This weekend I was eventually able to finish the build and get some miles on my recently delivered Condor Super Acciaio. This was the first time I had put together a steel frame in a long time, and after over a decade on carbon I was eager to see how it felt. The build is pretty sensible with really the only nod to trying to save some weight going to the Hollogram SL crank (one of the lightest and stiffest on the market). The wheels are a bomb proof set of early Edge Comps, that after 3 years on them still ride true and strong. First impressions after a 3 hour ride were nothing but positive. I haven’t put it on a scale yet but I can tell you it feels light for a steel build. It rides beautifully on flat and rolling hills, smooth, comfortable and super responsive out of the saddle. It surprised me most when climbing. You don’t get that initial zip of speed you get on a carbon frame with low profile rims, but I soon got the felling that attacking the bottom of a hill with power and settling into a tempo is the way to use it. It actually climbs really well. Next up I am putting the Campy Hyperons on it to see how it feels. If you are in the market for a steel frame you should definitely have a look at the Supper Acciaio. I have a feeling it is one of those frames you keep all of your life. More to come as I spend the Fall on it.
The $9 Bicycle By Izhar Gafni 09/13/2012
Inspired by a canoe made from cardboard, Izhar Gafni set about proving you could make a bicycle from cardboard. His first product release is called the Alpha, a bike made from recycled cardboard and weighing in at 20lbs. The company is currently seeking funding to get the bike into production, so it s unclear if we will actually see it on the streets yet. The adult version would sell for around $9-$12, but maybe more interestingly based on the aesthetic there is a planned kids bike for $5. I can’t find any information on how they are managing to keep the cost so low based on the fact some of the mechanical parts (pedals, brakes, cables…) aren’t made from cardboard. I also wonder how the bike would be perceived by bike thieves, when the very thing you are trying to steal is less valuable than the lock you are trying to break to steal it.
Our C59 Build With Ifixbyx 07/19/2012
With a fine Belgium ale in one hand and a camera in the other I spent a nice couple of hours watching David Somerville at Ifixbyx put together my C59. It is a pretty unique place to have work done on your bike. Right in the middle of Manhattan’s Fashion district, tucked away on the 4th floor of a shared office block, Ifixbyx is somewhat of a Mecca for the New York racing scene. Not really a bike shop (they only carry the parts that they need and are on demand by the local riders) they offer the service of everything you need done to your existing ride, or starting from scratch. Their attention to detail and dedication to getting it just right is pretty rare these days. If you hang around long enough you always pick up a few gems of knowledge as well. On this trip: 1) To get the perfect rear derailleur cable cover length (from the frame into the rear derailleur) the magic number is 23cm – this makes sure the cable cover goes into the derailleur straight, giving smoother shifting. 2) On Campy cassettes they keep the individual cogs aligned using a little plastic “widget“, allowing you to drop them onto the wheel in one swift movement – as demonstrated by Mark. After putting some miles on it this week I will be back in to have the fork cut back and a few tweaks to the gears – but it is pretty much riding like a hot knife through butter. A few shots from the afternoon in the gallery below.
Our New C59 Build 07/16/2012
At the end of last week I was eventually able to get in to ifixbyx with all the bits to put this build together, it has been a few months in the making. I have been looking at the frame for a while, and eventually decided to pull the trigger after seeing it in the “Flesh” at Amstel Gold. The frame was sourced in the UK with the help of Mark from Dutch And Wolf, and the excellent build was done by David Sommerville at ifixbyx. I have only had one dial-it-in ride so far (I went to ride the Jeremy Powers Fundo at the weekend – there was no way this was getting on those dirt roads – not yet anyway) – so I am looking forward to getting out on longer rides this week. The build without the pedals was sitting in the 14lbs and change category, way lighter than I ever thought it would build up to. Super pleased with how it has turned out. I have a nice photo essay of the build coming next that we did while Dave slogged over a Campy cable routing.
