I present the James Frames 650B Aluminum Hardtail.
JP and I began designing this bad boy nearly a year ago. Working with a custom builder with a wealth of knowledge, one can almost put the plan on autopilot. JP was very easy to work with, and we bounced ideas off one another over a few months and this is the end result. JP had never done a 650B before this, so there were a few hurtles to over come. One being (obviously) the new wheel size. I packed up my built Velocity Blunt with a tube and Neo-Moto and shipped it up to JP. He assessed the platform and we began working out the geometry. He quizzed me on my riding style, and what this bike's intended use would be. My preferences, and dislikes of my current bikes. I gave him a rough idea of the geometry I desired. He then emailed me a drawing, and we did some tweaking, shortly a revised drawing hit my inbox.
Originally I wanted an EBB so single speeding, as all my bikes become a ss at some point. I greatly dislike geared frames converted with a Singulator unit, and as this was a custom- I wanted it my way. Unfortunately JP doesn't offer EBBs in his aluminum builds. "Oh well" Plan B...SLIDERS. My VooDoo Bokor was equipped with sliding dropouts, which I never had a problem with, so I began a search for 7K series slider units. Enter Ahrens Bikes. I met Mike Ahrens at NAHBS last year (2008), and he was a super nice guy. I had him make some 650BPalace.com Wisecrackers and that transactions was east and smooth, so I gave him some more business. Mike manufactures small parts for custom builders utilizing aluminum frame bits. I purchased a set of sliders via the interweb, and Mike personally delivered them to me at Interbike 2008, with a huge smile, might I add.
The sliders then went onto JP in Colorado. At that point he had all the tubing in house and was able to begin fabrication and mock-up of the frame.
JP sent me a few images of the build process as things progressed.
(notice dropouts in fixture)
Then, around Christmas time an image of a complete frame hit my inbox. Next thing to decide was paint. James Frames even allows a choice of decal coloring, along with the paint job. We attempted a checkerboard within the font branding, but the words and graphic was just too cluttered. Instead I chose a goldleaf text with a primer grey paint job. Wet paint, not a powder coat.
The frame was delivered faced and chased (less facing of BB shell as JP finds it is no longer necessary). Here is the final product. The sliding dropouts give the chainstays a minimal length of 16.25" with the 2.3" Neo Moto, WOW.
I'll be building this rig of over the next week or so. LX Cranks and Hydro Brakes, X-Fusion Velvet set at 130mm, single speed for starters. Various bits otherwise, you'll just have to wait and see the final build. Hopefully I'll have it completed by next Saturday for an annual 6hr race, I've done since I have moved to Tampa.
For more information about this builder visit www.jamesframes.com