Thursday, June 1, 2023

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. 

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. 2023 is the 40th year building and working on custom bicycles!

Take a look at the 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.

Monday, August 1, 2022

From The Archives - Circa 1985-1986

Just found this picture of one of my early frames. This one is from sometime in 1985-1986 based on the brake bosses. It is a mountain frame with a 24" rear wheel, 26" front wheel. It also has a filet brazed unicrown fork and a precursor to modern clamp on stems - both are chrome plated for this bike. Looks like the stem is around 12-13cm or longer!

This was also using brand new Suntour Rollercam brake bosses mounted on the bottom of the chainstay. These had just been introduced by Suntour (licensed from WTB Cunningham Design). 

I remember visiting the USA headquarters for Suntour in Marin sometime around 1991 when they introduced the Microdrive chainrings to select OEM customers and the Press as a upgrade to XC-Pro - the best part of the trip was shooting water bottle rockets off in the field next to their building.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Road Frame Renew & Recycle Project 2019

Recently I wanted to build up a bike with a slightly shorter top tube and a different head angle to test out a few fit  ideas for myself - part of the joys of getting older and less flexible! Plus, if I could make the seat tube short enough then my 10 year old son could ride it as well - which would be his first true 700c road bike. 

Since I had this old frame hanging in the shop that had a dented top tube I decided this particular frame would be a perfect candidate to do this conversion. 

This frame was originally built in 1992 using a Tange Prestige Ultimate Superlight tube set - when this frame was built I had "upgraded" the down tube to use a slightly more robust "standard" Tange Prestige 28.6 O.D (.7mm x .4mm x .7mm) tube, and I also replaced the super thin 25.4mm top tube from the set with the original 28.6mm (.6mm x .3mm x .6mm) down tube as an upgraded and "oversized" top tube.

It is no wonder that the super thin top tube ended up with some dents and creases...This was, and is still, the only tube set I have ever seen with such a thin .3mm wall thickness - I think that is just a little too thin for a proper steel bike frame.

For this repair I decided to update the head tube to a simple 36.5mm O.D. 1-1/8" EC34 and also used a TrueTemper S3 teardrop shaped top tube that I had in stock. The existing seat tube was cut down a fair bit for the improved stand over clearance I wanted - this made for a very aggressively sloped top tube. I also removed the old above BB braze-ons and re-routed the cables under the BB.
The final color of this updated frame is a nice candy blue powder coat that almost changes colors depending on the surrounding area. 

I can ride it now with a long 330mm seat post, and my son can also ride it with the seat slammed close to the top tube...

He is pretty excited about it and can't believe how fast a real road bike - his first adult sized bike!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Custom Wheels 2019 Edition

We like to build with different rims and hubs when new products are available. The latest is a wheel set I just finished that uses the Boyd Altamont Lite rims and Bitex hubs. 

I built this set up pictured below with a 20H front rim using DT Revolution spokes, alloy nipples and radial lacing - the 24H rear uses DT Revolution spokes on the non-drive side with alloy nipples laced 2 cross, and on the drive side DT Competition DB 14g spokes also laced 2 cross with more durable brass nipples.
This is probably going to be my replacement rim of choice since the Stan's NoTubes Alpha 340 rims are no longer being made - this wheel set weighs 1454g.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

DIY Percussion Massage Tool

Simple Black & Decker Compact Saw Conversion - Compare to TheraGun or TimTam

I have had my share of bad bike crashes over the last several years and have some very stubborn soft tissue issues that I have been working on and trying to improve - the joys of getting old! I can remember being sore for a few days after crashing in my 20's, but now I don't quite bounce up as well as I used to. With that in mind I was searching for some tools to help my body heal and function properly when I saw a few online videos of massage tools created from jig saws, reciprocating saws, and even sanders. There are of course dedicated tools like the TheraGun and TimTam that you can purchase but they are expensive and cost anywhere from $400 to several thousand dollars for the top line percussion massagers!

My goal was to build a simple version in my shop and see how well it works. I have now gone through three revisions of this idea and have settled on a much better version for a very low cost of just around $50! The latest version is on the bottom, and the original is on the top.

I settled on using a Black & Decker Compact Saw model LPS7000. This "saw" has similar specs to other products on the market - 2050 strokes per minute, a bearable 70-75 dB sound level, and around 25-30 minutes of run time per charge - all for just $39.99!

I started by modifying some Bosch jig saw blades. I did this by grinding off the teeth, shortening them a little, rounding the ends for safety, and then finally inserting them into  some various rubber balls and even a couple of black rubber stoppers.

This process is pretty easy, and works well. However I found that it could be a little flexy and required glue to keep the blades in place. I had one ball pop off during use and I ended up with a few painful jabs. Luckily I had nicely rounded the end of the blades, however they are narrow and it can still hurt a bit.

I also prefer "frost" or "ice" bouncy balls as I have found that the rough surface on these types of balls work better for direct skin contact and doesn't irritate my skin as much as the smooth rubber balls do. The icy balls are a bit more delicate than a regular super ball and can split easily when just the saw blade is inserted and then used.

My second version was an attempt to eliminate some of the jigsaw blade flex and the various problems of inserting them into rubber parts. I also decided that I wanted to be able to use tips made from additional materials so having a threaded connection for swapping out the tips would make things easier. 

