April 9th, 2014

Hey are you guys sick of talking about NAHBS yet? That’s what I was afraid of. Well, I’m not.

I can’t believe 3 (4?) weeks have passed since that glorious event, but here we are. As I said earlier, we could not have been happier with the support and turnout. So much so that we have decided to continue building bikes, for at least 4 more months.

There’s plenty of coverage of the show out there, you can see our bikes at bikerumor.com , roadbikerider.com, velonews.com, and probably some more. I haven’t looked–I know what these bikes look like, I was trapped in a 10×20 booth with them for 3 days!

Just in case you haven’t seen them, here’s a few more pics from our new superphotog, Ish Abdelkhalek:

I learned a while ago that this is NOT a cross bike AT ALL. It’s a Gravel Grinder ™. Apparently, about 80% of the cross bikes I’ve been building have actually been Gravel Grinders ™ all along, what with their (1/2 degree) Radically Relaxed ™ geometry, and ChillGrind ™ (1cm longer) wheelbase. So, if you bought one from us over the past 20 years, look for your recall &rebranding notice in the mail soon.

Anyway, here’s Matt B.’s:

It’s worth noting that this is literally the dirtiest ‘Dirty Durham’ location possible. I noticed an abundance of abandoned footwear on the railroad trestle. Ish, his trained photographers eye never missing a detail remarked ‘and an uncomfortable amount of underwear’

   

(note the snazzy new aren’t-you-laying-it-on-a-bit-thick? NC pride decal)

(another stunner paint job from Spectrum)

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Another Matt, Matt C. of New York, got himself a nice new Tarmac Twiddler ™:

(this location was like a surgical theater compared to the last one)

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Last, for now, is Sam “just call me Matt” S.’s boogie-around-LA bike:

yes, we still make steel bikes once in a blue moon (not pictured: blue moon)

There are a few more pics up at our flickr page

As always, Like us (please, we need validation) on Facebook

And we have a very tiny presence on Twitter, but what a presence it is!

One last thing…the green logo T shirts we had at NAHBS but sold out, ARE BACK! Check em out here.

Thanks for making it this far! Go ride your bike!

March 17th, 2014

We had an absolutely fantastic time at NAHBS this past weekend in Charlotte! Thanks to everyone that came out and said hello, especially the zillions of North Carolina people we hadn’t met yet. It was awesome to see all of you.

Also many thanks to the fine gentleman at Back Alley Bikes for helping in the booth, as well as merch-gal extraordinaire Kim Motter, and head cheerleader Jerry Motter.

If you haven’t done it already, please  like us on Facebook here

And follow us on Twitter here

I promise to be better about updating all this stuff, we have some fantastic new photos to share of some of the show bikes, new shirts, and other NAHBS stuff too.

I’ll be back soon with lots of cool stuff, pinky swear!

 

 

December 19th, 2013

Happy holiday season y’all!

Speaking of, presently we’re gearing up for what I’m assuming will be a last-minute onslaught of orders ever since we got top billing in the ‘For Him’ category in Walter Magazine’s 2013 Gift Guide:

 

Who’s Walter, you might ask? Dunno. Some rando that some people in Raleigh named their magazine after I guess. Anyway, now that this is prominently plopped on top of the gift pile (edging out other worthy gifts like something called a ‘Horween Work Wrap‘, which sounds pretty X rated, and some other gizmo terrifyingly billed as a ‘Super Selfie‘)  :

 

We’ll probably be pretty busy getting these stocking stuffers shipped in time for Saint Nick to chuck em down all the good little girls and boys’ chimneys. Oh, and note to Walt, bicycles make a dandy gift for HER as well. Welcome to the 21st century, dude, geez.

Moving on, I was alerted to the fact that I don not have the market cornered on boring blogs. This one comes from Josh S., a smarty-pants librarian at Duke University, one of 45 institutes of higher learning we have with a 10 mile radius of  us here in the backwoods south. The article is called ‘The Library is as Awesome as My Bike’.

Whatcha got for us, Cletus?

