Bike Check with Explanation.

I realize that not everyone that reads this is a bike rider so let me explain what this post is about.  Serious riders have custom bikes, not just something off the sales floor.  Each part is generally picked for one of two reasons.  The first reason is the rider gets the part for free or at a great discount.  The second is because the rider likes the part either for performance or style.    A bike check is an overview of the parts on a rider’s scoot that lets other riders know what he’s using.  We see these often in the bike media.  Bikers geek out on this stuff.  I’m usually rather bored by them because of reason #1.

I have noticed people often ask questions about my bike.  It’s a compilation of friends, experience and personal preference.  It’s much more than a collection of parts.  That being said, welcome to the world of my flatland bike.

Frame– Deco Succubus, 19″ top tube.
When it was time to get a new frame there were really only two on the market I liked.  One was made by a company I have always respected.  The other was by a friend who had a new start up company.  When I saw this finish, that clinched the deal.  I didn’t mind sending Chad my money.  It really does ride nicely and the build quality is amazing.

Fork– Odyssey Flatland Fork- This is a bit older and came out before the Flatware brand.  It has minimal offset and is heat treated so it should never break. There really is no other fork in my opinion.

Handlebar– S&M Intrikat, 8″ rise.  These are brand new, a gift from my girlfriend.  Just wanted to go back to a 2 piece bar after years of 4 piece.  Wanted to see how a few tricks felt with it.  The key to this bar is the 6 degrees of back sweep.  My favorite for flatland.  Maybe I’ll be able to get Surfers back now!

Brakes– Odyssey.  Evo II brakes with stock brake pads, M2 lever for the rear, monolever medium for the front, Odyssey Slic Cables, Snafu Mobeus detangler.  Odyssey does help me out but I would honestly use their stuff anyway.  Performance, price, looks, weight are all on point.  I never use linear cables as I think they are spongey and don’t bend tight for the front brake.  I use an Odyssey London mod because I don’t like being a slave to gyro cables.  I can re-use cable pieces for my rear brake.  I’m running the Snafu Mobeus because I needed a gyro and that was all the local shop had in stock.  I usually run an old school gyro since they just seem to work without a problem.  I’ve only ever broken one.  The new style fancy gyros have blown up on me a few times.

Stem– Season.  I got it from FlatlandFuel because the reach was over 25mm.  There is really no other reason but it works.  I put it on and forget about it.  I don’t like super short stems as they don’t seem to have the leverage over the front wheel or make the bike snappy when pivoting on the front.  The Headset is generic.  I firmly believe the headset is the least important part of the bike.  It can work like crap and you can still ride it well.

Grips– ODI City lights.  These are low flange versions of the original Mushroom grip.  They stopped making them around 1990.  I have a stash.  I got sponsored by ODI in 1985 and it’s the only grip I have ever used on my flat bike.  Perfect feel.  Odyssey Par Ends in the end of my bars.  They are tougher than most plastic, don’t fall out and metal ones get scuffed up an occasionally need to be filed so they don’t cut my hands. I also run ODI lock on rings against the flange of my grip so it doesn’t creep in toward the lever.  I have always run my levers about an inch away from the grip to get the feel I’m looking for.

Cranks– Odyssey Twombolt, 170mm.  I don’t think they made too many at this length so I got them as soon as they came out.  I don’t believe in short flatland cranks because it makes the bike no fun to ride around.  With the 41Thermal heat treating, these should last forever.

Pedals– Odyssey twisted PC.  I actually got these from another bike.  They just don’t die.

Sprocket– Odyssey Vermont, 28 tooth.  This is big for flatland but again, I want to ride this bike around the block with my kids.  Another part I have been running for 5 years.  Most guys have their bikes geared easy to ride out of tricks but seriously, I have been riding long enough that I have some torque in my legs.

Chain– Odyssey Bluebird.  I used to run a regular chain but this frame necessitated a half link.  I didn’t want the bulk of a full half link chain so this was the obvious choice.

Seat/Post/Clamp– Odyssey 99’er seat, Intac post, Shadow Conspiracy seat clamp.  The 99’er seat has been out of production for a while but I have a stash.  Cushion where you want it, hard plastic where it’s needed.  Has the best hand hold underneath.  Huge rails keep them from bending and offer the fore/aft adjustment a pivotal seat doesn’t.  The Intac post was long enough and fits the oversized seat rails.  Somehow it has lasted for years which is rare for an alloy post far out of the frame.  My friend, Kip, sent me the seat post clamp because he said it would look right on my bike.  I like it because it is low profile and doesn’t catch the edge of my shoe when my foot is on the top tube.

