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Entries in cyclocross frames (23)


Having...trouble...focusing....on work... Dubba...posted...on...Scott Addict...CXIndeed this is going to set a new benchmark in cross frames like the C50 did a few years back. The bike as spec'd is about as ridiculous as you can get. From what I hear. the stiffness factor is mad as well given the BB construction and the integrated seat mast. I'd love to see some TRP brakes be used in place of the Tektro's there now after my experience with their EuroX Carbons last year in Belgium. It also appears the bottle bosses will be on all production bikes (you know where I stand on that) but a little tape will be all that is needed. Time frame's as an example offer an option when purchased in Europe to not have them drilled for bosses. Would be a nice option for weenies like me.


Thanks for posting this distraction, Dubba. I needed to smile.

Titus TRX

So VeloNews has a 'New Products' section which just helps to expose new items coming out to us consumers. Today they posted the new Titus TRX cross bike for this year.

Steel: Good. Carbon infused tubing: Sweet. But I just don't see this as a mature cross bike yet although quite stunning visually. Sloping tubes reduce shouldering clearance while down tube routed cabling make it annoying to grab the down tube on porting....and stretch cables pulling the bike out of gear often when you remount and go. You want those cables protected from as much of the elements as possible...e.g. from hands and/or mud build up which can easily get caught when you are riding wet grassy courses. I really want to take a look at this bike in close detail and look at teh other small details like tire clearance and geometry to study how it handles.

Again, it looks stunning visually but the small details make all the difference in the frame as it relates to your performance.

Enrico's CAAD 9

Mmmm. American Nonferrous. Enjoy.

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!

Cross Racing Week 7: West and Weewaxashun works

Yeah, yeah, I've said it before a ton of times on this here blog, but it's true, rest works. I touched a bike once this week as my body was yelling at my violently to slow the F down. Bottom line, today was a good day in the vet pro class for Rocky Mounts. More on that in a minute.

Today's race was held in Highland's Ranch CO. A bedroom community with lots of sub divisions....and even more churches. So with that theme known, today's race was called "On the Cross" and was put on by Bike Source. Honestly, I think this was the best organized race I have been to this year and the nicest folks. Yeah, the veritable cathedral we were racing around was semi-intimidating (Timmy, you would have probably sizzled a bit upon entering the compound....HA!) but the atmosphere was great and the free food, awesome schwag bag and organization with marshals in orange vests EVERYwhere really mad a big difference.

Me, Ward and Dave W from RM made the trek down to race the 35 Opens. As we see every weekend when we pull in, the Squires bros were out there in their masters race throwing down....putting all their ooomph into their identical Moots CX bikes.

We arrived, reg'd and suited up in the warm up kits and began the pre-ride. The course was classic Colorado CX. Lots of dirt fields, bumpy grass with some pavement for good measure. Today saw a set of triple barriers and a double barrier set on a run up which made the course well suited to me as it was twisty and technical with no sections where anyone would have a clear advantage, unless of course you are Dennis Farrell (more on that in a minute). Rolling on my warm up Dennis comes up to me and says: "You're running Dugasts on this today??" Well, yeah! They hooked up SO beautifully. The Rhino's bit into the crappy earth like buttah. Rolling back to the car to get changed, I saw why Dennis asked me that question: Another 'feature' of Colorado 'cross courses...a goat head. I pulled that thing out, applied a bit of spit to the hole and low and behold: No bubbles! A set of Dugasts saved. Thus, I lined up on my white Rock Lobster with a shitty old set of Rhinos that are hazed and I wouldn't be so heart broken if I nuked one.

The field was a decent sized one today (I'd say roughly 40-50?) with most of the usual suspects there today save my boy Timmy and Karl K. We got the call up and the group was ready to go. I whispered to Ward that I was going to win the hole shot today because the first section was tight and dodgy and I did not want to be caught in any meles.

"One minute gentlemen..." said the ACA official. "....30 seconds....10 seconds....TWEEEEEET!" We are off. I win the shot as planned without burning too many matches and get through the dodginess with Ward right behind me and I think Dennis behind him. Through the barriers and we are motoring. We get a split with all the usual suspects: Dennis, Ward, me, Jeff Wardell, Rod, Mitch, Chris Phenecie, etc. Dennis pulls up with me as does Ward and puts in an attack which gets 20 feet. Ward covers and it and whispers back that the situation is perfect.