“You might not know it but one of the world’s best custom handmade titanium bicycle builders lives just down the road in Chapel Hill, a guy called Jim Kish. I am a bit of a road biking nut; so I had him build me a bike. If you’ve ever ridden a completely custom bike you know what a life altering experience it is. The bike becomes an extension of your body. It is awesome, just awesome. I even got to go watch him build it, measure, miter, weld the tubes.”

Wow! That’s a great start! Please, go on!

“And man, if you’ve ever seen someone build you your own custom bike, you know you’ve never seen anything so … dull!”

Oh, cmon, now you’re making me blush…wait, what?

“Jim teaches bike building and tells his students, who are all gung-ho to learn this exciting skill, that most of what you do is measure, file, remeasure, polish, clean. In other words, this completely awesome machine is the result of painstaking, disciplined, thoughtful, creative, composition of very many less awesome things.”

The article goes on for roughly 20,000 more words, I think mostly about books, but it’s a little too ‘inside baseball’ for me. I’m not really what you call a ‘smart’ guy who ‘likes to read’, or even ‘knows how to use quotation marks’ for that matter.

 

Josh does hit on a theme that I’m fond of though, the awesome thing being a result of a lot of ‘many less awesome things’. I heard the same thing called the ‘ditch digging part of art’ (I’m not saying bicycle building is art, it’s not, sorry) by actual artist Wayne White, in a really great documentary about him called ‘Beauty is Embarrassing‘. You should watch it. If you aren’t sold yet, Wayne is the guy who built this set, along with plenty of other cool stuff:

 

So that’s got to be worth something.

 

Back in bike news, here’s some bikes that are getting finished up here this week. Mountainous bikes, cyclocrossin’ bikes with disc brakes, road commuter machines… :

 

Ok, back to the ditch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 27th, 2013

Here’s your chance to be a blight on the winter landscape too:

 

Now that things are cooling off, a few people have been asking about getting a long sleeve jersey (we’ve been sold out for a while). So, we’re shooting to do an order December 6. They won’t be here for Christmas (sorry), but they won’t be too late to use for your New Year’s resolution to ride your bike more…

If you want one, remember these run small, so don’t be afraid to order one size up (especially if you’ve got big guns, the sleeves are skinny). Get a hold of us by 12/6!

The jerseys in question:

http://www.kishbike.com/store/product/9/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 7th, 2013

Hey!

Here’s a couple of 650B/27.5″/584BSD/whateverwe’recallingthemthisweek MTB’in mountain bikes!

There’s two version, the “Gnarly Dude” version seen below:

 

 

This one has 130mm of travel up front (zero in the back!), a boulder-clearing high bottom bracket, a killer ti stem and bar combo, and thru axles all around. We don’t do tons of 12×142 rear ends, but it is an option, FYI.

 

It’s also got the almost-standard 44mm head tube, which even this crusty retro dude is warming up to.

 

 

There’s also the “Dude, where’s my gnarl?” version, more befitting frame builders who don’t get out on their bikes nearly enough:

 

This one’s more of our typical XC racing type deal, 100mm of Fox-y squish, and generally more bike than I, the Kish Blogbot, really need, but yikes, it sure is nice!

 

If you would have told me 10 years ago 6 months ago that I’d be ecstatic over a tubeless-tired, thru-axled, giant head-tubed bike, I would have said “really, I actually am going to get around to making a new mountain bike for myself? Can I still make those dumb ‘cobbler’s kids with no shoes jokes’?”  But I probably would have believed you. Sometimes progress really is made amongst all the other goofy bike stuff we’re bombarded with.

 

Just when I started to feel better about getting back into the MTB saddle, the UK’s Dom I. came along and put it all into perspective for me. You may remember Dom as the wiseass who rode that same bike from England to Paris FOR LUNCH. It appears that he hasn’t slowed down.

In a message titled ‘Another great Kish experience’ he directed me to his report of riding the London-Edinburgh-London race, a 1400km jaunt through the countryside he did…on his singlespeed. In 77 hours.

Dom came in 11th (out of 1000), on 19 gears fewer than his competition.

 

It is a great report though, you should click here and read it.

 

 

 

 

August 12th, 2013

(but it’s 35 grams heavier than my caaaaaarbuuuun bike…)

Here in North Carolina we have cheated summer for 2 months, soaking in apocalyptic levels of rain rather than roasting in Hades levels of heat, so I guess it’s a push, now that I think about it.

