We are entering the silly season for 2016. Congratulations, you made it through another year.  Little do most people know but the magazine world enters the silly season in September. We usually run 2-3 months in advance. So when this issues gets published we are working on the February and March issues.  For a guy that doesn’t really know what he is doing over the weekend this is always a major hurdle.

This month’s issue of Kustomized Bicycle Magazine features to incredible bikes from well know builders. These guys keep pumping out the hits over and over. Though there is always room for more builders in this world, keeping up with these guys will be hard for a newcomer. Speaking of builders, this month’s Builder Feature is Patina Customs. Adam Copeland pushes boundaries with his board track style.

This month we go way old school with the Tech Feature. Making super cool shift knobs out of acrylic sheets. This practice started in the 50’s and has sadly been mostly forgotten since then. Check it out, you can make something really swanky to fit your new build.

Other features consist of Industry News, New Products, review of the largest bike swap (VeloSwap) in the country, and a new feature called Crank McChainring.

Crank McChainring has been hanging around the Kustomized Bicycle Magazine offices for some time. He spends the days riding around on his Univega frame fixie with Ape hangers and full fenders. At night we think he is jacked up on Cheetohs and Mountain Dew Code Red while scavenging through our dumpster searching for pieces of chain and broken bike parts. He has most conversations with himself….but they are usually humorous. We offered him the back page of the magazine if he promised to quit tagging the front of our offices with misspelled bike slurs like “Crewser Scum” and “Fixie Fourever”.  We will see how long this lasts.


Have you ever had one of those “Oh My….Look at That” moments? For instance, we were having a photo shoot at a not so secret location. The best builders with the best bikes were all hanging around as the photographers were giving their poor Sony and Canon batteries a marathon workout. A guy rolls into the area with one of the builders on the just about the sweetest looking bikes we have ever seen. When the sun caught the paint it was retina burning and even in the shade this bike had a glow around it that was almost other-worldly. Photographers stopped shooting (and maybe drooled a bit) before arguing with each other for the “dibs” to shoot it.

Scott Ayers is the owner of the Ruff / Firebikes Warrior that stunned photographers. He worked in conjunction with Kustom Krafts of Sarasota to build this amazing machine. From front to back this ride is top of the line and beautifully detailed. The Warrior frame had all its welds ground and smoothed to perfection. After some finish work to the frame, neck and the Origins 8 chain ring were sprayed with a base coat of silver metallic base before being covered in Custom Shop Orange Glow Candy two stage urethane to give it the amazing color. The frame was handed over to Mike Houland to have some frame flowing pinstripe work laid on the freshly painted square tube frame.

Rolling stock consists of 80mm polished hoops and cream Boa G tires front and rear. The front wheel assembly has polished spokes and nipples strung through a polished Felt Star hub. Polished spike axle nuts keep the front wheel assembly attached to a polished tripe tree fork. Being always safety minded is a chrome headlight with visor mounted to the lower tree. To keep this machine steering in the right direction is a set of Alejandro’s Garage custom handle bars that were beautifully chrome plated before being installed.

The rear hoop also has polished spokes and nipples but is attached to the Shimano Nexus 3-Speed hub (Kustomized Bicycle Magazine reviewed a few months earlier).  The shifter assembly was mounted to the left mid-frame bar under the seat and can be operated with a polished aluminum and brass Bastards Garage shifter.

The drivetrain is also top of the line and very fitting for this machine. A sealed bearing bottom bracket is attached to Origin 8 3-piece crank assembly. Wellgo pedal keeps Scott’s feet firmly planted and keeps the drivetrain revolving. The chain ring is attached to the cog with a KMC Kool Knight polished half link chain.

Topping everything off is the ultimate for rider comfort in the Brooks B-66 saddle in brown that matches the leather hand grips on the handle bars. The chrome seat springs match the rest of the chrome and polished components on the bike.

Scott and Kustom Krafts of Sarasota really pulled off an amazing build. We have word that they have conspired once again on a new project and will hopefully be showing it to the readers of Kustomized Bicycle Magazine soon. 




Arresting Officer: Your license. Where's your license?

Pedro: It's back there on the bumper, man!

