Archive for the ‘650b’ Category

Handmade Bicycles: The Custom Experience- Meet The Titanium Builders

March 13, 2009

Editor’s Note: In this series, Grannygear introduces us to some custom frame builders and takes a closer look at the process of making and delivering a custom, handmade bicycle to a customer. In these e-mailed interviews, you will learn a lot about some of the best frame builders in three different materials.

We continue our series on the Custom Framebuilder Experience with a talk with two of the premier builders in Titanium, the uber-metal.

The Titanium Guys:

The Master – Kent Eriksen of Kent Eriksen Cycles.

“I definitely test the rides I make.”

Eriksen titanium

Twentynineinches.com – So, who are you? Please introduce yourself.

Kent: I am Kent Eriksen, the ARRP member of framebuilders. I have been working on bikes since 1975, building frames since 1980 founding Moots Cycles. I actually made the first NORBA National winning bike ridden by Steve Tilford in 1983. My own racing history includes many races at the NORBA national level (4th place in 1984), and in the past several years as an endurance and elite master racer all over North America. I definitely test the rides I make.

TNI: Who is your typical customer?

Kent: Typical customers include avid cyclists. Riders who race, riders who simply ride, and avid cyclists who want a performance oriented bike.

TNI: Why custom? Why not just an off-the-rack bike? They work well, don’t they?

Kent: We guarantee our bike fit. To maximize the comfort and performance from a bike, a custom fit is paramount. Everyone a certain height is not necessary a certain weight or strength. Our selection of tubes ensures the best performing frame based on a rider’s size and ability. Stock frames can miss the mark for many riders, so custom can be the way to go. As a custom builder, I have been able to introduce new wheel sizes, innovative geometries and…in fact, I made the first 29er for 52 mm tires and the first 650B for fat tires, both off road standards today.

TNI: Why did you choose the particular medium to work with, be it steel, Ti, or aluminum?

Kent: Rideability. Titanium is the strongest, lightest most efficient metal for us to work with. We like its rideability. It absorbs shock, transfers energy, wears like no other and lasts forever. No need for paint, it is easy to maintain.

TNI: I know it is a complicated procedure in many ways, but how do you approach the challenge of assessing the needs of your customers? How does that process work?

Kent: I talk to them. I am the one who works with the customer. Then I scramble their brains with all the options. Finally I make a drawing or two based on all the information and we work through revisions to a final design. I use BikeCAD and Anvil jigs to obtain the perfect geometry. I am also involved in the entire process of the frame fabrication.

TNI: Let’s get this out of the way. The biggest knock against the small builder is the often shabby track record of missed deadlines, poor communication, etc. How do you run your business to avoid those issues?

Kent: We make our deadlines. We do not over-promise, and are very efficient with our time. We do not rely on email, rather we do spend a lot of time on the phone. We have a small, dedicated staff that focuses on the customer and the details.

TNI: How do you stay passionate about bikes? What keeps you stoked?

Kent: I ride. I like to ride nice bikes.

TNI: Twenty Niners gave the custom builder a boost, what do you see as being the latest trend? Are 29″ers still a strong seller?

Kent: 29ers were absolutely good for our business, especially in the hardtail and full rigid frames. However, fast on the rise are 650b frames.

TNI: What do you feel is the future of the custom builder especially now, in very challenging times?

Kent: Our future is never solid, but we are busy now and truly focus on customer service. People want to get an experience out of their dollar, we give them that.

TNI: Anything else you want to say? Future plans, goals, visions, final words of wisdom to folks considering a frame build?

Kent: Give me call, let’s talk bikes!

Eriksen completed frame

Kent Eriksen.

Kent Eriksen Website

The New Guy – Scott Quiring.

“My typical customer is a discerning type of bicycle rider.”

Twentynineinches.com – So, who are you? Please introduce yourself.

Scott: My name is Scott Quiring. I have been building, starting for others, since the early 90’s and have had my own business Quiring Cycles LLC. for the last 10 years. I have raced extensively in the the last 20 years including a stint on the Bianchi team in the mid 90’s, primarily on the dirt but road also. I won a few races over the years and I have sponsored the Bell’s Brewery Team here in MI with bikes the last 3 years and am building this year’s team bikes now.

TNI: Who is your typical customer?

Scott: My typical customer is a discerning type of bicycle rider.

TNI: Why custom? Why not just an off-the-rack bike? They work well, don’t they?

Scott: Most of my clients are buying custom to get something that they can’t find in stock bikes, whether it’s fit, function or form.

TNI: Why did you choose the particular medium to work with, be it steel, Ti, or aluminum?

Scott: I build in all the above including Stainless Steel and Carbon Fiber as each has particular attributes to offer. I have become proficient enough working with these materials and have the proper sources of supply located so that I can do so comfortably and there are customers out there looking for a variety of bikes.

Scott Quiring's work in titanium

TNI: I know it is a complicated procedure in many ways, but how do you approach the challenge of assessing the needs of your customers? How does that process work?

Scott: Lot’s of time on the phone and answering emails.

TNI: Let’s get this out of the way. The biggest knock against the small builder is the often shabby track record of missed deadlines, poor communication, etc. How do you run your business to avoid those issues?

Scott: Hard work. I am not perfect but I do the best I can.

TNI: How do you stay passionate about bikes? What keeps you stoked?

Scott: I ride.

TNI: Twenty Niners gave the custom builder a boost, what do you see as being the latest trend? Are 29″ers still a strong seller?

Scott: 90% of my orders are 29″ers but I will build to any wheel size for Dirt, MonsterX, Cyclocross and Road. The latest trend is that the price of materials is going up by the day and my prices must reflect that in order to keep the doors open. Flexibility is key.

TNI: What do you feel is the future of the custom builder especially now, in very challenging times?

Scott: Hard work and lean manufacturing with a bit of prescience.

TNI: Anything else you want to say? Future plans, goals, visions, final words of wisdom to folks considering a frame build?

Scott: It is a misconception that Ti is more environmentally responsible than other materials. 80% of the material cost of Ti is attributed to the manufacturing process which takes a lot of energy. I work in Ti and all the other materials to suit the needs of my customers and find that having a variety of price points and options available keeps my card full. All my finish work is done in-house including paint and etched finishes. Not having to send out frames to get this done greatly reduces my production time.

I also introduced the QBall frame and fork with sliding dropouts of my own design 3 years ago. The bike is all CroMo steel and available more readily and affordably to someone that is on the fence with custom.

Scott

Quiring Cycles website

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Happy Holidays

December 25, 2008

To all of the followers, commenters, and friends of 650b.com we wish you all Happy Holidays.  Take some time to take your bike for a ride and enjoy yourself during the holiday season.

Haro Releasing 650b Full Suspension

December 19, 2008

Yes, over at Jill’s (Haro’s main lady) blog she spilled the beans about 2010 bikes and specs.  The biggest thing to me was the 650b full suspension rig.  She also mentioned purple bits on bikes, which is also exciting to me.  The more purple, white and brown the better.

From Jill’s site :

We’re going to be introducing a 650B full-suspension bike based on the Sonix suspension platform. This will be a 120mm travel bike using a White Brother Magic 650B specific fork. We’re shooting to have this bike retail for about $2,600.

The Wonders & Woes of a 650b Conversion

December 18, 2008

John had very good intentions when taking his wives Bianchi Europa steel bike and converting it into a 650b wheeled machine.  From 700c and uncomfortable to easier to use brakes, and more volume in the tires.

The process of swapping out parts wasn’t too difficult, but when John test rode the refreshed Bianchi down the driveway he found some complications.  The front tire was rubbing the carbon fork, the seat was a pain in the ass (no, it really was) and the brake levers had too much reach for smaller hands.

Read on at John’s blog to see what his remedy was.

The 650B conversion is probably the Bianchi’s final state of being, and it appears to be serving my wife very well. In her case, I think the wheel swap probably did help make the bike more comfortable and approachable. But if you haven’t converted a bike to 650B before, I’d suggest starting out by thinking about the goals of the project and making sure your bases are covered. In my case, the goal was comfort and usability. The wheelset helped, sure. But so did the saddle, handlebar position and the compact brake levers, and I think a pedal swap will seal the deal. In this case at least, it was the full experience that made the difference.

