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Thread: Kirk Frameworks

  1. #81
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Goodrich View Post
    Dave,

    Back in the Serotta days, you were brazing the lugs with brass. I seem to remember when you started Kirk Frameworks you were brass brazing the lugs. Perhaps that's not accurate though. Regardless, now you braze the lugs with silver. What's up with that?

    What was it like working with that tyrant Carl Strong? Beyond the endless brow beating, what did your days look like there?

    Picture yourself in line for a really good burrito. What do you want in your burrito?

    If you had a signature color/paint scheme what would it be?

    Coffee- black or cream & sugar or one of those mamby pamby coffee drinks?

    Yo Curt,

    Thanks or chiming in.

    * You are correct - while at Serotta I used brass and when I started the Frameworks I also used brass. At some point fairly early on I switched to silver for a few reasons. First is that it is faster as it takes less time to get the joint up to temperature and the silver tends to flow quicker than brass so in the end it saves a bit of time. The bigger reason for me is that clean up is easier. At Serotta the brass brazed bike first went into the sandblaster to give it a preliminary cleanup before going in and doing hand work. I do not have a sand blaster and I'll die a happy man if I never stick my hands into one ever again and since silver wets out thinner and is softer and easier to sand during clean up it saves me a bunch of time post brazing. I know silver used to be cool, and the only way top notch builders worked, because the tubes liked it better but those days are gone as the tubes are so good it doesn't matter anymore. So..... I'm all silver all the time now. It cost me more (silver much more expensive than brass) in raw materials but it saves me more than enough time to make it worth it.

    * Carl and I worked together in various ways for a number of years and while the biz went through a lot of turmoil the one thing was constant was the undying fairness and honesty of the man. We had a business relationship with the V2 of Ibis and were partners in this business and the only ones that cam out of this with a smile in their faces were the scumbags at Ibis (not Scot Nicol - he was not involved) that took everything and ran. But even in this stressful time Carl was top shelf. Before the Ibis debacle I worked for Carl building Strongs and we worked in a small shop with a few other guys and the days were fun but hardworking. Carl gave me free rein to do what I thought was best and valued my opinion and that gave me a very good feeling about being there. I enjoyed my time there in a big way and it was a very good way for me to land in a new town and make some friends. I'd do it all over again without hesitation.

    * There are precious few places to get a good burrito in Bozeman as odd as they might seem. The one fastfoodish place in town that I like is Taco Delmar and when I go there it's refried beans, pulled pork and no rice. Lots of hot sauce and jalapenos. I of course like it in the 'get wet' mode with lots of sauce over the top. I want one now.

    * This is a tough question. I like so many combos and my tastes vary with the day. I do like subtle no matter what and hope that others see the bike first and get drawn in to see who made it - the opposite of Cannondale. I have two Kirks and one is uber deep glass black and coffee brown. I love that. My cross bike is matte gray with orange accents and it looks just right in it's element out in the dirt. Did I answer the question yet? Remember at the beginning of this I didnt promise answers but did promise responses - I think you just got a response.

    * Lots of sugar (it's a food group!) and a little bit of milk. On a hot summer afternoon it's iced coffee on the front porch with Karin in the shade - even more sugar and milk and icy cold.


    Thanks again,

    dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  2. #82
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Estlund View Post
    Have you ridden one of his new titanal sticks? Bruce is good people, and is to snowboards what you are to bikes.

    Good taste- as always.


    I have not ridden one of the new ones. I ride an adjustable 196 split tail and it hooks up in a big way and leaves trenches that small children fall into never to be seen again. I'd love to try one of the new one but wonder if it will be much of an advantage to me in our never icy conditions? Have you ridden one? If so on what type of snow?

    Bruce is very good people and he gets all my board bidness.

    Dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  3. #83
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl S View Post
    I'd also like to say, for the record that it was Dave's sober, objective and practical attitudes toward the business of Framebuilding that I have based my model on. While we are very different at how we go about each of our businesses, at the core we follow the same principles, principles I learned from Dave. I can't thank Dave enough for the contributions he's made over the years and I feel very fortunate to have him as a resource for both the business side of the things as well as the building and design sides.
    Right back at you. I doubt I'd have this business without your support and encouragement. I'd still be drilling water wells and standing in mud all day.

    Thank you Carl.


    Dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  4. #84
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by dwightskin View Post
    Wow. Gets It.


    Burning question from this mechanical engineer's materials-joining-mind and Kirk's background in production, building and testing seems the ideal guy to answer it?

    How do you assure repeatable and consistent joints?

