Page 4 of 12 FirstFirst 123456789101112 LastLast
Results 61 to 80 of 236
Like Tree27Likes

Thread: Spectrum Cycles

  1. #61
    JoB
    JoB is offline VSalonistas
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    SC PA
    Posts
    531

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Kellogg View Post
    Of course you asked about a road racing bike, not a crit specific bike which can be somewhat different.
    Tom, can you please explain how the two can differ for you? There's those that say, 'crit geometry is different from road race geometry', and those that say, 'a race bike is a race bike, grand tour or crit, doesn't matter'. Where do you fall on this?

    Thanks!

  2. #62
    conorb's Avatar
    conorb is offline VSalonistas

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Posts
    606

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Tom,

    Thanks so much for participating. It's been a real treat to read about you and learn more about your company and process.

    When I was racing back East in the mid-80's at Trexlertown I couldn't look sideways and see one of your bikes. It seems as though everyone had one - well, except for me I suppose. :)

    Could you discuss a bit about how you go about designing a track bike? Do you take into account home tracks and favorite events? Are there some basic things that you do differently than a road bike; higher bb, quicker steering, etc.? How does fit/measurements factor in? Sometimes I think that the track dictates fit not necessarily the other way around - or some component of being on a velodrome.

    Perhaps this folds into the crit/road race geometry discussion as well.

    Thanks again,

    Conor

  3. #63
    Tom Kellogg's Avatar
    Tom Kellogg is offline VSalonistas


    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    The Barn
    Posts
    1,416

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by JoB View Post
    Tom, can you please explain how the two can differ for you? There's those that say, 'crit geometry is different from road race geometry', and those that say, 'a race bike is a race bike, grand tour or crit, doesn't matter'. Where do you fall on this?
    Thanks!
    JoB:
    From my perspective it really isn't a question of Road or Crit. design. Since we only make custom frames, I need to create a bike for a client that does what he needs it to do. So with that in mind, I think I can answer your question by looking at two imaginary clients.

    Rider "A" lives in the Mid-Atlantic region and mostly races Crits. since that is what is available. He has been racing for many years, has a pretty good sprint, good pack feel, handles his bike very well and sets up for sprints like a pro. Rider "B" did a few races years ago but lives for the Weekly Worlds, a 40 mile rolling road ride. He is not an overly aggressive bike handler and prefers rides around three hours to short intense workouts. Both riders are the same size, proportions and builds.

    Design considerations;
    - Fit:
    Saddle position relative to the pedals, I don't make a distinction between the two riders here.
    Reach - Saddle to bars - horizontal, most likely the same.
    Bar drop - Rider "A" will have lower bars than rider "B" and therefore a shorter head tube. Effectively, rider "A" will therefore have a "smaller" frame size, ie. shorter seat tube than rider "B".

    - Handling, ride, responsiveness:
    Rider "A's" frame will have a higher BB with a drop somewhere in the 66-70mm range assuming 172.5 cranks while rider "B's" frame will have a drop in the range of 70-74. Because of this, rider "B's" frame will have a somewhat more responsive drivetrain. At the same time, Rider "A's" pedals won't have clearance issues in Crits.
    The top tube in the "A" frame will be either thicker gauge or larger diameter to make the front end torsionally stiffer simply because it needs to be. It won't be quite a comfortable, but in turn four in the last lap, it works better. I may or may not make a distinction between the two in drivetrain stiffness by altering the chain stay diameters, gauges or butt lengths somewhat.
    It is likely that the "A" frame will also have a head angle which is about half a degree steeper than the "B" frame and slightly less fork rake.

    Of course, there is more to it than that, but you get the idea. These are the kinds of things that builders think about when developing a design for someone. Hope this short version got to what you were asking. There really is quite a lot to this stuff.


    Quote Originally Posted by conorb View Post
    Tom,

    Thanks so much for participating. It's been a real treat to read about you and learn more about your company and process.

    When I was racing back East in the mid-80's at Trexlertown I couldn't look sideways and not see one of your bikes. It seems as though everyone had one - well, except for me I suppose. :)

    Could you discuss a bit about how you go about designing a track bike? Do you take into account home tracks and favorite events? Are there some basic things that you do differently than a road bike; higher bb, quicker steering, etc.? How does fit/measurements factor in? Sometimes I think that the track dictates fit not necessarily the other way around - or some component of being on a velodrome.

