Sunday, February 26, 2012

New 2012 shirt design all done...

Thanks to a hard push by Eric and Paul at Illusions Screenprinting, I picked up the new Tee's and will have them available at NAHBS . Available in heathered brown, blue, green, or pink, the front sports the same Groovy Logo, but the back design has changed up a bit...

First dibs go to the show attendees to say thanks for coming out and supporting our small niche industry.  Once I get back we'll sort out any readers or locals who would like to represent. 



Thursday, February 23, 2012

Groovy Jerseys....finally

Due to popular demand, we are finally ready to produce our first Groovy Cycleworks jersey.  To ensure we have just the right size for you, we are taking pre-orders, beginning today. 

We are making custom Groovy short sleeved jerseys, raglan sleeve, full length zipper, available in a men's club cut, men's race cut, or women's cut.  These feature CS Tech moisture management fabric for superior comfort and wicking. 

These will be $65 USD each.  Shipping in the US is $5 for the first jersey, $2 per additional jersey.  $15 international for the first jersey, $2 per additional jersey. 

To pre-order, check out the chart to figure out what size you need. 

Then send payment via PayPal to  Please note in the comments section the cut & size you prefer.  We will only be taking pre-orders for this run until Friday, March 9th.  

E-mail us if you are interested in shorts.  If there is enough interest, we may include those in this run too. 


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Injury and Ti...the week in review

Ok, to catch y'all up a bit...

As many of you know, besides fabricating, I also work as a firefighter for our community and despite the time constraints of working two full time jobs, the two rarely cause conflict.  This last week was an exception.  Half an hour before shift change, we caught a fully involved apartment building fire with a report of people trapped.  My guys did a fantastic job of aggressively attacking the fire and searching the building, rescuing two dogs and assisting an occupant out.  As is often the case in today's fire service, we just do not have the manpower to accomplish everything that needs done within the first 30 minutes of the incident, so everybody extends beyond their abilities to continue forward progression.  Long story shortened, in the hours following the fire, I noticed my back began to tighten up and hurt.  What followed was three days of lying flat, downing 4000mg of Ibuprofen a day, waiting for it to settle enough that I could be on my feet more than just to go to the potty.

I ended up losing four days of solid prep time in the shop and am at a point where I can only work for about 4 hours at a time on my feet before I need to call it quits.  So, a lot of what I planned to take will not come to fruition as it needs to ship this week.  Such is life.

So the revised list looks to be Dave's bike, the retro single speed, and I am continuing to work forward on Martin's belt drive Ti bike.

That said, here are some progress shots showing the initial fabrication of the custom EBB...

We start out with a massive piece of Ti (that aint cheap!)...
 After cutting it down to our rough starting size, it's into the lathe to face it to the correct width...
 Checking to make sure we are dead on...
 Back into the lathe we go to begin to bore out the id to fit our custom EBB insert...
 After boring it out to the correct id, we'll check the fit.  Should slide in easily but not have any wiggle room, as the shell will constrict a bit during welding then open back up a bit after slotting.

 Now it's back to the lathe to turn down the od to a more respectable thickness..don't want to be porky, now do we?
 And a little blood later, we have our finished shell.
I'm working on the Ti forks for a couple of builds today, so will post up more pics soon.



Thursday, February 16, 2012

A quick sneak peek...

Here is the belt drive single speed that is going to Sac...

Gonna be built with Brown anno King headset, hubs, and bb.  One piece ti bar/stem, ti fork, and ti seat post. 

Should be snappy.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Old School Sedona...

Mikey J. farmed this photo out of his hard drive, made me smile.

Original RW Racing frame, one piece bar stem combo, amazing 1/2" travel Judy's with my blown elastomers and a classy EWR jersey.

What a great sport we play in.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Belt Drive I do it

This year Carbon Drive/Gates is the major sponsor of the Nahbs.  I'm glad to see them step up and take a risk laying down the dollars to generate more exposure for their product, as the small handbuilt industry has been a progressive force in getting these systems in the media, on the show floors, and out on the trail.

I've had the opportunity to do a number of belt drive bikes, both single speed and IGH, and have been quite pleased with the results.  What frustrates the dickins out of me is the bad wrap the product gets on many of the forums.  I've found this to be mostly because of uneducated users or new builders who have not designed the bike for the system, instead attempting to retrofit an unacceptable frame or utilize standard frame stays/tubing for the build.  Their frustration, directed at the belt drive parts, should be refocused on understanding mechanical forces and how to design to control them.

Minor rant aside, one of the few choices a builder has in the system design is to determine the best application for passing the belt through the frame.  There have been many approaches, all successful in achieving the goal of breaking the frame so the belt may pass through; the split dropout, the lap joint, the coupler, machined male cone and receiver, bolt on stay/dropout interface, and the gate joint.  I've used a few, some to experiment, some by customer request, but the best system that I've found is the removable gate.

I feel that the gate is the most efficient system as it allows the user to pass the belt without spreading or stressing the frame members, resists torsional forces through the rear end, adds strength to the stay, is easy to use, and visually blends with the lines of the frame. 

So lets take a look at how you make one of these little guys...

