Recent Builds – Fat and Road Bikes

Fat Bike, Impaler
This bike was built with twin top tube, custom segmented fork, and custom rear and front racks. Impaler is a theme bike that was exhibited at Philly Bike Expo in November last year. The frame’s front rack was shaped like a spear, to give the entire bike the look of Vlad the Impaler.



The Impaler bike was built as an all terrain type of fat-bike and this particular build has the following:
•curved twin top tube/stays and seat tube
•short 16.7″ chain stays
•177/12mm trough axle dropouts
•custom steel segmented 142/15mm through axle fork
Velocity Dually rims with I9 hubs and 4.0 Veerubber Mission tires, tubeless
Shimano XT 11speed/Raceface 30t ring drivetrain and cockpit components
•Powder coat finish
•Custom frame bag made by ATM Handmade Goods.

-Road Bike, Troika:
We exhibited this bike at Philly Bike Expo last year as well, and this roady was built for a college student from Seton Hall University.



Dino’s Single Speed 29-er, part 2

Although this Winter was unusually cold and long in New Jersey as it would never end, it seems to finally start caving in during the first week of March.  I have not been riding during this Winter much, but I am hoping the weather is going to cooperate and let me go back on the trail.  One good thing came out of this winter is that Dino’s SS steel 29er frame is all finished, just in time, as the Spring is slowly coming our way.

The frame is welded using Dedacciai Zerouno tubing, Paragon 44mm head tube and Paragon Rocker adjustable dropouts.  The frame is suspension corrected for the Fox 32 29er, 100mm travel, taper steerer (1 1/8″ – 1 1/5″) fork.  Rigid fork could be used as well with 480mm axle to crown measurement.

New frame and fork fixtures arrived from Anvil and I am super excited about that.  The upcoming project will be done with Anvil’s tools of course.

Check out the photos of Dino’s frame and stay tuned as new 29er is in the works.

Happy Trails,


Variable Frequency Drive (VFD)

VFDI am running my step-pulley J-Head Bridgeport mill using variable frequency drive (VFD).  Basically, VFD converts one-phase power into three-phase required for Bridgeport mill.  It connects directly to the Bridgeport motor bypassing the Bridgeport reversing switch.  I went with WEG CFW-10 VFD model that has potentiometer allowing me to adjust the speed of the motor very quickly.  So far I’m happy with my choice, however, I haven’t used it long enough to recommend this particuar brand.  The set up of the drive is pretty straight forward.  The link above provides good information on how to choose the drive as well as has links to you-tube videos, which explain the drive set up, programing and speed control.  Good luck with VFD selection!

Happy Trails!

– Vlad

Troika, Fat Bike Review

I am learning that the process of acquiring frame building tools is very long.  But finally, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!  My last jig for mitering main tubes should be arriving after Labor Day weekend.  Also, the conversion from one phase to three phase power for my Bridgeport mill worked out fine.  I am using WEG CFW-10 VFD (variable frequency drive) with potentiometer allowing me easily adjust the speed of the Bridgeport motor.  Meanwhile, I’ve been riding Troika that I built at Metal Guru and can share my experience of riding on the “fat” wheels.

I’ve been test riding Troika mainly in the Tourne Park, little gem of the Garden State, which became my “backyard” mtb park.  This rugged park  is the only remaining undeveloped fragment of the Great Boonton Tract.  This area was purchased by David Ogden, colonial Attorney-General of New Jersey in 1759.  The main entrance of the park, McCarfey Lane, was created in 1767 to haul iron from Hibernia’s mines to Old Boonton where cannonballs were manufactured for Continental Army during American Revolution.

Tourne Park offers a bit of everything for mountain biking: ripping through single track, needling technical rock gardens and roots, leg burning rock and gravel climbs as well as hairy, technical descents.

Troika shows very stable ride downhill over loose rocky terrain because of the larger contact patch with the ground on 70 mm rims and 3.8″ tires that I run at about 7 psi.  The tire pressure and rim width dictate the amount of footprint on the ground.  Hence, the wheels with wider rims and lower tire pressure increase the contact patch, which in turn provide for a more stable ride downhill and cornering.

In addition, Troika does not slip during high-grade climbs over gravel.  I had a non-slipping ascend to the top of the Tourne during test riding.  Troika’s rear wheel equiped with Surly’s Nate 3.8″, 120 tpi (threads per inch) tire with super large knobs sticks to the ground extremely well.  Going over the logs and large rocks is not a problem either.  As I expected, Fat Bike performs as an all terrain bike.  I have no doubts that Troika will even be more superior ride over anything I owned in the past when riding during wet and snow conditions.

Below are few photos riding Troika in the Tourne.

Happy Trails!

– Vlad

Fat Bike Fabrication at Metal Guru, Part 3

As I mentioned in the previous blog post, after finishing fabrication of my Fat Bike frame at Metalguruschool, I opted Vicious Cycles to paint the frame in wine red metallic color.  Below are some photos of the frame.  Also, visit the following blog post, Troika, by Carl Schlemowitz at Metalguruschool, for more details on the painted frame.

EditMore details on the finished Troika, Fat Bike, can be found here.

– Vlad

Fat Bike Fabrication at Metal Guru, Part 2


This gallery contains 29 photos.

Arriving at Metalguruschool on July 1, 2013 – Tube Selection After going through the safety procedures, geometry, CAD and types of steel alloys, we moved on the tube selection for the main triangle.  The following front triangle tubes were selected for my … Continue reading

Powering my Welder and Bridgeport Mill

While my wife and kids were at the lake last Sunday, I was having fun with setting up my Miller Maxstar 200DX Welder.  This welder works with 1 or 3-phase input power, 230V, which is a great feature because I don’t have to worry about phase converters here.  So, after connecting everything, I did some practice welds and everything worked fine!

My Bridgeport J-Head Vertical Mill has 220v, 4.2apms, 60hz, 3-phase motor.  Since, my input power is 1-phase, I need a converter to generate 3-phase power.  As I learned through research and discussions with electricians, there are many options available on the market, including Static, Rotary or VFD (variable-frequency drive) converters.  At first, I was considering Static phase converter (cheapest option), but after reading reviews on their performance, I quickly abandoned that option.  Rotary converter, is a good choice, since you could power up few machines with it.  However, I decided to go with VFD for the following reasons:

–          provides more balanced flow of current through all three phases

–          provides “soft start” that reduces the wear of the motor

–          more efficient electrically than other converters

–          allows for variable electronic speed control

Prior to selecting VFD make sure that you studied your machine and know the Amps, Voltage, HP of the motor as well as voltage and power available to you.

Stay tuned for review of VFD I just purchased and performance of my Bridgeport in the next blog post.  Happy Trails!

– Vlad

P.S.  Here is an action shot riding Troika last weekend. Riding Troika