Front Wheel– Odyssey Hazard Lite rim, Vandero hub, 14 gauge spokes, 3 cross lacing.  Again running Odyssey parts for economic reasons but they work perfectly.  The wheel is light and strong.  The axle has lasted forever without a whimper.  I lace my own wheels and put a blue dice valve cap on there as a nod to my old school roots.

Rear Wheel– Odyssey 7KA rim, Odyssey 14 gauge spokes, 3 cross lacing, Federal Freecoaster.  A couple of years ago my old Nankai was getting wonky and the wheel was pretty beat so I built up this wheel.  My buddy, Ivan, recommended the Federal freecoaster hub as you can adjust the slack, they seem to work without too many problems and they were on sale.  It isn’t my favorite but it’s good enough.  It has an 11 tooth driver.  I don’t like going smaller than that as I think it puts too much strain on the chain and hub.  Drivetrains are like life, they are easier when the pressure is dissapated.  I have a green dice valve cap on the back wheel to match the green hub.  I hate that it’s green but you can’t be choosey when you’re on a budget!

Tires– Odyssey Frequency G, 1.85″.  I have always run 1.75″ tires on my flat bike but when I got the Deco frame the bike was so damn fast and twitchy I wanted to slow it down a bit.  The 1.85″ tires did the trick.  Now that I’m used to it I could go back but I have a fat tire stash to burn through first.

Pegs– Tree Big Balsa.  Years ago my friend, Leif, designed 1.75″ diameter pegs.  I got hooked on the size.  The Primo Tube Steaks were too big and the 1.5″ street size made my feet hurt.  These days there aren’t too many big pegs to choose from.  Tree had the best colors so I got them.  I was pleased to find out they were crazy light and are made of an amazing alloy that is super hard so even after years of use, the gnurling doesn’t wear down like some cheaper pegs.

Protection– Contraption Forcefield.  This is a neoprene pad Leif made years and years ago.  I had a stash.  This is the last one.  It keeps you from snagging yourself on the gyro and offers some padding for the knee knocks against the stem.  Someday it will die and then I’ll be stuck.  I haven’t looked down and seen my stem in over 15 years.  I hate that!

Stickers– A couple of Haro stickers as they are my employer, a Spitfire logo because it’s cool and a tennis racquet sticker that says “Head” that I found on a court because it was funny.

So that wraps up my bike check.  Odyssey has always been good about helping me with parts so I have a lot of them.  Even if they didn’t, I’d still swear by them.  I respect them as a company and the thought in the design.

When I look at my bike I see friends.  Chad D for the frame, Chad J for the bars, Kay and Herb from ODI, Chase on the tires, Leif, China, Chris and Jim at Odyssey, Kip, Ivan and Pat at  I like riding with these guys.  I don’t mind supporting them or sending them my hard earned cash for their products.

So that’s the story of my bike.  Here is is.



A week before…

Christmas isn’t the best of times since the divorce.  The kids wake up at my house and we do presents then they are off to their mom’s house and I’m alone.  Couple that with a tight budget and there isn’t much to say.  I still haven’t gotten a tree yet.  As the saying goes “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything”.  Let me just share this with you.  It’s something I introduced to my kids and they constantly remind me.

By brettdownsconspiracy

Quick hits.

Remember as a kid how you’d sit in school staring out the window longingly at the perfect day outside?  I still find myself full of that angst.  These days I’m not sitting in a classroom but behind the wheel of my car watching the last few great days of the year quickly fade to dark through my windshield.

Every once in a while I find myself with an opportunity of the sun hitting my face just right and inspiration hits.  That’s why I carry my bike in my car.  Sometimes it’s just a quick spot I see, a jump or wall ride.  Sometimes it’s the perfect flatland spot.  The bike comes out and a quick session goes down.  Sometimes it’s fun and sometimes it’s a bust.  Sometimes, it’s perfect.

I work in the bike industry and the “lunch time ride” is a standard for office workers.  I’m not in the office these days but every once in a while I pretend I am and grab a piece of these fleeting days.  Even if it’s just a quick session, it puts my head right and reminds me of just how amazing a bike can be on a sunny day.




By brettdownsconspiracy