Friday, November 28, 2008
A very good friend of mine, Dave, is currently pedaling for all he is worth up South America. He is riding 7000miles across 7 countries with his friend Tom in aid of a charity called Ali’s Dream who fund research into childhood brain tumours.
Check out their website for updates and photos. Feel free to show your support and donate to the cause.
Dave has been one of my biking and climbing buddies for years, and it is great to see him having such a great adventure. (He is also a solid mountain biker and rides a Scythe!)
Keep going guys! Only another 3.6 millions pedal stokes to go!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
The reason it was off limits is they also do military stuff and you know how those guys get when your selling stuff to the enemy.
What i really wanted to show you was the EDM. Basically to get a forged part you take a hunk of aluminum and squish it under pressure to the desired shape. The desired shape comes from the mold which is two big hunks of steel that are the female part, top and bottom, of what you're trying to make.
The cool part is how they create the mold. First they make a copper "male" part. They run current through it over a giant block of steel and basically the Arc starts to wear away the steel. It may take days to finally get the final mold as the copper is slowly pushed deaper as the cavity gets dug out by electricity. It looks something like a spark plug arcing but imagine a giant spark plug. Anyway I'll keep bugging them... maybe eventually I can get a pic or video!!!
In the meantime here is pedals in process at straitline.
Greg i think beer can turkey was invented in a Nascar parking lot so I don't think we can claim it as ours. Cheers to our friends to the south!!! hope you have a good one.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
To follow are a list of the affected serial numbers.
16T80006741 thru 16T80006754
16T80006801 thru 16T80006802
17T80008291 thru 17T80008300
17T80008341 thru 17T80008343
AND 09T8XXXXXXX to 42T8XXXXXXX
We have taken steps on this end to inform all our distributors and for them to check down to the dealer level but I think this needs to be hit from all angles to make sure no one is left with a potential hazardous fork.
If your friend is riding another bike brand and also has a Domain. Tell him to come here to check his serial number as well. This is not confined to just Banshees but affects all Domains on any brand and model bike. They may also contact me... I will help any customer on any brand with getting in touch with the appropriate person at Sram to deal with this.
Monday, November 24, 2008
So wow... pretty stoked on all the interest on the Paradox. Seems people are digging the direction we're taking.
We've had a little wager put on whether or not we'll have a few 29r companies taking notice and changing their hardtails to incorporate what we've done to get the shorter chainstays. The other way was like the Sinister Simon bar with the S shape... but we've gone with a slight bend as it looks less drastic but still gives us the classic look of a hardtail while getting that tire as close in as possible.
Again we've got a 2.4 Schwable in there to check for clearance and it is a big fat tire... if it fits everything else should also fit. You can see by the pics how we're doing for clearance.
One issue however was with the front derailleur. With the tire so close it leaves little room for some FD's as they tend to stick alot of junk between the seattube and the tire. I have confirmed that the SRAM X9 top pull will work with this bike and I haven't decided but may include it with the frame, or at the very least have it as an option. Sometimes you have to make compromises but I think the shorter stays will make up for having to use an X9. If you want to do it on the cheap you can always take your X7 and hack off the down pull arm and then you'll have no issues, but that is a last resort.
We also have made sure our ISCG is rotated in the proper plane to account for the BB drop. This will insure good alignment on all chainguides and the Hammerschmidt. We've got an order in with Sram so we can try all these parts to make sure when our riders get the frame everything will fit.
I do need to check with Crank Bros about getting a Joplin to try. We have 4 cable guides along the top tube. Joplin, Front derailleur, Rear derailleur, Rear brake. Also one guide along the downtube for the Hammerschmidt. Thats alot of cable guides!!!
Oh just remembered... gotta figure out how to get 2 bottle mounts in the triangle considering the bent seattube.
We've also got enough room for the 203 rotor, and check out that sexy sweep in the seatstays. Only thing left to do is add one more cable guide on the non driveside seatstay, get it into the oven for T6, then the alignment table, drilling of the BB shell, then.... anyway theres still lots to do. Even a hardtail requires alot of work.
Anyway i'm super stoked on this bike... yes its just a hardtail but I can't help but be super pleased with how its going together.
The snow was so heavy in the morning I rode to work in my Spy goggles so i had some chance of seeing where the hell I was going!
