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Back in the Saddle…

With all that time on the lathe, it’s time to get back to making some bikes. First up is a hard tail 29er…

BACK in the Saddle

Oh, that felt REAL good...

Ready for final prep

I had not welding in about a month. Things can get rusty when you don’t persist. I found it was a little like riding a bike? But I’m glad I didn’t forget anything…

Welding

Let's get in Close

Tacked

I have to admit I love welding. I’ve said it a bunch of times I know, but unfortunately it’s the shortest task in the whole process. So I get all jazzed when it’s time to weld. Getting ready to tack up the seat stays:

Ready for HEAT

And adding some heat after the jig was removed which held the stays in place while tacking them in place:

Welding

This build is the first to use the new 1.375″ O.D. radius seat tube set up. I took my time on purpose with this one to see how everything jives as it goes together. It will take a few builds to refine the overall shape and how much the radius needs to be carried through it’s bend. It does however, manage to give you short stays but a monster amount of tire clearance too because of the new bend’s radius.

We’re currently getting MORE snow. Once I deal with that… again, I’ll be back in the shop to weld this sucker up. Part of running your own business? Sweep the floors, make the coffee, make the bikes and shovel the snow. Hope everyone’s staying warm where ever you are. Till next time, enjoy!

Joe's 29er

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I like ‘em Round…

That's more like it...

So the South Bend Heavy 10 is in the shop and she’s been put back into service. “Rescued” as I like to say. She’s been making chips. First couple projects were updating a bunch of purged heat sinks. The more I build, the more I look to refine my process. These are the result of building, using tools and then modifying them or creating work arounds in the mean time. Well, now that I have a lathe, I can start expediting these process refinements. First up was a set of head tube heat sinks, purged and meant for 44mm head tubes. I use Paragon Machine Works head tubes which come in a variety of lengths. I have one existing 4″ heat sink but that only really goes up to 4-4.5″ head tube lengths. So these two new ones are for 5″ and longer. They meet in the middle, and then can be moved apart from each other. Their lengths allow for good heat reduction and argon coverage where the tubes sit. Here’s a few process shots.

I like my parts round...

A drilling I will go

Closer...

Face

Moe, Larry, Curly...

And some assemblies:

Guts

Keyed in place

44mm Head Tube Heat Sinks

Call these done.  Finally

As can see the two which sit flat are keyed simply with a small socket head cap screw which locks the stainless cone in place. The Acme threaded rod has a machined and tapped end cap which is brazed in place to accept a small air hose fitting. The acme rod is drilled with well placed vent holes to allow the argon purge to flow. The smallest of the three which you can see in the above “exploded” view, is a Tapered Steerer heat sink for unicrown forks. Last but not least was making a true 100mm bottom bracket heat sink.

Slow progress today...

Untitled

It’s kind of comical. Now that I do have a lathe, I find myself constantly using it. Heck just yesterday I had to modify a tapered plug purge fitting as it was a tad to big for a seat tube. Determine the taper, set up the lathe, chuck up the part and take down the taper a touch so it would fit. It’s little stuff like that which keeps the ball rolling but I couldn’t have done it quickly without a lathe. Makes me wonder how the heck I was doing all that I was without one! Next project? I’ve always wanted to make my frame jig standoff’s longer so I have more room around the bottom bracket area and seat tube/head tube joints when tacking. Material is on the way. I’ll be down for about a week but I think modifying the jig in this fashion is worth it. Till then…

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And Thus the Search Ends…

South Bend Heavy 10

Ever since I opened the doors here at 44HQ, I’ve been on the hunt for a lathe. Specifically a South Bend Heavy 10. The reason for this machine is first they are readily available in New England, replacement parts and tooling are relatively easy to source and among other things: I just love the looks and feel of the lathe itself. The very first time I put my hands on a metal lathe, believe it or not, was in and around 6th or 7th grade. My middle school, Upper Perkiomen located in East Greenville, PA, exactly 1/2 mile from my front door, had a full wood shop and a darn near complete metal shop along with a small foundry. I donned a giant heat proof suit, gloves and helmet as I was one of the taller kids and helped pour aluminum sand castings with the shop tech, Mr. Raspen. He had us also doing slip castings as well as silk screening. This was also the first place I picked up a welding torch. Well, along that back wall lined with big windows were a row of lathes. I INSTANTLY fell in love with this machine and took to making projects on it with enthusiasm. Formative years to say the least and this is truly where I first got my taste of metal and made my first chips.

