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Found 22 results

  1. I've worked in the high end cycling industry as a technician for more than 25years so the opinion I'm about to enumerate is deeply held and backed up with lots of personal history and pain. It's understood that opinions will differ but if you have one on bicycle frame material, I'd expect that you've done your homework.. I have and I'm very definitely a steel man. It needs to be recognised that there are a very wide range of steel qualities used in frame construction, starting with high tensile tubing and going all the way to titanium. Not many shops offer their clients anything like decent steel framed bicycles and very few make after market frames available .. there are good reasons for that but I'm one of those guys who just hates new ****. My bikes last, steel bikes last ! There isn't a single bike I've ridden (and I've worked in Dubai, on the most expensive bicycles in the world) that I would take over my old single speeded chromoly Kona .. which is why bike builders use STEEL. Maybe some of the people reading this recognise the bike, I've had it up for sale on this site before but no one was prepared to pay my price so I kept the bike .. happily, because I believe in intrinsic value and this bike like my Bridgestone has intrinsic value. It will also outlast pretty much any overpriced latest, greatest bike out there.
  2. Hi All Please note we will be riding this weekend on Sunday from Ground. Meeting at 6:45 for 7:00 departure. Distance around 30km Spped from 20 to25 in various groups. Let me know if you would like more information
  3. I couldn't find a thread dedicated to these bikes, so here's one. I've just purchased a Hansom track bike and can't wait to get my hands on it and post a few pics - then decide what to do with it.
  4. I found this classic in a storage unit at a retirement village (don't ask what I was doing there). Fixed it up, serviced hubs, derailleurs, headset etc. Removed all the rust and put it back together. All the parts are still original, except the chain, which was rusted beyond saving and the spokes. Specs are as follows: Frame: Du Toit Columbus 531 Fork/Headset: Du Toit Columbus 531 Pedals: Gipiemme Dual Sprint Derailleurs/Shifters: Campagnolo 980 6 speed Handlebars/Stem: Fiamme Dallas/ Cinelli Quill Saddle/Seatpost: Selle Italia Anatomica Brakes: Modolo Speedy Gold Front Wheel/Hub/Tire: Mavic GP4/ Campagnolo 980 Rear Wheel/Hub/Tire: Mavic GP4/ Campagnolo 980 If anyone's interested, Here's my modest collection: https://www.pedalroom.com/members/MrFocus
  5. I am currently aquiring parts and components to build myself a Touring bike. Today a very good friend from my LBS donated a fairly bent fork to me as I requested believing someone should be able to mend it for me. (see photo) From what I can see, it seems only the one end of the steerer seemes to have bent. Any frame builder or some skilfull fellow in or arround the East Rand area of Gauteng that can get this fork sorted for me? Please kindly advice. ....Or am I on a lost course with this pugsley fork? I hope am not All advice will be seriously appreciated.
  6. So this bike actually belongs to a friend of mine, but he'll be moving to Germany in Feb, then it will be all mine! And we figured it would be a fun build project for now. I don't really know where this frame comes from or what year it might be or what it was used for, so if anyone can shed some light, that would be massively appreciated. There's a lot of rust at the moment, but rest assured, she will be lovingly restored. Le Turbo steel frame Mavic hoops with Suntour Superb hubs. (if anyone knows what rims these are, please do share!) Cinelli Pista bars and stem [url=https://postimage.org] [url=https://postimage.org]
  7. For reasons of early midlife crises and a light dose of work burn-out, I started thinking of an "extended" break from work to clear the head. I settled on 3 months in Europe, cycling the big Cols of the Tour de France, some monuments of the Giro d’Italia, emerging Spring Classics (read: Strada Bianche route) and exploring new countries if time allows. To make the money stretch for that long, there'd be a lot of camping, and some home-cooking to boot. Finally, I’ve decided to be on a holiday and not a pilgrimage or crusade. A joyful heart, sore legs and double-espressos, if you will. The decision on the nature of the trip set some key parameters for equipment: 1) I need a bike. 2) I need to carry stuff with it. 3) I need to love looking at it while I’m doing it, as well as when the trip is over. Since there will be a lot of climbing (and I guess descending too) I realized I need racing geometry. With good brakes. My notes kept returning to “Cyclo-cross Tourer”. It certainly makes for a niche machine, but jury is out on the “beautiful” part. That was until I started hitting Google with intent, and stumbled upon Mr David Mercer, an up and coming local frame builder. His work got featured every so often in local magazines. Seeing his personal tourer online, something stirred inside... http://mudcakedface.