Handemade Steel Mountain Bikes

December 2010

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First tracks

Nothing like a little snow and some cabin fever to get me out on the bike.  With the trails frozen solid there would be no mud to spray off the bike.  The downside?  30 minutes to get dressed.  Whatever, it was beautiful out and traction was fantastic.

 It was also the first time for me to take our new Udo fork on the trail.  The result?  Fan-frickin-tastic.  Super nimble, handing like a dream. 

Riding on snowy trails is fun.  Slow and arduous at times, but fun.  There were plenty of tracks out there, clearly there are more than just me with cabin fever.  Could be much worse, could have to race in this like these poor bastards:

Kalmthout world cup

And now for some old-timey photos:

There I was minding my own business listening to a great album

when in walked a fast talking fast walking Belgian looking for bike frames.

Belgians are attracted by Gold so try to keep your Performance underware on the DL

I wasn’t sure what to do but hand them to him and send him on his way… I wasn’t thinking clearly enough to get photos of him in the shop. Damn. HOWEVER, I did collect some evidence of his visit:

For those of you not in the Know Belgians, much like their Garden Gnome cousins, leave waffle shaped droppings slathered in yummy fruit sauce! A little messy but totally worth it! However, and a strong ALAS…., not the beer one might assume would come from the Belgian species….(proof of his import status?????)

Little leggy to be Belgian....

Imagine if St. Bernardus from Abt 12 was featured as above….

Sexy Abbott

I guess when your beer is as good as Belgian beer there is no need for the whole “Sex” thing.

Word UP,
The Torch

Started the day with a goal of getting two tube sets ready to weld and I got pretty darn close. Good to have time to focus with no distractions… No distractions save the massive wall of vinyl that is…. Vinyl can be a serious time suck to the undisciplined mind looking for a reason to explore. No explanation necessary for the fact I am working late tonight. That being said I did get within sight of my stated goal for the day.

Ahhhh to the choice play-list! I find it really easy to work to Jazz as long as it is fast and somewhat avant garde but not too much. My first album was:

Charles Mingus. Love Mingus. Great artist. Next:

Track 1 on this album is out of the park cool.

Roberta Flack. Wow. But a little too powerful so I had to roll in some laughs with the next artist:

George Carlin = funniest man (no longer) alive.

Too bad we lost his voice.

Dylan’s too… but Holy Crap Young!

Jimmy Page is always current.

Should have seen the sketches for our unreleased Ghetto bike called the D.L.R..

Word To Your Mother.

Too bad we lost Joe as well.

Poison IVY keeps me up at night.

See what I mean…

So does Brody…. OK, Change of pace,

Great Drinking Music

Irish Music at its best. Produced by Elvis Costello. Buy it. Now for the Willy namesake,

The album, “Pancho and Lefty” is a close second behind this album, “Willie Nelson Live”. Abrupt left here to Good Dub Mix:

And finally a Really, Really Fantastic Dub Mix.

Don Letts is off the hook cool.

Hey Folks,

Been a while since my last post. A good long while I guess…. Need to be better for sure.

I decided to show some “behind the scenes” photos of powdercoating. As you may or may not know, Bronto coats its own product. When I say Bronto I really mean that I do. Another feather in my hat I suppose, but doing this step ourselves keeps our lead times shorter than having to send the frames out of house to get it done.

I start the process by sandblasting the frames to etch the surface and prep it for better powder adhesion. Here is the blast room.

Prepping MTB Frames

Not my favorit room....

Not my favorite place to be for sure. Dirty, Gritty and I find sand in my belly button lint afterwords.

After I blast the frames I preheat them and apply an oxide inhibitor to keep them better protected from corrosion starting under the coating. At this point the frames are still raw.

Prepped and ready for powder.

No colors are left after the frames are blasted.

This is as naked as welds get. No color to pull the eyes away.

For perspective, frames start out looking something like this after welding.

TIG Welded Frame

I then apply the base coat of color and bake the frame at 400 deg F to gel the powder which is about the same consistency as flour. Here is a picture of some uncured powder on the floor.

We do custom colors for a slight upcharge.

After the powder is cooked for about 8-10 min I remove the frame and apply the high-temp decals.

A few mountain bike frames getting custom colors.

After the decals are on I spray a clearcoat to protect the decals and the color. The clearcoat also gives the color more depth. This layer of powder needs to bake for roughly 20 min after it is applied. Here are some shots of the frames after the clear is on.

All Bronto Bon. Custom Colors On Custom MTBs


Flashy Red.

Color: Performance Gold

Color: New York Yellow

That color with matte clear:

Matte really makes things look smooth.

Next post should be about a night ride.

The Torch