Kids Bikes – Jason’s 26er and Polina’s 24er

It’s time to post a little write up on two recent frames that I built for my kids. My son is 11 years old and my daughter is 9, and it was time to upgrade their rides so we can ride together on our local mtb/gravel trails. They both participated in the design of their bikes, including color selection of the frame, racks and frame bags. Thanks to Andrew from ATM Handmade Goods for designing the frame bags for their bikes.

My son got 26er mtb from our Hunchback line with long seat stays and bent top tube, and my daughter – 24er Troika with curvy frame lines. Both builds are set up with Shimano XT drivetrains, Velocity wheelsets, hydraulic disk brakes and powdercoat finish.

Jason's 26er

Polina's 24er

Rigid 29er/CX Flat Bars Bike

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Cyclocross bike with flat handle bars?  Well, rider wanted a custom frame and fork with Cyclocross geometry, however, no drop bars.  The bike is going to be used half of the time on-road and half of the time off-road, primarily hardpacked dirt.  No long distance rides or bombing down steep mountain hillsides.  In addition, frame required to have lots of stand over, disc brakes and stand out from the crowd.

To achieve above objectives, we fabricated bent top tube and bent wishbone seat stays for extra stand over and desired aesthetics out of 0.035″ aircrcaft 4130 chromium-molybdenum steel alloy tubing.  Down tube, chain stays, head tube and braze-ons were supplied by True Temper, Columbus and Paragon Machine Works.  We prepared the tubes to run internal cable routing for cleaner lines.  As usual, Vicious Cycles did a great paint job on the frame and fork.

Frame was built with CX geometry.  We fabricated steel fork with 395 mm axle to crown measurement and 47mm rake with clearance to run WTB 40c Nano tires.  Currently, bike is equipped with Rolf Ralos XR 29er wheel set and Clement LAS 33mm tires.  Clement LAS tires allows speed on road and hardpacked dirt due to its file tread, and cornering on off-road due its small side lugs.

The bike’s drivetrain is a combination of Shimano CX50 (cyclocross) and Shimano Deore XT 10-speed (mtb) drivetrains.  Shimano CX50 includes crankset, front derailluer and two 46/36t chain rings.  Deore XT parts consist of 10 speed cassette, rear derailluer, shifters and disc hydraulic brakes.

Mission accomplished, and that’s why we do what we do…because we love it!  Thanks for checking in and enjoy the pictures.  Visit Chicagoathlete and Oldglorymtb for more coverage on this bike.

Stay tuned for more on our next Road/Gravel project.

Vlad

 

Oleg’s Cyclocross Bike

Oleg wanted to start cycling after his shoulder injury that made him almost quit one of his favorite sports, volleyball.  He asked me to build him a custom bicycle frame to make sure that the bike will have correct fit considering his past injury.  However, Oleg wasn’t sure what type frame he needed.  So, we started a conversation.  After learning what type of riding he wants to do, I suggested to him to build a Cylclocross (CX) bicycle.  CX bike resembles a road bike, but it has larger clearances for tires that allows to ride off-road, and slightly different frame geometry with a slacker head tube/seat tube angles and fork’s longer axle-to-crown distance.  After taking Oleg’s body measurements and then applying them in Bike CAD Pro, we agreed on the design and I started to work on the project.

I used light-weight True Temper’s OX Platinum steel alloy tubing to build main triangle and Columbus Zona tubing for stays.  His bike has internal routing and equipped with Shimano’s mechanical disc breaks and Shimano CX drivetrain.  In addition, I built for him a custom CX steel fork with True Temper’s fork blades, steerer tube and Paragon dropouts.

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From The Philly Bike Expo 2014

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Hi All,

The Philly Bike Expo was an amazing experience for us!  During two days we met lots of people who were very pleased with our bikes and had to say lots nice words..  We brought to Philly a Road Disk Di2 bike and a Single Speed Mountain bike: Troika Disc Di2Troika SS MTBThe two-day event included about 130 exhibitors, including frame builders, bicycle manufacturers, bike shops, components and tool companies, and cycling apparel companies.

We came to Philly on Friday to set up our table at the Philadelphia Convention Center and then headed to Engine Cycles’ open house to learn more about titanium bicycle fabrication and meet other frame builders.. There we met Drew Guldalian, owner of Engine Cycles; Rody Walter, owner of Groovy Cycleworks and Eric Estlund from Winter Bicycles.  Each of these guys has vast experience in the frame fabrication business and inspirational stories of what it takes to become a successful frame builder.  We finished our day in the nice Japanese restaurant in the Germantown.

