October 17th, 2011
Some of you come here to read my ramblings about illness, and life, and food.. This will be about bikes, I’m afraid. No medical updates beyond a third blood test that confirms a return to normal levels for the CEA number.
I built the second version of the nose bike almost a month ago already, but got caught up in some other things before saying much about it. In the mean time, I’ve been rolling around on it, and I think that the design is more or less where I want it to be. There will be a few small changes to the next version, including the addition of some new drop outs that I designed. These will allow the disc caliper to be mounted inside the rear triangle so that fitting a rear rack/fenders isn’t an issue. Paragon machine works makes a nice “low mount” dropout, but it’s made for derailleur set ups. Mine are rear facing horizontal with slotted disc mounts allowing for forward/aft adjustment of the disc caliper (and, of course, the wheel). Pictures as soon as they arrive!
This is not to say that all nose bikes will be single speed, however! They’re designed to work with a variety of internally geared hubs as well.
I’ve come up with a way of banging together crates that I think I like.
“Banging together” the crates may sound a little slap dash.. but that’s precisely what I want! It’s a CRATE after all, not a finely crafted wooden box. It should be easy and relatively inexpensive to make and should hold up well to abuse. The pseudo machine joints, and staggered slats make a surprisingly tough joint, particularly for the weight of the crate. They’re held together with stainless steel narrow crown staples. I grew up next to an apple orchard. The crates that they used were made by folks who had figured out how to make LOTS of them quickly and well. That’s the sort of look that I find I like the most. The beauty of production! I will also probably offer hand made stainless baskets. Big versions of the ones that I’ve put on a few townies..
These, unfortunately, end up being pretty pricey.
I am more or less ready to start thinking about how to sell these nose bikes! It’s my view that it’s a pretty useful sort of bike, particularly for the urban crowd. There are so many really capable SERIOUS cargo bikes out there at this point. I myself have had an xtracycle for years, and, in fact, blame it largely for my slide down the slippery slope into bike geekery. I hardly ever use it at this point, though, for the simple fact that it’s a pain to get in and out of the house!! Great when you NEED to carry that much, but pretty cumbersome when you don’t (and I find that usually I don’t. Shopping for thanksgiving, and getting my gas bottles refilled.. that’s it, really). It may be different in other cities, but in NYC most of us are pretty shy to leave our bikes locked on the street over night, and very few of us have garages into which we can roll them! Our bikes live in our living rooms. In some cases, like mine, our living rooms loose that name entirely and become “bike rooms.” At any rate, a light and lithe cargo/commuter seems as though it could serve many well.
Since the fit of such a utility bike is less critical than that of something like a road bike, I will be able to make them in small batches. Eventually probably just two sizes. Big and little. Or maybe medium and extra medium. Batch production, and some other efficiencies (perhaps leaving the fillets unfiled.. which I like the look of anyway!) will allow me to sell them for a bit less than my usual one of a kind fare.
I crunched some numbers and I think that I’ll probably be able to offer them with a decent build for under $3k. Still nothing to sneeze at, I suppose, but making stuff here in the US is pretty pricey.