Welcome to the latest issue of Kustomized Bicycle Magazine. We get a ton of email monthly. As the editor, I look at each and every email that comes to kustomizedbicyclemagazine@gmail.com. It takes a lot of time to go through each one taking time away from my publishing efforts but I choose to do it so I know what our readers need and want.

The subject of most of our emails are people wanting to know where they can get the magazine and how they can get their bike / shop / club published in our magazine.

How Can You Get It? 

Well, you sent an email which means you have access to a computer and the wild and wacky web. Just go to www.KustomizedBicycleMagazine.com and there it is.  All the features are listed in the top right of the cover page. We even give you access to our archives for free. Just hit the “Archives” selection, pick and year and go read for the next day or two. There are no subscriptions and no costs.  Yes, it is FREE to the reader. We stay afloat with sponsorship from great companies out there that believe what we believe and like what we do.

How Can You Get Your Bike / Club Published?

Bike: If you have a bike that fits what Kustomized Bicycle Magazine “bikeology” you should send us two or three high quality pictures and a brief description. If I think we can use it for a feature I (or one of our writers) will ask for more pictures, a full description of customization / parts / names of those involved. We will also need for whoever took the pictures to send us an email saying that they have read our Permission of Photography and approves the use of the pictures they own. We will email you this form. We get a lot of pictures of bikes taken in someone’s family room or garage with poor lighting and your cat walking by. Those just aren’t good enough for us to publish.  Look at the featured bike pictures we publish and see how they were photographed. Notice the lighting, background, and shots. That is what we are looking for. Do it yourself, have a friend do it. Our photographers do not take all the pictures in the magazine. Over half of them are sent to us. We also need these pictures in a high resolution large format. Our covers are very large files so they are clear when sized to a standard cover. Many people ask for the cover file so they can print them out and hang them on the shop wall so we want to largest cleanest cover we can give them.

Shop: If you have a shop that builds custom bikes or bike parts then we are here to help you. This magazine was created to help the builders get their name out to the masses. Send us an email and a few pictures of what you build and we will try to help you out. You all have read the Builder’s Feature (I look at the analytics…I know these things). We could do that for you as well.

Club: Please don’t ask. We do not publish any features on clubs. If we did one, we would have to do them all and that isn’t something we want to do. Yes, you may have the coolest friends with the coolest bikes and the coolest club patch. We would ride with you any day and anywhere if we can. But if we publish a feature on “CLUB A” then “CLUB B” and “CLUB D” would go into internet frenzy because they think they got slighted because we didn’t publish them first… or third.

We will be at OBC 2017. Stop by the booth at the bike show and buy some stuff. It will be great to meet new people and see all our old friends.

Tour De Fat is taking a non-bicycle direction?

After 19 years of spreading the joy of bikes and beer, New Belgium is changing their Tour De Fat event. For 2017 they are greatly expanding their event schedule from nine to thirty-three cities, which is a great update. The “not so great” update is that they are getting rid of the bike parade in all but three locations and will now be charging an entry fee to the event.

The reasoning behind the changes?  The New Belgium spokesman Bryan Simpson says “We’re still about advocacy and philanthropy and we’re still a celebration of the bike and beer but this was our best model going forward to keep it sustainable.”

The events will have live music as always, but now they will have “nationally known” bands as headliners. With this, the addition of an entry cost is most likely to cover the band costs as well as other overhead items. There was no word at the time of the release whether beer tokens will be handed out as part of the entry fee or will need to be purchased on top of the ticket price. 

After some research, we found that tickets to the Denver event will need to be purchased through Eventbrite and cost $25.00. The event is also moving from the open space of City Park in downtown Denver to the National Western Stock Show Complex. Going from a sunny lush grass and tree filled area to an enclosed concrete warehouse will be quite the change. 

The move to a music focused event has cyclists posting their outrage all over social media. When KBM checked just hours after the news was released to Facebook, over 70% of the replies to the post were negative.

Will taking the bike out of the Tour be detrimental to the event?

helltrack '86 t-shirt

Its 1986, Cru Jones back flips the bowl at Helltrack with the every lovely Lori Loughlin waiting in the stands. RAD is the movie for bike riders that Thrashin’ is for skaters. We have all watched it on the screen and now you can support Helltrack on your body.

Fright Rags now has a Helltrack ’86 t-shirt available for purchase. They have two different shirt types: 4.3 oz. tri-blend and 4.5 oz. 100% pre-shrunk ring spun cotton, sized from SM to 3X (to 5X in cotton) and in both guys and girls models. 

With artwork by Kyle Crawford, this t-shirt takes you back to race day. The color, background and font style all scream March 21st, 1986.

Head to www.fright-rags.com and search “helltrack” with the site’s search feature. Show your support for our favorite bicycle movie and the best race that never happened and let Fright Rags know you heard it from Kustomized Bicycle Magazine.

king zebba custom cruisers diamond tube fork

Last month we helped announce that King Zebba Custom Cruisers was putting headlight brackets for square tube forks to market. This month they are introducing the fork….are they ever going to stop? Master Builder Danny Hazelwood once again hits the mark. Fabricated with 30” X 1 ¼” diamond tube legs, 6061 Aluminum trees these are sure to hit the spot with your custom bicycle tastes. They also incorporated ¼” dropouts with a disk brake tab. You can purchase these great looking assemblies in three width options to fit any wheel / tire combo you are running (100mm, 135mm, and 150mm). They come with stainless hardware and are ready for finish.

