Posts Tagged fitness

Speedhounds Are Chameleons

The ChameleonMs. Speedhound recently announced that she had offered the use of her bike to a friend who is training for a triathalon.  Ms. Speedhound rides a 54 cm frame, which, it turned out, would be too tall for her friend.  We did have a 51 cm Nut Green ONLY ONE that we had shown at NAHBS 2012 and the MIA Bike Night.  It was set up as a fixed-gear with antique track components, including wooden rims, tubular tires, a one-inch pitch chain and no brakes.  A thing of beauty, worthy of much gazing, but a disaster as a trainer.  So what to do?  Switch it over to a road bike, pronto, ready to ride the next day.

I started at 11:00 a.m., stripping the bike of all the retro parts and removing the track-style dropouts.  The split in the drive-side receiver, which allows the use of a belt, is also a great shortcut for removing a chain.  There’s no need to pop the master link or break the chain with a tool.  The next step was to install the vertical derailleur dropouts.  Now the frame was ready to accept all of the racy bits Susan needed to whip herself into shape for the triathlon.  Other than the seatpost, I would be using new components, so there was some prep time to mount the tires and install the cassette, cut cables and housing, set up the brake levers and wrap the bars.  I took a lunch break (chicken and broccoli) and got back to business.  By 5:00 p.m., the transformation from show bike to go bike was complete, and I went out for a test ride.  The wheels felt fast and the bike had that “riding on rails” all-day stability that we designed into the ONLY ONE.  Ms. Speedhound’s friend is going to love it.

Check out the complete image album on Facebook.

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Just Ride: A Review of Grant Petersen’s New Book

There’s a high likelihood that you’ve heard of Grant Petersen and Rivendell Bicycle Works.  (Speedhound tends to attract riders who dig steel bikes, and nobody has done more than Grant Petersen to praise the many virtues of steel.)  If G.P. and Riv mean nothing to you, though, it’s your lucky day.  G.P.’s new book, Just Ride (subtitled “A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike”), might just change your life.  As the author says in the Introduction, “my main goal with this book is to point out what I see as bike racing’s bad influence on bicycles, equipment, and attitudes, and then undo it.”

I’d subscribed to G.P.’s Rivendell Reader for years, and whether I agreed or disagreed with his many opinions, the Reader was always entertaining and useful.  G.P. challenged conventional biking wisdom and rejected the racer as a role model.  He gave us permission to raise our handlebars, lower our tire pressure, and leave the Lycra at home.  In large doses, his writing could come off as judgmental and cranky, or sometimes painfully wordy and confessional.  It pulled you in anyway, with a vaguely cult-like vibe you wanted to be a part of, even if it just meant ordering a Rivendell handlebar bag.

The last print edition of the Reader was published in February 2009, and I hadn’t gotten around to reading the two later, on-line volumes until recently.  (Available to download free at www.rivbike.com/product-p/rr.htm.)  So when I started reading Just Ride, it was like a visit from an old friend.  All of the familiar themes were there, including G.P.’s pet equipment likes: steel frames, lugs, wheels with lots of spokes, puffy tires, flat pedals (not clipless), friction shifters, threaded forks, quill stems, fenders, saddle bags, kickstands, leather saddles, cotton bar tape, shellac, hemp twine, and wool.  Practical, durable stuff, not for racing.

So what’s new?  Part 4 of Just Ride is titled “Health and Fitness,” and G.P. says it’s his second-favorite chapter in the book.  It’s my favorite.  Here are some of the section headings:

  • Riding is lousy all-around exercise.
  • Riding burns calories and makes you eat more.
  • Carbohydrates make you fat.
  • Branch out and buff up.
  • Stretching is overrated.

