Thursday, February 22, 2018

Welcome To Worthington Cycles

We specialize in high end custom made steel racing bicycles. Contact us to see if we can help you with the selection of a new bicycle, repairs, replacement parts, as well as the design and building of one-off hand made custom frames. We can provide hard to find parts and accessories, specialty replacement parts, and even custom designed and manufactured parts and accessories. We also specialize in bicycle photography services, both in studio or on assignment, in addition to bicycle racing photography.

Based in Santa Cruz California Worthington Cycles was founded in 1983 by Monty Worthington. Since 1983 we have built  custom steel frames including; mountain bike frames, road frames, track frames, and cyclo-cross frames. We have also designed and built specialty handlebars, custom stems, cantilever brakes, custom wheels, and many other specialty parts. 2018 is the 35th year building and working on custom bicycles! 

Take a look at our posts on Custom Frames, Cantilever Brakes, Custom Wheels, and Custom Steel Stems, each is summarized with photos, product information, and some history of the product. All of our in house products are made in small custom quantities offering a limited supply, and depending on the season we may be out doing R&D testing or racing, instead of just building parts.

Worthington Cycles also has a long history of doing bicycle racing photography and product photography for the bicycle industry. We are working on a Image Library to show some of our classic racing images from our many years of covering races freelance or on assignment with major cycling publications.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Bottom Bracket Standards

After several years of a new Bottom Bracket standard being introduced it seems every month, it seems like things have settled down a little bit in this area of bike desing.

Whether it is PressFit 30, BB30, T47, or one of the myriad of other proprietary setups Worthington Cycles will offer frames with the good old threaded BSA "english" bottom brackets for the foreseeable future.

Some may argue that the various 30mm BB standards offer some performance advantages including larger bearings and the 30mm dia. stiffer bb axle -- we feel that using the 386EVO, or similar designs, can be much better and accomplish the same result. Both of my personal road bikes currently have FSA EVO386 threaded bottom brackets on them which are are doing great after a few seasons of use. For mountain bikes I tend to run with the standard BSA threaded 24mm Shimano setup which works great as well.

About the only time a BB30 or PF30 bottom bracket is more useful is when a rare customer has problems with ankle clearance on a standard crankset - the BB30 crank systems do offer tons of extra ankle clearance due to the narrower BB profile.

I tend to be an ankle and foot rub person - fortunately I am able to just get by with the existing cranks with an outboard bearing system on a standard threaded bottom bracket.

At some point the T47 (essentially a threaded PF30 shell) setup has few drawbacks other than setup costs and tooling - this might be the future, but for now I am sitting back and keeping an eye on things to see how it all shakes out...If someone were to send me some cutting taps for T47 I would probably switch to that system!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Custom Wheels

Worthington Cycles can custom build a perfect set of wheels for you. We can build ultralight road wheels, aero wheels, bomb-proof training wheels and Mountain wheels of any type. We do all of our building by hand and select each component to match your needs. Build with your choice of top of the line hubs, rims and spokes all in a hand built custom design. We can build wheels that are better than most of the factory sets now available.

• Rim Choices: Sun, DT, Velocity, Stans NoTubes, HED, Kinlin, Easton etc...
• Hubs: Shimano, DT, Chris King, Bitex, etc...
• Spokes: DT, Wheelsmith, Sapim
• 700C, 29er, 26" MTN, 650B, Tandem, Single Speed, Gravel Wheels
• Mountain Wheels
• Tubeless Road Wheels
• Disc Brake Wheels for Mountain, Cross or Road
• Specialty Lacing Patterns Available

An example of a lightweight set of road wheels we recently built use Stan's Notubes Alpha 340 rims in 24H Rear & 20H front drilling. They are laced with DT Revolution spokes on the rear, and DT aerolite spokes on the front with silver alloy nipples. Lacing is 2x Rear and Radial (heads out) front. The rims are taped with Notubes rim tape for tubeless compatibility. The hubs were Shimano Dura-Ace 9000. The wheels were outfitted with a set of 25c Fusion 5 Galactik Hutchinson tubeless tires. The wheels (without tires) weigh in at just under 1300 grams.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Worthington Cantilever Brakes

