Suburban Assault

Archive for the ‘Cool Bikes’ Category

Pics From The North Texas Vintage Bicycle Swap Meet – Garland, Texas

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Yesterday, we drove out to Garland, Texas to check out the North Texas Vintage Bicycle Swap Meet – sponsored by Don Johle’s Bike World and Rat Rod Bikes. I love bike swap meets because they’re clearing houses for bike hoarders – my kind of people. Fortunately, my wife always comes along and brings me back to reality. Otherwise, we would have a garage full of bikes and no money to pay the mortgage.

Instead, I satisfy my vintage bike addiction with my hoards of photographs. Here are a few (click here to see the set).

We did discover a great new (to us) bike shop. While at the swap meet, we popped into Don Johle’s Bike World to check it out. It was a small, run-down, mom & pop type establishment with an odd mix of road bikes, BMX bikes, mountain bikes, and cruisers – as well as a few cool vintage restorations (mostly BMX). What won us over was the really friendly staff, who you could tell, really loves bikes.

Lil' Tiger

Sold

Line Up

Bananas

Klunker

Jonathan

This is Jonathan from the bike blog: A Bicycle’s Point Of View. Here is a great write up that he did for the Swap Meet.

Written by dickdavid

June 10, 2012 at 5:58 am

Cooper Bikes USA – Open For Business

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I’ve written a few times about Cooper Bikes. Click here to read about when I first heard about them, here when they launched in the UK two years ago, here when they started shipping to the US a year ago, and here about their US pricing.

Well now they are officially in the United States. Go to CooperBikesUSA.com to check out their bikes. You can also like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.

Here’s the story behind these bikes: Cooper Bikes was founded by Michael Cooper, son of John Cooper the racing and automotive legend, who’s vision is behind all the MINI Cooper cars today. They mastered four wheels, and now they’re tackling two. The Cooper family has strived to create a very simple, elegant, and classic line of bicycles that are comprised of top quality English components such as Brook Saddles, Reynolds tubing, and Sturmey Archer hubs. Every bicycle that they design has ties back to Cooper racing excellence. While these bikes are crafted in such a way to deliver complete comfort and riding satisfaction, they are nothing short of chic and stylish. Cooper Bikes are designed for that leisure ride down to the park or your daily commute to work.

Being a MINI Cooper driver and enthusiast as well, I can attest that the John Cooper Works editions of those cars are highly regarded, premium upgrades. They truly have made a name for themselves in the automotive industry. What impresses me about their story is that, even with all these automotive accomplishments, they chose to build bicycles. Really nice bicycles. If you go the the Cooper Bikes blog, you can read through a bunch of great write ups and reviews about their bikes.

Now, after their launch in the UK two years ago, they’re trying to build a following in the United States. Going up against so many other great and established bike brands, they’ve got their work cut out for them. You should expect to see them pop up more and more over the next few months. If you happen to see one in your local bike shop, you should ask to take it for a test spin.

Personally, these bikes have become the Holy Grail of my bike wish list. Although slightly higher in price range, I appreciate the value in the quality and design that’s built into these bikes.

Plus, there is something about this brand that really appeals to me. Perhaps it’s their brand heritage. Perhaps it’s their reputation for high quality and craftsmanship. Perhaps it’s because I’m such a fan of MINI. Perhaps I just have a soft spot for the new guy – the underdog. Perhaps it’s because their bikes are so limited in availability and rare to find on the road.

Maybe it’s ALL of these reasons. If you want to buy one, order here.

Single Speed T100 Monza

Single Speed T100 Sebring

Three-Speed T100 Zandvoort

Single Speed T100 Spa

Single Speed T200 Championship 50

5-Speed T200 Reims

5-Speed T250 Aintree

Written by dickdavid

September 24, 2011 at 6:40 am

Schwinn Launches Limited Edition Sting-Rays

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From an email that I got from Schwinn:

Vote for Your Favorite Color Sting-Ray on Facebook and be Entered to Win a Sting-Ray of your own.

