Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Knocking 24 grams off of a Sram Force Rear D

If you look at any older posts, I am all about dropping grams off of a bike. One great way is through bolts on parts and even better is when they are anodized to match other parts on a bike.
Bring in a new tuning kit to a plain Sram Force rear d and you can drop serious weight off of component as well as make it function better. Notice the Tiso pulley wheels with ceramic bearings. Drop weight, add on performance, and bring in some bling...doesn't get much better than that!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pimpin out a Specialized

Being able to work on new bikes is fun, but being able to take an old bike and make it special for the one who rides it, as well as fit better which totally changes their own riding experience to feel good and ride stronger, well that is a great day.
My friend David Howell brought me his bike in for some pimpin but as we began to talk and I looked at his bike I knew his fitting had to be off.
So I did my think with the Nokon cables using black and white bits to clean up the cables and smooth out the shifting. Also changed on this bike is the FSA KWing carbon bars and KForce carbon stem. From there we checked the fitting. Sure enough he was off and after some measurements while spinning on the Computrainer we found some changes to be made and adjusted accordingly. Now the fun part of my job. A message on Saturday afternoon saying how for the first time the bike felt like apart of him and just the amazing riding experience that it was and how nothing hurt. Nothing makes me happier...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Guru Ventus for New Orleans 70.3

The little touch I do on most rigs. Nokons on the rear D cable. One, it looks PIMP!!! Oh yeah and it allows for a nice tight rear cable loop.

Another touch, the Shama Cycles Stem Cap in blue to match the blue accents in the paint, the blue Jagwire cables, blue Michelin Pro Race 3 tires.

Above is Tom's bike ready to go race NewOrleans 70.3
Below is the range that custom bikes can be. The pink Guru Merus is being built for a woman who is under 5ft while the Guru Ventus it leans against is for a man who is 6ft7in. AHHH...the beauty of custom.
Once again, another fine creation rolls out of Shama Cycles that will help a lucky age grouper in his seasons to come. Tom happens to live in New Orleans and will be racing the 70.3 there this spring...after he completes his 50miler that is coming up. Why custom for Tom? As tall as he is, he has very long legs and not much of a torso, not a typical male body type. Plus he is, well lets just say a masters racer and does not want to have to get a massage after every bike ride. The fitting, as with most all custom bikes, went fast. Not much to have to tweak when its right the first time. LOVE IT! I think we spent more time picking out the build on this bike than we did the fitting. Sram Force all the way around, though we did choose Ceramic Bearings in the bottom bracket for a smoother roll in the cranks which have Look Keo Carbon pedals attached to them for the best power transfer from those long legs. Tom also wanted to go with a set of wheels that are durable for the oh so smooth Louisiana roads in training and racing. We chose the Easton EA90 Aero wheels. The front end is one of my favs, Syntace base bar and Vision Tech Rbend carbon clip ons. The saddle is a Selle SMP Glider. Kinda crazy to look at but oh so comfortable. I have the Glider on all my bikes. I am happy with these saddles as a saddle can make or break a ride. SMP seems to have it down with the widest range of sizes over any other brand of saddles...not to mention color options! Mounted onto the rear of the saddle is the XLAB Carbon Wing with two Gorilla cages and a matching Gorilla cage on the seat tube. The Ventus is about as ready for the photographers at the races as a bike can be...I just hope Tom remembers to look up and smile as he flys by them on his way to killing his age group!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Trent Stephens' Guru Crono

First bike above here is a Guru Ventus for Thomas Langstom from Louisiana. He will be pickin up the beauty tomorrow and yes it will be ready. I had to take a shot of it like this cause this is just such a big damn bike. He is a big guy, but I am not even sure how I will test this one out before he does. LOL

The two above is Trent's race rig. Local tri killer and national contender. This is his year and I can't wait to see how it goes for him. Trent is the Poster Child for a custom bike, super long legs, short torso and long arms. Plus we built this bike with an 80 degree seattube angle and we still slid that saddle forward. More to come on this bike and the athlete as the tri season hits.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Guru Praemio

We all had that first bike. One that was simple and when we rode it was all about the ride. We did not know about cadence, what speed is actually fast, heart rate, or even watts. Till a couple years ago watts were only in a light bulb for me. Since we have become enlightened as to how little we know about bikes, training, getting a coach, racing harder, train more, every ride is then spent watching cadence, hr, wattage. Speed means nothing and distance is not important, you finish the ride and it was not natural, just a workout. Don't get me wrong, I love working out, I race and a coach is the way to go if you want to progress and have great races. But sometimes we need to remember why we started riding and find that original joy of riding our bike...that love affair for the road and the wind with just you and your legs turning over the pedals...

