Just Riding Along

Posts on work, technical and website issues from the office.

  • Plywood bicycles

    Our ply-wood bikes have been touring with us for a few years now and we've decided to go into production. They retail for £250 each (inc. VAT) and as with all bikes are available in a variety of wheel sizes.

    We plan to expand our range so please get in touch through our contact page for these and other wooden point of sale. As the range expands we'll keep adding to the page.




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  • Hope Pro3 Mono compared to Mono RS hubs

    With the delivery of the first Hope Mono RS hubs we've been able to take a look at how they have changed from the Pro3 Mono and look at the compatibility issues.

    Hope Mono RS hub Hope Mono RS hub

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  • Tour de France 2014 - Midhope to Bradfield

    High Bradfield on the Tour de France 2014 High Bradfield on the Tour de France route 2014

    Filled with Tour fever earlier this year in August I took a detour on the way to work to sample and photograph some of the route. Expect excessive grit stone photography,

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  • An introduction to PowerTap hubs


    Power Tap G3 hub PowerTap G3 hub

    What is a PowerTap hub?

    SImply, a PowerTap hub works out the power you're producing to propel your bike along. It measures the torque being applied to the hub (how hard you're pressing on the pedals) and how fast the wheel's going round, and sends the data to your bike computer which can work out how much power you're producing. Power is what makes you go up hills.

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  • New for 2014 - Chris King Turquoise & Enve Composites road-disk rims

    Zeppelin hanger complete with Zeppelin Zeppelin hanger complete with Zeppelin

    A couple of things caught our eye at Eurobike that we wanted to tell you about, first the new Chris King limited edition Turquoise colour, it does look an almost normal blue on photos but compare it to the (fuzzy)  shot of the headsets a few pictures down the page of the existing Navy and the new Turquoise it is a whole lot lighter in colour. We don't know how many will be around but if you definitely want some you'll need to order by the cut off of mid-November this year. We'll be taking deposits now and then full payment on arrival next spring - call us to place your order.

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  • Phil Wood spoke cutter

    The Phil Woods spoke cutter The Phil Wood spoke cutter

    The Phil Wood spoke cutting machine is widely regarded as the ultimate bike shop tool, and it's certainly one we've been after for a while. Mountain bike wheels are fairly limited in the spoke lengths needed because most are built with a traditional 32 spoke, 3-cross spoke pattern but as we built up our range of road wheels we found ourselves needing ever more spoke lengths to cope with deeper rim profiles, lower spoke counts and different lacing patterns. Sometimes the spokes are not available in the right lengths, more often the supplier has run out, and in any case it's inefficient ordering a pack of 100 unusual spokes if you only need 14 to complete a build.

    Phil Wood spoke machine - end view The Phil Wood spoke machine shown from the end.

    In the past we dealt with a need for unavailable spoke lengths by manually cutting, grinding and threading spokes to the right length, but even at top speed it took over a minute per spoke - meaning a set of 64 took at least an hour. It also took a lot of concentration to get perfectly cut spokes with the right amount of thread. So in late May we took the plunge and ordered our Phil Wood machine. With a single rotation of the handle, it first cuts the spoke to the perfect length, then passes it to a pair of dies, which roll a perfect professional quality thread of the correct length. The quality of the finish is in fact so good that Phil Wood have supplied machines to both DT Swiss and Sapim.

    I'm please to be able to report that it's working well. Not only can we now cut and roll a spoke thread in around 5 seconds (that set of 64 is now down to just over 5 minutes), we can cut to 0.5mm accuracy which improves the wheels and speeds build time. In our shop, we are now able to offer individual spokes for sale in 1mm increments (0.5mm precision is only really useful when we're building the same combination several times and have a record of the exact length which worked best).

    The only spokes we can't use in the Phil Wood machine are the Sapim D-Lights, which have the shortest butt possible in order to save weight - we can't cut them at all as the thread ends at the point where the spoke changes thickness. On the other hand "straight gauge" (same thickness over the whole length) spokes such as Sapim Leader or DT Champion can be cut to any length down to about 55mm - we only need to stock the longest ones we can lay our hands on, and recycle the offcuts!

    butted and straight gauge spokes Straight gauge, butted with butt showing and D-light spoke with thread up to butt

    As to the performance of the machine...well it took a bit of learning to get the setup right. Changing between spoke thicknesses (for example, 1.8mm thread to 2.0mm) involves loosening the 3 large bolts on the end of the machine, inserting a shim, and tightening the bolts again, and it took us a while to work out which part to hold to get perfect alignment. Also if you're not slick enough with the cutting action, some spokes tend to shift the spoke holder leading to changeable lengths. But now we've had some practice it performs flawlessly every time. No jamming, perfectly rolled threads, perfect accuracy on the length. Lower stock holding of spokes with improved availability means the Phil Wood spoke cutter is well worth every one of its considerable number of pennies.

  • Dr Bike check-ups

    We're hosting a monthly Dr Bike clinic during the summer, free for any one to bring their bike for a safety check. Run by Sheffield Cycle Boost and Recycle bikes they can help get your bike on the road for free.

    What does it do
    "The bike doctor will give your bike a full safety check. We will fix any minor repairs on the spot for free and if we find anything more serious we'll give you a prescription to take to your local bike shop."

    Saturday 9.30am-1pm
    29th June
    27th July
    7th September

    Just drop in no appointment needed, while-you-wait or collect later if its busy.
    email: fix@sheffieldcycleboost.org if you need more details.

  • Bespoked Bristol 2013

    Field Cycles at Bespoked Bristol Field Cycles at Bespoked Bristol

    We are back and finally recovered and tidied up after Bespoked Bristol last weekend. As well as our own stand we built wheels for some frame builders and built wheels for the live build demonstration.

    The show was packed, especially on Saturday with around 4000 visitors attending, and 2000 on the Sunday. Jon joined up with Klaus from Sapim for the live wheel build demonstration on Sunday morning, it was surprisingly nerve-wracking with people watching but it went well and we ended up with a pair of wheels for the live build bike (a lucky raffle winner won a bike to be built during the show).

    Most of the time we were too busy to take photos but managed to grab a few at the end:

    We built wheels for these frame builders:

    DMO frameworks - titanium bike packer
    Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub laced to NoTubes ZTR Crest 29er rim
    Chris King ISO disk hubs laced to NoTubes ZTR Arch 29er rims

    Field Cycles
    American Classic disk 130 & 225 hubs laced to NoTubes Crest 29er rims
    Hope Pro3 Mono hubs black laced to H Plus Son Archetype grey rims

    Rusby Cycles
    Hope Pro3 Mono hubs gunsmoke laced to H Plus Son Archetype black rims

    Slate Cycles
    Hope Pro3 Mono hubs laced to H Plus Son Archetype rims, all black

     See you again in Bristol next year!

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