Sunday, April 19, 2009

Blood, Sweat and Gears...

Firstly this week, I need to apologise. Apparently some less than innocent people misinterpreted some of my last blog entry as filthy innuendo - this could not be further from the truth, as I am always fully cognisant that I am writing for a family audience. If by any chance some less than savoury allusions crept in there I can only put the blame at the large feet of my subconscious, and assure you all it won't happen again...much.

Apropos of the post to which I refer, Tim raced his Ibis Tranny (SHHH!) in the NZ XTerra yesterday and, while he didn't quite regain his 2007 Champion's title, he had a good race and finished 4th behind new Champion Richard Ussher, Scott Thorne and the redoubtable Cabin Leishman (whose partner Nic Leary won the women's title). I know Tim won't be happy with his placing but I just want to say I'm super proud to be part of his Team. Cheers, bro!

Apparently the Tranny went very well, but I can't find a shot of him riding it so here is Tim finishing the run.

Tim is a great advocate of my work, and kindly pointed one of his workmates my way. Grant is doing the Great Divide later this year - not as a race, but as a gruelling tour with some friends. We have entered into email correspondence regarding some equipment choices (although Grant is much more onto that than I am!) ending up with him ordering a set of handbuilt wheels. He got the Mavic 719 rims and XTR hubs through the great guys at Burkes and I supplied the DT spokes and the labour. Light but sturdy wheels that should carry him safely from Canada to Mexico.


On sampling the goods Team supporter Bodhi Brooke-White had this to say about the latest results: "They are great! And juicy!" After trying them myself I can only concur with my esteemed colleague...

While on the subject of the Jazz Apples, it was great to hear Susy and Chris have signed up my friend Marina Duvnjak for the rest of the season. Marina was going to be racing in the States at the same time as the Jazz and is a great fit for the Team. Here she is in her colours at this year's Tour of Chongming Island, where she is riding for Jorge Sandoval's faux-NZ team. (Picture ripped off Laura Thompson - thanks!)

Talking of Chongming (is this what they call a segue?), my good mate Paul Larkin is right in the thick of it (the race is being run as I type this) as the mechanic for the Australian MB Cycles Team of Marcel Bengston. His brief texts tell me that their Team won the preceding UCI Time Trial through Bridie O'Donnell, followed by the opening stage through Chloe Hosking, then got third in today's stage to take both the yellow and points jerseys! Despite them being an Aussie team I'm hoping they can hold onto both - that is unless the Kiwis can grab them!

Here is Paul rocking the Roadworks strip and styling it up on his Soulcraft 29er at the recent Ay-Up 12 hour race.

And here he is touching up his teammates after Chloe's stage 1 win...

And here is the stand I got for him to travel with. Not exciting to most perhaps, but super cool to traveling mechanics you can be sure! Presenting the Ultimate Pro-Elite stand, as used by all the best race wrenches.

Last weekend I helped a friend move house and was the grateful recipient of a very cool cabinet thingy. As it didn't really match the carefully choreographed decor of Chez Brooke-White I thought I'd make use of it in the shop, so the best part of last Sunday was spent moving my shop around. The differences won't mean much to those poor unfortunates who have never had the rare privilege of entering my Mancave, but to me they are critical and have put the final touches (for now!) on the layout of the workshop. Et voila!

These renovations set me up in good stead for yet another busy week of work. Lots of wheels, some less than enthralling jobs, a few tanties (from a slightly harried me), but also some very cool stuff to get on with.

First cab off the rank was another one of those really special jobs I seem to be fortunate enough to get asked to do from time to time that make my professional life worth living.

Mark asked me to build up his swish new Turner Sultan 29er, so (after stoically enduring one of those tanties...) he dropped off a big box of fruit and a lovely frame, sourced as well through Burkes.

A very good build, just short a headset and bottom bracket. I supplied a Hope headset and a Shimano XT b/b and set to work. It turned out a stunning Sultan, and Mark thoroughly enjoyed his shakedown ride. He dropped the stem right down from this pic, as well as adding a different saddle.

Mark sent me this superb initial ride report, which gives an in depth view of the ride of this magnificent machine.

Hi Oli,

I took the Sultan back over to Burkes so the guys could have a look at
the completed item and then headed over to Makara.

With the shock and fork pressures set by weight settings only I went for
a ride up Koru and Sally Alley and back down Snake Charmer to the Lazy
Fern and back to the car. During this time bedded in the new brakes,
drastically dropped the stem and raised the seat. I hadn't touched the
tire pressures they were pretty soft by the end (TNT tires need the goo
worked into them in order to seal properly).

First impressions of the new bike were (compared to the Trance):

* Lighter (28.5lbs vs 30+).
* More responsive, both in steering and to pedal force (the Trance
is an armchair but this was still a surprise).
* Both more plush and more efficient. What a combination
* Sod all pedal bob even with all the damping backed off.
* Equal or better stability. The 'weight centered' area is bigger
(longer wheelbase and bigger wheels?).
* Even better under hard braking on gravel even with the 'Australian
Beer' tires (easy to get it to lift the back wheel in a safe and
predictable manner). The 203/160 combination offers much better
control than the 185/185 setup that was on the Trance.