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/MercerBikes-300x160.jpg (Photo courtesy of MercerBikes) I delayed the necessary phone call, knowing if the price was right the deal would be done and the option to turn back, well, gone. And so it happened. On an ordinary day, using an ordinary phone, from an ordinary location, something with promises of extravagance and artisanal beauty was born. David named his (approximate) price and deposit requirements. I thought about it for a moment and counted on my ability to breathe under water. It became a bit of a timing deal, I guess. Waiting longer to commit would cause hassles given his order book and my envisioned departure date. In the end, we settled on delivery early April 2016. Again, so far off, it seemed almost unreal. The key specifications were: Disc brake ready frame and fork700c/29” wheelsAmple clearance for cyclocross/MTB tiresThe frame would be built in steel, with a Columbus carbon CX fork. The good thing about the extended timeline was that I had lots of time to research and procure components for the build. I also saw our local currency loose its **** twice, while I was sitting with wish-list orders on various bicycle part supply sites. It was obviously great being able to wait these things out a little... I’ll do the write-up in chronological order, to share the agonizing process of waiting with a bleeding credit card in hand. The frame is covered. Ordered 1st and expected to arrive last. Like it should be. I should name this frame Hitchcock for all its suspense. Here's a sneak view of some of the details..."Artisanal" http://mudcakedface.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Cameleon_LuggedDelight.jpg (Photo courtesy of MercerBikes) Gearing / braking up next At the time of the build, hydraulic disc brakes for road bikes was just approved by the UCI for use in the pro peloton. Not that I would race at that level…this year…or ever…but…it meant product options started trickling in from SRAM, Shimano and other players. I knew I wanted disc brakes and from previous experience with a touring tandem, I knew I was looking for a hydraulic setup. Both Shimano and SRAM have just launched fully hydraulic setups, with shifters housing the fluid reservoir driving pistons much as we know from the MTB world. A super-sexy setup no doubt, but also rather pricey. Other options included cable/fluid combinations, which would allow me to decouple the groupset/brake setup options. I kept this in the back of my mind as I filled my trolley online, comparing options on price while reading as much as I could about pros and cons either way. In the end I figured: I actually have to start with the brake set up, since everything else would hang off this backwards. Buy Shimano and I will have to go Shimano road gearing. Ditto SRAM, but at least there I would have the option of mixing road vs. MTB parts. This then went the direction of gearing. I’ll be hauling approx. 35kg of kit up 20km passes at 10% ave. grade. That requires MTB gearing at best I thought. Options, options. 1x10, 1x11? 2x11? 3xwhatever. It became so confusing, I spent days in the fetal position in a semi-catatonic state. Safe word was “Simplification”. I decided to decouple the braking/shifter/speed dilemma by going for a cable-to-hydraulic option from TRP (they call it Hy/Rd, pronounced "High Road"). This allowed me to make the groupset decision later, while being able to look for good deals on standard equipment. http://mudcakedface.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/TRPBoxSet-1024x768.jpg Sold as a single caliper, it ships with a 160mm rotor (6-bolt) and adapters for direct and IS mount. Interestingly, with the TRP setup, the hydraulic fluid is housed in a reservoir on the caliper assembly. This makes for a bulkier brake and requires some consideration to limit heel-strike.Its a hefty little unit, with the reservoir located on the caliper body itself - the shiny plate is the cover: http://mudcakedface.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/TRPUpclose-1024x768.jpg Additionally, TRP and several others recommend running compression-less brake housing to minimize drag and create a more direct braking feel. Some research pointed to Yokozuna brake housing, in the league of Nokon, but more reasonably priced. My credit card cried tears the shape of dollar signs as it gleefully gotten itself whipped and abused. The set arrived with brake and shifter housing, promising an improvement in already-sweet shifting (from the experience of my all-Campy set up on the road bike). Back to shifters/gearing then. A chance discussion with my local Campy dealer opened up a whole new can of worms…what about using a triple Campy Record crank up front? This can be run with a standard 10 speed Campy shifter set, since the front shifter has enough trim positions to cover all three blades. As luck would have it, I was running a Record 10 speed setup on my road bike. All I needed was a reason to upgrade to 11 speed on that bike…eventually. The plan was thought over and then committed to. I picked up the triple crank for next to nothing, and had a triple front derailleur and long cage rear derailleur thrown in. The latter not top-of-the-line stuff, but certainly adequate for my purposes... http://mudcakedface.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Der-768x1024.jpg Of course, one needs a bottom bracket too...I picked up a matching Record BB in the right size. Unfortunately no pictures since this has been dispatched to my frame builder along with the crank. To check clearances, you see... Voila, gearing was sorted (for now)! While the classic alloy Record crankset is something to behold, the theme of the bike turned into black/cream/gold/copper with very little silver/chrome. After some consideration, I found a local anodizing shop and commissioned a "mirror-black" finish. They refused to anodize the blades, which thus still leaves a bit of silver splash in the wrong place. To be sorted. (More at http://mudcakedface.com/build-projects/mercer-cx-tourer-build/)