Wow, G.P. has gone all low carb and paleo!  (He doesn’t use the term.)  It’s offered as his own advice, but it’s really a distillation of, among others, Gary Taubes (Why We Get Fat) www.garytaubes.com and Mark Sisson (The Primal Blueprint) www.marksdailyapple.com. These books, two favorites in my library, are offered for sale on the Rivendell site.  G.P. says “My education will be questioned.  Some will accuse me of making irresponsible, even dangerous claims, and will want to see the studies.  The studies are out there; look them up.  I’ve been careful.  I’ve read everything, seen through the BS, seen the results in others and in myself.  Do what I recommend here, and you will get healthier.”

Believe it.  I’ve followed my own primal lifestyle experiment for almost three years and it works.  You’ll disagree with much of G.P.’s advice when it comes to bikes and riding, but you owe it to yourself to read Just Ride, and when you’re done, Why We Get Fat (even if you’re not) and The Primal Blueprint.  This is life changing stuff.  Now go out and just ride!

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The Case of the Missing Bolts

Or, Don’t Try This At Home!

If you’ve checked out the Speedhound Dropout System, you probably know that the interchangeable dropouts are attached to the frame receivers with standard steel chainring bolts.  These fasteners have the benefit of a large surface area to contact the chainrings and crank spider, or in the case of the SDS, the dropouts and the receivers.  The threads on the bolts don’t come into contact with any of the mating surfaces, and the bolts do a good job of handling shear forces.

Think of a crank spider and chainring as the blades of a pair of scissors, trying to cut through the bolts.  As you jump on the pedals, your power is transmitted from the crank spider to the chainring, which pulls the chain forward.  A large, powerful rider could generate 500 pounds of pulling force at the chain, especially on a small chainring and long cranks.

Once in a while I like to do some sprints to rev up my heart and keep my legs sharp.  I’ll do hill sprints, on the bike or on foot.  Other weeks I’ll just make sure to include some focused accelerations during my rides.  During the winter, I get it done indoors on a trainer, rotating through five spinning CDs.  I aim to average 10 minutes of actual sprinting every week (not counting warm-ups and rest periods).

I rarely get on the “nowhere bike” during the summer, but last week a heat wave hit, and I was feeling short on sprints, so I went down to the cool of the basement to catch up.  I’ve got a fixed-gear Speedhound that I use on a variable-resistance fluid trainer.  It’s got a Gates Carbon Drive belt and 50X20 sprockets and it’s very smooth.

We’re finishing up the development of the production version of a slider-style dropout for the SDS (more on that in a future post).  I needed three chainring bolts for a meeting at the machine shop that’s helping us with the project.  I didn’t have time to go to Speedhound HQ, so I pulled the bolts from the Sugino RD-2 cranks on my Speedhound fixie.

The other day, a panicked thought crossed my mind – had I done my last 40 minute spinning session with only two chainring bolts in the crankset?   Yikes.  I ran down to the basement to look.  Here’s what I saw:

Missing Chain Ring Bolts

The two bolts were next to each other, leaving 288 degrees of the sprocket unsupported. But the sprocket ran true and there were no clicks or any other signs that parts were missing, other than three empty holes.  Nothing bad happened, no sprocket tacos, no noises, nothing different at all.  Why did it work?  Spot-on alignment between the front and rear sprockets, the lateral stiffness of the Gates Carbon Drive belt, the meshing of the teeth and sprockets, and the location of the sprocket centerline to the inside of the shoulders on the spider.  Oh, and the ability of those two chainring bolts to resist the shearing forces as I pedaled.  I’m back to five bolts now.  And please, don’t try this at home!

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ACE Red!

Recently, we built a beautiful ACE Red Speedhound with a Nuvinci internally-geared hub.  it’s a sweet commuter with some beautiful lines and curves.  Pictures of this beauty are up on our flickr stream.

See all the glamour shots here.

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Road Sportif Concept Bike photos

We’ve posted several photos of the Road Sportif concept bike featured here last week on our Flickr stream. See it in it’s full glory here.

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The Road Sportif Concept Bike

The Speedhound Road SportifDo you dream of a long ride on the open road?  This well-rounded road bike features all-day comfort geometry and durable,  ride-smoothing steel.  Whatever comes down the road, the ONLY ONE frameset can handle it.