When Carrie and R.J. Blackledge decided to build a new bike, they found inspiration in an old movie. If you haven’t gazed upon the glory of Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke you don’t know what you’re missing. Catchy one-liners, late 70’s drug humor and two of the most hilarious comedians ever to grace the big screen. In the movie, the character Pedro has several scenes while driving his 1964 Chevrolet Impala named “Love Machine”. With R.J. (of R.J.s Custom Bikes) building skill they created a bicycle with all the customizations the made the “Love Machine” one of the more iconic movie cars ever to hit the big screen.

R.J. started with some tube chucked up into the roller where he started rolling out the arcs for the frame. With the 1964 Impala in mind he created a beautifully flowing frame that incorporated a tank insert. The tank insert has a flush door on the non-drive side storing all the wiring and components needed. The rear of the frame was paneled to resembled the rear quarter panel of the car mentioned above. He even integrated a solidly mounted rear fender with radiuses fender struts and a control panel under the seat. To clone the “custom” paintjob of the “Love Machine” the frame was smoothed then sprayed with the oxide red primer then spotted with grey primer.

We can say that this bike has too much to mention. The standard cruiser drivetrain with one piece crank and chrome chain ring is tied to the Shimano Nexus 3 speed rear hub with a chrome KMC chain. To keep the super long chain tension correct an extra chain ring was added with the love machine logo cut into it. The pedals are customized bear trap units with pot leaves mounted as inserts. To shift the ever popular 3 Speed is a Boxcar shifter mounted to the side of the tank insert with an early 70’s style polished round shift knob.

To keep this machine rolling is polished 26” x 100mm hoops with black Boa-G tires. The front has a custom spoke design with a Felt Star front hub. The rear has the same design with the Shimano rear hub.

To keep The Miracles – Love Machine blaring is a 400-watt sound system mostly tucked away from the publics eyes. What you can see is the two Pyle Cycle Series speakers aimed at the rider’s head. With the system cranked up not only the rider but the surrounding area will be dancing to the cruising sounds.

Need lights? Twin bullet style headlights are mounted to the drive side of the front fork. Attached to the front fork is a deep dished tiny chromed chain steering wheel mounted in between the chrome ape hangers.

Out front leading the way is the obligatory chromed Flying Goddess with Orange wings that really could have been stolen from the original “Love Machine”.

Twin curb feelers are mounted to the rear insert on each side. On the non-drive side of the rear panel is the custom MUF DVR license plate mounted vertically to a chrome motorcycle tail light license plate mount.

To keep up the theme a custom blue velvet seat was upholstered with blue ape fur wrapping the edges and red “dingle-balls” hanging from the underside. R.J. hit pulled no punches with this creation.

This bike may look like a primed hoopty in passing but after looking at it you can see that there are hundreds of hours in the build. The hidden wiring, the details and overall design are exemplary.

patina kustoms

Adam Copeland of Patina Customs has been on the scene longer than most. With award winning builds dating back almost ten years now he hasn’t lost his love for what he does. Whether it is board track styled bikes, pintriping or fabricating one off parts for sale Patina Customs is a name that people know. We talked to Adam and had him answer a few pertinent questions about his builds, what he sees for the future and what got him to this point.

(KBM): When did your shop form and what is your background pertaining to fabrication and design?

   Patina kustoms was formed as a place on Facebook to show off my artwork and builds I've done for myself and other clients. Most of my background in fab is because I simply didn't know how and wanted to learn. So over the years I bought tools like a welder to be able to push the edge of design and fabricate things that pop into my head.

 Same thing with pinstriping, it was an art form I found beautiful. So I bought a few colors and started slinging lines on anything that would sit still long enough in the garage.
   Design I've always found to be a mix of form and function. I've personally never been much for parts that serve no purpose on a bike.  So most of my builds show that by being sleek stripped down and clean. Although one does have these massive carburetors on it but I turned them into bells so they do actually serve a purpose...... Sorta.

M): Who originally got you into bicycles and can take credit for your hands-on interest?

I've owned vintage and custom bikes most of my life. But it was probably my years working at College Cyclery in Sacramento that sealed it. Old creaky wood floors and drawers with hidden vintage parts. That’s where I built a lot of customs for clients and myself and helped plant the seeds that became the monthly second Saturday ride.

M): What is your favorite bike you have built to date?

Man I've got a few that are super important to me for different reasons but two I refuse to sell are my 1947 Schwinn cycle truck "the ratty truck, and "Galt town hooligan.". I’ve laughed and said I’ll be buried with that dang bike.

