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Cyclocross Tubeless Clinchers

If you are thinking about trying a tubeless set up for CX, it’s finally become a decent option, provided you take some precautions. In the past, converting a CX bike to tubeless wasn’t a very reliable choice. Rims were narrow and pushed a lot of the load onto the bead and sidewall of the tire. Internal rim shapes didn’t provide a supporting base to help hold the bead in place. Tires were porous and beads would stretch and loosen up over time. It took a ton of experimenting and trial and error and you still never knew if the tires would hold until you pinned on a number and tried them out. It meant you had to spend most of your races wondering if every bump and compression corner would be the one to burp the tire and spill sealant everywhere. A properly glued tubular you knew was going to stay in place and even if it did flat, you could ride it to the pits as it stayed on the rim.

The last few years in the bike industry has made using tubeless on your CX bike much easier. The industry as a whole started making the shift to wider rims across the board. Mtb, CX, road, all have started to embrace a wider rim. They’ve also figured out how to shape the interior of the rim to help hold a bead in place. Most rims now have a shelf next to the bead and a deeper center channel, instead of a constant radius from bead to bead. Also, tires are getting better about being converted over to tubeless and many are coming with tubeless beads.

Of course the popularity of gravel riding and CX bikes making the switch to disc brakes has sped along the development of tubeless. For gravel and backcountry riding, the reliability of tubeless is a very enticing thing. No more pinch flats and some sealant to deal with the occasional thorns or glass. Before you’d have to pack a few more tubs and patch kits to be on the safe side. Now a couple of tubes, and a glueless patch kit and you’re good to go. Disc brakes taking over in CX meant that now you were no longer able to use your various road wheels as CX race or back up wheels. There’s a few of us out there that are starting over from scratch on our wheel collection once we bought our shiny new disc braked CX rig. The allure of not having to shell out for a bunch of new wheels at the same time is pretty alluring. Having a set of wheels that we can use for anything from road riding to gravel adventuring to CX racing with just a quick tire swap is a great idea.

Now there’s a good selection in rims for a person wanting to have a set of wheels that can be set up tubed or tubeless with a wide variety of tires. You can choose from all sorts of CX and gravel tires and even higher pressure road tires.  HED, Pacenti, Kinlin, Stan’s, Velocity, etc. all make fine alloy rims that set up nicely for tubeless disc CX wheels. They usually are semi-aero (about 30mm deep), about the same width (23-25mm), and range in weight from 435-500 gms. You can build a relatively light, affordable set of wheels with these options. Being they are alloy, you’ll want to use a higher spoke count of at least 28 and depending on your size and riding style, a 32 spoked wheel might be a better option. A slightly heavier gauge double butted spoke wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Pairing a low spoke count, more flexible alloy rim with lightweight thin spokes doesn’t make for a durable or precise riding wheel. If weight is a concern,you can build up a lighter weight mtb tubeless rim into a CX wheel like the Crest or Iron Cross from Stan’s, but you then lose the ability to safely run more than 45-50 psi. Those rims are designed around a low pressure mtb tire application and are less than optimal for someone looking for a dedicated CX/gravel/road disc tubeless wheel.

If you are looking to build up a lighter set of disc wheels that can be used with tubes or tubeless, at higher pressures with a road tire, low pressures with a CX tire, or somewhere in between with a gravel tire, then carbon is a good option. The weight savings when comparing a alloy clincher to a carbon clincher isn’t very much, if at all in some cases. What carbon offers is a much stiffer rim, which allows you to use lighter gauge spokes and less of them than you would in a comparative alloy rimmed wheel. You can choose a slightly deeper profile to gain a little bit of aerodynamic efficiency back. That deeper rim will use shorter spokes too, and shorter is lighter and stiffer, meaning the wheel will track better and be more durable.

The only real downside to carbon rims is cost and it’s  twofold. The first time is when you have to buy the wheels. Carbon is more expensive than alloy. Especially for a decent rim. The second time you’ll feel the sting is should you do something catastrophic to the rim while riding and you have to replace it. The pain in the wallet is higher when you have to replace a carbon hoop vs. an alloy one. Carbon inn’t more fragile or delicate than most alloy rims, in fact a blow that would destroy a  carbon hoop would probably do some pretty bad things to an alloy rim too.

