21 November 2014

Co-Motion Americano Touring Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB and belt drive

This Co-Motion Americano was displayed in our booth at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) last March in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is equipped with a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 and Gates belt drive, as well as a full compliment of racks and panniers for loaded touring. Co-Motion Cycles – a company who specializes in building bikes for touring, commuting, tandems, and other unique bikes at their factory in Eugene, Oregon – lent us this bike to showcase an example of a fully loaded touring bike equipped with a SPEEDHUB. It attracted plenty of attention among show attendees; a crowd made up of handmade bike aficionados, many of whom travel from all over the world for a chance to see these bikes in person.

13 November 2014

Soma Rush Fixed Gear With Belt Drive

When a local customer contacted us about building a belt drive-equipped fixed gear for him, we were excited to execute his vision. He wanted a bike that would be simple, lightweight, and durable for commuting around town quickly. He gave us a few general guidelines for the build but asked us to make our own recommendations for parts that would fulfill his requirements. His primary requests were that the frame be chrome colored and that he could use a belt drive system. He planned to use the bike to zip around Oakland and commute across town to work - primarily short, fast rides without much climbing.

03 November 2014

Black Sheep High Light Titanium Belt Drive Single Speed with FaithTruss Fork

Black Sheep looking south from Albany Hill Park

This beautiful titanium bike from Black Sheep Bikes in Ft. Collins, CO came into the Monkey Lab for a Gates Carbon Drive belt conversion. While we are known best for our Rohloff Internal Gear Hub builds, we're big proponents of the Gates belt drive system, which is a fantastic option for single speed bikes as well as internal gear hub bikes. With Black Sheep's signature curved tubes, this bike is an exquisite example of the kind of creative fabrications that can be achieved by small custom frame builders. The whole bike weighs in at only 21 pounds but feels even lighter due to it's super light EDGE (now ENVE) carbon rims.

Gates Belt Drive with XTR cranks and Chris King single speed hub

31 October 2014

REVIEW: Soma Sandworm Fatbike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB and Gates Carbon Drive Belt

Soma Fabrications called us recently and told us they were designing their first fatbike frame named the Sandworm; they wanted us to test out the prototype and give it the Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 internal gear hub and Gates Carbon Drive belt drive treatment that we are known for. We were glad to hear they had decided to expand into fatbikes with this frame and potentially bring the fun of fatbiking to more people by filling a hole in the market for an affordable Rohloff/belt drive frame. Once we received the frame, we began mapping out a build kit suitable for this project.

28 October 2014

Merlin Roots Mountain Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB

This Merlin Roots came in to the Monkey Lab for routine service, and we were excited to check it out. Offered as a limited edition, the frame is modeled after the original west coast "Klunkers," the home-made dirt cruiser bikes that were ridden at breakneck speeds by the pioneers of mountain biking on the dirt roads and hiking trails of Marin County's Mount Tamalpais. Although the aesthetic of the bike is similar to early Klunkers, it's equipped with modern geometry, materials, and technology that didn't exist in the early days of mountain biking, including a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 and hydraulic disc brakes. This bike's owner was initially drawn to the bike because of its form, but his first few rides confirmed it is also an extremely functional ride.

Calfee Design Bamboo Road Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB and Dynamo hub

Bamboo is an unconventional material to build a bike from, but it has become an increasingly popular option as more and more riders discover the unique ride quality that it offers. We built this bamboo Calfee Design frame for a customer who enjoys long organized rides like the Seattle to Portland event along with exploring back roads around his home near Seattle. He also planned to use the bike for his daily transportation needs, so it was designed as a sturdy road bike/light duty touring bike. All the components needed to stand up to heavy mileage, rough roads, and the Pacific Northwest’s infamously damp climate. The Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 internal gear hub combined with a Gates Carbon Drive belt system provides a drivetrain that is nearly impervious to the elements, and the Schmidt dynamo hub-powered lights provide worry-free night time vision.

