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nice shop bike
Boulder Bicycle Lugged

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lauterwasser Handlebar Bliss December 16 2011

A long time ago, there was a handlebar bend that was very special. For some reason, this design "dissappeared" during the 1940's. There were a few vintage enthusiasts who were aware of them, but they were off the radar of nearly everyone.

I was lucky enough during the 1990's when I owned Bicycle Classics inc. to have purchased a bike with bars of this design. The bike was a Reynolds tubed old Raleigh (kinda like a 3sp style frame). I adored the handlebars. What is so special about them is that they have a split personality. The usual position is to ride on the lower part of the bar in a very upright position. Great for that have-my-briefcase, ready to find a Latte sort of mode. But when you want to put on the heat, you reach forward to the front curved section of the bar. That puts you in an extended flat-back position that lets you keep up with those go-fast folks who are on their punish-thy-neighbor training ride. Many folks try this with some of the other bar bends out their, but this bar for at least some of us does it better than any other bar out there.

A number of years ago, I sent through the US importer for Nitto, my beloved set of Lauterwasser bars to Japan so they produce some for us. Horror of horrors, Nitto had a fire and the bars, which had survived from the 1930's if not earlier, were lost. Nitto bribed me with lots of money and it was all they could do. But the dream was lost. I knew a few other folks with their own cherished pair of Lauterwassers, but the request "can we send yours, they destroyed mine" didn't give folks the warm fuzzies.

Fast forward to today. I'm now staring at a small pile of these bars that have just been produced by Soma Fabrications which just arrived at our shop. Now I don't need to hunt down vintage bikes for the chance they have this elusive bar. Now they are obtainable once again. Now the Lauterwasser bar is no longer just a part of our memory, but rather a choice available to the current enthusiast. No longer must this bar remain the secret of those lucky enough to have stumbled upon a pair.

The Soma Lauterwasser has as 25.4 clamp diameter, and is roughly 22.4mm at the grip. So most folks will run these with a mountain bike style brake, and downtube shiftlevers we suspect. I used to run the brake levers near the grip, Raleigh 3 speed style.

The bar is available in either cro-moly or alloy. The Cro-molly bar has lovely chrome plating. These bars (the originals anyway), did have a fair amount of flex. So if you are a stand-up kind of person, steel might be ideal. For those who sit and spin, the alloy should be swell. Both versions have a Soma marking in black printing on inside of the bar portion which sweeps forward.

Now, I'm dreaming of building a bike with these bars and a 3speed fixed gear hub. Would Rene Herse have sold a bike like this? Probably not. But I bet him and his family might have had a very similar bike which they kept around for their own use. This is too fun.

We will have these bars on our on-line store under handlebars by mid-day today. Enjoy!

Mike Kone in Boulder CO USA

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 5, 2010 Latest Updates

Well once again we've fallen crazy behind in our posts. That is because we've been going pretty much non-stop getting Boulder Bicycle frames/bikes out the door. Plus a couple of weeks ago we shipped out the chrome new Rene Herse that is on our site. It will be reviewed in the next issue of Bicycle Quarterly. We have a very high ratio of orders to capacity still, so the wait is only getting worse. At some point we hope to have more capacity. At this point, we really don't have anything more than Mark can fit in.

Soon we will have more photos of the recently completed chrome Herse onto the site. Plus, we've received a bunch more product that we need to add to the online store. Also, as many know, Jean Debois, master framebuilder of Rene Herse in France during both the late 40's and 50's, and more recently in the 1970's and 80's recently passed away. We will have more reflections on his life and passing in the next week or so.

So stay tuned - lots more info to be added in the coming days and weeks.

Mike Kone in Boulder CO

Saturday, July 17, 2010

July 17 Orange Lugged Fun

And lets not forget our lugged Boulder Bicycles. This one sports some fun lugs. Better of course is the geometry based on our top-of-the-line Rene Herse bicycles. And then there are the lively tubes including True Temper Plantinum OX. These oversize lightweight tubes make for a frame that has the liveliness of a classic Columbus SL race frame but with what we feel is a more "planted", stable feel. Of course, if people want, we can use skinny tubes as light as 7/4/7 for the ultimate in a lively ride, although there are downsides to that which we explore with each customer.