Contact King Zebba Custom Cruisers at www.facebook.com/KingZebbaCustomCruisers.

2017 Schwinn lemon peeler

Schwinn is bringing back the Lemon Peeler for 2017. If you are wanting to get your muscle bike on but don’t want to hunt down the parts for the next couple of years or spend a year’s college tuition to get a rider than this may be your chance.

The new “Lemon Peeler” has all the same cool parts that the originals did. The suspension banana seat, springer fork, 16” front wheel, chrome fenders, 16” ape hangers and the decals are all there. Schwinn even brought back the 20” Slik back tire. The only huge difference is the single speed coaster brake.

The only problem is…..They are only making 500 of these (all numbered for you collectors) and they are only available on Amazon. The first batch are already gone having sold out in less than 24 hours but we have word that the next batch will be available in late April (possibly the 24th hint, hint, hint). So mark your calendar or set a reminder on your phone.

vans / cult 26" tire

Taste: Unfortunately, tires really don’t taste like much when they are new.  They don’t taste very good when they are used either.

Smell: I’m not saying I stuffed my head in the box, but I do really like the smell enough to get the tires on the KBM truck rotated weekly at the tire store.

Touch: Fresh tire…how we love fresh tires.

Look: Great, no excess flash on the mold edges or sprues and the colors are cool.

Having been a long-time user of Van /Cult waffle sole grips I was pleasantly surprised when Vans / Cult suddenly released their waffle tread patterned tire in a 26”. I instantly made a call and had two sets on their way.

I’ll admit to being a Vans fanboy. Three of my custom bikes have Vans /Cult grips, which I have found to work extremely well. I own maybe 15 pairs of Vans shoes. Even my wallet is a Vans checkerboard model. However, I am willing to put my fandom to the back for a while so we can get an honest review of these tires. 

When looking for a tire to put on a full custom cruiser I look at:

·         Fit: It better come in the size I need

·         Style: I didn’t spend months in the shop building a custom machine just to throw ugly rollers on it.

·         Function: I put some mileage on my bikes so they need to roll well and wear well. 

·         Price: I don’t mind coughing up my hard earned cash for quality parts.

FIT: the new Vans /Cult cruiser tires come in both 20” and 26”.  The 20” models have been out for some time, but the 26” x 2.30” is new. Since a majority of cruiser bikes roll on 26” X 2.125” tires the new Vans / Cult tires should fit most everything that is out there. (I only wish they were available in 29” since this size is my new favorite.)

STYLE: The Vans /Cult tires come in black, black with an orange pinstripe and black with a whitewall and red stripe. The waffle grip pattern is symmetrical with straight waffles running down the center 2” then the sides have them rotated. The whole tire has a very radiused crown not unlike its 20” brethren. It is a very nice looking tire that would fit on most custom bikes very well.

Function: Doing the tire swap on a 26” X 3” wheel was easy enough. The bead isn’t overly tight and allows for a pretty simple assembly. (Remember to pull the tire lightly against the side of the wheel wall when fitting standard tires to extra wide wheels.) While filling the tube, the tires expanded evenly and caught the bead on the wheel easily. Vans / Cult says that these tires have high pressure sidewalls. We gassed the tires up to 40 psi (our normal pressure) without issue.

After several ride the tires are wearing evenly and not too quickly. The traction is better than most “stock” tires and are not nearly as loud as Thik Slik tires I normally run on this bike.

Price: $34.99 per tire. Not really cheap but comparable to higher end cruiser tires. 

Score:

Overall the Vans / Cult tires get a 4.0 out of 5. They don’t do anything that every other tire doesn’t do. They are made well, wear well and look very nice. With the three different colored models there is something there to fit every bike.

The only reason it didn’t get a better score is that they don’t have a 29” available and they don’t have the checkerboard sidewall like they have in the 20” tire in 26”.

* All over tread pattern based off the classic VANS WAFFLE pattern *
* Grippy in all situations *
* High pressure sidewalls *
* Lightweight

* 2.30
** all black, black w/ orange stripe, black w/ white sidewall & red stripe

 

pack your bags

Spring has finally unleashed itself from the chains of winter. For most of us that means it is time to pull out your favorite bicycle and hit the pavement with your friends for those epic rides that we have been dreaming about during the cold months.

So, what do you need to keep rolling instead of waiting on the side of the road for a lift home?

We talked to several riders what they think is a necessity and asked them to open their ride packs. Surprisingly, most didn’t have packed what they thought they did. Maybe they just forgot? Used it on the last ride and forgot to replace it? Loaned it to another downed rider and didn’t get it back?

Below is a list of everything you need to have packed and with you on your ride. We are talking NEED. Breath mints for picking up the members of the opposite sex is a great thing to have but you don’t actually NEED them.

Check your pack against this list. Print this list and put it on the shop wall and check it before every ride. The ride you save may be your own.

