Archive for April, 2013

Mark S’s Belt-Drive Speedhound

Hiawatha Cyclery, a Speedhound dealer in Minneapolis, recently delivered a new Only One to belt drive aficionado, Mark S.  Mark had already logged over 4,000 miles of trail riding on his first-gen Gates belt-drive “Big Brand” bike.  He told us he was sold on the Gates belt system, but was looking for a frame that made it easier to adjust belt tension.  He also wanted the benefits of the new CenterTrack belt and sprocket design.  Working with Jim Thill at Hiawatha, Mark created his own custom single-speed around the Speedhound Only One frameset.

An excellent close-up of our headbadge, from Speedhound rider Mark S. The badge is silver-plated stamped brass. Antiquing brings out the contrast.

Here’s how he equipped his new ride:

Frameset:  58 cm Ace Red Speedhound Only One with slider-style dropouts

Headset:  Chris King 1-1/8” threadless

Cranks:  Shimano Tiagra 175mm

Bottom bracket:  Chris King external cup

Front sprocket:  Gates CenterTrack 55 tooth

Rear sprocket:  Gates CenterTrack 20 tooth (nine-spline)

Belt:  Gates CenterTrack 122 tooth

Pedals:  VO Grand Cru Sabot

Brake calipers:  Tektro R539 dual-pivot front, Tektro R536 dual-pivot rear

Brake levers:  Paul Canti-Lever

Handlebars:  Dimension 30mm alloy riser

Stem:  Dimension threadless 90 mm

Grips:  PDW Whiskey Grips dark brown leather

Saddle:  Brooks B17 dark brown leather

Seat post:  VO Grand Cru 27.2 mm

Hubs:  White Industries M15 (titanium freehub body) with Delta AxleRodz skewers

Rims:  H+Son TB14 700C 32H polished silver

Tires:  Schwalbe Marathon Supreme HD Speed Guard 700 x 32

With belt drive and the highest-quality sealed bearings available, that’ll be one long-lasting, low-maintenance machine.  After getting his new bike, Mark sent us the kind of e-mail we love to find in our in box.  Mark wrote:  “The highlights for me are the masterfully designed frame, perfect for the Gates drivetrain, the Ace Red paint job, Jim’s superbly built wheels, the Brooks saddle and leather grips, and the Chris King headset and bottom bracket.  This puppy is A number one!  Man, what a set of wheels!  I’m SO pleased with my purchase!!”  Mark also told us that, at 22.6 pounds, his new steel-framed Speedhound weighs the same as the aluminum-framed, belt-drive, single-speed bike it replaced.  And that’s sporting a Brooks leather saddle and sturdy, puncture-resistant 700 X 32 tires.  Mark calculated that with the Minneapolis made Speedhound frameset, the premium U.S. components, and Hiawatha Cyclery’s labor, his bike is 68% American made by dollar value.  Thanks for the feedback Mark, enjoy your new ride, and go your own speed!

Mark S's Speedhound out for a recent trail ride. Hiawatha Cyclery trimmed the fork steering tube to get the bars just where Mark likes them.


Top Eyes

What do you call them?    I’m referring to the things at the top of the seat stays on your bike frame.   Are they seatstay caps?  Ends?  Does your bike even have them?  Speedhounds do, and we like to call them by the old British term, “top eyes.”

The Speedhound seat cluster, with its scalloped "top eye."

Contrary to popular opinion, seatstays are the least important tubes on a bike frame.  They add virtually no lateral stiffness and take almost all of their load in compression.  That’s why you can use skinny tubes without compromising the frame’s integrity.  It’s also what gives framebuilders the freedom to get creative where the seatstays  join at the seat cluster.

Using decorative top eyes is one way we’ve added some personality to the Speedhound ONLY ONE frame.  Joining the seatstays to the side of the seat tube also gives the Speedhound wider spacing for fenders and fatter tires, so there’s a functional advantage as well.

If you examine our top eyes, you might suspect that they are simple plugs inserted into the seatstays.  Someone even asked whether they might push in if they hit a hard bump!  But take a look at the raw top eye — it has a shoulder that snugs up against the end of the seatstay. Very clever!

The top eye plugs into the seatstay end.

Our seatstay end (left) and top eye (right).

Our top eyes are investment cast steel, with a deep hollow for weight reduction and better brazing.  The joint is cleaned up before the seatstays are attached to the main triangle.  The result is a seamless connection that sets Speedhound apart from the typical production bike.

Top eye and seatstay, together at last.

Next time you pass by a rack of parked bikes, take a look.  Are there any top eyes peeping back at you?