    In my line of work, we rely on a few things
    1) Process Characterization (shows when the process will fail, specifically find out where the "edge of the cliff is")
    2) Process Validation (series of "runs" that are tested and statistically show to meet requirement)
    3) Ongoing Process Monitoring, often destructive testing of the joints
    4) 100% Visual Inspection



    Dwight

    Hey Dwight,

    Interesting question. I'm not sure I understand what your four points really mean when the rubber hits the road - I understand the words but don't know what they mean when put together. That said here is what I have done.

    When I learned to braze I did practice joints for months. There was the near endless brazing of test joints and then cutting them open to see how I did. Of course before I ever got to do a test joint I'd spent way too many hours doing braze-ons and dropouts to learn heat control so it's not like it was the first time I'd lit a torch. You quickly see what and where you need to improve and try to do better on the next one and then later, rinse, repeat. Once the joints appeared to be sound destructive testing was done to be sure that too much heat wasn't used. It's pretty rare to see too much heat in a lugged joint but it can happen. Once all that was done I was clear to braze stuff that was going out the door to customers.

    Brazing, when done enough, becomes intuitive and you can 'feel' when there is a void in the silver and you can then be sure to come at it in a different way to fill the void. It takes thousands of joints to get to that point but it does happen for those who have had the opportunity to put that time in. Even with this in my back pocket I still do test joints when I start using a new lug or crown. Every lug has it's own pattern and needs and it make take a few tries to get it right. Some, like webbed lugs, require a totally different brazing pattern to deal with the heat sink that the web ends up being as well as the flame block that the webs impose.

    It's pretty rare but every once in a while a bike will not go well. In this case I know it's not right and should not hit the streets so I take it and cut it up and see what caused the issue. When I was new this happened a good bit but now it almost never happens - a good thing IMO.

    I hope that is what you were looking for.

    dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  5. #85
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Totally cool thread.

    I am asuming that you are only riding the bikes you made for yourself. From time to time are you "trying" other bikes to see how they feel (like the latest greatest carbon whatever). I am guessing not often, maybe never?

    BTW, stop writing this long and great answers, your waiting list is getting too long ;)
     

  6. #86
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Kirk View Post
    I have not ridden one of the new ones. I ride an adjustable 196 split tail and it hooks up in a big way and leaves trenches that small children fall into never to be seen again.
    Bruce is very good people and he gets all my board bidness.

    Dave
    Not one of the new ones yet. I rode one of those 196's for a couple of runs. My bread and butter board was a 186 PR for years, and a 200 custom all mtn for wide open days. One of the new ones looks great, but between living a little further from the mountains and a tired knee (hopefully about to get less tired) I haven't ponied up. The next one will probably go that way.

    Lots of parallels between the two sports. Including the niche stuff that rocks the boat coming of out one man garages.

  7. #87
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by Lionel View Post
    Totally cool thread.

    I am asuming that you are only riding the bikes you made for yourself. From time to time are you "trying" other bikes to see how they feel (like the latest greatest carbon whatever). I am guessing not often, maybe never?

    BTW, stop writing this long and great answers, your waiting list is getting too long ;)

    I own one bike that I didn't make and that is my BMX bike - but I doubt that is what you are referring to. I don't get a chance to ride that many other bikes these days if for no other reason because of my tallness. I'm 6'4" and not to many people ride my size and shops don't stock too much on my size anymore. I do stop by area shops occasionally and take out bikes of interest to me. I wish I had more chance to ride bikes in my size.

    During my time at Serotta I got to ride a good number of other brands for testing purposes. We would buy them, I would ride and road test them, put them on the testing rig and break them and then cut them up. One learns a bunch doing this and I hope to be able to do that again soon.

    There - that was shortish.

    dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  8. #88
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Dave,

    Here's a wishy-washy one.....any plans to promote The Gothic as a "signature" frame such as the JK Special, or do you plan to just keep building them every-so-often often as requested? They look pretty cool, and I dug your old blue one.

    Noah
     

  9. #89
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by big shanty View Post
    Dave,

    Here's a wishy-washy one.....any plans to promote The Gothic as a "signature" frame such as the JK Special, or do you plan to just keep building them every-so-often often as requested? They look pretty cool, and I dug your old blue one.

    Noah
    Yo Noah,

    I don't see a big market for the gothic if for no other reason that they only allow for 'undersize' old school tube sizes (1" top tube) and that is not the best choice for everyone. I think about having some new OS versions cast for me but that is down the road some after the other projects are up and running.

    Are they the kind of thing you'd like in an OS version?

    Dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  10. #90
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Dave,

    Not a question but a statement: this is, by far, the most interesting thread I've read on any forum, anywhere, anytime. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us.
     