1.    Tubes and Patch kit. You should have at least one tube in your pack. Tubes are easier and faster to replace than patching one. You don’t want to be “that guy” that is holding up the ride because you have some off the wall tire size that no one has a tube for. Patch kits take up such a small space that there is no reason not to have one and if you have a double flat you are still covered. The glueless patches work well and will also save you some time and mess. They won’t hold up permanently like one using a vulcanizing compound but will get you home.

“I have had a tire air down and it took minutes to swap tubes. At the next stop, I patched the leaking tube and put it back in my pack just in case”, says one rider.

Another said “I carry a tube in my size and a 27.5 as a spare. It can be used for both 26” and 29” wheels and will get you home”… Those in the know call those  “loaner tube”.

2.    Pump. You can’t fix a flat without a pump. There are two types that will do the job. The CO2 inflater is a great way to air up but most of them are a one-shot deal per cartridge. The cartridges can’t be recycled so they aren’t as “green” as a stick style pump. If you carry and inflator, double check that you have several full cartridges. The stick style pumps work well and are small and light. They will wear you out if you are filling a 29”x3” but your buddies are with you so take turns then buy them a beverage of their choice at the next stop. There is also a little gadget called the “outlaw pump”. We aren’t saying the wont give you a bad mojo but to each their own. Take to pump heads and put 24” of flexible air tube between them and use crimp sleeves to connect them. If you have a flat and need some air it is as simple as pulling up next to a car and hooking a pump head to your tire and the other pump head to the cars tire…(KBM doesn’t condone such actions).

3.    Tire levers. You won’t need the items above if you can’t get the tire off your wheel. The Park Tool Tire Lever Set TL-1 is just what you need. It comes with three levers that snap together for easy and tight storage in your pack. They are made of plastic and aren’t the strongest ones built but at $3.00 a set you really can’t go wrong. You may have one on your multi-tool but we have found that they are less than effective and can damage those polished rims.

“I forgot my tire levers on one ride and ended up using a stick and a screwdriver. The stick punctured the new tube while seating the tire and the screwdriver scratched up my polished aluminum rims”, said one interviewee.

4.    Tool Kit. While you are bored at home on a snowy night take all the tools out of your bag and see if you can loosen or tighten every nut, bolt and screw on your bike. Your tool kit isn’t complete without a:

Tri hex wrench

Flat screw driver

Spoke wrench

Wrenches to fit your axle nuts, seat post clamp, seat frame, shifter adjuster and bottom bracket.

Multi tools are great and everyone should have one or two. But they don’t have everything you need to fix your bike. Most multi tools have a T25 torx, flathead and Philips screwdrivers, and at least 2.5 3,4,5,6 and 8mm Allen keys, and the most common spoke tool sizes See what your multi tool doesn’t have and pack those items.

“The worst ride I ever went on was actually a great ride until the seat frame bolt came loose and my seat just flopped around. Ten miles from home and I had to make it back never sitting down. My legs hated me”, a rider replied.

5.    Chain Tool.  A lot of multi tools have them but most don’t work or try to remove the good layers of skin on your fingers trying to use them. Even the cheap Bell chain tools work well enough to fix a broken chain once, so pick one up and pack it. Streched cruisers have long chains that were put together from several others. They are more prone to breaking than your standard factory chain.

“Have you ever tried to pound a chain pin in with a big rock?  I have. It didn’t work”, says a rider with a green mowhawk…..

6.    Extra chain and a master link. So, you break your chain and have a chain tool but don’t have enough adjustment at your back wheel to just take a couple links out to fix it? Bring 6-8 inches of chain and a master link. With the chain tool this should get you out of any bind and back home without pushing your ride.

“My chain came apart flying down Las Vegas Blvd on a Friday night. I called my wife at the Golden Nugget who had one to many, so she had to send her dad to get my truck from the valet then drive to the Wynn to pick up my super long streched cruiser”, said the Kustomized Bicycle Magazine editor. 

7.    Zip-ties. Broken fender strut? Broken spoke that is flying around scratching up your paint? Even a broken shoe lace? Zip-ties can get you out of a bind and back on the road. You can pack 10-12 and be care free..Mostly. 

“I hit a curb wrong while avoiding an unleashed dog. Went down pretty hard and tried to save my custom bike so I caught myself with both hands. Broke my middle finger in the process. We pulled the 8mm wrench from my bag and three zip-ties and splinted the finger. It was a clean break and I ended up never going to the doctor. My finger healed up perfectly.” – says one rider.

8.    Duct tape.  Yes, duct tape. Not a whole roll though. That would be much to heavy and large. 3-4 feet of duct tape wrapped around a plastic marker will be more than enough.

“I have seen people use duct tape inside handle bar clamps, holding seats on and on the inside of tires to keep the tube in when there was a sidewall rip.”

9.    Headlight / tail light. How many times have we told our significant other that we be on a ride with friends for “a few hours”? After the third stop, two flat tires and one single buddy trying to chase down a car full of smiles you realize that you have been gone for seven hours and now it is long past sundown? Plus, it is illegal in most states / counties / cities to not have them on after the sun sets.

“I was running down the street to the store to pick up steaks we forgot and needed for a barbeque. I ended up getting pulled over on the way home for not having lights on my bicycle. I had a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket so they impounded my bike and by the time I got out of the local police station the steaks were bad. Seven dollars in lights would have saved me fifty dollars in impound fees….for a bicycle…and twenty two dollars in steaks.”