KBM): With the explosion of the custom bike world in the last few years where do you see this scene going?

Growing for sure, with such events such as OBC Bringing folks together that otherwise wouldn't. I see bikes using more motorcycle rims as we are already at 130mm wide. I also see more 70's style being used meaning tall crazy bars, lots of bass boat flake and sissy bars.

(KBM): If someone hasn’t seen your style of bike how would you describe it?

My style is board tracker, low down narrow clean. I try to keep a visual element of speed and flow when looked at from side profile. I also like rather outlandish forks and handlebars. That’s part of the reason I made the decision to make bars.

(KBM): Is your shop a one stop shop? Do you build custom bikes that are ready to ride or a series of pieces that can be purchased together?

I do not make production bikes and I very rarely build bikes to simply sell. I do build for clients and each one is special to me for one reason or another. Patina Kustoms does however make handlebars of different designs for different frames. I can also custom make bars if clients wish by contacting me personally or through Patina Kustoms on Facebook.

(KBM): What is your favorite style of bike to build: chopper, bobber, stretched cruiser?

Style? Its got to be board trackers and muscle bikes. However I also love the rat rod style as it’s a fun no rules type of deal. You find a neat frame and go nuts. I've been a long time member and supporter of ratrodbikes.com and many of my close friendships were formed among that community. There is a total thrill of the hunt with these bikes where you will be dead set on say one particular sprocket so you will hunt high and low till you find just the right rusty gem.

(KBM): When not in the shop building bikes what do you spend your time doing?

Pinstriping is my decompression tool by far. When painting I go into a zone that separates me from the pressure of life. Sometimes not really thinking it’s just paint, the brush, and let it fly.
   Rats are my other passion, those of the fuzzy type. That’s not a big secret for those friends of mine on Facebook. They are highly intelligent, know their names and are just as affectionate as dogs or cats. In fact in some countries they are used to seek out landmines and have saved the lives of thousands.

(KBM): What is your favorite tool in the shop and what is usually playing on the stereo?

My angle grinder was my favorite as it can cut smooth polish and heck be a hammer if needed (just kidding). But my new favorite is my JD2 bender. It’s quite a beast and takes a steady hand to run otherwise it’s very easy to get it wrong.

(KBM): If a person hasn’t had access to the settings, tools, and skills like welding, fabrication, paint, etc. What is a good first step to take in learning what it takes to build a project bike?

I would suggest to start easy, learn how to put a bike together properly and safely. I've seen some pretty scary stuff out there so crawl before you run. Find a buddy that is willing to show you the ins and outs and never be afraid to ask questions. Once you learn the basics then the door is open to let your mind fly.

(KBM): What is next for your shop? Upcoming projects, lines of parts? 

I am developing a few new handlebars I hope to have available before Xmas as well as a few bikes built to show off handlebars for the show season next year. I'm also developing a fork conversion for springer forks that should be available early next year. Keep an eye out on the Patina Kustoms page as I post new stuff there first.

In finishing I'd like to thank my wife Debbie for putting up with me after 17 years, as well as my fellow hooligan brothers. Also to my clients and longtime friends and family who have helped me in so many ways. I'm forever grateful so roll on and keep em rubber side down and shiny or rusty side up. HFFH




Chop Shop Customz

We all know the most precise parts for your build are the hardest to fabricate. Not everyone has a lathe or mill in their shop. Chop Shop Customz can help you out with their new seamless heavy wall machines bottom bracket shells.

Buying stock sized bottom bracket shells or having to cut one out of an existing frame is a thing of the past. With the seamless heavy wall tube there is no worry of welding heat warping the shell out of roundness. With the normal Chop Shop Customz’s tight tolerances and quality assurance your bearings will fit tight and true. They will even machine the shells with custom dimensions if that is what your build requires. Contact Chad at Chop Shop Customz for pricing and availability. 

LOWLIFE Bikes Knuckle Forks are Back

Lowlife Bikes is introducing their new knuckle forks. They did a limited run a few years ago that were scooped up in a heartbeat and are now the unicorn of custom builds.

The new design has the standard 1 1/8” steer tube to fit the most common headsets. The fork legs are 26” long and are 1 ½” diameter. They come in raw steel so you can paint, chrome or powder to fit you next build. You might want to snag this fork as soon as you can before they are all gone.

