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Thread: Zanconato Custom Cycles

  1. #121
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Just a quick note. The misses and I are away for a bit of relaxation time. I'll be catching this up on Friday. Just didn't want you guys to think I was ignoring you.
    Mike Zanconato
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  2. #122
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Zank,

    Drink some wine. ...just a suggestion.
    GO!

  3. #123
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    For breakfast? Check.
    Mike Zanconato
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  4. #124
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    david & ronnie buyin the wine....
    watch out my friend and connoisseur --- "the warmth generated by the vine..."

    ronnie
     

  5. #125
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by jscott View Post
    Your latest FNL pics show some pins. Is that a part of your usual build process?

    Also, your style evokes the golden age of lugged racing bikes. The appeal of that kind of construction doesn't need explanation to those of us who came of age in cycling before the mid-90s or so. However, the damn kids these days may not get it (or maybe they do, I'm just not one of the damn kids anymore). I get the sense your business is growing, but do you foresee a need to evolve your style or adopt different construction methods to appeal to buyers who didn't grow up with the same influences?

    Also also: you love cross, you race cross, you sponsor cross racers. Do you think that's helping build your business, or do you do it solely for love of the sport?
    Hi James,
    Typically yes. My process has been evolving to include fewer tacks and fewer reheating periods. This is all just my preference. In case something goes awry in the fit-up process, I find it easier to make adjustments if the pieces are just pinned and not tacked. Things still move once heat is applied. But as I fine-tune the process with each and every frame, the "moving" part has become more and more predictable and more and more minuscule. This has all been aided by the addition of a few nice tools, including the big granite surface plate and digital height gauge. I can't get too far from my data-lovin', number-crunchin' engineering background I guess. The goal for the evolution of a process, just like a tool, is high precision and high accuracy.

    I like your next question because it's a different twist on why I might add new materials in the future. I'm still sticking to my guns and saying that I will add materials when two conditions are satisfied.
    1) I become proficient in the fabrication method.
    2) I think another choice will provide a benefit or solution to a customer.

    Good sound strategy on the surface if you ask me, however, cyclists are a passionate bunch. We want to look, feel, and play the part of our heroes. Logic and full-blown research aren't always the driving factors in some purchase. Would I want to miss out on someone's passionate purchase. Heck no. Do I want to undermine my values? Heck no. But we're just talking about bikes here, it's not about trying to solve world hunger. Here's the nice thing. Materials and methods have evolved to a point where there are very few bad choices. It's like components these days. It's hard to go wrong with whatever you pick. It all works amazingly well. If it means a greater chance for my business to remain viable say 15 years from now, you bet.

    Regarding cyclocross, yes, it has absolutely helped the business grow. Like e-RICHIE has always said, people will connect with you based on your passions. My love of the sport came before the business began. I couldn't be happier that the business has grown along side my passion. Being involved has helped get the name out, but I try to give back too. I try to help events by volunteering and sponsoring. If there aren't events, we won't be able to race. So that is where I want to focus my efforts for the next few years. I may try to expand my support of some riders in the future. We'll see.

    Thoughts? Ideas?
    Mike Zanconato
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  6. #126
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    its raining now and you could be building steveps frame.
    darren

    the poor guy only has 4 bikes... and a new kit in a box sitting by itself...
    waiting....
     

  7. #127
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Rico View Post
    Has Colnago geometry (slack head head angle) influenced your geometries? Do you have a philosophy to your geometries?
    For example I've heard e-Richie state many times his philosphy of long and low.
    Finally thanks for all your reponses. It is truly a treat to peek inside your business and craftmanship.
    Not necessarily Colnago in particular, but the influence on the road side is certainly tried and true European road racing specs. Nothing off-the-wall. Just designs that work. But regarding "long and low", that to me is more about position and contact points than geometry and handling characteristics. Was there an area of design you were most curious about?
    Mike Zanconato
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  8. #128
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Britishbane View Post
    Couple of questions, mostly building off of questions that have already been asked.

    First, I like a routine and find I am more productive when I have things that I do at the same time, in the same sequence from day to day. So, do you have a set daily schedule? For example do you like to take the first few hours of the morning and devote them to frame building (or maybe you can get more specific, for instance maybe you like filing or mitering), while tackling more administrative tasks in the afternoon- something like that?