20 October 2014

Vassago Optimus Ti with Rohloff SPEEDHUB

Vassago’s Optimus Ti is a great example of a high-end titanium hardtail that is optimized for the Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14. It features cross country inspired geometry that also works well for more technical trail rides. Its titanium construction provides a comfortable ride quality that reduces vibrations yet remains stiff when you push it hard. The frame is hand built in Vassago’s Phoenix Arizona factory, and represents one of the best values on the market for a U.S.-made titanium frame. It's also one of the lightest Rohloff-equipped mountain bikes we've built, making it a favorite of racers or anyone who appreciates a lightweight, nimble ride.

17 October 2014

Erickson Randonneur/Commuter with Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14

R&E Cycles is a legendary bicycle maker in Seattle, WA. With two brands under their roof - Rodriguez Cycles and Erickson Cycles - they have been hand-building dream bikes for customers around the world since 1973 from their workshop in Seattle’s University District. They build a wide range of frames from classic road bikes to more unique - and often technically demanding - projects such as tandems, S&S coupled travel bikes, and frames with intricate design details. They also build a large number of Rohloff-equipped bikes like this Erickson commuter and are one of our biggest Rohloff SPEEDHUB customers. As their specialty brand, the Erickson line represents their most sophisticated body of work and is focused on one-of-a-kind custom bicycle designs, many of which include complex hand carved lugs. These frames are truly rideable works of art.

27 September 2014

Rohloff SPEEDHUB XL & Ventana El Gordo Belt Drive Fat Bike Packages - Fall 2014

We've worked with Ventana Mountain Bikes USA to create a special Cycle Monkey edition of their US-made El Gordo fat bike frame. The Cycle Monkey edition will feature dedicated cable routing for the Rohloff SPEEDHUB and stealth dropper seatposts. These frames are also belt drive compatible through Ventana's clever adjustable dropout system for the most maintenance-free fat bike drivetrain available. Options are available to build the bikes up with a suspension fork and dropper seatpost for trail use or with a rigid fork and post for sand/snow use.

Contact us at info@cyclemonkey.com or 510-868-1777 to place an order.

Ventana El Gordo Build Kit Options

The new SPEEDHUB XL (left), and the original SPEEDHUB 500/14 (right)

Rohloff SPEEDHUB XL features

  • 14 gears with a 526% overall change in gear ratio offers the same range as most three by nine mountain bike derailleur systems.
  • Same proven hub internals as the SPEEDHUB 500/14 provides 100,000+ miles of reliable service.
  • Shifting mechanism is completely protected within the hubshell and sealed from the elements.
  • Shift reliably in sand, snow, mud, and other riding conditions that are harsh on traditional drivetrains.
  • Shift between gears at any time, even when coasting or while stopped.
  • Hub needs no maintenance other than an annual oil change.
  • Large diameter, symmetrical hub flanges build into strong wheels.

    Ventana El Gordo frame features

    • Ventana tapered head tube (1-1/8" to 1.5")
    • Ventana proprietary three bolt swinging adjustable dropouts
    • Belt drive compatible - drive side dropout separates from seat stay to insert belt into rear triangle
    • Cycle Monkey edition has dedicated cable routing for Rohloff SPEEDHUB shift cables and stealth dropper seatposts
    • 170mm rear axle spacing
    • Symmetric frame can be built with any fat bike rim size, including 29+
    • Chainstay yoke provides ample clearance for large volume tires (4.8" tires on 100mm rims)
    • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL (see geometry chart here)
    • Custom geometry available upon request for additional charge.
    • Carbon Black or Mango Tango
    • Additional colors available for additional charge

    24 September 2014

    Ventana El Comandante Bike Packing bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB and BeltDrive

    Riding the Divide is one of the most awe-inspiring and grueling cycling challenges in the world. The 2,700 mile, 200,000 foot elevation gain ride goes from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, traversing the whole length of the United States along the Continental Divide. The Divide is also the route of the annual Tour Divide, a famous unsupported endurance race. The record for the race is 15 days, but the ride is also done at a more leisurely pace by non-competitive riders who want to enjoy the beautiful Rocky Mountain scenery along the way. We built this Rohloff SPEEDHUB-equipped Ventana El Comandante for a customer who is planning to ride and train around his home near Columbus, OH with the goal of eventually gearing up for a Divide ride of his own.

