Oregon Manifest

Last week I received an invitation to the Oregon Manifest Design Challenge, a unique event taking place early October in Portland, OR. After reviewing the application packet, I decided to sign up for the event since it's like nothing I've ever done before. The challenge is to design, build AND race a commuter bike on the road, offroad and in an urban setting....definitely a unique set of requirements! The bike must be capable of carrying light loads and must perform well in a variety of conditions common to the everyday commuter. My friends and family have already started helping get this project off the ground and I can't wait to unveil the bike! Click on the logo below to visit the website.


Ahrens Socks...Finally!

I've finally received my shipment of custom Sock Guy socks! Earlier this year I worked a trade with Sock Guy for some custom WiseCracker LITE bottle openers and it's taken some time for these babies to arrive.....needless to say I'm glad they are here.

There are two styles available:

  • 3" Standard Cuff
  • 6" Tall Cuff
Both styles are sized L/XL and they run $12 including domestic shipping. Send Pay Pal to mike at ahrensbicyles dot com if you want to place an order.


Whole Shot Eurostyle

This custom Whole Shot cross frame was recently built for my friend Ryan, the man behind the Stanford Frameworks class I've written about before on this blog. Ryan wanted a custom, eurostyle 55cm race frame and the results are sweet! What makes this frame eurostyle? Slightly higher bottom bracket and top-mounted cable routing. This means no cables run under the down tube....as a result there is no chance of anything getting caught up during the race.

Seat tube measures 55cm from center-to-top and the effective top tube length is also 55cm. The bottom bracket drop has been reduced to 69mm which is 3mm less than my normal 'west coast' style, low bottom bracket geometry. The frame features a bi-ovalized Easton Ultralite Race downtube without any water bottle cages whatsoever. With this unique ovalization, extra material is present at the head tube and bottom bracket shell for superior rigidity. The rest of the Easton Ultralite tubes have round profiles like the stock Whole Shot.

This tubing selection should work well with the top-mounted cable routing and inline barrel adjusters for the front derailleur and rear brake. The front derailleur also receives a pulley on the back side of the seat tube for true european flair. The cross-specific lower yoke has also been tweaked for additional mud clearance. Chainstays are standard, 19mm straight wall tubes that are hand-formed for proper heel clearance when pedaling. Stay tuned for more pics of this desert camo beast soon. Special thanks to Dave at Vanderkitten and VC Graphix for the custom stickers.


The Donna

I'm so stoked to have recently finished The Donna, an urban version of the race-proven Whole Shot cyclocross frame. My friend Donna was looking for something to ride to work, around town and for bar crawls. This frame is a custom size 50cm with special touches like sliding disc dropouts (spaced at 135mm), dual-disc brakes, revised lower yoke, hand-formed chainstays and weld-on rear rack mounts. The frame was built by Jason Grove at El Camino Fab and is one of the last ones to come out of his Oakland shop! The steel fork is hand built from Rock Lobster in Santa Cruz (395mm axle-to-crown with 45mm rake)...thanks Paul Sadoff!

The build kit is a mixture of light and durable parts with a little carbon thrown in for flavor. Wheels were hand built by Ryan Bontrager and include White Industries MI6 disc hubs laced to custom powdercoated Velocity VXC Disc rims....black in the front to match the fork and green in the rear to match the rest of the frame. Rounded off with urban tires from Michelin, this unique ride will definitely turn heads.

We used a spacer kit from Wheels Mfg to position the chain line exactly where it needs to be. And if Donna wants to run this bike with gears - no problem. Cable guides are already in place and will accommodate this setup.

Of course this frame comes stock with a WiseCracker LITE for convenience....because beer can't open itself. FSA carbon bars provide front end stability and bolt-on ODI grips are the bomb.


Belt Drive Dropout Concept

I'm toying with the idea of building a 29er single speed demo frame with a belt drive system from Carbon Drive Systems. The trick is creating a breakaway frame component that allows the belt to slip through during installation and/or removal for servicing. For a quick-and-dirty prototype, I'm going to modify a sliding dropout assembly as shown in the images below. The back side of the dropout body will have a circular machined recess to accept a seatstay attachment; this attachment can pivot around the hood's centerline to accommodate for different frame sizes more easily. The mating parts are held together with an M8 screw that will be torqued down with blue Loctite. I may opt for an even shorter seatstay component that 'nests' directly with the adjacent hooded surface on the sliding dropout body. Belt driven bikes are fun to ride and offer another reason to try something new.


Shannon's VK Hardtail

Just finished a beautiful frame for Vanderkitten racer Shannon who will be competing in numerous endurance events this season. Built with sculpted Easton 7005 Ultralite Race tubing throughout, this machine is race ready! As shown it weighs 3.4 lbs (1542g) and should easily build up to 23 lbs complete.

NAHBS 2010

I just registered for the NAHBS 2010 in Richmond, VA next February. Needless to say I'm excited about the show since I missed last year's event due to family reasons. Now is the fun part...figuring out what to display and how to get it there! Be sure to check out the NAHBS website which has been fully redesigned.