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.
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!