Fast forward to my days at PSU and again I found myself across the street from our studio’s on a small tooling room lathe in the machine shop spending long hours making of all things bicycle hubs out of 6061. I anodized these myself (the jewelry department there had a anodizer). Taking them to a bike shop, I’d have them laced up to test. I had not yet learned how to lace / build bicycle wheels. That would have to wait few more years! From here, and upon graduation I found myself back in school at RISD who has one of the best machine shops I’ve had a chance to work in. This is where I definitely worked with a slew of South Bend lathes. South Bend Heavy 10’s, South Bend 13’s… It was glorious and firmly set the hook for good old fashioned American steel. One thing that really stuck was cast iron’s ability to soak up the machine’s “noise” and produce a really fine finish. Something that is a little on the tough side to produce with newer gear head style lathes. The extra mass, and porosity of the older machines just can’t be beat (in addition to their belt style under belly motor drive’s too). They really reflect American production capabilities at the height of our days as a manufacturing based society.

So when I opened the doors here at 44HQ, a lathe was in order and it had to be a South Bend Heavy 10. Not to big, not too small: “Just So”. Sure I will admit that a South Bend 13 is most likely one of the best lathes I’ve worked with since it is on the larger side and is very stable due to it’s size and mass, but I simply do not have the space for a machine of that size. The trick though is finding one that is “THE ONE”. If you’re going to buy a machine and really put it into service, you need to know what you want, what you are going to use it for and understand it’s capabilities. So a check list is in order and the SB Heavy 10 or “10L” is just the right size. Sure there are better lathes out there, but I really enjoy working with that specific machine. So there you have it…

Fast forward to 1.1.2015: I got an email from Mike Flanigan simply stating “You need to check this out”. Hot tip in hand, I gave the fellow a call and through a little happenstance of someone else ahead of me being on the fence with no commitment to buy, I found myself face to face this past Friday with my lathe:

And Thus the Search Ends...

It had been pulled from a basement from “Someone who didn’t know what they were doing with it”. I call that “RESCUED”. To get it out of the basement, it had to be disassembled and subsequently the entire machine had been broken down, gone over with a fine tooth comb, painted and rebuilt. To say a lot of love went into this lathe isn’t doing it justice. One look and it was sold. Deal Sealed. She’s a Heavy 10 with a 1.375″ I.D. bore. Comes with a thread dial, 3 and 4 jaw chucks, dead and live centers, lathe dog and back plate, assorted tool holders/post (I have a Phase II wedge style tool post on the way) and has a taper attachment. Single tumbler gear box and the large direct read compound and cross feed knobs. The lathe is about 30″ between centers and sits on their older style cabinet. Truth be told, I would have preferred it to be on a bell with cast iron legs and chip tray but the fact that it was in this good of shape, had been completely torn down and had the thread dial and taper attachment, that checkbox was ok being “unchecked”. Sometimes, it’s ok not to have EVERYTHING you want. But this had everything I wanted so it’s AOK. The seller also had rewired the switch and motor and installed some vibration dampeners on the motor to keep things running smooth/quiet. Turn this on and let her hum. Single phase too so there is no need to do any phase conversion on my end. Just plug her in and go. She’s from the 1940’s, and once I have her back in place at the shop I’ll be able to get the serial no. and do a little research on her history. I was too excited to even take a measurement of the length or get the serial number when I was sealing the deal. So it goes…

With weather coming in Saturday through this Sunday, getting her here to 44HQ is a no go. Although it doesn’t look to be doing anything yet, I most likely could have swung it, but to be on the safe side (and knowing my luck sometimes), I’ll be picking it up most likely this upcoming week when the weather has definitively passed and the roads are dry. I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally, FINALLY be getting a lathe. This will really put some things in motion that have been taking some time to get rolling. There’s a lot of tooling projects that seriously need attention and this South Bend is going to be making some serious chips over the next few months. Really going to put her to work. A 5C collet draw bar will be in order too when I find one. But till then, I’ll be losing sleep over my excitement to pick up my lathe and get her in place in the shop. I’m going to spend a little time this Saturday rearranging a few things next to the Bridgeport to be ready when she arrives. I already had built up the shop and laid things out in this way so when the time was ripe, things would just shift and all would go into place. Basically it will be at a 45* angle next to and slightly in front of my Rinnai heater. So the Bridgeport and South Bend will be near a heat source which will keep them regulated in terms of temperature swings and help to prevent flash rust from forming. Not to mention if the machines are held at a relatively constant temperature, it also helps keep the shop regulated too (and keeps them accurate so they don’t have temperature swings too).