    Perhaps this folds into the crit/road race geometry discussion as well.

    Thanks again,

    Conor
    Conor:

    Thanks, yes, we have built a huge number of track frames over the years. And you have brought up some interesting topics as well.

    When I started track racing in '76 I figured that a track bike was a track bike. Paramounts were popular, so I just copied the basic '60s Paramount type geometry and materials for my early track frames. Although they worked OK, they didn't work very well for most racing on T-Town and they didn't make good sprint bikes at all. Just too sluggish. So I started looking at what the National Team members used and asked them what they thought about different bikes. Eventually, I built frames for many of the National Team guys and got feedback form them. Within a few years, I had raced at T-town, Northbrook, Kessina, Kenosha, Montreal and San Diego. It was really obvious that the same bike would work completely differently on each track so I set out trying to figure out why.

    OK, now to your questions:

    Yes, when possible, I design to a track, or a type of track along with designing for a rider. In the extreme, a bike for a sprinter based at Frisco will be very different from a bike for a points race, Madison type guy based in T-town. The two riders are expecting and asking very different things from their bikes. The points race guy does not want the hair trigger handling and brick stiff drivetrain that the sprinter needs and the sprinter needs a front end that will lock in at very high speeds on steep banking while being light at very low speeds. In Madison type riding, handling which is more consistent at various speeds is a plus. When designing for a track, you need to know how the track's turn radius relates to the banking. All tracks have a neutral corner speed. That is the speed where the turn radius and banking counter each other and there is no tendency for a bike to either climb or drop on the banking. T-town's neutral speed is somewhat slow, only in the mid 20s. When Bob Rodale had the track designed, he wanted the general public to be able to ride it and asked that it be designed with that in mind. The flatter tracks in the mid-west, Kenosha and Northbrook are this way in the extreme while some of the classic old time Dutch tracks are the opposite, 400 meter and steep banking. If you know the neutral speed of the "home track" of the rider and you know what type of racing the rider is going to concentrate on, you can alter the trail to compensate for the track's geometry, making the bike handle better for most of the customer's racing. Not rocket science, but when you spend a lot of time on the track, you have lots of time to think about this stuff.

    Having gone through all that, I will say that most good riders can get used to almost anything that their sponsor gives them. Here at T-town, we had a very famous rider who was sponsored by a well known bike company. He had to ride their frame in the Olympics and in certain respects it was just fine. But he was forever making little adjustments to the rear wheel alignment and chain tension because he could not keep the tire from rubbing during sprints. Fact was, he rode it anyway cuz that was what he was being paid to ride. So, yes, we can really fine tune a design, and it will make a better bike, but you can ride almost anything. Not much of an answer, huh?
    Tom Kellogg
    Rides bikes, makes 'em too.
    Spectrum-Cycles.com
    Butted Ti Road, Reynolds UL, Di2, QuarQ, Conour lite, SP Zero
    Steel Cross, X-7, Crank Bros, Concour Lite, Nemesis, Grifo
    Steel Piste, D-A Piste, PD-7400, Concour lite, Zipp 404
    http://kapelmuurindependent.be


    Shortest TFC Member (5'6 3/4") & shrinking

  4. #64
    Too Tall's Avatar
    Too Tall is offline VelocipedeSalon.1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    DC
    Posts
    13,285

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Pearls. That's what you throw at us T.K. That "aw shucks" stuff might work on some people, not here pal ;) Mastery of your craft and ability to make the fine points easier to understand are very appreciated.

    Tom Kellogg-Wiki, that has a certain appropriate ring to it.

  5. #65
    Bob Ross's Avatar
    Bob Ross is offline VSalonistas
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    1,002

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Kellogg View Post
    Not rocket science
    Not to you maybe, but that was one of the most thought-provoking reads I've come across in a while! Thanks!


    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Kellogg View Post
    Handling, ride, responsiveness:
    Rider "A's" frame will have a higher BB with a drop somewhere in the 66-70mm range assuming 172.5 cranks while rider "B's" frame will have a drop in the range of 70-74. Because of this, rider "B's" frame will have a somewhat more responsive drivetrain.
    Could you elaborate on that last sentence a bit? How or why does a lower bottom bracket equate to a more responsive drivetrain? (What do we even mean by "more responsive" anyway?)

