You ever notice how when you stop nit-picking and being overly critical of yourself you do your best and most focussed work? Big lesson for me this week, as I got two projects completed, both of which are destined for fantastic customers in the US. Don't get me wrong; it helps that I married someone who doesn't moan (toooo much) when I stay out in the workshop until late because I've found a good flow, but something aligned and gave me the chance to scrub two items off the build list. Nice feeling.
First up was a nifty stem rack, made to accompany the yellow stem from last week. Milton has Tomii and wanted something particular. It took a little to and from on the old emails to dial in the right style, but we got there in the end and it came out really well. Some of you might be thinking that this feels a touch reminiscent of the Hunter Cycles bag racks and you'd be right in the sense that Rick does indeed make an excellent purpose-built design and after an email exchange with him, we were extra careful to not rip off his work or allude to having improved it in any way. We think we've made something here that is our interpretation of the functionality of what Rick started producing in 2019ish and what Mercer Bikes did on a custom build, reported on the Radavist back in 2017. So no, this isn't a new concept but it is something we've wanted to do for a while. Having the opportunity to put our stamp on things was fun and led to some head-scratching, just to make sure everyone's IP was being respected.
As usual, full chromoly fillet-brazed construction. We used a slightly smaller diameter tubing than usual, so the rack will be compatible with Voile straps. The size of the rack was dictated by the customer's bag, so it's a little larger than I would generally think to make one of these and it fits perfectly onto the front mounting plate of a Paragon Machine Works stem clamp, just by using longer than standard bolts. We always make our mounting faces from stainless and that didn't change here. This is a perfect way to add load-carrying ability to a frame/fork that has no rack mounting points already in place. The rack is off for powder and will be coming back in the same vibrant yellow as the stem.
This rack is obviously designed to work specifically with the PMW stem clamp, but we are brainstorming a method to make this universal. So, if you are after something similar, drop us an email to find out more.
Onto something close to our hearts: custom Bullitt projects. As you all know, we ride two Bullitt cargo bikes and couldn't imagine being without them but some of the proprietary parts just don't cut the mustard, for us anyway. Obviously when we got our personal frames we couldn't resist making them a bit fancier and more custom and with some bad backs and shoulder injuries to contend with, bespoke stems were at the top of the list. The result was a much better ride, improved aesthetics and a lot of interest from fellow Bullitt riders. Derek decided to take the plunge and after a couple of emails, proved himself to be an absolutely model client, supplying plenty of pictures, diagrams, making sure his invoices were paid and staying in constant contact. Thanks Derek, it makes a huge difference and we've LOVED building your stem for you.
Again, all chromoly fillet-brazed construction (can you spot a theme...). High-rise, short reach, this one has the usual stem/steerer combination that we usually do for Bullitts and was also designed to clean up the cockpit on Derek's Di2-equipped ride. We've got big breather holes, with extra machining included to allow a Di2 junction box to fit snugly in the stem and pairing it with a pair of Pro Di2 compatible handlebars will allow for seamless integration for all the electronic wires. The wiring will travel down the stem and exit the bottom of the steerer tube.
The headset is pretensioned from the underside of the bike, but a usual star nut headset cap doesn’t let the cable exit, so we machined a big hollow-threaded nut which will take care of all the preloading and allow the cable to pass through freely. This being one of the lowest points on the bike, to prevent the Di2 cable from being guillotined if the bike runs aground, the preloading nut is machined to the correct size to receive a standard handlebar end plug. This will protect the Di2 wire and can cheaply and easily be replaced if it does make contact with anything and get damaged. The stem also includes a Chris King NoThreadSet headset upper bearing cover machined into it.
And that's pretty much all we have to report from this week, so it's that time again...but wait. Maybe instead of Shithead of the Week we should be highlighting the good people. Dickheads don’t need any extra attention, they like it too much. Genuinely decent folks rarely get the recognition they deserve, so let's change this up.
Rad Peeps of the Week:
Everyone that takes the time to check-in and ask how someone else is doing
Everyone that bought us a coffee this week
Kyle B Kelley (thanks for the cool chats and baby picture exchanges!)
Tim over at Smile Bikes for telling his story and bringing riding back to people who thought it was lost forever
Our post lady Tracey for always being a ray of sunshine, even on the shittiest days
Catch you next week!