With the bike 90% setup I went back around for a similar ride, but this
time came down via Ridgeline Extension, Big Toms Wheelie, Swigg and

The bike really 'rails' the corners - probably a combination of big
wheels, plush suspension and stiff frame. It flicks between corners
better than the Trance.

All in all the bike has a kind of like floating sensation, but with all
the feedback from the track that you could need. The best kind of

Biggest problem was the time taken to scrape the bugs off my teeth (from
smiling at speed).

Brakes and gears all perfect. The new X9/X0 works much better than the
4,500Km old X0/XT on the Trance. Probably not as snappy and light as new
XTR would have been, but certainly more positive.

The final build FYI:

* '09 Turner Sultan large 'brown glimmer'. This has DW-link rear
suspension and Fox RP3 (custom valved & high capacity can).
* Forks: '09 Reba Team 29 with 129mm travel & 20mm TA.
* Wheelset: Mavic C299SSMAX. 20mm TA.
* Tires: 29" GEAX Barro TNT 2.0" with GEAX Pit Stop foam to try out.
* Brakes: Elixir CR (ex Trance) with new 203mm G3 and post mount
adapter (front) and new 160mm G3 rear (post mount).
* Seat: Fizik Gobi.
* Seatpost: 30.9mm Gravity Dropper with 1" and 4" drop and handlebar
* Seatpost clamp: 34.9mm Turner (came with frame).
* Bars: Deus XC low rise 31.8mm (ex Trance).
* Stem: Thompson X4 (ex Trance) 1-1/8 x 10° x 110 x 31.8. Now
running upside down (minus ten degrees).
* Headset: Hope cup style (stainless).
* Shifters: New X9 triggers with matchmakers.
* Front dérailleur: new X9 34.9 top swing top pull.
* Rear dérailleur: new X0 long cage (aluminium cage).
* Cables: XTR.
* Crankset: FaceFace Deus XC 22/32/44 new.
* Bottom bracket: XT external (will get Enduro bearing upgrade when
* Chain: SRAM 991 cross step.
* SRAM 980 11-34.
* Grips: Titec foamies.

Thanks for the excellent and prompt service.


Thank YOU, Mark! Sorry you had to put up with a temperamental artist to get your bike built. ;)

After this fun job it was time to build some more wheels. First up was this Mavic Open Sport I laced onto an old Campagnolo 9 speed hub for Barrie.

Then was this Sun MTX rim onto a generic 150mm thru-axle hub for an Iron Horse.

I built up this Salsa Delgado 700c rim onto an old school XT rear hub for my man Jonty.

Then I knocked up this Sun Equalizer 29er/XT combo for the lovely Selwyn, one of Jonty's erstwhile offsiders and a good friend of mine. For no real reason I have artfully placed it upon this KOM t-shirt from le Tour de France that old Cycle Services client Nick donated to the cause...Sel is slowly building up an 853 Niner which I can't wait to see completed!

A few blogs ago, I showed the cool 2004 Cape Epic winner's jersey my friend Sharon Laws gave me.

So late last month I was stoked to follow her as she returned to the 2009 ABSA Cape Epic and reclaimed her title alongside her South African teammate Hanlie Booyens. Congratulations, Sharon!

In the vein of stellar results, the PNP Club Championships were held on the Wainui trails a couple of weeks ago, and Roadworks rider and Miramar Trails (more about this when I finally make it along to check them out!) honch Ben Wilde took a fine 5th place in the Masters 1 class. I couldn't resist posting this cool shot of Ben in flight. Cheers to Shane Wetzel for the pic.

A few more mundane jobs came and went, with nothing to really remark upon bar the fact that I always put my blood, sweat and (angry) tears (of frustration) into each and every repair I do.

Anyone who has ever worked fixing bicycles knows that it's rare that any job is straightforward, and often they can go pear-shaped costing you precious time - time it is often unrealistic to charge for, leaving you holding the can of grease as well as being way behind on your already tight repair schedule.

Sometimes though, a job comes along where you totally know you won't be able to charge out the full time spent, yet you really don't care. Chris and Kate brought me in just such a project, along with a thoughtfully given and gratefully received bottle of Rawleigh Bicycle Wax to replace the one I used up on James's TI Raleigh. Chris wanted me to make him a bike out of this too way small Bauer...

...and this battered old RIH frame he picked up off TradeMe.

The headtube of this neat old bicycle.

So I stripped them and used the best bits off both to create this very cool example of the philosophy of "beausage". I was super happy with how it turned out, and Chris was delighted - especially once he saw I'd managed to retain the indexed gears! Cheers to Jonty for the band to enable that to happen. Amazingly, the original headset was in far better shape than the 105 one on the Bauer, so that stayed, but the rest was all Bauer...

