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What a Sassy Babe

Paul on his Salsa frame by Ross Shafer back when it was hot off the workshop press. We have an interview with Ross and a new video about the bike below (we actually have THREE videos - two more of Mission Workshop in San Francisco - so pop some corn). But first:
It's cyclocross season. Your hometown crew has probably started running some drills and hunting for mud, and we hope your cantilevers actually work because doesn't it seem like the MiniMotos are actually the only ones that do? As a reminder, they have:
  • Short, curved arms that provide plenty of clearance for CX tires or wide fenders.
  • Spring tension that’s independently adjustable for each arm, so the brake can be precisely centered on the wheel and adjusted for return strength.
  • A beautifully simple, pivoting quick release on one arm, so it’s easy to open the brake and remove the wheel.
  • A barrel adjuster for quick and painless fine-tuning of the cable tension without tools.
  • A narrow profile design.
You're better at everything if your equipment allows you to be. Order here.

More in the spirit of cross...

Obviously, we didn't INVENT the cross lever, but we saw its usefulness and made one our way because stopping power is the ultimate power, especially if you're riding fast. 

The pin moves from one position to the other - one for short and one for long pull - so they work with 99.9% of bicycle brakes ever made (most likely, we got you covered). Instead of pulling the cable, our lever actually pushes the housing apart. 

Our latest version has slightly tilted housing exits, so the housing flows away nicely from the handlebars. 

Also, John Degenkolb used one this year in the Paris Roubaix. We don't mean to name drop but, just sayin...


Don't know if you know this but...


Paul doesn't actually write this newsletter.

He's a major contributor, but mostly Paul has to design stuff, project manage stuff, give talks at events like Mission Workshop (keep reading, vids below), fix the dune buggy, and rip bathrooms out of the wall to make space for new machines.

But today, we do have an article from Paul - a piece of info straight from from the horse's mouth - to answer a question we get a lot. It's called:

Why You Can’t Use the Motolite Brake to Adapt a 700c Wheel to Your 27” Frame

And here it is:

We get a lot of questions about people having a bike they want to put a smaller wheel on. Sometimes it’s so they can fit a bigger tire, or sometimes it’s because they have a nice frame with an obsolete wheel size and want new wheels. This is the case for bike frames designed around 27” wheels. Many nice frames were built like this back in the day, so the need to keep them going is real.


Problem is, there’s very limited availability for good tires and rims in that size. Many of those frames were designed during the touring craze of the same era and thus have cantilever brakes. In the case of going from 27” to 700c, here are some words describing why it just doesn’t work, even though you really want it to. (You can cut the studs off your frame and use our Racer brake, but that is a different article.)


We make a brake called the Motolite, and it has a huge range of height adjustment for the pads. For example, you can put a 700c wheel on a frame designed for 26” wheels. That’s a difference of 32mm - handy! But here is the problem: 700c wheels are SMALLER than 27” wheels. The pad height adjustment range on the Motolites is typically about 5mm down and 35mm up. Ninety nine percent of the time the down range is not enough to work with the smaller 700c wheel.


But wait, you say. The difference in rim diameters is only 8mm. That means the radius difference is only 4mm! You said above the Motolite typically has 5mm downward range!


Well yes, the diameter of the 27”rim is 630mm, and the diameter of the 700c rim is 622mm. So 8mm or 4mm per side. The thing is, it all comes down to cantilever post location. Back in the old days, cantilever brake pads had rods that clamped them in position as opposed to the modern type with nuts. These brakes had a much larger range of cantilever boss locations they could be used with. (The modern nutted kind have a much more specific cantilever stud location.) Typically the studs (or canti “posts”) would be welded on much closer to the rim both vertically and horizontally. It didn’t matter all that much, the brakes themselves would work more than likely.


Back to that 4mm difference. You’ve got a really nice touring frame built in the 70’s and the canti studs are mounted 3mm higher than what is commonly used today in reference to how far vertically the post is from the rim. This is quite common. But if our Motolite has a normal 5mm downward range and the difference in the rim size is 4mm, that leaves 1mm of wiggle room with perfectly placed studs. But your canti studs are 3mm higher (again, pretty typical) than what’s normal now, so the pad needs to come down an additional 3mm. There is only 1mm left and boom, you’ve hitting the pivot/spring part of the brake and the pads won’t go down any farther.


And that’s why you can’t put 700c wheels on a bike designed for 27” wheels and cantilever brakes.

Have a good ride,

Yes, we have two of these

Our last Paul-with-Salsa pic and here's our vid:
YouTubers can watch here.

7 Questions with Ross Shafer, the creator of Salsa

1. In the bike world, you're known as the father of Salsa. What's your reputation in the pedal steel guitar world?  

The steels I’m making have only been introduced to the steel community in the last few months so I’m relatively unknown.

After seeing one of the shop videos Mari (lovely wife) & I have done to promote the instruments, one steel player likened me to the “Nutty Professor”…gotta like that!

2. How did you feel about bikes when you left the company and how do you feel about them now? 

Loved bikes then and love ‘em now!….I can still love bikes even though I don’t ride ‘em anymore, can’t I? 

3. Besides pedal steel, what are some other inventions or accomplishments you've made in the last 20 years?

After 17 years of sharing the shop with him I finally got Sean Walling outta my hair and into his own damn shop!

I designed, built and installed what must be one of the most expensive doorbells ever produced. 

I somehow manage to continue making a livelihood doing something I have a passion for. 

4. Describe your favorite farm animal of all time that you've had. 

Contrary to popular opinion, it ain’t a damn sheep!  Sheeit…it was just a calendar shoot y’all, nothing else happened, REALLY!

Anyway, my fave farm critter would be my sweet little piggle Arva. Mari gave her to me for our 18th anniversary, she was a stray found on the side of the road…she weighed around 40 lbs….she’s closer to 800 lbs now and still just as sweet. 

5. What's your favorite material to work with?

Corduroy is pretty cool. Have you heard about the new pillow covers they’re making with it?

They’re making headlines!!

6. We saw you cleaned out your shop and took down old photos and paraphernalia and centerfolds - are you missing that or are you missing the clean look? 

Yup, all that stuff’s gone…mostly…lot’s went to good homes. I don’t really miss it because I pretty much have it all memorized, lots of really awesome memories in all that crap. 

The “new” shop is slowly getting a bit of decoration, but for now, I’m digging the clean look…a couple of folks have seen the new shop and said I must’ve grown up…No Fucking Way!

7. Sandals with socks or no socks? 

Seriously? Everyone knows the answer to that. WITH of course! But if it ain’t the right socks, wear shoes or stay home!

Have You Heard of Mission Workshop?

They've been making hardy, American made apparel and bags since the 90s while rooted in an area of San Francisco once known as "The Messenger Ghetto."

Another cool thing they do is feature local(ish) hotshots who've also rebuilt and furthered the movement of making things that are designed with intention, USA manufactured, and constructed like a brick shithouse.

Very recently, Paul was featured, and it was rumored to be the biggest turnout they've seen. The whole event was a Who's Who of local NorCal bike culture. Fergus Tanaka, Stevil from AHTBM, Chris McNally, Danny Boy Smith, Marc Marino - they were all there.

It was kind of a surreal dream - Loud Ass was even there in a suit. 

We so appreciate the invite and all the people who came out. Here's a video of the talk. And below we have some Q&A you don't want to skip.


530-345-4371 ext. 202.

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