That’s all changing right now, and Mother Nature is making up for lost degrees and frying the crap out of us. So, rather than going down to the shop and welding a bunch of stuff, which apparently requires heat (still getting the hang of this welding thing), how ’bout I show you some pictures of bikes we’ve been making to delay the hot n’ sweaty inevitable?

Here’s one!

This is Josh S.’s road/commuter, basically just a nice bike that you can fit fenders (not shown–it hasn’t rained for 36 hours) and some wider tires.

We have nice carbon forks available now that accommodate the aforementioned fenders and tires and fit medium reach brakes. This is a great option if you want a little more meat on the tarmac, but don’t want to go full-on cyclo-crazy.

Along the same lines, here’s Michele’s new Carolina road cruiser:

This one has comfy 650B tires and medium reach brakes. Still fast on the pavement but does well on gravel/dirt/crappy roads. And it has a titanium rack! What a world we live in!

Then there’s THIS thing:

“What the hell is that?” I might ask myself if I had time-traveled from, say, a year ago, “you can’t have racks, fenders and disc brakes on the same bike, also that hub looks crazy!” But the joke would be on me, because it works! And it’s super cool. This is the bike I WISH I had when I was doing long-distance touring on a laughably ill-suited mountain bike in the 80’s.

This is Scott M.’s bike, that he’ll be touring on for an as-yet-to-be-determined length of time through Europe, South America, and wherever else his sentient Rohloff hub commands him to go.

Bon Voyage! *smashes bottle of Bartles and Jaymes on headtube*

And lest anyone missed this bit of hard-hitting journalism, here’s Chapel Hill Magazine’s article about our operation.

See y’all in a few weeks! Enjoy the soul-destroying heat!

July 12th, 2013

Right off the bat, let’s clear up some confusion over the future of Kish Fabrication that I inadvertently conjured in my last post. Apparently, some of our readers either skim over stuff WAY too fast, or they actually think that there is a market for titanium butterfly house perches. To those who really thought we were going to stop building bike frames (in favor of shifting all resources to butterfly house perch production), let me assure you, there is room in our world for both. ESPECIALLY SINCE NO ONE WANTS A TITANIUM BUTTERFLY HOUSE PERCH, WITH THE POSSIBLE EXCEPTION OF MYSELF, AND MY WEIRD NEIGHBOR.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s address a more pressing issue, one of the most pressing issues I’ve seen expressed as a question on a bumper sticker:

Friends, what would Jesus ride? A donkey? (yes, already documented) A Cadillac Escalade? (hope not) A bicycle? (let’s say yes, just for the sake of argument)

Let us picture that bicycle. Too lazy? No problem, try this on for size:

I’m imagining that this one would tick all the boxes: bright, shiny, big wheels, saddle made from cow now residing in cow heaven…

Divinely inspired slider dropouts…

Standard bottom bracket (BB30 obviously being the work of Satan)

Before you butterfly house alarmists freak out, THIS BIKE DOES NOT BELONG TO JESUS I WAS ONLY KIDDING. Rather, it belongs to Zack P., and you will soon be able to gaze upon Zack and all his bike’s glory toodling around Carrboro, NC, in the style that befits Carrboro.

In other news, to address my wise-ass friends who keep asking ‘you been training?’, and snickering under their breath, as a matter of fact I have! It’s been raining some lately, but I’ve managed to make lemons out of lemonade, and get some cross training in. I knew you wouldn’t believe me, so here’s some video evidence:

Last, there are still some sale shirts and whatnot available, you can see them here, go check it out! Just don’t ask me about those damn butterfly house perches again.

June 24th, 2013

Sorry it’s been a while since this blog has been updated, but I’ve been spending most of the past month building the prototype for our new Butterfly House Perch Pole. I think I’ve got a good design, so unless I’m misjudging the market, we’ll probably be phasing out bicycle production within the next month or so.

Until then, here’s some bike junk!

First off, we’re going to be offering selling some nice titanium handlebars.

