Blog: 2014

14 May 2014

Grant Petersen quote

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I found this great quote in an interview with Grant Petersen:

…when you have your name on everything from après-bike sneakers to water bottles to clothing to bikes, tools, and accessories — and one in five bike shops sells most of it, then that’s not specialized in the dictionary definition any more. When you’re that big, you can’t afford to be. It would be like Safeway selling only organically grown food, or only vegan stuff, or only locally grown produce. If you’re small, you can be specialized, and in the bicycle market in 2007, that’s your only chance of surviving. You have to pick out something to sell, something to offer, that either can’t be copied by people who have more money than you do, or is just not appealing to them — maybe because they don’t see a market for it, or because the only way they could promote it would be to position it against their bread-and-butter, which they aren’t going to do… I’d pick something that was unattractive to big companies, and something that small companies who want to get big wouldn’t copy or pay attention to. I’d pick something that most people thought was dumb, or didn’t understand, and I’d sign in blood an oath to my family to never veer from that, to not be tempted by bigness or growth to do anything else.

25 Apr 2014

Early season touring

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Last year we didn’t do any cycle touring, which is no way to live. To get back on track we visited the San Juan Islands this month for a few days of riding and camping. The idea was to check our gear in preparation for more ambitious tours and to get some early season outdoor miles while it was snowing in Calgary. Our trip was a bit of a gong show but we had questions and got answers. Read more →

20 Apr 2014

Twenty-niner racing

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These are sweet 29er race wheels but great fun in general, especially on the climbs. The Hope hubs were the customer’s own and I supplied Stan’s Crest rims and Sapim Laser spokes. With aluminum nipples they add up to 1615g, that is 732g front and 883g rear (DT Swiss 240S hubs would push it under 1475g total). Because of the rim weight and resultant low tension ceiling, build quality is extra important on a wheelset like this. These wheels were built with tension balanced to ±7% or better. In getting there both wheels were stress relieved multiple times, which causes tension to relax so I can bring it up as much as possible. Lateral alignment is nearly perfect with a 0.1mm rise at the decals being the limiting factor. Quality takes time and attention but it pays dividends.

11 Apr 2014

More Chinese carbon

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I’ve built this make of rim before. These rims were supplied by the customer but I hope to stock them in the future. We’ll see — it turns out doing business with China isn’t easy.

I’m really happy with the quality. The nipple seats are reassuringly thick and the rims were round out of the box. The manufacturer makes carbon rims for a major league brand so production is mature. This particular model is 45mm deep with a hybrid toroidal shape, virtually identical to the Zipp 303. They lack the dimples found on Zipp Firecrests but sell for a fraction of the price.

You can buy them as factory-built wheelsets but I offer more choice. For one thing I use brand name spokes and hubs. Or I can use your existing hubs, which is the story of the PowerTap shown here. Plus I lace carbon rims with nipple washers, which are not on the factory menu. For a scant weight penalty of 0.175 grams each, washers help nipples spin freely at high tension and ease maintenance.

If you’re interested in these rims and would like to discuss configurations, send me a note. Customers outside Calgary can order their rims with shipping directly to the shop to save money.