Monday, December 20, 2010

Embrocation Article

Chris is a hard core Ellis Cycles fan, and he's been a friend since we first met at Cirque in 2009. Not too long after the Cirque, he contacted me to see if I would consider selling the yellow 29'er I had as part of my display there. Well, for those of you that have heard this story, that was my personal bike, but I managed to get past that, and I did indeed sell him that frame and fork.

Well, since then, he's also become the proud owner of this Ellis frame as well, and he's written an interesting article about the whole custom bike experience for Embrocation Magazine's website. While it might not be the route everyone would choose, it is an interesting take on the process.

A link; , and a pic of Chris' Ellis below.

Cheers, and a Merry Christmas,

Monday, December 6, 2010

Glenn's Di2 Ellis

Glenn's frame, awaiting a full Di2 kit! He chose a really classic paint scheme, and it should be a nice counterpoint to the modern electronic parts. I love the look of the frame with no derailleur cable braze ons, it's super clean.

I went with internal brake cable routing as well, to compliment the integrated Di2 wiring. The dark red panel on the seat tube is set off by a thin silver pinstripe.

In this shot, you can see the exit hole for the front derailleur wiring, and the vent window in the bottom bracket where the battery wire will enter the frame.
Stainless steel bosses for battery mounting, and the bottom bracket window.

Finally, the Ellis dropouts with an added loop to keep the wiring out of the way for wheel changes.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ellis at Chicago Patagonia

Well, for the second year running, the nice folks at Patagonia in Chicago have invited me to display one of my bikes during the Holiday season. I decided to show off the "vintage" Campy Record bike that I displayed at this past year's NAHBS in Richmond.

While I was in Chicago dropping the bike off, I had a chance to catch up with James Lalonde, my former cross racer extraordinaire! He works just a couple blocks away from the Patagonia store at SRAM's headquarters. He offered to swing by the Patagonia store after the bike was up to take some pictures. Thanks, James!

The bike will be in the window until just after the holidays, so if you'd like to stop by and check it out, or just buy some awesome Patagonia gear, you can find directions to the store through the link on this post.



Monday, November 29, 2010

NAHBS 29'er

Ever since I sold my original 29'er (the yellow one), I've been thinking about how I'd build my next one.

Then, this past year I built this one for Rob, and he wanted it to be able to run either a suspension fork or the carbon Niner fork that it's shown with. He also wanted to mimic the "look" of his classic Paramount lugged mountain bike. Once I finished building his frame, I knew that this was what I wanted my next frame to look like. The bi-laminate lugs do double duty as an aesthetic element and as a gusset on the down tube.

Well, here's the newest Ellis 29'er, almost ready for paint. I'm just waiting on a couple cable guides and braze ons to get this one finished and ready for paint.

The bi-laminate head tube with an extra long "gusset" for the down tube.

Seat cluster with the Salsa collar.

I've been using this bottom bracket shell quite a bit lately. It's the same one that Wayne's bike got, with a 34.9 XL down tube, and a standard 28.6 seat tube. I have to do a bit of metal work to get the chain stay sockets lined up for the s-bend chain stays, but I really like using the lugged shell. It carries the lugged look through the whole bike and it is the final mask line on the down tube so I can do a similar paint job to Rob's bike.

Finally, the Paragon chain stay mount disk brake dropouts.

I've got a Rock Shox fork on the way for this one, some parts from Shimano, and I'm getting excited for this one. The only problem will be keeping it looking pristine for the show in Feb.!



Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving and Apple Pie!

Just took this out of the oven a couple hours ago, and we're headed off to Lisa's Mom and Dad's for dinner as soon as I finish this post. It's rustic, but I think it'll taste all right.

Hope everyone has a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wayne's Road Bike

The new Inspector, Chuckles, keeping an eye on every Ellis!
Wayne wanted a light, unique steel frame, so I unleashed a little bit of lug carving to make this one special. I also went with an XL down tube (34.9mm), along with a standard OS (28.6mm) top and seat tube. This does two things, it allows me to use really thin gauge tubes, but the larger diameter down tube should keep the front end from being too flexy.

Some of the lug carving along the way. I especially like this bottom bracket, it an unusual combination of tube diameters, plus the sockets are deep enough to do a bit more embellishment than most of the other shells out there.

Here's the stainless internal parts that I showed in my last post. The end ferrules and the thin tube that houses the cable are all stainless from now on. The parts are quite a bit more expensive than the what I used to use, so there may be a price increase on the internal cable option soon. But the upside is much greater durability and no corrosion issues.

Fluxed up and ready to braze.

The view down the length of the tube. I always install the internal before building the frame so I can make sure the center section of the internal doesn't contact the tube at all. If it did, the rider would hear a very disconcerting vibration every time they hit a bump! Not good.

Post braze, pre soak.

The fork, complete with Keith Anderson's new TITO front dropouts.

I've been using this crown a bit more recently. On 1 1/8" forks, this makes a nice alternative to the flat lugged crown I've used up till now. I add the stainless washer for the brake mount so paint chipping shouldn't be an issue.