I’ve managed to source a fairly affordable source of Taiwanese made carbon rims  if you are interested in having a set of wheels made. These are available in a few depths (25mm, 35mm, 45mm, and even 55mm) to tailor them to your exact needs. They can be run tubed or tubeless, both road and CX, with virtually no pressure restrictions (Up to 120psi, but no one should run that high of pressures outside of a velodrome anyway). You can choose a variety of hubs and still have a great riding wheel at an affordable price point. I like to build with hubs from Chris King, DT Swiss, White Industries, I9, Shimano, and my own house brand hubs as well. As always, each wheel set is custom made for you, by me. Nothing stock or off the shelf. Call or email me if you are interested in a set of either carbon or alloy tubeless ready CX wheels.

My Bike. 2014 Kona Hei Hei Deluxe

Here’s a tip for folks who like nice, high end bikes but don’t want to pay full price. Find a shop owner that rides the types of bikes you do and in close to your size and let them know when they’re ready to sell, you’ll be ready to buy. Most smart shop owners and mangers will but themselves a new bike almost every year. It keeps them on the newest offerings from the brands they carry and up to speed on the newest and latest technologies. They usually aren’t going to make any money on selling you their bike from last year, they’re just looking to cover the cost of buying a new bike on the special pricing bike companies offer to shop employees. So in that vein, I’m listing my mountain bike for sale. It’s a 2014 that’s not even a full year old. Before too long, the 2016 models will start rolling out and I need to start planning on acquiring one for myself. IMG_6254 The bike is the 2014 Kona Hei Hei Deluxe, size 21″. That means it’s a tall bike for a tall rider, This will comfortably fit someone 6’1.5″ to 6’5″. It has 29″ wheels and 4″ of travel at both ends. The frame is carbon fiber and it is equipped with thru-axles front and rear. It’s been a great bike. I love how it climbs, it rolls super fast and smooth through the chop and crap, and is lively and flickable on the descents. It crushes the downhills better than any XC type bike should. Here’ what Bike Magazine has to say about the bike. If you want to check out the nitty gritty details and all the numbers of the bike, here’s the link to Kona’s site. Now, if you’ve looked at the picture and read the reviews and spec sheet, you’ve probably noticed that my bike looks slightly different than the one they pictured. Good catch. I couldn’t leave well enough alone and I was hit hard by the upgrade bug. All that works out to your favor. There’s no way I’ll get my money back on all the stuff I put into and onto the bike, but I’m ok with that. Again, I’m not looking to make a tidy profit, just to help pay for my next obsession. Anyway, here’s the break down on all the cool upgrades and shiny bits I’ve put on the bike.

  • Chris King headset and bottom bracket.
  • Chris King ISO hubs front and rear.
  • Carbon fiber, bead hookless, 30mm wide, tubeless rims.
  • Enve carbon rider handlebar.
  • Shimano XTR Shadow Plus (clutch type) rear derailleur.
  • Shimano XTR Trail brakes.
  • Shimano XTR 2×10 shifters.
  • Shimano XTR Trail pedals
  • Fox D.O.S.S. dropper post.
  • WTB Silverado saddle with titanium rails.
  • Shimano XT 11-36 10sp cassette.
  • Shimano XTR 10sp chain.
  • Schwalbe Racing Ralph (rear) and Hans Dampf (front) tire.
  • New Fox CTD Fit damper on fork with new fork seals/wipers/oil.

**Price Drop!** I was asking $3750. Take $500 off that pice and now I’m asking $3250. New, the stock bike retailed for $3999. If you need to save a little more money, I’ll equip the bike with DT350/Stan’s Notubes wheels, Kona alloy bar and Kona alloy seat post for $2750. You are more than welcome to swing by and throw a leg over it, try it on for size, or even take it out for an test ride up on the trails. As always, feel free to contact me at the shop if you have any questions. Cheers!

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They XTR is scuffed because I often climb with my hands over the brakes on long ascents.

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New Kit Ordering Time

It’s new kit ordering time! Thanks to Ryan Wilcoxson for the logo and the kit design and Rick Tillery and the folks at Cuore of Swiss for making the goods. In two weeks time, I’ll be sending in an order for jerseys and bib shorts. If you want one or both of those items, you need to let me know before April 30th. The jerseys are $75 and the bib shorts are $100. I’ll have some jerseys for sale in the shop afterward, but I can’t guarantee I’ll have your size on hand and the price will bump up a bit. If you want to pre-order, you don’t need to pay me until the clothing comes in, but I do need an email or message on FB so I can track who is on board. I have sample clothing in stock if you need to try some on. They fit very similar (but better) than the old Pactimo clothing. Cheers!