July 17 - bicycle chaos

Well lately it has been crazy with calls and emails pouring in with requests to order Boulder Bicycle frames and complete bikes. I'm thinking that we've really hit the sweet spot on these. Plus, as more are out there, others see them and talk them up. Elsewhere for less, folks can get an array of Asian frames (although few are rando specific), but the downside is those typically don't feature tubing such as True Temper Plantinum OX in the places where it can be used. And few other makes sweat the details quite like we do. And of course pricier frames don't use better geometry or tubing either, so this really is the peak point of diminishing returns.

I'm thinking we probably will raise the complete bike prices soon as so much work goes into assembly. Our component prices are about the lowest around, the frame cost is more them competitive. So we can't really afford to lump the two together and then spend many many hours assembling the package with discounted labor. I figure we'll tweak the prices in about a week. Orders that come in before we post the new ones that grandfathered int.

Frame/Fork prices, though, will not change. Has anyone wondered why our custom upcharge, at $175 is so modest? The reason is that we typically mock up every customer's proposed fit on their new Boulder Bicycle with Waterford's fit software. If a stock frame doesn't work, we make the tweaks to the stock geo (and perhaps tube spec), and then get a revised output. If to make this work we need a slightly different geo, it isn't much more work than to ponder ways of making a stock fit work that isn't ideal. So we pass on the custom fee at pretty close to cost.

So all this back and forth goes into each Boulder Bicycle frame sale. We probably will put more fit info on the web soon so folks can do more to figure it out on their own. But the process of nailing down the position on our frames is part of the service we provide at no charge when you puchase a Boulder Bicycle frame.

Now for something focusing on craft - below is a Rene Herse frame we are gradually getting together. This bike will be quite a beauty when finished - stay tuned for photos as it comes together over the next couple of weeks. The features in the stem cap promise to be something very special!

Thanks so much be safe out there - way to many folks "driving while distracted" these days....

Mike Kone

Friday, June 11, 2010

June 11 2010 Berthoud Handlebar Bag Modification

We love Berthoud bags and our customers do too. Even those who sell copies of Berthoud products seem to have the "real deal" gracing bikes shown on their web pages.

But that doesn't mean even the best can't be tweaked a bit. We've noticed even a well mounted Berthoud handlebar bag can still move around a bit - basically like collapsing a parallelogram. This motion can increase the sense of load up front. So what do we do?

Well it turns out the solution is simple and the Berthoud bag's construction makes the upgrade easy to install. We take a piece of thin aluminum flat bar, and bend it into a U shape. Then this piece can fit under the flaps on the side of the bag. Undo the velcro that wraps onto the stiffiner, and the piece can fit in the space above the velcro and be secured when the velcro is flap is closed onto the stiffiner.

Now the final task is to secure the aluminum part along the backside of the bag. If you are using a classic Rene Herse style male decaleur part, you can simply drill the aluminum stiffner part so that the bolts going through the bag will also secure the stiffner piece. If using a Berthoud decaleur, we suggust mounting the Berthoud decaleur as low as possible (good idea to increase flap closure anyway) and the stiffner will mount with additional bolts going through the bag higher up. There is only one height the stiffner wants to sit which is dictated by where the flaps over the stiffiner secure it.

As a bonus, we now include the stiffner part (undrilled) with all the Berthoud handlebar bags we sell that will benefit from this (bags that don't use a decaleur have a beefy stiffner and don't need this).

Thanks for looking - and please email or call with questions.

Mike Kone in Boulder CO USA

Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14, 2010 Rene Herse Jerseys

We recently received our shipment of Rene Herse Jerseys, and quite a few went out on pre-orders, but we have a limited supply, with some great sizes in both long and short sleeve still remaining. Folks who have bought them have been extreamely pleased. The quality on them is great. The color is a Royal Blue - a very nice shade.

The jerseys of course have a typical large pocket (in three sections) at the rear, and the same logo as on the front is on the rear as well.

In both long and short sleeve, we still have a limited supply of the special medium-long that we ordered. This is the size for folks who are probably approaching or exceeding 6 feet, but who are rather svelte. The jersey is the length of an XL, but the torso of a medium (and sleeves as an XL as well).

The jerseys are available for purchase on our online store

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 12, 2010 - Vintage Ride a Success!

