Sunday, October 11, 2015

October shop news & schedule

We finished the move!

The workshop is still at 3530 E 28th St off the greenway.

I'll be in the shop everyday this week, working on Jamison's single wheel touring trailer, David's Icebreaker front and rear racks, and bike locking racks for the new Gamut Gallery!

If you have a repair or mod, project you want to discuss, a custom Icebreaker, or other winter bike this season, stop in!

Our new home office/mailing address is 1042 27th Ave SE, Apt C, 55414


Friday, September 18, 2015

Building the Black Ship Monster X Cross with Campy Athena EPS

Oh bother. This post was started months ago and got erased in the cyber-nethers. Let's crack a beer and see what happens:

Unassuming pile of Chromoly tubing
Monster X Cross
 (Or how to turn an unassuming pile of chromoly tubing into a sweet ride)

Design and Drafting: David and I collaborated on the design for this one. As an avid rider and owner of many custom bikes, he could tell me exactly what he wanted out of  the frame. in this case, fast, aggressive but still comfy position in drop bars with Campy Athena EPS.

After drafting the soon to be frame, the appropriate tube set is ordered. in this case, Nova Cycles made a custom Monster Cross kit for Black Ship Cycles that used lighter 29er tubing with the same rear triangle as the Icebreaker.

Part 1 - Cutting, Fitting, Welding: Once the tubing showed up, the cutting and filing began. Rough cutting main tubes began with a chop saw, then mitered with bi-metal hole saws in the vertical mill. Once the tubes were notched, I perfected the fitting by hand filing and cleaning the joint. This was also a good time to drill out the enlarged bottom bracket holes to accommodate the electronic shifting wiring.
We marked all of our spots for the EPS wiring and drilled them out, then cleaned'em up with a hand file. This took a while, as neither one of us was very familiar with the group, but we found all the info we needed and it was a rewarding accomplishment to put a sweet custom spin on this bike.

As soon as everything fit up properly and snug in the fixture, the front triangle is tack welded into place in sequence.

The piece then comes out of the fixture and onto the table for the finish welding, also done in sequence to prevent heat warpage and misalignment.

Once the front triangle is check on the alignment table, the rear triangle gets cut and fit, same as the front. The tubes are slotted for dropouts using a rotary cutting wheel and hand file, then the dropouts are inserted and aligned. Everything is tacked in the frame then welded in sequence on the table. The frame is then checked for alignment and clearance.

The next step is to cut, fit, and weld in the fender mounts. After that, the brazing will begin.

Part 2 - Brazing, Finishing: First, all of the brazed on small parts get dry fit and marked on the frame with sharpie. Holes are drilled for threaded mounts and other mounts are filed to match the curve of the tube. Once they are all set up and clean, each piece is clamped, fluxed, and brazed into place with either silver or bronze using an oxy/acetylene torch. The flux is cleaned of and all braze-ons are thoroughly checked, any adjustements are made.

Finally, the seat tube is notched and reamed, any inconsistencies are filed down, then the final alignment and quality check is done. Once everything passes inspection, it's off to the paint shop! 

The Monster X Cross!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bike Night 2015 at the MIA

I'll have a couple few frames on had to show and answer questions about. Come join the fun!
Riding through the doors of Minneapolis Institute of Arts for ‪#‎BikeNightMIA‬ Tomorrow!
Join us from 6-9 p.m. for a FREE night of art + bikes + brews.
RSVP and invites here:

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Follow Black Ship on Instagram!

Updates from the shop, rides, new builds, works in progress, fun tools, dangerous! tools, new items, good beers, fun times, scattered with an occasional pic of really cute kids, dogs, and cats. See your bike or wallet being made!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Summertime Scheduling at the Shop

Summer is nearing: Updates and the summer schedule

As of this month, I am working at a new day job, 40hrs a week, welding in a small production shop. I have had to spend some extra time transitioning, but, David's Monster Cross is finished, bikes are getting painted, and repairs are still rolling through.

In the shop queue, I have a single wheel touring trailer, as well as racks for the Icebreaker, in the design stage that will hopefully come together over the next month or so. Mayday Cafe asked for a fifth rack for bikes out front so I will be working on that also.

As for frame builds, I will be accepting two more custom builds before fall, then I will most likely not be taking new customers as my partner will be in the U of M MSW program for the next year and a half. Of course, it's not that I don't want to be building, more realistically I won't be able to turn anything around in a timely manner.

That means that if you want to get in a summer track/road bike, fall cross ride or Icebreaker winter commuter, you'll need to get a deposit down and a spot in the queue in the next month or so to make sure you 'll have a spot and can get the tubes ordered and get it to the painter before the end of summer.

Also, a big shout out to Anthony at AP-Paints, always doing a bang up job, Ynez for letting me take care of her TIG welder, and David, Jamison, Alex, Natalie and all the encouraging friends and family for the support. It takes a community. Y'all rule.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Modern Drop Bar Bicycle Geometry, Explained!

