Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Mayor's Cup: Boston Rules!

This past saturday I hopped on my bike and headed downtown to witness what I hoped would be the first of many Boston crits. I've seen many alley cats held on the streets of Boston, but in my tenure as a cyclist, I had yet to see a sanctioned race put on by the city. I arrived at City Hall plaza to see the orange barricades sectioning of the course and 'dexed out racers lining up at the start line.
To be fair, I don't really care much about racing, as many of our racers can attest to. I'm not a competitive guy and you know, racers are all snobby and stuff. So when they busted out of the start gate like bats out of hell I was pretty impressed.

Here's a couple of the IF racers rounding the first corner. That's the pride of the factory Kevin "Sparky" Wolfson leading team green and Jon "Older than time" Bruno taking up the rear. I have no idea whose in the middle but I took a lot of pictures of him.

Here's Clint watching the dudes blaze down New Sudbury St.

This dude was leading it off for a while. I wish I knew more about racing and could tell you his name. I will say that the first time he rounded this corner onto Congress St, I jumped back five feet and whimpered like a child. These guys were going 35mph and coming within inches of braining themselves on the barricades. It was sick.

Here's that guy who races for us taking that turn like a badass.

This is Leah, enjoying the race.

Here's Clint huffing something he called "Vick's".

This is Todd blasting up Congress and right around the time I went across the street for a cocktail. It was pretty good, but apparently at weird, swanky, downtown bars they don't know bitters is an ingredient of Old Fashioneds. But hey, at least it was only $10.75.

Here's Sparky and that guy whose name I don't know holding it down on our sick road bikes that totally make you way faster.

Lastly, the hero of the day, our new hire, David Lee. He had to take a hiatus from training this summer but he showed up eager to ride regardless. He was grinding it out like a champ. If he looks familiar it's because he's a rock star.

Anyhoo, the race ruled. It was blisteringly fast for the whole 90 minutes. It was a great turnout. I don't really know who won. I don't care that much. The race was awesome to watch, the IF racers looked good and some guy named Ted King didn't win, which I guess is a big deal. Hopefully the City of Boston will continue to support the bicycling community by sponsoring similar events. If you didn't make it out this year, be sure to come next year. It was a great time.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Grass track racing was popular in England in the 30's, 40's and 50's. We're not sure exactly how popular, but there are photos from the period, and grass track bikes were featured in some of the old British lightweight catalogs. Anyhow, inspired by an old photo, and motivated to do something a little different, we decided to make a grass track racer to bring to Interbike.
Given the vintage vibe of the bike, and our rebellious nature in general, we co-opted the first political cartoon in American history; the "Join, or Die" segmented snake. Largely attributed to Benjamin Franklin, no one really knows for sure, since back then such talk was treason and cause for the Crown to dangle you from a tree.
Kind of ironic then that we put a rebellious statement on an homage to old school British grass track racing, eh? Instead of each snake segment representing one of the colonies (get it; join, or die?), we created a segment for each of us, and painted in our initials. No doubt a bit cultish, but hey, we kind of dig groups like the Marines and Jesuits.
Like the Dude's rug, some fly white Dugast file treads fresh from Europe tie the bike together. Really, we had some Challenges on it originally, and great tire and all, but the Duggies just complete the bike.

It's all about the small details, and some trick rubber-monkey skull-with IF crowns-bar end- thingies do nicely to protect the down tube from an errant handle bar swing.

Black Sugino 75 cranks, courtesy of Jason at Superb Bicycles in Boston. Not only is he the helpful man at Boston's hippest bike shop, he spins a superb mix at a party.
A beefy 49 tooth chainring from 3RRR, machined right here in Massachusetts, combine with a Wippermann chain to transfer the power.
Beautiful polished 32H Phil Wood track hubs (thanks Peter!), 130 spacing in the back for tire clearance, laced 3X to silver Mavic Reflex rims.

While we built it to bring to Interbike, it's real purpose, just like everyone at Interbike, was to go to a party. We co-sponsored a party at the Artisan Hotel, a super funky, way off the strip art hotel with the good folks from Rapha, Knog, Embrocation Cycling Journal, and Fi'zi:k saddles. We each had to come up with a bar drink to represent our brand, so sticking with the retro theme, we served up Ward 8's, a tasty and refreshing beverage comprised of rye whiskey, lemon juice, orange juice and grenadine. We would like to give special thanks to our local mixed drink expert John Gertsen of Boston's infamous speakeasy Drink for the thoughtful suggestion and ingredients for this drink. The Ward 8's name is derived from it's power to sway votes in the early 19th century, and prevent hangovers. Promise.
Doesn't she look stunning, there at the bar, resplendent in her Vanilla Shake paint and Knog lights? You know you want to hit on her, or at least touch her Knogs and Duggies. Go ahead, she doesn't mind...

Friday, September 18, 2009

XS :: Angus

Another fully built bike! This gives us the opportunity to show it off. There is nothing like a completed bike, fresh from the work stand.

It's always nice to see that the bike is not viewed as just a vehicle to hang random parts on, but is approached as an entire package.

Each part is selected, not just for its performance value, but also its aesthetics. Dashes of color here and there add small interesting focal points that draw the eye around the canvas of the completed bike.
The subtle attention to details are what make the builds so exquisite. From the wrapping of the handlebars to the final positioning and tuning of each of the parts, each moment of the build is approached in an almost formal way, blending traditional build etiquette with new high tech parts.
To go into all of the subtleties of what makes Justin's builds so pro would take forever, so I decided to focus on one aspect: cable routing.

Starting at the lever, each cable is cut to the right length and routed in a way to minimize cable drag.
Following the derailleur cables you will notice that the placement of the logos, in this case Dura Ace, is visible just above the adjustment barrel. This is the proper way to do it, recognized through the ages as one of the signatures of a pro build.

The adjustment barrels are also set so that there is room to adjust for future cable stretch.

In some cases crossing cables makes for more efficient routing between the handlebars and the adjustment barrels.

Double crimping on all of the cable ends, it's sort of like officially signing off on the routing of each cable.

When the build is completed the customer recieves a bike that is race ready, with no immediate adjustments nessasary.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

J O I N , o r D I E

Interbike, the largest bicycle trade show in the USA, is coming up next week.
Although we won't have a booth there, we will have a few bikes on display in some of our friends booths.
Keep an eye out for some special projects in the Whipperman booth, the EDGE booth and Cane Creek's booth.

Just wait 'till you see what we come up with this time!
Oh yeah.... there is gonna be a little shin-dig after Cross Vegas....