Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The World's only Ridley X-Fire Single Speed (with sliding dropouts that is)

I get a lot of compliments on my custom Ridley X-Fire Single Speed.  Before you say it, yes you can buy Ridley's newest X-Fire frame with the PF30 BB and use an eccentric BB to make a nice single speed.

But I went a different route.  This was my old X-Fire race bike that had been used for many years and beaten up pretty badly.  A mis-guided triple bunny hop over some barriers left a nice chunk of carbon missing.  A metal flag (promoters, please use tape and not metal flags) jammed into the rear derailleur broke the hanger and took some carbon from one of the seat stays.  Lots of crashes over the years caused many scratches and rubs to my frame.

So after a year of it hanging in my garage, I thought I would see about getting the damage fixed.  I contacted Ruckus Carbon Repair about fixing the carbon and also about chopping off the rear dropouts and installing some proper sliding dropouts.

After a lengthy wait my Ridley X-Fire was re-united with me, this time as a single speed!  Switching from a nice (but heavy) All City Nature Boy to my Ridley was quite an improvement in weight!

Here are some pictures of the process and the final result.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Selling point of sealed bearings?

This summer I was looking at buying a new MTB.  When I visited several different shops to see what was available, one thing that came up over and over was that the bike had "sealed bearings".  I didn't tell the shops what I do for a living, so I kind of chuckled to myself.  It seems that a "sealed bearing" is an upgrade over what, a non sealed bearing I guess?  Hint, nobody sells non sealed bearings on their bikes.

I read about bike specs online, most make a point to say "sealed bearings".  Why is that?  I think they are taking advantage of a un-informed buyer who hears "sealed bearing" and thinks this is an upgrade.

The greatest system created for hubs has to be Shimano's loose ball design.  They last for 200,000 miles or so with an occasional greasing, are adjustable and virtually indestructible.

Somewhere along the way hub makers thought they could save some money and switched to cartridge bearings.  These are fine, I have no problem with them and some of my wheels use them.  But they are inferior to loose ball hubs in both performance and longevity.

Referencing a cartridge bearing as a "sealed bearing" is taking advantage of the customer.  A "sealed bearing" just means that the cartridge bearing uses rubber seals, as opposed to metal shields.  It does not mean the bearing is sealed.  Actually sealing a bearing would make it impossible for the bearing to spin.

But by saying a bike has "sealed bearings" it gives the customer a false sense of security, as in "don't worry about the bearings... they are sealed so they'll last forever riding in any condition you can think of".

A cartridge bearing by default has a limited lifespan.  Each size is rated for a specific static load.  Many hub makers use undersized bearings to save weight.  This makes the static load inadequate.  This leads to shortened bearing life.  Ceramic bearings help you get around this problem but will eventually succumb to it too.

The biggest advantage to "sealed bearings" is that they are easy to replace when the day comes you realize your "sealed bearings" weren't really a selling point after all.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Updated pulley, now shipping. Here's a peek

7 years ago I released our first Delrin (that's a type of plastic) ceramic pulley.  Before that we have offered aluminum and titanium ceramic pulleys.  Here's a look at one of our alloy body, ceramic pulleys.

The new design was great for the time and in the 7 years that followed, I never felt the need to change the pulley design.  Sure the bearings were tweaked on a yearly basis to improve them, but the same pulley body was used each year.

The old pulley was made by a process called injection molding.  This meant we'd have an outer bearing race put into the mold and then the plastic pulley body would be injected around the race.  This process created a consistent Delrin quality and was cost effective.  Here is the first Delrin body, ceramic pulley.

Noticed how our VCRC logo was not only laser etched onto the alloy dustcaps but it was also applied to the pulley body itself.

Later we tweaked it a little and removed the extra logo.  Here is that version.

This model worked well but over time we found with lots of use the injection molding process was not ideal for the longevity of the Delrin.  Most customers had no issues but a few would find the body would wear out quicker than we'd like.

So we studied how other companies like Shimano did their pulleys.  One common feature found among really long wearing pulleys was that instead of injection molding, they would machine their pulley bodies from blocks of Delrin.  This method is more expensive but offers a much stronger, durable and pretty result.  Here is the new version:

Also, here is our new Titanium version, complete with ceramic bearings installed.

We are currently in the process of updating our website with pictures of the new version.  The new machined Delrin version is currently shipping for all pulley orders placed at our website,

Monday, September 29, 2014

October Surprise? Take 10% off team kit orders during October plus a bonus!

Avoid the Winter rush, start your order early! Orders placed in October will receive a 10% discount. Paid in full orders started in October will receive a 15% discount (5% paid in full discount + 10% October discount)!!  

​In order to qualify, an order deposit or a paid in full order must be placed by October 31st.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

What are the differences in our lubricants?

Keep your bearings spinning smoothly mile after mile! We offer four different types of lubricants. Please read below for information on each.

First is our VCRC Speed Cream Grease. It is our original grease and long stood as our premium lubricant. It is still very advanced and has been used for over 10 years to make our bearings. It has been recently surpassed by our VCRC Racing Cream but that doesn't mean it is being phased out. On the contrary, this lube will still make a fast bearing and it is much more affordable. Unlike our Racing Cream, which is a thin, long wearing lube, we designed this grease to start sticky and then with use, it turns very smooth and fast! VCRC Speed Cream Grease is blue. This grease is available as an option when ordering our bearings.