Another cool old retro roadie followed, as I gave James' Gazelle a quick tickle-up. I had to replace the headset with an Ultegra one, as well as true the wheels as best as possible within the constraints of the sporadic corroded and frozen nipples. I was surprised to see that James was right when he told me the 8 speed 105 shifter was working with the 7 speed screw-on cluster - I had forgotten how close the spacing was between these two outdated formats, so a new cable and housing and it was as close to perfect as could be.

The last job I did for this week was a lovely pair of custom wheels for Roadworks star adventure racer/kayak beast Dangerous Dave Hicks, fresh off a fine 4th place in the recent Porirua Grand Traverse event. This despite finally being subject to his first mechanical while wearing my gear - his 5 year old Roadworks jersey's zip crapped out so he couldn't wear it! I have rectified this appalling state of affairs with some new kit.

Dave had been in the shop when I was building Tim Wilding's Stans/XTR wheels and decided he would like (and deserved!) something similar. A flurry of emails and texts went back and forth before we settled on the spec. Stan's ZTR Olympic 347g rims, XTR spline-drive hubs, DT Competition rear spokes with brass nipples, and DT Revolution spokes with aluminium nipples for the front wheel.

I build a lot of wheels - I estimate I've built about 10,000 over the years - but I seriously feel this is one of the finest pairs of MTB wheels I've ever knocked up. They were in perfect dish and near true the minute I built them, and needed hardly a touch through three steps of tensioning and loading. The weights were an impressive 630f/820g rear, for a total of 1450 grams. As regular readers will be aware, I am a big fan of these rims and I hope they carry Dave to many successes in future events, including the upcoming Keen Adventure Race in Australia.

Next week I look forward to installing the wheels on Dave's blinged up Kona King. Also next week I will be making a start on this mid-90s Colnago Technos. Dan wants me to retro-fit some steel forks, along with a bunch of old 8 speed Campagnolo bits and pieces. Fun!

I'm not one to complain (yeah, right!) but as I mentioned before, this wasn't one of my stellar weeks for a cheerful demeanour. Two short weeks cramming way too much work in as well as being super busy holding down the home fort as Jacq prepared for the biggest show of her year, conspired to leave me with little to no time to ride my bike. My only bike ride since the weekend prior to Easter was a quick road ride out to J'ville to rendezvous with the family for an Easter get together, followed by a drive back home.

Like many of you will relate to, not having time to ride always puts me in a foul mood, and as I was juggling emails, phonecalls, orders, repairs, home chores, etc., etc., I had to grumpily watch while Bodhi went out without me. Lucky Jacq got to take him up to the Velodrome for a few hot laps.

Another thing irking me was the upcoming NZ Rest of the World Singlespeed Championships. I had signed up to do last years event, but my trip to China last year put the kibosh on that, so this year it should have been a given that I would go. But the exact things I've been bleating about above mean it's just not practical for me to go - not to mention another trip to Rotorua feeling like a fitness-free fat fool seems like a waste of my time and money. I know everyone will have a great time, and I hope the event goes off bigtime, but I'm actually quite glad to have made the call not to go.

So, thinking about that, as well as my time with Bodhi, I decided to put my singlespeed aspirations to bed once and for all and turn my singlespeed Cove Handjob into a geared bike more suitable for towing Bodhi on the trails than the poorly braked and geared old Healing Mountaincat I was using on the road.

At least this way I'll have two geared mtbs that I barely ride rather than have the hardness of a singlepeed mocking me from under the dust and cobwebs. :D

As part of this project, I was forced - FORCED, I tell you! - to slightly upgrade my trail bike. I fitted new Shimano XT shifters, XT Shadow rear derailleur, XT cassette and chain and some 09 XT chainrings Paul didn't need, all in the name of moving the bits over to the Cove. Tee hee hee!

Of course the only ride I could get in that day was a slightly beer-fuelled urban night ride around the mean streets of B-Pore, but hot damn it was good for the soul!

Then Friday arrived and with it the beckoning freedom of the trails...I had to drop some wheels in town and a bike in Karori so I also loaded the Commençal aboard the Sex Wagon and set off. I drove to St Albans and rode up Rimu, down the last part of Ridgeline Extension, Big Tom's Wheelie, Swigg and Starfish, marvelling at how dry and dusty the tracks were. I grovelled back up the short distance to the car then realised I still had a bit of time to ride, so I drove to Karori Cemetery and rode up and down the eponymous Trail as far as the gate to Skyline. A warm evening and still conditions made riding conditions truly lovely, and I was grateful to have the beautiful bush trails entirely to myself. It's so cool how all the cares and worries of the world can evaporate as the wheels turn beneath you, and I finished this simple little ride with a huge grin on my face and a lightness in my heart.

Just what the bike doctor ordered...

Thanks so much for reading, Oli

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Nice blog, lots of drool worthy kit this week.

Glad you got out for a ride finally mate!