The bike industry has been changing road bikes over the last decade to better suit the different styles of riding that exist.  We have been hearing all sorts of new terms for them but we haven't really had those all explained in one easy place.  That's what this write-up is about. 
This is what started them all... Its a fast bike with minimal tire clearance, lower handlebar position, caliper style brakes and is the lightest of the bunch.  Most of them will come with 23mm tires but can fit 25mm tires.  They are great for road-only, longer rides, intense paced riding, group rides.  The customers that are looking at these are looking for the lightest and fastest bikes out there.
These are closely bread from road bikes, the first ones where road bike with different brake mounts installed for canti brakes with mud clearance in a time when road bikes where steel and had more tire room (the 60s-70s).  They changed into their own style of bike in the 90s because road bikes no longer had clearance for the tires and the style of racing grew.  Now the differences are ability to fit at least a 32mm tire, disk or canti brakes, higher bb height (for tight off-road cornering).  Many have fender and rack mounts to make them more versatile but they do generally have a pretty aggressive road fit and pretty quick handling, often the same as a road bike.
These bikes have been around for a long long time.  They resemble a cyclocross bike however they have many geometry differences.  Mainly they are designed for going in a straight line for a long distance so their chainstays are much longer (also gives more heal clearance for panniers), the headtubes are usually a slacker angle, a lower bb height and the handle bar height is higher, often as high as the saddle. They have all the rack and fender mounts (front and rear) and have a bit stiffer frame for the added weight of touring.
This is a bike that has also been around for a while (some call it a light-touring).  The simplest way to describe them is a touring bike with lighter tubing for a better ride quality. The fashion for these have been to add shiny fenders and a front rack/bag.  Its name comes from a style of racing/riding that is a long distance over one or two days that is fully self supported
This is a bike that branches out from a road bike.  It's designed to have a higher handlebar height, more tire clearance (28mm-32mm) and a little bit more predictable handling (slacker angles). Most of the road bikes we sell are this style.  They have gone a few steps further with some brands and include disk brakes and even more tire clearance (32mm-38mm).  These are very well balanced bike and work very well for many people, they are getting a little ambiguous in that some are coming with rack/fender mounts for even more utility and can resemble cyclocross bikes. 
These where born from the gravel races that all the kids are doing these days.  They look very similar to a cyclocross bike however they have a few small but important differences.  The main ones being longer chainstays and a shorter bb height (back to road bike height with light touring chainstay lengths).  These are important in that they make the bike much more stable for high speed gravel descents.  They also have more tire clearance which can be crucial for gravel, lessening the deflection caused by the rocks that make up gravel roads.
This is the most ambiguous term we have for the bike market right now.  It can mean any of the above plus many different mtn bikes and even a few fatbikes.  It was brought into the market by Salsa cycles to describe their style or riding but has expanded to other companies or simply a way of describing how a bike is used. The key features are having more durable wheels, more predictable handling, and lots of room for stuff on the bike, but not necessarily using racks.  Because they are used off road/gravel quite a bit people prefer to have frame bags, handlebar bags and large seatbags.  These bags tend to be lighter and easier to handle in off-road situations, they also bounce around a lot less.

c/o David Meyer | Sales, Service, Fit Tech, Worker-Owner
The Hub Bike Co-op
david at thehubbikecoop dot biz

Sunday, March 22, 2015

March 2015: What's new in the shop?!

March marks the beginning of the cycling season here in Minnesota, and thanks to the generally warmer weather, it is already a busy one! I went into the Hub Minnehaha store to help out for a few hours and we ran out of space to store bikes in for repairs and tune ups...

At the Black Ship Cycles shop, along with finishing up two repairs and a repaint, I have a Monster Cross frame in the queue, front and rear racks, as well as two road frames on deck!
I am already scheduling out for spring and summer, and have appointments available, so please hit me up within the next month to get your project in asap - blackshipcycles at gmail dot com.

And before you know it, we'll be grilling dogs in our lycra and looking for a shady spot to lean our favorite two wheel rides while we tip back our shades a reach for our coozies...

Friday, February 27, 2015

2015 Winter/Spring Prices

2015 Winter/Spring Custom and Repair Menus!

We updated the pricing to reflect changes. Of course, we aim to keep prices affordable and accept payment plans as an option to get you the frame that is just right for you.

Our mission is not to make only the most exclusive and unobtainable custom frames, but to make superb quality, lightweight, custom Minnesota handmade frames an option available to the more and more Minnesotans that are serious about not only biking and commuting, but also the precision machines they choose to ride on. True Minnesota Craft Bikery.

Here's to 2015! Define your ride!

-Black Ship Cycles

#blackshipcycles #craftbikery #mnhandmade

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Big O Manufacturing Fenders for 3" Knards

Big thanks to locals Big O Manufacturing for outfitting David's 29er+ Icebreaker with some sweet fenders:

Talk about full coverage! Next up, Custom front and rear racks!

Friday, January 16, 2015

ICEBREAKER with 26" x 2.25 tires

I finally got this build put together!

I'll post a demo of the dog leash loop asap.
Morgan (our aussie-collie) loves riding through the snow! The bottom bracket is high enough that I can still pedal with him through 3-4" of soft white fluff, and plow right through snow banks.

Right now it is a frankenstein of parts from my shop and the salvage yard at the HUB Bike Coop.
1x9, SRAM X5 Der, GXP BB, Tektro Lyra discs w/V-Brake levers, 26" Bontrager Disc Wheels, 2.25" Bontrager Jones XC Tires.

So fast, so sweet...