  8. Hint # 01: basic frame specs alluded to in the topic title..
  9. Ever wanted to revive a beat-up old classic to restore it to its former glory? After years of being off bikes in general, I decided to create a piece of “functional” art fit for our living room. It started with an advert on Gumtree: “Steel Bianchi for sale, excellent condition. No Wheels. R 1,000 ONCO”. This is what “Excellent Condition” looks like nowadays: http://mudcakedface.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/IMG_1150.jpg Several small touches revealed her heritage though...Stamped seat stay caps, proudly bearing a “B” for Bianchi: http://mudcakedface.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/IMG_1156.jpg What is more fun than spending a weekend with paint stripper and a wire brush, turning an old hag into a naked canvas? http://mudcakedface.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/IMG_1163.jpg I loved the little bits of copper brazing you can see where the joins are exposed. Artisanal. Lots of pondering, resulting in a final call. The entire shebang will be chromed, fork ‘n all. Finding a shop to do the job was a mission, but I happened upon a place close to home. After weeks of waiting, the result came back… http://mudcakedface.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/IMG_1262.jpg A couple of blemishes in the finish, with some rough patches, but nothing terminal. I added some mark-ups to show where decals should go, and where the paint/chrome transitions should be. Next stop, CycleArt (Webpage here), with a brief: Make it classic please. On one of the most beautiful days of my life, I stopped at CycleArt’s shop out South of Johannesburg to collect the mystery package. Little did I know what was in store… Drop outs more stunning than the day she was sold: http://mudcakedface.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/IMG_1282.jpg Tube-to-lug transitions to make you shed a tear: http://mudcakedface.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/IMG_1284.jpg I could have done better with the stickers (will definitely recommend airbrushing in future). Sadly, the project hit a massive pause here as priorities changed, what with moving house and all that. I guess in a way, I realised this wasn’t going to be a quick back-yard build. All parts would have to be sourced carefully and strictly within the increasingly narrow confines of what my mind’s eye was starting to see. No more Internet shopping for parts, no siree. About 6 months later, I stumble upon Whippet Cycles in Maboneng district, Johannesburg (Website here). Innocently, I bought a set of handlebars. Week later, I bought a set of wheels…the project was on again! (from my blog at http://mudcakedface.com/build-projects/bianchi-single-speed-build/)
  10. When we are kids, we don’t know the value of things. We also have no idea, the direction our lives may take. Some people claim they have everything planned to a T, but I certainly am not one of those people. Spending days and weeks during holidays at my best friend’s house, I was certainly aware of the bicycle in the study, we were expressly told not to touch it. It was carefully moved occasionally when we wanted to use an extra chair to play King’s Quest and later on Lesuire Suit Larry on the PC. That was as much involvement I had with the bike in the study. I knew it was of high value at the time, but I did not know how valuable it is to me, there’s no way to know at the time. Without going into too much detail and my whole life story, we rode BMX’s as our main mode of transport, after school in groups between the houses where we live. We explored areas of the neighbourhoods in which we lived and it was an integral part of our lives - It was a means to an end. Fast forward, a whole number of years, and cycling once again forms a strong part of my life, but not for the same reasons as the BMX at the time. After having conversations about cycling, and enquiring If my mate still had his cosmos bike that he and his dad had built up through Westdene Cycles at the time, he mentioned that his dad still has the bike that was in the study. He offered it to me. I very excitedly accepted. After some time, and logistics needed sorting out, getting the bike back to Joburg from the coast, I finally got my hands on it. While driving home last night, and seeing the bike for the first time in 20 odd years, my mind was flooded anew with lost childhood memories, of my mate’s father, times my mate and I spent together and a general sense of happiness. I had this silly smile on my face all the way home, this morning when I took some photographs, and every time I think about it. Thinking about cycling in my life currently, and the happiness it brings, and it being enriched by this piece of history has really made quite an impact. Keyz, when you are reading this – Thank you for 32 years of friendship and memories. It certainly has been 32 good ones because of it. Enough with the soppy stuff, down to business: The Bike is a Zeus, manufactured in Spain. Zeus being reportedly, one of the better Campagnolo copiers out there at the time. What set Zeus apart was that they manufactured all their own components, under the Zeus brand. Only items I can ascertain that are not OEM are the brakeset and the shimano FD. A complete bike, with restored decals and fresh paint are available on E-bay for about $600. Not that I am planning to get rid of it.
  11. The Frame Hungry Monkey frames are built one at a time in the Cape Town workshop of Mercer Bikes. The frame is 650b specific and is equipped with sliding dropouts and has been designed to accept long travel forks (140 – 160mm). The head angle is a relatively slack at 66 degrees running a 160mm fork and the top tube is on the long side - 620mm effective top tube giving you a roomy 428mm of reach in the large size. To make a stable ride at speed, the bottom bracket is lower than the norm and the chainstay length can be adjusted from 420 to 445mm. A 1x specific design, the Hungry Monkey also has cable routing for a stealth dropper post making it a very versatile frame that can be set up for many riding styles. Steel's longevity and liveliness are legendary and the heart of the Hungry Monkey is its handmade steel frame. A selection of double butted steel tubes from Columbus and Dedacciai are fillet brazed together - brass is melted into and around the join to fuse the tubes to one another. On a microscopic level some interesting things happen - there is a transition zone of bronze that forms through the interaction of steel and brass. The fillets are then worked on with a file and emery cloth to reveal a smooth bond at each juncture - this helps to dissipate stresses at the join, as there are no sharp transitions to form stress risers. Since brass is also more ductile than steel, there's a microscopic amount of flex that occurs at the joins. Traditional frame builders believe that this flex further enhances resilience. David Mercer does not use gussets on the front triangle as he feels that this concentrates stress around the ends of the gusset. Gussets are however used to increase the wall thickness of the chain stays where they are joined to the bottom bracket to compensate for the lack of chainstay bridges. By leaving out the bridge there's a bit more clearance for larger tires and mud. Components Most Mercer Bikes ship as a frame only, leaving the buyer to cherry-pick all their components themselves allowing for a truly custom build bike.Fork: DVO Diamond As a recent addition to the build, I don't have too much to say about the DVO just yet. So far it's been all good, but I need some more time on it to get it dialed to my liking. For now you can have a look at our "First Look" article about it here. Wheelset: American Classic Carbonator I had a 29er set on review and was very impressed with their overall performance. These were fitted in haste to get the bike up and running in time to make it to the Africa Cycle Fair. For the full review have a look here.Drivetrain: SRAM X1 One word: faultless. I can add quite a few more words of praise, but let's leave that for the full review coming up in the not too distant future. Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth, 125mm drop This is the second bike of mine with this stealth dropper and I haven't had a single issue with it. Once the review is done on this one, I will get a 150mm drop for this frame, as there's enough length.Brakes: Hope Stealth Tech Evo with 183mm floating rotors Another piece of kit that has made it's way to more than one build. They haven't let me down once and to date no maintenance has been needed to keep them operating at their best. Tyres: Hans Dampf TLR 2.35 front, 2.25 rear My love affair with Hans Dampf tyres have been a bit hot and cold. Quite capable in most terrain, but surprisingly weak in others - like sand. Running them on the super wide Derby Rims gave them a new lease on life. Alas, my search for the perfect one tyre continues. Pedals: Point1 Podium For their review I have dug into my archives to try and figure out exactly when I bought them. Although the exact year could not be determined I have established that I've had these for the best part of four years and they have somehow survived very little maintenance and have out-lived several bikes. Point1 was recently acquired by Gamut (a certain Mr Minnaar rides their gear) which means these are now available to purchase locally. Bottle Cages: Specialized Zee Cage II with EMT Cage Mount Tool Full review on these here.Handlebar & Stem: Easton Haven 35 Carbon 20mm Riser Bar, 750mm | Easton Haven 35 Stem, 50mm Easton was one of the first big players to release 35mm bars and stems and it certainly looks like it's here to stay and possibly take over as the steering of choice for longer travel bikes. Grips: ODI Rogue I have been a fan of ODI for a good couple of years. With colour, width and feel options to suit just about every rider regardless of discipline. The Rogues have been my grip of choice, as they provide an extra bit of give without being too soft or spongy. Plus, they perform well come rain or shine. Headset: Nukeproof Warhead 44IETS Along with a bike's bottom bracket, the headset is often an unsung hero expected to slave without much love and attention. The Nukeproof has been going for months without any issues. Saddle: SDG Circuit Mountain Ti-alloy saddle I've tried many saddles of this nature and the SDG Circuit has proven to be the most comfortable on longer rides. Full review on it here. On the Trail Spoiler alert: it is great fun. The Hungry Monkey manages to blend the perfect combination of a direct drive hardtail with the forgiving feel of steel. Stomp on the pedal and it leaps forward with gusto.Climbing rocky terrain is typical of a hardtail with a dash of forgiveness thanks again to steel's characteristics and Mercer's understanding and experience with building some "traction" into the rear triangle. What efficiency does get lost is made up for in heaps and bounds by it's competitively lightweight (2.4kg for a frame in size large) and a sorted geometry. The seat tube angle plays a big part in this and the ability to adjust the chainstay length means you can play around until you find a perfect blend of snappy response and sure-footedness. Hit open, flowy single track and let the Hungry Monkey loose for hours of fun. My original build had a dual position Pike on it that could be set to either 120mm or 150mm. I found the bike's trail manners surprisingly good in 120mm. The bottom bracket height does come into play so you will have to watch those pedal strikes, but get your mind around that and the combination of the low bottom bracket, healthy reach and head angle makes for one super capable trail bike. In fact, in this "mode" I would argue that it could be the perfect XC / Marathon race bike for most. It's not as harsh as some alloy frames and although there's no discernible flex, its not as harsh as some carbon hardtails where the goal from outset was the stiffest possible frame. Even here Mercer seems to have a one up on most big brands.Although not meant to be a definitive guide, for reference I would say trails like Meerendal, G-Spot and Bottelary Hills are perfectly suited to a 120mm Hungry Monkey. For our Gauteng readers... The Spruit? Just kidding, I have no idea really. Best description would probably be trails that aren't too rocky and rooty and have lots of smooth, flowy single track. That's not due to any short comings of the frame, purely based on the bottom bracket height in 120mm mode. Up the travel to the recommend 140mm - 160 mm and you have yourself a beast of a bike. Come to terms with the fact that you are on a hardtail and you will be rewarded with one of most fun bikes on our trails. Getting your tires off the ground takes little to no effort, manuals and bunny hops have never felt this "natural" on anything but a dirt jump bike.Tackle a technical downhill section and the bike's head angle comes into play as it let's you carry speed and momentum with confidence and bravado. Railing berms is uber fun and if you do lose some momentum getting back up to speed takes very little effort as every pedal stroke is rewarded with a burst of speed. When combined with the almost "plus size" effect of the super wide Derby Rims (35mm internal, 40mm external) the bike is a momentum monster delivering stupid grins for long after the single track has stopped. Verdict In our coverage of the Hungry Monkey for the Africa Cycle Fair's Best Bike in Africa two lines stood out for me: "In an era of mass production, the Hungry Monkey stands out as something unique and special" and touching on it being a handmade steel frame "this should make the Hungry Monkey a frame for life." Two lines that sum it up to the T. If you want to be to the point and factual about anything that can be ridden or driven then surely it all comes down to the cold hard facts or how it rides or drives and there should be little to nothing to add to that. We have seen the dawn of the hypercar era, but only a few have managed to stir the soul and evoke emotion. So too there are many great mountain bikes out there and one could actually argue that there are very few bad mountain bikes left, but of those great bikes only a few manage to get ones heart rate up - for me, the Hungry Monkey is one of those and I attribute that to 3 main factors: Steel. There is just something special about riding a steel bike. Okay, I suppose not every bike made out of steel rides the same. But with the Hungry Monkey you know lots of thought and consideration has gone into every tube, angle and finishing touch. Having met it's maker. When I first met Dave it was obvious that he loves what he is doing. This is not a way out of a job or a way into an industry. He is passionate about his bikes and the steel tubes on the shelves in his workshop - and it rubs off. The joy of riding a hardtail again. Yes, I miss rear suspension sometimes when out on the trail and yes I do still love dual suspension bikes, but here's just something beautiful in how simple and fun it is to ride a hardtail. Even more so when it's this new breed of all-day, all-mountain hardtails that can shred with the best of them. To add to that is the fact that I'm a tinkerer and that with the wide variety of bikes we get to ride in a month one never quite settles down. Not the case with the Hungry Monkey as it's a jump on ride type of bike. To me fitness and health has always been a by-product of cycling and riding the Hungry Monkey has been a return to my roots and reason for riding again. No Strava, no beginning or end, no set route and certainly less deadlines. It's taken me back to riding just for the sake of riding and for the love of being outside and the love of being on a bicycle. The smell of the early morning dirt and the reward of a Jonkershoek mountain stream on a hot day. Back to the tangible. Take into consideration how versatile the frame is and the fact that in steel you have a frame for life, and you have a clear winner here. A Mercer Bikes Hungry Monkey II frame retails for R12,500. Contact them here.