But as the snow never lasts and the rain always come back, it quickly turns our trails into a mud bath
Now some riders hate mud riding, others seem to love it, and in the UK its so wet and muddy most of the year that you either deal with or give up riding...
I've never been shy of bad weather or riding in the mud, cleaning the bike afterwards is definitely a hassle but its all part of the game
I took my Mythic Rampant out this morning and soon got caked head to toe in mud whilst having great fun sliding around the trails above NW London, an hour and a half of mud riding is a great workout for sure
The Rampant doesn't seem bothered by the mud, probably because Canada is also somewhat muddy from time to time!
The pivots are holding up fine, despite lots of muddy rides, post-ride cleaning with Muc-Off cleaner and the occasional re-grease using Keith's clever grease axle system
It may be muddy out there, and freezing cold, but hey..I'm having fun
Sunday, November 23, 2008
So the bike industry is in a bit of a scramble right now for anyone that ships into the USA. I've spent plenty of hours on the CPSC home site and figure I have digested enough to give me a pretty decent understanding of what we'll need to do. We're already in compliance, but just need a little peice of paper stating that we are. I just need to confirm one thing with the gov. office and then we'll be good to go. So don't worry if your Banshee will get to you... it will! We're all over this like flys to sh*t... or lawyers to ambulances.
For those of you who are in other bike companies that look at this blog... here's the latest. http://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/frnotices/fr09/certification.pdf .
Saturday, November 22, 2008
In 1993 I had an awesome XC racing bike courtesy of my sponsors "Hardisty Cycles" (a shop in Newcastle, N-East England that also sponsored UK DH legend Jason McRoy)
My KHE Team (heat-treated True Temper steel) was dripping in Syncros finishing kit including their legendary ahead-set stem (with the angle stem cap), iconic seatpost, alloy bar and titanium bottom bracket, although I never managed to get my sticky hands on their True Temper steel crankset....
Its funny how I ended up involved with Mythic, the UK side of Banshee bikes, born of Pippin Osbourne, founder of the original Syncros, and one of the founders of Banshee bikes - the same engineering know-how and attention to detail that I loved about Syncros shone through with the Banshee and Mythic Screams, Chaparrals and Morphines!
Well Syncros got relaunched some time back, and is currently part of the Tom Ritchey portfolio, but they still make some innovative, tough and well engineered stuff
I've been running their Mental Alloy pedals for over 2 years and finally they started squeaking and getting a little loose...time for a rebuild kit
Considering they have had some serious abuse in Whistler, the North Shore of Vancouver, Welsh and Scottish trail riding, English winters, Dirt Jumping and everything in between, they have been super durable and an example of why I always spend good money on good pedals
Then I got talking to the importers of Syncros and realised the price had dropped on the Mental Magnesium pedals, which are also a sweet off-white colour, a great match to my red/white Mythic Rampant
One rebuild kit and one set of Magnesium pedals later (thanks to Jungle UK ;) ) I am back on my favourite "new" pedals and rebuilding my old Mental Alloy pedals in the workshop at Freeborn over the weekend
nothing like treating yourself to early Christmas presents, especially with such a sweet bike as the Rampant?
Friday, November 21, 2008
I built up my Rampant two weeks ago with an exact idea in my mind. I wanted to have a fast, light, versatile 4X/Dirt/Slopestyle bike which fits me. Considering that, I built it up with these components:
Frame: Banshe Rampant, size: Long, color: Team Red/White
Fork: Fox 32 Talas (QR)
Bars/Stem: Funn Full-on/SMX
Cranks: Funn Hooka DH
Brakes: Formula ORO K2
Seat: Funn Skinny RL
Shifting/Dear.: Sram X9
CG: Shaman Racing 4X Comp
I didn’t put on it any lightweight components and it weighs about 13.8 Kg (30.4lbs). Cool, isn’t it?
How does it seem to be after two weeks of riding?
First feature which I love on my Rampant are the looks. Everytime I show it to someone, they always say: ‘Oh, It’s a pimp‘ or something like that...Nice!
Now let’s check the riding features. The first time I sat on it, I felt a bit weird. It was long and super low. But when I tried it first time I was hooked! The lowness of that bike and its geometry...awesome. Fast accelerating powered by VF4P independent suspension which makes it possible to pedal and brake on rought surface without any unwanted feelings.