  6. #66
    Tom Kellogg's Avatar
    Tom Kellogg is offline VSalonistas


    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    The Barn
    Posts
    1,416

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
    Could you elaborate on that last sentence a bit? How or why does a lower bottom bracket equate to a more responsive drivetrain?
    Sure, at least I will try to. First, drivetrain responsiveness. What I am talking about is the perceived difference in the way that two, otherwise identical bikes will accelerate when the only difference between the two bikes is the BB drop difference of, say 6mm. The lower BB bike will feel as though it is "more willing" to accelerate when the rider is standing. This applies to situations where a rider is jumping out a corner, leaving an intersection or climbing out of the saddle. The perception pretty much goes away once the rider is back in the saddle. What is going on here are a couple of things.

    First, the obvious one; when a bottom bracket is lower, the entire bike is lower, everything. Not just the BB and seat tube, but top tube, saddle, bars ... all of the weight of the bike is lower. Since a bike "rocks" around the fulcrum point of the contact patch of the tires, the closer the structure of the bike is to that point, the less force is required to rock the bike, it feels as though there is less bike fighting the rider.

    Second, and this one is hard for me to communicate, since I really don't understand fully how it works from a bio-mechanical perspective. When a rider stands up to accelerate, usually, there is some degree of rocking motion that the bike goes through. The lower the BB, the less lateral movement the BB and cranks make during a rocking cycle. Bikes with very high bottom brackets keep the riders pedals farther away from the ground and the rocking fulcrum, therefore making for more lateral movement of the BB during rocking. At the same time, downward pedaling forces during rocking have a tenancy to add to the rocking motion. But the higher the BB, the more those forces will add to that motion. Lower bottom brackets have less effect on the natural motion since those BBs are closer to the rocking fulcrum and don't "rock" as far. With the higher bottom brackets, the rider needs to compensate more for the pedaling forces and the bike seems to take more upper body effort to ride naturally, or neutrally.

    Yikes! That wasn't very clear. OK, a few related thoughts. There are some interesting instances where frame builders really need to pay attention to this stuff. Picture a full-on track sprint bike. This frame will need a maximum BB drop of about 57mm if that much, for two reasons both related to pedal clearance. First, on shallow tracks, pedals can hit on the inside during sprint speeds. Second, on steeper tracks, pedals can hit on the outside at slow speeds. So the issue here is just how much drop to use. The trick is to determine a drop which will keep the rider safe, but only just safe. For those of you who have not seen international level sprinting up close, I will also point out that very few sprinters do much rocking as all. The main reason is that at the power levels that those folks have, a rocking (road) type of action would be hugely inefficient and slow. When they are using ALL of their muscle groups, full on, the bike hardly moves at all since they are not dancing on the pedals at all.

    Another area where builders need to find a happy medium is with any type of off-road bike. This will include Cross, Mountain Bikes, BMX, trials, etc. The considerations are obvious; ground (log, barrier and rock) clearance versus center of gravity. So for most off road bikes, the compromise point is really determined by the rider. Riding style, components (crank length, pedals) and terrain will determine the drop.

    Now back to road bikes. The drop considerations are really the same here as well. Pedals clearance versus drivetrain response. I try to keep our BBs as low as possible while at the same time, safe. OK? Hope I didn't get too far off course. I can be pretty long winded. Thanks for the follow-up question.
    Tom Kellogg
    Rides bikes, makes 'em too.
    Spectrum-Cycles.com
    Butted Ti Road, Reynolds UL, Di2, QuarQ, Conour lite, SP Zero
    Steel Cross, X-7, Crank Bros, Concour Lite, Nemesis, Grifo
    Steel Piste, D-A Piste, PD-7400, Concour lite, Zipp 404
    http://kapelmuurindependent.be


    Shortest TFC Member (5'6 3/4") & shrinking

  7. #67
    Craig Ryan's Avatar
    Craig Ryan is offline VSalonistas

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Noblesville, Indiana, United States
    Posts
    1,441

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    That's a very good explanation Tom. What the two extremes you see in drop? Do you ever go down below 80 in a road bike?, Or up above 50 in a track bike? Thanks in advance.
    Craig

  8. #68
    Vlad Luskin's Avatar
    Vlad Luskin is offline VSalonistas
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Bump City 94618
    Posts
    586

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    I am totally blown away by the level of detail and sophistication of discussion here. Yes, I am a Spectrum owner and a huge fan, but holy sh*t!

