BLEDS CHINESE CARBON

A while ago Bleddyn asked me to build him a 29er and being so hyped on my own chinese carbon I spec’d him up one on google docs with prices and weights and we went about ordering parts in and hunting around for some deals. I think it came out pretty sick and was a bit jealous really.

Here’s the breakdown

FM 056 frame
Fox float talas fork
sram x1 group
sram guide r brakes
ks lev dropper
raceface turbine stem
easton haven carbon bars
fizik aliante saddle
superstar switch hubs to superstar tactic rims
xpedo pedals
Schwalbe racing ralph and hans damph tyres setup tubeless
and a dirtnap fender to top it off

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Since hes got this bike hes always down to ride, have a beer and escort me to the emergency room. Even today he was texting me why aren’t we out in the forest? I dunno Bleds why aren’t we?

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Project Cannondale Track

I have been wanting to do another project here on SBC for a while now after completing Project Kastan.. so I introduce to you a new project, Project Cannondale Track. It won’t be quite as exciting as Project Kastan but still cool nonetheless. To get things started some back story on the frame..

I’m not sure the full NZ history on this frame, I suspect it was imported into New Zealand in the 90’s by the NZ Cannondale dealer Worrals Distribution. I picked the frame up in Christchurch about 6 years ago from one of the local fixed gear riders down there. He got the frame from Spin City Cycles in Mosgiel, Dunedin. Mosgiel having a huge outdoor velodrome Spin City Cycles stoked a lot of track bikes and apparently this frame lived there for many years.

Mosgiel outdoor Velodrome, Dunedin, NZ

Mosgiel outdoor Velodrome, Dunedin, NZ

When I first got the frame I never got around to building it up as I had a lot going on.. getting married, selling my house, moving overseas and all that jazz. So I decided to sell it to Pepe. Pepe got it built asap and rode it a bunch around Auckland as a daily.

Pepe's build

Pepe’s build

After moving back to NZ and Pepe having now owned the bike for a few years he decided to sell in on.. and being the nice guy Pepe is he sold it back to me for the price I sold it to him.. good dude, very good dude seen as they go for a pretty swell price on ebay these days! I was rad to have the frame back as the Cannondale Track has always been a favourite frame of mine.

After I got the frame back from Pepe

After I got the frame back from Pepe

So why has the Cannondale Track always been a favourite of mine.. good question, and it’s not just because it’s super hype ride that all kids want. First of all it’s simply a Cannondale, and I like Cannondales a lot. Old Cannondales are kooky and rad, just look at those dropouts, why did they do that? Secondly the colour, that glacier blue is one of kind, not only is it a pretty colour, the paints a bit shit really, it wears super easy revealing the gross greeny grey undercoat.. but is that apart of the attraction, that natural patina you can’t fake that is so unique to Cannondale tracks? And lastly.. its American made, not that that’s an assurance of quality by any means, there’s just something cool about the American made bikes and their industry, especially during the 90’s.

Heavy patina!

Heavy patina!

I built it and rode it for a while.. commuted on it for a couple of months, got coffee, took it to the beach.. the usual fixed gear stuff. But with other projects on the go that needed completing I decided to split it up and sell of a bunch of its parts. Since then It has been tucked away in the corner of my garage, leaving me to think what should be done with it..

Built for the SBC show'n'shine

Built for the SBC show’n’shine

Having never really restored a bike back to its original factory spec I thought the Cannondale could be a cool project to do this with…

Original spec Cannondale Track

Original spec Cannondale Track

But, Maybe this is a dumb idea.. I have never really been a fan of restoring bikes and it’s not really the nature of the Skull Bike Club. But I’ve been wanting to do another build post here on Skull for a while after finishing Project Kastan. So I thought piecing the Cannondale back to its original glory would be rad thing to do?

This is where you the step in.. help me decide, restoration? or a kick ass build with assorted trick bits? Go here to share your thoughts:
 https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1lRVd1pAHRGL_F0rr51c3wVoiSltvtdLA01R0UWVcIRk/viewform

Before you vote keep in mind this wont be a full on restoration job as such, there will be no polishing and refurbing parts, or hunting ebay for NOS components (I may be a bike nerd, but I’m not that kinda bike nerd). I was thinking more of restoring it to its original spec using parts that are nicely worn, show their age and history.

Thanks for contributing!

SBC Cycles – LONDON

LONG OVER DUE POST… BUT WE’VE BEEN BUSY AS FUCK!

So skulls and myself have finally achieved the impossible (for 2 dudes with zero money, but a solid thirst for independence and the want to aggressively throw the proverbial finger at the man for good!)