Get ready! Schwinn is proud to reintroduce a limited edition of the Schwinn Sting-Ray.

First launched in 1963, the Schwinn Sting-Ray is one of the most iconic bikes ever created. Only 900 of the exclusive Schwinn Sting-Rays will be available for sale in four unique colors: Apple Krate, Orange Krate, Lemon Peeler, and Grey Ghost. The Schwinn Sting-Rays will be individually numbered and exclusively available at independent retailers.

To spread the joy of riding, Schwinn is offering Facebook fans a chance to win a Schwinn Sting-Ray of their own.

For your chance to win click here and vote for your favorite Schwinn Sting-Ray color.

I’d like to say that I want one for my kids, but it’ll probably be me riding it the most.

Written by dickdavid

September 8, 2011 at 10:50 am

Redline Bicycles Changes Their Metro Series For 2012

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2012 Redline METRO Classic © Redline Bicycles

2012 Redline METRO Sport © Redline Bicycles

I think that I’ve already established that I am a Redline Bicycles fan boy. I’m even a bigger fan of their METRO Series. That’s why I’m posting about some changes in that series, which I think are an improvement.

First the biggest change. They’ve gone from a lineup of 3 bikes in 2011, METRO 9, METRO Sport and METRO Disc, to just 2 for 2012: METRO Classic and METRO Sport. The next obvious change is that they’ve gone from the flat and riser bars to all drop bars. To me, this was a nice surprise – mostly because I’ve been looking for a cheap touring/road bike. Until now, I was interested in their 2011 Conquest Sport – which wasn’t added to their 2012 lineup.

Another plus for me is that the METRO Series offers a 4130 Double Butted Chromoly option with their Classic – not available in the Conquest Sport (which was aluminum). I know steel isn’t the lightest, most ideal material for bikes, but I’m a huge fan of how strong and amazingly durable 4130 is. If you want something lighter, the METRO Sport comes in 6061 Double Butted Alloy aluminum.

The new 2012 METRO Classic comes set up with Shimano Tiagra components, reliable and smooth without the huge price tag. This replaces the SRAM X5 on the 2011 METRO 9 model. The 2012 Sport comes with Shimano 2300, which I’ve read is a lower end group (also used on the 2011 Conquest Sport).

Both new models are set up with disc brakes, Avid BB5 for the Classic and ProMax for the Sport.

So far, I haven’t been able to find any pricing for the new 2012 lineup. As with most of the Redline commuter bikes, I hope that these new models will be priced on the low end.

Written by dickdavid

September 6, 2011 at 9:36 am

Adult Sized Big Wheel

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Image © Big Wheel Rally - Please Visit Their Site

Image © Big Wheel Rally - Please Visit Their Site

Here’s a fun Friday treat for you. Remember Big Wheels? Some of my best childhood memories are from when we were drifting our neighbor’s 3-wheeled racer up and down the street until the wheels wore holes in them. Good times.

A quick Google search lead me to Big Wheel Rally, a company who makes Big Wheels for adults. Yep, another ride added to my wish list.

Check out the video:

Written by dickdavid

August 26, 2011 at 2:23 pm

So I Upgraded The Gearing On My Redline Monocog

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Fix Flat Flowmaster

I’ve been documenting the conversion of my Redline Monocog, single-speed mountain bike, to a street-ready, Suburban Assault machine. Here is the story of my latest upgrade – the chainring.

To sum up, I bought the bike with the intention of getting back on the trails. Somewhere along the line, my taste in cycling has moved more towards street riding and commuting. Wanting to make the best of the situation, I started converting the Monocog to a street worthy machine. I’ve been happy with the bicycle, with the exception of it’s off-road gearing – too slow for riding around town. The ultimate goal was to upgrade the drivetrain to make it work better on the street.

The original set-up had a 32T chainring (up front) and a 20T cog (at the wheel), which gave it a 1.6 gear ratio (please forgive me if I butcher the science of bicycle gearing – my intent is to articulate a general basis of comparison). My first, and cheapest, solution was to switch out the cog from the 20T to a 15T. Click here to read about that. This brought the bike to a 2.13 gear ratio, which worked fine but I could tell I needed more.

