Wednesday, February 24, 2010

North American Handbuilt Bike Show

The hour draws near in which Jim and I will be heading for Richmond, VA for the 2010 NAHBS (I think I've mentioned that enough, sorry for the repetition) and I'm getting psyched outta my mind for it! Many will argue a frame is a frame. Whether it was painstakingly brazed together by a skilled man/woman or placed on a conveyor belt, you get a frame at the end of it. However, for me, I enjoy things created with the hands of a person with passion. I had the great fortune to work with Jonny Cycles, ZR Cycles, Rack Lady and Banjo Cycles (both used to build bikes/racks for Velo Orange) early on in my bicycle career. Just being surrounded with such pieces of work all the time is a wonder to experience.

I can go on with all the stories and knowledge they bestowed on me, but that's just cumbersome for me to do and too boring for you to read. It's just I know these people and I know their heart goes into everything that they build. To me, that is just such a basic and beautiful human characteristic; to love what you do. I see the same heart in Bike Polo teams and in Trick Events around the world. People setting up games, events, and housing dozens of kids into small apartments. Making friends, building culture, and more importantly, getting people that love bicycles to keep on making bicycles/parts. That's why, to me, bicycling can only get bigger. There are too many people that love all of this and are pushing bicycles to be a much more essential part of our society.

There's my two bits, if you love this bike thing, keep on keepin' on with it (or should I say "Life's a garden, you gotta keep on diggin." Ha! I'm only slightly mental). Hope to catch some of you there. Trick Jam is gonna be sick.


Cool New Things We Want You to Abuse

Animal is a smaller BMX company that sells some pretty sweet parts. These Animal Hamilton Pedals, which come in black too, have a bearing system that is made of a different composite than other PC pedals that make them a bit smoother and possible tougher. We also have Edwin Grips and a Jump Off Stem. Try em out!

And these came in pretty recently...
MKE Grips! Not much to say other than if you don't have them, then you are not the coolest kid on the block. But then if you live in a culdesac, then it doesn't apply to you. I'll have some at NAHBS so how badly you want some depends on how fast you can get me a beer. Just kidding.


Christina Panteliodis - Bmore Fixed

Reppin the MBC Bruiser hard. Thanks Christina! Hope to catch you and the rest of your crew at NAHBS. Texas, you coming out too?

Photo By Jeremiah Jones


This Ain't No Oompa Loompa

Bam! Hotness all over the place, I don't even know what to do with it. This is a customer's Milwaukee 29er build. Just so clean. I like mechanical brakes. They're reliable and guess what, they stop my bike. White Industry bits, Thomson, Paul, and Easton goodness sprinkled on this delectable creamsicle treat. Ummm num num.

I was really impressed with the Industry Nine hubs. The paul engagement is solid and the different size flanges allow spokes to be equal on both sides. Clever. Definately a great alternative to Chris King, which are amazing on their own right. These bad boys were laced to Stan's No Tubes ZTR Flow rims. I think I'm sold on tubless, can't tell ya why, it just feels so right (that sounds like a sexy song. Don't read into it). Now, enjoy.


Snow Biking, Beers, and Buddies

So maybe a lil late to talk about this last weekend but here...fellow Ben's employee Jim and I as well as Lakefront Brewery brew slinger Colin did a bit of snow riding out in the neighboring Tosa trails. It was my first time snow riding and boy gotta tell ya, a little difficult without a Pugsley when the snow is packed in. We have Innova Spyders as well as Surly Larry's in stock and damn are they huge!

After about six 10 min loops, the trail was packed and we were all whippin through it all! Too much fun, maybe not as fun as an N64. Yikes. Also, if you live in Wisconsin and you haven't yet, take a hike or ride some trails in the woods. We've got a beautiful State. Mmmm, warm fuzzies.
Jim's borrowed whip (dude had studded tires, unfair)

The wierd thing I call my mountain bike

At the end of the evening we all headed to the MKE Bike Polo Poker Pub Crawl. I was lame and only hit up the last spot where I was expecting only a few raggedy polo kids drinking beer. But instead, the Irish Pub was packed! It was so great to see a whole mess of people from all corners of the bike industry support such a noble crew. A few beers in me and I was feeling great.

Dear Milwaukee, even though you have big potholes and crappy drivers, you have a lot of amazing people and I love you. There I said it. Bravo to those who set it up and all those who donated prizes. I lost on the tatto prize, well, that's what I get for buying one damn ticket. Plus...

Best Picture Ever, I'm a pro


Friday, February 19, 2010

Indy Fab-u-lous

Independent Fabrications X Bodega X BaileyBag Works from Quarter Productions on Vimeo.

More on custom/handbuilt bikes/NAHBS later, but fer now...enjoy.



WELCOME TO GRIME ST from Mike Schmitt on Vimeo.

So good it's gotta be fattening! Another reason to love bikes.


Do You Have Time to Duck?

Choose wisely, these are hot! Profile 144mm BCD 48 splined spider in black or silver. We also got matching black 44t and 46t Profile chainrings too. They are less expensive than the Sugino 75 but I'm sure can take the same amount of beating.