Second is our VCRC Advanced Speed Cream. 
Building upon our original Speed Cream, Advanced Speed Cream introduces a friction reducing ingredient that when paired with our ceramic bearings, reduces friction even more! This grease is useful in maintaining older bearings in particular as the friction reducing agent can help to repair races that are starting to wear out. We designed this grease to start sticky and then with use, it turns very smooth and fast! Use less of this (compared to our Speed Cream) as it is thicker and more advanced. If your bearings are wearing out and new grease doesn't help, please consider our factory rebuild program where we take apart your bearings, replace worn parts and send back a like new bearing.

Third is our VCRC Racing Cream. Our mad lubrication guru has done it again! Our newest grease is called VCRC Racing Cream. VCRC Racing Cream is the pinnacle of grease and is designed to be thinner and faster than our Speed Cream yet also more long lasting with better performance.. VCRC Racing Cream is a premium lubrication that provides the BEST performance for all ceramic bearings. VCRC Racing Cream works very well in both cold weather and hot weather. VCRC Racing Cream is white. This grease is available as an option when ordering our bearings.

Our fourth and final option (available on select items) is our VCRC Liquid Lube. We upgrade the races and use a special liquid lube that provides a very fast bearing, ideal for race situations. It is slightly faster than our Racing Cream, with the downside being since it is liquid, you have to re-apply the lube more often.This grease is available as an option when ordering our bearings. We do not sell this grease by itself, it is supplied when ordering our Liquid bearings.
All of our lubricants have excellent water resistance & rust protective properties and provide superior oxidation stability, rust and corrosion protection & resistance to water contamination.

Friday, February 22, 2013

More proof that handbuilt bearings are better

We read the following post recently at a message board:

FSA installs the bearing cartridge the wrong way in one of the two the plastic cups for all their ceramic PF30 bottom brackets.


The FSA ceramic PF30 bearing come with pretty thin grease that doesn't last too long. Of course it is easy to re-grease them with thicker grease, but that has to be done with them in the bike since you can't remove PF30 without destroying the plastic cup or bearing. 

After removing the bearing seals, I was able to re-grease one side without difficulty, but I found that the bearings were not exposed on the other side. Instead, the plastic ring that holds the bearing was facing out, which made getting grease into the bearings next to impossible. 

When I called FSA about this, they said that is the way they make them because it would cost them $100K to retool the machine to insert the cartridge the correct way. When I asked how to re-grease the bearing, he didn't have an answer.

What's frustrating, beyond the fact these cost $150, is that FSA includes a srynge with grease and instructions on re-greasing, but you can only do that on one side.


FSA builds there bearing by machine and is so disconnected, they install the bearings backwards making greasing hard, if not impossible.  

Too bad the customer didn't purchase our PF BB30 BB with bearings that we build by hand and press into the cups with a simple bearing press.  We make sure our bearings face the right way so you can grease them when needed.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Stem Shootout... 2013!

We thought we'd do a little comparison post taking a look at our VCRC Pro stem compared to the competition.  We are comparing their "flagship" alloy stems to our "flagship" alloy stem.  There are many brands that we didn't include simply because we didn't have the space.  We tried to include what most people look at when considering an upgrade (3T, Deda, Ritchey, Zipp and FSA).  Max weight for a stem to make our list is 140g.  Many heavier stems are much cheaper and cost much less per gram, but you are taking a step backwards with a heavier stem.

All stems compared are alloy.  We'll compare weight and price.  Prices will be taken from and We listed the weight for our stem for each size we offer.  Unfortunately most manufacturers only weigh the shortest stem and publish those weights.  That's OK though, we'll base things on our 120mm stem and give everyone else a head-start.

We will then calculate the cost per gram for each stem.  Lower is better.  We divide the price by how many grams the stem weighs, to calculate the cost per gram.

First up, our Pro stem:

VCRC Pro Stem

Regular Price, $69- On Sale for $59
Weight, 90mm (125g) 100mm (128g) 110mm (132g) 120mm (138g) 130mm (141g)
Cost per gram, $0.43
Ti bolt upgrade saves another 8g for $20
Cost per gram w/Ti bolt upgrade, $0.60

3T Arx Team

Regular Price, $117
Weight, 120g (unknown size)
Comes with Ti bolts
Cost per gram, $0.98

Deda Elementi Zero 100 Pista Stem

Regular Price, $136
Weight, 140g (unknown size)
Comes with Ti bolts
Cost per gram, $0.97

Ritchey WCS 4-Axis 44 Stem

Regular Price, $99
Weight, 132g (unknown size)
Comes with steel bolts
Cost per gram, $0.75

Zipp Service Course SL Stem

Regular Price, $109
Weight, 120g (80mm)
Comes with Ti bolts
Cost per gram, $0.91


Regular Price, $109
Weight, 98g (unkown size)
Comes with Ti bolts
Cost per gram, $0.76

------ There are some surprising stems too that come in more in our price range of $0.4x per gram.  The Zipp Service Course, the 3T Arx Pro and the Pro PLT come to mind.  There are certainly others too, but it seems roughly $0.43 - $0.45 are about the best price per gram you can find right now for a sub 140g stem.  Some notable bank breakers like the carbon Ritchey Superlogic C-260 just blow the mind at $2.18 per gram.