We opened Skull Bike Club Cycles – The London Chapter… (or SBC Cycles, so as to not scare the locals in to thinking we’re some kind of gnarly killer gang or something)

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As of Sunday 26th July we opened our doors to the public… Rest assured, there was no way that the opening would go unnoticed!

We’ve been hard at work for the past 6 weeks making noise with power tools, pissing off the neighbours with working late and getting ready for the launch… (the whole process from plan to now has been a good 6 months or so) We’re now broke so taking donations…

Going from a barren empty space with a shitty laminate floor and holes in the walls, to the finished shop you’ll see below… Its been a rad journey and I couldn’t of asked for a better guy to do it with…

It was pretty daunting getting the keys on the first day… Not really having planned much past the actual ‘getting of the keys’ part.
But we just got in there and slogged though it, planning as we went…

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IMG_7559Lots of marking things, then moving things then doing it all over again…

2015-06-20 20.46.10We made a mess but we also made some furniture and shit… and we cut some holes in the walls

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IMG_7699There was lots of black paint…

2015-06-17 15.34.04-2Mark taught me a belief/phrase that came from a certain influential SBC member back home… “The universe provides”… Sure enough I know now that this is gospel! Every time we needed a wood for a stud wall, shelving or cladding, it appeared almost on our doorstep… Don’t get me wrong, we had to go scavenging, but it was always close by… A fair bit came from the council bins behind the shop… Most of the shop came from found or recycled materials.

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Mark drilled his way up to the 4th floor with this fucker…

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Needed beefy ceiling mods to hold these beasts…

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Lots of this…

11809928_718142754958130_1668949205_nand plenty of serious heavy lifting… (on top of the weight of his 29er commuter I dont envy this load!)

10432030_1447146188928203_911218522_n11313207_791796954274491_1521339897_n 11380899_865477833535823_1668973975_nsparks and sawdust all over the fuckin shop…

But I reckon it ended up looking pretty damn sweet in the end… (albeit cleaned up in the last few minutes before people arrived for the party)

(ashamedly we had to visit Ikea for some glass cabinets but not much else was bought new) Worth it for the 1×10 Radness…

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2015-06-24 19.45.04We hung prettu much everything in the shop from key split rings and spare links of 1/8″ chain we’d scavenged… The people living upstairs put up with days of drilling well over 100 holes with an SDS in the ceiling…

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RGltzveyFG1Mdy-U6ISqghTLcIiOT2tw7m1Guq2-DzVxYH5Kvjav886obHPxeRMBXw6mA4suFE75ERw0D4sGBjIi2IbDw3NP3Mm9QcW4WOme1vi5vm5oIwkkoTvZWQXWlDSScTOP4fGcNFPUw7fy9gcmILdoD572R_Yo888=s0-d-e1-ft

 

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IMG_6160IMG_6167IMG_6073We sorted some pretty sweet bearing stickers too…

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IMG_6221The Raleigh Team Banana got torn to shreds and put to good use…

1KrkWvanV5ECxZ6BDQI-R7-IIze1SWwN2FDusYnTWTF9ZB8aMSK0TihmjYHFCBwJtlE1_4I3htS1cN34f7iV9QTDNK65fDaad6_Fm8DHYbCbQl-M4-P4rtWDrtZ3NzTCj8VWINGYNWPMmEFXjPDNf7SYfZCcbUh0pSu1gDs=s0-d-e1-ft

 

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Mark made the sweet routered push pull signs for the door… theres a few more signs to come that arent quite ready… I’m sure the forest dwellers among you will approve…

Took me a few hours to wall paper the mint sauce toilet… but I was glad to get a break from saw dust!

2015-07-13 18.03.38-2The tool board took a few days… Mark ended up modding a marker to fit the vinyl cutter to draw a skull so we could map the tool positions… Mods Mods Mods

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IMG_6126First time I’ve ever seen a tool board with that much rad…

11201549_1480869752223506_1080685631_nFor the opening we booked 3 noisy bands… and gave everyone free beer and wine… Probably not the best way to make friends with the few hundred people that live above the shop, but definitely ensured maximum results for the afternoon… we wanted it to go off with a bang… 1st two bands played in the workshop, Last band played outside…

Gcz2gIOiXc0blOAfc068PmLrrpO3H192BLdh-2nI4qAEfHnBF9d6K2rkxVQxzwQNTh_AqlENHKKxuCHDVNbAQ2fXzkpbS8JU3jdPmzX5c3DgE9QtuZWkl-pZS3ApAH4gubaXmtk2xXRaRggdTME945ghOz70TzvM3bmFC6Q=s0-d-e1-ftOne of the barrels was even branded SBC! Meant to be…

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11694070_10207508967701369_8362322428449992444_nFirst up we had We Wild Blood… A Drone Punk Duo with all the inappropriate Rolf Harris jokes and instruments…

Next up YARDS… A hardcore outfit (The drummer is also a bike shop owner)

11356930_447904595381277_675508144_nNo videos popped up of yards but they killed it… Riff heavy, roof shaking hardcore vibes… Check em here

Then finally… The gig to end all gigs!
SLY AND THE FAMILY DRONE!

I’m laughing even thinking about anyone watching this and not thinking its pure insanity… Noise/Drone like you’ve never heard it before…

We got some lovely complaints “Stop this, I can’t hear my TV” and “Shut this down, I have children”… I say bring em down and show them how to live!

One lady commented “I wouldn’t have minded if it was Jazz!”
I reckon they nailed it and she just doesn’t know what free jazz is…

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Needless to say it was absolute carnage… They set up in the street under the gazebo with everyone crowding round. When the set was underway they gave the audience drums and a secret brass orchestra whipped out their horns and started some free jazz improv craziness that I can’t even describe other than absolutely amazing!

Thanks to everyone that came along and those who sent us their best wishes for opening…

I’m sure there will be many stories to tell from here on in!

LONG LIVE SKULL BIKE CLUB! LONG LIVE SBC CYCLES!

Peace out… Squirrel Master…

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 SBC CYCLES
‘BIKE ADVENTURES FOREVER!’

 

 

(i know you’re) out there

hey skull peeps! Its been a while but here’s a bike check of my current all-rounder which has been a long time coming but i’m pretty stoked on. Its a practical sort of ride, with a bit of quality here and there, I made sure it was still ratty and low key enough to blend in when locked up on these Auckland mean streets:-)

I have no idea what it weighs or anything like that but its a breeze to get up a flight of stairs which is all that really matters to me. Its an aluminium Cannondale M500, from 1995 which was when they were still made in the USA so it has a few nice touches.

 The sweetest thing about this frame in my mind is the super smooth brazing where the tubes intersect, its got that kind of futuristic melted together look that makes it look so much more space age and tech than a lugged steel frame.
Other highlights  for me include the wishbone seat stay,the old school high top tube, the ridiculously awesome pepperoni rigid fork, vee brakes, 26 inch wheels and a 1 1/8 head tube. I cant really explain why, but I do dig these 90s stylez. Understandably I was pretty stoked when I picked it up, complete and pretty much original, on trademe for $250. The really rad thing is that it fits me just perfectly which made me want to invest in some quality upgrades to set it off and ensure reliability.
I have been slowly upgrading it over the last little while using many of my favourite parts, some I had in the part box and some I hunted down to get things just right. The fact that it turns 20 this year gave me a little extra motivation to get it finished.
Here is the low down: Frame: 1995 Cannondale M500 aluminium 18 inch frame and aluminium pepperoni rigid fork. Wheels: 32h Profile elite MTB hubs (9speed) on 26inch sunn rhyno lite rims with maxxis dth 2.3 skinwall tyres.
Drivetrain: an unholy mix of sram and shimano because I have no particular allegiance to either. XO, X7, LX and King are all representing, coaxed into action by my favourite old LX hollowtech crankset which I have had on a number of bikes and has never let me down. After running this 9 speed for a good while, I have recently upgraded to a double chainring up front, Brian at TWB hooked me up with a top secret and super sweet gear set up that has a really good range but most importantly allows me to keep the purple (front) and blue (rear) chainring bolts on the bigger ring. These have a special place in my heart as they originated on Skull’s blurple retro nightmare extravaganza, a landmark skull build in my opinion. Just so you know this thing is 100% Brian certified and 88mph rated, thanks Brian you are a mechanical wizard.
Headset: Pink Chris King which I rather retardedly installed using the hammer and 4×2 method, but it survived and is running silky smooth, eek! Cockpit: cock pits are tough but also the funnest part imo. After a good deal of experimentation I am pretty settled on my 100mm Raceface stem and Raleigh bar set up, it feels good. But I might end up switching back to a longer stem, or my surly open bars, or maybe risers, will see how it goes after a few hours in the saddle. The grips are the original lizard embossed Cannondale coda, made in USA specials – don’t act like you don’t know!
Seating: super stoked on the Ti seat post from TWheesy’s personal stash which pairs perfectly with my trashed Ti fizik saddle, replacing my usual turbo for the first time in years.
Brakes: I had an XT lever x Avid Magnesium set up on here for a while but decided to add a bit of spesh as well as a bit more US manufacturing stylez to this old girl with a Paul vee brake set up. I was on a budget by this stage but managed to cobble together a good set up off ebay in 3 separate auctions. I was pretty stoked the day i won the particularly sweet and semi rare black and silver levers. Boom!
Last but not least we have one of my all time favourite bicycle accessories the Velo Orange front rack whose usefulness seems to know no limit, it can carry 2 x 15 packs of beer with ease and played a key role in my beer transportation personal best of 60 bottles.
Oh yeah and big up diggle bunsrltw for the frame bag! It totally rules!
Peace out people: drink beer, listen to dinosaur jr and ride on.

Woody

Gumber Bothy vs Holland Wood New Forest, Camping near London with bikes.

Its finally summer here in London and I’ve been able to get away a bit to do some camping.

Thanks to Straton we had a big ass van to use for the weekend and so we packed our mtbs in and drove down to the south downs to Gumber Bothy.

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The camp site was about 15min up a gravel track which was hard with all my gear on my back.

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Bleds packed a lot lighter.IMG_5965

 

We set up camp and went for a little ride around the woods then went to the pub and came back for a fire and whiskey.

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My camp setup.

2015-05-24 15.30.01-1Next morning feeling hung over we rode to some trails in Houghton forest. It was all off road from the campsite across farms and forest. Something like this roughly.

Untitled-1The ride was really nice and quiet and we found a couple of fun trails. My phone was flat so I dont have any pic but strat made this LOL video of the weekend.

Next little trip was out to Brockenhurst here

map2

to a campsite in New Forest called Holland Wood. There’s a few campsite in New Forest, they all look like they are run by the same people and look roughly the same. We rode our bikes to waterloo and jumped on a train for an hour and a half and then rode 10 min to the camp.

We setup and chilled for a bit then rode into Brokenhurst for some food.

2015-06-09 17.01.59Unfortunately the campsite doesn’t allow any wood burning so we couldn’t use our biolite stove to make hot food. It was a bummer cause I love making a little fire and being able to charge my phone.

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Next day we went for a ride around the forest. The paths are well marked and they are strict about you sticking to them. So it was more a gravel grind than mtb but that was ok cause ash was on 35c.

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I guess one of the cool things about New Forest is all the wild horses and ponys. Like everywhere! And they dont give a shit, they are so used to humans they just hang out where ever.

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Like in this huge field of weird bumps. What are they from?

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the forest was kinda cool looking too when you go into it.

IMG_5138and there was a bike shop in Brockenhurst which does rentals if you need a bike and had a cool little workshop and rad old mtb.

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and a couple of ok pubs like the Rose and Crown with this beer garden.IMG_5117also had Auckland Ave! IMG_5120but I gotta say that no wood fires (even if it is more eco) definitely put a damper on my trip. That and not being allowed to got off piste in the woods. It all seems a bit PC.

So there you are. Clear winner. Gumber bothy for its sweet fire pit and trail shredability. You can make it a stop off of you are doing the South Downs way which I plan on doing some time in the future.

 

 

 

 

Chinese carbon 29er bike check and FM-056 frame review

2015-06-15 12.31.21 2015-06-15 12.32.37 2015-06-15 12.31.292015-06-15 12.32.002015-06-15 12.31.38 I bought this frame off ebay in March last year after doing extensive reasearch on the mtbr forum. It was £280 shipped with a full carbon fork (now on my commuter) Think I payed another £35 import charges. I built it up with a second hand fox float, sram x9 cranks running a direct mount wolf tooth chain ring (32t) Chris king BB off my surly. Xt shifter and cassette and zee mech. The wheels are halo super drive and xcd hubs (mismatched cause that was all that was in stock at the time) on halo vapour tubeless rims with cxray spokes. Racing Ralph at the rear and Hans Dampf at the front seams to be a light and grippy combo for the muddy english trails. Ive got whiskey carbon bars 74cm and a cheap kalloy stem 70mm. The brakes are formula R1’s which are ok but not great. They are quite light and I got them fairly cheap. I got a fizik gobi muzzle saddle that I love on top a KS LEV 150mm dropper with the cable run though where the front mech would go so its quite tidy and got a southpaw remote lever for it which I really like.

I’ve been riding this bike a lot. I’m actually on my second chain and cassette now. Riding it around town and out to Epping and back I wear out the 11t and 12t cogs quite quick. But other than that the gear range is fine.

Its 11.1kg as you see it and feels fast as fuck. It climbs great and being clipped in I can hop it and float over roots with ease reducing the hammering on the rear end. I’ve been riding it kind of half cross country and half trail and even take it down the DH runs in Swinley forest. I’m a bit conscious when riding it not to push it too hard. I try to stay in the transitions of jumps and not huck to flat but I think I’ve definitely given it a bit more abuse than it was designed to take and its still going strong. I’m so happy with it that if it broke tomorrow I would just get another one. I think that for the money it preforms so well.

I’m probably going to put sram GX or X1 on it soon to give it a bigger gear range and might try out one of those oval rings, see how they feel. But even as it is now its my favorite bike to ride.