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Entries in Ahrens Bikes (21)

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Ahrens Revolver 29'er

Voila. Za Ahrens Revolver 29'er. She is finished. Well, almost. I have a few parts to swap out while I try stem lengths etc. Mike D at BCS built 'er up for me in like 2 hours. He's PRO. Thanks Mike! I'll have extensive reports on the ride soon once she is completely dialed but the net is that it feels GREAT. Super balanced to say the least and spot on in terms of sizing. The pictures below will give you an idea of the parts selection, but have a look at the frame details in particular. All the bits you see like the yokes are all CAD designed by my bro Mike Ahrens who then has them CNC'd out of a block of aluminum, and welded together with Easton 7K series (in my case...Scandium is an option).

Some notes on the bike build:

  • The 08 XTR is as you expect: sick.
  • Reba fork: sick. Out of box feel is so spot on, I am not quite sure how I would modify it to get a better feel.
  • I ordered a Chris King tall base plate to ensure enough clearance between the frame's downtube and the top caps of the Reba. Perfect.
  • I have a SRAM front der. I ordered the wrong XTR one. D'oh!
  • Thanks Tim Faia and Bontrager for the tubeless tires!!
  • I swapped out the XTR rotors for Hayes as the Mavic wheels are a 6 bolt pattern, and not the XTR lock ring design.
  • Ritchey WCS post, stem and bars will be swapped.
  • You love the white grips and seat you sluts.
I'm rollin' big wheels now, beeatches! Choo choo!


She's showing her face, that Spring she is. Signs abound. 53 degrees at 10 PM. Bulbs bulging their way to leafdom. The signs are there.

Maybe the signs will indicate when I'll be fast again. Oh, wait, I suppose I've got to apply some pressure to the pedals and watch those funny little numbers on that PowerTap go up and stay up. For months.

I'm riding, less training these days. That all begins May 1 provided the other things swirling around my personal ecosystem work their way towards resolution. And even with that, could affect my May 1 kickoff. But I swear to you that I still ache in a bad way when I am getting in my efforts now. True, deep bone and muscle ache...and not that sweet ache you get from cracking/tearing the muscles during the first few workouts, but the type that is like someone banging a garbage can with an Easton bat to get my attention...telling me that 'your shit's not right.' Couple of muscle sessions with the WB's guy should straighten me out.

The 29er parts are in! All shiney new 2008 XTR and Ritchey bits for the Ahrens. More mountain biking will make me a less surly man. The Signs indicate that less surly are needed and are soon to be had.

NorCal's Finest

No, not the 'finest' from that far NorCal of, say, the Humboldt variant. No, I'm speaking about the finest of the ferrous and non-ferrous variant. Like you, I scoped out the article on Cycling News and was stoked to see Sycip getting some air coverage for their Diesel 1 x 1. Jeremy and Jay Sycip (say: SEE-sip not SIGH-sip) are brothers who have made the bicycle their "trade"...but not without wrapping the trade in a thick layer of gooey art that draws you into their product like a moth to a flame. A welding torch and the most insane paint jobs are their rough parallels to oil and canvas. Outside bicycles, if you get the chance, you should check out some of the custom designed furniture these guys produce. Sick.

I am totally biased here having been a Sycip owner since 2001. The first time I saw these guys was at the 1999 Super Cup/National Championships when we raced in the beautiful Presidio in San Francisco (and we'll never be able to again. Long story...). I finished my race and walked past their hobble of a booth where they had like one bike on display. It was this sort of mint green and black thing I recall that shone like a beacon and it just drew me in. One side was the mint....the other was the black. Extremely unique paint job....which I would later find out is call their "split personality" paint scheme. I scoped out the bike and studied every detail form the paint to the over sized Columbus tubing used. Love. Or maybe lust. So I saved my pennies (it took me a while as a struggling computer guy living in a 200 square ft apartment in SF at $1000 a month) and by 2001 I ordered my custom Sycip. I walked down to the piers in San Francisco on the Bay where they had their 'laboratory'. They fit me, asked me questions and we assembled a combination of Columbus tubing for the main triangles and Tange for the chain stays which were stiffer and made for track bikes....all designed to some how find a balance for a bike that I would use all around...from climbing to sprinting. They NAILED it. From crits to Colorado dirt road races (we do a LOT of those out here), the bike Jeremy and Jay made me is irreplaceable. I do not know how I will be able to sit on a 'new' frame and not be able to judge it against the Sycip. Having ridden steel, carbon fiber and titanium road bikes, the Columbus tubing just makes this bike feel perfect in and out of the saddle, at speed or on slow technical climbs.

