Tons of things have been going on in the Kustomized Bicycle Magazine offices lately. We have boxes of new parts to review and the staff is all getting ready to travel to Las Vegas next month for OBC2017.
We are currently testing the Vans/Cult 26” tires. They are doing pretty well so far. We have several street miles on them. We are going to grab the wheelset they are mounted on and put them on an old school clunker shortly and hit the bike paths and dirt as soon as it warms up a little.
We hope to see all our readers at OBC next month. We will be around doing photoshoots for future features, shooting and interviewing during the many rides planned and will have a booth at the bike show. Stop by and say hi, buy some swag, tell us how great we are or everything we do that you don’t like. OBC is probably the greatest even in the custom bicycle world and we are very happy to help sponsor the events.
We added a new staff member this month. Washburn Hoffmeyer was born late last month and is already hanging out in the offices and driving the shop dogs insane. He is a true bike infant, he owns three tricycles, a Schwinn Pixie and is getting a custom strider designed as we speak.
old school sled
You really never know what is lurking in garages around town. The doors are always closed and the lights are off. “Does anyone even live there?” you ask?
“Probably” is the answer. And maybe you never see anyone there because they have a mass of custom bikes built by the best builders and they are always out riding. It is true, it really happens. Scott Ayers lives in a coastal town in Florida. It is a little finger on the gulf side on the state. Covered in palm trees and coastal bridges and roadways is defiantly a place that any of us would want to ride.
And Scott does ride….a lot. And he doesn’t do it on some box store bicycle. No, Scott has a thing for custom bikes. And those bikes are top of the line. We could do months of features by getting into his bike stable with a camera.
This particular machine that Scott has been named the Old School Sled. It isn’t “Old School” as in the mass produces flat black, red wheeled white wall capped thing you see daily. No this is straight out of the groovy 60s. Tons of flake capped with some awesome pin striping matched with tons of polished chrome is the always cool “Old School”.
Scott picked up a custom frame from Anthony Hobbs at Flying Machine Bikes. Anthony has been busting out amazing frame and fork combinations for some time and ass always his pieces are amazingly designed and fabricated. This frame has enough stretch to overlap a Cadillac. Made from square tube, the front end sits very high compared to the rider’s position and brings back the day of those nifty high barred choppers from the 60’s. This backbone gracefully plunges to the front of the chain stays and has the seat post affixed. Another tube connects the backbone to the bottom tube. It is a seriously graceful design and missed when you first look at it. The down tube arcs hard to the ground and radiuses the front tire. The bottom tube has a graceful arc, houses the bottom bracket shell and sweeps back to the chain stays. Everything is mitered together perfectly and the ends that aren’t are slash cut and filled. The chain stays hook are welded to meaty drop outs. The non-drive side is tabbed for the coaster brake mount. Details like this make the frame alone a work of art.
The front fork is also fabricated from square tube. The design is reminiscent of the early Monark style with twin springs and legs hooked to rockers. The meaty legs make the fork look low and beefy against the slender rockers. A hefty plate has a series of 90 degree bends to hold the springs in place as the front end gets the monkey motion during a ride on the rough. Hobbs also created the forward leaning bars that pivot back to the perfect location for the rider’s hands.
Having the “framework” in hand Scott collected the best of components then headed to Kustom Krafts of Sarasota (see this month KBM Builder’s Feature). All the parts were mocked up and tweaked before disassembly and finishing. This is where the parts were turned into a machine. Kustom Krafts massaged the frame until it was smoother than a 64 Ford Galaxy. Every weld was smoothed and every tube manicured with perfect radiuses. Kustom Krafts is known for their paint jobs. Though powder coat has come a long way it still doesn’t compete against a finely done custom paint job. The frame was covered in a silver metallic base and prepped for color. House of Kolor Pagan Gold Candy was laid on the basecoat until the frame became its own light source. This look and color is very 1960’s show car.
While the frame was getting its color many of the remaining parts like the fork and handlebars were shipped off to Adtec II in St. Petersburg for a chrome dip. Once the triple dip and polish dance was complete and the parts returned Kustom Krafts of Sarasota started assembly of the magnificent machine.