We are going to start with some solid round stock that sits just above the od of the largest section of the seat stay.  This stock will make it's way into the lathe and be turned down to match the stays od.  After we have the od where we want it, it's off to the mill.  I laid this gate out to utilize .375 overlaps, sufficient surface area to accommodate a proportional overlap as well as room for the connecting bolt.  Here's our .600" stock milled .300" deep and wide enough to allow our .375 overlap plus the thickness of our slitting saw, used in the next step.

Now that our stock is milled, we'll reposition on the mill, center a slitting saw and part the piece.

Parted, it's back to the lathe to face the cut end to exactly .375" from the inside face. 

Next, we'll take another section of .600" lathe turned round stock and mill it to create our .300" deep, .375" long overlaps of the center gate.  Notice the left milled section is over sized to allow for the slitting saw and lathe facing.

We'll then begin to place the female bolt holes in.  The mill is re centered on the piece using an edge finder, centered and then brought in .1875" (center of our overlapping sections).  The hole is created with a center drill, then a first pass drill bit, a drill bit sized for our M5 threads, and then machine tapped.

Once the center piece is drilled and tapped on both sides, it is parted off, faced on the lathe and then set aside.  The previous pieces are then put back in the mill and recessed pass through holes are made for the M5 bolts.  When it's all put together, this is what you have...

Laid out on the frame, you can see the section that the gate is intended to replace.  We've laid it out about 020" heavy, so that the edges can be filed true once cut.  I've also used a piece of Al channel to protect the other sense in making a stupid mistake and nicking the opposite side at this point.

And with the piece removed...

It's time for a soapbox again.  I've had a number of builders that I've spoke to ask what to do when the frame members "spring" apart out of alignment once the tube is cut.  Regardless if this was to place a belt pass or putting in couplers, if the frame is being held in alignment due to cold setting, once the tube is cut the torsional forces will return the member back to it's natural position.  I see this all the time with frames that are welded/brazed outside of a fixture and then cold set on a table to achieve alignment.  Notice how this frame is in the same position once the section is cut and removed?  Nothing beats sequential welding with a rigid fixture to create a straight, non loaded frame.  Nothing.  Ok, back to the topic at hand.

With the center section removed, it's time to measure the id, turn the plugs down in the lathe and fit it all together.  Precision is important...

Repeat for the other side and check the fit of all the pieces.  If all looks good, back to the lathe and bore out the inserts to relieve a bit of weight and allow the piece to heat easily to draw in the silver.

Drill a couple of bullet holes to insure silver feeds the entire length down the inserts, then braze it all together.

Check for function...

Once painted, the piece will blend right into the aesthetic of the stays or can be masked off and left in it's stailess form.  And that's it...creating a belt gate that is efficient, easy to use, doesn't require you to stress/spread the existing frame members, and is a part you can make yourself.



Saturday, February 11, 2012

Odds, ends, and random thoughts...

Cleaning off the camera for the end of the week and have just a few little fiddly bits to share...

First up, folks always want to know why high end liquid paint jobs are so expensive when they can get their frames powder coated for so much less.  Well, let me give you a quick example.

I had to run to the paint shop to finish the touch ups on Chris's frame...

... just needed some more titty pink and a little clear catalyst.  Yep, just these two little cans of chemicals.

Total cost $94.00.  Consider that these are just two of seven different materials used in a typical custom paint finish and you can see how the base material costs begin to add up.  Throw in the time it takes, some intricate jobs can reach over 20 hours, and you've got a pretty spendy process.

Now, when I powder coat coat a frame, the total process can take less than an hour and the materials are a fraction of liquid finishes.  Here is a 5 pound box of powder...enough to do 4 frames.

Total cost for the powder, $28.00.  Just food for thought.

What a difference a year makes.  Here are two versions of Shimano's Direct Mount front derailleurs...the first generation had very little vertical adjustment, so the positioning of the mount had to be spot on.  The newer version on the left offers a longer vertical slot, shorter cage, and a bit more throw.  A nice redesign to help out with the diversity in ring sizes of some of the new 2x10 systems.

Chris was using a aftermarket Rohloff adaptor on his frame, kinda a bulky set up that places a lot of load in a small area.  I threw in a Rohloff specific dropout for his sliders and then realized I did not have an OEM axle plate to send with it.  Given that I needed to get this frame out the door to UPS, I sucked it up and spent 4 hours making a custom piece and painting it rather than wait a couple of days to have one shipped to me.  Not the best time management on my part, but it is what it is. 
  Final tid bit...I got this rear end replacement frame all shot with a nice base metallic silver and a top coat of red jollipop, a translucent powder candy.

Tomorrow, I'm going to walk y'all through making a belt drive gate and explain it's advantages over some of the other systems for breaking the frame to pass the belt.



Thursday, February 9, 2012

2011...running the numbers

Christi and I just finished pushing through the 2011 numbers for the shop to facilitate closing out the books, submitting taxes, and calculating insurance adjustments for 2012 premiums.

Out of this long, borish work comes some numbers that are kinda fun to look at from a cycling business perspective, so I thought I'd share...