Anyhoo, go talk to them if you are interested in a new frame. There's my plug.

The REAL intent of the story here is the NorCal builder's story...and to expose you to some rich history and some other builders from the Bay Area. All of these NorCal manufacturers have a very intertwined and incestuous ancestry. Obviously, this is a personal story of some 'connections' between builders connected to my life, but the NorCal builders 'history' is legendary and well documented already.

As you read in the Sycip Diesel article on CyclingNews, Jeremy Sycip apprenticed under my long time friend Paul Sadoff of Rock Lobster Cycles. It was there that Jeremy learned the ins-and-outs of welding frames and getting to know the characteristics of how various materials from steel to Aluminum, to Scandium to Titanium get 'glued' together. As you'll see, it seems like a LOT has been inspired from the hallowed halls of Paul's Rock Lobster 'laboratory' in Santa Cruz. Let's start there...

Paul is a Brooklyn-ite who emigrated to the Left Coast ages and ages ago. He found his way to Santa Cruz and befriended the likes of builders such as Keith Bontrager (who also was building bikes and bits in his garage) and Salsa Cycle's Ross Schafer (with whom Paul plays music with as they are both insane musicians). When you look at the styles of their frame building, so much of their influence rubbed off on each other. Look at the rear triangles of a Rock Lobster and a Bontrager and you'll see what I mean.

Paul's reputation grew as his frames carried various known names to 'cross and track national titles. In the late '90's, a 'boy' at the time, Mike Ahrens was nearing graduation from his university, and his thesis in his engineering program was a full suspension bike frame design. Mike did the engineering and he solicited Paul's help given his reputation to apply 'truth' to the design vis-a-vis materials, etc. Together they built what would later be called the "Pinch a Log" (see photo to the right). I also ran this FS rig for a while helping Mike dial in the characteristics. With Paul's guidance over the years and a helluva lot of engineering savvy on his own behalf, Mike has since gone on to create his own company, Ahrens Bicycles. I am absolutely looking forward to getting my Ahrens Revolver 29'er built up this spring!

While all this 'apprenticing' activity was going on at Paul's shop, another welding torch was burning bright right within the same space. Paul shared workspace in this small studio with another Santa Cruz artist: Rick Hunter. To see his bikes is to get a sense of retro-meets-modern-meets-funk. Rick's bikes are epic. His signature now is curvy top tubes as well as truly unique designs...but some things have remained the same such as his use of razor thin seat stays that shout out to Bontrager and Rock Lobster designs of 'back in the day'. I'm not necessarily saying Paul rubbed off on Rick given the close proximity of their work stands...but I wonder of there was a bit of that apprenticing going on as well. In any event, Hunter frames get worked in the West Coast mud weekend in and out by folks wearing lycra....or in drag.

I'll be attempting to bring some of that NorCal mojo with me to za Motherland in a week's time to dip these frames in the Holy Mud Water. I hope the pilot can give these storied fames justice!

Peanut is PRO

Peanut, you are one hard badass chick. Absolutely PRO as Radio Freddy says. I am re-casting Christine's pics here from a recent posting but this is a testament to hard core cross love. Much props, sister:Mikes bikes look absolutely sick as well. The Vanderkitten Brown is totally rad. I can NOT wait to get my Revolver 29'er built up.
It's getting cold in Belgie says Christine and I am lusting being there. January 9th through the 21st or so it looks like. I think I'm bringing along a surprise guest. I'll let you know when he says yes.