Perfect for Cyclo-Cross, or any retro project, we still have our powerful cantilever brakes available for sale. This brake was originally made back in 1992 and was designed to be a powerful cantilever brake for Cyclo-Cross, mountain biking, and tandems. This Worthington Cycles brake design was initially licensed to Nicol Trading International to be manufactured and sold under the Worthington Cantilever Brake name by NTi. Worthington Cycles is now the only source for the Worthington Cantilever Brake.
The arms are CNC Machined from solid 2024-T3 billet making this brake one of the stiffest brakes available. We also use a close tolerance bronze bushing for reduced brake chatter and long life. It is designed as a low profile brake and sits close to the fork tubes or seat stays to prevent snags and improve braking power. Modulation can easily be tuned by changing the length of the straddle cable yoke angle and the position of the pads. These brakes are available in 3 anodized colors.
Made in the USA
Colors: Blue, Silver, Red or black
Weight: 170 grams with pads (front or rear)
Pricing: $99.00 per wheel


Monday, May 15, 2017

Lightweight Steel Road Frames - Under 3 Pounds!

Custom Lightweight Steel Road Frames
We can build very lightweight custom steel road frames using the oversize thin wall steel tubing - building a frame that weighs just under three pounds. This isn't the same weight as a carbon frame, yet it has the feel of steel that many demand while being reasonably light and still strong.

The frame pictured above is a 54 CM frame and weighs 2.9lbs. This is an amazing frame that feels so nice on the road, and at just under 3 pounds is a perfect alternative to aluminum, carbon, or titanium frames. We feel that the long fatigue life steel typically exhibits will make this frame a long lasting lightweight winner, and since it is available as a custom frame from Worthington Cycles it can be designed to fit your needs and requirements perfectly.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Worthington Irie™ Cantilever Brakes

We have built and sold two different cantilever designs over the years. Our first brake design was the Irie Brake™, which is a pulley assisted brake, and was one of the first long arm cantilever brakes sold in the late 1980's. Now of course the Shimano® V-Brake style brake is the standard rim brake used on most mountain bikes. The Irie Brake was very powerful but did not perform very well with standard cantilever type brake levers. Since a standard cantilever lever pulled less cable than the Irie brakes need there was too little pad clearance at the rim, so adjusting and maintaining these brakes was time consuming. With the advent of V-Brake, and the corresponding specific levers, that have more cable travel the Irie Brake works incredibly well.
CNC Machined from 6061-T6 solid billet the brake arms are then hand polished and black anodized. The pulleys are machined from 7075-T6 and use a sealed cartridge bearing for the pulleys to provide long lasting and smooth braking action.
Color: Black
Stainless Mounting Bolts
Weight: 190 grams with pads
Pricing: $99.00 per wheel - Front or Rear

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

New Frame Shop

Well it took a bit longer than I thought it would, but the new shop is almost complete. All the machines and tools are pretty much up and running - I just need to do a little bench reinforcement and add some more hooks and storage. Here is a pic of how things look. This is by far the best shop I have had. It rivals my third shop built in 1988. It is a far cry from the first shop, which was outside under a deck, from when I first started building frames back in high school. I haven't had a complete shop in just over 2 years. During that time I had just a temporary shop for basic maintenance and repairs. Now I need to get back to the CAD program and work up some new designs. I am thinking about a new hardtail mountain bike, possibly a 650B front end with a 26" rear wheel that would harken back to my original mountain bikes from the 1980's which all had 24" rear wheels with 26" front wheels. I also would like to build up a new road frame with PF-30 BB, and an over-sized integrated headtube. I think I will stick with S3 tubing as I love the feel of frames made with that tubeset.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Interbike 2011

Interbike 2011 is a wrap - Yet another year at Interbike (my 27th year!). This year seemed like more of an evolution year with very little in the way of major announcements. I think part of this is the way many companies are revealing their products well in advance of Interbike, even as early as events like Sea Otter.

This year power meters are still part of the buzz. Garmin, Look, Brim Brothers, Rotor etc...all had new or updated versions of their power meters on display. However, none are shipping. I am still waiting for the rumored Shimano integration of power into the Di2 system. I wonder when that will happen.

