Posts in the category Interviews

Road To NAHBS 2015: Groovy Cycleworks Is Out Of This World

Groovy Cycleworks NAHBS 2015 Rohloff Pink Camouflage 29 plus

To be displayed alongside several 29+ custom builds with outstanding and “out of this world” paint, Groovy Cycleworks will debut its long-awaited production version AccuSet Professional Level Frame Fixture.

BIKERUMOR: What are your main building materials?

RODY: One of my goals is to take the customer’s vision and bring it to fruition in house, from design to final assembly. To that end, we have the ability to work with Titanium, Steel, and Aluminum, giving a wide variety of material properties to work with. READ MORE ->

Road To NAHBS 2015 – Bilenky Cycle Works

Bilenky NAHBS 2015 Gaffney1

It’s time again for our Road to NAHBS series, your annual primer for what’s to come at North America’s largest showcase of handmade frame builders and some of their biggest, boldest creations from the past 12 months. Of course, we’ll have all the coverage from every booth right here in just a few short weeks, but if you can make it to Louisville, KY (and maybe ride in a cave while you’re there), nothing beats seeing these two-wheeled works of art in person. Now, without further ado, here’s our first participant for 2015: Bilenky Cycle Works!

Now armed with new machinery purchased this past year from the Serotta factory, Bilenky brings to NAHBS 2015 a diverse range of genres and interesting technologies in builds featuring the level of deep thematic detail we have come to expect from the builder. Here’s a little taste… READ MORE ->

Bike Check: Neko Mulally’s new Scott Gambler w/ prototype Fox shock

Neko Mulally Scott Gambler Dh bike with prototype dual high-low speed compression and rebound coil shock

Having moved to Asheville, NC, last year, gravity phenom Neko Mulally showed up for a Scott Bicycles demo ride at Billy Goat Bikes recently and gave us the run down on his new team bike.

The frame is the 2015 Scott Gambler with 27.5″ wheels that was introduced last summer, and a Scott rep informed the model will carryover unchanged for 2016, save for the likely spec updates. We were thinking there might be a carbon version coming, but the official word is that the riders are doing quite well on the alloy bike and are very happy with it. Neko’s been testing a coil version of a new dual high/low speed compression/rebound Fox shock for a couple months now, we just couldn’t photograph it the first time he showed it to us. We spotted a prototype Fox air shock using the same new damping controls in testing earlier, and our source tells us Neko could be swapping that in soon, too.

Drop in for a little Q&A and closeup pics…

READ MORE ->

How to Break Into the Cycling Industry – Transition Bikes’ Kevin Menard

KevinBusinessCardFront

Kevin’s business card at Transition Bike Co.

It’s a new year, and perhaps your resolutions of shedding the shackles of corporate life for the fun and adventure of cycling are still fresh in your mind. Here, as inspiration (or a kick in the butt, take it how you will) is proof positive that it doesn’t much matter what you’re doing now, you can indeed break into the cycling industry…

BIKERUMOR: Who are you and what are you doing here?

KEVIN: My name is Kevin Menard and I own 50% of Transition Bikes. As an owner of a small business you end up doing a ton of things on a daily basis but my main title is sales and marketing director. I drive the brand direction and image of the company and all the relationships with our fine customers.

READ MORE ->

2016 Axle Standards, Part 1: Rear 148mm Thru Axle Coming Fast & It’s About More Than Just Better Wheels

2016-axle-standards-boost148-is-coming

Just when you thought things might be settling down for a bit, with 650B wheels all but taking over the mid/long travel segment, 29ers owning the XC field and 26″ bikes relegated to entry level, youth and gravity bikes. Alas, the 148mm thru axle that seemed to be a novelty when introduced on Trek’s 2015 Slash and Remedy bikes may soon be ubiquitous.

But why?

Surprisingly, there are a lot of reasons why this makes sense. Ones good enough to actually justify the annoyance of another axle standard that’ll require new hubs and new frames to take advantage of. Ones that will make mountain bikes better in quite a few ways. And while most companies we talked to wouldn’t provide details of their own forthcoming products on the record, some would speak in generalities. We have it on good authority from some of the biggest parts suppliers that the 148mm axle standard will become the major new feature of 2016 bikes from almost every major company. SRAM is on board since they’re providing the wheels for Trek’s new Remedy 29er, the first bike to use Boost 148. And Norco told us outright they’re “planning … a couple of new platforms to use this standard.”