Rolling stop is a big and little combination which is also a big 60’s throwback. A polished 80mm rear hoop was mated with a polished single speed coaster brake hub with polished spokes. The rear wheel was wrapped in a 26” x 2.35” Schwalbe Big Apple tire. Up front is a 29” x 2.35” Schwalbe Big Apple set on a polished 45mm Velocity Dually rim mated with polished spokes to a polished Felt star hub.
The drivetrain is Willow 46 tooth from chain ring hooked to an Origin 8 150mm crank set. The chain ring was painted to match the frame. The crank legs are mated with a pair of black Rock Brothers pedals.
For creature comfort a Brooks B66 saddle was added. Portland Design Speed Metal handle bar grips wear also slid over the handle bars fresh chrome. Like we said before, Scott rides his bikes. A 20-mile round trip on the machine has not been uncommon.
To finish the build off Mike Hovland stepped in and ran some very tasty black and white licks on the backbone and bottom tube to set off the Pagan Gold.
So yes, Scott has custom bikes that are built with top quality parts, are one of a kind and is the dream of any custom bike aficionado. Bringing builders together multiplies the amount of coolness. Should you ever want something this cool feel free to hit up the builders and tell them you heard about it here.
Being an adult is good and bad. The responsibilities of adulthood take priority over toys but you have more money for toys.
Terry Crock never had a muscle bike as a kid so he figured he would not let his son go without one of the most memorable possessions any child can have. A few things his build would have to have were a wheelie bar, drag chute, speedometer, banana seat and of course the tall sissy bar. All these items were available back in the day though some like the parachute were still pretty rare. He decided to base his muscle bike build on the race cars of days’ past but put his own fabrication skills on his spin of the muscle bike. One thing to note is that Terry is an accomplished fabricator in his own right.
The base of Crock's build started with a Walmart Bratz bike. If you don’t know, the Bratz bike was a banana seat bike from a few years back that was based on a cartoon television show and line of dolls. They were purple with sticker silver stars and not really becoming for a boy’s muscle bike.
“The bike was actually a higher quality bike than the typical Walmart bike. The fork was better than other aftermarket forks I had examined and considered using. I used the frame, handlebar, fork, chainwheel, bottom bracket, stem, chainguard, and seat post from the Bratz bike” Crock says.
Crock started by getting rid of the awkward stickers and purpleness of the frame. Being a DIY guy he resprayed the frame with Rustoleum black with yellow scalloped panels, He even sprayed the checkboard on the seat tube before topping it with tons of clear.
“I use Rustoleum spray can paint because it is oil based, and I can get it to flow much better than water based paints, so I get a much better shine” says Terry. From the looks of the paint he isn’t lying.
The red pinstriping was also done in-house. “I was very careful to make sure everything on the paint (and red pinstripes) such as the "scallops" on the seat stays lined up with the paint on the fender”. As he said to use the details are very important.
With the finish on the frame complete and having a pretty much stock rider done, Crock went all out in the customizing of his muscle bike.
“I also wanted a chrome springer fork to imitate the chrome straight axles on some vintage drag cars.” he says.
Starting from front to back:
Thinking that the front axle looked bare he machined some spinners from stainless steel to replace the standard nuts. Note that there is no CNC in house. This is all time on the manual mill.
“The windshield is made from plexi-glass. I painted the backside of the glass with translucent red paint. This imitates the tinted windows of some vintage drag race cars. I machined the brackets that hold the windshield to the handlebar from aluminum. Cutting the plexi-glass to exactly fit the speed-o-meter and the handlebar was quite fun.” says Crock.
The headlight was disassembled and Terry sprayed the lens just like the windshield so they matched.
“I modified the pedals by removing the reflectors and replacing them with custom-machined inserts with multi-colored cabochons--yes, I said cabochons! The red, green, and yellow cabochons represent a drag race "Christmas Tree."
Thinking the bicycle needed fender, Crock salvaged a rear fender from his stash to use then cut another rear fender down to make a front fender that better fit the look he was going for.
He machined the backrest from aluminum then cut a would insert before covering the whole thing in vinyl that matched the rally strip on the seat.
No true muscle bike doesn’t have the ever-cool wheelie bar. Crock went all out and fabricated the coolest wheelie bar on a bike. “The wheelie bar was made from a modified sissy bar, a modified front fork strut, custom machined brackets to hold everything together at the rear and to hold the red (to match the pinstripes) wheel I obtained at a farm store. I machined brackets to attach to the axle and sissy bar, and machined brackets to hold the decal sponsor inserts. All the acorn nuts have the flats aligned--details matter. The wheelie bar decal inserts are cut from plexi-glass and painted with translucent red to match the windshield. The decals are all from bicycle parts manufacturers--it is a bike, not a car, so I figured it needed bicycle decals.”
The creme de la crème of muscle bikes back in the day was the functional parachute. They were rare in “the day” and today will cost a ton of cash to get ahold of. Terry took the vintage parachute of yesteryear then fabricated the coolest bicycle chute system we have ever seen.
“I machined and fabricated all of the brackets, levers, braces, etc. for the drag chute and lever. I sewed the "bag" using funky silver cloth and red thread to imitate a real drag chute I saw. The chute itself is military surplus whose intended use was for dropping flares. The chute didn't take up enough space in the bag to fill the size of bag I wanted so I used a piece of wood to fill up the extra space. I also used this same piece of wood as the basis of the spring-loaded "popper" that pushes the drag chute out of the bag when the lever is activated.”
After seeing this chute several people will probably be on the phone with their dads asking why they never had a cool parachute on their bikes.
In the end, Terry Crock wanted to create something for his son that he never had. He started with a pretty cheap box store bike and with his knowledge and fabrication skills he ended up creating one of the most “Muscle Bikes” of muscle bikes. We hope his son appreciates the effort and holds on to this work of art forever.
Kustom Krafts of Sarasota
If there was any unknown builder that has built some of the most known bikes it would have to be Kustom Krafts of Sarasota. I’m not saying unknown in a bad way by any means. I am saying that the bikes get a huge amount of attention compared to the builder that rolls them out of the shop. This month’s cover bike was built by Kustom Krafts. I personally can name five bikes in thirty seconds that they have built that would be in my stable if the chance popped up. We finally got the show runner at Kustom Krafts, Daniel Robinson out of the paint booth to tell us a bit about his business.
(KBM): When did your shop form and what is your background pertaining to fabrication and design?
(KKoS) I formed Kustom Krafts of Sarasota 5 years ago. I officially made it a full-time gig in August of 2016. I not only do the custom bikes, but also do custom woodworking as well. I had been woodworking since a teenager, and that flowed right into making a living at it. The true custom work did not happen until 1995, when I got into doing yacht interiors from custom 40 footers to the 300' Super yachts. There I fine-tuned my craft as well learned metal fabrication, full scale painting, and pretty much was the go to guy for trouble shooting, and out of necessity, fixing other trades work. I learned a lot doing that, and certainly glad I learned those skills. In the end, it kept the job from being routine. Those skills of course translated in to what I do now with the custom bikes. Though I do not fabricate the frame itself, I find myself doing a lot of minor fabrication, and correcting issues that arise. It is just part of the custom world, whether it is yachts or bikes.
(KBM): Who originally got you into bicycles and can take credit for your hands-on interest?
(KKoS) I first got into the bicycle scene in the early eighties with a self driven passion of road biking and how far I could push myself. The road biking became too serious though. I found myself not having fun at it any more. I felt I had to do 30+ miles a day, and centuries on the weekends. It got old. From there I went into Mountain biking with a fresh look at cycling. I still like mtn. biking to this day. What really got me into the cruiser/custom scene was early 2004, when I saw an Electra Rat Fink. I was in love. I still have that bike, and have ridden it 3,000 or so miles a year. The transition from that was a natural one, and loved seeing all the videos from Cali on the huge groups riding their cruisers/customs. That is when I formed my own club here. Gulf Kruisers of West Florida. My bike collection now consists of a number of Electras, Felt Deep 6, a TSP Oldster and my Tango, which is a work in progress.
(KBM): What is your favorite bike you have built to date?
(KKoS) I have 2 favorites, though I really love them all. Number one is the Flying Machine Old School Sled, which I painted Pagan Gold Kandy, and the other is the LowLife Morgan, which is painted in Synergy Green Metallic. they both have super looks and both are great riders. the owner rides both 25-30 miles at a time.