  12. The Hungry Monkey 2 is a semi-production mountain bike from Mercer Bikes. Made by hand in the Mercer Bikes workshop in Cape Town, it is available in three sizes – M, L and XL. The Hungry Monkey is a relatively lightweight but long travel 650b trail bike based around a 140 – 160mm travel fork. Click here to view the article
  13. Hi All, Much excitement... I own my very first Steel Frame bike. A Bridgestone RB-2, I like the look of the geometry and the condition is impressive, she has been stuck in a roof for 10 years!!! A bit of Googling and I'm guessing this bike is a 93 model. Specs... Shimano Exage Group Wolber WTX Rims with 105 hubs. The plan... This is where I need some advice/guidance. - Replace the brake lever hoods... Where can I get these? - Rebuild the wheelset with new spokes... Who is my best Cape Town option? And what is the expense likely to be. - Clean and polish the components - I would like to put on gum walled tires - Touch up minor chips on the paintwork and clear coat the bike. The paint work is in quite good condition Any other advice would be greatly appreciated!
  14. Event Name: Tour Of Ara 2015. When: 26 September 2015 - 1 October 2015 Where: Cederberg, Western Cape Category: Road www.tourofara.co.za The Tour of Ara, named for the Southern Hemisphere constellation of Ara, is a prestige race that is ridden on vintage South African-built steel bicycles in the proud tradition of the early Italian multi-day stage races. Open to only 35 racers, this second edition - 26 September to 1 October of 2015 - will take riders, predominantly over hard gravel roads, from the tiny village of Die-Dorp-Op-Die-Berg over the Cederberg mountains to the settlement of Algeria - the next morning will be spent with the local community before heading off to Clanwilliam. From Clanwillian the route climbs north to Calvinia, and then turns south to the little hamlet of Middelpos. Next is Sutherland, after which the last stage will be a race to the finish in the heart of the Karoo at the famous Lord Milner Hotel in Matjiesfontein. It's a race against the clock, and stages will be very difficult and challenging, predominately over varying quality dirt roads, with the longest day being about 150 km. Riders will encounter soft sand, corrugated roads, loose stones and sharp tyre-shredding rocks, and possibly even rain and snow. Tour of Ara is completely independent, and paid for by the entrants ; there are no sponsors or patrons, and no prize money - we aim to keep it that way. This race is ridden entirely at ones own risk. You cannot hold anybody but yourself responsible for what might transpire during the Tour of Ara. So don't come crying if you get a flat or lose a finger. Prepare, train, and know your abilities and limitations before entering.
  15. Entries open 1 June 2015 at 12:00, and positions are limited - visit the site for details. tourofara.co.za The Tour of Ara, named for the Southern Hemisphere constellation of Ara, is a prestige race that is ridden on vintage South African-built steel bicycles in the proud tradition of the early Italian multi-day stage races. Open to only 35 racers, this second edition - 26 September to 1 October of 2015 - will take riders, predominantly over hard gravel roads, from the tiny village of Die-Dorp-Op-Die-Berg over the Cederberg mountains to the settlement of Algeria - the next morning will be spent with the local community before heading off to Clanwilliam. From Clanwillian the route climbs north to Calvinia, and then turns south to the little hamlet of Middelpos. Next is Sutherland, after which the last stage will be a race to the finish in the heart of the Karoo at the famous Lord Milner Hotel in Matjiesfontein. It's a race against the clock, and stages will be very difficult and challenging, predominately over varying quality dirt roads, with the longest day being about 150 km. Riders will encounter soft sand, corrugated roads, loose stones and sharp tyre-shredding rocks, and possibly even rain and snow. On the sixth and final day, all competitors will race to a point outside Matjiesfontein, where the clock will be stopped. When all active racers are together, there will be a sprint for the finish line outside the historic and majestic Matjiesfontein Hotel. The sprint finish time will be added to their final overall time. Tour of Ara is completely independent, and paid for by the entrants ; there are no sponsors or patrons, and no prize money - we aim to keep it that way. This race is ridden entirely at ones own risk. You cannot hold anybody but yourself responsible for what might transpire during the Tour of Ara. So don't come crying if you get a flat or lose a finger. Prepare, train, and know your abilities and limitations before entering. In August 2014, the first edition saw 35 cyclists race nearly 700km of gravel in six days, from the mountains of Franschhoek to Robertson, north to Touwsriver, then south of the N1 to Laingsburg. From there north-east to the little town of Merweville, then a climb into the west to Sutherland, after which the last stage to the south was raced to the finish in Matjiesfontein. The images below are from the 2014 Tour of Arae...