So there you have it. More when she arrives. Even more when I’m making chips!

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44 Bikes : 2014 Year in Review

2014 was a good year. Good year of riding. Good year of building. Good year of designing. To lay 2014 to rest, I’ve picked out a handful of builds that stuck out for me (all of them were good, don’t get me wrong!). These are tough choices to make I must admit. Each build I produce for the client is special in their own way. There are a few at paint right now that make the list… There’s a few frame set’s that easily could make the list, especially Greg’s Oranged out Huntsman. But these are “Builders’ Choice” I’d say for 2014 and they are in no particular order. These are just the ones that stuck out a little more for one reason or another. But a huge thank you to ALL of my clients for making 2014 a really great year. Without you, I don’t have a leg to stand on. Here goes nothing…

First up is my wife Lynn’s Huntsman Ultra Di2. I have to say with honesty that hands down the best bikes I build are when it’s family (no offense to all my loyal clients!). This allows me to truly work at my own pace, move through the build naturally and take extra care ensuring all is “just so”. Knowing a person intimately, knowing that they are family, brings things into sharp focus. Lynn’s build was Ultra Di2, Lucky No. Straight Edge X. ENVE, Cane Creek, and Thomson throughout with WTB rubber to round out the build. Here’s a few favorite shots from the final build:

Huntsman XXX Ultegra Di2 + WTB

Let's get in close : Huntsman Di2

Huntsman Di2 : Details

44lynnHuntsman XXX Ultegra Di2 + WTB

Next up is Ray’s 29+. What was fun about this build is it takes both fat and 29+ wheel sizes. A complete with lots of goodies to boot. Frame and fork were in order and made in house. 15mm TA front fork as well as a 12mm TA rear. The build took place while Ray was stationed overseas, so we would converse about the build when he had an internet connection, adding a slight layer of fun and challenge to the build. Despite this distance, Ray’s enthusiasm was second to none and that is what any builder likes to be greeted with: A client who loves bikes and geeks out over the smallest details just like you do. Upon his arrival back home, the build was just about finished and waiting for him. Here’s a few shots from that build:

Ray's FATTY in 29+ mode

Let's get in close...

1x10 Drivetrain

The next build was special for me as it was built for Jon (aka drj0n’s Wanderings). Someone I’ve always admired from afar for his keen eye for detail and experimentation. Kindred spirits of sorts, it was wonderful to get his letter simply stating “That’s it, let’s do this…” or something to that effect. Things were quickly turned up to 11 and took on an AC/DC decibel level and his steed was dubbed T.N.T. What we came up with was a fun, all day 29+ bike packing frame set capable of long days in the saddle fully loaded with bike packing gear but when stripped down, was a true single track shredder. Frame and fork were in order for this one, extra bottle cage mounts on the frame/fork, sliders all wrapped in a thick layer of flat black powder. King headset and bottom bracket accompanied T.N.T.’s trip across the Atlantic. 83mm BB shell width along with a 150mm rear axle spacing. Here’s a few shots for your enjoyment:

Jon's 29+ : Front

Jon's 29+ : Rear

Next up would have been a tough one to let go through the doors had it been my size… David’s Huntsman was originally billed as a commuter but he wanted the ability to strip it down and rip the path less traveled. So that meant room for 40mm tires, fender mounts, fenders and front rack with 2 forks (custom steel and ENVE CX Taper Disk). Good thing this was not my size! This one I felt really balanced that versatility that the Huntsman is known for. Here’s a few shots:

David's Huntsman : Attack Mode

Huntsman : Let's get in close

Huntsman : Commuter Mode

Huntsman = Versatility

Next in line was Ron’s Huntsman. Another one like above: If it were my size, this one REALLY would have been tough to let go out the doors! Same song and dance as above. On one hand, Ron needed a commuter ready to haul goodies to and from work, but on the other hand, come the weekend or maybe when curiosity got the better of the cat, he’d take the long way home and tear up some dirt. Again, this one really defines the Huntsman for all it’s versatility and practicality. A true “Road” bike able to do what the owner asks. Stable at speed, capable when the going gets tough, not afraid to get dirty and isn’t twitchy as all get out or “damn, you don’t fit anything more than 25mm tires…”. Full fenders, rear rack, room for 40mm tires all wrapped up in flat black powder, gloss black fenders and Sram Force 22 :

Ron's Huntsman : Seek and Destroy Mode

Ron's Huntsman : Commuter Mode

Huntsman w/ Rear Rack

The Huntsman

Last but not least, of course… was my own 40th birthday present to myself. My fat bike. After a long season of riding the previous winter, there were some changes (subtle changes at that) that I was looking to incorporate with this next build for myself. A little stretch of the chain stays, a little more drop in the bottom bracket height, a little bit more slackening of the head tube angle, drop some weight in the wheels and up the ante to 11 speed via Sram’s XX1 kit. This really helped to showcase what I can do, but also refine the overall build and ultimately the ride which can be passed along to future clients:

FAT XXX 44 to 40

HED XXX I9

Fat XXX : Why I build What I build

The last two were at polar opposite times of the year. Both busy, but both unexpected collaborations. The first with Shimano for the 2014 NAHBS in Charlotte, NC and the second for Wilderness Trail Bicycles for their 2014 Interbike booth to showcase their i45 Scraper 27.5+ wheels and Trailblazer tires. For 2015, I have another collaboration in the works which is completely top secret and I think everyone will be pleased when things hit the interweb. But until then, here’s a few shots of the Shimano Ultra Di2 build complete with paint work by Jay Nutini and WTB’s frameset which highlighted some of their new product for 2015. Here’s to a great 2014 and an even better 2015.

44 XXX Shimano

44 XXX Shimano : Ultegra Di2 Hydro

44 Bikes : 29+ / 170mm Rohloff

44 Bikes 29+ :  170mm Rohloff

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44 Bikes : 1x Conversion How-To

I recently converted my wife’s 650b mountain bike to a 1×10 setup. With this conversion, we simplified her set up, dropped some weight and reduced some redundancy in gearing. I have a lot of people ask me how to convert a mountain bike’s drivetrain to a 1x setup, and I see a lot of the same questions coming online as well. So I’ve decided to kick-off a new series of “how-to’s” with a How to Convert your drivetrain to a 1x setup. Here’s her build as it sat post conversion:

Lynner's 1x10 Conversion

Overall, the conversion is rather simple. But what gets some people I think are some of the subtleties and the jargon involved. So let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work. First things first. Let’s talk about the overall options. The two main choices are between Shimano and Sram (Sram X9 Type 2 shown). I knew well ahead of time that Lynn would eventually go with a 1x setup, so we had originally spec’d a Sram Type 2 rear derailleur. Here’s what you need to know and it’s the first part of the system: Shimano produces what is called a “clutch” style rear derailleur (EDIT: Technically called a Shadow PLUS or a Shadow RD+ i.e. Shimano XTR Shadow+ Rear Derailleur). This has a switch on the rear derailleur that when thrown increases the return spring’s resistance and alleviates chainslap by putting more tension on the chain (EDIT: The lever can be positioned anywhere in between the on and off position so technically you can create more or less friction on that return spring mechanism. In addition, you can actually adjust the amount of tension INSIDE of the mechanism. Pinkbike has a great step by step guide showing you the details here). Sram deploys what is called a “Type 2″ rear derailleur. This has the same basic design element of a stronger spring but it’s always “on”. Shimano gives you the option of flipping the switch on/off. This heavier spring puts more tension on the chain, reducing chainslap and hence the chance of the chain to be thrown. Think of that old trick when you have a garden hose or an extension cord laid out in front of you and you whip it into the air to get a section of it to roll out in front of you. A chain does the same thing when your bike goes through a series of obstacles, and it’s those “jumps” that travel down the drivetrain and cause it to skip up and off the chainring/cog or both. The heavier duty spring on the Shimano Clutch and Sram Type 2 help to reduce that slap. Here’s Lynn’s X9 Type 2 rear derailleur for reference. Looks pretty much the same…