They look like a weapon the Predator would use.

And yes I will find any excuse to post anything about Predator. Best-Movie-Ever. Citizen Kane ain't got nothin' on this.

"If it can bleed, we can kill it."



I'm no Gamblin' Man

Get the Polo Crew a place to play and have a couple of beers doing it! Either that or Matt will make more friends in jail. Don't drop the soap.

Who's down fer some early morning mountain biking? Russel, hit me up!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Techno-Knowlogy Pt. 1

So I like cool new things. I use my Blackberry for everything and I have an Ipod Shuffle that looks like a Jolly Rancher. However, when it comes to bikes, I like the older stuff. Maybe it's because downtube shifters and old centerpull Dia-Compe brakes are a dime-a-dozen at bike swaps. I think it's just because they are just so damn simple. Shifters shift, brakes stop my bike. Done. Now, I'm no Grant Peterson of Rivendel, even though I wholeheardedly stick to a lot of his beliefs (not all of them though) nor am I someone who scouffs at Carbon junkies. However, like my adoration for my microscopic handheld devices, there are just some thing in the bike industry that is just so friggin sweet. For instance Geax's new TNT tires.

Photo by Geax

Now, tubeless tires is no new technology (it's what they use on yer car if ya didn't know that) in general but it's new to the bike world. The TNT tire combines the reinforced layers of your traditional tube-tire combo but with the "talon" and tubeless capability of a UST tire. Basically, with the thicker walls and a new compound, you need less sealant and get a lighter tire. Check them out here. I haven't switched to tubeless yet because I'm working on being a better mountain biker before I get new gear, but it's just great to see things evolve. Plus I need a paint job first, I love my couplered Trek 96er Franken-bike.

For you kids who love stiff, uber light sick carbon things. Boom...

Full Sram XX, only for $6100. Come by the shop and check it out! This bike gives me goosebumps.

Photo by Bike Rumor

In other news, according to Bike Rumor. Sram will be introducing another groupo called Apex. This will rival (ha!) Shimano's 105 line. Like all bike products, this groupo will have trickle down technology from their Rival groupo (that's where the 'ha' came from, I don't care if you're not laughing). What I really like about this is that it's a great response to aftermarket products like our very popluar Tektro R556 brakes. Long reach calipers, wide range gears, compact cranks at (hopefully) a pretty decent pricepoint. This will probably come stock with new bikes, but it is also a great alternative to revamping an old 27" frame than piecing out all the parts. Bravo Sram.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Things That Interest Me

A quick read, I'm not a history buff, but my buddy Dan sent this too me. It's crazy to think how we've evolved as a society. Even though there are a lot of things that we as Americans need to change (ie diet, texting while driving) many good things have happened in the last couple of decades. Instead of constantly dwelling on our evils, it's great to pay homage to those that have helped pave way for progress. Major Taylor is one of those inpirational martyrs.

On another note...

Can it be true? A Ray's Indoor MTN Bike Brewtown?! Thanks Antonio! That's it, i'm giddy as all hell. Yes, giddy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

So this is an older video (well, by old I mean like one week) about ANT Bicycles. I had the opportunity to see their bicycles at last year's NAHBS and it was great to see strong, elegant, but simple work horses built by such a skillful hand. As a plug, I also drew up the Kitten Poster around the 2:36 min mark for my friend and fellow framebuilder ZR Cycles. I can see that you care sooo much, so moving on.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to meet Mike personally but I will have the chance this year since I, as well as another Ben's employee, Jim, will be attending this year's NAHBS! We'll have business cards ('cause we all professional and stuff), stickers, high fives, and other things fer anyone who wants 'em. Hope to wrangle a couple of beers while we're out there so come join me!

Photo by Ray's

Man, I'm tired. Lastly, word on the street the TNT crew of Milwaukee will be hittin up Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the way there. We'll be there too hitting up their mtn single track. Hit me up!


Monday, February 15, 2010

A Couple Ben's Cycle Stock Facts

Instead of claiming that we stock the largest selection of this or that; we would rather give you some numbers instead...
  • over 120 models/colors of fixed gear hubs
  • 269 saddles - 116 of those are Brooks!
  • 396 different tires
  • 211 track/single speed chainrings
  • 123 track/single speed cranks
  • 179 handlebars - just our Track/Fixed Gear Category
  • 238 stems
  • 48 models of toe straps
  • 151 different pedals
  • 56 track/single speed chains
...that's just the tip of the iceberg; our selection is growing everyday!

If there is anything you would like to see in our inventory, just shoot us an email and we'll do our best to get our hands on it so you can too.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Carradice Original Bags In Stock Monday 15th

In the last twenty years Carradice bags has probably been the choice of more worldwide cycling expeditions than any other.

These bags are very popular in Denmark and Germany, but are starting to catch on in the US. We're very happy to start carrying these bags because of their very high quality and reasonable prices.

Check it out Monday!

