20141214

Giro Hoxton LF: First Impressions

I know, I know.  Winters out here are wimpy.  It's getting to be in the 40s when I leave for work and head home at night, and of course my weekend rides don't see too much of a temperature increase during the day this time of year.  I decided to try out the Giro Hoxton LF gloves this year to keep my fingers from freezing to my levers, and I have to say so far I'm pretty happy! 

Plus, a great color to keep you visible! 
The Hoxton LF is technically a men's glove, but I have gigantic hands that usually can't fit into women's gloves.  I also really liked the bright red color that these came in - it's called "glowing red," and it certainly lives up to its name!  I think the Tessa or Rulla is the women's equivalent, though I recall seeing a Hoxton collection for women at one point that doesn't seem to be showing up on Giro's site anymore.  

Giro gloves have always worked well for me, and the Hoxton LF (for long finger, long fingered, or something close to that) is no exception.  They're comfortable and lightweight, but seal in warmth pretty well, and so far have kept my digits toasty down to about 40 degrees.  They wash well and are easy to put on and take off, though to be fair I only have about 100 miles with them so far.  

They're super comfortable - seriously. 
As far as riding goes, there's no bunching or uncomfortable seams that I've found, and they seem true to size (I wear a men's small, for those wondering).  They're honestly like the flannel pajamas of cycling gloves - I've never owned anything softer or more comfortable.  From three miles to thirty, they've consistently been comfortable.

My few initial critiques mostly have to do with the tech compatibility.  Giro advertises these as tech compatible - which is *technically* true.  But it feels like your fingers are ten times as big as before, and getting the tech compatible thread to hit where you want on the screen is about as easy as trying to use a seatpost as a stylus.  Sure, you can do simple actions like click on app icons, but typing e-mails, selecting one item out of many, or writing anything...unless your hands get super sweaty, then forget it.  Moisture does help conduct whatever magic is used in touchscreen technology, and after riding in a rainstorm I did notice that I was able to do just about everything on my phone.  On another note, these are not waterproof, but they're not advertised as such and I certainly didn't expect them to be.  

I also would like to see some reflective bits on these.  The grey areas on the gloves could have had some reflective piping just to add a bit of extra safety when you're signalling at night.  They're impossible to miss during the day, but with the shortened days and stormy dark weather we've been having, I would feel a lot better with reflective areas.   

So far though, I'm happy with how these have worked and impressed with the quality and comfort.  Hopefully they will keep going through the next few seasons, and as long as they stay holding up as well as they have been, there should be no problem.  

20141204

Takhion Alert!!

54cm, looks to be in good condition.

Hello beautiful!
Would make a great Christmas present for someone...or for yourself!


20141203

Speaking of Christmas Cards

I've had this on my hard drive for about a million years, and I'm absolutely in love with it.  I kept forgetting to post it in the past, or I'd remember that I had it around June.  

With that webbing I assume it's a Rossin.
Does anyone know the artist?  I tried a reverse image search and got a lot of Tumblr posts and a few other cycling blog posts, but nothing that indicates a source, though I did also find a version that has been shopped to say "Merry Christmas."  

Rudolph the lo pro reindeer.
The idea is brilliant, and I'd love to A) credit the artist, and B) ask permission to make a Takhion version.  

If anyone can point me in the right direction, I'd be incredibly grateful!  And if the original artist does stumble across this - shoot me an e-mail, I'd love to buy a print.  

20141202

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

I couldn't resist taking a few holiday photos with my Takhion Aero once I put lights up.

Festive!
Someday, when I actually make Christmas cards, they'll have a Takhion on them.  

Speaking of Takhions, the fork crowns are still in progress (casting takes a while, apparently) - but they'll hopefully be here before Christmas, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

20141123

Finishing

Today I was greeted by a nearly empty acetylene tank.

It was well over 250 when I left last time.
If a tank is leaking, it's extremely dangerous and should be taken care of immediately!  Fortunately the warehouse that I am in is a massive, non-enclosed space and there are no ignition sources, so I removed the regulator and checked the tank.  Looks like the tank itself is fine, which is good news...but also means I need to get my regulator repaired, as it's the culprit.  My oxygen regulator is already out for repair, so at this point I might just throw in the towel and buy a new set.

Because I couldn't do any brazing, I spent the day finishing.  There are still some areas with pits that I need to fix, but I was able to at least start to smooth out the fillets and remove some extra brazing material.

Getting there!
This one was far easier to finish than the bottom bracket.
Head tube!  Here you can see some small pits that need to be filled in.  All the more reason for me to continue to practice!
Overall, I managed to at least get a rough finish on almost everything, and will do final polishing once I've brazed the problem areas and done the last few braze ons.  It's been slow, but I'm getting there.

20141112

STLs and IGESs and POs, oh my

If you're wondering why I've been so quiet the past few days, it's because I'm largely in the boring part of this project.  I have one new photo that mostly shows off the smooth clamps, which is this:

New clamp front and center!  Notice how it's much smoother than the other clamp, and has a wider area for some bolt wiggle room.
The rest of this is going to be quite technical and with no pictures, but it's been quite interesting to learn about, so maybe it can help anyone out there who's looking to investment cast their own bike parts.

Theoretically, once I printed this in 3D it should have been fairly easy to move to casting - right?  That sounds reasonable enough.  

I was wrong.  I was very wrong.  Let me tell you why.  

1) Casting in steel is not something people tend to do in their homes
I had been hoping to find a local artist who can make these.  A surprising number of people have forges in their backyards (or basements!) and they cast their own things in pewter, bronze, etc.  Steel, however, requires a much higher temperature and isn't really a home based hobby type deal...I'm sure there are people in the world that can do it, but my hunting around resulted in nothing.  So I started e-mailing casting companies.

2) Most places require you to make the tooling
When I reached out to casting companies, many required you to pay to make the mold to pour the wax in - only a select few let you either supply the wax models, or can print the wax models on site.  A typical mold runs anywhere from one to twenty five....thousand dollars.  

3) Most places have a large minimum order
Once I was able to find places that allowed me to supply my own wax castings, I had to find one that would allow for prototypes to be made.  $50 a crown is a pretty sweet deal, but a minimum order of 100 was not something I could handle.  

4) Wax prints have a maximum size limit
Once I found an awesome company that would let me supply wax, I went to get some wax prints made and sent their way...only to discover many wax printing machines, like the ones used by Shapeways, have a max size limit.  My crown was too big!  I went back to speak to the company about whether or not they could 3D print in wax (fortunately, they could!).  Were this not the case, I would need to find another company that could print in wax - and they do exist, it's just another step - and have them provide the prints.

5) Files don't always play nicely together
The file format I'm used to working with, and used to submitting for prints anyway, isn't something that many industry level professional printers can read.  Most larger companies use something like Solidworks for precision, and I was working with an obj format.  Trying to convert an obj to an IGES file with open source software is a nightmare, so if you can work in Solidworks right off the bat...do it!!

After all of this, however, I can happily say that casting of steel prototypes is in the works!  They should take about a month to be complete, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they come out smoothly.  

I've learned a ton about this process, but it's by no means scared me away from future castings.  The people that have helped me have been amazing, and I'm really hoping to continue doing business with them in the future for more fork crowns and other related framebuilding parts.  The possibilities are endless!  

20141031

Happy Halloween!

There were some great Halloween festivities today at work, and my friend showed up with an awesome costume (that not enough people seemed to get, unfortunately!)

Though I'm not sure if he spent the day pretending he was Italian.

Even Moonboy is decorated!
Whether it includes a costume ride, trick or treating, or horror flicks, have a safe and happy Halloween!