    28 August 2014

    Co-Motion Americano Touring Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB, Schmidt SON28 Dynamo, and Gates Belt Drive

    Taking a four month tour through the Balkan Peninsula in Europe requires a commitment to adventure. As with most self-supported bike trips, you must be prepared for different road conditions, varying weather, and unexpected mishaps. The embrace of the unknown was exactly what inspired this build: the customer, from Santa Cruz, CA wanted a fully-equipped touring bike to set out to see new parts of the world. Based on his criteria, we set him up with a Co-Motion Americano equipped with a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14, belt drive, generator hub, and an array of other reliable touring components to keep him comfortable during his travels.

    15 August 2014

    Ventana El Gordo Fatbike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB XL and Gates CarbonDrive belt

    We were very excited when Rohloff called at the start of the summer to tell us they were sending us a pre-production sample of their new fat bike-specific SPEEDHUB XL. We had learned they were considering producing this 170mm wide hub only a few months prior, and now prototypes had already been built and tested and they were on to a pre-production run. Our sample hub showed up a week later and we marveled at how it dwarfed the standard SPEEDHUB 500/14.

    The only problem on our end was finding a frame to use to build the new hub into a bike. Since we don't get snow in the San Francisco Bay Area, we planned to set the bike up for trail riding, which has become an increasingly popular use for fat bikes. This meant that the bike would be getting a suspension fork and dropper seatpost. It also needed to be belt drive compatible since we prefer the maintenance-free aspect of belts.

    07 August 2014

    Rohloff SPEEDHUB XL Fat Bike Wheel Build Specials Through August 31

    Now through August 31, when we anticipate our first delivery of Rohloff's new fat bike-specific SPEEDHUB XL internal gear hubs, Cycle Monkey is offering specials on bikes and wheels built around these hubsDetails on wheelset specials can be found below. Details for complete bike packages can be found here.

    Rims are available in carbon fiber or aluminum in widths from 50-100mm for trail or sand/snow use. Wheels can be set up with tubes or tubeless using tires from Vee Rubber, Surly, and 45NRTH. All wheels are built to Cycle Monkey's exacting in-house standards and come with our standard two-year guarantee on craftsmanship.

    During our pre-sale, receive 10% off bike and wheel packages. In addition to this special pricing, existing SPEEDHUB owners can trade in their Rohloff hubs for $700 in credit towards a complete bike or new wheelset. With the anticipated late August delivery date for the new SPEEDHUB, we expect to start shipping wheels by the middle of September.

    Contact us at info@cyclemonkey.com or 510-868-1777 to place an order.

    Wheelsets starting at $2,141

    Signature Wheelset: $2,416

    Rear Hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB XL
    Front Hub: Hope Fatsno
    Rims: Surly Clown Shoe
    Spokes: Sapim Race
    Nipples: Sapim Race
    QR Skewers: Hope
    Tires: Vee Rubber Snowshoe XL or H-Billie
    Tubes: Surly fat bike tubes or tubeless

    Black Sheep Highlight ST with Schlumpf, Belt Drive, & Rohloff SPEEDHUB

    We built this bike for a customer in Vail, CO who was looking for an all-around mountain bike that catered to some very specific setup needs. He enjoys long rides exploring the backcountry roads of Colorado's High Country and wanted a bike that would take his adventures further into the seemingly endless trails of the Rocky Mountains. His build needed to be reliable, low maintenance, and capable enough for all-day rides combining dirt and pavement.

    For this build, comfort was a top priority for our customer given distress caused by arthritis in his hands. With this in mind, he wanted a simple ergonomic setup that would be easy on his wrists and that avoided trigger-style shifters.

    04 August 2014

    Jeff Jones Titanium Space Frame With Rohloff SPEEDHUB

    This bike was built for a local customer who came to us looking for a unique frame that was comfortable and versatile enough for the different types of trails near his home in Oakland, CA. He had his eye on a Jeff Jones Titanium Space frame, which has long been recognized as one of the most distinctive titanium mountain frames.

    Our customer planned to explore the Bay Area on various trail rides and weekend trips. From long rides on hilly doubletrack to weekend bike camping trips on paved and dirt roads to quick twisty singletrack, he wanted a bike that would do it all. After talking with him about his riding style, we put together a collection of top-notch components  including a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14  that would match the aesthetics of the titanium frame and last him for years.