  9. #69
    roguedog is offline VSalonistas
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    286

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Hey Tom,

    Man I love this Smoked Out section. Problem is every time I read a new builder's section, I wanna buy a new bike.

    I see that you have different models, the Super titanium, steel road and titanium road models offered. Are each of them suited to a particular rider? If a customer came to you and said I want a Super titanium but then you talked to him/her and for whatever reason (what might those be??) you might say.. "You know, I think that you might be better served by this other model." Or is it really that the customer basically picks a price point they're willing to pay and you design the ride around that?

    Hmm.. hope this question makes sense?

  10. #70
    Tom Kellogg's Avatar
    Tom Kellogg is offline VSalonistas


    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    The Barn
    Posts
    1,416

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Ryan View Post
    ... What (are) the two extremes you see in drop? Do you ever go down below 80 in a road bike?, Or up above 50 in a track bike? Thanks in advance.
    Craig
    Sorry for the delay. My network puked yesterday afternoon and I finally took the time to track down a bad NIC plug and repair it just now.

    We've gone to 85 drop when dealing with a short tourist who will be using 165mm cranks and wont' be "cranking" around street corners. On the other hand we've done track bikes around 26mm drop for sprinters who ride 650-c wheels. So it's not any sort of rule-of-thumb thing, but determined by the rider and circumstances. K?
    Tom Kellogg
    Rides bikes, makes 'em too.
    Spectrum-Cycles.com
    Butted Ti Road, Reynolds UL, Di2, QuarQ, Conour lite, SP Zero
    Steel Cross, X-7, Crank Bros, Concour Lite, Nemesis, Grifo
    Steel Piste, D-A Piste, PD-7400, Concour lite, Zipp 404
    http://kapelmuurindependent.be


    Shortest TFC Member (5'6 3/4") & shrinking

  11. #71
    Tom Kellogg's Avatar
    Tom Kellogg is offline VSalonistas


    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    The Barn
    Posts
    1,416

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by roguedog View Post
    Hey Tom,

    Man I love this Smoked Out section. Problem is every time I read a new builder's section, I wanna buy a new bike.

    I see that you have different models, the Super titanium, steel road and titanium road models offered. Are each of them suited to a particular rider? If a customer came to you and said I want a Super titanium but then you talked to him/her and for whatever reason (what might those be??) you might say.. "You know, I think that you might be better served by this other model." Or is it really that the customer basically picks a price point they're willing to pay and you design the ride around that?

    Hmm.. hope this question makes sense?
    Not only makes sense, these are great questions because I can clarify some things that seem to stump a lot of people.

    First though, Oooh, I'm listening to the Wailin' Jennys "Glory Bound." Sets a great mood for a Friday afternoon. This is going to be a good weekend. Oooooh!

    OK, over that. Spectrum models; I never should have started calling our butted Ti frames "Supers." I stole the name from the mid-seventies Colnagos that I lusted after. In fact, all the "Super" designates is that we are using butted tubing instead of straight gauge tubing. Simple as that.

    When we work with a client during the fitting process, frame materials is of course one of the issues that comes up. Nine times out of ten, the client already knows what she wants. If they ask for my advice regarding materials I will lay out what the options will mean to them on the road and over the years. I can not answer the common question of "which one is better," since neither is better than the other in a generic sense. Most of the time, once we have gotten to choosing a material, I will have a pretty good idea of where my client's priorities l(Del McCouury, - "1952 Vincent Black Lightning") are ordered and I will be able to advise him taking into consideration what I have learned during the fitting. Since the only functional distinction between our butted and straight gauge titanium frames is weight (and price) some simply opt for the straight gauge to save the 400.00. However, most seem to figure that they will be kicking themselves in a few years if they don't go for the butted tubing, figuring that over the 20-odd years that they will be riding the thing, what's 400.00. ("Mrs. Fogerty's Christmas Cake" - Mick Moloney) Is this what you were after?