This list is golden. Check you gear and make it home pedaling instead of pushing. Don’t forget your wallet for post ride burritos and beers. And never forget your cell phone in case of emergencies.

obc: the biggest bike party builders

Builders come in many forms. Kustomized Bicycle Magazine has interviewed builders from many schools. We have done the ground up from scratch builders, the parts-only fabricators and builders of bike friendly cities. Building the biggest bike party in North America is a feat that only very few would be able to accomplish.  We were able to corner a few of the OBC staff to ask them questions pertaining to the building of this bike party. Though KBM is a hug fan of this event, we pulled no punches and asked the questions that several have asked us, that we overheard during rides or questions based on comments from those who have attended the event.

First off, Kustomized Bicycle Magazine would like to thank the OBC staff for taking time a month before their event to do an interview.

Brief biography of the players:

Don Tomas Flores or "T" - Been into customizing bikes my whole life but had a revival about 18 years back.  Joined the Chopaderos 14 years ago and haven't looked back since!  

Brand ambassador for HBBC (Huntington Beach Bicycle Company)  One time I was asked if I build custom bikes.... my answer?  "No, but I build custom bike parties and create custom bike memories and I'm damn proud of that!!! 

Amy Krashed - All of Team OBC contributes in all decisions, we are totally involved in all aspects of the event.  More specifically, I juggle the sponsorship, am the hotel / accommodations liaison, and balance the budget.  My official, fancy title is Director of Sales and Marketing.

Chad Majer aka “Peewee” - I got heavily involved in Bicycles while studying abroad in Holland.  I think I sat in a car 3 times in 9 months, and never drove.  After I graduated and moved to Carlsbad Village, I met up with the Chopaderos, and having been riding with them ever since (about 14 years).  I started working for Electra about 6 years ago, and soon after that, T-Flo and I started OBC.  Trek has since purchased Electra, so I essentially work for them as well.  I also have a small custom shop on my property that is ran by fellow OBC team member, Nick “Wiggles” Evans, called Barn Find Kustomz.

 

(KBM): OBC is in its fifth year now. Congratulations on the half decade of a great party in Las Vegas. What happened over five years ago that made OBC? Who originally put it together and what were the thoughts that got the ball rolling?

(Don Tomas Flores) - Yup, year 5! Thank you!  OBC came about around 6 years ago when I was told I needed to put on a monthly custom bike ride in LA.  I knew I didn't have time for that. So, I opted for one BIG ride. I wanted it to model after the FBI, an amazing ride held in Amsterdam 11 years back by a Chopadero club brother.  I attended and loved the idea! With all its comradery, all the bike love and all the rides (up to 60 miles a day, not to mention seeing the very 1st Basman every made) I knew someday I would do something similar here in the states.  In order for me to pull this off I knew it needed to be somewhere with an international airport in case the rest of the world wanted to attend (and they do).  Somewhere that never closed and allowed us to rage all night, somewhere with inexpensive rooms and somewhere the world loves to visit!   Las Vegas was the obvious answer.  When I started to plan this I knew right off the bat I would need help.... especially with the lodging.  So I turned to my good friend and club brother PeeWee.  With a degree in Hotel Management and some pretty good ideas I knew we could kill the bike party scene!   Boom. 

(Amy Krashed) - Although I attended the first two OBC's, I didn't join the OBC Team until the third year, 2015.  I was honored that T & Chad wanted me to join them, especially since I live up in Northern California.  My past includes a career in event planning for small and large businesses and organizations including skateboard demos, conventions at Disneyland, American Cancer Society fundraisers, and bicycle events.  I like to throw parties, and OBC has turned into the biggest and best event I've participated in!  The main piece I work on is the bicycle show, and I love it!  Though I may look a little stressed out on Sunday, its so much fun to see so many people gathered together from all over the country and beyond celebrating bicycles!  I can't express how happy and lucky I am to be a part of such a rad scene.

(Chad Majer) - Over 5 years ago T-Flo was talking about putting on a big ride with multiple clubs, and I have a lot of experience in the hotel and event industry, so we worked together to put on the first OBC, and it took off from there.  The idea was that there were very few clubs around, and they rarely rode or communicated with each other.  We wanted to bring all the clubs together for one big event.

 

(KBM): Kustomized Bicycle Magazine has been to the last three OBC Las Vegas events and have noticed the number of participants growing. What is the percentage of growth per year and do you think it will eventually hit the top of the curve?

(Don Tomas Flores) - OBC's 1st year was about 80-100 riders, year 2 150-175 riders, year 3, 300ish riders and year 4 I was told it was over 700 but we officially only sold 490 something reg. bags.

(Amy Krashed) - I believe 2013 started with 80 attendees, my guess is that 2016 had about 800.   I'm not great with numbers though, just my guess.  Hoping to have a more accurate head count this year, we will even have fancy folks with people counters at the bicycle show gates!

(Chad Majer) - OBC continues to grow every year. It is our responsibility to keep things interesting and building upon previous events so people keep coming back!

 

(KBM): OBC and Las Vegas are synonymous. Las Vegas is the party capital of the country but has there been any thought of moving the event to different cities?

(Don Tomas Flores) - OBC is definitely into taking this show on the road to other states and countries!!!!  That is a dream of ours and something we have been thrown around!  But for that to happen we need the support from the scene, again we aren't looking for a hand out, just buy the OBC gear and registration bags!

