Posts Tagged frame design

Twin Cities Business Feature

Speedhound is featured in this month’s Twin Cities Business magazine.  This great feature shows how Speedhound has solved the greasy pants leg problem for commuters.  Our unique modular Speedhound Dropout System allows a clean maintenance-free belt drive to power your commute.  Here’s the article from the print edition. The online edition doesn’t include the article, but you should check out the magazine anyway!  Visit the Twin Cities Business website.

Twin Cities Business feature on Speedhound

 

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Vintage Bicycle Websites

HeadbadgeWe’ve mentioned before how we’ve drawn inspiration for the Speedhound Only One from vintage lightweight bicycles.  Our choice of high performance steel and the classic diamond frame configuration are obvious connections to cycling’s enduring heritage.

We also love the understated aesthetics of bikes from 40 or more years ago, before the fluorescent color schemes of the 1980s, the billboard graphics of the 1990s and the sterile swooshes of the 21st century.  Our stamped brass headbadge, double plate fork crown and understated graphics are homages to the hand-crafted frames of an earlier time, when bicycles possessed a very soul.

 

 

 

Wall of ConfusionWe love to hunt for vintage bikes and rare old components on e-Bay and at swap meets.   But the addiction can get a bit out of control, so mostly we just look now – it’s free!  To do some of your own gazing, start with the treasure of photos and information on the following sites.

Caution:  you might get the habit!

 

 

Our Favorite Links

Where Speedhound’s rediscovery of vintage bicycles in the Internet era began: www.classicrendezvous.com

A very impressive UK resource with a true sense of history: www.classiclightweights.co.uk

Mind-blowing Swiss photo collection:  www.speedbicycles.ch

Repository for all things Hetchins:  www.hetchins.org

User submitted photo galleries of vintage lightweights:  www.wooljersey.com/gallery/main.php

Huge database of old bikes and components, including headbadges:  www.velobase.com

UK site dedicated to derailleurs (discover a connection to the 1960s supergroup, Cream):  www.disraeligears.co.uk

Excellent photography (and how to do it) featuring mostly Italian iron and mostly Colnagos:  www.raydobbins.com

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Speedhound in Popular Mechanics

That’s right, we’re in the May 2011 edition of Popular Mechanics magazine, in an article titled “DIY Underground.”  In early February, PM’s Associate Photo Editor flew out from Hearst’s New York office to see us and the rest of the crew in the Peacock Groove space.  She brought a local free-lance photographer and his assistant, who took hundreds of pictures, including some hot welding and brazing action.  One photo made it into the article:

Chris Cleveland and Chris Kvale inspect a Speedhound frameThe caption reads “A Speedhound frame built by Peacock Groove gets the once-over from Speedhound designer Chris Cleveland (left) and Chris Kvale – frame builder, neighbor and member of the Minneapolis bike-building community.”

Photo:  Darin Back

 

 

 

 

PM describes the Speedhound ONLY ONE as having a “Swiss Army Knife vibe.”  We couldn’t agree more.  We’d link to the article, but it’s subscription only.  So if you’re at a newsstand in the near future, take a peep at page 77 of the May 2011 Popular Mechanics.  Or better yet, buy the mag.  We hadn’t read it for years, and were pleasantly surprised to see it’s had a major makeover.

Here are some of our own behind the scenes shots of the session:

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Speedhound Is Going To NAHBS!

NAHBS logoWe are excited to be exhibiting at the 2011 North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Austin, Texas, February 25 – 27. NAHBS is the world’s largest show for handmade bikes, with over 160 exhibitors expected this year. For a peek at some of the incredible artistry that will be on display, go to www.2011.handmadebicycleshow.com. NAHBS has become a must-attend bike culture event for connoisseurs of fine machines, bike geeks, and industry trend watchers. The show is open to the public and will be held at the Austin Convention Center.

Stay tuned for pics and details on our show bikes and reports from the show.

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What We’re Made Of

Steel is Real

The ONLY ONE frame and fork are made of chromium- molybdenum alloy steel, often referred to as “chrome-moly” or “cro-mo.”  We use True Temper brand for the fork blades and steerer, the main tubes, head tube and seat stays.  Our HouseBendTM chainstays start as straight, oversized 30X16 mm oval-to-round tapered tubes, which we manipulate to achieve our special shape.   This careful forming gives the ONLY ONE generous tire and fender clearance along with the ability to run a 55 tooth Gates belt drive sprocket on a narrow chainline.  We also bend our fork blades in-house, which gives us control over the rake and location of the bend.

