Posts Tagged racing

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Pint-Sized Speedster: the Italian Greyhound

Speedhound’s mascot is a 10-pound Italian Greyhound named Cooper.  Italian Greyhounds (IGs) are natural athletes, and are the third fastest dog on the planet, after Greyhounds and Whippets.  They have a strong prey drive and love to chase small animals.  As a member of the sighthound group, they have very keen eyesight, which makes them great at pursuing “prey” in sports like lure coursing.  IGs love to participate in other competitions, too.  They are great racers and are very adept at agility courses.  Here’s a glimpse into the sporting world of Italian Greyhounds.

Obedience

Obedience trials test an Italian Greyhound’s ability to perform a set of tasks.  Dogs are required to heel both on and off leash at different speeds, come when called, and stay still for a simple physical examination and with a group of other dogs.  They are also given jumping and retrieving exercises and scent discrimination tasks.

Lure Coursing

One of the most exciting sports that an Italian Greyhound can compete in is lure coursing, because it brings out the natural predator within.  A lure course simulates a hare’s flight to evade a pursing hound.  The “hare” (a white plastic bag or cloth) is attached to a continuous cord that is looped through a series of pulleys just above ground level, to create a course with straightaways and varying turns.  The cord is drawn around the course by an electric winch.  At a competition, IGs run in pairs or trios with traditional greyhound style racing blankets. Judging is not according to time, but the dogs’ ability to follow the lure with enthusiasm, agility, speed and endurance.

Here’s a great lure coursing video from this year’s European Championships.

 

 

Racing

The Large Gazehound Racing Association, (LGRA) governs IG racing. IGs are eligible to compete for the GRC (Gazehound Racing Champion) title and Supreme GRC title. LGRA racing is 200 yard straight track sprint racing.

In addition, the National Oval Track Racing Assoc (NOTRA) also recognizes IGs. NOTRA holds 300-400 yard races on an oval track.

In LGRA and NOTRA race meets the dogs chase an artificial lure pulled by a small battery operated motor.

Tracking

Even though Italian Greyhounds are sighthounds, they can use their noses to find game. Tracking trials allow IGs to demonstrate their natural ability to recognize and follow human scent.

Various titles are awarded for courses of different lengths and difficulty.  At the highest level, an IG has to follow a track that is 3 to 5 hours old that may take him or her through a wilderness setting or down a paved sidewalk, through buildings and other urban environments.

Agility

Agility is a relatively new sport that’s right up the IGs alley, because it combines playful fun, speed and physical prowess!   Agility events include a number of obstacles such as A-frame, pause table, dog walk, see-saw, high jump, broad jump, open and closed tunnels, tire jump and weave poles. There is an allocated time to run each course.

To learn more about Italian Greyhound sporting events, take a look at the Italian Greyhound Club of America’s website.

Tags: , , , , ,

Speedhounds love gravel!

Riding and racing on gravel roads have become extremely popular in the last few years.  Road and cyclocross bikes on skinny tires share the country lanes and forest service roads happily with MTBs.  Gravel events are springing up all over the country.  The Speedhound geometry is perfect for off-road adventures where farm dogs outnumber motor vehicles.

Gravel riders face a variety of conditions from dusty hard-packed roads to muddy, rutted lanes that barely qualify as “roads”.  That diversity of terrain requires a different set of skills and a greater attention to the road surface.  Wise gravel riders take corners at much less than criterium speeds to avoid laying the bike down in a spray of pebbles.  Safe drafting distances increase, also.  It’s particularly important to use the brakes lightly – that keeps skidding and slipping to a minimum.  Of course, staying on the right side of the road is absolutely critical, especially on country hills.  Farm vehicles don’t expect cyclists to occupy their lane as they come over the top of those rolling hills and won’t be able to stop or swerve in time to avoid you.  Remember that the speed limit on unpaved roads can be as high as 55 mph.

Accessories can make a major difference in gravel bike performance.  Most gravel riders run at least 28 mm tires with some tread.  Many opt for cyclocross tires if the surface is particularly rough or muddy.  A set of flared drop bars can create a stable ride with multiple handholds.  The shorter drop these bars offer means the height difference between the saddle and your hands is minimized.  Cantilever or V-brakes allow more clearance when mud and dirt collect on your tires.

There’s a world of gravel riding adventure out there.  The Speedhound Only One frameset makes a perfect partner for off-road trekking.  If you’re interested in learning more about gravel riding and racing check out these resources:

Events

Barry-Roubaix – MI

Almonzo 100 – MN

Trans Iowa – IA

Dirty Kanza 200 – KS

 

Websites

Guitar Ted Productions

Gravel Grinder News

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,