Just recently, I decided to upgrade the chainring from a 32T to a 36T. This would bring my gear ratio to a 2.4 – just enough to make the ride interesting, without killing me on my commute to work.

32 to 36

Getting The Part (Sorry, but this is long. If you don’t want to read a rant, skip to the install):
I decided to support my local economy and do this upgrade with my nearby bike shop (which will remain unnamed for reasons that will be explained as you read on). I rolled the Monocog right to the service department so that there wouldn’t be a mistake about what part I needed. Changing out a single-speed chainring would have been an easy upgrade, but I was willing to let the shop do it – again, to support my local bike store.

After standing around for several minutes (they weren’t busy, but preoccupied with their repairs) one of them eventually made eye contact and, I guess, felt obligated to ask if I needed help. After explaining to the guy my intent, he was more than happy to check in the back for an available part. As expected, there wasn’t one available and he would have to special order it. He gave me a verbal quote for the price of the part and I gave him my name and phone number. He told me it would take a week to get the part in. I wasn’t in a rush, so I was more than fine with that timeline.

A week went by. No phone call.

I called them a few times. Although very helpful, none of the employees were able to locate my part. They all kept referring me the person in charge of ordering – who wasn’t available when I called. At the end of the second week, I went by the store and inquired about my part. Again, after standing around for a few minutes, I was eventually helped. They checked and no part. Not wanting me to leave empty handed, he gave me a business card with the name of the parts ordering person and the best time to call.

I managed to eventually get hold of him by the end of the third week. He looked, but couldn’t find the part. He checked his order log, and found no record of the order. He apologized and said he could re-order it for me. At that point, I still wasn’t in a rush, so I told him to order it.

Because it was such a hassle, I talked myself out of letting them install it. All of a sudden, I wasn’t so gung-ho about supporting my local bike shop.

Towards the end of the fourth week, my 36T chainring finally came in. When I went to pick up the part, another person – who was completely unaware of everything I went through – brought me my part. Although it wasn’t his fault, I felt completely deflated when he just handed it to me and walked off. I guess I was expecting another apology or appreciation for my patience. To add insult to ego injury, I noticed the price was $10 more than my verbal quote. I wanted to set it down and just leave at this point.

But, I’m a man of my word. They committed to special ordering that part, and I committed to purchase it. It took longer than expected, but they completed their end of the deal – I felt obligated to complete mine. However, I will not be supporting this store with any future transactions that involve special ordering.

The Install:
Installing the new chainring was pretty easy with just 4 bolts holding the old one on. Since I was going with a larger gear, I had to put on a longer chain. This is where the install got interesting.

I’ve used a chain tool several times over the years, but I have to admit, I’ve never been trained on how to properly use one. This being a topic for another post, I’ll give you the quick version of the story. As I was reconnecting the links, I discovered that I had done it wrong. In my attempt to undo my mistake, I bent the tip to my chain tool. Bad went to worse, and I ended up tearing up my chain – my quick install came to a halt. I decided to pack everything up, take it in and just get it done quickly.

Not wanting to return to the shop where I bought the chainring, I decided to take my bike to the Plano Performance Bike (Note, I am mentioning them by name – it was THAT great of an experience.) instead. I got there a few minutes before they opened, but they were happy to let me in. The service guy Henry, not only salvaged my chain, but he also showed me the proper way to use my chain tool. I even got a replacement tip for it.

Conclusion:
Overall, I am completely happy with my upgrade. The Monocog is now a perfect street-ready machine – well worth all the hassle.

The unnamed bike shop did manage to get the part – eventually. Although somewhat friendly, they did fail with their follow-through and customer service.

In contrast, Performance Bike is now my favorite bike shop with their outstanding customer service. They’ve restored my faith in local bike shops.

36T

Written by dickdavid

August 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Redline Previews Their 2012 D-Series Lineup

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Yes, I’m a Redline Bicycle fanboy. What of it? Perhaps it was years of coveting their brand (as well as DiamondBack) of BMX bikes when I was a preteen. After years of riding around on my heavy, department store-bought Huffy, all I could think about was owning one of their cool bikes. My family couldn’t afford it, so it never happened.

