Red Rocket First Ride Impressions

One major difference between the Gary Fisher Tarpon and the Sette Reken Single Speed would be the frame material. The Fisher is Chromoly steel and the Reken 6061 aluminum or if your British, its pronounced, “Al-Min-Yum.”

I still don’t have my camera, otherwise I would have taken shots of the bike on the trail. But Joe was with me on its maiden voyage, and he counts as a witness. 2 complaints, the first was my bottom bracket. The darn thing came loose and started to give play on the cranks. That was my bad, and I’ll easily fix that.


Another complaint I had were the tires. Surprisingly I had a rough time with the Sweetskinz Eclipse tires. I found myself sliding around since it lacked sidewall grip. I messed around with the tire pressure hoping that both lower and higher PSI would help. But it didn’t. The reason why I say I was surprised is because I’ve had Sweetskinz on my other bikes before with the same tread pattern and felt that they were some of the better tires I’ve ridden with. With that said, I contacted Vic Rollins of Sweetskinz with my findings and now we’re going to be testing some tires for them to see if we can get to the bottom of the issue I was having. He offered to send me some more tires to see if there’s a difference between those and the ones I have installed now.

I though it was pretty cool that Sweetskinz was willing to invest some time and money to figure out why the tires I have were acting the way they did. Now a day, not many companies are willing to even talk to you about your complaints, let alone work with you on the problem. So Kudos to Sweetskinz for their excellent customer service!

Back on the bike. So can I feel the difference between the two rigs? Yes I can. It would have been great if I had the Reken along with the ride so I could have switched off every so often to get a feel for the differences. But I do know that the Fisher has a smoother drive train. I think credit goes to the 5/6 speed chain I used rather than a single speed chain. Though they are both KMC chains, the multi-speed chain seemed to have worked better for this application.

I forgot to mention that the Reken has a 175mm crank set and the Fisher a 170mm. Some say that a longer crank would equal better torque and all that jazz. At first I couldn’t tell the difference. But as I got into my 5th mile and my 3rd climb, I did feel that I wasn’t getting enough power to the rear wheel to hit the crest of the climb. Rather I felt like I was spinning a bit too much in a smaller circle…if that makes sense. Just picture this, you ride your bike around, then quickly jump on your kid’s bike, and you’ll quickly notice the difference in pedaling. Ok, well that was a bit dramatic, but you know that feeling where your legs were spinning because of the shorter crank arms…well its similar to that.

So next thing to do on the bike before my next ride, swap out the cranks and tires. Other than that, it has been a fun bike!

Another Single Speed Project…Red Rocket!

First I want to apologize for not posting actual pictures of my newest project bike, well its all due to my camera taking dump and its at the shop being repaired. Anyhow, I started a new single speed project bike that involves the color RED!

Just to give you a hint on one of the items that adorns this Red Rocket, I’ve summoned the powers that be at PricePoint.com for a Single Speed Tensioner, and this is the baby that they provided me.

This bad boy retails for $19.98 at Pricepoint.com.
sette chain tensioner

Here’s the specs:

The Sette Tensioner is a single speed chain tensioner that will work for vertical or horizontal dropouts. It will only add 100g to your frame and can mount using a quick release or bolt-on type hubs. The Sette Tension Guide will easily mount directly to your rear drop-out and derailleur hanger and allow for full adjustability to achieve the perfect chain line.

I’m also using the Sette Single Speed Conversion Kit from Pricepoint.com.
sette single speed conversion kit

Once I get my camera back from the shop, I’ll make sure to post some photos of the Red Rocket. One last hint…click here to find it.

DIYWBC 1.0

Gotta check out the DIYWBC 1.0 (Do It Yourself Wooden Bicycle version 1.0).

As a product designer I work with a lot of limitations. The products should not be to experimental, not to conventional, they should be easy to massproduce yet hard to copy, the materials should be rational and low-cost yet have an exclusive look at the end. 9 out of 10 days I like that way to work limitations can be inspiring and challenging but sometimes also very frustrating.

Educated with a Bachelor in Furniture Design at Carl Malmsten CTD I love wood and as a mountain bike cyclist in my spare time I do like bikes.

The Do It Yourself Wooden Bicycle is just about everything industrial design don´t is. It is very easy to copy and reproduce. With a trashed bike to get components from and a nereby hardware store anyone can build it with normal handtools. The look is quit rough and unconventional making it safe from thieves and if you miss something on the bike like a parcel carrier just build it the way you want it. The Do It Yourself Wooden Bicycle even got a name that is to long to be commercial.

The bike can be seen as a first test version of a open source project. Please build your own, if you want drawings of the bike for an initial help just mail me at diywbc@erikbjork.com

Seen via Dirt Rag’s blog. Click here for the blog and here for the website.

I’d ride it but only in 29er form.