Folks came from all along the front range, and some of the fine bicycles included a Paramount, Masi, Eddy Merckx, Cinelli, Mercian, Rossin, and many others. At the start, there were 19 riders. A few riders turned off the route to contine on their own adventures, but the group was greatfull that they joined the start.

Attendees enjoyed bagels and cream cheese, and everyone enjoyed the great rolling art and wonderful conversation. To cap off the ride, many adjourned afterwards to Papusas on North Broadway Street in Boulder for fine Mexican and El Salvadoran food. The weather was great, much better than today's wintery mix of rain and snow.

We are certain to do a ride again in the hopefully not-to-distant future. Come join us!

Monday, May 3, 2010

May 3, 2010 - Vintage Ride Saturday May 8, 2010

Saturday May 8, 2010, we are having a vintage ride leaving from the Rene Herse Shop in Boulder CO. It is a show-and-go ride, meeting at 9:00AM with departure at 9:30. The ride will be about 2 hours in length. It is a casual pace ride, so those who are concerned about fitness level need not worry. Perhaps we could split into a couple of groups, but speed demons should look elsewhere. In case of rain, we will do the ride, same schedule, on sunday instead. If this occurs, we'll post late friday or super early Saturday AM.

The main point of the ride is to enjoy meeting other like minded folks and to have fun. Bring your cool vintage bike, or any bike for that matter - even a modern ride is fine if you want to see vintage cool old stuff.

Also of course, folks on cool rando machines (new or old) are also "part of the fold", as are modern steel classics.

At the start, some light munchies (but not breakfast) will be provided. And if folks wish, we can head out to lunch as a group after the ride. Please email to if you are attending, if possible, so we know what to bring for munchies. But if you don't email and want to come last-minute, please do! And bring others if you like as well.

The shop address is 4949 Broadway Street, unit 103, Boulder CO, 80304. We are on the southeast side of the building - the building itself is the most northwestern commercial building on Broadway in Boulder before Broadway merges again with hwy 36/28th street. The shop number is (303) 284-9721. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New 650b Tire from Soma! First Impressions

We've been getting some more mile in here - but the roads in Boulder are a bit challenging at times. There is a bit more snow than we've been used to. So I was excited to get a call from the kind folks at Merry sales, with the offer to demo a new Soma tire they are introducing soon. This tire is a 650b x 38mm . I figured it with its modest tread, it might offer a bit more grip in the snow than the Grand Bois Hetre. We should have this tire in-stock in about 5 weeks.

The Soma tire is made from some of the tooling that is being used on the new Pacenti 650b road tire. The tire is made by National, the folks who make Panaracer. The tread should look familar, it is very much like the tread on a Pasela. Also featured on this tire is the protective layer that Soma uses, which they claim resists punctures extremely well, but without the weight of Kevlar.

So how is this tire? The upshot is Mikey likes it! Overall, the tire is very comfortable, much more so than I expected, and it feels great riding down the road. Actually really nice. Going over bumps at speed, the tire takes the edge off of road imperfections like a champ. Plus, the bike feels fun to ride with them installed. And how is it in snow? Really nice! With the Gran Bois Hetre, snow was more of a challenge than I liked. This tire seems to provide much more grip. We haven't priced this tire yet, but it should fall out just under $40 or so give or take. So this folding nice-riding tire is at a great price point.

Is there a downside? Well yes - this tire doesn't feel as quick or lively as the Grand Bois Hetre. Trying to keep up with faster folks, I sense that the bike is holding me back a tad. But, do not let this worry you. This tire does exactly what it is intended to do - provide a great balance of puncture protection, comfort, grip, and modest price. For higher speed, the Grand Bois or the Pacenti tire is the fast ticket.

Also note that this tire really isn't a 38mm, it really meassures right around 35mm. This I'm told is due to the protective layer. So the Pacenti tire should still be a true 38. With nearly all 650b tires we've seen, this tire included, be sure the tire is well seated on the rim. Most folks including ourselves use Velocity rims, and tires can be a loose fit it seems. We carefully mount and inspect to be sure the tire is well seated, and we haven't had any problems. But you can have problems if you are not careful.

So for now, on the shop 650b Boulder Bicycle that is in heavy rotation here, these Soma tires will stay mounted, at least until spring. And if you aren't so worried about absolute top speed? Then these tires are a winner for year-round use.

M Kone in Boulder CO