Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Goat Ti

A month or so ago, Mark Lynskey stopped by the shop. Some of you might recognize the name from Lynskey Performance Bikes but most would remember the name as the founding family of the Litespeed brand. After the family parted way with Litespeed (and after serving an appropriate non-compete sentence)they are back building titanium bikes. Mark had a blast going through the archives and looking for ideas. The talk then turned to building titanium goodies for Mountain Goat.

We had Paul, of Rock Lobster fame, build us some bull moose handlebars out of steel. We had them made to fit the now-standard 1 1/8" thread less set up. We have a couple extra sets that we sell for $175. The bars are raw steel so they need to be finished. We talked about plating them and someone suggested that we could do them in titanium for not a whole lot more. When Mark got back to the shop, he drew up some bars. As soon as we finalize the drawings, we'll get some made up. Looks like $399 for the Ti bars.

We've contemplated the "stock" frame and came up with a couple of great ideas. We wanted to keep as much "goat-ness" as possible. The wishbone stays are pretty easy. Next was the head tube reinforcing rings and that is where it got tough. About the only way to make them work was to carve up a head tube to the tune of about $600......think we'll pass on that one. Next up was the finish. To me, there is something inherently wrong about painting Ti. Part of the appeal is the durability of the finish (no chips!). Fortunately, Lynskey has a really nice etching option that we really liked on their sample frame. We spend some time on the phone with David Cash, from Lynskey, and worked out a really nice scheme. We are going to duplicate the panels using the etching process. It will be like the team paint with top tube, down tube and seat tube panels. The top tube panel will feature the model name, the down tube will have the Mountain Goat logo and the seat tube has the goat head.

We are currently working on nailing down the details and hoped to have one ordered in the next couple of week.s Once we do, we'll check it out to nail down the final details and pricing. Expect somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,500 for the frame.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Birth of a MOMBAT

We've been looking to "formalize" the bike collection for awhile now. It wouldn't change a lot of what we do but a "museum" sounds a little better than "bike shop" when we go out looking for donations, help, the search was on.

The first step was to check into 501(c)(3) non profit status. We have had several folks willing to donate bikes to the cause but they were also interested in the potential tax benefits. The call went out to several different lists trying to find someone who could give us an idea of what we would be getting into. By accident, we were talking to a fellow with a cool old Moots bike who happened to specialize in setting up non-profits (like your neighborhood bike shop......unfortunately!). It appeared that there were a couple of issues: first,how to separate the collection from the shop, and secondly, the ownership of the bikes. The separation issue would be tough but it could be solved. The ownership issue pretty much killed the deal. To set up the non-profit, I would have to give all of the bikes to the non-profit entity. Since we have been using the bike collection as something of a stand-in for our 401k, that wasn't really a viable option. The only way around it would be for the non-profit to purchase the bikes at a reasonable cost from the shop which sounds great until you realize the non-profit has very little way to raise money. Oh well.

So we went on to step two which was to set up a separate identity for the collection. I've always been a fan of making the name pretty obvious. If you sell cakes, have "cake" in your name. If you have a mountain bike museum, you damn well better have "mountain bike" and "museum" in the name. Once again, we leaned on our list of friends for some ideas. There were quite a few different suggestions and four or five of them would have done a fine job. Ross Shafer submitted the Museum of Mountain Bike Art and History. The first time I said it out loud, it just kinda rolled of the tongue. I also really liked the art and technology part. Looking at many of our bikes, the word art comes easily to mind. The technology part is pretty obvious and helps make sure we didn't end up being thought of as a place with pictures of bikes hanging on the wall! As a bonus, MOMBAT has a neat ring to it and it could even be seen as a very small tribute to Jacquie Phelan's WOMBATS (Womens Mountain Bike and Tea Society).

With the name out of the way, a logo would be up next. And if you haven't figured out the pattern yet, we put a shout out to our various groups of friends looking for suggestions. Captain Dondo has a couple up @ that we have been working on. We've tried to include a few touchstones such as a Breezer Series I (SeeKays bike no less), a 1" pitch chain ring and the outline of the Schwinn Excelsior badge. Take a look and let us know whatcha think or even better, send us your ideas.

As the search goes on, we've been working on selling off a few bikes that might not qualify as museum specimens. This should give us a little more breathing room to display the remaining bikes better (quality over quantity). Other than that, a couple of idea brewing but nothing definite. Maybe a series of t-shirts in limited quantities to members? Vintage bike of the year? We'll see where it takes us.

And since you have read this, you are obviously in one of our groups of friends that we lean on heavily. If you have ideas or suggestions, please pass them along.