We continue on and by lap 2 I witness what makes Dennis the caliber he is. He just applies another attack and that 20 seconds turns to 40 and Ward is put in difficulty. I'm close enough to see but so loaded up I can't react to even try to work with za WB. I continue to roll with a group of like 5 or 6 including Hartman, Wardell and three Green Mountain Sports boys: Phenecie, Rod and Mitch. Onl lap 3 or 4, Phenecie sees me suffering a bit on the front of this group and he attacks. His Green Mountian Sports guy just settle in and wait patiently like the good team mates they are. Adios Chris, nice work as usual! I settle in and literally for the WHOLE race it is our group of like 5 or 6 within a foot of each other training around the course. I decide that I NEED to do something smart so I settle in, do NOT work and sit on the back fairly comfortably of this 5 person group. Lap after lap the Squires bros and Doug in particular are feeding, cheering and waiting in the pits. Unbelievable team mates. We owe you something HUGE you guys.

Towards about 35 minutes, Rod puts in an attack after working his way up through the 5 of us which essentially leaves me, Hartman, Jeff W and the rest of the Green Mountain squad. They play very shrewdly and let Rod go forcing Jeff Hartman to use that Diesel of his to bridge and pull us. He doesn't pull us back as Rod is on song today. Nice work man!

Throughout the race, Mark Woollcott is cheering me on SO SUPPORTIVELY it is crazy. From under trees, laying n the ground by the barriers...he was popping out of everywhere! Thanks brother. He's saying "Just roll! You're playing it smart!!". Apparently he's yelling at Ward with the same type of support which is rad. Quote of the day:

Mark: "Ward, you got Farrell! Just a few seconds back! You're catching him! Oh, and I'm telling Dennis that too next lap!"

HA! Thanks man. We need that against hard men like Dennis!

So, bell lap and I am suffering a bit and the group concedes a bit. I hear the announcer call Ward's name rolling in, in 2nd as I am pulling up the pavement in the final stretch. He's behind the day's winner, Dennis Farrell by a 1/2 minute to maybe 40 seconds which is so incredible. Our group comes in like 30-50 seconds after that and by the last 1/2 of the last lap the concessions were going on and finally gaps of 5 seconds between riders formed. Jeff gaps be by 10 seconds and I can not bridge back to make it a sprint but settle in satisfied with an 8th or maybe 9th. Dave Weber my team mate I see about 20 seconds behind me and he is on a break through day! Nice boy!! So for the RM'ers today, it was solid: All of us in the top 10 with a lot of great racing going on. The cool part is that I am again crawling back./ I did not have the punch bt I raced smart, I hung in teh whole race with a truly hard group of guys and recognize that when I train and 'take', I need remember to 'give back'. Especially at this time of year.

So I get home and my beautiful lady has a cold Samuel Smith's Nut Brown waiting. Kind. I open up the schwag bag and it is awesome. Hammer gels, powder, e-Caps, a water bottle and the new CX Magazine as has been advertised here on their blog. I crack that beetach open as I've always wanted to start a print edition of my rants and evangelisms of 'cross to the a very glossy, color sort of way that only a fresh new magazine can deliver. The mag looks pretty interesting and I'll tear it apart tonight when I crawl into bed. But on a quick pass through it was the last page....the back cover....which caught my eye.

In the blink of an eye I had a semi-sexual reaction (Sidebar: Mom, I know you read this blog so I am officially coming out of the closet, er ah garage: I am a cylosexual. There I said it). I got a wet spot when I saw the picture of this Zancanato custom made Hup United edition ridiclo-steed. Yum fricken yum.

My God, the paint, the FMB's mounted to rare Mavic Classics tubular rims and the pimp white saddle and bar tape. You GO boy. I want to sort of hump it a little. Just a little.

So here in all its glory is the picture that was used in the mag shot.

Drum roll.

Ta-fricken-da! Like butta:

So that's it fold. Week 7 out of the way The 7th inning stretch. 2nd half of the season coming up with Mol in the cross hairs.

