August 3rd, 2018

 

Hey y’all just a quick midsummer check-in from the swampy World HQ of Kish.

I wanted to get some info on here regarding All Things Off-Road Related, with an emphasis on Gravel, And The Grinding Of It. The bike industry loves new standards, and splitting categories until they are a transparent sliver of a formerly-chunky category like ‘Mountain Bike’ or ‘Cyclocross Bike’. People like to carp about this being a thinly-veiled cash grab by Big Bicycle, and I get it, BUT sometimes these things work out for all of us.

A lot of custom builders have been building cyclocross bikes with relaxed, all-day geometries, or road bikes with long-reach brakes to fit fatter tires, or touring bikes with stouter wheels and MTB parts for decades. So, ‘gravel’, ‘road plus’, or ‘adventure’ bikes are nothing new – it’s just a different way of describing something we’ve been doing all along. What IS different, though, is these days we have a lot more parts options for these bikes. You no longer need to Frankenstein together an ‘Off-Road Road Bike’. Chances are the parts you have in mind already exist. Disc brake that plays well with racks and fenders? 40C cross tire, and how about a carbon fork to fit it? All this stuff exists now, and in most cases it’s available from different manufacturers at different price points. From where I’m sitting, that looks good. It’s much easier to build a bike appropriate for the type of riding my customer has in mind, and instead of spending weeks chasing parts that may or may exist, I can now order them free from any human interaction from the safety of my computer hovel. So, as usual, yeah, the jargon can get a bit tiresome, but at least there’s some concrete good coming out of it.

If you’re considering a new bike, whatever space it occupies in the road – road plus – touring – cross – gravel continuum, just drop a line or pick up the phone, we’ll be able to help with parts selection and geometry. You can call the bike whatever you want!

For reference, RVA Grinder!:

 

 

 

A similar thing has been going on with mountain bikes almost since their inception. Most of the confusion in this case seems to revolve around (!) wheel and tire dimensions. I won’t rehash the great wheel-diameter wars of the early-oughts, but I will say for our bikes, we use 27.5” wheels most of time, occasionally 29” if it’s appropriate. That leaves tire width as the random element, and this drives much of the decision making on parts spec, axle spacing and geometry (The same is true for gravel, etc bikes – the first question I ask is usually ‘what size tire you usin’?).

Our mountain bikes tend to occupy the racy/ cross country end of the spectrum more than the gnarly-dude/deathwish end, but we still employ all (or most, at least) of the currently available rear axle spacing standards. Here’s how I arrange them in my mind:

135mm quick release: nothing wrong with this structurally, but the support for quick-release hubs by wheel and fork companies is dwindling, it’s really easier to use one of the through-axle standards. We don’t really use this spacing anymore.

142mm through axle: this spacing is really the same as 135mm, but in a thru axle form. The axle is centered in a 3.5mm recess in the frame’s dropouts, hence the 7mm difference from the old standard. The rest of the drivetrain is spaced the same, too. This spacing works ok for tires up to maybe 2.25”. Personally, I like to be able to go a little bigger, so we don’t use this standard much for mountain bikes (it is, however, our standard for gravel bikes).

148mm ‘Boost’ through axle: this one really stuck in everyone’s craw when it first came out – why make a whole new standard that requires a new crank, wheels, etc just to gain a few millimeters of clearance? Looking at it that way, it is dumb as hell. But if you’re starting from scratch, why not take the extra clearance? 148mm spacing on our bikes works for tires up to 2.4”, it’s our default for cross country bikes.

157mm through axle: also called ‘super boost’ for obvious reasons. We use this for ‘mid-fat’ or ‘plus’ bikes that bridge the gap between cross country and fat bikes. It works well for bikes that use tires from 2.3” to 3.0”, aka the ‘sweet spot’, if you ask me. We use this one a lot (some pictures below of an example).

177mm through axle: the shorter of the fat bike axles. We only build fat bikes for tires up to 4.0”, so this is our preferred fat spacing

197mm through axle: good for fat bikes with tires up to 5.0”, but we don’t build those.