  11. #91
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Kirk View Post
    Yo Noah,

    I don't see a big market for the gothic if for no other reason that they only allow for 'undersize' old school tube sizes (1" top tube) and that is not the best choice for everyone. I think about having some new OS versions cast for me but that is down the road some after the other projects are up and running.

    Is ti the kind of thing you'd like in an OS version?

    Dave
    It's hard to know whether or not the look would work with OS tubes. However, I am happy to ride and evaluate the aesthetic merit of a prototype!
     

  12. #92
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by ghsmith54 View Post
    Dave,

    Not a question but a statement: this is, by far, the most interesting thread I've read on any forum, anywhere, anytime. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us.
    Thank you - it has been and is still my pleasure.

    dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  13. #93
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Thanks for your craftsmanship and insights, Dave. Your work continues to be inspiring and your website kicks some chamois-ass!
     

  14. #94
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by suhacycles View Post
    Thanks for your craftsmanship and insights, Dave. Your work continues to be inspiring and your website kicks some chamois-ass!
    Thanks I think. I just googled 'chamois-ass' and came up with stuff that was not safe for children so who knows!?

    Dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  15. #95
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Kirk View Post
    I won one bike that I didn't make and that is my BMX bike - but I doubt that is what you are referring to. I don't get a chance to ride that many other bikes these days if for no other reason because of my tallness. I'm 6'4" and not to many people ride my size and shops don't stock too much on my size anymore. I do stop by area shops occasionally and take out bikes of interest to me. I wish I had more chance to ride bikes in my size.

    During my time at Serotta I got to ride a good number of other brands for testing purposes. We would buy them, I would ride and road test them, put them on the testing rig and break them and then cut them up. One learns a bunch doing this and I hope to be able to do that again soon.

    There - that was shortish.

    dave
    As I'm sure everyone here is thinking, absolutely amazing answers. Thank you for sharing. I've had the pleasure of working with several world champions in the sport of squash, and your process-oriented approach to life reminds me of them. It's not an accident why some people succeed. IMO it's a combination of attitude and experience, with an emphasis on the attitude part.

    Question:

    Do you think "the ride" of a good road bike has changed at all over the 20+ years you've been involved in this? You have such a wealth of experience over the years, and this response above just makes me think that you'd be in an interesting position to comment on good road riding bikes. IN other words, does a 2010 Kirk (non-terraplane) ride differently than the best Serotta coming off the shelf in the mid-90s?
     

  16. #96
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by goldyjackson View Post
    As I'm sure everyone here is thinking, absolutely amazing answers. Thank you for sharing. I've had the pleasure of working with several world champions in the sport of squash, and your process-oriented approach to life reminds me of them. It's not an accident why some people succeed. IMO it's a combination of attitude and experience, with an emphasis on the attitude part.

    Question:

    Do you think "the ride" of a good road bike has changed at all over the 20+ years you've been involved in this? You have such a wealth of experience over the years, and this response above just makes me think that you'd be in an interesting position to comment on good road riding bikes. IN other words, does a 2010 Kirk (non-terraplane) ride differently than the best Serotta coming off the shelf in the mid-90s?
    Hello,

    Thanks for the kind words and the question.

    Yes I do think the "ride" of bikes has changed some over the years and I can think of two reasons why. I think in some cases its gotten better and in many cases it's gotten much worse.

    If we are talking steel bikes I think that one of the large changes in ride has come from the material itself. Back in the mid 90's most steel bikes were made from things like SLX or SPX which is not heat treated so the tube walls needed to be fairly thick to be strong enough. This thickness resulted in a bike that was less lively and had less feedback than bikes of today made from heat treated tubes that are much thinner. Now, with such strong materials, we can use less of them and still have a bike that is more than strong enough while at the same time being lighter. Remember that steel weighs the same regardless of the alloy and that any weight savings comes from the steel being so strong that the tube can be made thinner. This lighter and thinner tube results is a ride that has a bit more life, feedback, ring, snap....etc. to it. Some older steel bikes felt like they were made of oak and a good newer one doesn't feel that way - it has a ring to it that I love.