    Like I said, great weekend!
    Tom Kellogg
    Rides bikes, makes 'em too.
    Spectrum-Cycles.com
    Butted Ti Road, Reynolds UL, Di2, QuarQ, Conour lite, SP Zero
    Steel Cross, X-7, Crank Bros, Concour Lite, Nemesis, Grifo
    Steel Piste, D-A Piste, PD-7400, Concour lite, Zipp 404
    http://kapelmuurindependent.be


    Shortest TFC Member (5'6 3/4") & shrinking

  12. #72
    Vlad Luskin's Avatar
    Vlad Luskin is offline VSalonistas
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Bump City 94618
    Posts
    586

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Tom, a few questions:

    1. Where do you see Spectrum going in steel and titanium in the next five to ten years?

    2. What effect do you think metallurgical developments will have on frame construction and design?

    3. How long do you see you and Jeff continuing to work?

    4. With Reynolds no longer in the fork business, what do you see as the future of carbon forks? Do the currently available carbon forks completely serve Spectrum's needs?
    Sorry if this has been asked already.

  13. #73
    robin3mj is offline VSalonistas
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    2,643

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Tom,
    My question arose when I was reading your comments above regarding the real estate moguls and other assorted people who may come to you (or another builder) and tell you what geometry to build. Having been in the frame building business a while now, can you talk briefly about how the knowledge level of the customer has changed over time, specifically how has mass media, particularly the web, changed your business? My guess is that the internet has greatly helped the custom framebuilding field, in getting your name out there, etc. But has the customer gotten smarter and thus easier to work with? Dumber but more bossy? Just smart enough to be dangerous? Something in between?
    Thanks,
    Matt

  14. #74
    Tom Kellogg's Avatar
    Tom Kellogg is offline VSalonistas


    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    The Barn
    Posts
    1,416

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Vlad;

    Sorry to have taken so long in responding. June and I have been away visiting family (a wonderful time), helping our youngest get ready to start working full time teaching High School Math up in Vermont and just trying to keep work moving through the shop. As you noticed earlier today, we just finished up your new frame, so I guess that you can't complain too much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vlad Luskin View Post
    Tom, a few questions:

    1. Where do you see Spectrum going in steel and titanium in the next five to ten years?
    Jeff and I don't tend to stick our necks out very much. I also don't have a very good imagination. Between the two of these characteristics, you may guess that beyond incremental improvements and developments within the range of what we already do, I doubt that there will be any radical changes, or developments. Of course, without an imagination, I can't see what may be coming down the road anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vlad Luskin View Post
    2. What effect do you think metallurgical developments will have on frame construction and design?
    I think that most of the developments in steel and titanium alloys and manipulation for bicycles have already happened. When you look as some of the theoretical alloy options that are out there, each of them seems to have it's drawbacks. Even in the exotic stuff like Titanium matrix, I just don't see a future for it in frames. The stuff has wonderful numbers, but in the real world of welding and paying for it, it just won't work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vlad Luskin View Post
    3. How long do you see you and Jeff continuing to work?
    Excellent question. I can only speak for myself on this. I'm now 57 as is Jeff. As long as people want me to build frames for them, I plan on doing it. I do plan on slowing down somewhat in another eight or ten years though. Fifty to sixty hour weeks are getting really old and once June retires, we do want to travel more. Grandchildren and all ... I can't completely quit though. It is too important a part of me now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vlad Luskin View Post
    4. With Reynolds no longer in the fork business, what do you see as the future of carbon forks? Do the currently available carbon forks completely serve Spectrum's needs?
    Sorry if this has been asked already.
    We are now down to Edge (Envy) and WoundUP for composite forks now. For about 80% of our Ti frames, they give us just what we want. For our steel frames and that other 20%, we make our own forks. The fork on your new frame had to be steel in order to give you the geometry, fender clearance and fittings that you needed.