Over the years, many newer bicycle brands have popped up in the market and Redline has been overshadowed by some of those other fancier, shinier rides. Redline still has a strong hold on their core market – which is BMX bikes, plus they’ve been offering a great lineup of commuter, road and off-road bikes that come in adult sizes.

However, around these parts, it’s hard to find Redline products in my size – most shops in DFW, just don’t keep enough in inventory. I did manage to pick up a Monocog back in early 2009, with the intention of taking it off road but never have (read more about it here). Because it is one of my favorite bikes, I now have a Conquest Sport high on my wish list.

Redline just released a preview of their 2012 D-Series line up on their Facebook page. The D-Series is Redline’s off-road group that ranges in everything from the simple and economical Monocog, to the fully loaded and pricey D-680. I don’t get off road anymore, so these bikes are low on my radar. However, I would be more temped to get back on the trails if a D610 (or D620) was in my garage.

Here’s a quick peek of the new lineup:

Monobelt 29er © Redline Bicycles

Monobelt 29er
FRAME > 4130 Double Butted Chromoly
FORK > RockShox Reba RL Dual Air 100 mm
DRIVETRAIN > Gates Carbon Drive
Wheels > WTB Laser Disc
Brakes > Shimano BL M445
Tires > Maxxis Ignitor

Monocog 29er © Redline Bicycles

Monocog 29er
FRAME > 4130 Chromoly
FORK > 4130 Chromoly Tapered Leg
CRANK > SRAM 5D 32T
Wheels > Alex DH 19
Brakes > Tektro
Tires > Kenda Nevegal

Monocog Flight 29er © Redline Bicycles

Monocog Flight 29er
FRAME > Sanko 4130 Double Butted Chromoly
FORK > Sanko 4130 Chromoly Tapered Leg
CRANK > FSA Maximus 32T
Wheels > Alex DP 20
Brakes > Avid BB5
Tires > WTB Prowler SL

D26 © Redline Bicycles

D26
FRAME > 4130 Chromoly
FORK > SR Suntour Duro 100mm
CRANK > Redline Monster Chromoly 170mm
Wheels > Alex DM 18
Brakes > Shimano BL-M 445
Tires > Kenda K Rad

D610 © Redline Bicycles

D610
FRAME > 6061 Double Butted Alloy
FORK > RockShox XC 28 MG TK29
CRANK > Truvativ 5D 28-38T
DErailleur > SRAM X5
Shifter > SRAM X5
Wheels > Alex DH 19
Brakes > Avid BB 5
Tires > WTB Prowler SL

D620 © Redline Bicycles

D620
FRAME > 6061 Double Butted Alloy
FORK > RockShox Recon 100mm
CRANK > FSA Vero Compact 36 x 46T
DErailleur > SRAM X7 / X5
Shifter > SRAM X7
Wheels > WTB SX 19
Brakes > Tektro Draco Hydraulic
Tires > WTB Prowler SL

D660 © Redline Bicycles

D660
FRAME > R6 Alloy Double Butted,Hydro Formed Tubing, Tapered Head Tube
FORK > RockShox Reba RL Dual Air 100 mm
CRANK > SRAM S 1400 GXP 26/39T
DErailleur > SRAM X9
Shifter > SRAM X9
Wheels > Alex DP 20
Brakes > Avid Elixir 3 Hydraulic
Tires > WTB Prowler SL

D680 © Redline Bicycles

D680
FRAME > R6 Alloy Double Butted, Hydro Formed Tubing, Tapered Head Tube
FORK > Fox FIT 29 RLC 100mm
CRANK > SRAM X9 26-39T
DErailleur > SRAM X0
Shifter > SRAM X9
Wheels > WTB Laser Disc
Brakes > Avid Elixir 7 Disc
Tires > Kenda Small Block Eight

Written by dickdavid

August 11, 2011 at 6:21 am