  16. A custom build is always a rewarding project. Part of this is the agonising process of looking for the perfect fit of design and components. For me, the direction of the build gets locked down once the look, or in this case the colours, has been decided. Once that is done, then the hunt for a complementary build kit begins. Click here to view the article
  17. Searching for satisfactory components can take a while and bring about many direction changes - as I'm sure BogusOne can attest to. For instance, with this build the final look was only determined after it became clear that I wouldn't be able to get my hands on a green DVO Diamond fork in time. Seeing it all come together in the end is rewarding and a big part of why I go the bike build route rather buying a complete bike. Frame: Mercer Bikes Hungry Monkey Frame builder: Mercer Bikes The frame and reasoning behind it has been covered thoroughly in Part 1 and Part 2. What is new, however, is the spray job by Bogus Designs (user BogusOne on The Hub) and the inspiration for it. The brief handed to Bogus Designs for the frame paint scheme. The inspiration for the Hungry Monkey's look came from the big screen. The idea really took off when I saw custom paint jobs Field Cycles did on two of their bikes. I have become a big fan of their work and the incredible passion and attention to detail is obvious. Pearl Drums nailed the coffin shut when they showed a unique colour kit at the 2015 NAMM Show. I shared my ideas with Anton (BogusOne) and he took the initiative from there. Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3 Dual Position, 150mm Distributor: Cape Cycle Systems There is not a lot that needs to be said about the Pike, as it's reputation precedes it. For the first time in years, I have gone with a dual position fork. This was done for two reasons. Firstly, there was the desire to compare how it feels out on the trails to fixed travel forks. Secondly, I thought it could be a good fit on the Hungry Monkey as the ability to drop the travel will come in handy when tackling technical climbs or using it as a "play" bike. Wheelset: Derby Rims / Industry Nine Torch Hubs / DT Swiss Aerolite Spokes Rims: Cycle Factory / Hubs: Rush Sports Cycling / Spokes: SCOTT Sports Africa Derby Rims were the first properly wide, competitively priced and durable carbon rims to hit the market. Launched in the U.S. in 2013, they have proven themselves to be reliable, strong and a popular choice for custom wheel builders. I won't go into too much depth on the wide rim debate here, but I consider myself a believer following a good couple of months on a set of American Classic Wide Lightnings. The 34mm Inner / 40mm Outer profile of the Derby rims is a level up from the American Classics and if all the glowing reviews on the Ibis 741 rims (35mm Inner / 41mm Outer) are to be believed, then I shouldn't be disappointed with these. I picked Industry Nine hubs for their reliability, crazy sound, adaptability and super fast engagement. For what they offer, they are very competitively priced and the fact that one can order them in all sorts of anodised colours adds to the lure. Going with a complete Industry Nine wheelset with red spokes was an option, but I soon realised that I would struggle to match the anodised red with the overall look of the bike. Instead, I opted for DT Swiss Aerolite spokes for their look, competitive weight and the wider profile of bladed spokes. Drivetrain: SRAM X1 Distributor: Cape Cycle Systems Chosen for the value it represents over its 1x11 siblings and (to be perfectly honest) being all black. I am looking forward to giving SRAM's entry 11-speed mountain bike groupset a go and comparing it to the XX1 and X01. Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth, 125mm drop Distributor: Cape Cycle Systems Another RockShox product that doesn't need much of an intro or explanation. I like how the Stealth version keeps things neat and tidy, and being black plays well the overall look. In three years, I've only had one mechanical on a Reverb and that was when an OTB incident tore the hose and locked the post in the dropped position. Brakes: Hope Stealth Tech Evo with 183mm floating rotors Distributor: International Trade The only piece of kit that has survived from my Ibis Mojo HDR build. Back then RockShox's Guide range of stoppers were just announced. It will be interesting to see how the Hope brakes fair against the Guide RSC's that I'm running on another bike. So far the RSC's have been faultless, but can they compete long term with Britain's finest? Time will tell. Tyres: Hans Dampf TLR 2.35 front, 2.25 rear Distributor: Stage N9NE I had these tyres on another bike and was impressed with their all-round performance; although sand seemed to be their weakness. Having experience with these tyres, I decided use them as a benchmark to assess the impact that the Derby Rims have on tyre performance. The tyres have been converted to tubeless using the supplied Derby rim tape and Stan's NoTubes sealant. Pedals: Point1 Podium Distributor: Not available locally. Not as sticky as Spank's Spike flat pedal, but I had these in the parts bin and will probably ride them until they die. Bottle Cages: Specialized Zee Cage II with EMT Cage Mount Tool Distributor: Specialized SA Credit to Specialized for their range of S.W.A.T. kit and gear. It offers solutions to problems that actually exist and brings versatility to riders - prefect. With these I will be able to hit the trails without the need for a hydration pack and will only need a pocket for an energy bar or cellphone. (With only 1 broken chain and no flats on tubeless tyres in over 6 years, I feel it's a calculated risk to not carry any spares or additional tools with me on rides). Handlebar & Stem: Easton Haven 35 Carbon 20mm Riser Bar, 750mm | Easton Haven 35 Stem, 50mm Distributor: Hullabaloo It is incredible how much mountain bike geometry, set up and trends have changed over the last couple of years. The revolution has pushed gear and kit to new heights with innovation resulting in a number of new standards. One of which is handlebars and stems with a 35mm clamping area. The additional diameter has allowed manufacturers to keep the weight down and strength up on wider bars. Easton was one of the first big players to release 35mm bars and stems and it certainly looks like it's here to stay and possibly take over as the steering of choice for longer travel bikes. Saddle: SDG Duster Mountain Ti-Alloy Distributor: A-Line MTB and Outdoor Speed Defies Gravity has got to be the coolest name in the business! It's not the only reason it made the parts pick. I've been riding SDG saddles for the last couple of years and have found them to my liking and they've proven themselves to be very durable. Grips: ODI Rogue Distributor: Cycles Africa I have been a fan of ODI for as long as I can remember. With colour, width and feel options to suit just about every rider regardless of discipline. The Rogues have been my grip of choice, as they provide an extra bit of give without being too soft or spongy. Plus, they perform well come rain or shine. Headset: Nukeproof Warhead 44IETS Distributor: Dial'd Bikes Along with a bike's bottom bracket, the headset is often an unsung hero expected to slave without much love and attention. This will be the first time I try a Nukeproof headset, but judging from the quality of their other gear I'm sure it will perform flawlessly.