Contact Gary Sheron at Lowlife bikes for pricing and availability. 

Peek Rams Horn Bar

Jimmy at Peek Cycles looks to have been bitten by the muscle bike bug like many of the readers of Kustomized Bicycle Magazine. Peek Cycles is now offering custom Rams Horn styled bars for your next build. As always Peek Cycles can make these bars to your specifications and with the quality that Peek Cycles products are known for. Contact Jimmy at Peek Cycles and order up a set.  You will defiantly be the coolest kid on the block with a set of these bars.

ontact Jimmy Peek for prices and how to order.



Ruff Cycles hasn’t stopped or even slowed down this year. Last month’s release of the electric Ruffian was a show stopper. This month they added several new styles of mirrors. The Iron Cross styled mirror improves your rearward visibility and offers a great range of adjustments to eliminates the rear fasteners for a great look. These mirrors get produced by the same company which build mirrors for Harley Motorcycles, which shows their great quality. The mirrors are primarily made of Aluminum and Matte Black. Sizing is Iron Cross: 10.5 x 10.5 cm; Complete: 20 x 10.5 x 5 cm. 

Here the Details:
- Gorgeous Iron Cross design
- Mirror Lightweight alloy
- Shaft made from Sturdy steel
- Precision locking swivel ball joint adjustment
- Comes with all mounting hardware

Pricing is € 24.95 or $27.41



They have also released a new fork bridge set. The uniquely designed set comes complete with a cap that will cover the fork tops that also is the base for the handle bar mount. Though Ruff Cycles hasn’t released any more information we can assume it will take the typical 1 1/8” head tube and will fit the Ruff Cycles 38mm fork legs. At this time there is no date of release or price but we will try to get the information to you as it is released.


Zehmax bicycles

We have covered Zhemax Bicycles as a builder’s feature in the past. Max is an amazing fabricator so when he let us know he was starting to release parts lines we jumped up and tracked down the information.

Want a nifty shifter for your Shimano Nexus 3 Speed?

How about 42 tooth chain rings powder coated in black?

Max has also opened up to the custom wheel market with his “Customizer” Wheels.

If interested look up Zhemax Bicycles and get that order in.   





Taste: Rubbery.

Smell: Very rubbery, like when you walk into the tire store.

Touch: clean, stretchy.

Look: Nice black design, part number stamps and seams from days gone by.

We have reviewed a myriad of parts and pieces, all bike related, in the past year and a half. When I went to the Kustomized Bicycle Magazine Editor and asked to do his review he initially scoffed at the idea. He is a lot like John Jonah Jameson portrayed in the Spider-Man in the Marvel Comics Universe with the naysaying, yelling and sometimes cigar chomping…

My argument was:

 It makes your bike easier to work on….because your pants aren’t falling down.

It is bike related and Custom…You are taking bike parts and chopping them up to create something else.

Refusing to see fault in his very own definition of what this magazine is about he agreed to the feature with a lone grunt.

Alchemy Goods top-selling Ballard belt is made from reclaimed bike tubes and starts with one tube wrapped around another to create four layers of rubber. The highlight stitching allows the belt to stretch just enough for comfort, but the rubber construction ensures the belt won't stretch out permanently over time. The solid metal buckle is held in with a sturdy twin snap fold over.

Specs are:

Cost: $42.00

Sizes: 24”-28”, 28”-32”, 32”-36”, 36”-40”, 40”-44”, 44”-48”

Stitching Color: Yellow, Marine (Blue), Silver

Review: Having purchased a Ballard belt over three years ago and have worn it almost daily. The belt has held up amazingly well and only started to have some delamination around the holes and have had some breaking stitching in the last few months. Having been abused by telephone cases, tool pouches and camera bags for these years didn’t help either. Being made from reclaimed bicycle tubes is part of the coolness factor. Not only is the coolness factor important but since it is made from the tubes there is a certain amount of give so the belt doesn’t bind to your hips when pedaling.

In all this is one of the most impressive bicycle related products I have purchased. It has outlived several other belts that last only a quarter of the time. For the price and lifespan, it is without a doubt the strongest and best purchase someone can make. Do yourself a favor and pick one up for yourself and those on your Christmas list.

3 years old and still holding up

You can either buy online or find a local store at http://www.alchemygoods.com/apps/store-locator.