2011 at a glance:

Total number of unique customers -                         247

Total number of customer emails answererd -          4370

Feet of steel tubing used -                                        431'

Feet of titanium tubing used -                                    192'

Number of K sized cylinders of argon used -             5

Total paid for business insurance for year -                $1756.00

Number of blog posts for year -                                74

Number of races promoted/ran with 331 -                 9

Number of kids races -                                             5

Personal hours required preparing/running the races - 115

Amount of donations for races/prizes/blog contests - $5897.00

Number of Tee Shirts printed -                                 110

Hours of trail work at Vultures Knob -                      22

Hours donated for in shop framebuilding instruction - 62 (4 individuals)

Shop hours logged -                                                 1622

Fire Department hours logged -                                3030

Average work week between both -                        89 hours

and here is the sad one...

Number of rides in 2011 -                                        15's looking forward to 2012, where I hope to ride more, we're adding one more race, and the sun will always shine in Ohio (well, two outa three aint bad)      :)


Monday, February 6, 2012

Matt's Bridgestone...

In the continuing saga of trying to catch up on all the small parts/restos a little at a time, this week we have Matt's Bridgestone RB-1.  Matt had sent this frame in quite a while ago with a request of a repaint.  Unfortunately, through some re locations and time, we lost touch for a bit but were able to get back on track just before Christmas.

Originally red, this frame and fork were destined for something a bit more green. We decided to do a green candy motif that had some retro splatter elements while still retaining some of the understated visual Bridgestone is famous for.

The frame was stripped down, placed on the alignment table, all threads tapped, HT and BB faced, and all brazing inspected before moving on to primer.

After three thin coats of sanded primer, we are ready to start with some color.

The base layer is a British Racing metallic green...

Then I began layering on sterling silver, shamrock green, and finally poly green metallic...each designed to give a different depth of color once the candy is sprayed over top.

After two heavily reduced layers of indy green candy...the heavy reducer is used to burn into and even out the under accents, giving a more uniform surface.  Gotta be careful though, as it makes runs that will eat through the layers a possibility, sending you all the way back to the starting gate.

A quick shot in the can start to see the sparkly potential.

Now that the base layers are done, it's time to work on some details.  I drew up the Bridgestone logos on AI and cut them out on the plotter.  I wanted to retain the original, bold look, so stayed true to form.

On the frame, fogged in with a little carrera white with a touch of bright white pearl, so that the graphics had a bit of shine just like the rest of the frame.

And finally, four hot coats of clear to really set the frame off.

The obligatory in the sun shot..

Matt, I hope the new look is pleasing.  Should be quite the looker once out on the sunny road.



Sunday, February 5, 2012

Behind the scenes...Chris's repair

Although I try to show a lot of what goes on in the shop, so much more takes place behind the scenes.  One of those aspects are repairs to existing customer's bikes.  Regardless of how the issue occurs, crash, fatigue, vandalism, etc... they all need fixed up to keep my customers smiling.

I feel it's important to share these failures and subsequent repairs because that's part of being a professional builder...standing behind not only your product, but your customer as well, despite the origin of the issue. It the responsibility and the cost of doing business in this field.

The last two weeks, I've had two bikes come back that needed some love.  Both were a little over 5 years old, both used the original Zona stays, both were Rohloff builds, both had a failure of the seat stay tubing about an inch up from the dropout termination brazing.  One could argue that the failure is in the HAZ zone, that the cantilever design of the Paragon sliders places coupled with the disc brake and the Rohloff torque places too much force on the frame, shoulda used a stay brace, or that when you ride hard off road for a long time stuff wears out.  Regardless, they need fixed.

Chris's bike was designed as a single speed, but had the Rohloff installed about 2 years ago to help him climb the hillier terrain of Phoenix when he relocated his family to Arizona.

He noticed a small crack forming in the finish of the left seat stay and sent the frame in for review.

When constructed, the stay is slotted for the tab, then filled with a lot of silver so that the tab and interior of the stay encapsulate each other, forming a solid bond.  What I found once the paint was stripped off was a small hairline circumferential crack beginning about 1 inch up from the end of the dropout tab. In this case, the tubing failure would be towards the cooler edge of the heat affected zone.  The accumulated force of the cantilevered dropout, constant forward torque from the Rohloff, and the pulsating forward pressure of the disc brake fatigued the stay material, exceeding it's ability to absorb the forces.

Would a stay brace have helped?  I've seen failures of this type in both configurations on diverse builders frames, so it's tough to say.  What I have concluded through the years is that while the sliding dropouts are excellent for single speed or geared use, they are less than optimum for use with a Rohloff long term.

To fix this, the stay was cut out about 2 inches up, a solid piece of 1018 steel was turned down on the lathe to the stay OD, shouldered for 2 inches with a chamfered edge to slide up into the stay, and scalloped to match the original shape at the dropout.  The piece was then bored out to leave a .120" wall, plenty sufficient for the forces anticipated.

The piece was then brazed in place with the stay and welded to the dropout.

I then did my best to match the liquid paint to the existing powder, blended it all in, touched up the rest of the frame, then cleared the entire kit and kaboodle.

Should be ready to go a long time regardless of use now :)

Now, to hustle back to show stuff.