Monday, April 30, 2012

Project: planter box holders

 We recently got these planter boxes for out deck railing, they need a special mounting bracket to hold them.  I wanted to take a shot at making them before buying some.

1/8" x 3/4" x 36" aluminum stock

The bending method

One thing to be careful of is bending the aluminum too fast or you risk breaking it! Which is what happened to me:

Snap! Right in the kisser!

The final product! Because the aluminum is so soft, it  tends to sag under the weight of the dirt in the planter. If I were to do it again I'd try to make them out of a more stout material or brace it somehow. But in any case, for $10.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WTF of the Day

My question is, how do you have that many headset spacers? And why don't you have the capacity to cut down your steer tube?

Nut Destroyer 5000

Monday, April 23, 2012

Intense 29er single speed?

I was at the Where Conference in San Francisco peddling SketchUp and met another speaker was also ready to talk about something besides software. He showed me a pic of his bike: a custom Intense 29er single speed. 

Intense ify 29er (naming liberties taken)

From the pic all I can tell is that it has a Fox fork, an eccentric BB and the rear wheel is very tucked into the seatpost. Intense has, as far as I'd ever known, been making 20" and 24" BMX race bikes as well as downhill bikes. After some more research, I found that Intense is making a few mountain bikes, and even planning on coming out with a full carbon race machine. Great things coming from Intense!

Friday, April 20, 2012

How Not to Use Fiberglass

I was riding the bus when I saw this repair job on a roof box in another lane. The guy had cracked his box, I guess, and tried to repair it with fiberglass cloth:

No MacGuyver

The thing is, I couldn't see any resin. It looks like he just used the fiberglass cloth and then either epoxy or some other yellow foam to secure it down. Most of it was flapping in the wind. I guess it would work as a patch, but without the resin it wouldn't be strong at all. For reference, fiberglass is:

Cloth      +     Resin      +    Hardener

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Destroying a Chimney

I was in GJ last week visiting the fam, and had a chance to help my dad take down a chimney on a house he's working on. 

Take that, bricks

What is crazy is the construction method the original builders used. Here's a simple drawing of a section of the house:

Building code? What building code!

Apparently, they were either trying to save bricks, or idiots, because they just stacked the bricks right on the roof deck. They did this in two places, and the roof was visibly deflecting under the weight. After this, My dad wrapped the chimney in styrofoam and chicken wire and stucco'd the whole thing. Much less likely to come crashing through the roof and making a general mess of the living room.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bamboo Bike of the Day

Saw this resin wonder outside Bolder Indoor Cycling a few Fridays ago. This thing was nearly all carbon!

Boo Bikes

Coincidentally, they had a booth the next day at the Boulder Roubaix, and the guy was trucking around on this bike at the start. They also had one of their mountain bikes, which looked similar in design.

Carbon one piece stem, handlebars and brake levers

Gates belt drive and Spinergy Rev X wheels

TRP Brakes

All in all, this bike was outfitted to the hilt with sweet parts. This one has some customization on it from what comes factory, all of which you can check out here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Musical Wheel sets and Mavic Ksyrium Review

Got a new set of wheels, so it was time for a bunch of rearranging. New Mavic Kryriums went on the Six, the Aksium wheels from the Six went onto the 'cross bike, and the tubular cross wheels are going to Community Cycles!



The Ksyriums ride really well - stiff and responsive. They have flat bladed spokes that are more affected by the wind, which takes some getting used to. The only real problem are strong gusts. The stiffness I mentioned made a more noticeable diference on the descents. When coming down Flagstaff, they flexed less than my Aksiums and were much more confidence inspiring.  So far I'm really happy with them!

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Power Meter Finds a New Home

Tech post! A little back story: a cycling power meter measures, predictably, a riders power output. These numbers are measured in watts. The pros ride with a power meter and a heart rate monitor to train at their optimum performance. You see these things in the cranks and rear hub of a bike.

Typical power meter in a hub

The rear hub is popular because you can transfer it between bikes far more easily than a crank set. Garmin and Polar have recently come out with a new kind of power meter that is mounted in the Look compatible pedals. Advantages, so claim the company, are that you can run whatever wheels you want, can get specific left and right measurements and generally calculate more accurate watts.

The Garmin Edge

The Polar pedal

Both pictures (shamefully taken from other, more up-on-current-events sites) show the pedal as well as the receiver that counts cadence. This set up is supposed to run upwards of $2000, and although announcement was last year, no word on when the official release will be.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Three sweet technologies from the Trek Store

Spotted this cool cadence counter integrated into the chainstay on a ride the other day. In the Trek store later I had a change to check it out closer, as well as a couple other neat new things. Read on!: 
   The Duotrap cadence counter comes with the bike and can be paired with any wireless ready cylocomputer. The sensor wirelessly transmits the data to your handlebar mounted display. This eliminates clunky units zip-tied on chainstay.

Duotrap cadence counter

With time trial and triathlon bikes, aerodynamics is very important. Trek has done a lot with the Speed Concept, especially the brakes, which are so integrated into the fork, it's tough to tell they're even there. The goal is to both slip through the air more smoothly on your leading edge (front brake) and create less drag over the tail of the bike (back brake, mounted under the chainstay):

Speed Concept brake

This is a full suspension mountain bike with an interesting and innovative way of hinging the suspension. The rear triangle changes in size as the suspension moves, so bikes either depend on flexible materials, like carbon, or a joint. Placing the pivot point right at the rear axle takes care of the joint and the rear wheel mount. I'm not sure, but this looks like a through axle, so the axle stiffens the whole system:

Active Braking Pivot

Pretty exciting things coming from the people at Trek!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Betasso Gets an Update

Had a chance after work the other day to ride up to Betasso, and there's more trail now! What used to be about a 3 mile loop was extended into a longer ride called the Benjamin loop. Here's a great map :

New trail in orange

The Link trail is still terribly hard, but rewarding. The whole system is well marked, and closed to bikes Wednesday and Saturday. Don't go all the way up there when it's closed or you'll be sorely disappointed. 

Mind the rules!

The new loop was a little confusing to me at first - like Betasso the Benjamin loop is directional. The trail is a lot like the the Betasso loop; flowing downhills and some tight, well packed turns. Nothing too technical but some challenging if short climbs.

Go this way

The trail was also in really good shape. No sketchy parts and a few benches here and there. Even a bridge over a larger stream.

Excellent bridgemanship

This trail is a great after work ride because it's about 2 hours if you ride from town. Total mileage was about 20, with 2,500 feet of climbing. Any takers on a ride up there next week?