  18. Rave about an (almost) tragic accident: For real technical expertise, Dr George (PhD) is the only place to go. Everyone had warned me about getting a roof rack for my car. Needless to say, after one month of bike transport bliss, I slammed my gold vintage Falcon (hand made in Britain) into the carport. The bike was mangled - frame bent, handle bars bent, both wheels locked and warped. A total write-off. That is, until Dr George (he has a PhD from a Canadian University) at Mean Machines bikes got his hands on it. Unlike other bike shops, Dr George has 35 years of experience and does all the work himself. My gold Falcon was returned to me after a week and I couldn't be happier The before and after pics show just how good the repair is. Before After (only a slight bend remaining after cold bending) For real technical expertise, my vote goes to Dr George at Mean Machines in Germiston. As with all doctors, its best to make an appointment: 071 656 4207 or 071 6591097 *** Updated: Close up picture of repaired bend *** -Andrew
  19. One can almost not help but to order a frame from David Mercer. He is as nice as he is enthusiastic and it's plain for all to see that he is a lover of what he does. Talking to him on the Mercer Bikes stand at the Africa Cycle Fair left me hungry for more Hungry Monkey and keen to experience the bike out on our local trails. Click here to view the article
  20. Once we got back home and the Africa Cycle Fair dust settled, I got in touch with David again to talk bike. As per my previous post, I considered a custom geometry, but soon realised that what I felt at the Fair was what I've been looking for and there was no reason to toy with a winning formula. David was kind enough to share some details on the Hungry Monkey frame and his frame building process with us below: The NameI've had a primate obsession all my life although I mostly manage to keep it under wraps. As a youngster I thought it was terribly unfair that humans didn't have tails - I mean, how cool would it be to have a tail? These days I still find myself wishing for a tail at times - it could be mighty handy in the workshop! For the longest time I was known by my various nicknames, all of which related to my monkey obsession - Sir Tail, was an early name, while Missing Link and Neanderthal came a little later. In early high school and around the start of my Mountain Biking passion my best mate Alex christened me ApeMan. It's a moniker that stuck and whenever I go back to Durban it resurfaces. There are many who haven't a clue what my real name is. Some have heard the nickname and assume I'm actually 'Abe'.While my monkey madness has cooled down here in these southern latitudes I can't help but poke fun at my past and so all of my own frames have primate inspired names. When I came to name my very first handmade mountain bike frame I couldn't think of anything more appropriate than Hungry Monkey - what could be more manic, willing to take more risks and generally more mischievous than a truly hungry monkey? Hungry Monkey II takes this theme and expands on it - I saw no reason to change the name and I hope others like it too. The only question is: are you ready to feed the Monkey? Why build a long travel, steel hardtail?Hungry Monkey II is a very versatile AM inspired lightweight bruiser. Very long travel forks haven't really been sensible options on hardtails until the introduction of Rock Shox' new Pike. Great support from a truly luscious travel stroke ensures that every inch of travel is used but without the wallow and dive traditionally associated with such long travel. Couple this with relatively lightweight construction, sensible through axles and there really hasn't been a better time for long travel hardtails. The geometryIn designing the Hungry Monkey II I wanted to create a bike that would be most at home on technical singletrack descents. Primarily though it needed to be fun to ride. It also needed to be able to get to the singletrack capably. I design my MTB frames around fork lengths with sag dialled in. For a 160mm fork that meant that 25-30% sag could be dialled in to give maximum plushness and to allow the fork to drop into small holes as it travels along the trail. Geometry with no sag. Geometry with 25% sag. When deciding on the head angle I look at what would happen at maximum compression: for every inch of suspension travel the head angle will change by approximately 1 degree. At full compression it's safe to assume that the rider is taxed to the maximum and so having a bottom out head angle that is too steep will result in a bike that is liable to throw you over the front when you least want to be. In my experience anything steeper than 72 or 73 degrees makes it difficult to recover the the front end in these G-out situations. If we start with a 73 degree head angle and progressively add travel by the time we've added 5 inches (roughly 160mm MINUS 25% sag) the head angle is sitting at 68 degrees. The seat angle does less to the handling of the frame but does influence it's maneuverability. Slacker seat angles make for bikes that manual easily and endow the frame with a playful feel as it's easy to get your weight back and over the rear wheel. The compromise here is that slack seat angles reduce your reach for a given top tube length. A bike with a very short reach may still feel stretched out when seated but as soon as the rider stands up and is positioned over the BB it can suddenly become very cramped - this hinders climbing performance. Very slack seat angles may also make a bike difficult to pilot up steep terrain as the front end continually wants to loft and wander as the riders weight is so far back. I gave the Hungry Monkey a reach of 428mm in the large size. A 73 degree seat angle is slacker than a lot of other newer bikes on the market but I feel it gives a good balance between playfulness and sensibility. Using these figures it then follows that the frame's theoretical top tube length works out at an even 620mm. If a large (19") frame is your usual size then you should be perfectly comfortable aboard a Hungry Monkey with a shortish stem. Seat angles are actually easily adjusted through pushing the seat forward or back and by changing to an inline or set-back seat post. The rear end of the Hungry Monkey II contains some mild trickery. It utilises sliding dropouts so that the rider can customise the rear centre length of the bike depending on their riding style. Very short rear ends favour drifting and aggressive over-the-front type riding but can be a bit of a handful for longer rides. Long rear ends add stability and encourage carving of corners - they do better when traction is good or when the rider wants a