a special case, used only by […]

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Brooks Saddles?

July 21, 2010

What is up with Brooks saddles? 1. Heavy as hell – The lightest saddle that they make is the B15 Swallow Ti. 370 grams. Mind you that is the lightest one. Most of their line weighs in at 500 grams or more. Much more if it’s got springs on it. 2. Lame looks – Honestly […]

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Cream Puff

July 18, 2010

The Pedal Panties party: The Pedal Panties girls threw an even on Union Street. It was fun. The best thing for me, not being their target audience, were the cream puffs. I love creampuffs. Share on Facebook

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The old school.

July 15, 2010

Anybody that knows me can attest to my hatred of the ‘old school’. I’m not talking about doing a massive front-side boneless one or a huge g-turn, a miami hopper or a simple ally oop. I’m talking about old school technology and peoples concepts that this garbage was somehow better than what we have today […]

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Mission Streets

July 14, 2010

I love SF Sunday Streets. http://sundaystreetssf.com/ It’s a perfect way to get out and honestly see the people of the city around you. Go to the next one! Share on Facebook

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Soil Saloon SF, 2010#2

July 9, 2010

Last night I went to the Soil Saloon race with Michelle at Golden Gate Park. http://soilsaloon.com/ What a great night and great event. The Soil Saloon folks really know how to host a really great time. Since I was again not racing (lamo!) and since Michelle decided not to ride a good bike to the […]

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Two dogs.

July 7, 2010

Having one dog around is awesome. Two is even better. Here Maggie is posing with another dog at Stray Bar where we go for Smarty Pants Trivia Night on Tuesdays. There are usually at least 3 dogs on the scene and sometimes a few more. Later in the night a brown pitbull named Rufus showed […]

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Home.

July 6, 2010

“Home is where the heart is.” It’s so true. Home is a place you know when you are there. I was feeling that this weekend on a mountain bike ride in Marin. I was on a section of singletrack waiting for the dog to catch up to me, just hanging out in the middle of […]

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SF loves to close it’s streets!

July 5, 2010

One thing I love about San Francisco is that this city will close down a street or entire part of town for almost any reason. On any given weekend throughout the summer you will find several miles of “Closed for Party” road. This July 4th was the 2010 Filmore Jazz Festival. 12 solid blocks of […]

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PVD Plustwentyfive Headset

July 4, 2010

I was helpping to prepare Max Houtzager’s Downieville All-Mountain race bike and we came upon a setup issue. A good fork for the race was 25mm shorter than the fork his 2010 Specialized Enduro Carbon was designed for. This created a major problem because as fast as Max is up and down the hill, he […]

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June 21, 2010

Hey Folks. I’m just setting this site up again as a handy hub for all the stuff I have going on. Take a look through the menu above. If you hit an empty page, don’t dispare. I’ll have everything somewhat sorted in a few weeks. Check back in a bit. Share on Facebook

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