2015 Kit Mockup

New Location. New Logo. New Kit. Same Old Me.

For those of you not in the know, Service Course Velo is moving (not on up, to the East side, to a deluxe apartment in the sky) but to Ashland. Since signing a new lease, business insurance, alarm company contract, all new utilities, municipal business license, and the physical effort of moving a store 20 or so miles wasn’t taxing enough, I decided to have the logo and kit re-done and freshened up. Actually, initially I only was going to do a new and updated kit. But since my incredibly talented friend who was gracious enough to do the artwork for me (and what he does is truly art and work) decided to throw in a few of his own designs for fun, it opened up a Pandora’s box of opportunity to really start fresh.

Just as there are a ton of reasons to justify the move to the new digs and yet I still have plenty of arguments to me made for the old location, so it goes with the logo and kit design as well. I really love the old logo and have been incredibly lucky to have such a clean and unique design to brand the shop. but after four plus years, it felt like as good a time as any to move into a new look to match the new locale. Something more refined and timeless. Clean. Modern. Not they usual kit and logo template. I can’t give enough thanks to Ryan Wilcoxson for the sheer effort and art he put into the design.

Anyway, here’s the new logo.
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It’s pretty awesome. There will also be a new kit order coming up. Ryan is using his design Jedi skills to translate to the clothing genius’ at Cuore of Swiss what I want, so stay tuned for pricing and ordering details if you want to rock a sweet Service Course Velo kit. Here’s a quick peek at the digital mock up to whet your proverbial whistles.

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“The Times, They Are A Changin’ “

Because I have awesome friends and customers whose skill often far eclipse mine, I’ve coerced one of them to help me out with this and will be cutting an pasting the “press release” and posting it verbatim.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Thom Kneeland, Service Course Velo, 541-595-VELO, info@sc-velo.com

Service Course Velo Moves to Ashland!

(Medford, OR) – On Thursday, April 2nd, Service Course Velo will move from its current location in west Medford, to its brand new location in Ashland at (1908-D Ashland Street).

In making the move, SCVelo owner Thom Kneeland said, “Moving an established shop is never an easy decision, but after four successful years in Medford, an opportunity came along to move
to a more modern facility just blocks away from the riding the bulk of my customers thrive on. I’ll miss the short commute from my Medford home to the shop, but having Ashland’s trail
network and miles of BLM and USFS gravel roads right outside the shop door will help ease that transition. Plus, the new location will function as a convenient base for shop rides and other group functions.”

SCVelo’s repair service will continue to offer repair pick-up/delivery for Rogue Valley customers, so if the journey to the Ashland shop is not always easy to fit in your schedule, Thom’s able to meet you at your convenience and take care of your bike.

SCVelo will close its Medford location beginning March 24th to begin the move, and won’t be taking in any repairs until the doors open on the new place Thursday, April 2nd. Shop hours will be: Tue -Sat 10am-6pm. Closed Sundays. Open Mondays by
appointment only.

CX Season and Shop Hours

Cross season is now officially upon us. There have been a smattering of local Tuesday Night Worlds and skills workshops, a few Thursday night races, and even some of you eager beavers have already travelled up and down the I5 corridor to get your veldrijden fix in while the temps were decidedly un-Belgian. This weekend the PNW race season makes it’s official kick off with the opening of the Cross Crusade series in Portland at Alpenrose Dairy. Two weeks later, the Southern Oregon schedule swings into action with a full day clinic in Jacksonville and then races the following five Saturdays scattered throughout the State of Jefferson.

Part of being a fully functional and operational Death Star Service Course, to take care of the racers and enthusiasts, sometimes it calls for me to pack up the shop and hit the road. Many of my customers will be at these events and that means I’ll be there to support them. Sure, I’ll get my own race in as well, but it’s really is about taking care of the local, loyal cycling community that takes care of me. The downside is that because I am a one person operation, the physical shop will be closed on those days. I’ll try hard to minimize any inconvenience that may spring up because of that. On your end, just give me a ring, shoot me an email, message me on whatever your favorite social media is between Facebook and Twitter, or even stop in and give me a day or so heads up on what you need and the odds are very good to great that I’ll still be able to take care of you and get you rolling for the weekend. Don’t forget I still offer a pick up and delivery service, so if that helps out, feel free to take advantage of it. During cross season, there will be no charge for it unless you decide you need a bike dropped off in Oakridge, then you have to pay for my camping and split the cost of a six pack for us to drink after we shred Alpine trail.