1x10 w/ compliments of Wolftooth

The second part of the system is the chainring. Sram introduced their “X-Sync” chainring tooth profile with the introduction of their XX1 11 speed group. The teeth have a thick/thin profile if you sight down on them from the vertical. This is the positive shape found between each chain link. Check out your chain. That negative space you’re seeing is the tooth profile of Sram’s X-Sync chainrings. This basically keys into place and “grabs” the chain, holding it onto the chainring. The only problem was that X-Sync was pretty much proprietary to Sram due to a proprietary mounting hole pattern that came with the new XX1 group… Bad news for pretty much everyone else running a 4-arm 104 BCD crank. That void was filled by Wolftooth and the result is their Drop Stop chainring. IMO, this actually has a superior tooth profile and does a really good job of holding onto your chain. Here’s a Wolftooth Drop Stop “Cinch” style chainring as a reference:

Wolftooth RF Cinch Dropstop 32t Chainring

Shimano introduced their XTR 9000 series component line earlier this year, and FINALLY got on board with a 1x system. They come about the whole chain retention thing from a different angle. Literally. The chainring tooth has a kind of “hook” that grabs the chain link and holds onto it this way. So the chain pops on/off the tooth to be retained. Their cassette also does not require Sram’s XD driver but is backwards compatible with all existing hub shells from what I understand via a little fanciness with their largest cog. But, we’re talking about converting existing drivetrains, so chances are, you can keep your existing cassette. I personally recommend one which has a 36t cog as the largest cog tooth count. This makes a HEAP of a difference when climbing. We’ll also get into some hop up’s that further relieve the pain of climbing and really give you granny gear feel.

But getting back on track, and we’ll come back to this Cinch stuff in a bit (for the record, it’s a technology thanks to Race Face that FINALLY eliminates the spider and all 4 or 5 chainring bolts…). So, back to the chain and the chainring. Having this “thick/thin” chainring profile which keys into the chain and grabs the chain holds it onto the ring. Believe me, I’ve pounded the living hell out of my set up and haven’t dropped a chain to date. Well correction , I have dropped a chain twice in the last 2 years basically. That’s a lot of riding and only 2 chain drops. For the record, these were due to two extremes: The first was the temperature dropped significantly while out on a fat bike ride, so what was water on the ring turned to ice and began to build up and over the course of about an hour or so, eventually picked the chain up and off the ring. Kicked the ice off, and no problems. The second incident was out for a 40 mile ride after a big storm and having to ride through endless mud holes and stretches of thick mud chewed up by racers I was cleaning the track for… I had mud build up and get so gunked up on the ring that again, it picked the chain up and walked it off. So two extreme cases, and with a little watchful eye can be avoided. Under pretty much every other condition, no problems. We can call these “typical” trail conditions I suppose! Basically, beating the living hell out of the system. But what makes the whole 1x system go is this thick / thin chainring IN COMBINATION with a Sram Type 2 or Shimano Clutch style rear derailleur. That is paramount to ensure the best chain retention in a truly guileless, 1x setup. If you sport only the ring or only the derailleur, you cut the system in half. So if you are thinking about converting, check what you have and make sure you plan accordingly if you don’t have one or both of the systems in place. My hunch is you “might” not have the proper rear derailleur.. But that’s just a hunch. Check to be sure first before ordering parts.

The next piece of the puzzle is choosing chainrings and tooth counts for your set up that closely matches the gears you’re most often in. Wolftooth by default… Honestly, they offer the widest variety of chainring BCD’s, and mounting options. Check them out if you haven’t. Made in the USA and bullet proof. I can’t speak highly enough about their product. The equation to use to figure out what closest matches your current setup’s variety is the gear inch calculation. Sheldon Brown has a nice one with many “finer points” to fill in, while there are other ones that are more simple. The basic calculation is the drive wheel diameter multiplied by the front chainring tooth count which sum is divided by the rear cog’s tooth count. This has little to do with it’s original intention, but it does give us an idea of “feel” of different gear ratio’s. So by doing a little calculations, you can put a finger on where a good place would be to start with a front chainring tooth count. IMO: 32t is a really great place to start for a true trail setup. Not too high nor too low, it’s “just so”. Direct mount chainrings (aka Race Face’s Cinch Platform) now gives you the option of choosing chainring size/teeth counts that are no longer restricted by the BCD of the crank. So a 28 or 30t chainring is not a problem with cranks who have share this direct mount technology. Basically, if your crank has a removable spider, there’s a good chance that Wolftooth or Absolute Black may make an option for you in addition to the stock offerings from the crank’s manufacturer. But, there’s a good chance you’re running a crank with a 4-arm crank with a 104BCD mounting pattern, like so:

The BUSINESS

Honestly, I always felt that when I was running a 34, I wanted to run a 32t ring and I’ve been running 32t chainrings ever since I got my first 104 BCD crank and haven’t looked back. What we always needed was a little bit bigger cogs out back, and we’ve certainly gotten our fill now with XX1, X1 and Shimano’s XTR 9000 offerings. Now we also have what I’d refer to as a Poor Man’s 11 speed with One Up’s 40t cogs (First came out as a 42t cog…) and Wolftooth’s GC (Giant Cog) in a 40t configuration for both Sram and Shimano. This 40t cog acts as an additional set of teeth for when the going gets tough, you can chew your way through or rather gnaw your way up a climb. You’ll have noted that I have introduced one of these on Lynn’s build in the form of Wolftooth’s 40t GC (i’ve also been running one since the fall and LOVING it) – I’ll use this image… again. It’s the black gear behind the last one of the cassette which is a 36t:

1x10 w/ compliments of Wolftooth

The basics of this is you remove your cassette, slide on that large cog, ditch the 15 or 17t cog and spacer (I’ve been actually ditching the 15t cog as I find the jump without the 17t much too great and I actually really LIKE the 17t cog), reassemble everything and tighten it all back together. Blam.

Here’s another view of Lynn’s converted drivetrain:

Wolftooth 30t Dropstop x 40t GC

So to review, the essence of a 1x setup is a thick / thin chainring and a Sram Type 2 or Shimano Clutch style rear derailleur in combination with your existing cassette. Additionally, a 40t hop up cog from Wolftooth, Absolute Black or OneUp all provide a little extra something in the can of whoop-ass when the going gets tough. If you don’t already have it, consider getting a cassette which has a 36t cog at the top end of the cassette. Choose the right chainring tooth count for your conditions (honestly, you can’t go wrong with defaulting to 32t) and match up your mounting pattern with the appropriate one. Pretty simple, but as you can see, it’s a lot of info possibly to sift through. The rest is pretty easy:

Remove your front derailleur. Remove your front shifter and all the cables/housing associated. Check out Lynn’s cockpit post removal of all those shifty bits… Clean. Mean:

Cleaned Up Controls

Remove your drive side crank arm. Remove all the chainrings, bash guards and/or guides. Clean all interfaces, and add a little grease to them to reduce creaks. Install the new thick / thin ring. If it’s spiderless, same applies (or if you have a removable spider, chuck that thing as far as you can see…). Assemble everything, again be sure to grease all interfaces and while you’re at it, take a minute to clean and grease up the spindle / bearing interfaces while you have it apart. Torque to spec. *Note I’ve found that for me, Race Face’s Cinch torque specs are not high enough. I actually went to 50Nm for the cinch retaining bolt, and upped the spindle bolts to 50Nm as well – hasn’t come loose since. A lot of the new direct mount aftermarket chainrings are BEEFY. IMO: You would have to make an effort of slamming it purposely onto obstacles to bend it – the chains going to pay before the chainring will (That comes from experience on my end ATMO). I’m more of a finesse rider myself and I don’t use one. But if you want extra safety, you can always mount a bash or a dog bone type bash on a set of 104 BCD cranks. Here’s Lynn’s stock X9 GXP cranks. Gone are the spider, 36/22t chainrings and bash. Wolf tooth 30t Cinch Direct mount chainring in it’s place. Light. Stiff. Simple. And it works.