Next day, Expo began at 10am and to our surprise people were already heading to the bike show.  The place was busy all day.  Later that day we had a surprise visit of the Troika owner. His custom build was finished and assembled just few hours before we headed to Philly from Boonton, NJ.  He came all the way from San Francisco and loved his bike!  Here is the photo of him checking out his Troika:

Ed and his Troika

Sunday morning we attended Gary Helfrich seminar on Theory and Practice of Titanium Frame Building.  I brought with me my 10-year-old son.  He was the youngest in the audience and did not get excited until the Russian Submarine picture came up on the screen.  The Sub was cut to pieces and sold to manufactures of titanium in China.  Gary is the founder of Merlin and is considered to be an inventor of the titanium bicycle frame.

Below are few photos from the Expo, including group picture of the frame builders and my portrait with Troika as well as photos of other bicycles exhibited at the Expo.  Thanks for reading and Happy Trails!

Vlad

 

Post Gran Fondo Race

Hi All,

It’s been more than a month since Gran Fondo New Jersey race and here are few pictures from the 107 mile race on the Troika Road frame.  It was a 7.5 hours unforgettable riding experience starting in Morristown, NJ going to the Delaware River and back with over 9,000 feet elevation… my longest ride so far!

 

Happy tratis,

Vlad 

 

Road Race Bike – Gran Fondo NJ

Hi All,

Hope you enjoyed your summer and had your good share of rides and fun.  I’ve been working on the road frame and fork that I wanted to use in the Gran Fondo NJ race, which is coming up next Sunday.  The race starts in Morristown with an amazing route to the Delaware River and back.  It covers 107 miles and has four challenging timed hill climbs with total climbing over 9,100 feet.

The frame and fork are done and bike is completely set up.  I had a twenty mile ride on it and the ride felt perfect.  I used BiceCad Fit advisor to design this frame.  This application allows one to enter rider’s dimensions, which in turn gives an optimal bike size for the rider.  So, every bike is different and is specific for a rider when I build the frame.

I utilized a True Temper, OX Platinum steel tubing for the construction of the front triangle.  This alloy is double butted with tube wall thickness of 0.7-0.4-0.7mm.  In addition, this is an air-hardening steel alloy, meaning it does not lose its strength after applying high heat during TIG welding.

The bike has a lively ride that offers a balance between road feel, stiffness and comfort.  Double-butted tubing dampens some road vibration and offers good feel for the road surface below.  This quality is what leads many riders to experience the sense that a steel bicycle is an extension of the rider.

The frame is TIG welded and has internal routing for shift cables and breaks.  I built a segmented fork with 1″ steerer tube.  The frame is powder coated and has custom Jen Green’s head badge.  I installed a Sram Apex group set with white finish and ten speed drivetrain.

Check out some pictures of the bike and stay tuned for an update on the new Road Disc/Di2 project for my old friend, Dr.  Eduard Burt, DC.  He is an avid cyclist and a great health practitioner.  Take a look at his blog for cyclists on how to lower neck and back pain here.

Vlad

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Dexter’s Single Speed 29er-Black in Black

Another single speed frame was finalized.  Dexter chose to build his frame with Reynolds 853 air-hardening steel tubing and Paragon rockers adjustable dropouts.  The geometry of the bike is suspension corrected.   It will have Fox, 100mm travel, tapered steerer fork.

The frame was powder coated in black matte color by Coast2Coast.  Dexter wanted to have black color frame with black decals.  I was a little skeptical of his choice, but in the end it came out really cool, stealthy looking frame.

Here are few pictures of the frame and a happy customer.  Thanks for checking in!

P.S.

New project, road frame, is in the works for Gran Fondo New Jersey 107 miles race.  Stay tuned!

Vlad

 

Vlad’s Single Speed 29er, part 1

As the Spring is here after the long and brutal Winter, I’ve started to work on my own single speed 29er.  I am using Reynolds 853 butted/heat-treated and air-hardening steel tubing and my favorite Paragon rockers adjustable dropouts.  What is interesting about Reynolds 853 steel alloy is that strength of the steel is actually increases after cooling in air post welding.  I am using Reynolds’ bent downtube for better fork clearance.  The bent down tube allows me to use a shorter head tube as well.

To complicate things a bit, this build will be with shorter chainstays than my earlier frames.  The effective chainstays length will range between 410 – 422mm (16.1 – 16.6″), which is possible due to adjustable dropouts.  So, for my longer rides I will set the chainstays at the maximum length by moving the inserts of the dropouts, and for the rides with lots of switchbacks and climbing I will set the stays at the minimum length; or I will find a perfect spot between the range mentioned above.  The shortest chainstays that I rode on 29er were 17″, so I am interested to see how this bike will handle on the trail.  In addition, I am experimenting with Anvil’s bender by adding nice curves to the seatstays. 

The geometry of the bike is suspension corrected around Fox, 100mm fork.  It will have 44mm Paragon head tube and adjustable dropouts that allow chain tensioning to run a single speed drive train.

Thanks for checking in and enjoy the ride!