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Thread: Kirk Frameworks

  1. #121
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Kirk View Post
    Maybe the word 'compromise', with all it's negative connotations, could be replaced by 'optimization'. Same thing, sounds better.

    Dave
    I agree, 'optimized' is nice, because its context specific. I've used the word many times when describing particular bikes to people a the bike shop I'm tied to: "This bike is optimized for...." Implicit is the recognition that the bike is not supposed to be awesome at everything (i.e., there are compromises), but quite at home in 'ZYX' context. The other thing the term affords us is the use of a favourite of mine: 'sub-optimal.' The Peugeot I mentioned earlier is sub-optimal for everything but absolute poodling.
     

  2. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by edoz View Post
    Yes, and thanks for the detail. I remember Carl S saying somewhere that he felt .040" was unacceptable, and I figured most here would have similar standards but wondered where they stood in relation to the big companies.
    I agree with Carl that .040" is too much. It's a sliding scale for sure and you have to go pretty far to the bad side to get egregious things to happen. Just think about how bad department store bikes are and how they work fine for their intended purpose - I wouldn't want to bomb down a 50 mph hill on one but you get the idea. IMO much of what we call 'alignment' is really just a demonstration of attention to detail - or not.

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


  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by msurch View Post
    I agree, 'optimized' is nice, because its context specific. I've used the word many times when describing particular bikes to people a the bike shop I'm tied to: "This bike is optimized for...." Implicit is the recognition that the bike is not supposed to be awesome at everything (i.e., there are compromises), but quite at home in 'ZYX' context. The other thing the term affords us is the use of a favourite of mine: 'sub-optimal.' The Peugeot I mentioned earlier is sub-optimal for everything but absolute poodling.
    OK. It's official. We will now stop using the word 'compromise' and use in it's stead 'optimize'. So it is written, so it shall be done!

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


  4. #124
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    Thanks for sharing DK--best thread ever. A quick comment then on to the questions. imho this is about as close to perfection in a lug as I've ever seen. Sexy and understated without overdoing it--well done.

    On to the important stuff--cars : ) Why'd you sell the Cortina (as I recall you invested quite a bit of time and money into a restoration didn't you)? How does the Elise compare to the Birkin (performance, comfort (did the Birkin leak in the rain?), racing, etc)? What mods have you done on the Elise and what's coming down the pipeline?
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  5. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by musgravecycles View Post
    Thanks for sharing DK--best thread ever. A quick comment then on to the questions. imho this is about as close to perfection in a lug as I've ever seen. Sexy and understated without overdoing it--well done.

    On to the important stuff--cars : ) Why'd you sell the Cortina (as I recall you invested quite a bit of time and money into a restoration didn't you)? How does the Elise compare to the Birkin (performance, comfort (did the Birkin leak in the rain?), racing, etc)? What mods have you done on the Elise and what's coming down the pipeline?

    Hey J,

    Nice to hear from you and thanks for the comments. I like understated and simple - simple is good - it's hard to do well but it's good.

    Car stuff - forgive us if you are not a fan but I love lightweight sports cars and can talk about them nearly as long as I can talk about bike stuff.

    My first Lotus was the 1966 Lotus Cortina. I bought it in pretty rough shape and did a restoration on it and it was wonderful. I loved that car and it would put many cars 40 years newer to shame on a twisty road. During my time with the LoCort I got into autocross and became hooked on it. We have a very active local club and a lot of events and I found I was at every single one of them. At some point I realized that the LoCort was too rare to go sliding around in and looking for trouble so I took it out of autocross duty. But I can only afford to own, and have room to store, one 'toy' car so I sold it and bought the 1999 Birkin S3. The Birkin was of course a Lotus Super Seven clone and it was mind warpingly quick. Put slicks on it and it would run to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds and corner at over 1.2 G. Nothing could stay with in on a twisty road or autocross course. I'm proud to say I won two state championships in that car and at one of them I was the FTD (Fast Time of Day regardless of class). Not bad for a car I raced in the modified class and drove to events and home again after the event.

    After 4 years of racing the Birkin I began to grow tired of the exposure of the Birkin. No doors, windows, heat, AC, etc. in Montana can get a bit old. It had a cloth top and side curtains but they were far from waterproof and if it was raining you got very wet, if it was cold you got very cold, if it was...... you get the idea. The Birkin was as fast and pure a sports can as can be made and after a while I craved not being freezing cold in the mornings on the way to events and just running on the tires I drove to the event on. The Birkin had slicks I carried with me and changed at the event and then changed again for the drive home. Very fast but a PITA for sure.

    I'd always wanted an Elise as to me they are 1/2 way between a Birkin-Seven type car and a 'real' car. Late last year I realized that the prices of Birkins had gone up and Elises had come way down and I was able to get the Elise (a 2005 Sport) for just a few bucks more than I sold the Birkin for. Now I have heat and windows and all that stuff 'real' cars have.