    I suspect my second reason will not make me many friends but at the same time will get some quiet nods of approval. Cycling as a sport has grown in a big way over the past 20 years and it's now cool to ride. Back then real men played golf and now they ride. This is for the most part good and has put bread on lots of tables, including my own. This growth has meant that there are a lot of new folks in cycling that came into the sport very quickly and they have not progressed slowly into the sport, learning over time, like many did back in the day. There are two things this affects IMO............. First is that they don't have enough experience and wisdom from spending years in the saddle to be able to dismiss advertisers claims that bikes should be as stiff as they can possibly be and that stiffer is always better. This means that 'stiff' has become the new 'good' in the eyes of much of the buying public and companies don't want to fight for sales when there are easy ones at knocking at the door so they make sill stiff bikes for the newby to ride. Everyone is happy - the rider got the stiffest plank that money can buy and the bike company has taken his money. A win-win situation by some accounts..................... Secondly, and this is a bit ironic, because the new cyclist is often very fit (lots of ex-runners and soccer players) they can push on the pedals very hard but they have not developed the skill to properly and smoothly spin the pedals. This lack of skill is exasperated by their high level of fitness so you have a guy who ironically needs a super stiff bike because he's not skilled enough to pedal properly and the bike goes all over the place. So the new but strong rider often needs the uber stiff ride so they aren't weaving down the road under power. In days gone by riders came up through their clubs and the wise old sages would teach them how to properly pedal so that the new guy would develop the skills needed to put the power down with finesse. This allowed the use of bikes that had a sweeter ride and ones whose flex the rider could use and exploit to his advantage and at the same time ride/race all day. I think if riders learned how to properly pedal, ride and use the bike instead of trying to break the pedals of it that in time the virtue of an appropriately stiff bike would be seen again and the bikes with 3" down tubes would go away.

    I feel like I might have taken a slight tangent there but I think that a small shop can and will build a bike with the best of yesterday combined with the best of today. A good bike is better now than it's ever been. And at the same time there is a lot of really stiff crap out there being bounced around on club rides by guys with sore necks, hands, butts and knees who think that they just need a handlebar with more damping.

    I'm stepping off the soapbox new.

    Thanks for the question - I hope I came close to answering it.

    Dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  17. #97
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    sorry - for some reason a weird double post.

    Go back to work now.


    dave
    Last edited by Dave Kirk; 06-07-2010 at 07:15 PM. Reason: double post
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


  18. #98
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Kirk View Post
    Hello,

    I suspect my second reason will not make me many friends but at the same time will get some quiet nods of approval. Cycling as a sport has grown in a big way over the past 20 years and it's now cool to ride. Back then real men played golf and now they ride. This is for the most part good and has put bread on lots of tables, including my own. This growth has meant that there are a lot of new folks in cycling that came into the sport very quickly and they have not progressed slowly into the sport, learning over time, like many did back in the day. There are two things this affects IMO............. First is that they don't have enough experience and wisdom from spending years in the saddle to be able to dismiss advertisers claims that bikes should be as stiff as they can possibly be and that stiffer is always better. This means that 'stiff' has become the new 'good' in the eyes of much of the buying public and companies don't want to fight for sales when there are easy ones at knocking at the door so they make sill stiff bikes for the newby to ride. Everyone is happy - the rider got the stiffest plank that money can buy and the bike company has taken his money. A win-win situation by some accounts..................... Secondly, and this is a bit ironic, because the new cyclist is often very fit (lots of ex-runners and soccer players) they can push on the pedals very hard but they have not developed the skill to properly and smoothly spin the pedals. This lack of skill is exasperated by their high level of fitness so you have a guy who ironically needs a super stiff bike because he's not skilled enough to pedal properly and the bike goes all over the place. So the new but strong rider often needs the uber stiff ride so they aren't weaving down the road under power. In days gone by riders came up through their clubs and the wise old sages would teach them how to properly pedal so that the new guy would develop the skills needed to put the power down with finesse. This allowed the use of bikes that had a sweeter ride and ones whose flex the rider could use and exploit to his advantage and at the same time ride/race all day. I think if riders learned how to properly pedal, ride and use the bike instead of trying to break the pedals of it that in time the virtue of an appropriately stiff bike would be seen again and the bikes with 3" down tubes would go away.


    Dave
    And I was blaming it all on Cannondale :)
    Carl Strong
    Strong Frames Inc.
    www.strongframes.com

  19. #99
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Dang Dave, you took the thoughts right out of my head and articulated them better than I could hope to. I'm gonna have to share that, if you don't mind.
    Eric Doswell, aka Edoz
    Summoner of Crickets
    http://edozbicycles.wordpress.com/
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    In Before the Lock

  20. #100
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by edoz View Post
    Dang Dave, you took the thoughts right out of my head and articulated them better than I could hope to. I'm gonna have to share that, if you don't mind.
    OK.... share it all you like. If those you share it with think it's the smartest and most witty thing they've ever read please give me credit. If they think it's stupid you can go ahead and say you thought of it all yourself :)

    dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


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