Old School Shifter Handle


Shift knobs can make or break any build. You can have the super high tech looking milled aluminum, screw on some Ed Rothian monster head you purchased from the local five and dime and even use the ever-popular beer tap handle. All these are fine and dandy if it suits your ride. But if you want something that has been the coolest custom touch for over half a century then you need to be willing to do a little work.

An old car guy I used to help out in his shop taught me how to make acrylic tear drop knobs back in the mid 90’s. I had just finished my 1953 Ford Customline and was looking for a little something to make the interior pop. He whipped out some small page hot rod magazines and showed me the early 60’s show cars with super cool teardrop knobs all over the dash. They were just about the coolest thing I had ever seen and thought they would have the look I was going for and asked him where I could get some. He laughed a bit then said “I made those” pointing to the picture in the magazine, and “I guess we can make you some”. He gave me a list of stuff to buy and the next weekend we built six red and white tear drop dash knobs and a shifter handle to fit my 3 on the tree column shifter.

They are really cool shifter knobs I figured I would spread the knowledge to the custom bike world to use as well. Doing some internet research I found only 1-2 people still making these to order and they are quite expensive compared to the materials needed. We are more of a DIY crowd anyways and saving money is always a plus.

You can use any colors in the acrylic world. Any combination can be used to fit the colors you are looking for. For this exercise we decided on a simple two color combination. When this process was over we had a 3” tear drop knob and a longer rectangular styled knob. This instruction is for the long rectangular styled knob.

Specific Materials:

Acrylic sheet - Any color and any size. It all depends on the look you are going for. We went with a 12”X12” sheet of white and a same sized sheet of purple. Both were 1/8” thick.

Solvent Cement – #4 Fast Set, Clear, water thin. There are others but this stuff is perfect for welding acrylic together with no glue being visible. We used a plastic syringe to apply the solvent.

Buffing Compound – Plastic Specific. The Dico 7100950 works very well.

Shop Stuff:

Sandpaper – 80, 200, 600 grits

Something to saw with. We used a standard lumber style chop saw with a new standard lumber blade.

Tap set to whatever your threading your knob for.

Drill motor and drill bit for your pre-tapped hole.

Buffing motor and buffing wheel

Bench vice

Let’s get started:

1.    Started out with 1/8” thick cast acrylic sheets. We picked up two 12”x12” sheets, one in white and the other in purple. Leave the paper coating on both sides of the sheet until step 5. The more clean and scratch free you keep these surfaces the better solvent bond you will get.


2.    We laid the dimensions on each sheet of the size we are looking for leaving extra so we can clean up the edges after gluing. We wanted a long a straight handle that will show off the colors we picked so 6” X 2” was perfect.


3.    Cut the sheet along your layout lines. A new wood blade on a chop style saw works very well. A router also works very well. A jig saw can be used if the sheet is clamped securely. If the sheet starts catching and bouncing on the blade teeth it will most likely crack.

4.    Think about the end product your looking for and lay out the color sequence. We decided on Purple, White, Purple, White, Purple, Purple, White, Purple, White, Purple. 

5.    Open the #4 Fast Set cement and fill a plastic syringe with the solvent. What this liquid does is actually break down the acrylic while it evaporates causing the two pieces to weld together. With a working time of 1-2 minutes there is plenty of time to align your pieces. At 3 minutes the pieces will be locked together. Your weld will be at 80% strength in 72 hours.  Strip the paper from the gluing side of the acrylic and cover the surface with the solvent. Cover the entire area leaving no voids. Place the next piece of acrylic on the solvent surface and with even pressure press the two together and hold for 2 minutes.

6.    Keep peeling the paper cover off and follow step 5 until you have welded all the acrylic together.

7.    Wrap the stack in a thick soft rag or shop towel (to protect the acrylic from the vice jaws) and place the stack in a bench vise tightening moderately. Don’t over tighten. Acrylic isn’t as strong as steel and over tightening can shatter the pieces. Leave the stack in the vice for 72 hours.

8.    Remove the stack from the vice and unwrap. Using the chop saw again we cleaned up all the edges so they were flat and parallel. (Top stack)

9.    Using a bit in a drill press, drill a minimum tap diameter for the tap you plan on using. Drill as deep as possible. The shifter arm should run inside the knob as far as possible for strength.

10.  Tap the hole as deep as your tap will allow. Using a long bolt, washer and nut as shown thread the assembly into the shift knob. This will be used as a handle for the next steps.

