Archive for May, 2012

Speedhound Dealer Profile: Hiawatha Cyclery

Hiawatha Cyclery is a small shop in Minneapolis, MN, specializing in products for the cyclist who uses his/her bike for serious transportation, as well as for recreation. They pride themselves on their selection of distinctive, high quality bicycles and accessories for the cyclist who doesn’t accept the widely held notion that the latest technology is necessarily the best choice. Their catalog is full of items that fly under the radar of most of the bike industry because they don’t generally meet volume or price targets.

Fixie, Belt-Drive Commuter SpeedhoundHiawatha is a perfect fit for Speedhound.  Their loyal clientele appreciates unique bikes and bike accessories.  Jim and Mark have built and sold several Speedhounds, including geared and single-speed versions, internal and external geared styles, commuters and touring rigs.  One of our favorites is this belt-driven fixie

Hiawatha Cyclery has been serving the commuters and touring riders of South Minneapolis since 2006.  Their unique showroom features steel steeds of all varieties, but there’s not a carbon or aluminum bike in the place!  They appreciate the comfortable, reliable ride that only steel can offer.

Jim Thill, the owner of Hiawatha Cyclery likes the Speedhound because it’s a high-end, but approachable bike.  It doesn’t demand “celebrity parts” to justify its existence.  It’s durable and versatile – just the thing for the all-season conditions facing Minneapolis cyclists.  Jim notes, “If I were doing a long ride, I’d definitely choose the Speedhound.”

We’re proud of our relationship with Hiawatha Cyclery.  Stop by and say hello to Jim and check out the Speedhounds on the show floor.  Learn more about Hiawatha Cyclery on their website.

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Do You Like Messing Around with Bikes?

As a kid, I was always fascinated by how things worked.  A broken toaster was an invitation to explore:  I had to take it apart to figure out what made it pop.  Discarded TV sets, clocks, lawn mowers, electric mixers, and tape recorders were some of the subjects of my screwdriver autopsies.  With my knack for mechanical things, bikes were a breeze.  When I was 12, I assembled my new 3-speed right from the box.

Yes, I got my driver’s license when I was 16, and anything with an internal combustion engine had a certain allure.  But cars were too big, dirty and expensive to mess around with.  Now, a bike – I could store that in the kitchen or carry it into the basement.  I could clean the chain, disassemble and repack the bearings, or adjust the derailleurs just about anywhere.

My first real racing bike was a Gitane Tour de France, orange with chromed fork tips and stays and gaudy Mylar stickers.  That bike taught me what it means for a bike to be alive (especially compared to the Schwinn Varsity that I took on my first century ride).  Turns out those old European racing bikes from the 1970s were great all-around rides, which is partly why you see so many of them resurrected for duty around town today.

I was constantly experimenting with my gear, trading one bike for another, always searching for the “magic ride.”  I worked for awhile brazing frames at Trek, when all of their bikes were lugged steel, made in Wisconsin.  I made my way through school wrenching in bike shops, because I had a passion for bikes and a talent for fixing them.   I also loved to ride bikes, and working around them gave me the opportunity to try hundreds.  Later, when I could afford it, I began collecting lightweight racing bikes, many from the 1950s.

One thing I always wanted was a bike frame that could do just about anything on the road or a light trail.  A kind of universal bike.  About 10 years ago, I noticed that people started buying cyclo-cross bikes, but not for racing.  The extra clearance in the frames for muddy knobbies also made them suitable for fenders and puffy road tires.  Like the old racing bikes from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.  Although a C-X bike is a lot better than a contemporary road racing bike for the riding that 99% of us do 99% of the time, it still involves some compromises.  There must be a better way, I thought.   How might a bike frame be made to work for every rider in a variety of situations?  I decided to design a frame that could be a flexible platform for any type of drivetrain and a wide variety of riding styles.  A frame that would expand a rider’s choices now or in the future.  I thought, “What if we made it modular?”  I began experimenting and made a prototype of an interchangeable dropout system that would meet the particular demands of belt drive, but could also be used with derailleur gears.

All those years of experimenting inspired me to create Speedhound Bikes.  Our patent-pending Speedhound Dropout System is a unique departure from conventional thinking.  With this system, the ONLY ONE offers a degree of flexibility not found in any other bike frame.  Now, you no longer have to settle for one type of drivetrain or brake system.  You aren’t stuck with a track frame when you decide you want gears.  Want to go low maintenance, ditch the chain and go belt drive?  Be our guest.  You pick the drivetrain you want and build your Speedhound in any configuration you like.  Cantilever brakes or calipers?  We don’t make any decisions for you.  And if you want to repurpose your Speedhound to do something completely different, the choice is yours.  If you like tinkering with bikes, you get it.  “Go Your Own Speed” is our motto and the principle we live by.  The quest for the magic ride never ends.

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