Love, Hate relationship…

This morning I got extra early to get in a few short miles before work(this is the hate part). I got out my SS rig and headed to the Fullerton Loop(the love part). Sorry no pics.

As I started on my ride, my legs began to get warmed up and then quickly feeling them burn from the lactic acid that was caused my speedy, hamster like legs spinning my 32/18t drive train(hate). As I entered into the first single track, I spun even faster in hopes of achieving some good flow. But being limited to my lack of gears, I maintained the same speed all the way through. (eh..love)

On my first climb, I try to sit as long as I can then at the last minute, I jump out of my saddle to put some extra power on the wheels so I can get up over the crest(love).(entering hate) By this time my legs are burning, lungs are filled up and my arms are worn. If you didn’t know, riding a SS makes you use quite a bit of your upper body. There’s tons of pushing and pulling on the bars. That’s why you’ll see a number of SSers that have bar ends, it helps out with the climb.

I as I continued on my ride, I started asking myself why did I get up so early to do this(hate)? Mountain bikers must be masochistic people since there’s so much pain involved with riding and the pleasure of it seems to be a shorter experience…not sure if the trade off is really that great. Think about it, you climb and climb. Some times you feel like you’re pedaling forever(hate), for what? Just to get to go down a hill(love) that you may eat it on(hate)?

So if you ask me, mountain biking reminds me of the people you’ll see on the show COPS where the police get sent to a domestic disturbance call in which the husband hit the wife, but when the cops show up to arrest him, she doesn’t want to press charges, because she loves him! That’s like you and I when it comes to mountain biking…we get totally beat up by climbing, but we rationalize it by saying…”oh it was worth the climb!”….aye…mountain bikers must be messed up in the head… 🙂

The Perfect Bike for B.O.B

Yes there is such a thing as a “PERFECT” bike for B.O.B. (brother on a budget)…a budget meaning very little money or none what so ever.

So if you’re like me, a BOB, then you are going to look for the best bang out of your buck. Being a BOB, usually means you’re just tight on cashola for the most part of your life. Either that or you have plenty of kids to support. With that said, here’s my recommendation…from one BOB to another.

Get a single speed! Yeah I know it’s not going to have the latest and greatest XTR or SRAM X0 stuff, but it works, it’s cheap and up-keep is at an all time low! Seriously, a single speed is the best way to go. You really don’t need much to get one started. You can find a cheap old mountain bike on Craigslist or at a garage sale for about $20-$50. Single Speed kits are mega cheap, less than $20! A KMC chain is about $5 and if you needed, single speed chain ring bolts are no more than $10.

If you tally it up…
$50 for a bike
$20 SS kit
$10 SS chain bolt kit
$5 SS chain

For about $85… you can have yourself a pretty durable bike. I ride my SS as much as I can. I only ride multi geared bikes when I’m testing out rigs for reviews or if I’m riding technical trails where a squishy would be fun. But for the most part, I LOVE my single speed.

Single speeding does so many wonders for you. The first few times you’ll hurl, but you get stronger and you can clear more and more hills on your ride. Just keep at it, I’m not going to lie to you, its tough. But its totally rewarding.

So if you’re a BOB like me, then consider building up a single speed, its a cheap thrill!

Ride Report: RL and Moe at the Famous Fullerton Loop


Originally myself, Moe and Lance were going to head out to Santiago Oaks to check out the demo bikes from Pivot Cycles. But it didn’t work out since Lance and I had to be somewhere by a certain time. So Moe and I decided to ride our favorite trail, the Fullerton Loop. We were both on our single speed bikes and fully prepared for hurling. I even ate a bit of food right before the ride so I don’t disappoint people just in case RALPH came calling.

First thing we saw on the trail was Priscilla’s nemesis…this sheep charged at her last summer…He’s lucky I wasn’t there, or things would have gotten really Baaaaad between us! Get it Baaaad…aye…nevermind that was weak…

Fullerton is a great place to ride a single speed bike due to the slow rolling hills and quick steep climbs. What’s interesting is, Moe had asked me to see if I can clear a certain climb on our ride. I can normally get to the top without a problem with my SS, but Moe has had some difficulty with his SS on this particular hill. Sure enough we traded and keep in mind my SS is a 26er and his is a 29er. What was weird was, I couldn’t make it up the hill with his 29er at all! Dunno if it had something to do with the bigger wheels or what, but it was tough!

Since it was spring and stuff, I decided to wear my Velotees, Single Speed Shirt just so I could match the mustard plants on the trail.

Here’s Moe showing the world his new Rudy Project sunglasses.

As we were making our way through the last part of the trail a few things caught our attention. I saw this ladder sitting right next to the trail. I wanted to try it but the thing wasn’t secure.

So then we ran into this big ramp! Now that is something I couldn’t resist…

3,2,1 lift off!

