Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
All year we planned on it, but we just fell too far behind to justify the trip. Even with a quick fly in and fly out, it would still take at least 4 days. And with family and business it was just too much. We just barely managed to get our Veloswap show stuff together this past weekend. And the final kicker is a family commitment that popped up for the end of October that we wanted to attend.
The reality is that right now, our Herse build list is pretty full, and Boulder Bicycle sales and assembly are keeping us very busy already. The parts business and website has been rather neglected. So if anything, we're best off staying local and trying to chip away at those projects.
Next year we hope to make it to the Philly show. The Belinky gang does a great job with the event, and aside from business, we were looking forward to the fun festivities. But the fun will unfortunately have to wait.
We appologize to those who were hoping to see us there.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
We realized years ago that fender hardware had a deficiency. When mounting a front fender with a forkcrown daruma, if you have the big rubber washer contacting the crown, the washer sometimes like to "creep" into the crown. (note that traditional French bikes typically had just the rubber between crown and fender, and the large metal washer on the underside of the fender).
Also, a typical installation results in the front of the rubber washer really squished, and the back not very compressed. Finally, sometimes its nice to take up a bit of gap between the fender and crown (depends on installation - if the fit is already tight, don't use this widget as it will reduce clearance even more and can be a safety issue).
So if your installation will benefit from the attributes of this fork wedge, than now you can avoid the hassle of making one yourself!
The wedge may reduce the amount of slide on the brake or rack stud inside the crown - in such a case you can enlarge the hole into a slot to give more room with a round file. But this step is not necessary unless you are working to get an exact placement so the fender lines up with a front rack fender mounting point and you've goofed and need the slide fudge factor.
The exact thickness of these will vary a bit. But on the one we just took from the bin, the thin front part is about 2mm thinck, and the rear about 3.2mm thick.
At some point soon, we may a run that are thicker for folks who want to take up larger gaps.
Danger - use of fenders has risks - if debris gets caught between a front fender and wheel, the bike can flip causing an accident with terrible consequences. Use fenders with caution!
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Most importantly, we want to extend our congratulations to all those who are completing PBP and those who tried. Above is Will deRosset with his modern Rene Herse (a rather understated blue). Will did a great job at PBP. Other folks on our products include Jan Heine who finally rode the 650b new Herse frame we did for him a few years back. Jan did some of his own work, and he outfitted the bike with nifty early items such as a Nivex rear derailleur. Apparently, Lyli Herse saw Jan's bike and was quite touched to see Rene Herse bicycles on the roads of France.
There were a considerable number of Boulder Bicycles at PBP. It is really amazing how many of our bicycles see very serious use. We started searching the list of Boulder Bicycle customers for attendance at PBP, and we were amazed how many are now in France.
We originally planned to travel to France to either ride PBP or at least attend the finish. But demands of business and family did not allow for that. But in the future...
With the business being so demanding, we made a decision not to attend PBP this year. It might have been a mistake.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Our friends at Compass Bicycles are proud to introduce a modern version of the classic René Herse cranks. The new cranks will be available this fall. A day hardly passes without a request for crankset that features a narrow tread, exceptional chairing versatility, light weight, easy removal and installation of chainrings, and outstanding asthetics. The original René Herse crank is a brilliant design that provides all of these.
More discussion of the new René Herse crank’s features can be found on the Compass Bicycle blog. (click here to read).
The original René Crank was introduced during the late 1930’s and an early example is shown below. The exact dating of this crank is uncertain. This particular crank came from a bicycle obtained from the estate of Jean DeJeans, a famous randonneur with a proud history of riding PBP on Rene Herse bikes. He was also close friends with Daniel Rebour.
Note that the grooves are now present, and the shape is established. The ring to spider interface required quite a bit of hand finishing at this time. Later on, the fit and tolerances became more standardized. This is seen in the image below of a 1970’s era crank.
And finally, when was the René Herse crank shown below made? If you guessed the year as 2011 you are correct!
Thursday, June 30, 2011
After much waiting, Berthoud decaleurs for threadless stems are here! They are now available from our on-line store. The official threadless decaleurs come in two "lengths". Shown below, is a ruler showing measuring the 70 length model. As you can see, from center of the tube widget that holds the decaleur against the stem to the center of the multi part tube that mounts to the bag, the length is 70mm - surprise!
The other length that is offered is 50 version which is - you guessed it, 50mm for that dimension! For bikes where the declaleur will be pointed straight ahead, go for the shortest. Now on some installations, you actually need to get the decaleur to reach much further down. For such cases, we can supply the decaleur with the extension part that is usually used with quill type stems. For those, the measurements are roughly 83mm or 113mm.
Now, we've sold lots of folks Berthoud decaleurs, and on occasion folks have issues with the decaleur rotating. You need to get the bolts really tight to lock in the rotation. And we would suggest that you carry a 4mm allen to tighten it if it does come loose. We do make our own anti-rotation widget for these. But the new wave of Berthoud decaleurs are slightly different dimensionally and we are currently re-designing them. But we've talked to many folks who have been extremely pleased with the Berthoud design as it is, so it seems our anti-rotation modification while nice and helpful is both costly and in many cases unnecessary.
Mike Kone in Boulder CO USA
Thursday, June 16, 2011
So what we've done is taken the BMX length (again, this is true Regina oro track chain that bmx folks wanted in on apparently) and are supplying additional links in order to get them to proper length. We're actually including more than enough - about 116 links or so. Thats long enough for a bike with a deraillieur! But so what, can't hurt to have a bit extra. So to use these, you will need to know how to wield a chain tool, but you needed that in any case. The chains even have a master link - but that is in the main length and you may choose to mess with it or just ignore it and use your chain tool and treat it like a typical chain (which it really is).
Now, we noticed that some chains have some discoloration. That is typical of most fresh Regina stuff, but some chains have more of it than others. The photo above shows the minimal quality chain you should expect to receive. You may get one that looks snazzier (more uniform gold), but if the above chain looks good enough, you are certain to be pleased. Afterall, these are chains and typically get a bit dirty.
We wiped down the above chain a bit and the photo below shows the chain after a wipe with alcohol. What shows up in the upper photo as looking like corrosion is really gook. Chains that had any notable corrosion are set aside and not sold in this batch. Again, your chain or chains may be snazzier, or maybe not, but they should be at least as nice as what you see. Afterall, we aim for happy customers. And of course, if you are not happy, just let us know and we'll do what it takes to make you happy (in reference to the track chains only, we can't provide global happiness. That would put all the shrinks out if biz).
The pricing is what is really cool here. Instead of $69 for one on ebay, for a limited time these are only $23 for one or $76 for 4, plus shipping! Now once we sell of a small quantity, we'll be bumping the price up as the price on these is silly low. So act soon and take advantage of this special deal. If you are a fix gear lover, this is a great opportunity!
Mike Kone in Boulder CO USA
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
For the few. The proud. The wealthy???????
After months of waiting, and years of hoping, TA Cyclotourist (a.k.a. Pro 5 Vis) crankarms are about to arrive in quantity to the US. These cranks are known for their light weight, their increadible versitility, and very low Q factor.
They are also known for being a bit fussy - to remove the rings, you must remove the arm. And also, the gap between the backside of the crankarm and the chainring is narrow, so use of a modern triple front derailleur is less fun than getting a budget passed in Congress.
So the arms, rings, and hardware will be available for shipment on around May 20th. They are in transit to the US (by air) so we should have them in our shop sometime next week.
Now that your excited - lets talk price. Please read the two paragraphs below which summarize our thoughts on this.
Arm price is $449. Rings, hardware, and kidney sold seperately.
Paragraph one "Such a great deal"
I just looked at the excel sports website - an online retailer of nice racing stuff. A modern Campy record crank in carbon is $625. They make lots of those, and many folks buy them. So they have economies of scale in production. For the TA, demand overall is much lower and it costs more to make something in small numbers. The TA is available in an astounding array of ring and arm lengths. It is also very light (exact numbers not handy), and has very low Q factor. For a high-zoot bike, the TA is priced competitively with other alternatives. There are TA copies out there, but they generally suffer from design or material flaws that compromise their performance. The crank in some ways is the heart of the bike. We should just be thankful that we can get these.
Paragraph two "Are you nuts?"
The past few days I've been riding an old Team 753 Raleigh on go-fast (for me) local rides. The whole bike was $450 at Veloswap. I think there were bikes at Veloswap that had old TA crank (or maybe the similar stronglight) for a couple of hundred bucks. So what that the arms aren't the new design (more gap between outer ring and crankarm). $449 for the arms is a lot. The brand x crank is just a fraction of the price. I'll just polish and wax and maybe sneak that one to the annodizer so it doesn't fail from stress corrosion cracking, and I'll still be ahead a bunch of change. Plus, not everyone benefits from low Q (this is very very true - I myself have less knee issues with higher Q cranks). And if I want a triple shouldn't I be able to have a bike where the front derailleur isn't as fussy as a mid-size pet?
So there you have it. We can argue both sides of the coin. And for good reason. For some high-end ultimate bikes whose owners feel that the attributes of the TA crank are important, this crank is a fantastic opportunity. This must be true as we hear that at the current pricing, lots of these cranks have already been sold. But for others, we readily agree that the price and the crank's attributes might make it seem like an unnecessary indulgence. In fact, since I prefer higher Q, and since I like to be able to easily remove rings for cleaning, this crank makes less sense. To use it, I'd need to space out the pedals.
So which paragraph do you agree with? I think the key thing is that it doesn't matter, but we should respect those with either viewpoint. Or those who agree fully with both viewpoints such as myself.
Mike Kone in Boulder CO USA
Monday, May 2, 2011
Well, this past Friday we heard a peep – a die-hard randonneur on one of our Boulder Bicycles who really accumulates the miles reported the classic Synergy OC problem. We then looked at the shop demo bikes and wheels. The 700c rear wheels with only modest miles on them are fine. But the 650b rear that has been on multiple bikes and had lots and lots of miles on it did show the cracking around the drive side eyelets.
So, that meant immediate investigation. Our first step was to contact Velocity and ask them if they have widespread problems and also for a take on what the ideal drive-side tension should be on the Synergy OC rims. The person we spoke with said they build the rims to 120 to 130 Kilograms. That seems very high. The Velocity contact indicated that there were some Synergy OC rims that seemed to have “issues”, but those were limited to some small batches from extrusions that weren’t up to spec. They also indicated that the overall defect (= return rate) on the Synergy OC rims is extremely low. They admitted, though, that many folks may not have inspected their rims to and realized there is a problem, though. But good news is they stand behind the product and a dealer can get a replacement rim on warranty which is very reassuring.
But, is that the whole story? What is a wheel builder to do? The consensus is that with the OC design, the rim can essentially “rock” and stress the rim near the eyelets more than a non-OC design. We did some calling around, and the vibe from others who have used these rims (and also seen similar issues) is that it is important to not tension the Synergy OC as high as one would a typical modern rim. The typical rule is to take a modern rim up to about 110kg. Based on what we heard talking with others, it seems that 100kg is the upper limit. So our thoughts are that a Synergy OC rear should be built with extremely close tensions in the 95 to 100kg range for the drive side rear. Interestingly, the Velocity contact felt that tension that is too low could also cause problems. And in any case, the tension we were building at should not be an issue. But it is an issue.
Even better news is that nobody has had a serious failure that we’re aware of due to this issue. It seems that over time, the nipples may start to pull inward, resulting in reduced tension and a failure of the wheel to stay true or dished. But because the rim is a box section, the upper web keeps the rim intact. Of course, if one waits for cracks get really bad, all bets are off. But it is likely that many folks may have this issue and not noticed because the wheel can remain quite true, dished, and tensioned, even with some pretty sizeable cracks forming.
So what should one do if you have Synergy OC rims? We’ll we’re still building with them, but at lower tensions and expect they will be fine. We’ve also double checked our tensiometer calibrations more carefully to be sure we’re not erring on the high side. If you are on a bike with these rims, have the tension checked and see if it is over 100kg on the drive side (you will probably need a good bike shop for this). If so, and there are no cracks present, have the shop (or yourself if you do your own wheelbuilding) back off the tension on the drive (and non drive to maintain dish) to that 100kg max.
If you have wheels that do show cracks, Velocity will provide replacement rims – your shop can take care of this (or if you’re the wheelbuilder you can probably just contact Velocity) although you will probably need to pay shop labor and buy new spokes.
If we built the wheels for you, we’ll do what it takes to make sure you’re taken care of. We’ll either take care of it at our shop, or assist you in getting them re-tensioned or rebuilt if the tension is high. While sidewall wear of a rim is normal wear and tear, cracking of a rim at an eyelet is not normal and is something we warranty (assuming the wheels weren’t terribly abused or ridden for so many miles that they were near the end of their lifespan anyway, rim sidewalls do wear out after all!)
Just this week, a Boulder Bicycle frame customer had their bike assembled and wheels built at their local (and very reputable) shop and they tensioned the wheels beyond what we’d now suggest. So a bit of extra shop time now to reduce the tension a bit may prevent a reduction of the rim’s useful lifespan.
So this is our take on this, and Velocity DOES NOT agree about going with the 100kg limit as they think higher tensions are fine according to the person we spoke with. But based on all the information we have at this point, we feel that the reduction in tension for drive side rears to a target 100kg max is wise. And for fronts, about 95 to 100kg should be good as well (no reports from anyone of failing front (i.e non-OC) rims.
Mike Kone in Boulder CO USA
Rene Herse Bicycles inc.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Its been very busy at Rene Herse Bicycles this month. A few customers took delivery of their bikes over the past couple of weeks. A very special bike is the lugged (built by Waterford) Boulder Bicycle shown here. We had fun with the paint - our classic light blue with white panels. But even more fun - we had the wizzard who letters our Rene Herse frames hand-paint the graphics on this Boulder Bicycle frame. We can now offer this hand lettering option on any Boulder Bicycle frame (for an upcharge - no surprise).
Friday, March 18, 2011
There was quite a bit of interest in the bikes we were riding. I rode the shop's 650b demo bike, and my friend Brian rode the shop's new-production Rene Herse 700c road sport. My friend Lee came along and represented traditional race bike steel on his 7/11 Eddy Merckx.
A number of the roades were chip sealed, and I heard a fair amount of comments. On the 650b, I noticed, but the ride was hardly effected. Still wonderfully smooth!
My old college friend Brian came out and he rode the shop-demo Rene Herse 700c road sport. He liked the comfort and stability. Note that the bike is being used with a Berthoud 192 non-rack type bag, and a model 786 seatbag. This frame was designed for fenders, but not for a load. But Brian reported it still behaved very well.
As you can see, the scenery is amazing in Moab. At every turn, it is as though you are inside a movie set. While a rando bike was not critical, the large temperature swings from the time we started until mid-day insured that having a place to store extra clothing was quite welcome. Plus, the handlebar bag provided enough space for me to carry on one day an old Rolleiflex TLR that I've been playing with. The fenders, though, in the dessert climate were unnecessary for this trip. But only days earlier, the weather had been spotty in Moab, so one never knows.
Mike Kone now back in Boulder CO
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Its a tad wintery out in Boulder these days, but fortunately there are wonderful dry roads right near the shop. All year round we get to test and use the products we sell. The upper photo shows an old farm building about 4min from the shop. Then we get to climb up dirt roads into the hills above the city proper.
Normally this time of year we'd be on a tire with more tread, but with the dry season we're still running our 650b tire of choice, the Hetre. If/when the snow returns, we'll go to the narrower 650b Soma.
Like a car tire, it may be that narrower is a tad better for absolute traction in the snow, but within reason. So instead of using a 42mm, we'll use a 35 or 38. But never much narrower. We like the stability of wide tires overall. And the Hetre 42 doesn't have much tread. So the cheaper Soma tire is a nice winter choice.
What is nice about riding this time of year is we're not too worried about speed or distance. It is just great to get out and not be stuck on the wind trainer. So to take some photos, check out local roads that we don't always play on, or to just site see, its a great time of year. Soon this will change. Soon the miles and distance, depending on goals, will take on new urgency. Now is the time to just enjoy the bike and keep burning off those holiday season extra calories.
Mike Kone in Boulder CO
Friday, January 21, 2011
The shop is going to be closed for a few days (March 11th and 14th) as we go to the Moab skinny tire festival to ride. The event has wonderful early season rides of relatively short length (40 to 60 miles) that are perfect for getting rid of the winter cobwebbs. One of the days features a ride through Arches National Park. That is a must-visit-in-your-lifetime sort of place. Combine that with riding and a nice town to hang out in, and it makes the trip well worth it.
A link to the festival is http://skinnytireevents.com/content/section/4/31/
As time permits, we'll be getting more fun images and discussion of bikes going here on the blog. We also dabble with photo gear as a personal hobby and audio stuff, so don't be shocked if one day on the blog you see images of Leica or old McIntosh tube gear show up. Above you see a shot of a bicycle and a cool old VW Microbus. We've never been into VW's, but bike folks seem to get into old BMW's it seems.
In the next few days you'll see more Berthoud and other rando stuff on our online store. Also, we just took on trade another pile of vintage Campy NR/SR stuff, so more will show up either on the on-line store or on ebay.
The next blog entry should be in a few days. The next topic we think will be more on decaleurs.
Monday, January 3, 2011
To make a deposit online, you can go directly to our online store