I also love the way the Rampant feel in corners. It’s predictable and fluent handling is lovely due to low center of gravity and the right angle of headtube.
I’ve been riding it on a lot types of tracks. BMX tracks, Djumps, Trails, Local DH tracks etc.
When I’m riding Djumps or BMX I’m using a lockout on my rear shock and high compression om fork. It makes it possible to hit the takeoffs better and accelerate faster.
When I’m riding in the woods or rough terrain I use my shock unlocked and I switch the fork to 120mm/140mm setting to use all the advatages of suspension.
I love to ride my Rampant and at the moment it’s the only bike I use!!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
So once we get the new bends adjusted on the seat and chainstays we won't have the brake rotor rubbing against both of them. Also I'd like a little more clearance for higher knobs so instead of using a tube I think we'll just use a plate in a slight V shape to give a good amount of mud clearance for the rear tire.
All in all though i'm super stoked on the bikes lines, and its pretty light. I'll fire up a final weight when it all gets put together with all the welds. In the pic there will be a BB drop so the pic isn't aligned totally perfect to show what the angles will actually be - you'll need to imagine it or use the rotation tool in photoshop to see.
Anyway i'll have more updates as we go... I'm pretty stoked on this bike.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Anyway the really cool thing about the Paradox is its not just another 29r hardtail. The only other 29r that I know that might come close is the Sinister one.
Ok so what makes this hardtail different from other 29rs is that its designed for the rider that likes to ride a 29r but doesn't want to punish their body. Its kinda like the weekend warrior 29r and we're doing an extra large size for those big dudes who love the bigger size but until now have been left with something that is so spindly lightweight that they end up having to compromise on stiffness. If Banshee is known for anything its for the stiffness that we bring.
In fact we wouldn't even have gotten into doing a 29r unless we thought we could bring something unique to the table.
Our Scirocco was voted best of MTBR and we figure if we could take a Scirocco and make a 29r out of it... well how cool would that be.
Personally I love the ride of a 29r and although I may not totally agree with Chris at Niner, that eventually 26" will fade out being replaced by only the 29", I do agree that it has its place and is here to stay.
They say the devil is in the details and to follow is why this bike will be unique in the 29r hardtail world.
1] it was made to be an agressive allmountain 29r hardtail
2] it is possibly the only 29r hardtail geo adjusted around a 120mm fork rather then the other 29rs which are always adjusted to a 100mm. This should provide a more comfortable riding position.
3] Short 17.oo" chainstays. Check out that bend in the seattube... thats how you can do that. It will still also be able to accept a front derailleur in the correct angle for crisp shifts. What it provides is quickness in handling tight corners and getting the front end up and over stuff.
4] we've added ISCG tabs ... for the All mountain Hammerschmidt of course.
5] cable guides have been added for the Joplin telescopic seatposts as well.
6] using our Sun tubes with the internal rib will make this probably the stiffest 29r out there and we've also incorporated the "shock block" that we've been using for a few years. It keeps the lateral rigidity but takes any harshness out of the ride letting you keep riding for hours without feeling like you went 10rounds with Hollyfeild.
7] our thinking that we wanted it to be a less punishing ride, we have gone with vertical dropouts. If you're a die hard and really need to run single speed there are still options. Devon has been testing the White Brother concentric Hub, and Linden uses a chaintensioner. No its not a true core SS setup but thats not what this bike is truly about. Most who appreciate what they're getting will want to run a geared option... possible nine in the back and a single upfront with a guide like the E13... thats probably how I'll run mine. Having nine in the back just takes the edge off when the going gets long and steep... sure you can walk your bike but is it not better to ride up those steep sections?
The bike will look very similar to this when its done. Protos should be done in a few days and I'll be sure to post them up.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
'Santa came Wednesday! Immediately booked Thursday and Friday off from work so I could build her up and bed her in... Here are some pics and a ride report from the weekend...
Banshee Legend Mk1
Size: Large (Rider: 6'3")
Fork: Stock Boxxer Team ('cept for decals)
Shock: Cane Creek Double Barrel – heavy steel spring
Stem: 50 mm Point 1 direct mount (lovely!)
Bars: Sunline V1 (745 mm)
Brakes: Formula The One (180 mm)
Drivetrain: Gravity Lights (170 mm) with 38T back to Ultegra 27-12 cassette and mech, MRP G2 chainguide
Wheels: Industry 9 with Swiss 6.1d
Tires: 2.7 Maxxis Minions DHF front and rear, super tacky, light tubes
Weight: 39.5 lbs
I hopped on the Legend and two things surprised me in my first parking lot test. First is the acceleration. The combination of the CCDB, quick engagement of the I9 rear hub, back end stiffness and high virtual pivot suspension means this thing just takes off at any hint of pressure on the pedals. There’s no noticeable bob even in a standing sprint, and it doesn’t feel like your putting extra tension into the chain either. The nearest thing I can compare it to is a V10, and I’ve got to say it pedals even lighter! It feels like my 6” bike. I’ve let a few people ride it and the pedalling is always the first thing they mention.
The second thing I noticed is for a bike with such a slack (64 degrees measured), long (47 1/8” measured) and low racing geometry is how playful the bike is. The front end comes up easily and you can hop around on it. It feels way more light and nimble than I was expecting. I didn’t expect that, especially from the CCDB from what I’ve read, but it’s a good feeling.
Get this baby on the track and it shines even more. Again, the pedalling is the best part – anywhere and everywhere this bike is ready to accelerate. The cornering is fantastic as well – very predictable and precise. I can place the bike exactly where I want to. The bike feels light in the corners as well, very easy to modulate the lean angle, possibly because the CG is so low. I was riding 2.7 minions on a wet and slippy courses, so I did a fair amount of drifting, and not being exactly of Sam Hill’s calibre I was surprised how easily I could control the drift, although that could be down to the tires as well. But I could sense just the amount of traction they had and adjust my angle of attack accordingly.
I haven’t spent much time in the air yet – I’m not really a big air kinda guy, more of a ground hugger. I’m still finding the front to rear balance point in the air, as the damping on the front and especially rear is still new to me, but the CCDB didn’t feel as “dead” as I thought it would on the take offs.
The cockpit on this bike is way different than I’m used to. It’s set up fairly low (could go lower) and wide (745 mm). Being quite lanky, I’m liking the wide bars, not so much for leverage, but for the attack position they put you in. They get you a bit lower on the front and I found it easier to come forward when I needed to weight the front wheel – like they’d opened up my chest. I prefer a longer cockpit to get the power down, and I’m running a 50 mm direct mount stem. I’d say the cockpit feels pretty medium, definitely not long, and a find myself riding a bit back of center most of the time. The front end lofts really easily and I can feel exactly what’s going on down under the rear tire. Considering my height, I think they got the geometry just about right for what the average guy wants. And pardon the cliché, but this is one of those bikes that you feel your “in” it, not “on” it.
We’ve only got one small rock garden to play with at my local hill, so I’ve got limited info on the suspension performance on big hits. What I can say is that on my last run I was having a blistering top section and came in hot and off line in this rock garden. I lofted the front just a little but the Boxxer still went “thunck” on a very hard hit. But I didn’t feel it in the rear, must have just sucked it up. Still haven’t checked to see if I’ve dinked the front 6.1d rim – I’m afraid to look!
So what’s the bottom line? My friends are pissed. They used to be neck and neck with me, and now I’m 4 seconds in front of them, and that’s on a short track! Lovin’ it… And this bike get’s a lot of attention. The finish is the best I’ve ever seen on any bike. You should see the green metal flake in the sunlight!'
Thanks for the write up Aaron. Go faster and grin wider!
Monday, November 17, 2008
Our initial pricing was looking to be GBP£285, which would have put it in-line with other DJ/Park/Street frames from DMR, Identiti, Flow, etc.
Keith's prototype AMP back in Spring 2008 at Esher Shore
However, due to the recent fall in Sterling (£) against the US dollar and other Global currencies, all prices are rising on bikes, parts and accessories coming into the UK (not just Mythic!)
Based on current exchange rates we have set our AMP frame price at a retail price of GBP£399.99, but the actual selling price through Freeborn Direct is £349.99
Its still a great deal for an awesome hydroformed aluminium frame, which is definitely very different to the generic cromoly DJ frames flooding the market
And of course the cromoly DJ frames will also be rising in price as distributors pay more as the pound weakens, so the AMP is not "overpriced" by any means
Supplies of the AMP from the first drop before Christmas are very limited, so get in quick if you want one....they are coming in raw finish, short and long sizes, and we will be doing great deals on Rockshox Argyle 318 forks if you want a sweet fork to go with your new AMP frame!