Here’s what we learned…

READ MORE ->

Wheels Manufacturing Adds 12 New Hangers for Trek, Bianchi, Fuji, Ridley, Plus More on the Way

New Hangers

Replacement derailleur hangers aren’t generally a part that is given much thought. For many cyclists, the fact that hanger is even replaceable likely goes completely unnoticed until their derailleur makes a fateful leap into the spokes. At that point it’s usually a “what will get me back on the road as quickly as possible” moment rather than what will result in the best shifting.

At this point we should probably point out that all derailleur hangers are not created equal. While they may look identical, material choice and precision can lead to mushy shifting or worse – having to single speed your bike just to make it home (you do have a chain tool with you, right?). While some stock derailleur hangers are forged from relatively soft aluminum, Wheels Manufacturing CNC  machines all of their hangers from 6061 billet aluminum with a black anodized finish.

As one of the leading manufacturers of replacement derailleur hangers, Wheels Manufacturing has called Colorado home since they started their operation in Boulder in 1988. Now in Louisville, Colorado, Wheels MFG possess an expansive and ever growing catalog with well over 900 different part. If there’s a small part that you need, chances are good that Wheels MFG has it, and it’s made right there in Colorado. After just announcing the addition of another 10 new derailleur hangers to the line up, we spoke with the founder of Wheels Manufacturing, Dave Batka about how they go about selecting new bikes for hangers. Some of the answers may surprise you…

READ MORE ->

Interview: Dave Weagle Explains How He Keeps Making Suspension Better

dave-weagle-in-workshop

Following Ibis’ recent release of the all-new Mojo HD3, which uses a fifth generation dw-link suspension design, I got to thinking: How exactly does Dave Weagle go about improving a suspension platform that’s already so well received?

So I asked him.

His answer is long because there’s so much to it, and it’s different for every bike. After all, his companies have licensed or designed suspension systems to Ibis, Pivot, Turner, Evil, BH, Devinci, Salsa and others, all of whom make very different types of mountain bikes. So we started out talking generalities before diving in to specifics, using several different bikes as examples.

Weagle’s designs go beyond the popular and more widely known dw-link and Split Pivot. He also developed the Delta System, which is owned by Evil, a brand that Weagle started with friends, then sold and now consults for. Split Pivot and dw-link are technologies he created, and are both run as separate corporations who have their own customers.

BIKERUMOR: What’s your role with the companies you design for?

WEAGLE: Sometimes it’s limited to suspension licensing, sometimes it’s consulting on geometry and sometimes I get to develop a complete bike’s geometry and suspension as a whole package. It’s not often I get to do all of it together, but it sure is fun! Of course, if everybody let me do that, everyone’s bikes would look like mini-downhill bikes! So, variety is good, because not everyone wants the same thing.

Although I license technology for each of my partner’s bikes, I really enjoy the design aspect, so one licensing requirement is that I personally develop all suspension kinematics for all of my partner’s bikes. It’s a great creative outlet, and one that I get a lot of enjoyment out of. I like to say, “No one product can be everything to everybody.” I like mocha and you might like vanilla. That only means that we are both right, and we both like ice cream. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with having a preference and it’s a lot of fun helping such diverse brands actualize their preferences through the technologies I’ve developed. I pretty much have the best job in the world.

READ MORE ->

Factory Tour: Aerospace Composite Engineer Matt Appleman’s Carbon Fiber Workshop

Appleman-Logo

Custom frame builder Matt Appleman has a degree in composites engineering. Although the bike industry uses a lot of composite materials, an actual composite engineer is usually a resource only the largest of companies has available. We have seen Matt’s final products at NAHBS 2014, and his attention to detail is obvious.

Matt spent years after college working in California on larger scale wind turbine blades, and on composite raw materials for large corporations. Growing tired of that, he moved back home to Minnesota to start his own bike company.

Building bikes full time for more than four years now, Appleman takes a much more scientific approach than most custom frame builders. We visited and got to take a look at his South Minneapolis shop, find out what makes his frames different after the jump…

READ MORE ->

Peacock Groove’s Erik Noren is The Cycling Industry’s Misunderstood Artist

Peacock-Groove-HeadtubeErik Noren is a creative genius.  Spend 15 minutes with him, and you will see and hear the ideas of what bicycle artistry can be. Making just 30 bicycles per year, he pours his heart and soul into each one, toiling away in his shop, metal as his canvas, investing so much time and care into each one that he rarely makes a profit.

True to his craft, Erik doesn’t concern much for money with his bikes, as long as he is allowed to express his vision in the end. Stories from almost 20 years as a framebuilder, he talks about the only people who have really recognized him directly for what he was trying to say with each frame are other framebuilders.  An artist who can only be understood by another artist, he then goes into his ideas for this year’s NAHBS show…

READ MORE ->