Colnago Master From Dutch & Wolf 09/28/2012
Another beautiful build by Dutch & Wolf, this time a Colnago Master “Bowden” build. I like the look of the custom built wheels with Starley carbon 38/50 rims, weighing in at 1350g. Looks like a great ride. I am in love with red bikes again.
I spent last weekend picking my way around the Pennsylvania countryside on the annual Shoefly Ride, and managed to turn a 64 mile ride into an 81 mile ride with a few choice wrong turns. If you you ever get the chance to ride in this area, jump at it. Rolling hills through farmland, and the occasional Mennonite carriage make for a good day in the saddle. It was my first visit to the Shoefly, and if you are looking for a nice mellow, well organized, club run ride this is a great choice.
Cyclo Bicycles / Barcelona 07/28/2012
Our love of steel frames continues. We were introduced to Cyclo Cycles based in Barcelona recently. They offer five different frames, race (featured above, The Mónica), performance, cross, touring and mountain. The frames are handmade in Italy to order and they give the option of TIG welded or lugged builds using Columbus or Dedacciai tubing. Once you have chosen the frame type, build and tubing, you have a choice of nine colors. Depending on the build the frames range in price from 850 euros to 1490 euros. Check them out at the site below the frames have been getting getting great feedback for the ride and build quality.
Last Saturday I joined the Grand Fundo, a charity ride organized by Jeremy Powers in Southampton MA. I had really no idea what to expect other than an as advertised “not a race, on a pretty demanding course”. One swift scan of the car park on arrival pretty much sorted that out. Most riders there could have been described as “serious riders” so you know the competitive gene would emerge in some form at multiple points of the day. The ride is super well organized with quality merchandise (I am drinking from my JAM Fund pint glass as I write). The Fundo is a 64 mile loop, and what it lacked in distance, it made up for in hills and dirt, it is a nice course. Two things left big question marks floating over my helmet during the ride. The first: The ride is described as having “20 miles of maintained dirt roads…”. If that was 20 miles I will eat all of the Jelly Belly bean packets I picked up in one go. I don’t know if it was the fact I haven’t really ridden dirt that much, or the heavy legs from the 92 degree heat, but man those sections felt LONG. The second: A heads-up on Climb 3 would have been handy! The average may have only been 5% – but when you see riders zig zagging up the road in front of you, be rest assured there is a section in the “Wall” category coming. The halfway point is marked by a very special Feed Zone, The Flavor King Truck. I have never been so happy to see an ice cream truck. The heat was slaughtering me and the Strawberry Shortbread ice cream managed to stop the steam coming off my head. Overall this is a great ride, with a great vibe. And to the kids at Rest Stop 3 with the surgical towels soaked in ice water – you are angels.
The Spybike Tracker 06/26/2012
Now this is a great piece of technology, although a better name would help, The Spy Bike Covert Bicycle GPS Tracker. The original tracker was created for motorcycles, but the company soon realized the opportunity to open up the platform, and have developed one for your bike. The tracker itself and the battery are hidden inside your steering column, underneath your stem cap. If someone starts messing with your bike the motion sets of the tracker and it automatically sends you a text message along the lines of “get your ass back to your bike before someone nabs it” (not sure what the actual message says – but that’s what I would say). Fear not, if you are too late and the bike is already gone the tracker will send a GPS co-ordinate to the tracking site every 20 seconds, drawing a big red line right to the thief’s den. Call the Police, retrieve bike, and cart off mystified bike thief to jail. The beauty of the device is in its disguise. Stashed under the cap you wouldn’t even know it was there, and at 0.14 lbs or 0.067 kg it is hardly heavy. The running cost is pretty cheap, as it uses GPRS to upload the GPS data and is quad band so it works everywhere when you travel. The battery can run for a couple of months without needing a recharge as long as you turn it off when riding.
If you have a bike you really love and live in an urban area that means you are at risk of loosing your wheels, at $150 this is a really good investment.