    24 June 2014

    Tech Talk: Belt vs. Chain Drive

    Belt drive on a modified Surly Pugsley
    Chain drive on a stock Vassago Verhauen

    Belt drives are one of the most exciting innovations in bicycle technology in recent years, as they have helped expose more cyclists to the advantages of internally geared drivetrains. A belt drive paired with a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 or Schlumpf Drive creates one of the most reliable and low maintenance drivetrains available.

    The entire belt drive system consisting of a belt and front and rear
     sprockets weighs nearly half of a standard chain

    09 June 2014

    Vassago Verhauen with Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14

    We put together this Vassago Verhauen with a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 to showcase a 29er hardtail made in the U.S. from premium True Temper steel. With a butted, heat treated tubeset that is light and strong, this frame offers the lively ride that steel bikes are known for. Traditional cross country geometry makes the Verhauen right at home on tight, twisty singletrack, and paired with a SPEEDHUB, it is sure to satisfy riders looking for a fun, minimal maintenance mountain bike.

    Vassago is based in Phoenix, Arizona, and hand builds their Black Label frame models right here in the United States, including the Verhauen. By using True Temper's OX Platinum tubing and frame parts from Paragon Machine Works, Vassago is able to offer a completely US-made frame. The inclusion of Paragon's sliding dropouts makes the frame compatible with a wide variety of drivetrains and axle interfaces, including a clean SPEEDHUB installation. True Temper's OX Platinum tubing is made from high strength modern steel that is shaped to provide more material in high stress areas and less material in low stress areas to save weight.

    The Verhauen frame offers the same quality as meticulously built frames from the most renowned small frame builders, but at a price that is much more approachable than these artisan frames.  Along with the Verhauen, Vassago also offers the titanium Optimus Ti and TKO models as part their Black Label series. Additionally, the company offers imported frames for those looking for a much lower pricepoint, including the Jabberwocky and Fisticuff.  All of these frames are well suited for use with a Rohloff SPEEDHUB.

    For the wheels, we started with Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Flow rims, which are a light, trail-oriented option with a medium width. We then added Sapim Race spokes and brass nipples to lace up a black Rohloff SPEEDHUB rear hub and Toxaholics front hub. After the wheels were built, we mounted Schwalbe’s Smart Sam tires, which have low center knobs that roll fast in hard-packed dirt as well as taller side knobs to grip in loose conditions.

    While many cross country-oriented bikes prioritize light weight, they often do so at the expense of being delicate. Light components can be desirable for racing, but they are often not designed to last more than one season and typically need regular maintenance to keep running smoothly. The combination of the Rohloff SPEEDHUB and lightweight steel Verhauen frame gives this bike the responsive feel of a lightweight race bike, yet does not need a mechanic's special touch after each ride. Quality steel frames are known to last for more than a decade, and the SPEEDHUB has an undefined lifespan with the only routine maintenance being a recommended annual oil change.

    To finish off the build, we used a selection of high performance, yet durable components including a Rockshox SID fork, Magura MT8 hydraulic disc brakes, Salsa Bend 2 handlebars, ESI latex foam grips, Thomson stem and seatpost, and Race Face Turbine cranks. With these race-worthy yet reliable parts, this Verhauen is a fast and fun build for nearly any trail style.

    If you are looking a trail bike in the same style as this Verhauen, contact us to start a conversation about a Vassago bike of your own.

    Build Details:

    • Frame: Vassago Verhauen
    • Fork: Rockshox SID
    • Headset: Cane Creek Forty
    • Stem: Thomson Elite X4
    • Handlebar: Salsa Bend 2
    • Shifter: Rohloff
    • Grips: ESI foam
    • Seat post: Thomson
    • Saddle: WTB Valcon
    • Seat Clamp: Vassago
    • Front Hub: Toxaholics
    • Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14
    • Spokes: Sapim Race
    • Nipples: Sapim Brass
    • Rims: Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Flow
    • Tires: Schwalbe Smart Sam
    • Cranks: Race Face Turbine
    • Pedals: Shimano XTR SPD
    • Bottom Bracket: Race Face
    • Chain ring: Race Face Single
    • Rear Sprocket: Rohloff
    • Chain: Wipperman Connex
    • Brakes & Levers: Magura MT8
    • Rotors: Magura Storm