To see their full line go here.

I'm so glad we're carrying these now, because I've had my eye on their spats for some time.

-Matt Hewitt

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Something about an upright position on a bike just puts me in a good mood. I guess the sunny day might have had something to do with it. I might still be jacked up on adrenaline from the movie I saw last night with my roommate on our man-date. Maybe the looming Notofficial Ben’s Cycle’s Funnight has got me all riled up. Who knows.

FYE:The Funnight starts here at the shop at beer:30pm, then pedals up to Trocadero for the WI. Bike Fed. Love Your Bike Party, and so on to Turner to see the .357 String Band. If you’re a local, stop by the shop in the neck-of- the-woods of 6:30pm, we’ll head out after we close up.

I chose the freshly finished R.O.D. bike for tonight’s adventures. The Axiom Rack Streamline rack needed some modification but is pretty sweet. I like its low profile. The SKS commuter fenders hit the spot, too. The rear stops at about 10 o’clock, so even with track ends, the rear wheel is easily removable. That’s cool. I will have to apologize to whoever is riding behind me as they will not be so protected from the spray. I’ll order in a set of the fenders for stock.

Song of the Week for an old friend. I'm no Deadhead, he is.

Have a weekend.

Steve Z

New Items for February

Keep an eye on our new products this month. We will be adding new parts/products regularly, like this genuine Nitto factory work cap (modeled by our hard working shop dag Emma), along with many restocked products that may have been out of stock for a while.

Remember if a product that you want is out of stock, just drop your email in the "In-Stock Notification" that takes the place of the add-to-cart button when the item is out of stock and we'll shoot you an email when it is restocked.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Love My Bike, Do You Love Yours?

In lieu of finding a "Love Your Bike" flyer, here's a picture of my commuter. Even though I own a car, I still ride about 90% of the year. Now, I'm not asking for an award nor do I covet some braving-it medal nor do I even deserve a bro-down high five. However, I would love to meet more who ride for the sheer enjoyment of riding. This Thursday, our local Bike Federation is hosting a "Love Your Bike" event, more info here. A couple of us lowly bike geeks are going to be in attendance with bikes in hand (or in foot...I don't know), it would be great to see some of you there!

On the topic of commuters...I've been riding a 3 speed for a couple of years now. I even rode one as a messenger. Now, having the option of a super low gear was quite essential on those super nasty snowy days, like the one that is happening outside my window! To top it off, no drlrs to clean or even jam up. We have just stocked the new version of the Sturmey Archer AW. So if you're thinking of a new build in the future, hope you consider the 3 speed route. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it may just be yours.

In other news, we have a large shipment of Demoltion/Volume stuff coming in. So keep an eye out for those items!

PS Custom front rack from my friend Rack Lady. She used to build racks for Velo Orange. FYI.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I love these.

Today I get to work and there in my "inbox" is this link to Tom Haney's website. Tom is a Atlanta artist who makes these kinetic boxes that are unbelievable. The detail and mechanisms sucked me right in. The one pictured above called "Tinguel's Dream" is one of my favorites.

Most of us aren't near old enough to remember these boxes that used to be in train stations and amusement parks around the country. Drop in a coin and you get a 15-30 second animated display of scenes of fright, dancing bears or just about anything in between. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure to visit The House on the Rock knows that they have a pretty decent collection of the original train station boxes. If you are ever near Madison, WI; you have to stop by and see them.

Until then I think Tom's website is worth a look.


Well, if your family's tried 'em, then you know you've satisfied 'em.

It's still a bit cold up here, but the sun is stickin' around longer each day and hope is returning to the Northern Hemisphere. Prime time riding season is on its way. Snap up tools, cleaners and lubes for your overhaulin' pleasures and get that whip into race shape. My two cents are on pink, green and gold. I dilute the pink with water, 50/50, to make it last longer. I also threw a Rennen ring on the 1x9. I've heard good things and that tooth profile looks like it ought to keep the chain in its place. They are also made in the U.S. of A. and pretty affordable. I'm gunna give some Gore coated shift cables a shot. They feel like a dream so far.

I'm going to check out broadcasted showing of the Prairie Home Companion tonight. Last week they had the David Rawlings Machine on as a musical guest on last week with some of the fellas from Old Crow Medicine Show and they did up some "I Hear Them All" with some "This Land is Your Land" mixed in. It was neat. You've just been song of the weekend. Have a good one out there and make sure you're getting enough ketchup. Ketchup for the good times.

Steve Z

MKE Polo Shafts in Europe

Kevin Walsh friend and fellow polo
player is currently traveling in Europe to play polo and show those Europeans how it's done! While he's there he'll be testing out our top rated shafts. He'll also be competing in a tournament in Karlsruhe, Germany called Greif Masters. Here is a great shot he took of Hugo and Pierre talking shop before their morning pick-up games along a Paris canal.

-Matt Hewitt

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Ride a Single Speed

Over the last few years, biking to work and for leisure has become an important lifestyle for many people in Milwaukee and Madison, Wis...