11.  Using a benchtop sanding station (or even hand sanding) work your acrylic piece with the contours and edges you desire. You can really start to see the color changes at this point. We started with 80 grit to rough in the design then moved to 200 grit to smooth it part out. Using 400 grit then 600 grit sand the entire knob until it is smooth and flat. Measure the layers from side to side to make sure all edges are equal.

12.  Using 400 grit then 600 grit sand the entire knob until it is smooth and flat. Measure the layers from side to side to make sure all edges are equal.

13.  Using a clean buffing wheel and the Dico plastic buffing compound buff the shift knob until the surfaces are a high quality shinning luster. WARNING: Let the wheel and compound do all the work. If you press the acrylic into the buffing wheel you will never get a glossy shine or flat surface. This isn’t metal and it is much less forgiving.

14.  Hand polish with a soft towel and install on your shifter.

VeloSwap and How Custom Bikes are Red-Headed Stepchildren

Living in one of the most bike friendly cities does have its advantages. We have a growing path and trail system, motor vehicle drivers are mostly safe and we have one of the largest, most popular cycling events in the country. The VeloSwap is an annual event that started in 1989 and has grown from a parking lot event to taking up more than 140,000 square feet. The one day event hosts an estimated 10,000 attendees and 600 vendors.

We rolled in to the National Western Stock Show complex after an early breakfast. We found a line of people around the black waiting for the doors to open. Luckily it was a warm day out and with friends around and a full stomach we didn’t mind spending the time in the Saturday morning sunshine. Luckily the doors opened on time and the 600-700 people in front of us travelled quickly and we found ourselves inside quickly.

We headed straight to the back portion of the show where the smaller sellers are normally located. This is where you can usually find the “mom & pop” type sellers that have a vast array of parts and bikes up for sale. My friends and I are into custom bikes, muscle bikes and some vintage stuff depending on make and model. So we travelled row after row looking for that Whamo Wheelie-bar, that late 60’s white lettered slick in NOS packaging and that set of butterfly bars that have been only mildly mistreated. We stopped, gathered our senses and discussed exactly what we needed…me looking for a 26” chrome steel wheel with a good single speed coaster brake hub.

The first thing I noticed was that there were quite a few empty spaces in the back where there hasn’t been in the past. Though not a good sign I didn’t think much about it and moved into the populated booth rows.

What we found row after row and table after table was clapped out and still muddy mountain bike parts from the 90s. If you are looking for that one Specialized Rock Hopper with a bent back wheel and missing left front brake pad than the market is golden. But there was much much more. Anyone needing a $600.00 dollar set of titanium pedals and that super fancy carbon fiber water bottle frame mount that will save you 18 grams that only costs half of your biweekly paycheck is like a hog in mud. 

When we finally reached the front part of the swap we were met with more gear than we had ever seen in one place. By gear I mean those day glo colored lycra and spandex outfits. And socks…..my gosh there was a vendor selling nothing but colorful socks. His booth are must have been thirty feet wide and 40 feet long. Tables were stacked with large cardboard boxes filled past the rim with socks. They weren’t packaged, nor stacked. From what we could see is that many didn’t even have their matches attached. Of course it was really hard to see when there are 100 people digging through the boxes looking for whatever they are looking for.

We ended up spending less than three hours at the event and bought nothing. For a group of custom bicycle builders who are looking for parts to use for our custom projects, pieces to get our muscle bikes back on the road or maybe even a vintage cruiser needing a restoration or two we came up empty. We looked through every vendor spot for anything cool and…nothing.  The only muscle bike was a single re-popped Schwinn Krate that was already peppered with rust that was priced twice of its initial value.  There were a few classics but most were either in the four digit realm or a lady’s model that had been ran over with a tractor. We talked to people hoping to get a line on something cool, we asked everyone we talked to if they had seen anything like what we were looking for and got nothing but snorts, snickers and an eye roll or two. 

Even the Park Tool booth (normally as long as a double trailer rig) was empty. We couldn’t even spend our money on tools…..a sad day indeed.

The bicycle world is a huge populous with all cast array of peoples and beliefs. Though we ride 50 pound cruisers and 50 year old muscle bikes we still give much more than the three foot space when passing a bike. We can see the beauty in new bike designs, are curious about new technology and generally are OK with anyone that has a bike rack on their car or truck. But what we like is only a very small portion in the grand scheme of things. Being a red headed step child (it is true, ask my step dad) is easier in some aspects than others. Keep those with like minds close because it is a lonely bike world out there.