The steel in True Temper tubes comes from mills in Pennsylvania, where it’s drawn into seamless, plain gauge stock and then shipped by rail to True Temper’s plant in Amory, Mississippi.  This is where the transformation to lightweight, high-performance bike tubing takes place.  By drawing the steel through dies, rollers and mandrels, the tubing is butted or tapered to suit each location in a bike frame.  After being formed to shape, and depending on the application, the tubes are then stress relieved, heat treated, or air hardened.  We use a mix of True Temper tubes, including air-hardened OX Platinum, heat-treated Verus 4130, and stress-relieved Verus 4130.

The main tubes in the ONLY ONE are double-butted, meaning that the wall thickness is greater at each end than in the middle.  This gives extra strength where the tubes are joined and reduces weight in the middle, thinner section.  The top of the seat tube is externally butted, so the transition in wall thickness can be felt by hand and seen as a subtle increase in outer diameter.  All of the other butts are internal.  The fork blades and stays are taper-gauge, with the wall thickness tapering from one end to the other.

Our selection of tubing diameter, wall thickness and butt length, together with the ONLY ONE’s geometry, gives the Speedhound a ride that’s taught, plush, responsive, predictable, lively, and tough, all at the same time. We’re convinced that modern steel alloys give the best combination of performance, weight, durability and value.  It’s what we’re made of.

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Speedhound’s Graphic Inspiration

At Speedhound, we’ve long had a passion for lightweight British bicycles from the early post-WWII era, when cars were scarce, gas supplies short, and the club riding scene flourished.  There were mass-produced brands, of course:  Armstrong, BSA, Dunelt, Hercules, Humber, Norman, Phillips, Raleigh, Rudge, and Sun, but the really special machines were from the boutique hand builders, particularly in the London area.  Some of the notables included Bates, Gillott, Ephgrave, Hetchins, Hobbs, Maclean, H.R. Morris, and Paris.  You can see some stunning examples from these and many other artisanal makers on www.classicrendezvous.com.

We have to admit that we’ve borrowed a bit of the graphical style from the bikes of  this era.  The headbadge and seat tube graphic of the ONLY ONE draw inspiration from coats of arms, which were a common theme in British commercial design.  Although the font for our downtube decal is more 1950’s Frigidaire than English script, it’s understated and elegant.  Perhaps our best muse is Hetchins, with its heroic cast metal headbadge and seat tube shield wreathed in laurel.  The photos show details of a bike in Speedhound’s collection, a 1956 Hetchins Experto Crede Vibrant in original, unrestored condition.  This old steed still rides wonderfully, a testament to the enduring quality of steel.  For more vintage eye candy, go to www.hetchins.org.

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The ONLY ONE is Short for Its Size

Many factors go into proper bike fit, but one thing is certain – you want to be able to comfortably clear the top tube with both feet flat on the ground!  The distance from the top of the top tube to the ground is the standover height of a bike.  Bike frame sizes are generally expressed as the length of the seat tube, but you can’t assume that two 56 cm bikes will have the same standover height.  A 56 cm frame measured “center-to-center” will be taller than a 56 cm frame measured “center-to-top.”  In addition to seat tube length, other variables that affect a bike’s standover height include bottom bracket drop, slope of the top tube, seat tube angle and the size of the tires.

At Speedhound, we measure frame size from the center of the bottom bracket shell to the top of the seat collar.  The ONLY ONE seat tube extends 30 mm above the top tube, which has a 3.9 degree upslope.  We also use a relatively low bottom bracket (75 mm drop), because we like what it does for stability and handling.  This all adds up to a standover height that is low for the stated frame size.  For example, our 51 cm frame has a standover height of 74.8 cm (29.4 inches), which is lower than the standover of some frames that are sold as 46 cm!  So you could say the ONLY ONE is short for its size.

Speedhound ONLY ONE Standover Height Chart

Frame Size (cm) Standover Height (cm/inches)

51                                                            74.8/29.4

54                                                            77.4/30.5

56                                                            79.2/31.2

58                                                            81.1/31.9

61                                                            83.9/33.0

These standover heights are based on a 700 X 23 tire.  For a 700 X 35 tire, add 0.7 cm (0.28 inches).

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