    Second, in an earlier post you said you had used the resources available to small businesses when you started your business. I'm curious as to the genesis of your business. Did you start with any sort of business back ground or is business acumen something you developed as you went along? Have you taken business classes? Or did your frame building business sort of grew more organically, kind of grew however it grew (I think you said there was no business plan)? Do you see yourself in the future hiring someone to run the administrative aspect of the business, a'la Carl Strong and his wife, or is it something you enjoy controlling?

    Just thought of a third question... riding? What kinds of rides do you end up on most often? During the course of a regular week how much do you get out and about on two wheels? I know you race cross, but have you ever done road racing? And if so how influential is that in your road bike design? Or do you rely more on rider feedback regarding design?
    The routine has been evolving. I get up with the misses at 5:30 most days. Since I do most of my computer stuff on my PC at home, I tend to do that in the morning with my coffee. I'm now trying to be at the shop by 7:00. Since I'm still getting used to the new space and some new tools, I haven't gotten my weekly or monthly routine dialed yet. I can see it happening over the next few months though. The planner in me would love to see the day that things were dialed to the point that I knew exactly what I should be doing a week from Thursday, but each frame is a little different and each will present its unique challenges. Let's revisit this in June and see where I'm at...

    My business training started when I started with GE Plastics. I was hired into their Technical Sales Leadership Program. It was a two-year program broken into 6-12 month blocks. We were exposed to many facets of the business. Following that, I kind of fast-tracked through different engineering, sales, and marketing roles. All along the way, I was basically put through the GE sink-or-swim business training wringer. We did a ton of sales, marketing, and business training. The frame business grew alongside this, but almost in spite of my efforts. I was pretty focused on the day job. I am now relying on my previous training for sure. I certainly see the value in hiring somebody to help with the strategy and tactics of running the business though. It's a monster task.

    The riding has been slim over the past 5-6 months due tot he amount of time it's taken to get things up and running in the new place, but it's starting to get back to normal. I have lots of rebuilding to do. I love criteriums and circuit races. My ideal season would be to race the mountain bike in the spring and early summer, switch to crits in July and August and then do a full season of cross. The big goal for this year is to get some fitness back over the rest of the spring and summer, have a good cross season, and then do a great winter of training for 2011. Basically, I like racing. It doesn't matter a whole lot what kind, except that I suck at road racing because I just don't have the endurance and power-to-weight that you need. I hate being pack fodder. If I can't mix it up, I don't want to be there. I'd rather be out riding with my wife and my buds.
    Mike Zanconato
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  9. #129
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by ron l edmiston View Post
    david & ronnie buyin the wine....
    watch out my friend and connoisseur --- "the warmth generated by the vine..."

    ronnie

    The vine and the torch are similar in that regard, I suppose.
    Mike Zanconato
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  10. #130
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Mike,

    what's a tool that you use that you wouldn't want to be without? Not one you couldn't do without necessarily, just that you wouldn't, and why?
     

  11. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by zank View Post

    Thoughts? Ideas?
    How long until Gloucester Grand Prix of Cyclocross, presented by Zanconato Custom Cycles?

    The fact that you're a GWRTSTS (in the original sense, not Patrick's bowdlerized version) matters to me. You're just as big a bike nerd as me, just a bit better with the torch

    I'm no marketing genius, and despite my comment above, I think supporting a regional or national team at the elite level is probably the best way to go. Race on Sunday, sell on Monday is no less true for being cliche.

    Also: product photography matters. I really like your construction blog entries, because they showcase your passion, skill and attention to detail. But don't forget the finished product. Those sexy, well-lit closeups of lugs and dropouts and brand-new drivetrains draw people in (at least they work on me). Hire a pro and bring him/her back periodically.
     

  12. #132
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    Mike,

    what's a tool that you use that you wouldn't want to be without? Not one you couldn't do without necessarily, just that you wouldn't, and why?
    I really like my Meco Midget torch and the superlight hose. I wouldn't want to go back to a cutting/brazing torch. It's small and maneuvers easily. The hose is super flexible. The whole system makes torch work a little less cumbersome.
    Mike Zanconato
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  13. #133
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by jscott View Post
    How long until Gloucester Grand Prix of Cyclocross, presented by Zanconato Custom Cycles?

    The fact that you're a GWRTSTS (in the original sense, not Patrick's bowdlerized version) matters to me. You're just as big a bike nerd as me, just a bit better with the torch

    I'm no marketing genius, and despite my comment above, I think supporting a regional or national team at the elite level is probably the best way to go. Race on Sunday, sell on Monday is no less true for being cliche.