Walking back to the car we discussed the swap and unfortunately we probably won’t ever go back. Maybe the popularity of Craiglist and other online buying/selling market has taken its toll. Maybe the vintage items we are looking for have just been sold off and collected. But in the end it was a wasted trip and dropping too much money to park in a dirt parking lot. Though no day is ever a waste when you can hang out with your builder buddies.

firebikes / ruff cycles collaboration ending

Firebikes and Ruff Cycles has ended their collaboration this month. This will end a long run with Ruff Cycles building Sam McKay’s Firebikes mainstream frames. Firebikes has been pretty quiet about the separation other than saying it was moving forward where Pero Ruff has implied more personal issues. With such fiercely loyal groups for both companies we hope that this situation doesn’t get drawn out between the Ruff Cycles owners and the Firebike Army. Ruff Cycles is my baby that I have worked day and night to build up. All I want is to run my business with my team and don’t waste time for drama.
Everyone who have worked with me or my team but also with Sam, can probably make their own minds about his tirade and his actions.

What is it worth?

Every day, while sitting in the Kustomized Bicycle Magazine parking lot (they won’t let me inside) I see at least 5-6 posts on Facebook asking “What is this bike worth?”  Usually it is some “long forgotten in the corner of some garage Schwinn 10-speed post company sell-out” bike that someone scored for 30 bucks and because it is Schwinn tagged the new owner thinks he struck gold.

“Rusty Gold” that is. Another thing that makes me cringe. You do know that reality TV is scripted…Right? Yes, you watch this show on TV but let’s not make the stupid jargon and two paid actors/douche canoes part of the lexicon of bikedom. This poor forgotten bike that was once loved is now sitting on flats and peppered with oxidation through its super thin 80’s chrome. Its shifters are long stuck with gummed grease impregnated with 25 years of garage dust and cottonwood wisps that grafted themselves to the chain. Even if they weren’t stuck, the shifter cables have had their color matched cable housings cracked with age.

There are problems with both the posters and the people that reply.

Let’s look at the problems with this:

1.       You are asking in the wrong place. A bikes worth is usually based on location. No one will want a single speed beach cruiser if they live on the side of a mountain. Asking price to the vastness of you Facebook friends list is like asking “What is the best color?”

2.       You are asking a huge group of people that more often than not have never studied up on bike pricing. Even if they have I can guarantee that a guy that knows how much an original penny farthing is worth most likely doesn’t know jack about the worth of your newly acquired 1983 Free Spirit BMX bike.

3.       Someone will answer $1.00. If that is what scrap prices are per pound then it is a valid answer.  Just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it any less valid.

4.       Do you want to know what a bike is worth so you can sell it than the answer is “the bike is worth five dollars more than you paid for it” If you are in it for the cash than this is the least perfect number. It’s not like you love the machine. Sure you want to make as much as possible but really the “five more than you paid for it” is what you are willing to take.

5.       What a bike is worth to someone is completely different to what it is worth to someone else. Asking the masses what a Peek Cycles custom frame, fork and bar set built with custom laced 100mm hoops, Brooks saddle and three coat flaked powder job with custom pin striping may have cost $2,000 to build but to someone that is in to vintage framed fixie conversions your bike isn’t worth their tub of organic beard conditioner.

6.       Then there is the lowest of all Facebook replies. Forget about the guys that post that your bike is worth one dollar or $1,000 dollars. There is the person that replies “If you part it out I have dibs on blah de blah”.  Yeah….no you don’t. You are a freakin’ jackal wanting to pick the bones of a bike. I understand that you are looking for parts but when someone asks for a price and you reply with a request for partout you are a tool. Maybe this person is asking because he got it in his now dead grandfathers will, possibly is trying to renew insurance policies or wants to know how worried he should be about storing it. And you reply that you want the shoes of his dead grandad’s corpse.

So let’s just stop the “What’s it worth” Facebook posts. How about doing some research? There is this really cool thing on the interwebs called Google. Google it, see how many were made, look at past prices of models that sold in your area. Twenty minutes of real research will prove to be worth more than twenty thousand people replying with an uneducated opinion to your Facebook post.


Crank McChainring