(KBM): With the explosion of the custom bike world in the last few years where do you see this scene going?
(KKoS) I still see it growing no doubt, but the growth won’t be as dramatic in the upcoming years. As far as builders, there is a lot going on there, and some will fall to the way side. It is increasingly becoming more difficult not emulate (inadvertently for most) a design that is already done, and unfortunately, this causes a lot of tension. This in itself will drive some away, as well as being competitive in pricing while trying the squeeze a living out of it. That makes me sort of glad that I am not on that end of it. What is tough for me, is the powder coating trend. While I understand the benefits and affordability of powder coating, it is not my goal to try and compete with it, but offer the true customization a top quality paint job offers.
(KBM): If someone hasn’t seen Kustom Krafts of Sarasota bike how would you describe its style?
Old school, traditional takes from the Hot Rod and Kustom scene of the 60's and early 70's. Flakes, Kandies, metallics, scallops, flames, pinstriping, even some old school lowrider style on occasion.
(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?
(KKoS) Even though I do not fabricate the major pieces such as the frame and handle bars, I try to make it a one stop shop, where after I am done, the client can just jump on and ride. I will just do the paint work and ship the frame back to be built by another, but the total package out the door is what I do the best. I also do full on restorations as well, which I find quite enjoyable. There certainly were some kick ass cool bikes made way back in the day.
(KBM): What is your favorite style of bike to build: chopper, bobber, stretched cruiser?
(KKoS) The stretched cruiser is no doubt, my fav, but the chopper comes in a close second.
(KBM): When not in the shop building bikes what do you spend your time doing?
(KKoS) Family time! Numero uno. Also love kayaking, antique shopping, car shows, model car building and of course bike riding.
(KBM): What is your favorite tool in the shop and what is usually playing on the stereo?
(KKoS) Favorite tools in the shop.....my hand planes and hand saws. Working with these tools are not only quiet, but bring out the true form of my craft. I truly become one with my work. I know, I know, not bike related, but I have used them to build wooden parts for bikes. The most important tool in the shop in the compressor. With out it, I am dead in the water. As far as music, the range is far. I always have pandora on shuffle. From Old Crow Medicine Show to Primus, to Reggae, to the Blood Hound Gang. Never though, and I mean never.....todays Pop and todays Country! Apollo the shop dog, seems to dig the Drop Kick Murphys.
(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?
(KKoS) Well first off, buy a basic tool set, second, buy cheap bikes on Craigs List, learn to take them apart, clean them, put them back together. Then start doing more to each bike, upgrade parts, strip and repaint, so on and so forth. Also, ask questions. Never be afraid to ask questions, not even stupid ones. Asking stupid questions avoids stupid mistakes. Also, scour You Tube for tutorials.
(KBM): What is next for your shop? Upcoming projects, lines of parts?
(KKoS) Right now, I am in the middle of doing the Battle of the Bulge contest bikes for O.B.C. That is a weight lost contest, and there will be both a Mens and Womens winner. Also, have a Felt El Guapo up for customization, another Flying Machine frame, an 1898 Fenton restoration, 2 JC Higgins restorations, a Low Tide frame, and a few woodworking projects thrown in the mix. Always seems to be something coming this way.
There you have it, a little look inside the world of a master builder. If you want to driop them a line and get something ridiculously cool fabricated then hit them up on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Kustom-Krafts-of-Sarasota and follow the Instagram account to see what’s happening in the shop.
essential slills: soldering 101
Last month the Kustomized Bicycle Magazine tech feature showed you how to take a 1933-36 Ford tail light with an LED lighting system and convert it to a tail light for your custom bike. One of the main instructions we introduced was the soldering of the wiring instead of crimp connections. Soldering goes back to the first years of electricity as a form of bonding wiring to other wires or to conductive metal. In those days, it was as simple as melting lead on the wires and tabs until they were “glued” together. Like everything, the technology has moved forward while the principles are still the same.
Though crimp connectors are quicker to use they are nearly as sound as a good soldered connection. It is a simple skill that once mastered will benefit your life in many things….not just bicycles. So whether you are hooking up some LED lights, replacing the motor in your clothes dryer, assembling a kick ass sound system in your car or bike trailer than soldering is something you have to know.