Simon's Rock Lobster for Sale

Simon has hung up the tubulars and is selling his race steed. A georgeous RL Team Scandium.
You can see the full posting with more pics here but the 'need to know' is this:

Yes, it is with a heavy heart that I sell my good friend Simon's 'cross bike. This is about as full race as you can get right down to the Dugast tires. There are no downstream cheap bunko parts on this machine.....all the best of the best. For details call me at 831-429-8010 weekdays. Simon has retired from racing and somebody out there will get the bike he did his last season of racing on. This bike is near mint and has many more races left in it.

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.

Geek Fest 2007

And that's what Boups and I had last night building out his new Yeti CX frame. What made it even more geekdified was the near LIFE size projection TV on which he had the '06 Koksijde jamming in Surround Sound. Dope. Boups had some fine Belgie Ales flowing and I dipped my toe into one but played saint.

The Yeti frame looks pretty nicely built. These are off-shored apparently but the quality looked pretty spot on.....which I'd expect for a Yeti. It looks like they are dialing in their cross game and the geometry and characteristics of the frame were clearly matured since their initial few frames FTW built (at least I think I heard FTW built the first few one-offs.)

The shouldering 'cut out' is now becoming in-vogue by frame manufacturers (see Specialized, Scott and Salsa 08's ) and Yeti's is pronounced. I shouldered Boups' and it feels pretty good but the rider may feel the pronounced bevel if you use around the head tube porting styles. It feel pretty solid though.
Boups is going to rock this bike.

Building a cross bike for junior...

Daaaaamn, this guy is starting 'em young. He converted this:

to this:

See the project HERE.

Jan Wiejak

So, my Sinsei, Joe Ball....the man partly responsible for making me 'cross crazy long ago...sent me a note off line to my post below related to Jan Wiejak. Fascinating history! Joe, hope ya don't mind!:


I checked the link on Jan's name as I wanted to see what was out there in internet-land on him. I noticed that the results for 1988 are not correct as that was the first year Jan won the Men's title. I was present in Plymouth, MA to witness the race and the opening of a rather large can of whoop ass!! I had thought I had sufficiently blocked this memory but it as all coming back to me. I am not sure if I ever told you this story. I am shivering as I write this . . .

A snow storm blew in the night before the races and dumped 6 inches of snow and ice on what would have been a great course. It super cold and windy. I did not finish the junior race as a stump I did not see under 6 inches of snow took me down and "taco'ed" my front wheel. I was trying to pass a lapped rider while three of us were trying to catch Jonas Carney, McCormick and Julich. OK, I am back . . . .

Jan had only came to the US in the summer of 1988 as he defected from Poland. He and his wife and child spent something like 8 weeks in a refugee camp in Italy (I think) while my coach was trying to get him asylum in the US, so he had just gotten his green card. I mention this because we had not received approval from USCF (USA Cycling back then) until about 5 or 10 minutes before the start of the men's race!! We were there a day or two before to prepare and see the course and he was all warmed up and waiting on the line for the start but did not know if he was going to be allowed. I remember us seeing the official walking over with Jan's license and all his paper work and saying, "I just got the final word . . . . . he can race!!" So we are so psyched and then I realize , shit he actually has to race in this stuff . . . .hey, great news Jan, good luck . . . . He nods not really paying attention . . . no matter, he does not understand what I just said anyway.

The race blasts off in typical fashion and about five guys including Jan are out front as the they come through the first lap. This is how the race goes and by 4 to go I think there was only 2 or 3 guys with Jan. I am not sure of the guys he was with, but I must have been Myrah, Paul Curly and McCormick maybe. With 3 to go Jan is trying to make a move. We are around the start/finish where you can see about 3/4 of the lap. Jan ups the pace and then attacks going in to the technical section (where the stump took me out) and they are out of our sight. It is like the black-out time in the Apollo 13 movie and we don't know what's going on and then we see Jan come into sight as he hits the final stretch and he is flying with a good gap on the guys. He comes by the start/finish the can of whoop ass is fully open and he no longer holding the hammer (as in he dropped it big time). He just keeps the pace and rides two more flawless laps to win by what I remember as 30 - 45 seconds, but could be more or less as it was 18 years ago. :)

I thought you might enjoy my trip down memory lane.

Joe, I guess this just proves we're old. This is some old school stuff!

Photos by: Jonathan S. McElvery