More info here: http://www.freeborn.co.uk/shop/frames/hardtail/909-mythic-amp-frame
In addition we're still assembling Legends, working on another prototype -the Paradox- and working on production bikes.
The bright spot is when I get to do a few emails [about 80 -100 a day] and it grounds me because I get the email that says "yo dude I just love my new Wildcard" or whatever... the last one was from Nate in Utah that sent me pics and said he was super stoked and it was the best bike he ever rode... If that doesn't make you feel good and keep you busting your ass then nothing will. It lets you know why you are doing what you're doing.
It isn't all fun and games and I seriously think i rode more when i was out of the industry, but you really cherish the times when you do get to grab a bike and head for the hills.
You meet alot of cool people working at the factory and some are pretty damn good riders - like the Canfields for example. This time I got to ride with the former 3X Belgium DH Champion Steijn [pronounced stain... ha!].
By far the best trail in TW that I have found so far is the SpeedTrap and it was back to do a days worth of runs on my freshie ride the Legend.
So i went first but I wish I hadn't... they have these freakin huge-ass spiders that build webs right across the trail. Not that i'm totally afraid of spiders, I just don't want them on my face.
The trail had changed a bit, the skinny across the creek was gone and they were building a road so the very last part was lame, but the top part was its usual steep, fast, and some parts tech, self.
It was lots of fun as usual. Last run Steijn took my bike and flatted so we just called it a day as it was getting dark.
I decided it was time to go and visit my new distributor -Pinoy Bikes- in the Phillipines.
I really didn't have time to pack up a bike and it was super last minute so I didn't want to impose on them and Gregorio [Goyo] had been awesome and postponed a flight he was suppose to take earlier that day so he could spend the day showing me around.
I arrived in the late afternoon and took a taxi to my hotel where I setup my virtual office and started to back to work again.
The plan was to go out for dinner but Goyo had a family birthday party that was in fullswing so we arranged to meet each other next morning, which was cool because I had a ton of urgent stuff I had to do.
Next morning we climbed in the car and headed off to Bike Town which is shop he has with his friend Tony. Man if you thought traffic was crazy in Taipei you've never been to Manila... the first night i was kept awake by non-stop honking of the cars horn. In fact I don't even think you honk to warn somebody... it was more like honk to the beat of the song on the radio... it was like craziness and at all hours. I can drive in Taipei no problem... parking is a bitch... driving in Manila that is something I will need to get my head around.
I had heard earlier that it wasn't the safest city but to be honest I never once had my spidey senses tingle and even though the security guards carried what looked like sawed of shotguns and assualt rifles they were super nice and open doors for you and said hi. It was a hella lot better then the attitude you get on the other side o the pond.
The other thing that struck me was how easy it would be to live here. Everyone speaks English, theres every manner of fastfood place and the mall was like a transplanted American mall. There seemed to be ALOT of foreigners running around too.
I chilled with Goyo in the early part of the day and then we got a possie toghether for some Phillipine food. OMG was it tasty... kinda like Tai food, and I wish I could remember what all the names were but it was pretty awesome.
Anyway I'll try to not make this too long but had a great time. Big thanks to Tony's wife for the 80 proof Filipino rum... i've already cracked into it and it is soooo tasty hahaha so tasty i'm not sharing... i don't care what they taught me in kindergarten.
We came back to the shop after a really long extended lunch. Customers were showing up, but they didn't really seem like customers as much as friends who bought stuff... it was such a cool environment and reminded me of the shops back home where you show up, everyone knows you, you chat about shit, maybe pick up a few things and then get on your way. We actually stayed pretty late as Goyo was fitting a bike. Anyway it was awesome to meet everyone and was cool that they made me feel so welcome.
I'll be back in March for the Terry Larrazabal Bike fest http://www.tlbf.org/ and I hope I can hang out with Hans Rey and Brian Lopes and Cedric cause apparantly they're going to be there.
It'll have racing, dirt jumping... and from what i heard about 3000 people will come out to it.
Anyway I'm back in TW now, working away.
Talk to you soon and if I race on the 30th in Hong Kong I'll post something up and take more pics - i'm so bad about that.