Soldering is better than crimp connections because:
· It gives you stronger joints
· More electrical efficiency
· Takes up less space
· Doesn’t internally break wires
Soldering is simple but can be dangerous without practicing smart safety policies. A soldering iron is usually as hot as 900 degrees F. Solder smoke can be very unhealthy if inhaled in quantity. Solder is nearly as hot as the soldering iron and if dripped can cause fires or burns.
· Keep flammable items away from your soldering area.
· Always work over a bench. Dripping colder can ruin your day, clothes and skin.
· Work in a ventilated area.
· Always wear eye protection.
· Soldering Iron
· Wire Strippers
· Third-Hand Tool
Soldering irons come in many choices. Some of the cheaper irons will get hot enough but can’t maintain the heat throughout your soldering project. We picked up a soldering iron over a year ago that has adjustable temperatures, comes with a base and iron tip cleaning sponge, and iron holder for less than $40.00 that has served us very well. It came with a selection of tips.
Speaking of Tips: the normal tips on a soldering iron is the pencil tip and the chisel tip. The pencil tip is what we use most. Its small contact area is best for finer work like soldering wires together. The chisel tip will heat up a broader area but can over heat wiring and melt the insulation.
Solder: Rosin-core 60/40 solder is the most common solder available. The 60/40 means 60% tin and 40% lead. The core is a small internal “tube” inside the solder that acts as a flux. The problem is that the solder turns molten before the flux can hit the parts to be soldered. So, it really doesn’t work so well. There is also an acid core solder. This is strictly for structural use and you should not use it for electrical soldering.
Though the rosin core is useable the Lead-Free Silver Solder is the best to use for electrical wiring. This solder will give you a stronger joint that is much more electrically efficient. Being Lead-Free means that you will not have the safety issues of dealing with lead. (Lead can be leached into your blood stream very easily by breathing and lead molecules. The smoke created with soldering with lead then breathed it can contaminate your blood).
1. Plug in your soldering iron and let it heat up. If you have an adjustable temperature iron a good place to start is around the 7-8 setting. You want the iron to reach around 800 degrees F.
2. Tin the tip of the soldering iron. This can be done by simply melting some solder onto the now hot iron’s tip then wiping of the excess. Wiping of the tip is usually don’t with a small wet sponge.
3. Prepare the wires. If you are joining wires together, strip the wires you are soldering together by removing ½” of the wire insulation from each side. Twist the copper wire strands into a tight bundle on each wire. If you are soldering to a connection point, strip ¼” insulation from the wire and twist the copper wire strands (these are approximations based on wire size from 12 Ga to 18 Ga.). Use a quality wire striper that will give you a nice edge. Pocket knives and teeth will work but any small pieces of insulation will melt as you heat the wire.
4. Clean the wires. Once you have stripped and twisted the wires use a cleaning agent like carburetor cleaner to clean the wires. Oils from the manufacturing process or your fingers will get on the wire and cause a weak solder bond or bubbling.
5. Paint the wires with flux. Flux is a paste or liquid that will draw the solder into very small spaces quickly. Though you can solder parts without it you can see a huge difference to your solder flow after using it. We use a solder pen which is just a felt tip marker with flux in it instead of ink. They are cheap, store well, and work well.
6. Tin the parts. Just like tinning your soldering iron you need to tin your parts. This is where your third hand comes into the equation. It will help you tremendously. Place the now hot soldering iron against the part you need to tin. Quickly but softly dab the solder against the other side of the part. Once the part reaches the solder’s melting temperature the solder will turn molten and the flux will draw the solder over and into the wire. When you see the solder flow onto the wire draw the solder and soldering iron tip away and let the wire cool. Do not have the solder come in contact with the soldering iron tip. You are just using the soldering iron to heat the part. Also, there is no need to use a ton of solder. If you use too much it can wick under the insulation causing a brittle wire.
7. Once the two wire have been tinned and are cool twist them together. There is no need to twist them so hard the solder breaks down. This is to place the wires as close to each other as possible but not the bind them together (that is the solders job). Once the wires are twisted together, place them back into your third hand and touch the middle of the bare tinned wires with the hot soldering iron. After a second you will see the solder turn very shiny. When it looks shiny the solder is molten and the solder will bond to itself on both wires. Remove the iron and let it cool. Give the wires a little tug and you should have a perfect soldered joint.
Avoid cold solder joints. If your solder joint looks great but comes apart when you tug on it you probably have a cold joint. This is caused by insufficient heat or dirty wires. Clean the solder from the wires then make sure your iron is hot enough and start over.
There you have it. Follow these instructions two or three times and you will be a soldering pro.
RUFF CYCLES from Regensburg, Germany, has established itself as the biggest brand for high quality custom bicycles, frames and components. While constantly innovating its product portfolio and services, RUFF Cycles created yet another big splash with the launch of its first eBike, “THE RUFFIAN“, in October 2016 at one of the world’s largest motorcycle shows, the INTERMOT in Cologne. Since then, THE RUFFIAN has attracted hundreds of bicycle-, eBike-, and motorcycle dealers, and will hit stores in Europe and Australia in March 2017.
To better serve our customers in North America, RUFF CYCLES has opened offices in the USA and Canada. “We are excited to announce this step of launching operations in this important market. THE RUFFIAN is particularly suited for North America’s highly demanding customers for top quality products & services, performance and originality“ said Petar ’Pero’ Desnica, Founder and CEO of RUFF CYCLES.
This timeless vintage-style eBike, based on an aluminum frame, is equipped with the latest Bosch eDrive technology. Mounted on Bosch Performance Line CX, THE RUFFIAN is the result of a “no-compromise approach” throughout the entire design process. “We wanted to create an eBike that expresses our passion. The result is a category of its own!” said Pero Desnica.
THE RUFFIAN is adapted to meet regulations and preferences of partners and customers in the USA and Canada. The first deliveries in North America are scheduled to start in June/July 2017.
“We are welcoming new dealers and customers to contact us now to check out THE RUFFIAN for themselves and to pre-order their RUFFIAN. It is a unique opportunity for dealers to attract new customers and to differentiate their store experience from competitors“ said Alexander Welbers, North America CEO.
“THE RUFFIAN will change your perspective on eBikes, and bring back the pure joy of riding regardless of your playground characteristics” – Daniel Gelinas, COO – USA, Mexico & the Caribbean.
(taken from http://blog.ruff-cycles.com
Alex Welbers, CEO – North America
Phone 514.439.2339 Montreal, Canada
Daniel Gelinas, COO –USA, Mexico & the Caribbean
Phone 440.455.9257 Cleveland, USA
Our friends at Most Hated Bicycles and Parts have taken a huge leap forward and opening a shop in Phoenix, Arizona. The new location will be on 11th Ave. and Grand. The exact address is 1028 Grand Ave Unit #2. You can stop in and pick up everything you need to make your custom bicycle dreams come true. They are a distributor for Ruff Cycles, Baseman, Firebikes, Kahaki Bicycles and Micargi Bicycles. They can build you something brand new to your specs and fix anything you currently have. They also specialize in vintage bikes and parts to whether you want a 2017 model or a 1937 model this is a one stop shop. Tell the Kustoimized Bicycle Magazine sent you their way.
King Zebba Custom Cruisers has hit the market hard this month with headlight brackets for 1 ¼” square tube. We all know that square tube has been all the rage for the last few years and the builds are still rolling out with that diamond look. There are several companies making square tube fork parts but until now there was no easy way to mount a headlight to the square legs. These are super cool parts brought to you by one of the best builders around so you know the quality is on par.
Material. A1011 Cold Rolled 14g Steel
Fits 1-1/4” Diamond Tube.
Arm length. Aprox4” (forward of fork legs)
Total length. 6-1/2” Width is 1-3/4”.
Each kit comes with hardware. 4 each 1/4"-20 1/2” long 18-8 Stainless Steel Hex Drive button Head Bolts and 4 each Grade F, Zinc Plated, 1/4’-20 Steel Nylon-Insert Flag Locknuts.
The headlight mounting hole is a just over 8mm and can be drilled out bigger if needed.
Of course you may have to bend the bracket in or out depending on the width of your fork and headlight. Unlike the round tube brackets that can be turn one way or the other. That’s diamond tube for ya! But that’s easy to do.