(Amy Krashed) - Absolutely!

(Chad Majer) - We have had long discussions about additional OBC events in new locations, and are trying to work those ideas out soon!

 

(KBM):  It was posted on the OBC Facebook that “OBC” no longer is an acronym for “Outlaw Bicycle Clubs”. We know that a certain ratio of the OBC followers liked the “outlaw” name while others didn’t think it was fitting for the group? Is the name change official? If so, was there any specific action that happened to cause the name change? Have there been any problems with the establishments that host the events and the club vests worn by some of the attendees?

(Don Tomas Flores) - Yes, it's official.  When we started this thing, I'd say there were about 3 or 4 custom bike clubs around.  I borrowed the "outlaw bicycle clubs" from my club, the Chopaderos.  We called them outlaw bikes because if you were to take them to the local PD to be registered we found the bikes didn't meet the "street legal" policies at the time, and some of these policies still stand. These policies said that our handle bars sat to high, our frames to low and the steering is compromised by the rake of the fork, this made the bike "illegal" so we went with it because it was funny to us and that's what we are all about is fun.  So the name carried over to the event.  

Since then we have changed it because the name itself "outlaw" seems to bring a lot of tough guys around asking stupid "tough guy" questions and I'm over it.  The word carries a negative stereo type with it and I'm not about that.   I knew we had to keep "OBC" because, if you've been to an event and heard the crowd chanting "OBC OBC OBC OBC"  you know we couldn't change that!!!  So One Big Club was born and seemed to be the obvious answer.  It brings everyone under one umbrella. while allowing you to keep your club identity/solo cholo status intact  OBC celebrates the pedal, the polished rim and the custom bike ride.  OBC unites, connects and builds relationships with in this custom scene with people from all walks of life from all over the world.  You want to be a tough guy?  There are plenty of scenes for you!  But this isn't one of them,  his scene brings back that  awesome feeling of riding with your friends through the neighborhood with a big ol smile on your face all while hooting and hollering and setting the streets on fire!!! 

(Chad Majer) - Some of the issues we run into while planning these events has been the name.  Sometimes government officials, hotel and venue owners, etc. take us the wrong way when we told them our name was “Outlaw Bicycle Clubs”.  The name change should open new opportunities to us that were not open to us before.

 

(KBM): OBC lasts for over four days with constant scheduled events for each of the days. How many hours approximately does it take to put on this event?

(Don Tomas Flores) - How many man hours?  Well, it starts out slow after the last event with a once a month meeting with the team members, we set goals and things we want to check out and then about 8 months out we start meeting weekly and as the event gets near we start meeting biweekly.  We also visit Vegas up to 2 additional times, setting up venues, entertainment and talking to clubs hosting rides!   As far as man hours? I honestly couldn't tell you, hundreds?!?  Some time we go till 10pm and sometimes 1am as well as the work we do from home that is assigned to team members at the meetings

(Amy Krashed) - Each OBC is a year plus planning process.  We hold weekly (or more frequent) meetings, trips to Vegas (and SoCal for me), plus our individual positions and assignments for OBC.   The team collaborates on all decisions like colors and logos, designs, entertainment, etc.  From location scouting to ride planning to balancing budgets to marketing and advertising.  Oh yeah, and the actual event!  I kid you not, there is not a day through the year that I am not contacted about something OBC-related.  I can only answer for myself -  I manage the sponsorship and am the hotel / accommodations liaison and balance the budget.  As the event nears, its far more than a 40 hour week.  I’m sure the same if not more is true of the entire team.

(Chad Majer) - OBC has really become a year round job.  There are about half a dozen volunteers that literally spend hundreds of hours each planning OBC.

 

(KBM): Kustomized Bicycle Magazine had participants of OBC2016 send in their reviews of certain rides they went on that we went ahead and published. The reviews were mostly positive.  There were some opinions that some of the rides weren’t as well organized as they could have been. I was told that the OBC staff read the reviews. When planning the rides for 2017 did OBC talk to ride organizers to make events flow a little better this year?

(Don Tomas Flores) - Well as you can imagine hosting a ride consisting of 5-700 people is kinda like herding cats.  People will get separated and the group will get stopped for different reasons (repair, red lights etc) This year on the longest ride (Show Me A Sign Ride) we have enlisted the help of SMASH BROS out Vegas!   A skinny tire group that rides on a regular basis and have the speed needed to keep the "cats" in line!   We have had rides "kidnapped" and those ended up not going to the scheduled stops! So my advice is Stay with the official rides and you shan't be disappointed... 

(Chad Majer) - As part of our yearly recap, we read every review we can, as well as asking dozens of people what they thought of the event, and give our own honest opinion of how things went, and then formulate plans to make improvements for them next event. 

 

(KBM): The OBC event with its growth must be in discussions by much larger companies than the sponsors it now has. Have any top names in the bicycling world contacted OBC wanting to take part in the event?

(Don Tomas Flores) - As far as sponsorship goes we would love a beer company or energy drink company to step in (Red Bull looking your way!!)   but we also love the sponsors we have now.  Lots of start-up companies with cool owners who come out and enjoy the scene, we support those who support us!  