    The Birkin was faster than the Elise for sure. It weighed about 1250 lbs and put out about 170 hp while the Elise is 1900 lbs and 190 hp. You don't need to be great with math to see how much quicker and harder the Birkin would pull. But the Elise suspension is much better and allows the car to corner and transition better than the Birkin so one can carry more speed in many places and really let it run. The Elise is much, much more comfortable. It's like driving a Caddy compared to the Birkin when it comes to comfort and quiet. Now anyone that has ever been in an Elise will think the caddy analogy is crazy - until you sit in a Seven at 80 mph.

    I've been tweaking the Elise so far this season and after 3 events it's getting good and headed in the right direction. It's mostly wheels and sticky rubber so far but some suspension work and alignment - I like doing my own. I had the ECU reprogramed for a bit more power and to change the RPM when the cam changeover happens but so far not much in the way of power mods. I feel strongly that one needs to get suspension and brakes where they need to be before power would be a real benefit. Next year, if we have a good season, I may had a blower to the Elise to bump the power up a good bit but who knows. It's plenty fun as it is.

    I have my first big event of the season a week from today and I'm pretty excited.

    Thanks for asking. Like I said I can go on for a long time about this stuff.

    dave
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    Kirk Frameworks Co.
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Back to bikes? Are there any performance or ride quality or weight or geometry differences between fillet-brazed and lugged frames? You braze lugs with silver, but the fillets seem to be brass... any reason? --Just curious.
     

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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by TwoCyclists View Post
    Back to bikes? Are there any performance or ride quality or weight or geometry differences between fillet-brazed and lugged frames? You braze lugs with silver, but the fillets seem to be brass... any reason? --Just curious.
    First post - very cool. Welcome.

    There is no ride difference between lugged and fillet brazed. There may be a very small weight difference between the two depending on the size of the fillets and the lugs being used. Suffice it to say that any weight difference is VERY small and not worth worrying about.

    I do use silver for lugs and brass for fillets. I use silver with lugs because it's faster and cleaner and easier to clean up after the fact. One can use brass for lugs and it works fine but it's a bit more labor intensive. I use brass for fillets because it's the only practical choice. One can't use silver (or at least the same 56% silver that I use on lugs) to make fillets because the qualities of silver don't work well for it. When you melt silver it runs like water and a silver fillet would just end up on your shoes. It can be done but is very difficult and has no advantage.

    I hope that helps.

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


  8. #128
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Hey Dave,

    I would just like to say thanks to you, and all the others that have been Smoked Out so far, for the fantastic dialogue. Whether or not I ever build a frame myself, just knowing that you guys are out there willing to share from your experiences makes the thought of it possible.
    If you had been given this type of opportunity to communicate with Colin Chapman what's the first question you would have asked him?

    Jayme
     

  9. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayme View Post
    Hey Dave,

    I would just like to say thanks to you, and all the others that have been Smoked Out so far, for the fantastic dialogue. Whether or not I ever build a frame myself, just knowing that you guys are out there willing to share from your experiences makes the thought of it possible.
    If you had been given this type of opportunity to communicate with Colin Chapman what's the first question you would have asked him?

    Jayme

    Hey Jayme,

    Thanks for the note and welcome to the salon. I see it's your first post - very cool.

    Your question is a good one and it would be very difficult for me to think of one first question I would ask of Chapman. How does one limit it to one and what would the first one be? That is indeed tough.

    The first thing that comes to mind - the Lotus 79 was a ground breaking F1 car that was the first to effectively use underbody airflow to generate huge amounts of downforce. The 79 looked much like the Lotus 78 that preceded it and many other F1 cars for that matter but the sculpting of the underside of the body allowed for so much downforce that drivers like Andretti were able to just drive away from their contemporaries. The design was truly ground braking and inspired and yet practical and typical Chapman in that it made the body of the car perform more than one function - it turned the body itself into a wing. With that back ground - Mr. Chapman, what did it feel like the first time you saw the 79 run hard and saw the lap times? I can only imagine the satisfaction you must have felt. And then what did it feel like to see that nearly every other builder copied the 79 for the next season? I imagine it might be hard to stomach the fact that all the hard work and testing only bought one season before everyone else just stole your work. On the shoulders of giants I guess.


    If I got more than one question I would ask about the design on the Lotus Seven and did he ever expect that car would still be made 40 years later ? - or what do you think of the current direction your company has taken with the Elise and Evora? What did it feel like to have Lotus effectively banned from the 24 Hours of Le Mans by the French to keep you from winning too many years in a row? So many questions for a dead guy who can't answer.


    Of all the smoked out questions this has been the hardest one for me to answer FWIW.