predictable feel that doesn't depend on their initiating a rear slide. Longer rear ends also beat you up less - the bumps transfer into the frame from further back and there's a longer rear triangle to help absorb shock - they also tend to climb better. On the frames I've owned with adjustable dropouts I've enjoyed the opportunity to play with these parameters depending on how I feel on the day and where I am riding. I hope this makes the Monkey as capable on gnarly trail days as on long rough endurance rides. As a happy aside it also caters nicely for single speeders. The rear end on the Hungry Monkey II can grow by 25mm from a short 420mm to a relatively long 445mm. In it's shortest setting there isn't room for a front derailleur - this is a 1 x specific bike. The BB is relatively low. With sag it sits 45mm below the axle line. This keeps the riders weight lower in the frame and makes cornering more stable. The disadvantage is that the pedals are closer to the ground and initially you may encounter more pedal strike than you are used to - most people adapt very quickly to this and really enjoy the cornering benefits and high speed stability it gives. Downhill bikes often have extremely low BB's and yet you never hear DH riders complaining! Tubing I gave a lot of thought to the tubing I used. I didn't want to make the frame unduly expensive but also wanted to take advantage of some of the metallurgical advancements steel has been through in recent years. Most of the frame is constructed with Dedacciai COM tubing. This is a Nivacrom type steel. Nivacrom was introduced by Columbus in the 80's and for a long time was the highest performing bicycle steel available. Nivacrom contains small amounts of Niobium and Vanadium alloyed with Chromoly steel. Vanadium and Niobium precipitate in the metal matrix when heat is applied and this blocks grain growth. The fineness of a steel's grain is responsible for it's resilience and resistance to fatigue. The finer the grain the better a steel will withstand fatigue. Think about mud pies - mud pies made of fine grained clay will hold together far better than mudpies made of coarse sand. In a standard steel alloy the addition of heat causes the grain structure to grow - this happens right at the weld site where you least want it and causes brittleness and loss of yield strength. Dedacciai is an Italian tubing manufacturer - they aren't as storied as their far older and more famous cousins, Columbus. As a result their tubing is a little cheaper. Another factor I considered was the length of the butted sections of the tubes. Dedacciai has quite long butts on one end of the tubes and this allows the framebuilder to use a longer butted section at the head tube junction where most of the forces are going to be acting. The walls are still relatively thin though and vary from 0.9mm at the butted ends to 0.6mm in the thinner walled centres. Butting removes material where it isn't needed but also gives high quality steel tubing another property: zing. Much is made of steel's vaunted reputation for ride quality but this cannot happen if the tube walls are too thick. Thinner walled tubing is able to vibrate and flex and gives a frame zing and zest. That 'feel of steel' will be absent in a frame built of plumbers pipe - I didn't want it to be absent in my Monkeys. To avoid any wet noodle syndrome I chose oversized tubing - the down tube is a manly 38mm diameter while the top tube is 31.7mm. The seat tube (a Columbus Zona offering) is a 33mm diameter that accepts modern 31.6mm dropper posts. Large diameter 30 x 17mm chainstays taper to a delicate 12mm at the dropout and 16mm tapered s-bend seat stays help the rear wheel to track better. I also just like the way the bends look. Up front a 44mm machined head tube will accept any new tapered steerer fork. The BB shell is 73mm wide and threaded. Press fit designs haven't really impressed me. Putting it all togetherEverything is fillet brazed together - brass is melted into and around the join to fuse the tubes to one another. On a microscopic level some interesting things happen and there's a transition zone of bronze that forms through the interaction of steel and brass. The fillets are then smoothed out with a file and emery cloth to form smooth radii at each juncture - this helps to dissipate stresses at the join as there are no sharp transitions to form stress risers. Since brass is also more ductile than steel there's a microscopic amount of flex that occurs at the joins. Traditional frame builders believe that this ductility further enhances resilience. I don't use gussets on the front triangle as I feel that this just concentrates stress around the ends of the gusset. Where I do use gussets is to increase the wall thickness of the chain stays where they are joined to the BB. I do this because I don't use chainstay bridges. By leaving out the bridge there's a bit more clearance for larger tires and mud. Since a chainstay bridge effectively shortens the chainstays one needs a little additional material to offset the stress. Chainstay gussets do this and... I just think they look cool. It's important to realise that as far as AM rigs go, the Hungry Monkey is a relatively lightweight machine. A bare 19" (large) frame weighs 2.14kg. Complete build comes in around 12.5kg. As such it's a tool for experienced riders who can read the terrain and pick a line. Hammer it into the face of doubles or flat land too many roof drops and the lightweight tubing will complain. In the right hands I believe this will be a very rewarding bike to ride and it'll beg you to push it further and faster. -- David Mercer Once my order was placed, all that was left to decided was the build kit and whether to keep the frame raw or to give it a lick of paint. More on that in Part 3.For more information on Mercer Bikes and to contact David visit http://mercerbikes.co.za
  21. The production frame will feature routing for a dropper post as well as mounts for a second bottle cage.
  22. So so sad, my SOMA Double Cross Disc, was stolen last night. Please keep an eye out for me. It is an unusual bike in that it is a steel framed road bike with disk brakes. It is probably the only SOMA Double Cross in Cape Town? Here are the details: Colour: black Material: Steel Tange Prestige Drivetrain: Shimano Dura Ace Seatpost & stem: Silver Thompson Wheels: Mavic Open Pro rims , Shimano XT hubs, 32cm Continental Gatorskin tyres Saddle: San Marco Rolls. Brakes: Shimano discs Handle bar: Silver Mtb Nickle Wide It was a break-in stolen from a home in Rosebank Cape Town. I will pay a generous reward to anyone who finds this bike for me. Thanks David Malan 084 6893114
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