    Thanks for asking.
    Tom Kellogg
    Rides bikes, makes 'em too.
    Spectrum-Cycles.com
    Butted Ti Road, Reynolds UL, Di2, QuarQ, Conour lite, SP Zero
    Steel Cross, X-7, Crank Bros, Concour Lite, Nemesis, Grifo
    Steel Piste, D-A Piste, PD-7400, Concour lite, Zipp 404
    http://kapelmuurindependent.be


    Shortest TFC Member (5'6 3/4") & shrinking

  15. #75
    Tom Kellogg's Avatar
    Tom Kellogg is offline VSalonistas


    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    The Barn
    Posts
    1,416

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by robin3mj View Post
    Tom,
    My question arose when I was reading your comments above regarding the real estate moguls and other assorted people who may come to you (or another builder) and tell you what geometry to build. Having been in the frame building business a while now, can you talk briefly about how the knowledge level of the customer has changed over time, specifically how has mass media, particularly the web, changed your business? My guess is that the internet has greatly helped the custom framebuilding field, in getting your name out there, etc. But has the customer gotten smarter and thus easier to work with? Dumber but more bossy? Just smart enough to be dangerous? Something in between?
    Thanks,
    Matt
    Hey Matt:

    Are you trying to get me in trouble? I need to keep all those moguls happy fer-chrissakes.

    Interesting. Oddly, I think things have remained about the same in that regard over the years. Back in the day, the customers who "knew it all" just got it from different places; magazines, their riding buddies, etc. I will say though that the smart people can learn the things they need to know a lot faster and more easily than before. In our experience, the wealth of the customer does not have any relationship to how much they think they know about frame design. The image of the rich guy demanding what he wants, when he wants it is not our experience.

    We still seem to get about he same number of clients who are set up well before they get here and the same number who really need help. Whether the riders who are in pain and inefficient got the information that put them in those positions from the interweb or from the CONI book c.1977 doesn't matter to us. We are needed either way.

    So, your questions is good but we haven't seem much change over these many years. Christ, I'm getting old!
    Tom Kellogg
    Rides bikes, makes 'em too.
    Spectrum-Cycles.com
    Butted Ti Road, Reynolds UL, Di2, QuarQ, Conour lite, SP Zero
    Steel Cross, X-7, Crank Bros, Concour Lite, Nemesis, Grifo
    Steel Piste, D-A Piste, PD-7400, Concour lite, Zipp 404
    http://kapelmuurindependent.be


    Shortest TFC Member (5'6 3/4") & shrinking

  16. #76
    lex's Avatar
    lex
    lex is offline VSalonistas
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Gainesville, Fl.
    Posts
    264

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Hey Tom,

    Thanks for asking me such a good question earlier. I did my best to provide you with an OKish answer:)
    I relay enjoyed your posts BTW, there kind of effortless sounding and entertaining. Your opening story about getting hit then leaving the hospital to find another bike to finish your tour was awesome! Clearly you have the love. Has there ever been a time during your building career that was hard for you (economically or otherwise) and if so how did you get through it.
    And, yes, its hard for me rite now.

    Thank you,

  17. #77
    Tom Kellogg's Avatar
    Tom Kellogg is offline VSalonistas


    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    The Barn
    Posts
    1,416

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by lex View Post
    Hey Tom,
    Has there ever been a time during your building career that was hard for you (economically or otherwise) and if so how did you get through it.
    And, yes, its hard for me rite now.
    Thank you,
    Lex:

    There have been lots of times. My business has changed many times over the years, sometimes by choice, sometimes by necessity. It is never easy when that happens, but the unplanned events that force changes are the worst. I think that for us, the hardest time came back around '92. For a couple of years, we had been known as the source for the highest end Ti bikes in the country since we were essentially the source for the custom frames that Merlin made, and we couldn't' get stock frames from Merlin fast enough anyway. For those first few years that we could offer Ti frames, Serotta was not yet building them and we really had little competition for what we did. Then, through a series of problems, we got in big trouble, really fast. Merlin wasn't delivering at the rate that they had promised us or the volume that we had hired for so that we were bleeding money with constant promises from Merlin that we would soon be receiving frames in volume. It never happened. Even though our mounting debt to Merlin was a result of their inability to keep their promises, we still owed them a lot of money.

    One of our staff, a highly trained journeymen from Australia had a job offer from a local company that he wanted to take, so reducing staff there was easy. Laying off my painter was one of the toughest things I have ever done. Dave was a great painter, worked hard and loved the work. A great guy too. When I gave him the news, I was balling like a baby while he was fine with it. Both of those guys have done just fine since then, but shrinking the company from 4.5 workers to two was very tough at first. And that is where it gets interesting.