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


  10. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Kirk View Post
    Of all the smoked out questions this has been the hardest one for me to answer FWIW.
    Thanks Dave,

    I knew it would take some serious thought. I'm not far enough along in my education to ask "legit" questions about framebuilding yet so I thought I'd take a different approach. Once I feel I've got a good base of knowledge though I'll be back for some specifics.

    Jayme
     

  11. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayme View Post
    Thanks Dave,

    I knew it would take some serious thought. I'm not far enough along in my education to ask "legit" questions about framebuilding yet so I thought I'd take a different approach. Once I feel I've got a good base of knowledge though I'll be back for some specifics.

    Jayme

    Well when the time comes to ask framebuilding questions the Vsalon is the place to ask them. Until then I'll be thinking of more questions to ask Chapman.

    Thanks again,

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


  12. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Kirk View Post
    Hey J,


    Car stuff - forgive us if you are not a fan but I love lightweight sports cars and can talk about them nearly as long as I can talk about bike stuff.

    Thanks for asking. Like I said I can go on for a long time about this stuff.

    dave
    Hey, we like hot cars too!! And motorcyles, and etc.
     

  13. #133
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    Dave,

    I often encounter people who are very good at something but often can't or won't articulate how and why. Thank you for being not only incredibly knowledgeable, but also so articulate and open with that knowledge. This thread is one of the best things I've ever read, anywhere. So many lessons that translate.

    You spoke at length earlier about process efficiency and its impact on cash flow when you were working at Serotta. Fascinating stuff. I was just down in the basement looking at the Saratoga-built Yo Eddy! that I need to get put back together. Which got me thinking - what was the level of integration at the production level while Fat City and Serotta were under the same roof?

    Understand that I'm not asking you to air any dirty laundry, and if this is problematic to answer, please don't. It just seems like the arrangement would have caused an additional layer of production complexity that you had not raised in your discussions with Gary.
     

  14. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proparc View Post
    Hey, we like hot cars too!! And motorcyles, and etc.
    I agree. For the most part people that appreciate handbuilt, top shelf bikes, also appreciate other mechanical things such as motorbikes and cars. Not all but certainly many. I just know that my interest probably outweighs that of many of the readers and I need to be sure I remember that this is a bike forum and not a sports car forum.

    I also participate on a Lotus cars forum and talked about bikes there once and all I heard was crickets. Point taken.

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


  15. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by nahtnoj View Post
    Dave,

    I often encounter people who are very good at something but often can't or won't articulate how and why. Thank you for being not only incredibly knowledgeable, but also so articulate and open with that knowledge. This thread is one of the best things I've ever read, anywhere. So many lessons that translate.

    You spoke at length earlier about process efficiency and its impact on cash flow when you were working at Serotta. Fascinating stuff. I was just down in the basement looking at the Saratoga-built Yo Eddy! that I need to get put back together. Which got me thinking - what was the level of integration at the production level while Fat City and Serotta were under the same roof?

    Understand that I'm not asking you to air any dirty laundry, and if this is problematic to answer, please don't. It just seems like the arrangement would have caused an additional layer of production complexity that you had not raised in your discussions with Gary.


    Thank you for the note and for the kind words.

    The Serotta/Fat City thing was interesting to say the least. When the owner of Serotta bought Fat City and moved the brand to Saratoga the only people to make the move where Chris and Wendell. They were there IMO to bring continuity to the brand and to market Fat. All the Fat crew stayed on Mass. and started their own thing - which has been well chronicled over the years.

    Chris and Wendell moved into the building and tried their best to keep the brand rolling despite the public image that the 'huge' company Serotta had swallowed them up and ruined the brand. This was of course wrong and Serotta bought nothing. It was the owner of Serotta that bought Fat and shoved us all in together and frankly no one was thrilled about it. It was such a distraction to try to integrate brands and production together. One of the main issues was that Chris, an genuinely nice man, didn't really know as much about how his bikes were made as he needed to and more importantly he didn't know what it was that made a "Fat a Fat' so was deathly afraid to make any changes to the product to help integrate the product into Serotta's scheme. He was afraid any changes would be noticed by Fat customers and they would stay away in droves. There was one thing that sticks out in my mind - the down tube on a Fat was offset to the bottom/front of the BB shell by .060" (1.5 mm) because Chris thought it made the BB stiffer. It of course did not and was almost impossible to even see even with the two different bikes side by side. This was a big deal for Serotta as all their tooling was set up to hook things together on-center and to offset one miter was a royal PITA and a time pit. We went over this for days in meetings and Chris would not budge. He was very protective of the smallest things like this and he didn't even really know why - he just feared change. In time most of the small things that didn't fit into the Serotta way were changed and it didn't change the bikes one lick but just made them easier to build. They were very nice bikes and they were built side by side with Serottas by Serotta guys. There were some Fat products that were frankly ill conceived and Serotta refused to spend time working on them. Chris spearheaded them and struggled nearly alone to get things like the "Shock-a-billy" in customers hands but it was a waste of time IMO. The bike was not worth building and we lost money on each one that somehow survived production.