    Also: product photography matters. I really like your construction blog entries, because they showcase your passion, skill and attention to detail. But don't forget the finished product. Those sexy, well-lit closeups of lugs and dropouts and brand-new drivetrains draw people in (at least they work on me). Hire a pro and bring him/her back periodically.
    I'm with you 100% on the photos. As I mentioned earlier, I'm going back to my old blog (the first new post is up). Posting pictures to the new blog is very cumbersome. If it's easy, I'll do it. That one wasn't. I am also setting up a little studio section of the shop to get some nice photos of those Keith Anderson paint jobs. And when the funds can support it, I'll be visiting Jeff Weir for some PRO treatment.

    Regarding sponsorship, we'll see how things progress. I'd love nothing more than to sponsor some of the big races, maybe a series, or have a real elite team, but it's big money and time. No doubt there would be return, but it's the chicken and egg thing. We'll see how things play out.
    Mike Zanconato
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  14. #134
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    First of all, I've really enjoyed reading this dialog and appreciate you taking the time to answer the questions.

    What is your thinking on straight vs. curved forks? Based on the bikes I've seen posted, there appears to be an almost equal number of each on your bikes. This seems like a departure from your typical custom steel builder in that most tend to stick to one or the other.
     

  15. #135
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by VertigoCycles View Post
    So happy you wrote that.
    I second that.
    Portland, Oregon, USA
    www.pereiracycles.com
    www.breadwinnercycles.com
    503-333-5043

  16. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by pereiracycles View Post
    I second that.
    Hello? Ed from SRAM, are you out there? Please stick an XX master cylinder into a Rival lever. For us. Please?
    Mike Zanconato
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  17. #137
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith A View Post
    First of all, I've really enjoyed reading this dialog and appreciate you taking the time to answer the questions.

    What is your thinking on straight vs. curved forks? Based on the bikes I've seen posted, there appears to be an almost equal number of each on your bikes. This seems like a departure from your typical custom steel builder in that most tend to stick to one or the other.
    Hi Keith. Thank you for participating! Glad you are enjoying the thread.

    It really depends on the bike and the rider. In terms of "feel", I can't distinguish one from the other. I have two identical cross bikes except one fork is straight and the other is curved. The bike with the curved fork has other braze-ons and it serves as my pit bike and winter bike. I've one a bunch of back to back rides on both bikes off road and on road, with cross tires and road tires. I can't tell the difference at all in front end shock absorption. When you are rolling around on a cross tubular at 25 psi you're getting about an inch of suspension, so that mutes out most everything except for the bigger hits. On the road, I would ride over broken pavement (there's a lot of that around here!) and rail some corners. It felt the same on both bikes. Maybe I don't have the best senses, but I'm not sure I know any better way to test it. All that said, I do have preferences in terms of aesthetics. I think cross bikes look great with straight blade forks up to a certain size (60+) and then it leans back towards curved. Road bikes always look great with curved forks, but I like really straight forks too depending on the build. I don't have any hard and fast rules, but I will offer my advice. So, which do you like better?
    Mike Zanconato
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  18. #138
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by zank View Post
    So, which do you like better?
    Thanks for the reply. As for aesthetics, I would say that my tastes lean towards the straight bladed forks...but I'd be perfectly happy with either. I'm sure there have plenty of discussions/debates over the differences in handling between these two types of forks and to me it seems like the curved bladed forks would do a slightly better job of absorbing road vibrations...but who am I to say since I'm a software engineer and not a mechanical one.
     

  19. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith A View Post
    Thanks for the reply. As for aesthetics, I would say that my tastes lean towards the straight bladed forks...but I'd be perfectly happy with either. I'm sure there have plenty of discussions/debates over the differences in handling between these two types of forks and to me it seems like the curved bladed forks would do a slightly better job of absorbing road vibrations...but who am I to say since I'm a software engineer and not a mechanical one.
    It's one of those tough discussions and passions tend to overshadow empirical data. But how can one get real empirical data without crazy testing fixtures and pneumatic pistons? I dunno. I say go with what you like to look at. They feel about the same to me on the road and on the trail.
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  20. #140
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    Default Re: Zanconato Custom Cycles

    Just a quick note to let y'all know that I went back to my old blog. The new one was a pain to upload pictures to and that is the whole point of the blog, right? Now that I am in a good routine, I aim to update at least 3 times a week. Hey, thanks for looking!
    New old blog
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