(Amy Krashed) - Top secret!!!!

(Chad Majer) - We try to get as many sponsors as possible that will add to the enjoyment of the event. I am hoping to make the Bicycle Show bigger in the future, so we can get bigger sponsors, as well as have more for the attendees to experience.

 

(KBM): ith four days of constant events there is no time for more things to pack into the event but have there been any ideas floated around the OBC group that we haven’t seen yet?

(Don Tomas Flores) - New ideas?  Plenty of ideas from with in and from outside team OBC!  Lots of great ideas!  But every idea has to go through all the questions like: can it hold 500 plus folks, do they have bike parking, do they allow cuts?  Are they cool with bikes EVERYWHERE?  Many factors are taken when planning this event.  Stay tuned for new rides and ideas!!!

(Amy Krashed) - You will have to wait and see in April....

(Chad Majer) - We have a ton of good ideas, and we evaluate all of them to see what we think would work.  These include parts of the Vegas event, as well as new events in new locations.  We look at different hotels and venues for Vegas every year.  The things that kill a lot of ideas are: wearing cuts inside the venue, bicycles in the hotel rooms, capacity, cost, bicycle parking, and people that were afraid of the old OBC name or hundreds of scary looking bicycle people!

 

(KBM): People buying the gift bag pays for the event and all the bills that come with this type of event. If people want to help more what would OBC suggest they do?

(Don Tomas Flores) - The event registration bag is a BIG way to help.  Staying at the Golden Nuggets/Plaza also helps.   The price of the  reg. bag has not gone up in 3 years, so even though cost of this putting on this event goes up every year the price for the bag has stayed the same.  If you'd like to help us this year, buy registration bag, buy our hats, shirts and patches!  We aren't trying to get something for nothing so your purchase helps us keep going!  Thank you!

(Amy Krashed) - The Registration Bags are indeed, what generates pre-event income, which of course we need in order to host OBC.  Similar to concert ticket sales, this is what pre-pays for the venue's, security, liability insurance, equipment, etc. required for the event.  Unlike a concert ticket, the Registration Bag not only includes admission into the OBC Concert / Welcome Party (this year featuring the VooDoo Glow Skulls) and the private pool party; it also contains the OBC event t-shirt, patches, stickers, buttons and other swag from our sponsors.  PLUS the chance of possibly receiving a ‘Golden Ticket’ - my absolute favorite part of the event!  Totally a good value, in addition to helping us gather funds as we start planning.  Whew!  What can folks do to help?  Everyone loves swag!  Donate items for the bags or Golden Ticket’s.  Spread the word about the event.  Support our sponsors!  Keep the wheels turning within our community.  Hug your OBC Team Members!

(Chad Majer) - The best thing you can do is to buy the OBC registration, stay at the Golden Nugget, and buy some merch.  The other thing you can do is to encourage others to do the same. Remember all of the money goes back into the events!  We could not pull these events off without the support of everybody!  When you see an OBC team member at the event, thank them and buy them a beer.  Remember that they are essentially working for free in their spare time. 

 

(KBM): Where will OBC be in five years? And in ten? With its constant growth over the first five year how will OBC look in 2020 and 2025?

(Don Tomas Flores) - In order for us to be around in 5 years or 10 is for OBC to be successful as a company.  We have run out of favors and people need to get paid for their time, that is a goal for us, we want to employ people, pay them for all their time they put in, pay them to do what they love, which is plan the biggest custom bike party in the Americas!

(Amy Krashed) - Though the event planning is routine, the event itself is not!  So hard for me to predict with so much growth from year one to four.   My hope is that OBC will grow into a few more events per year, hitting new cities and states with employees rather than all volunteers.  T & Chad started something new that has taken off like no one expected - it can go anywhere from here. 

(Chad Majer) - We hope that we can continue to grow in the next 5 years.  We hope to grow the Vegas event with new and exciting changes, as well as produce other events in new locations.  Finding new sponsorship and other opportunities will really help us grow in the future.

 

(KBM): We always ask questions in elevens. So our last question is what does Kustomized Bicycle Magazine have to do to get a prime spot at the bike show?

(Don Tomas Flores) - Most vendors are set up alphabetically unless they are Platinum status!  But the way the show is set up, everyone will stroll by every booth in the show! 

(Amy Krashed) - Get in good with the person in control of the map - oh wait, that’s me!!!

(Chad Majer) - You have to ask Amy about the floor plan for the show!  I am working on getting us bigger and better spaces for the bike show in the future so we can grow the show, have more people from the public coming to check it out, and bring in more sponsors that want to show off their stuff to our scene!

There is a rare class of custom bicycle builders who rework existing bicycles until they are a new and much better version of once was. They follow in the footsteps of 1930’s coachbuilders like Harry Westergard. These icons took stock higher end automobiles and customized them with such style and grace that you couldn’t tell they weren’t factory builds but you also couldn’t agree what model they started out as. These coach builders were true visionaries. They realized that you could make small changes and additions to develop a better flow with the lines. There was no need to chop the top of a 1936 Ford six inches when you could chop it two inches but then reshape the hood and deck lid to match.