    So for the most part the Fats moved through Serotta jigs and fixtures and production just fine once some very small changes were made. Fat sales never recovered from the move and the loss of identity with Mass. and the Fat crew. Chris never really understood that it wasn't the hunk-o-metal that customers were buying but it was the group of guys working with that metal - and that group was now IF and they were able to satisfy the demand. It was sad but it was a done deal. He had made some very bad biz decisions in years prior and paid dearly for them and the brand died. In the end Ben bought the Serotta brand back from the owner and got Fat with it and he effectively gave it to Chris and Wendell for $1. But it was too late and the brand was dead.

    One thing I really learned from this was it was important for the builder/company to know what makes their brand, their brand. Without knowing why a Fat was a Fat it was impossible to protect the important stuff and let the other stuff go. Too bad - years of hard work down the drain.

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


  16. #136
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    +7682675822 on best thread ever.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by srenda View Post
    +7682675822 on best thread ever.
    Is that your phone number?

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


  18. #138
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Dave, A question on bike geometry, from my limited understanding, the geometry is predicated on saddle height, set back and handlebar reach and body dimensions. Being that you worked for Serotta, known for bike fit and design. Do you reference a big book of bike of geometry or is more of math equation that needs to be worked out based on contacts points? It seems like a mystery to me.
    thanks for your time-Drew
     

  19. #139
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Dave,

    Some questions I don't think have been asked:

    Looking at the framebuilders' collective website, the public can see the vision. Are there strategies, goals and tactics which inform this vision? For example, it appears to my very novice eye that Smoked Out is one such way the Collective is working to achieve its vision. If we are truly seeing the golden era of handbuilt bicycle frames, how will all of this knowledge, business acument and technical skills be codified? As leaders in your respective field, does the Collective have a duty to make sure the torch is passed, much in the same way, competent leaders in business, gov't and academia create a pipeline of talent to keep their organizations humming along? I state that knowing the Collective is comprised of one man shops, and that doing so could eventually eat into your margins and new business. I realize you are but one voice there, but if you could offer perspective it would be appreciated.

    Also, I have ridden on the track 2x in my life and absolutely love it. However, there really are few tracks here in the U.S., none where I live (Wash, DC). From what I can tell these aren't huge moneymakers for the ones that do exist. There have been lot of grassroots efforts to build tracks across towns in the USA, with varying levels of success. Considering huge interest in sport in the first quarter of the 20th century, can track cycling ever make a comeback? DO you think social media, crowdsourcing, etc. provides a new mechanism by which to raise $ for such a grassroots effort? I would love to be part of something like this in Wash, DC, although not sure it exists.

    Lastly, have you ever been approached to sponsor a professional road cycling (domestic or int'l) team for a portion of a season or the entire season? Would that be realistic for a one man shop or just too much craziness? It seems that would go a long way into rightsizing the carbon / alu / steel ratio in race bikes, should one have that top level goal.

    Thanks again for your time.

    Scott
    Last edited by srenda; 06-16-2010 at 10:23 AM. Reason: grammar
     

  20. #140
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    Default Re: Kirk Frameworks

    Quote Originally Posted by drewmanchew View Post
    Dave, A question on bike geometry, from my limited understanding, the geometry is predicated on saddle height, set back and handlebar reach and body dimensions. Being that you worked for Serotta, known for bike fit and design. Do you reference a big book of bike of geometry or is more of math equation that needs to be worked out based on contacts points? It seems like a mystery to me.
    thanks for your time-Drew
    Good Morning and good question,

    The concept itself is pretty simple really. Once the contact points are established relative to one another it's a matter of placing the wheels in the right place under the rider to get the best handling. Once the wheel location is set it's a matter of connecting the dots if you will.

    This is of course a bit of an oversimplification but you get the idea. The tricky parts are getting the wheels in the right spot and then figuring out the best way to connect those dots. There are different paths that can be taken to get the job done - especially with the front wheel. One can use any number of head angles, fork rakes and top tube/stem combos and have the front wheel end up in the same front place - but those different numbers will give different rides so they need to be chosen to give the desired ride. There are other things that come out of the mix like trail and there are a few things, like BB drop and chainstay length, that also factor in to the design that contribute to the overall behavior/handling/feel of the bike.

    There is no big book-o-geometry that I know of to consult but I guess I do have one of sorts in my head. I know from experience certain things work better than others and in many cases the numbers are picked more by instinct than conscious choice. As new agy as it might sound the bike seems to design itself.

    I hope that lessens the mystery at least a bit.

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


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