Add some lightweight climbing wheels like the DT-Swiss RR 1450s and smooth shifting SRAM Rival derailleurs and the ONLY ONE frameset makes a road machine that rewards your efforts (19.0 lbs as shown, less pedals).

Road Sportif Specs

  • Speedhound ONLY ONE 51 cm frameset in Nut Green
  • SDS aluminum road dropout insert with derailleur hanger
  • SRAM Rival 10-speed derailleurs and shfters
  • Race Face Cadence crankset 53-39t
  • SRAM 12-25 10-speed cassette
  • DT-Swiss RR 1450 mon Chasseral wheels
  • Vittoria Open Corsa EVO 700X25 tires
  • Tektro medium-reach caliper brakes
  • Race Face Cadence bars
  • Thomson X-2 stem
  • Thomson Elite seatpost
  • Selle Italia Diva saddle

Visit an authorized Speedhound Dealer to create your own Road Sportif.

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Belt Drive Commuter Glamour Shots

Here are some elegant shots of the Belt Drive Commuter concept bike we profiled last week.

The Belt Drive Commuter concept bikeBelt Drive Crankset

See all the photos on our Flickr stream.

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The Belt Drive Commuter Concept Bike

You’ll get to work in style on this handsome bike-about-town.  This elegant Speedhound’s split dropout makes belt drive the perfect propulsion system for your daily ride. No more chain lube on your pants leg. No more dorky pants straps. Don your best tweed or your prettiest skirt and ride in luxury.

Belt Drive Commuter Concept BikeThe sturdy ONLY ONE frameset makes a comfortable ride with some classic swept-back bars and a Brooks leather saddle. The unique rear fender mount provides ample clearance for bigger tires. The ONLY ONE frameset also sports multiple rack mount options for all your work stuff, groceries or your picnic lunch.

 

Belt Drive Commuter Specs

  • Speedhound ONLY ONE 61 cm frameset in TiS Grey
  • SDS stainless steel track dropout insert
  • Shimano Alfine 8-speed internally-geared hub
  • Gates Carbon Drive 50t front sprocket and 24t rear sprocket
  • Gates Carbon Drive toothed belt
  • Sugino 130 bcd cranks
  • Phil Wood bottom bracket
  • Hand-built wheels with Velocity Dyad rims and DT spokes
  • Avid Shorty 6 cantilever brakes
  • Cane Creek Flattop brake levers
  • Brooks B68 Imperial saddle
  • Panaracer T-Serv 700X32 tires
  • ESGE fenders

One of our clients has recently created his own belt drive commuter – it’s a fixie.  Browse the photos in our Flickr photostream.

Visit an authorized Speedhound dealer to create your own Belt Drive Commuter.

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Ice Cream Racer Bike Concept

Ice Cream Racer Cyclocross Concept BikeA cyclocross racer’s dream, this speedy concept bike is built for the wildest CX course you can imagine. The only thing missing is a bottle cage for beer hand-ups! The Speedhound Only One geometry is optimized for CX. It’s responsive without being twitchy and stiff without all the jarring. It tackles big climbs confidently and takes the little bumps in stride.

The sporty Campy Centaur drivetrain and unique Campy G3-spoked wheels make a perfect match to this high-performance ‘cross racer.

Ice Cream Racer Specs

  • Speedhound ONLY ONE 56 cm. frameset in Ice Cream
  • SDS aluminum road dropout insert with derailleur hanger
  • Campagnolo Centaur 10-speed derailleurs and shifters
  • Campagnolo Centaur CT carbon crankset 48-34t
  • Campagnolo 10 speed cassette 12-25t
  • Campagnolo G3 wheels
  • Challenge Grifo XS 700X32 cyclocross tires
  • Kore cantilever brakes
  • Ritchey WCS Classic bars
  • Ritchey WCS stem
  • Ritchey WCS seatpost
  • San Marco Caymano saddle

Visit your authorized Speedhound Dealer to create your own concept bike.

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