Here’s the dates the shop will be closed. For you super sleuths out there, you’ll keenly notice those are the same days as the first Cross Crusade race and the entire Southern Oregon Outlaw Series including the clinic. As always, please reach out and contact me if you have any questions. See you at the races!

Saturday October 11th.

Saturday October 18th.

Saturday October 25th.

Saturday November 1st.

Saturday November 8th.

Saturday November 15th.

Saturday November 22nd.

Here’s the link to the Southern Oregon Outlaw CX Series.

Click the link to see all of the Cross Crusade Series races.

And lastly, if you want to check out any other races in Oregon or in the State of Jefferson, here ya go.

PVC CX Barriers

Cross season is starting to ramp up, or all ready here depending upon who you ask. Either way, there have been clinics and practice sessions happening all over. One thing they all have is common is the PVC practice barrier. Races and full day clinics will use the heavy, durable, and depending upon your skill level, often intimidating wooden barriers. They are usually anchored into the ground and trust me, they d0n’t move if you hit them. The PVC barrier works better for the after work skills drills and are a great way to ease into the CX dismount and carry if you are new to the sport. They are light, cheap, and easily portable. They also tend to give if you bang into them with your body or your bike (or both!) and they can be configured at just about any height to facilitate  learning and negate the fear factor. Here’s how to make one for under $10. I made myself two so that I can practice my doubles or stack them side by side if I want to use them to replicate a regulation width barrier.

Here’s the break down on the parts you’ll need. Because I’m not a plumber, I’m not entirely certain on what all of these are called, but that’s what pictures are for, right? Ok, here we go.
Get yourself one 10′ length of 1/2″ PVC pipe. The cheap white stuff works great. Then grab one 10′ length of 3/4″ PVC pipe. Actually, save getting those for last, otherwise you’ll wind up knocking something over or someone upside the head as you try and hang onto two flexy pipes and grab a bunch of small fittings and couplers.

Hint: Most hardware stores have their plumbing bits in bins with a color coding on the front of the box that corresponds to the size of the fitting. That helps speed things up so you aren’t looking at labels for the exact size, but double check what you’re getting before you check out. Lazy folks like to put fittings back in the wrong box all the time.

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You’ll need two of these per barrier. They are sleeves that hold together two pieces of 1/2″ PVC pipe end to end. They have a little stop in the middle of them so each piece of PVC goes in the same amount and stops without pushing the other piece out. They coast about 30 cents each.

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Two of these per barrier also. The 1/2″ PVC pipe slides into the female, smooth end and the threaded end goes into an elbow that the legs will use. Make certain both the threaded and smooth junctions are 1/2″ though. They run about 35 cents each.

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I don’t know what these little coupler/elbows are called, but you’ll need two per barrier. They are what connects the cross bar to the legs. The smaller threaded female junction connects to the cross bar piece just above. The legs slide into the 3/4″ female ends. They run about $1.65 each.
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This is how they go together.you only need one more thing before you wrangle the PVC pipe up to the checkout and that is some caps or the ends of the legs. Caps aren’t needed, but they do help keep the leg ends from cracking or sinking down into the mud. The ends are rounded, so they tend to set up better without wobbling on uneven terrain like grass or dirt.

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You can even get them without the dog hair and dirt this one has. You’ll need four per barrier and they cost about 40 cents each.

Once you’re home, take a hacksaw and cut the 1/2″ PVC pipe into 3, 24″ lengths. FYI, some hardware stores sell the pipe in short lengths like this. Feel free to grab three of them and save yourself a little time on the saw. Now after your 1/2″ PVC is cut, stick them together with the two sleeves like this.

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Cut the 3/4″ PVC into 21.5″ lengths if you want to end up with a regulation 16″ or 40cm barrier. Of course you can always make them a bit shorter if you want. This is a god chance for you to bust out your grade 10 geometry and dust off the old Pythagorean Theorem. Pop the caps on one end after cutting them and put the other end in your three way elbows.

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Once the legs are in, slide in the cross bar into both sets of legs and you’re good to go. Once you learn the assembly procedure, it should only take a few seconds to put them together or take them apart. They easily fit in a messenger bag or back pack and if you totally wad up a dismount and break one, they are dirt cheap to fix.
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Cheers and happy achertvolging!!

 

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