They’re wide (so wide they don’t even fit in the photo!), about 720mm, and beefy so you don’t have to worry about them flexing all over the place. They come with an aluminum shim, either silver or black, to size them up to 31.8mm. They have a slight forward sweep (about 25mm) before their 20 degree back sweep, so your hands wind up in your normal position when all is said and done. Uncut, they’re about 300g with the shim. They’re finished the same way our frames and stems are finished, so they’re a perfect match. These bars cost $160

Next, a few odds and ends clogging up our failed-state of the art inventory system. Most of this stuff we only have one or two of, and we won’t have any more. Ever! We just want to get it out of here, so it’s priced accordingly. None of this is in the web store, so if you’re interested email to info@kishbike.com and we’ll send you an invoice.

This is a vintage, Oregon-era shirt, size Medium. It features a neat graphic, from a very old fabrication book, on the sleeve. We stopped using it pretty early on, since no one seemed to notice it, and we never had permission to use it in the first place. This shirt is $10, shipping is $2.

This is the last of the women’s ‘Bicycle World’ T shirts. Note the no-longer-accurate ‘Made in San Luis Obispo, CA!’ graphic on the oddly prescient Carolina blue shirt. Spooky! It’s a size XL, which in ‘ladies sizing’ parlance is still a not very big shirt. It’s a Gildan SoftStyle 100% cotton shirt, which fit ala American Apparel, if that helps. This shirt is $10, shipping is $2

Here’s the dude version of above shirt, we have one left, size XL. This shirt is $10, shipping is $2

If you’re still reading, here’s your reward. A relic from the Great Logo Wars of the early aughts, these were only sold under the counter at the 2005 NAHBS. This is your chance to get in on the world’s tiniest inside joke. The front features an unholy fusion of Retrotec in my logo..

And the back is my name in the Retrotec logo.

If you like shirts with a message that requires a lot of explaining, and results in a lot of quizzical looks, you are in luck! There’s just one left, it is an American Apparel size Large. This shirt is $20, shipping is $2.

If you need a nice book to flip through while you’re wearing your new shirts (all of them at once), consider this one:

You can read about this book on Amazon. This is the second run, essentially unchanged from the 2005-ish first printing. if you’re reading this, you’ll probably like it. Lots of neat bikes, and a few lame ones. And a few made by me. We have two sealed copies of this book, they cost $20, shipping is $5.

Next, something you simply can’t put a price tag on! A dip into the ol’ mailbag produced this crazy Bell saddle, sent to us by Australian Kish loyalist John P.:

In some weird sort of cultural exchange, John figured that as long as we were sending a decent amount of titanium bikes to Australia, he would correct the trade imbalance by sending an old saddle with a kangaroo on it. And I can not argue with that logic. Thanks bro mate!

One more bit of embossed kangaroo and I’m out of here, cheers!

May 24th, 2013

Last winter when our good pal Tim Kerr was visiting and painting a kooky NAHBS bike for us, we refused to drive him to the airport until he drew something we could turn a buck on. This, the latest shameless exploitation of the humble mason jar, is the result of said duress:

We have them in the store, in short and long sleeve versions, both printed on Anvil Organic 100% cotton T’s. The ink is grey, the shirts are black, and the coolness coefficient is off the chart (technically it’s .998, just barely on the chart, but still pretty cool).

That’s it for now, more non-textile news next week. Happy Memorial Day USA-ers!

May 13th, 2013

Can you believe over a month has gone by since my last exciting update? Mm hmm. I feel the same way.

Moving on, so much has happened! First off, big thanks to our latest corporate sponsor:

Your generous support will really help during our heavy summer event season.

Speaking of being drunk at work, what kind of world do we live in where a fella buys himself a cool new CD…

unwraps it, opens it up, and THIS happens?!

Is this someone’s last-day-‘F you’ move, or a sign of the coming apocalypse, or ??? I’m not even kidding. That actually happened.

Anyway. Here’s Mike G’s steel bike, headed to Florida…

Another surprise, it took almost TWO YEARS of living in North Carolina before someone asked for a Tarheel-inspired Carolina blue paint job:

This one’s going to Siler City’s favorite son, Other Mike.

Godspeed, Mike and Other Mike. See you at the Air Supply tribute band concert on the open road…