For reference: Mid-Fat Madness!:

 

 

 

 


 

 

One other thing to mention on another subject: we will be attending the US National Whitewater Center’s Outdoor Market in October. This is a weekend market/party/whatever in Charlotte, NC. dates are 10/19-21. The USNWC is an absolutely bonkers 1300 acre playground with tons of kayaking, rafting, climbing and 40+ miles of trails for mountain and gravel riding. There will be lots of live music, restaurants and it looks like beer is available every 5 feet or so.

It’s going to be lots of fun, we’re bringing a bunch of new bikes to look at, and we’ll have a sale on shirts and hoodies and there will be stuff to give away too. We don’t do much in the way of shows anymore, so this is your chance to schmooze with the gang. Come check it out if you can!

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June 20th, 2017

I think it’s been pretty firmly established that blog updating is not my thing. Let us move on.

Another constant is the flow of cool bikes through the shop – here’s a few…

Robb’s 650B mid fat (?) single speed shredder:

 

Bob’s Croatan hydro-electric swamp grinder:

Cathy’s daisied-out Di2 road rig:

 

And the third constant, we have new season-inappropriate Kishwear, this time it’s hoodies. We haven’t had them since the Oregon days, so yeah, it’s been a while.

They are comfy as all get out, full zip, nifty logos, impossible to describe colorway, the whole deal. They’re available in the store now!

 

That’s all for now, happy summer!

 

 

 

November 30th, 2016

(Josh S’s ready-for-the-apocalypse bikepacking rig)

Been a while, I know. We’ve been very busy the past few months, and the actual building of bikes has displaced site updates, social media, etc. Sometimes it has to be that way to, you know, make money. A couple of fun recent builds are below.

 

The least-ignored form of communication lately is Instagram, follow us there if you aren’t already.

 

2017 will see us making the same great bikes as always, with a couple of pricing changes. If the current pricing structure works better for you, you have until December 31, 2016 to place your deposit. After that, the following changes will supplant the 2016 specs and pricing:

- all standard mountain and cross bikes will be priced at $3100, SL versions will be $3400. BUT, the higher prices include Syntace through-axle dropouts AND a DT rear skewer. Through axles really do work best for disc bikes, so that’s where the line is drawn.

- all mountain bikes (excepting the plus bike, below) will use the Boost (148mm through axle) standard. I hate new standards as much as the next guy, but this one does make at least a little bit of sense.

- 650B+/27.5+/whatchamacallit bikes are only available in the standard (non-SL) configuration, they use an 83mm BB shell and 157mm through-axle spacing. They fit up to a 3.0″ tire. They also cost $3100.

- We have traditionally not charged extra for braze-ons, but it seems like every other bike needs an extra handful of stuff welded on it, so there will be some new upcharges to keep it fair. The fender mount/rack mount/third bottle mount ‘touring package’ will cost you $100. Any of the three options on their own will cost $50.

 

In other news, we are offering custom frame packs with any bike, they’re made by DFL Slstitchworks right here in North Carolina, each one sewn just for your bike. The best (only) colorway is shown on Josh’s bike below. They’re made from top-tier materials by the best in the biz, you won’t regret it. They’re $200.

 

Let’s look at a couple bikes!

 

More of Josh’s bikepacker:

This is a fun one, built for local professor/maniac Josh, who has been pushing his Kish commuter to far flung places for a few years and decided he needs to fling even farther, I guess. Rohloff with Gebla gearbox, Paul Klamper brakes, SON generator hub with light and USB charger. Real Mad Max shit.

Detail of the aforementioned frame bag…

The best way to up the freak factor on your bike, the famed Rohloff hub.

 

Becky C’s flat bar gravel mobile 

Becky’s bike is built for western North Carolina gravel road and greenway cruising. In style. Becky style. Courtesy of Joe Bell’s paint, and Industry Nine turning the anodizing ray up to 11.

 

Take that, traditional Kish gravel build of matte black and etched logos…

Especially nice detail by JB  on the Enve GRD fork.

 

More, hopefully soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 15th, 2016

 

It’s time to clear out the old stock of shirts and jerseys to make some shelf space for new stuff, so we’re putting nearly everything on sale. A lot of it is only available in a couple sizes, but there’s something for everyone, at least right now.