    As it turned out, our staffing at 4.5 pairs of hands could only have worked under really perfect conditions. If Merlin had kept up with our demand, we would have been OK, but only just OK. So shrinking the company, while requiring me to pick up a lot of additional hats, was the best thing for the health of the company anyway. It also means that I have my hands on EVERY frame we send out for extended periods of time. Back in those earlier days, I really was a manager and did very little work on the actual frames. I never felt comfortable about it, but I had no choice. Then the choice was forced on me.

    Now, since the early '90s, it is just Jeff and myself. We can't produce any where near the same number of frames, but the frames are better and we feel good about most aspects of the business. Where we fall short, and this is my shortcoming, is in responsiveness to our customers. Because I wear so many hats, I find it difficult to keep up with correspondence and communication with customers. There are times when I am essentially living in the paint booth for ten days at a time in an effort to get a paint batch done and the E-mails mount up at the rate of an average of about 25 per day. When I finally get up to the office again, I spend a day or so just trying to get back on track. Of course, some customers get ticked off when they don't hear from us for periods. I don't blame them, but i find that if I try to keep up with all my jobs, I get a lot less work done and out of here.

    That goes way off track to your question. What I think I can say is that when bad things happen in our business, we have asked for help and advice where we can find it. Then we have taken the steps, sometimes quite difficult, necessary to get back on track. I would suggest that you contact other experienced builders if you have specific business related questions. Especially, the Collective. The small builders who have been at it for a couple of decades have seen pretty much everything that you might be running up against. And The Collective is around to help builders like yourself as one of their (our) primary goals.

    I hope that I have offered a bit of a shoulder to lean on. Don't be shy, get in touch with The Collective through our web site.
    Tom Kellogg
    Rides bikes, makes 'em too.
    Spectrum-Cycles.com
    Butted Ti Road, Reynolds UL, Di2, QuarQ, Conour lite, SP Zero
    Steel Cross, X-7, Crank Bros, Concour Lite, Nemesis, Grifo
    Steel Piste, D-A Piste, PD-7400, Concour lite, Zipp 404
    http://kapelmuurindependent.be


    Shortest TFC Member (5'6 3/4") & shrinking

  18. #78
    lex's Avatar
    lex
    lex is offline VSalonistas
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Gainesville, Fl.
    Posts
    264

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Tom,
    Iv actually just had to part ways with my partner Joe. You are not exaggerating when you say its a hard thing to go through. Coming to the realization that I had to do it was hard enough let alone the actual act of doing so. The picture you painted wasn't far from my experience.
    Listen, I relay appreciate the time you took to respond to my question. You weren't off track at all. Every paragraph was refreshing. It also gave me some perspective I was sorely lacking. Thank you.
    Ill organize my thoughts and get in touch with the collective.
    Lex

  19. #79
    progetto is offline VSalonistas

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    worlds biggest island
    Posts
    656

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Hi Tom,
    You've been around in the industry for a long time now, not sure of your age but think you could probably retire if you choose to. What keeps you motivated to continue to produce world class products and do you find it harder to maintain skill levels with age or does experience compensate? I was surprised to read that you are only a two man business, what will happen to Spectrum Cycles when you decide to retire?
    Bill

  20. #80
    jimcav is offline VSalonistas
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    222

    Default Re: Spectrum Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Kellogg View Post
    JoB:
    It is likely that the "A" frame will also have a head angle which is about half a degree steeper than the "B" frame and slightly less fork rake.
    So I am not sure i understand what that does to trail. I know less fork rake equals more trail, and is more trail better for high speed cornering? This was my 1st year racing, and i was not great at cornering--I thought it mostly a mental limitation, but my bike has a 56 trail i think. this coming year i will be on a bike with 56.9 (but also slightly longer 41.2 vs 40.5 Chain Stays). Should I be looking for better cornering with that slightly higher trail (i guess if i believe i will corner better i probably will!). I am in the southern cal area, so we have mostly crits but and some 3-day stage races and road races within an easy drive. I enjoy the RR the most, but want to be okay for crits as they are often the final day of the 3 days. Crits are a blast but I honestly am too old to feel comfortable with the level of aggression and risk that winning would involve. What sort of trail goals would you have for your rider "A" and "B" as above? I think my bike set up (fairly aggressive saddle to bar drop for a weekend warrior, etc and the numerous crits and circuit races out here proabbly favors the "a" set-up you mentioned, but I don't know what I don't know.
    thanks
    jim

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •