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nice shop bike
Boulder Bicycle Lugged

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Boulder Bicycle - The Blogging Begins Again!

We are going back to the blog!  We stopped making posts to the Rene Herse blog in February 2012.  With the transfer of the Rene Herse name to Compass Bicycles, we realize that it is best to start fresh and start a new blog for Boulder Bicycle.  We expect this blog to be far more active than the old Rene Herse Blog. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thoughts on the Rene Herse transfer to Compass Bicycles

So as you may have heard, Compass Bicycles now owns the Rene Herse name and brand! And it is very good news for all involved. In a sense, we've sold to Compass Bicycles "all the things that we do not do." And now Compass Bicycles can do some of the things they really want to do which we weren't.. The result is that things are nearly unchanged at Boulder Bicycle and the production of Rene Herse bicycle frames through Boulder Bicycle remains unchanged.

And most importantly - our passion and ability for making the finest bicycles possible, under the Rene Herse name, is not changed in any way! The dream lives on!

It is no mystery that there are things we do really really well - and some things that we don't do well. We are very inefficient when it comes to project management. Its probably due to our obsessing so much that we get nearly paralyzed into inaction. But we are extremly adept at obsessing over details and making top level bikes. And we are also, we like to think, very good at running a parts business that is quick and accurate and which provides customers with a high degree of customer service. Initially, I figured Rene Herse would be making components in addition to the bikes, but that always was pushed off. And I was starting to feel bad about that.

In the meantime, Jan Heine at Compass Bicycles wanted to get into the component end of things (such as the upcoming Compass Rene Herse crank). And since we had done nothing in that area, and since he was all fired up about it, he made an offer to puchase the Rene Herse name and remaining assets (from the original purchase we'd made from Lily) from us. We now license the Rene Herse name back from Compass Bicycles for use on the bicycle frames we make. Plus, we are able to do any custom fabrication of parts for complete new bicycles we sell, as needed, on a bicycle by bicycle basis. So nothing changes on the Rene Herse frames and bicycles that we produce.

What has changed is that we now answer the phone "Boulder Bicycle" and we can't use the Rene Herse name on T-shirts or Jerseys without getting approval and paying a license fee to Compass. And we can never make a component labled Rene Herse. And we've modified the Rene Herse logo we use when advertising the Rene Herse bicycles we sell to the one shown above.

Hopefully Compass Bicycles will enlarge their offerings to provide restoration parts for classic Rene Herse bicycles. And hopefully in time they will make components that we will purchase from them as a retailer (and to use on our own bicycles).

In the meantime, we are growing steadily. And at some point, as our project management skills get better, we'll even up the production rate of Rene Herse bicycle frames and complete bicycles. Its an exciting time in Boulder!

Mike Kone
Boulder, CO USA

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Schmidt wide body - or not!

We've been getting lots of questions the past week or so from our Boulder Bicycle customers regarding the new Schmidt wide body hub. So we thought we'd put our thoughts out there on this. We will be getting this hub in the near future, and are happy to sell it. And there are certainly instances where this hub makes sense. But in many ways, this hub for most of our rando customers is a solution in search of a problem. And there are some downsides - albeit minor, that go with it.

First and most important (this was brought to light by other shop's comments to us). The bracing angle which is what is really important, is more than sufficient on the regular SONdeluxe. Think about it, wheel trouble is typically always on the rear. We never ever have had a problem with a front wheel. But on a high dish wheel, such as Campagnolo 10sp, the rear drive side flange can be less than 18mm from the flange center - it is actually approaching 16mm if I recall correctly. So the 25mm on the front wheel is way beyond that. It is 50% farther out from the flange center than a modern Campy drive side rear!

And remember too - classic road hubs may be 70mm wide at the flanges, but many are small flange. The higher flange diameter of the SONdeluxe serves to increase bracing angle. All this adds up to why we don't see problems with folks using this hub!

Now for heavy riders on a loaded bike riding off road, we can see why the higher bracing angle of the wide body hub can help in theory. But we've never had a customer report a problem on a front wheel. So we are bit skeptical.

Now the downsides. The first is cost. Not much, just $20 extra. But then there is a weight penalty of the hub itself. Then the spokes are all longer by a smidge, so that adds weight. Finally, there is the likelihood that there is some aero drag. A significant amount of wind resistance comes from the spokes cutting through the air. Now I'm not sure, but I'd guess that there is some effect on speed at the margin.

So for the typical rider, and for my own bike for example, I'll be reaching for the regular SONdeluxe. If I'm building a bike for a heavier rider, or one riding off road extensively and especially if loaded, this hub is a great new addition to the Schmidt line up. But as I look over our roster of bike builds at the shop at this very moment I don't see any where the wide hub seems to be a better option. Now I do know of a couple coming up later on where this hub might make sense. But those are more the exception.

Mike Kone - Boulder CO USA