Peanut's Ahrens Whole Shot

Mike delivered his custom Whole Shot to Christine and it came out like buttah.The custom decals will match their team kits beautifully.

Revolver 29'er in the mutha lovin hizouse

The frame arrived today! In all honestly, I am so focused on 'cross now, I do not know when I'll build this thing up! But knowing me, the impatience will grow and I'll pull the trigger next week. The Mavics should be here end of month as well. Maybe I'll strip down my other bike but the 2004 XTR on it is absolutely hazed. The good news is that putting the tape measure up to it shows that the dimensions are all consistent with my other favorite frames so I should be golden. The shaped Easton tubing on this is sick as well (note the top tube and downtube junctions near the head tube). Similar to my Easton Scandium Rock Lobster.

The beauty of Mike's work is in the CNC. He's got ProE dialed and is integrated with some great CNC manufacturers in the area. He can get from design to prototype to production in fewer cycles. Very cool. Anywhoo, some bike porn:

The Revolver 29'er is done!

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Looking forward r getting this Easton Elite baby built up. Mike just boxed 'er up and I should see this, this week.

Peanut is now a VanderKitten

This world is a small one. Christine --> Dave V --> Mike A --> Moi.

Talk about LinkedIn!

Christine (whom you see below in various posts) announced a relationship with Dave's VanderVitten team. Rad.

Dave is an old dual slalom cohort of mine. We used to travel to the most remote, cooter-infested reaches of CA to race our bikes on these slogs of dirt jumps dudes with a Bobcats would build. Passion is a fairly 'limited' world to describe Dave's bike lust. He and Mike have built a great duo in the VanderKitten squad. Mikes bikes are sick and Dave's new team concept and kits are rad. More women!! Great combo.

Mike A is like a brother and built some of my early dual slalom bikes, FS bikes, etc. I am HIGHLY anticipating my new Revolver 29'er from him!! Can't want to put it through its paces and start channeling the feedback.

It's truly amazing how small the world is. 6 degrees? This is like 3, stretching from California to Belgium.

Neun und Zwanzig'er

Javolt. The crew in the Bay Area hooked UP the beers and laughs for our family's homecoming. We haven't been back as a family unit since we left in 04 and it was just awesome. Robbie and Joanie hooked up a mad 'que for us to say whatup to all our friends. Thanks R & J!! We rented this awesome little place in the hills around Fairfax (a.k.a. Boulder-West) It was great to see everyone. Miguel came all the way from the 408 to see us. He brought the 29'er frame in tow and it was capital S sick. It is in the process of getting painted (black with some new graphics). Gonna have to pool together some fundage to get this thing together. Looking forward to riding it and giving Mike some feedback.

Mike DID bring me a special surprise though. The single most awesome invention for all mankind:The WiseCracker. Buy one, here or through QBP.

Like butta. "Because Beer can't open itself."

A Death Star-like Tractor beam... luring me into the world of the two-niner. And one of my bros Mike Ahrens of Ahrens Bikes is interested in dialin-in one for me. Mike is one of the first people I met when I moved to the Bay Area. In fact, he had just completed a design for a senior year engineering project at Santa Clara when I met him literally the month I moved there in the mid 90's. It was a full suspension rig which Paul welded up for him. I just had to have it. Totally unique design. And so, it was done. Big and was free ride before free ride. I had a White Bros DC110 triple crown and a tuned Risse Racing rea shock on that thing. Steel frame. Boing!! We proceeded to ride a zillion miles together in the rolling hills of CA from Napa's World Cup courses to epics weekend after weekend in Santa Cruz bombing the super secret stuff. Memories...

Well, Mike's all grows-dup now and so have his designs. D-E-L-E-C-T-A-B-L-E . He's applying is deep engineering and CAD piloting skills to manufacture lots of core bits such as lugs, stays, slider drop outs, etc that are almost too pretty to ride:

So I've posted the Moots to Craigs if any'n is interested. I love the Moots but I need to move on. The 29-er is calling.