Head over here now: Kish Fabrication Store

$20 T shirts are now $10

$100 Castelli jerseys are now $65

(Note on the jerseys: order a size, or even two, larger than you’d normally wear. These run small)

There are also a couple Road Hog framesets still available, $1450 with matching Enve fork (reduced from $1700).

Also, the Champion Systems trail jerseys which never made in the store until today, are also on sale. Normally $80, they are down to $50. These are the jersey for summertime, for sure. No pockets, no zippers. Loose, light, vented, fashionable,etc.

Here’s what they look like:

So, hey, the more you buy, the more you save. If you buy enough, you might save enough to buy a cool cruiser like this one:

It’s called ECONOMICS. Look it up.

April 21st, 2016

I’m selling one of my personal cross bikes. It’s about 4 years old.

Standard titanium frame, Enve CX fork, White Industries/DT wheelset, Paul brakes, Sram Force 10 drivetrain. Very good condition. As I am terminally over-equipped and under-skilled, this bike has very low miles on it. 18.5 lbs.

Does just fine as a road bike, too, which is what I used it for, mostly. It even has rack mounts! Call or email for details!

 

February 16th, 2016

Hi everybody. First off, a little housekeeping update on Road Hogs:

The complete 56cm bike is SOLD.

54cm frames are likewise SOLD OUT.

If you have your eye on a 52cm, 56cm or 58cm… Get On It!

There is one left in each size. As mentioned before, when they’re gone, they’re gone. Not just this particular model, but most likely ANY steel bikes from us. We  stopped building custom steel bikes at the end of 2014, and don’t plan to start again, so this is your chance to get one of the last steel Kish bikes ever built. Destined to become a collector’s item after I’m ironically gored to death on a True Temper chainstay in 2017 (according to my new steampunk Ouija board/magic 8 ball hybrid I’ve been working on).

Here’s a link to the RH section in the store: ROAD HOG SALE.

If you need sizes, info and pricing, just scroll down one post, it’s all in there.

Speaking of things I’m not doing, I’m also going to Not Go to NAHBS in 2016.

Every few years circumstances just line up in such a way that it makes sense to sit one out. This is one of those years! My apologies to anyone who was looking forward to checking out the bikes, or chatting, or serving me with a subpoena. I’ll miss seeing my builder pals, my frighteningly loyal customers who show up every year no matter where the show is, and new buds who always make it a great experience. Also, from the press I’ve seen so far, there will be some seriously weird bikes on display! Wish I could see them in the flesh.

If I were to go, I’d be tempted to bring this bike, just finished up:

I realize the bike is posing upon a bed of gravel, but this is no gravel bike. Nope. It’s a (paved) road bike. With disc brakes! And electronic shifting!

Wheels by our chums at Industry 9, of course.

If you haven’t already figured it out, I can build you one one like it (or not like it, whatever) for what turns out to be quite a bit less than an awful lot of offshore, boring production bikes are going for. Crazy, right?

Welp, that’s it for now y’all! See you in 2-25 weeks!

November 16th, 2015

Well my plan to update the blog every month certainly went off the rails, sorry ’bout that. It was either keep the bikes on schedule, or do absolutely anything else to remind the world that the mighty Kish Titanium Conglomerate is still an active concern. Every bike went out on time, so in that regard it’s been a great year! Everything else fell by the wayside, but that changes…today! Things are calming down a bit. It’s not 200 degrees anymore, the leaves are falling, and the gravel is ripe for grinding.

Here’s a recent example coming out of the gravel factory we’re running over here:

This is a killer setup! Ultegra Di2, Shimano hydro brakes, Industry 9 carbon wheels, Enve thru-axle cross pre-gravel fork, Brooks Cambium saddle, Paul seatpost. It just goes on and on. You should get one.

The low-key etched logos fit the mood, dontcha think? Me too.

This isn’t a standard thing, but we can put the etched state logo on too, to match your mason jar or whiskey glass.

Each frame comes already welded, no need for you to bother with that. It’s included in the price.

Also, FINALLY the no-longer-new grey and orange shirts are finally in the store. You can find them here. To make up for being so slack on this very easy thing to do, the shipping is free until I remember to change that setting in the store, which at this rate should be somewhere around 2017.

