Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tales From The Batcave

My burgeoning collection of blogtacular photos is expanding almost too rapidly to comprehend, so if I don't draw some kind of line in the sand and post some now the task will become insurmountable and I won't ever have time to blog the rides and philosophical musings that I also want to inflict upon you. I think that instead of trying to construct my typical story-type post I will give the ride reports a swerve and just revert to posting a few pictures of some of the work I've been doing in the last couple of months in the Stygian Depths of my Mancave...

...or something.

Building Tim Wilding's new Santa Cruz Tallboy with 2011 XTR was a job I had been looking forward to ever since he originally told me he was toying with the idea of going to wagon wheels...

...Oh yeah, I built the wagon wheels too.

Sadly though a few glitches in the shipping and supply department meant I wasn't able to quite finish the bike before he headed up to Taupo to smash the Huka XL race that he won in 2009, but luckily the good dudes at Top Gear Cycles were able to fit the errant front derailleur and chain, bleed the rear brake and do the final tune-up for us.

After a ding-dong battle that ended up in a cramp-contorted sprint, Tim went on to finish a fine second place behind deserving victor and last year's runner-up Mikey Northcott...

The first pictures the world (and me!) saw of the completed bike came from the fine Spoke blog.

Photo by Caleb Smith

Last week immediately following another fine second place, T-Rex brought it back to me for a free after-sales service...

...then went on to ride it to third place in the Grand Loop at the Makara Peak Festival last Sunday. So far the 29er experiment seems to be working out well for the big man, and it seems it will only be a matter of time before the placings are rightfully converted into Glorious Victories.

Photo courtesy of Damien Steel-Baker

Talking of Spoke magazine, I re-upped my subscription to what is my favourite MTB mag and only a day later received my free t-shirt and a swag of stickers - superb service from the good folk at Spoke!

Scott brought me in some Zipp cranks (that the lucky chap won on Cyclingnews.com!!)...

...and asked me to install them to his battered but beloved cool old USPS Trek OCLV bike.

A bit of spit and polish along with the pimp crankset and the bike was ready for anything, and looking mighty fine to boot.

Geoff needed some new wheels built for the bike that Jonty at Revolution Bicycles was going to build for him, so I ordered in some cool white NoTubes ZTR355 29er rims in and laced them to his Chris King hubs with a combination of DT Competition spokes on the rear (989 grams) and lighter Revolutions (773g) on the front. The Coolness.

And here's the bike in question, a Ragley TD-1, snapped fully built in Jonty's fine establishment when I stopped in for a coffee yesterday.

I fitted a new Shimano Saint crankset and an MRP guide to Ben's trusty Turner 5-Spot.

Nick's Giant TCR needed a service.

Walter's ace old Trek 420 looks somewhat unassuming, but it's a sound commuter/go anywhere machine. I love old rigs like this when they are sano specced and well maintained.

His partner's Bianchi Strada is cut from the same no-nonsense cloth too, with the added cachet of exotic Italian heritage.

It's amazing how much evil can be concealed within the hidden depths of a frame...

Mind you, Colin doesn't muck around - his Jungle Rides are legendary, and the odd bottom bracket is a cheap price to pay for his kind of fun. All better now.

Andrew's Blue was one of the many bikes I gave a pre-Taupo check to. Amazingly, in the final week leading into this iconic event I had to do 22 services, and I'm only supposed to be a part-timer!

Geoff now needed a pair of wheels to replace the old Mavics he had got me to cannibalise for the Ragley build so he obtained some spanky new CK hubs...

...and I got him some NoTubes ZTR Crests in and pulled them altogether with Revolution spokes and brass nipples for a light (front 680g, rear 845g = 1525g) but tough set of XC "hoops".

Mike is another inveterate Taupo-ite. Here's his Scott Addict ready to roll.

Jayne Parsons needed her tandem serviced. Her stoker for Taupo was going to be Jayne's Beijing Paralympic bronze medal partner Annaliisa Farrell, who wanted the caliper brake I fitted removed and the original disc brake installed.

Once that was done and the rest of the bike tuned I had a test ride - always fun to see people's reaction to a man riding alone on a bicycle built for two!

Leonard wasn't doing Taupo, but will be competing hard in the upcoming 40/50 Tour. His BMC needed a quick race tune in advance of his efforts.

My old friend Kevin's 1996 Motorola Eddy Merckx's left-hand Ergolever was broken...

...so I ordered in the appropriate part from my mates at the NZ Campagnolo distributor Worralls...

...then began to strip, clean, service and repair it. Fiddly but fun work.

Incredibly, there were no parts left over. Hang on, where's the brake lever?!

The old hood unfortunately tore as I was wrestling it back on, so I fitted a new one...

...then posed Kevin's bike in front of my Eddy Shrine.

Rob's Roval wheel needed a new rim after a stack.

My friend Alex Revell got me to build up a few wheels for him. The first was a 26" mountainbike wheel - a Hope Pro2 hub and a NoTubes ZTR Olympic hub laced up with Comp spokes and brass nipples for a sturdy no-compromise wheel - sure it could be lighter with Rev spokes and aluminium nipples but the wheel is plenty light as it is at 879 grams, and this way the rim will die long before the nipples seize up or it goes out of true.

He also is getting me to build up a pair of road tubeless wheels, my first experience with this relatively new format. Using 700c NoTubes Alpha 340 ZTR rims, the rear wheel is built with Revolution spokes and Alex's old 28 hole Dura-Ace hub for an awesome 787 gram total weight. Sadly, the front is proving problematic as the spokes needed for our preferred radial build are proving surprisingly difficult to come by...later for that.

I'll finish this up with a couple of pics of a bike that I've had nothing to do with, but that I'm honoured and proud to see bears my logo. Peter is an old friend who has become extremely proficient at fettling his own machines, requiring help only when the most specialist tools are required. Over the last couple of seasons he has been throwing himself into track racing, and doing damn well at it too. I was stoked when he sent me these shots of his cool Avanti Pista. Cheers, Peter!

Until we meet again soon with some Tales Of The Trails, thanks for reading. Cheers, Oli

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