I love my Geneo, its an amazing machine and at times I think it has a motor on it. But its work...its my tool for training and racing. Which is fun for me, but sometimes you just need to be simple again.

So what do you do when you need a bit of an escape from something that you started doing to be your escape??? You go back to the simple part of riding a the first rides on your first bike. Of course I at this point I don't really want to ride what my first bike was so I had to select a new rig. I needed something that I can ride anywhere, anytime, over anything on any road with just airing up the tires. I chose the Praemio. A road bike made of 3.2 double butted titanium. I built it up this past week using Shimano DuraAce 7800 group, SABB ceramic bb, Tune seat post, Deda bars and stem, Clark braided cables, and absolutely NO COMPUTER of any kind. Now the fun part, riding it...

My new rig did not disappoint. I met up with some teammates at 6am Saturday morning and by 8am I was out with the West Oaks ride. First impression, it was ultra smooth, better power transfer than I thought it would have, and of course fun! Maybe a couple things to tweak position wise but what a ride! So here I am assessing the situation, looking at the mix of guys who showed up for the ride and feeling the wind. This is going to be a suffer fest. Maybe I should have stayed on the Geneo with has a dialed in position and weighs less and is a rocket. But I am on the fun bike and might as well have fun. After getting tons of looks and compliments it was on. To ensure the pain is going to be inflicted I found probably the strongest guy out there and immediately began talking trash to him about how bad I was gonna drop him. He laughed and shortly after he was at the front stringing it out. This was one of the 4 guys in the 123 race the weekend before in the front break...a power house. The bike was amazing and when I finally got separated from the front group (a couple groups behind) a couple miles from the turn around. I don't really thing it was the bike that made me get dropped, just being out gunned and caught out in a crosswind. So of course when I got the Fulsher gas station I found my friend who was killing everyone and gave him some lame excuse why I rolled in a little after his group did and how he was lucky I fell back to ride in with some teammates of mine. haha We rode back and again, it was a hammer fest, tailwind doesn't mean its easy. Tailwind with this group means you spin out your 53x11 trying to hang on and you wish you had a 54 or a 55. Or maybe you think Shimano needs to make a 10 cog for the rear. Either way you hope it stops soon. Finally we hit Briar Forest to head into Memorial Park which begins the slightly slower portion of the ride where we all talk about how little we all have been riding and who had been sick this week or who is rolling with a brake rubbing and all that. Kinda like when women go out and they talk about how fat they are so their friends can tell them they are crazy and they look great. Except guys don't dish compliments that easily and mostly we just mention how some one looked bad out there today or ask if their tire was low or were they stuck in their small ring. You know, nice encouraging things like that.

I rolled into the park with Trent and Andrew, the two guys who I started with at 6am. It was now 11:40 and we clocked 100.6 miles. (I asked Trent who had a computer) I had to rush over to the shop for a 12pm appointment. While I ate my McDonalds and chocolate shake as I rushed over to the shop, I thought of the ride and while I suffered most of the time, I had a great ride and I felt great! The ti bike was amazing, not having a computer was relaxing, and knowing I burned enough calories to suck down that shake was worth all the pain my lungs and legs were in. I love to ride and I love riding this bike.

Sunday I was out on it again. With a couple other friends for an easy 40miles. I loved it as much the second time as the first, maybe more. Easy miles in the horrible wind still took over 2hours but still it was fun, social,and with a great group of friends. Again, there is something great about being on a simple machine...

Ok, my Geneo gave me the stink eye when I walked in this morning so I might have to ride that out today to keep it happy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Where the magic happens....