Lynner's 1x10 Conversion

Now break the chain/master link. I’ve got myself a set of Park Tool MLP-1.2’s which are a Master Link plier. A must have tool IMO now… Double check that the chain is the correct length by wrapping around the largest cog and around the chainring and checking the overlap. I think Sram and Shimano are about the same. Basically 2 links overlapped and then add the master link. But check it with the manufacturers spec! I always have to go back to the instructions for this one. Reassemble with the master link if applicable and snap it back in place. Run through the gears to make sure all is still working smoothly and you’re done. I know when using the 40t hop up cogs, sometimes I have to add a little bit more b-tension so the rear derailleur’s pulleys clear the cog. So run through them several times. You’ll know as it has a knocking or “bump-bump-bump” type sound as the derailleur moves into position. Just add a little b-tension and you’re good. Head out onto the trail and shred. Here’s my own personal rig as of this past fall:

44 MTN : Clearances

That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Again, the most important key is the combination of the correct chainring tooth profile with the appropriate rear derailleur. If you’ve got a shimano drivetrain, stick with a Shimano Clutch style rear derailleur. If Sram, go with a Sram Type 2 rear derailleur (which are available pretty much throughout their line). One thing to note: 10spd rear derailleurs ARE NOT COMPATIBLE WITH 9spd drivetrains. So be sure to match everything up appropriately, get the right gear and choose the right chainring tooth count that is a nice, happy balance of your riding style and the demands of your typical rides and terrain. Right now, I’m trying out a 30t Wolftooth Direct Mount Cinch chainring with a sram X9 Type 2 rear derailleur, 1080 12/36t cassette with a Wolftooth 40t GC hop up cog. All 10 speed and so far so good. The only thing I’m finding “odd” if you want to call it that is when doing technical climbs, picking the right gears that have a balance of power, traction and forward momentum. I find if I am too high in the cassette, I have so little forward momentum and forward progress that sometimes I simply can’t get through sections I could with ease. So relearning that gear choice/s has been a slight challenge but with a 30t ring, I’m finding I’m using even more of the cassette in it’s entirety throughout the ride instead of sticking to the upper half the majority of the ride. More on that soon. But there you have it: Get out and ride while the gettin’s good!

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Huntsman : ORANGED

Greg's Huntsman : Ready for Primetime

Greg’s Huntsman came back from powder earlier this week and after a short wait, the 110 Headset from Cane Creek arrived as well. This one’s a Frame, Fork, Headset and Collar headed out the door. Huntsman powder for this one is RAL2009, ENVE CX Disc Taper fork, Cane Creek 110 Headset and a Thomson seat post Collar. Room for 40mm tires too. This one turned out exceptionally well I think and that orange really brings the whole build together nicely. Here’s a few studio shots. Enjoy…

Greg's Hunstman Frameset

Huntsman

Tail

Let's get in close...

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Huntsman Out the Door

There was a few weeks worth of wait for one last component to arrive (ENVE CX Disc Taper Fork). That arrived early last week along with 3 others for current builds so I was finally able to finish up Paul’s Huntsman and get it shot in the “studio”. This one’s a pretty sweet little build sporting Sram Force 22, Avid BB7 Road cable actuated disc brakes, Thomson Post, Bars and Collar, Cane Creek 110 Headset, ENVE CX fork, and Stan’s new Grail wheel set rounds out the build. Thanks to all at Stan’s for FINALLY updating those wheel graphics. Much simpler and cleaner so for those wanting a little bit of graphic on the wheels, these sport some nice decals now in my opinion. Paul however wanted them gone, so post shoot… Off they came! Bike is built up with Continental X-Kings which are a nice full 35mm tire, but there is however room for 40’s too. Here’s some shots to keep you all warm at night:

Money Shot

I know some like that classic “side shot” but for me, this is the one (although the one above is quickly becoming a favorite too). It’s the view from the rear quarter of the bike. Why is this my favorite? It’s gives the bike a stance and adds a layer of aggressiveness that my eye just likes. You also get to see more of the bike too, the details, the curves, positive and negative shapes and is a bit more visually dynamic. I just dig this view. Maybe it’s the hot rodder in me coming out? Don’t know – but I like it!

Paul's Huntsman

Let’s get in close…

Let's Get in Close

Details.

Details

Paul's Huntsman

And one last one where I left it a bit more raw. Lets you see where the bike is in the shop as I take shots. I normally crop/erase all that stuff out that you see. But this shot reveals a bit of the process of shoot the bikes. Enjoy.

In the "Studio"