Lee Workman of Workman Reflections (Gadsden, Alabama)

Lee Workman of Workman Reflections (Gadsden, Alabama)

 

Jim Henderson could be classified as a coachbuilder. He entered the Rat Rod Bike Bicycle Build-Off 11 with a unique vision. While others were cutting bikes apart and bolting doo-dads on, Jim spent many hours of working vintage tin, test fitting and even hours of graphic design to create a masterpiece. By the end of the Build-Off he had everyone drooling on their keyboards. Upon entering the competition, he brazenly posted “The concept for Decoluxe is to build a 1940's era bicycle that could have existed but didn't. The bike will hopefully look like it had been found in the back of a warehouse in a once thriving metropolis somewhere in industrialized America. Opulent uses of steel and chrome mixed with the graceful lines and colors of the art deco movement will set the tone. The grime and grit of use will cement it in time. In the end my hope is that Decoluxe with evoke a warm nostalgic feeling of that bygone era in history.”

 

We all know that vintage women’s frames are less desirable to collectors and therefore are worth less than half of a men’s frame in the same condition. Jim decided to step out of the mold and make women’s frames worth their weight. He did that by doing some molding of his own. He designed a mold that when completed was a “top tube” of sorts that can be attached to vintage women’s frames. He dubbed these pieces the TRM Convertible Tank which he has started doing limited runs of and sells. The design is based on 1940’s art deco bike tanks with two headlight pods. The graceful design flows beautifully and will convert most women’s frame from something usually piled in the corner to something. Many people have grafted the TRM Convertible Tank to different vintage frames without much effort.

Lee Workman of Workman Reflections (Gadsden, Alabama)

Lee Workman of Workman Reflections (Gadsden, Alabama)

 

Jim started with a 1941 Elgin women’s frame and fitted his signature TRM Convertible Tank to it. Though it fit very well he added several inches to the rear to fit the frame a bit better. Other than this addition the frame was left relatively stock. Like the coachbuilders from nearly 100 years ago, sometimes less is more. The front fork is a CWC Shockmaster fork which is a pretty rare piece. The twin chrome springs and front supports really fits the style of the rest of the machine. Plus, the fork would also leave enough room for the headlights on the TRM Convertible Tank.

The next item Jim designed and fabricated was the fender set. Anyone could have bolted on a set of fenders but to get the look but Jim ended up using three different Monark deep fenders to fabricate the rear fender. Think of the street sweeper style of a Pierce-Arrow or vintage Cord automobile. The front fender was modified with some hammer and steel work to have the fender fit the front fork as if it were done in the factory. Details like this go unnoticed by most but are necessary to form the overall look of the bicycle.

Lee Workman of Workman Reflections (Gadsden, Alabama)

Lee Workman of Workman Reflections (Gadsden, Alabama)

 

Nothing says “vintage” like a drop stand on a bicycle. Not having one laying around Jim used a J.C Higgins Colorflow fender brace and some 5/16 stainless rod and after many dies and directions on the bender created both a left and right side that were welded together than welded to new fabricated mounts. Using a piece of a barbeque tong he bought at the local thrift store he fabricated a clip for the stand to hold in in place when the drop stand was not in use. Once the drop stand was functional in the down position and followed the lines on the bike in the up position everything was welded in place. The drop stand was made to look like a fender brace and crash rail when it is in riding position.

Jim scrounged together set of mismatched ColorFlow skirt guards from his stash. Once mocked up he used a CWC Western Flyer chain guard and some creative cutting to get the skirt guards and chain guard to look like a single piece while still keeping the chain clearances. With a ton of planning Jim was able to hide the mounting tabs and bolts for the guards. He took another piece of fender and cut it into sections to give the appearance that it passes through the frame. Jim then used T-nuts and had them welded under the bottom so once the skirt guards were mounted no fasteners would be visible. In the end “there are a total of 56 fasteners holding the fenders, braces and guards in place and only two of them are visible. The two that are visible were purposely made visible to look like original rivets holding the custom drop stand holder (made from BBQ tongs) and can only be seen when the stand is lowered”, he says.

Lee Workman of Workman Reflections (Gadsden, Alabama)

Lee Workman of Workman Reflections (Gadsden, Alabama)

Covering the drop stand bolts Jim used some metal discs he picked up years ago and had an elevator bolt welded to the back of each. After a session with a drill motor and a scotch brite pad they were ready to be installed.

 Keeping with the vintage look a prewar long spring saddle was torn down. After a metal work session that fixed years of abuse Jim mounted art deco interior car door handle to the nose before padding it with high density foam and reupholstered with pieces from a thrift store leather coat. It was bolted to a Lucky 7 seat post before being slid and clamped into its resting place on this beautiful machine.

Lee Workman of Workman Reflections (Gadsden, Alabama)

Lee Workman of Workman Reflections (Gadsden, Alabama)

 

Moving up front, Jim added a 1930s/40s era Torrington art deco handlebar stem to
Huffy middle weight handlebars then capped the ends with Foxgrips reproduction Airflo grips.

Lee Workman of Workman Reflections (Gadsden, Alabama)

Lee Workman of Workman Reflections (Gadsden, Alabama)

 

The drivetrain consist of set of Prewar Elgin triple step wheels wrapped in Schwalbe Fat Frank 26x2.35 tires which with some magic, chemicals and time have all the logos removed. Keeping the vintage flare a Lazy Heart chain ring was added and wrapped in a prewar Diamond skip tooth chain. To get the crank rotation is a set of Persons majestic tear drop pedals.

 A ½” EMT conduit elbow was sliced down to mate against the skirt guards. A nut was welded inside of each so a set of LED tail lights could be screwed into the EMT then wired to an onboard battery.

Lee Workman of Workman Reflections (Gadsden, Alabama)

Lee Workman of Workman Reflections (Gadsden, Alabama)

 

As if all of the above wasn’t enough for the best of custom bike builders, Jim decided he needed to add some custom art deco fender braces. They were hand formed from steel tubing made for lamp pipes. The total length of tubing in the fender braces adds up to over twenty-one feet.

 With fabrication complete the entire bike was taken down to bare metal and then painted to look vintage. Jim also did the pin striping. To keep the factory look the Decoluxe and Elgin logos were designed by Jim and silk screened on the bike.

 Amazingly, the bike was built in three months for the RRBBO-11. Since then it has been getting rave reviews and is the mascot for Jim’s TRM Convertible Tank.

 Jim did all of the work on the bike except for the welding which was professionally done by Charlie Barnett of Unique Motorcars (Gadsden, Alabama).

no dice

Bigger is always better. But there is no life like the low life. Finally, is retro is the new cool. What if a guy was going to try to build a custom bicycle for one of the biggest bike shows in the world and follow all three of those mottos?

Deven Seymour is just the guy to do it. Making is home in Sacramento California he is surrounded by hotrods, some lowriders and a bunch of retro influences. Luckily he is also a well-trained fabricator with an eye for style and the skills to back it up. As the owner of Alchemist Custom Bicycles you have probably viewed some of his work floating around the interwebs. He has built full custom dream bikes, chopped up vintage pieces to make rolling works of art and even has a huge foothold in some of the coolest burrito bikes around.

For Deven to fit the biggest wheels and still be low to the ground he had to build his own frame from scratch. He pulled out the roller, some square tube and a welder and put together a long and very low frame. The overall riding position is very comfortable for those long rides but adding extra long chain stays and quite a few degrees to the neck allowed it to run the wheel and tire combo he was dreaming of. The frame has nice sloping dimensions but not like a stretched cruiser. With the upright seat position and low crank centerline this can definitely be an everyday ride. The bottom tube follows the “low life” motto by being the sort side of single digits in measurements. To throw some extra bling into the chassis he even integrated heart shaped rear dropouts.

Deven didn’t stop at the frame to show off his fabrication skills. He built a set of low Z-bars out of square tubing that should help trying to steer the front end with the added head tube rake. Coming out of the bottom of the head tube is a springer front end with custom legs also made of square tube.  As he is known to do, some vintage top end parts were added to the springer fork assembly to pick up the “retro is the new cool” points.

Finish to the chassis was a very smooth wild cherry powder coat job highlighted with bright red pin striping on practically every tube outlining all the custom lines done in a bright red. The striping is thin enough to go unnoticed until you really get close. Deven added a tank insert also powder coated with the frames color, pin striped and has the Alchemists logo silver leafed onto it.

What everyone wants to know is information on the rolling stock. Deven got ahold of a set of 36” Coker wheels wrapped in Coker black brick tires. The rear has a multi-geared coaster brake hub laced into it while the front has a large flanged polished unit with sealed bearings. Both wheels are laced with heavy duty polished spokes and nipples. To shift through the gears a Project 346 Shifter was custom mounted under the seat topped with a matching red dice shifter.

To fit such massive wheels under a rideable frame take a lot of skill, math and ingenuity. Alchemist Custom Bicycles and Deven Seymour definitely brings big to the custom bicycle game and KBM is looking forward to see what he does in the future.  

 

There comes a time when everything has an option. Will you multiply or die. It is up to us. Are we going to let the pettiness kill us off? It seems to happen at the point where something grows from a microbial size to something just as large as a molecule.

The custom bicycle scene is that molecule. Yes, just a molecule in the whole world of bicycles.

We have builders at each other’s throats. Just because Mr. Builder #1 made widget A in blue and Mr. Builder #2 made it in light blue doesn’t mean anything. Mr. Builder #1 is all internet tough-guy puffy chested over widget A that was initially made 80 years ago…but in black.

On the other hand, Mr. Builder #1 whips out something phenomenal. It’s a one-off design and has taken countless hours on the drawing board and in front of the mill and lathe.  Mr. Builder #2 gets ahold of one and decides that he can make the same thing and will charge $10.00 less.

There are Facebook posts arguing over the rules of bike shows. There are people making posts about how they aren’t showing up to certain events because of all the things posted online….pot / kettle much?

In a group so small there is room for everyone to do their own thing and everything will be stellar. If you choose to make unnecessary noise and cause some sort of ruckus; as my ol’ grandad use to say “it goes over like a fart in church”.  My grandpa was quite the eloquent speaker.  There are only so many of us in this group. Any time you get Mr. Tough Guy with another person in the group the vibrations are felt by everyone. Any time you do something back handed to someone in the group everyone feels it.

If we go this route, one of two things will happen. We can remain as a single group and ride together until death or like any other organism, we will push the problem out so it can do us know harm.

Simply put, if you are into it for yourself then don’t disease the group. If you want to be in the group then don’t bring the disease to it.