Price is set at $40 a set plus shipping
Contact King Zebba Custom Cruisers from either the Kustomized Bicycle Magazine banner ad or through FaceBook at www.facebook.com/KingZebbaCustomCruisers
We are a sucker for cool forks. The right fork on your build sets it apart from other bikes. If the cool fork is also a suspension fork, you have something that not only looks cool but gives you a comfortable ride as well.
The folks at FBN Customs in Slovakia just whipped out a new suspension fork that will really make your ride the king of the street.
FBN has been building custom bikes and parts for a while so they know the game. Forged and laser cut parts are their specialty.
They offer their fork in either raw or stainless steel. They can also be purchased powder coated, painted, airbrushed with custom graphics, and pinstriped. They even do custom veneers and stickers so patterns, shapes, carbon fiber look, chess board, all in mat or gloss finishes are available. Pretty much the sky is the limit.
The steerer tube can be either 1” or 1 1/8 so it will fit nearly everything you ride. The tube is 240mm long so you can cut it to fit your head tube. If you need a special length they are also willing to give you the size you need.
This fork can be used for 24” and 26” wheels in 80mm, 100mm, and 130mm and tires from 2.125”’ all the way to 5”.
Fbn notes that they viewed a fork resembling this model online a few years back and after changing a few things and not having seen another decided to run with it.
You can get ahold of them at www.facebook.com/Fbn-CustomS or
from Fbn CustomS
0048 725 763 737
That’s right ladies and gents. The one party everyone looks forward to is coming next month. On April 19-24, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada, OBC will be starting up in all of its custom bicycle greatness. Like past years, the Golden Nugget Hotel will be the base of operations. This is the largest gathering of custom bicycle enthusiasts, builders and bike clubs in North America coming together to celebrate the bare foot pedal, polished rim and bike party life.
It's daily and nightly rides, pool party, opening party, concert and HUGE bike show. It's where the OBC Facebook page comes to life. It's where that chic who made that frame meets the guy who makes those bars, who meets that crazy dude who rode his bike all the way from LA to Las Vegas. It's customs, cruisers, classics, lowriders and anything with pedals.
It's skinned knuckles, live music, good drink, ire times and where life long memories are made.
If you want to ride pretty much continuously for 4 days, just hang out with like minded people, Go to live concerts or bike shows than this is the place to be in April.
Be sure to stop by at the Kustomized Bicycle Magazine booth at the Bike Show and say hi.
JBL FLIP 3
There is nothing like cruising with your buddies. A pack of custom bikes hitting town, riding down the boulevard, with warm sun glimmering off custom paint and tunes blasting. The problem is the tunes part. Some of us have used cheap speakers stashed in cup holders while others go all out and are pulling a sixty-pound trailer filled with speakers, electronics and batteries. Both work but aren’t really the greatest way to enjoy the ride. You either must listen to your favorite tunes filled with treble or you are pulling so much extra weight your legs are spent in the first mile.
We have tried several speaker systems but they either have poor sound quality, limited battery life, too much money or the inability to take with you on the ride. We decided to start looking into speaker systems that fit our needs.
· Great sound quality
· Long battery life
· Weather resistant
· Good price point
· Bluetooth capabilities
We tested the JBL Flip 2 a while back. We found that the battery life was short and there were issues with the charging connection. (look at this month’s tech feature, we soldered the connection several times)
JBL came out with the Flip 3 late last year. They specifically noted that the battery now had double the life and they reengineered the connections. We thought we would give it a shot.
JBL sent us a unit for testing. Opening the box we found the speaker tube, charging cable and instructions. The first thing we noticed is the rubberized coating of the unit. Weather resistance, easy grip and nonmarring finish looks great. We hit the power switch and the unit makes an audible “ON” charm. The five white LEDs show the battery life per charge of the unit. We had four out of five straight from the box. We selected the Bluetooth button and grabbed our trusty iPhone and headed to the Bluetooth menu. The JBL FLIP 3 connection showed up immediately. We selected the connection and jumped over to the music on the iPhone. We started off withLeo Moracchioli’s cover of Adele’s Hello.
Note: If you like a little metal in your life check out Leo Moracchioli / Frog Leap Studios on YouTube and iTunes. I believe he is from Norway and does some amazing cover. He has several videos a week and can really rock.