Head tube.

Top tube lug with internal cable routing. Wayne's not a fan a big head tube extensions, so I kept this one to about 5mm. That, plus about 3 degrees of top tube slope add up to a slightly higher head tube without the huge stack of spacers that are so common these days.

Down tube lug with head tube mounted cable guides.

I used my standard Long Shen seat lug, but changed the binder to try a slightly different look.

Of course, the Ellis rear dropouts. I really like the way the stays blend around the windows on this frame.

Dropout, inside face, plenty of little details here too.

Finally, the bottom bracket.

And, the finished product!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stainless bits!

New things in the works at Ellis, small but cool. For the last couple years I've been offering internal cable routing with a pretty conventional setup, steel ferrules at the ends, and a brass tube that the bare cable runs through. While this works fine, there are a couple potential downsides to this setup in the long run. The steel ends are hard to get good paint coverage inside, so they're prone to rust, and the brass tube and actually get worn through by the cable over a long period of time.

I asked my supplier if he'd ever consider getting the parts in stainless and while he agreed that it sounded like a good idea, he wasn't too interested in the extra cost it would involve and he already had quite a few of the existing parts. Next step, call Mark at Paragon and see what it would cost to get stainless ferrules made. Well, a sample and about $300 later, I got a small bag in the mail...

Stainless ferrules, and I managed to find 5/32" stainless tube for the cable run pretty easily from McMaster Carr, so now the entire internal routing is stainless steel. You can see both bits in the photo below.

Also in the photo, some cool new front dropouts from Keith Anderson, the TITO. These are steel plate with a special stainless insert, the perfect compliment to the Ellis 17/4 stainless rear dropouts! More pics below.

The other stainless touches will include washers on both the brake bridge and fork crown, and all the waterbottle bosses will now be stainless as well.

Here's some progression shots of the TITO's! It's probably cooler when you watch Keith video on Flickr.

All brazed up and finished, pretty sweet!

I'll post more of this build soon!

Monday, November 8, 2010

DRB (Dirt Road Bike)

Everyone owes it to themselves to have a road bike that can run fat tires! I've done a few of these over the last couple years, Carl's bike comes to mind, but his was more of a cross bike with lots of braze ons. This one really just mimics my road bike's position, but it is built for long reach brakes, (47mm-57mm) and it can fit 28c tires with fenders, and even 34c cross tubulars without fenders.
I've slowly become a convert to fatter tires over this past season, as the 25's and 28's take the sting out of the not so fine old roads around Waterford. The real surprise is that I'm not going any slower for it. I know I'm not the only one who's experiencing this, and there's more and more nice wide tires that are coming on the market for this.
Ok, ok, enough of my blabbering! Let's see some pics.

I used an externally butted seat tube and the Salsa collar may not be the most classic looking part, but it clamps like a mother!

One of my other justifications for building myself a new bike was to replace my single speed. While I love that bike, I really built it with the idea that I might actually use it on a track someday, so it's much more steep and short than I'd typically build for a road single speed. And after a couple years and no track riding, I figured it's time to face reality and build a bike that's more useful. That's why I spec'ed the Campy 1010a dropouts, it allows me to run the bike single speed when I want, but since the cable routing is internal, there's no unused braze ons hanging out when it is set up single.
My other tricky part for the single speed conversion is the bolted on head tube cable stops. It's a nifty little stainless steel part I found on a supplier's website and it's just the ticket here.
If you look close you can also see the little bit of lug work I did on the fork crown. Not many opportunities to do lug carving on this one, but I like the little touches that you really have to look for.

Another shot of the head tube cable stops on the built bike. I've got some Continental Travel Contact tires on there right now, and while they advertise them as 37's, they're more like 32's with a taller tread.

A shot of the internal chainstay cable routing, and the SRAM Apex rear derailleur that helped me get my butt up the hills at D2R2 this past summer and that'll be doing it again next summer! Maybe I'll even do the 180k!

My other sneaky bit on this frame was to add some mounts for fenders so I can use it when the weather's not so pretty, and you'll notice my Nitto M18 rack on the front. The pic above is the bike set up with 28c tires, stainless Velo Orange fenders and the rack. Not a full on rando bike, but it might do in a pinch.
I was out riding last week and snapped a few shots of the bike propped up on some stubble in a corn field that had just been harvested.

That yellow just jumps out of the pictures. I think the camera has trouble knowing what to do with that color!

Rode it up to Estabrook park this past Sat. on a chilly (40's), but sunny day. Got there in time to catch some of the last cross races of the day and witness James' brother Marco crush in the Elite Men's race. Everyone else was racing for second! (No pics though, I forgot the camera!)

Finally, today we had some unseasonably warm weather blow in that's supposed to hang on until Wed or Thurs. 60's and sunny, albeit with a bit of wind from the southeast, but after I angled my way down into Kenosha county, it made for a nice tailwind all the way home. Almost 50 miles today!