Some of my Favorites

December 16, 2008

While searching through Flickr and Google today for new 650b photos I came across my own favorites saved in Flickr.

Here is some of my favorite 650b bikes I’ve saved over the past year or so:

(more…)

The "B-Side" is Coming

December 10, 2008

Over at Soma’s blog the latest entry is about their B-Side.  A long awaited frame finally is being said to be coming in “the spring.”  What that means never really is sure.  Spring could be February if you live in Georgia, or it could be April if you live in Boston.

There have been some changes to the soon to be released frame from the prototype we saw back in this PAST spring.

Changes from the concept prototype:
1. Allows for SS or geared set up with a track style dropout. Disc mount does allow removal of rear wheel w/o loosening the caliper.
2. Gusset for improved fork knob clearance.
3. Tange heat treated CrMo, instead of Pacenti Heavy Metal tubes.

Things being left the same:
1. Same Carmelized Orange with Vanilla panel paint job which we got nice comments about
2. Geometry is roughly the same. To maximize standover we are using an extreme slope so a 400mm post is recommended for longer legged riders. This is similar to what Niner does, but less extreme.
3. Jason Grove built the concept with diamond-shaped cage boss braze-ons. We liked them, so we are keeping them.

No pricing yet. Should be similar to the Juice though.

It is very frustating right now to be a consumer interested in the 650b movement.  For the first time it would be faster to go to a custom builder, even with a long lead time, and get that 650b frame built of your choice.  First Haro’s Beasley bikes were 6 months late and now Soma is a year into the buzz they started.  Only to tell us that we are 6 more months until release.

Is it the dollar? Is it turn around time from over seas builders?  Is it cost or the economy?  I hope someone can chime in and explain why they create this great buzz to only let it simmer down.  Keep it going, even if its going to be a long time. Give teasers, photos, specs and reasons.

Blackbuck 650b in the Wild

December 7, 2008

I was glad to see this past Friday in my blog reader that Black Mountain Cycles was busy putting together a bunch of 650b bikes.  Fortunate for all, the Blackbuck 650b was one of the fine steeds. With the Blackbuck comes the WTB Wolverine tires and LaserDisc Trail rim.

Check out Black Mountain Cycles blog for more photos and hopefully more input from who ever the lucky rider is!

Follow a 650b Build

December 2, 2008

For the past month and a half I’ve been following a slow build up process of a 650b Ebisu All Purpose.  The build up and parts collecting is happening over at Franklyn’s Bike Garage.  This multi-post story line started with Franklyn going to Jitensha Studio and getting sized for a custom bike.  Down the road he decided on 650b wheels and the rest is history.

The build still is not complete but you can follow along on part selection.

Intro, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 3.5, Part 4

Thanks for the links!

November 29, 2008

It’s often that my Google Reader pleeps me of track backs of 650b.com. Most time I comment or email to all that write about 650b.com to thank, give feedback or whatever.

Here’s a cool site that did a short little write up on 650b.com and borrowed some photos.

Stan’s 650b wheel

50b is an intermediate wheel size – it’s bigger than a standard 26″ wheel but smaller than a 29″.  650b wheels are actually as old as the hills; French touring and utility bikes have used this wheel and tyre size for decades however with mountain biking branching out from traditional 26″ wheels it looks like the 650b will be resurrected.

Those who sing its praise claim the 650b has the smooth rolling characteristics of a 29er but without the extra weight and inertia.  650b wheels fit in some 26″ forks (like the Fox F-series this wheel is used in) and there are a handful of manufacturers producing 650b frames.

Tyres seam to be the limiting factor as only a few brands and models are available.

All in all it’s an interesting development but I’m certainly not predicting the demise of the 26″ wheel ;-)

Beasley's are in!

November 19, 2008

From a Haro blog :

After many delays, most of which were far outside of our control, we’re pleased to announce that our first production run of Bealsey 650B bikes are in our warehouses! This is a very small run that consists mostly of 1 x 9’s with a few 20″ SS bikes. The balance of the SS bikes are due to ship any day so we should see those in a couple of weeks.

That means if you haven’t ordered yours yet, get at it!