Another trend that continues is the expansion of tubeless road wheel options. Easton, American Classic, Fulcrum, and Notubes, among others, showed several new wheelsets. The American Classic wheels seem to offer a nice wide wheel, with a interesting bead hook and they are very light weight (1179g Aluminum, 1108g mag). Prices are a bit high in my opinion and it will be hard to justify $1600 for the Magnesium wheels over say a HED or ZIPP carbon clincher. I would love to see American Classic offer just the 310gr Aluminum Clincher Rims for custom wheel builds, but based on their history of not offering their rims separately I don't see this happening. The Easton EA90RT wheels also are a great wheel for the price $850 and would be a good choice - even though they are much heavier at 1550g.

Unfortunately there is little in the way of new Tubeless Road tires - Hutchinson still has their 3 products; Fusion3, Intesive, and Atom, while Maxxis had their Padrone tires that are a bit expensive at $120 retail. Still waiting for more alternative tubeless tires and some lower cost options.

Some other trends included more disc brakes for cyclo-cross, hydraulic shifting, BB30, PF30, and BB86EVO on more bikes, official introduction of Ultegra Di2, and tons of wider and deeper carbon wheel options.

All in all it was a good show, but with less and less product introductions.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 New Years Resolutions

I was thinking about everyone and their "Resolutions" for the new year and I thought I would mention a few things cyclists in 2011 should try if they haven't yet.

Tubeless Road Tires: I personally have been running tubeless road tires since 2009 and have yet to flat while running them - knock on wood!. The ride is just better, and with a splash of sealant from NoTubes or CaffeLatex you have even better insurance against flats.

Regular Spoke Nipples: With the rash of carbon wheels, aero wheels, and other lightweight wheels now on the market I suggest that you pick a set of wheels with standard components - especially normal nipples. If you are hard on you components having an easily serviced wheel makes life much easier. Plus, when you convert normal clincher rim to to tubeless it is a pain to do simple repairs and truing if you don't have regular spoke nipples. I suggest a good set of custom wheels from your favorite local builder - We can help with that also.

Lower your tire pressure: Weather you are running road tires, cyclo-cross, or mountain tires, try running them at a lower pressure for a week or two to see if you see a difference. I see people running much higher pressures than they should in many cases.

Enjoy riding your bike in 2011

Friday, December 17, 2010

NoTubes Alpha 340 Rim & Wheels

After several months of waiting, we were able to get a set of the new Stans NoTubes Alpha 340 road wheels, as well as some rims to build up a custom wheelset.

These new rims are some of the lightest 700c aluminum clincher rims available and they offer the added benefit of the patented NoTubes BST (Bead Socket Technology) in a road/cyclocross rim. The idea behind the BST is that it increases the air volume of the tire and offers an different bead lock compared with a traditional rim. This lower bead area makes the tire have a wider profile.

Take the example of the Hutchinson Atom Tubeless road tire - on a standard 19mm wide clincher rim this tire measures only 19.5mm wide, which is pretty narrow and limits the use for anything but a front tire or for fly-wieght riders. However, on the Stans rim the same tire measure 22.9mm wide, and it feels very nice when riding it.

The star of this review has to be the ZTR Alpha 340 Pro Wheelset - these wheels weigh in at an incredible 1200g - our set weighed 1238g with rim tape and valve stems installed. This is one of the lightest production clincher wheelsets available. They do have a rider weight limit of 175 pounds, and I think for anyone close to that weight or someone with incredible amounts of raw power these wheels might be a little flexy. The 18 hole front and 24 hole triplet laced rear makes for very smooth, fast accelerating wheels. I noticed immediately that these wheels spun up quickly and were easier to follow accelerations in a pack or race situation. They have a decent aero profile but certainly are not to be confused as aero wheels. For someone who doesn't want to spend the money on carbon wheels, tubular tires and those additional hassles, these wheels offer a great alternative that is light, supports tubeless easily, and offers the increased air volume to make the ride amazing thanks to BST. All in all a great set of wheels. If you need stronger or stiffer wheels the rims are available to be custom built for your needs - 32 hole, 28 hole, 24 hole etc...