Mar 9, 2014

Bi-Monthly Update

So it seems like I am on a Bi-Monthly schedule for updates. No good reason, just seems that is how it seems to happen. Anyway, I now have 4 Aluminum frames under my belt and this is my best so far. This is a very small 29er, and is also extremely light. The frame came in at 3.5 lbs and the complete bike a feathery 18.6. The small size of the frame combined with the very large diameter of aluminum tubing presented a few challenges. The most dramatic one being the welding around the headtube. Because this is a small 29er the headtube is very very short, as short as you can go, there was some overlap between the downtube and top tube. The top tube is welded largely to the downtube, with just the top of the top tube welded to the headtube. There are a few spots I would like the welds to look a little better but overall I am extremely happy with how the frame, and bike turned out.

Dec 21, 2013

Over Due Update.

It appears that once again keeping the blog updated has taken a back seat to building (and a trip west to visit my sister). 2 Months between updates is far too long. In that time span I have two steel single speed frames out the door and I have just a few things to wrap up on an Aluminum single speed. I will do a separate update on the Aluminum frame in a week or so (hopefully) This is going to be a pretty picture heavy post about the steel single speeds.

First one is a black with custom orange decal 29er Single Speed mountain frame. Geometry is pretty straight forward, but naturally everything is custom to fit the rider in every way. Like all of my steel single speed mountain frames it features Black Cat swinging dropouts. Built around a 100mm Rock Shox fork the frame features a 70 degree HTA and 73 degree STA, 435mm chaintsays (when pushed all the way forward), 115mm long headtube and 606mm top tube for a front center of 668.

Next Single Speed is a fat tire road bike. This is a fairly unique frame in that the geometry is part road bike, part cross bike and part touring bike. Designed for max comfort on gravel paths it features long chainstays, and low bottom bracket paired with a custom steel fork. There is room for a 700x32 tires with fenders using long reach caliper brakes. Getting the tires and fenders to fit under the brakes was a bit of a challenge.
The powder is flat black with gloss black decals, as many parts as possible are black too. The look is really really cool, very sleek and stealthy.

 Thanks for taking a look.

Oct 10, 2013


The above frame is the latest to leave the SCW workshop. The owner is the lucky winner of the MORE summer picnic raffle. We are calling this frame a monstercross frame. In this case monstercross is part mountain frame, part cyclocross frame. Think the geometry and position of a cross frame with the tire clearance and wide bottom bracket of a mountain bike. This is going to be a really cool and very unique frame and Joe (the owner) has some pretty cool plans for the final build.

Some of the details of the frame are as follows:
Built around a salsa steel fork and drop handle bars.                                                                
72 Degree HTA
73.5 Degree STA
65mm of BB drop
58 cm effective top tube
440mm chainstays
135mm rear dropout spacing
73mm BB shell
Room for 29 X 2.2 tires.
All these goodies are covered in a Sparkle Copper Powdercoat. It is a very cool color. The shade varies greatly depending on how much light is hitting it. It goes from a red in low light to copper in the sun and almost gold in direct sunlight.

Up next is a single speed for another local rider. Thanks.

Sep 17, 2013

Custom Aluminum?

For the past few months I have been working with Aluminum. Aluminum has some really great properties to make a custom frame out of, I think its biggest downside is dealing with the somewhat negative reputation that I feel have largely been driven by big bike makers trying to sell newer materials.

Aluminum is a very light, low density material that will let me build a light weight frame and with the proper tube selection can create a very stiff frame. When you combine those benefits with custom geometry to fit your body and riding style you have the potential to end up with a fantastic end product.

I do want to address a few of the stereotypes that Aluminum has acquired over the years. Aluminum is known has a very stiff material. Steel is actually a stiffer material if the two tubes are the same size. If you were to make a Aluminum bike using the tube sizes we usually see on a steel bike you would actually have a very flexy frame. Look up Vitus and Alan Aluminum frames from the 1980's.
To counter act that natural flexyness (not sure if thats actually a word but Im going with it) frame builders made the tubes larger in diameter. That cured the stiffness issues, but made the ride pretty harsh. Unfortunately that harsh ride stereotype has stuck with the material despite advances in materials and material shaping. Just like many other things in building bike frames the design and tube choice will have more to with how the bike rides then just what material the frame is made of.
So the bottom line would be that if you looking for a light weight custom bike frame, Aluminum probably will be a great choice.

Im not quite ready to start offering Aluminum just yet. The weld aesthetics are not as consistent as I want them to be and I am still learning some of the quirks of working with and welding the material. I am also still working to decide on pricing and warranty for the Aluminum frames.

In addition to learning to weld Aluminum, (which is not necessarily any harder then welding steel but it does require a little different techniques. My steel welding has also become a little better by learning to weld Aluminum.) I also had to build an oven so that I can get the frames back up to the full temper/ full strength. I did alot of test joints, cut them open and see how the weld penetration was.

I dont have a time line just yet for when I plan on officially offering Aluminum frames but I will put up a post and add the appropriate pricing in the "How to Order" tab on the website.

Time for a few pictures.


Aug 21, 2013

Been Busy Building not Bloging.

Imagine that, Im behind on the blog. I was doing so well too.

Im going to go a little out of order. Im going to wrap up Brian's short stay 29er, then next post Ill go over a couple of "prototype" frames and the accompanying non-frame building projects.

So Brian is yet another rider that was bitten hard by the MTB bug, but was having a little trouble finding a frame that fit and rode the way he was happy with. Perfect recipe for a custom. His current 29er was way too tall for him, but to get a top tube he was comfortable he had to go with the larger bike. In addition to that he was looking for something that worked better on the tight east coast single track we have in this neck of the woods. So we went with a short chainstay frame.

Frame specs,

Head tube angle 69 degrees.

Seat tube angle is effectively 73 degrees.

100mm fork.

420mm (16.5 inches) Chain stay length.

55mm BB drop for an approximate 12.3" BB height.

I finally have the process down for the headtube badges to get the look I am after. The color is RAL 5015 (sky blue). The color looks fantastic. The more I looked at the frame  the more I liked the color. It is really making me want a blue bike of my very own. The last picture show what I am looking for with my welds. I want them to disappear under the powdercoat, I feel that this pictures shows that well.