Once I got in the air, the landing came up VERY quickly! I managed to hit the transition just fine…

But quickly ate it due to the loose dirt.

Overall Moe and I had a great time at the Loop. We were hoping to run into our buddy Vince Rodarte of KHS Bicycles at the trail when we got back since he said he was riding with his buddy. But the dude never showed, unless he was late. So after the ride, Moe and I capped off the morning with some breakfast at Roadside Cafe. I got me a breakfast burrito and Moe got a breakfast burrito, french toast, hashbrowns, eggs, bacon and coffee…dang for a guy that’s “watching” his figure, he sure can eat a lot!

Oh by the way, that big jump was totally staged…but it looked real, eh?!

Thanks to the dude on the Single Speed

This past weekend, as you may have read in Moe’s pictorial ride report that we rode Aliso Woods. On our way down to a place called Dripping Cave, we stopped to rest and wait for the remainder of our group to catch up. As we were waiting this guy on a green single speed muscles his way up one of the hills. So in my normal social way, I started talking to the guy about single speeding and how I was at this same trail a few days ago with my SS and even commented on how hard it was.
sette reken singlespeed
He began telling us that he has been single speeding for nearly 5 years and that SS bikes are better because there’s less maintenance involved with them. It wasn’t until recently that he actually broke something on his bike, the chain. Joe Solancho asked him about the shirt he was wearing, Warrior Society…one of OC’s premiere mountain biking club/teams that are always hosting some crazy race. This fella tells us that he recently broke a new course record on his rigid SS at the Counting Coup race…Before I go on, just picture this guy to be super buff and veins are popping out everywhere. I’ve always have heard about SS riders are buffer because they are constantly grinding through everything. At the same time they’re are pushing and pulling on the bars which in return they get an upper body workout…

After we said our goodbyes, this guy, I think his name is Eric Hunner, I looked up the race results…left a pretty big impression on me. I was motivated to start riding my single speed more than I do my geared bikes. Mind you, this Saturday was the first time I had been on my geared bike since I’ve built up my SS…almost 3 months.

Anyway, because of this stranger I have this new found need to make sure that I master my single speed riding. I know it will be tough and I’m sure I’ll puke a few times, but having to put your body through that kind of harsh work is going to just make me a better rider as a whole.

I do feel kinda wrong talking about how a passing stranger made some sort of impact on me…it almost sounds Smurf encounter. But who cares, I’m pretty glad I did run into that fella, I’m sure its going to help me in the long run.

Ernesto Bike Lube: Review in Progress

Ernesto sent us some Soy Bean Based bike lube to test and review. They claim that this is the only lube that you find to fry up some eggs and chicken with and use it on your chain…

ernesto lube

Here’s some of the benefits of using a Soy Bean Lube.

* Made from renewable USA-grown crop-based vegetable oils
* Biodegradable – Friendly to the environment
* Non-staining formula
* Better adhesion-reduces amount of product required
* No need to apply excessive amounts unless you want an oily mess
* Out-performs conventional petroleum-based oils
* smells good…for good application
* Contains no toxic chlorine or sulfur or regulated chemicals
* Vegetable oil base reduces dermatitis
* Petroleum is dirty and harmful for the environment
* Easy clean-up (Soap & Water)

Ernesto Lube doesn’t have heevie-jeevies….I like that, cuz’ the world doesn’t need anymore heevie-jeevies, especially on your bike!

I’ve already started using this lube. In fact Priscilla probably didn’t realize, but I secretly switched her usual chain lube with the Ernesto Lube for yesterday’s Team Big Bear Race.

I’ll be testing this lube s’more with other bikes such as my single speed and tandem to see how well it hold up. Check back for a review.

Why I love V-brakes

Being the O.G. that I am…oh for the gueros out there, click here to find out what it means. I’ve ridden with hydraulic, mechanical and V-brakes in various bikes that I’ve owned. But none of disc brakes systems have really wowed me. I’ve always loved V-brakes

For one, its cheaper to replace the pads. Cost of some decent pads are no more than $10. Disc pads can cost as much as $20 for a set. No risk of having brake failure due to air bubbles in the lines. Plus, you can buy a whole set of front and back Vbrakes with levers and cables for the cost of one hydraulic caliper/lever. It also weighs far less and last but not least, its not the norm.

That’s right, not everyone runs v-brakes anymore. Some have graduated to the hydros or mechs, and that’s totally fine with me. There’s nothing wrong with being a bit different in how you roll.

When I built up the Sette Reken, I had a choice between mech disc brakes or v-brakes. I went with simplicity and one of my goals for the bike was to make sure that it weighed in at a decent poundage. So the V’s gave me great stopping power as well as style and lightweight hardware.

What do you think? Are you OG like me and dig the V’s or do you like Disc Brakes?