We also thumbed through some Willie Nelson, Slayer, The Cramps and many others trying to hit as many different types of music as possible. Sounds quality was great for such a small unit. Having tested several of the high end units, we decided that the sound quality was comparable.
Next we charged the unit with the cable that came in the box. The cable is a bright orange which helps us pick it out of the pile of cables we have in the offices. Charging time was 1.5 hours to go from two LED lights to full charge. We plugged the iPhone into its charger and pulled up the Pandora app. We headed to the 80’s hits station and started playing the station through the speaker at a mid volume. We had music in the office all day and even got to tell the Kustomized Bicycle Magazine Editor that we can’t turn the music down because we were doing a speaker review. Seven hours later we still had one LED light and had noticed no diminished quality in sound or volume.
Weather resistance is a pretty big thing with us. Having been caught in rain storms on rides and even through snow several times we didn’t want to destroy a speaker system with a little water. Rummaging through the magazine’s photographer’s office we found a $0.99 squirt gun. We didn’t ask why. Photographers are weird. We sprayed the speaker while it was running several times. The speaker didn’t miss a beat and we simply dried the unit off with a towel. The paperwork from the manufacturer says do not submerge the unit in water….let’s just hope that never happens on a ride.
Price point on this unit is $74.99. Compared to the Sony SRS-VB3 which is 50% higher or the Bose Soundlink III which is nearly 3X as much we decided the price point was within reason for the unit’s qualities listed above. This unit is much better quality than any Beats by Dr. Dre Pill unit so the price difference wasn’t even discussed.
We already had Bluetooth linked so we sent Crank McChainring out the front doors of the offices with the iPhone. We then realized that this wasn’t a good idea at all so we sent the photographer pout after him hoping that Crank hadn’t already dropped or sold the phone in the 30 seconds he was out of our sight. We watched from the office windows and waited for the system to lose signal. The music was clear until the phone was just under fifty yards when it the system lost signal. 50 yards and through the widows seemed like a pretty great Bluetooth connection.
Decision: The JBL FLIP 3 is indeed much better than the Flip 2 system. It has all features we need in a cruising speak system. For the price and quality, it is a good buy. Note that we have not had the unit long enough to know if the newly engineered charging connection will last the life of the speaker system, but we can hope.
If you are worried about how to get this cool speaker system mounted to your ride, look no further. We happened to have a few of these 12” long Velcro straps with buckles that allowed us to strap the Flip 3 to the handle bars of a muscle bike, the backbone and down tube on a custom and even a shower rod in the shop. It provides excellent strength, easy removal and with the rubberized coating on the speaker no worries about marring your custom finish.
Features and Beneﬁts:
Wireless Bluetooth Streaming Wirelessly connect up to 3 smartphones or tablets to the speaker and take turns playing surprisingly powerful, room-fi lling stereo sound.
3000mAH Rechargeable Battery Built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery supports up to 10 hours of playtime.
Speakerphone Take crystal clear calls from your speaker with the touch of a button thanks to the noise and echo cancelling speakerphone.
Splashproof Splashproof means no more worrying about rain or spills; you can even clean it with running tap water. Just don’t submerge it.
JBL Connect Build your own ecosystem by connecting multiple JBL Connect enabled speakers together to amplify the listening experience.
Lifestyle Material The durable fabric material and rugged rubber housing allows your speaker to outlast all of your adventures.
JBL Bass Radiator Hear the bass, feel the bass, see the bass. Dual external passive radiators demonstrate just how powerful your speakers are.
What’s in the box:
1 x JBL Flip 3 1 x Micro USB Cable 1 x Quick Start Guide 1 x Safety Sheet 1 x Warranty Card Product speciﬁ cations
Bluetooth version: 4.1 Support: A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.5, HFP V1.6, HSP V1.2
Transducer: 2 x 40mm Output power: 2 x 8W
Frequency response: 85Hz – 20kHz
Signal-to-noise ratio: ≥80dB
Battery type: Lithium-ion polymer (3.7V, 3000mAh)
Battery charge time: 3.5 hours @ 5V1A
Music playing time: up to 10 hours (varies by volume level and audio content)
Dimensions (H x W x D): 64 x 169 x 64 (mm) Weight: 450g