(above)Getting the Crono race ready for the TT in the stage race this weekend.
(below) Geneo, aka Ruby; getting a BB30 mod for the Lightning cranks.
I think one of the most important aspects of a custom bike shop is the area where these machines are actually built. Shama Cycles is roughly 1900sq ft of which 500sq ft is dedicated service area. That might not sound like allot of space, but there is not 4 mechanics in that same area. Just one, maybe two working on one of two stands at a time with ample workspace to be able to assemble and modify all the parts installed on the frames. See these rigs just don't slap together like most bikes. Components are tuned, prepped, and installed with precision and patience. Appreciation that each bicycle is assembled as perfect as possible. Also this much space is needed to give the bikes waiting to be worked on or already done space to be apart and not touching the other bikes. No one wants to pick up their bike from service with a new ding or scratch on it cause some kids mountain bike with a broken kickstand fell over on it. Every rig is treated better than if it were our own. This is what allows us to produce the works of art that roll on Texas roads. The show room is small and simple yet the service area and the fitting room dominate the space they deserve.
AHHH....this is the real deal one of my proudest compliments to Shama Cycles. Refreshments for myself, friends, and clients. Not the best clarity from my camera phone, but the Fiji is for the clients paying my bills. So to my team mates and friends who see that I am stocking Fiji in the fridge...forget you ever saw that! haha Also for those worried about the beer, long nights, and me working on your precious machines...I don't really drink and I can't stand beer. So no worries there. ;-)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The weekend. Rides and Races

The crew post race at some place in New Braunfels. Andrew's meal was wrong but none of us cared cause we were too hungry...he has great team mates! Our ritualistic Buc-ee's stop. Luling at 7:00 am. Two Rice Treats, 1 bag of Beaver Nuggets, 1 cinnamon roll, 1 gallon of water, 2 cookies, 1 apple lattice, 1 blueberry scone. ALL gone by 3pm.
Above is some friends on a ride Saturday morning, 60miles was not in my "pre race schedule" but whatever. Beautiful day with great friends.

What a weekend! Great longish ride on Saturday, great day at the shop with some business and race prep for the team. Relaxing evening. Then 4:00am wake up Sunday morning for a team trip to New Braunfels for a road race/races. Some of us raced twice...or started two races at least. We roll out of Houston at 5am 8 deep for some fun on the road. My first race and the majority of the guys as well, was the Cat4 race which was 45 miles. Not too cold and 80 guys starting. I have been rolling ok lately and wanted to see how I really was doing, plus its my first race in the Shama Cycles kit on a brand new custom Guru Geneo tricked out to the max with Edge rims. Just a totally nuts bike that got lots of looks. So the pressure was on to do something. If nothing else....a REALLY good photo!!! haha No seriously...
4miles into the race two guys jump off the front into the wind. The field does not react and I am in the back looking at this and realizing on these crappy roads and wind the back is NOT the place to hide. So I jump around the field bridge up to the two guys infront. A three man break. We roll for two miles and hit the last hill that is kinda steep and with a photographer at the top. Time to suck it up and pull out my Zoolander "Blue Steel" pose. With that done I am feeling pretty good. The other two guys start fading and the pack is closing. I look back and here comes two guys charging up and as they get to me I see my friend Andrew Ennis from Team Bikesport. Excited (cause this little Scottsman is strong) to see my friend I jump on with the two and the break of three is rolling again. The wind was brutal and the road surface made a carbon bike worthless. I lasted with these two guys for about 20 miles before I kinda blew up and fell back to the chase group. The Guru was floating flawlessly, just those two sub 150lbs guys hit those hills like I can't...which broke me down. So I am back in and not a minute later I seem to have recovered and on the front of that group taking turns with some team mates and others chasing down the two who I just couldn't stay with. Not that I was bitter or anything. LOL Just racing.
We caught them and then it was on again. More work in to the wind and just plain pain. In that last lap I lost the lead group and fell back to a chase group. Thankfully my team mates stuck up in the lead group. I pushed myself pretty hard and realized how far I can go. It was awesome to have this kinda day. Oh wait...then I had to finish and reload and get re pinned for the second race. To keep it short....everything hurt from the first one and I only completed one 15mile lap. Still happy with my performance and test in the first race. I sat in to watch the finish of my team mates in that race and the Cat3 race that was going on. Very happy overall. Now, then I left New Braunfels and made a trip into Kirklee. My frame was finished and ready to be picked up. Wow...just beautiful! Better than I would have thought! I can't believe it. Its 1400grams with the headset, fork and Seat clamp. I just can't wait to build it and more importantly ride it. Now I am tired and time to retire for the night. Or at least log off for now.
I would like to thank my team mates who raced today.
Andrew Strong, Trent Stephens, John Cascio, Jason VanLoo, Jose Caballero, Ahmed King, and Jeff Gardner.
Your support for me and Shama Cycles is humbling and very appreciated.