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Monday
Feb122007

Interview

Last Friday (Feb 9.2007) Industry Outsider did me the honor of an interview.

When someone else asks the questions, it brings out material that I normally wouldn’t bring up myself, or stuff I wouldn’t even think of.

Thanks IO for the opportunity.

Saturday
Feb102007

The Good News and the Bad News


The good news is, there is a Masi frame that I built on eBay this morning and the bidding is only up to $2.25.

Masi frames were numbered A, B, C, and D for the four quarters of the year, followed by the year 81, and 14 was the number frame that quarter. So this was built in the 4th. quarter around October 1981 (Not 1984 as the seller has it listed.)

I built Masi frames from October 1980 until the end of December 1981. On the other side of the bottom bracket is the number SMC59. SMC is for San Marcos, California, the location of the Masi frameshop, and 59cm. is the frame size.


This is the bad news.....



The item number on eBay is 260082503350

It might be worth $2.25 as a conversation piece, but with thirty bucks added for shipping I'm not recommending this one.


Friday
Feb092007

Every Picture Tells a Story


Clive knew when his affair with the framebuilder’s wife became public he should have canceled his order for a new bike. However, against his better judgment he let the order stand. Now he deeply regretted it.

Coming soon to a theatre near you: Broke Bike Mountain.


Detective Andrews knew before he even examined the body lying beside the bike trail that he was dealing with a cycle path.

 

Despite her demure stature, the hostess stood firm; she remained seated and refused entry to the biker gang.




Alternative stories welcome

Wednesday
Feb072007

Unicycle


A year after I left the bike business in Southern California, I moved to Eugene, Oregon; I lived there from 1994 until 2001. When I got to Oregon, I remembered why I left England; it rains a lot.

People in Oregon are different, not all people of course, but some of them march to the beat of a different drummer, if you get my gist. If you live in Oregon, or have ever lived there you will know what I mean.

Those in step with this different beat, along with the drummers, (and there are a lot of those too.) Let’s say some people are colorful; read on and I will explain. The above picture of myself was taken in 1997; as you can see I was a little different myself back then.

However, not as different as the man I recall seeing one time walking down the street in Eugene, wearing a ladies flower print dress. This was no female impersonator; the guy had a full beard, hairy legs, and big muscles.

He was walking with another man and woman (Dressed conventionally) and carrying on a normal conversation like nothing was out of the ordinary. And I suppose in a way it was not; it was summer and this was a summer dress.

I read this piece recently on Bike Portland about unicycles; they are apparently popular in Oregon and I can relate to that. While I was living in Eugene, I hosted an open mic for songwriters at a place called “The Rainy Day Café.”

One evening in the middle of the show, a guy comes riding by on a unicycle. He was wearing a one-piece silver skin suit complete with a hood, and a red cape.

Once again, you don’t necessarily have to be different to ride a unicycle, but you do have to be different to do so wearing a silver skin suit and a red cape.

He stopped on the sidewalk outside, rocking back and forth to keep his balance, watching what was going on inside. Someone opened the door and he rode in; he rode the length of the long narrow room that had a bar on one side and tables and chairs on the other.

He did a U-turn at the back of the room and rode back. Someone held the door again and he rode out while the restaurant patrons gave him a standing ovation; he continued on his way down the sidewalk.

Not a word was spoken by the unicyclist, and he never faltered or put his foot to the ground. The whole incident was over in seconds. Just one of those crazy, spontaneous, magical moments in life, that unfortunately happens all too rarely.

No one was hurt, no one was offended, and everyone was amused.

Monday
Feb052007

Handlebar Drop

I have a frame sizing chart on my website; it was formulated about 30 years ago from actual customer measurements and the frames that I built for them. Apart from a few minor updates, it has remained basically the same.

I am of the opinion that while bicycle frame design has changed, and to some degree riding styles change; human bodies remain the same. Therefore, the basic frame fit issues are the same as they have always been.

One question I find people are asking more and more is “How much handlebar drop should I have?” In other words the difference in height between the saddle and the top of the handlebars.

When I retired from framebuilding in 1993 handlebar drop was not even in the equation. The reason being that top tubes were level and the quill stem was placed at a height where the top of the handlebars were about 7cm. above the head bearing. (See picture above.)

The stem could easily be adjusted up or down a centimeter or so either way, and assuming the rider was on the correct size frame the difference between the seat and handlebar height was automatic. Head tube length had absolutely no bearing on anything.

It didn’t matter who built the frame or how the frame angles differed there was always the constant of the level top tube. If a rider switched from one 56-centimeter frame to another 56 from a different manufacturer, the handlebar drop remained the same. In fact the term handlebar drop was not even used.

All this has changed now with compact frames with sloping top tubes; the manufacturer can make the head tube as long or as short as they wish, thus effecting the saddle/ handlebar height difference. Adding to the problem, the new threadless steerers and stems are not as easily adjusted for height as the old quill stems.

Manufacturers are already listing their frames by virtual sizes rather than the actual seat tube length. I think they should also give the virtual top head bearing height. In other words, how much higher or lower is the head bearing compared to a level top tube frame?

Below is a preliminary handlebar drop column added to my frame size chart. I no longer have the luxury of actual customer measurements in front of me. I had to rely on memory and my gut feeling to come up with these numbers.

You will not find compact frames in all these sizes, but if for example, your size is a 57cm. but you can only find a 56 or a 58, set the reach and drop as you would for a 57.

Your input is appreciated, how does this compare with what you are riding? Bear in mind this is for a racing position; adjust accordingly if you want something for a more leisurely style of riding. Please post a comment