Here’s what they look like, they’re that ‘heather’ sort of fabric, where it’s not like a solid color, you know what I mean? Very comfy.

They do have the small Mason jar logo on the back, too:

 

Lastly, and this should be very exciting for those of you threatened to buy a Road Hog but snoozed on it, for once your lack of follow-through is paying off! Because they’re ON SALE! We are short on space, and want to get rid of the last of these fine machines.

This fabulous green is the only color they come in, because it’s the best color, obviously. If you check out the November 2014 blog post you’ll find a lot more nice photos of them.

 

Here’s what you need to know:

1. The original price for these steel frames, with matching painted Enve forks (the Enve logos are painted green to match, the forks are still primarily black, as they should be) was $1700. Already way too low, you say? Perhaps. Either way, they are now $1450 with the Enve fork. What?! You heard it right.

2. As of now, all 4 sizes are available, but there is only 1 of the 52cm and 58cm size. The only 56cm is the one you see above. That one is only available as a complete bike, exactly as you see it there, with our Ultegra kit. It was priced at $3650. It’s now an even $3000! It still has zero miles on it. Insane, I know.

3. It’s up to you to figure out what size will fit you, info is below:

 

4. Once these are gone, they’re gone. We aren’t building more. There are other things to focus on for 2016, so this is your last chance to jump on a Road Hog, maybe the last steel frames to ever go out of the shop. That’s weird to think about.

Anyway, if you’re interested in any of these exciting developments, send an email to info@kishbike.com, or call 805.574.0414. Cheers!

July 19th, 2015

Phew boy. July’s almost gone, but I’m sliding in under the wire for

THE BIG JULY UPDATE!

Not much time to write at the moment, but here’s a nice piece Time Warner Cable News did about your favorite frame builder and his trusty dog:

(resist the urge to click the picture below and click here instead)

See ya in a week or so when it’s August!

 

June 8th, 2015

Definitely seeing a pattern emerging. The monthly blog posts get a little later every month… Sorry, teeming hordes who can’t wait to hear what exciting things are going on here!

Onward!

Old Glory MTB has posted a nice interview that for sure has more content than this post, so maybe just go over there and read it.

I have not done a great job of photographing the most recent bikes out of here, although some are on our Instagram page, so follow us there if you aren’t already.

It’s been a very busy year so far, not sure why, but there is definitely something in the air. It sure as hell isn’t these blog updates. Whatever it is, keep it up, unseen forces! And thanks to everyone who is doing the busy-keeping by buying bikes.

It’s so busy, in fact, that I still do not have the new shirts and trail jerseys in the web store, but if you want one/both send a message and we’ll get you set up.

One other thing to share: Doug S. of Asheville, NC asked to have our state logo incorporated into his etching scheme, and it looks great if you ask me:

If you missed getting your paws on one of our be-logoed mason jars or whiskey glasses, you can get the same image on a titanium bicycle frame for only about three thousand bucks more. So keep that in mind. Doug wanted his right on top of the top tube, so it can serve as a fantastically useless map of his ride, I guess, but it can go anywhere on the frame. Go nuts!

May 5th, 2015

Happy Cinco de Mayo! It’s (past) time for the promised monthly update, so let’s get to it!

Like last month, I still do not have pictures of the new t shirts and trail jerseys, not have they been added to the store (don’t judge me). Email if you need either/both, we’ll figure it out.

Unlike last month, however, I do have some more Road Hog pictures, which is a good thing, as there is a new batch, and all sizes are in stock. The geo table and other pertinent info is below:

The price is still $1700, which includes a de-uglified Enve fork.

Here’s what they look with our Ultegra kit:

 

I know, right? Pretty damn nice! For a while, we’re doing these Ultegra Road Hogs for $3500. That’s another $200 off the already not-horrible price of $3700. BUY ONE.

Some more shots from staff photo guy/house philosopher Stephen Garrett:

(mucho better olive green Enve logo-ed fork)

(44mm head tube, of course)

(this is what it looks like when you’re getting run over by one, scary, but the details are still impressive)

And with that, I’m out! See y’all in a month (or so)!