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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.

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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.

I’m asking $3750. New, the stock bike retailed for $3999. If you need to save a little money, I’ll equip the bike with DT350/Stan’s Notubes wheels, Kona alloy bar and Kona alloy seat post for $3200. 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!!

 

Custom Handmade Wheels

Wheels

Lets talk about wheels for a minute. For a bike they are a very important piece of the puzzle. Wheels have a large effect on the quality of how your bikes rides. Luckily for you guys, the consumer, most of the wheels that come stock on bikes are pretty decent. The bike companies have done an excellent job of putting wheels on bikes that are reasonably light, roll smooth and fast, and last a fair amount of time without needing too much attention or maintenance.  By making a few thousand of the same type of wheel, the bike and wheel companies are able to offer a nice wheel at a fair price. You build enough of any one thing and you tend to get fairly efficient at it. It’s called manufacturing to scale. It drives the overall price of anything down by allowing for the most streamlined process. 

The problem with manufacturing to scale is to do it properly, you have to make a large amount of the exact same thing. I’m guessing that most of you aren’t exactly the same size or shape as one another. I’m also pretty certain that all you different sized and shaped people ride in various types of terrain. I’ll also go out on a limb and assume that while traveling over all those various tyoes of terrain, you divergent build of riders also have unique and varied riding styles.

Those stock wheels that came on your bike don’t know or care about any of that. They were designed for a rider of average size, weight, riding style, and over an moderate amount of terrain. They don’t care if you are 220lbs. or 110lbs. Same wheels. They don’t care if you ride in Florida or Colorado. Same wheels. They don’t care if you are a hard charging crit racer or a recreational bike path user. Same wheels. They don’t care if you grew up on a BMX track and have awesome technical skill or if you just smash through stuff. Same wheels.

Now again, those wheels are good wheels. But they are bit like buying a great car and never adjusting the seat position. Actually, that’s a terrible analogy. Wheels, custom wheels, are what truly make a bike yours. A long time ago, I fancied myself good at golf. And I wasn’t half bad. Not pro tour level talent or even club pro talent, but good enough. College level good, but probably not D1. I thought at one point my skills warranted a custom built set of very expensive Ping irons. Custom shafts, custom lay and face angle, even grips just right for my hands and grip. Those clubs sang. I still hit errant shots that didn’t go where I wanted them to, but no club will correct a swing defect or mental faults, of which I had plenty. But those clubs hit more shots better and with greater ease than any I had ever played before. I still have them and every so often I  drag them out and hit a few buckets and play a quick nine. And because those clubs are better than I ever was or ever will be, but were built for me, I still fall back into the old rhythms quicker and easier than I have any right too.

That’s not much better of an analogy, but it’s what has stuck in my craw, and besides, all the trade magazines say cycling is the new golf, so lets just run with it. When you take the time to sit down with your favorite wrench to discuss an new set of wheels, that person is going to (or should, anyway) take into consideration all the things that you want and need in a set of wheels. Height, weight, riding style sure, but also the important things. Things like what the wheels should feel like slicing a turn. How they’ll track through the rain ruts and washboard. Jumping to cover a break and feeling them snap up to 28 mph. How they’ll smoothly scrub speed and panic stop under full control. How they’ll hold up under a loaded off road tour and yet still be snappy on the local gravel rides.

Other things like how the hubs are serviceable. Spokes are ones you can find at any local bike shop. Rims designed to seat a tubeless tire quickly or match the profile of a cyclocross tubular. Nipples that won’t corrode under harsh commuting conditions. Axles you can swap out from QR to thru-axle and back as needed. CenterLock or 6 Bolt.

Important things like de-badging rims of stickers. Proper nipple color selection. Silver or black spokes. Has going full stealth black jumped the shark stylistically? Overall color and style points. All of the above things go into making your wheels for you, they are all important, and none of it was considered when every single bike company choose which ones to spec on your bike.

Of course, this is the point where I’m supposed to link you over to to website with a dazzling array of wheel options for you to choose from. Wheels built with boutique hubs and butted and bladed spokes, and nipples in all the colors of the Skittle rainbow. Rims as deep as the deepest dish pizza. Wide rims, aero rims, tubeless, and tubular rims. Machined and eyeleted. Carbon. Anodized. All of these wheels already pre-programmed and ready to select from the drop down menus. Only problem is those wheels aren’t yours. They were predetermined to have a sexy anodized appeal to the widest range audience. They are shiny, trendy versions of the stock wheels you already own.

The other standard is to link you to a site where you choose all the parts and a basic calculator spits out a wheel spec and price. A few clicks and a PayPal transaction and you’ve determined what type of wheels will be anonymously built for you. The issue with these is you aren’t hiring a wheelsmith to build your wheels. You’re paying for for someone to assemble a list of parts. You should be choosing a wheelsmith and not a wheelbuilder.

Choosing a wheelsmith is what makes a custom built wheel special. Tati Cycles explains best what the difference is between a wheelbuilder and a wheelsmith. Take a few moments and read his much more elegant treatise on wheels.

http://taticycles.com/p/513

Service Course Velo is your wheelsmith and not your wheelbuilder.

I’ve built a lot of wheels in the almost 20 years I’ve been turning wrenches in the bike industry. I’ve built them too light, too heavy, under spoked, not enough crosses, under tensioned, poorly prepped, and improperly spec’d. But those wheels were excellent learning tools. All those wrong wheels help teach me what a person needs in a pair of  wheels. Pulling apart the wrecked, crashed, and damaged remains allowed me to do bike shop CSI on what went wrong and how to make it better and right the next time. Mostly, it taught me to listen to what the customer needs above what the trendy, hot wheel component might be. It taught me to build a wheel that is light, stiff, round, true, and stays that way for as long as it possibly can and when it does finally go pear shaped, to be easily fixed, either trailside or in the shop. Ultimately, it taught me to build the right wheels for the customer.

All that said, there are certain rims, hubs and spokes that tend to pop up fairly frequently in a lot of Service Course Velo’s wheels. Mostly it’s due to their quality. I’m in a fortunate position to not have to stock items or product I don’t stand behind or believe in. But as bike shops are businesses, there are often other concerns that need to be taken into account as well. Availability is pretty high up on the list. If I can’t readily source a company’s product, let alone get parts and technical support for it, then it doesn’t behoove you or me to offer it in a wheel build. It’s also nice to do business with vendors who run upstanding businesses and are nice people. Life is too short and it just ruins the fun of riding a bike to have to deal with jerks, flakes, and assholes.

Obviously, buying a custom set of wheels is a not insignificant financial undertaking. But if you have the means to do it, it is well worth it. Also, if the stock wheels that came spec’d on your bike are nearing the end of their serviceable life, then quite often you’d be surprised by how affordable a hand made set of custom wheels can be.

If you are interested in your own set of wheels, custom built just for you and how you ride, then call, email, or stop by. I’d love to sit down and have a chat with you about all the parts and pieces. But I’d really like to discuss how I can build you a set of wheels that the only time you’ll notice them is when they make you smile.

Listed below is some of the brands Service Course Velo regularly uses in a big ol’ variety of combinations when building wheels.

Chris King

White Industries

Shimano

Campagnolo

Tune

DT

Velocity

H+Son

Hed

Enve

Stan’s No Tubes

WTB

Mavic

Sapim

Light-Bicycle 

Pacenti

American Classic

Phil Wood

Hadley

Miche

Project 321

Hope

Powertap

Paul’s Components

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