MPLS Skyline

Product Development: Big Block Number 1


The other day I was messing around with my winter bike / fixed gear commuter, the first ever All-City frame Big Block prototype number 1.  This thing has seen 4 winters now and keeps going strong.  I figured I'd take the opportunity to shoot some photos and show how the bike has evolved over the years.

The most notable changes here are the dropouts, the capping of the seatstays, the seat collar, standover height, and bottle cage height.

We'll go into a few of the other changes below, but a small but big change that I notice everytime I ride this bike is the placement of the bottle cage.  On the first proto it was a little low, and reaching way down between your spinning legs on a track bike can be disconcerting.  For the first production we moved the cage as far up as possilbe on the larger frame sizes to make getting a drink easier.  We also adjusted the height of the top tube a little bit to give a little extra standover height.

This first frame, and the first year of Big Block's were not ED Coated.  ED capability was a process that we developed during the Nature Boy development and then retro actively applied to the Big Block and all subsequent framesets.  You can see a bit of the rust peeking through as a result of winter salt.  Also of note is the tied and soldered wheels.  I would love to get some new one's but it's been four years on these things and I can't kill them, and thus can't justify building new ones.

XTR brake levers.  Baller.

Here you can clearly see the headtube reinforcement ring, we put these on all of our "street" framesets to minimize the possibility of head tube ovalization in case of front end impact. 

Non branded crankset, these were just laying around and I didn't feel like buying a set of 612's for it, so I've been riding these for a few years now.  Waste not, want not.

We couldn't get investment cast dropout samples in time for the 2009 Frostbike tradeshow so this bike was built with water jet cut plate steel ones.  You'll notice a lack of refinement in the Hennepin Bridge detail and the lack of a chain tensioner.  Also because they are steel w/ a stainless face I've got some rust happening.

Also notice the square edge cap on the chainstay, with the Nature Boy we developed a round cap style that we now use on everything and retroactively applied to the Big Block. 

Our first brazed on seat collar, we had some paint issues with this one so we've moved onto a different style.

I love taking these little strolls through memory lane, and I love riding this bike!


clark achilles

September 1, 2012

how much is thunderdome frame set and when will it be available? thanks


September 5, 2012

$650 December



September 5, 2012

Great idea to show how the bikes age. The superior aging of the later iterations will show very clearly how right your decisions have been since.



October 2, 2013

Love my Big Block.  It’s been a polo bike and my work bike more recently.  Every day, all-weather, curb-hopping, often full-sprint city riding, and it’s still in great shape.  Can’t wait to ride it for four more years.

Question: Next to the eight-or-so digit serial number, it has another stamped number reading ‘‘BIG55,’’ I think.  Does this mean I’m riding the 55th manufactured Big Block?

Just curious.  Thanks!

Leave a comment

Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?
* Get your picture next to your comment with a Gravatar Account.

Recent Posts

Attention Kansas City and St. Louis, We are Coming!!!!!

Hello party people, if you happen to be in or near KC or St. Louis next week, you should totally come out and go for a ride with us. We will be hitting Kansas City on Tuesday to go for a roll around with the homies from Velo +, and on Wednesday night we will on a two night stand in St. Louis with a ride on Wednesday and the Spoked Bikes and Stuff One Year Anniversary party on Thursday.
Read More

We got new hats!!!

We did the craziest thing imaginable and ordered some hats in new colors and w/ updated graphics. Wild right? Is your mind blown? Do you need to take some time to recover from the shock? No worries. Catch your breath. We'll be here when you're ready.
Read More

What we ride:  Nick’s Space Horse

I hesitated posting pictures of my personal Space Horse build as it felt a little “braggy” to me but I really want to give you all a glimpse into where my brain is at. Buckle up and hold on. So truth be told I was never a big fan of the Space Horse. My only experience being the annual SaddleDrive industry event where I’d grab one and take it for a quick lap around the lower parking lot and back up the hill. The bikes are set up “to fit everyone” so the Space Horse always felt way too tall and uninspiring. Meh. In August of last year my opinion drastically changed.
Read More