For the threaded arbor I brazed together a shortened jig saw blade to a 1/4" bolt with an added washer to make a nice threaded arbor

I then used some threaded 1/4-20 Rivnuts from my shop and chucked up a ball in my lathe to bore out a hole for the Rivnut. I used some epoxy and glued the Rivnut into the hole I made in the ball. This makes for a very sturdy threaded connection.

I also made a tapered aluminum tip with female 1/4-20 threads on the back to mount to the same arbor.

While this is a better solution and works very well I wanted to try to improve the functionality even more.

On the unmodified saw there is spring loaded blade locking mechanism that is attached to the main drive shaft with 2 small 3mm socket head 
hex screws. 

This blade retention device isn't needed if it will no longer be a "saw"! 

So lets get rid of it!
I removed the blade holder and then shortened the hardened steel drive shaft by cutting it off with an abrasive saw blade. Then I fabricated a aluminum adapter collar to fit the newly shortened drive shaft with mounting holes that matched the blade holder. This new aluminum collar has a 1/4-20 threaded hole to accept a set screw for attaching my new attachments.

Finally, I removed the jigsaw metal guide foot and the plastic frame area around the drive shaft to shorten and lighten the tool. I used a saw to quickly cut it off.

The final version is below. This works much better and is easier to handle and use with more controlled power working on a muscle - there is no more flex or extra movement that occurred when using a modified jig saw blade.

Leave any comments or questions if you want more details on how to do this mod.

Latest Update: I have modified the threaded collar to a M8x1.25 thread so it will now fit some of the EVA foam balls and tapered rubber cones that are sold on several sites including Ebay. 

In addition, one of my original units from 2017 had batteries that didn't seem to last very long, and it ran a little slower than my other units. I decided to update the batteries in the gun. I first tried some standard Li-ion Tenergy 2000mAh batteries I had on hand, but those didn't have the high drain this device needs to work well. Looking at different options for batteries I purchased 2 Samsung INR18650 35E 3500mAh High Drain Batteries for $15 and installed them in the unit. I also changed out the charge board and the charge connector to Micro USB setup and I also added a battery balance/protection PC-board to keep the 2 batteries nice and happy. I like being able to charge it via USB when I travel.

These new batteries have resulted in a super long run time of over 1 hour - which in turn also makes the recharge time pretty long - however, since I typically let it charge overnight anyway, it is still ready to go the next day as needed.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Bottom Bracket Standards

After several years of new bottom bracket standards being introduced practically every other month, all promising to fix all of the old problems, it seems like things have settled down a little bit in this area of bike design lately.

Whether it is PressFit 30, BB30, BBright, T47, or one of the myriad of other proprietary setups Worthington Cycles will offer frames with the proven regular  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 a stiff yet lightweight 30mm dia. aluminum BB axle -- we feel that using the 386EVO, or similar designs can accomplish the same results  -- and it uses a standard threaded bottom bracket shell. 

Both of my personal road bikes currently have FSA EVO386 threaded bottom brackets on them which are are doing great after several 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, but fortunately I am still able to use standard cranks with an outboard bearing system on a standard threaded bottom bracket.

At some point the oversize T47 threaded shell design, which has very few drawbacks (other than the new tooling costs) may become the future standard that everyone can finally settle on. 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, but I don't think that will happen anytime soon...

Monday, January 8, 2018

Custom Wheels

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

• Rim Choices: 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 

• Tubeless Road Wheels
• Disc Brake Wheels for Mountain, Cross or Road
• Specialty Lacing Patterns Available

An example of one our lightest weight road wheels we recently built use the original Stan's Notubes Alpha 340 rims in 24H Rear & 18H front drilling.  

This set is laced with DT Revolution spokes on the rear laced 2 cross, and DT aerolite spokes on the front laced radial with silver alloy nipples. I used a Dura-Ace 9000 rear hub for durability and a Bitex front hub. The finished wheels were outfitted with a set of 25c Fusion 5 Galactik Hutchinson tubeless tires. The wheels (without tires) weigh in at right around 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. 

While this isn't in the same weight class as an ultralight carbon frame, it has the special feel of steel that many demand while still being reasonably light and very strong. The weight penalty of a few ounces, or a few hundred grams, is made up for by the smooth ride and amazing feel that only a lightweight steel frame can provide.

The frame pictured above is a 54 CM frame and weighs 2.9 lbs. 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 brake 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. 

This was just before the  Shimano® V-Brake style brake became the standard rim brake used on most mountain bikes - and long before disc brakes were used on most mountain bikes. 

The Irie Brake was very powerful, but it did not perform very well with the standard cantilever type brake levers available at the time. Since a standard cantilever lever pulled less cable than the Irie brakes need to work optimally there was often too little pad clearance at the rim and so adjusting and maintaining these types of long arm brakes was time consuming and tricky to keep working well. With the advent of V-Brakes, and the corresponding V-Brake specific brake levers, that had more cable travel, the Irie Brake worked even better.

These were CNC Machined from 6061-T6 solid billet and then the brake arms were hand polished and black anodized. The pulleys are machined from 7075-T6 and use a sealed cartridge bearing so that the pulleys provide long lasting and super smooth braking action.
Color: Black
Stainless Mounting Bolts
Weight: 190 grams with pads
Pricing: $99.00 per wheel - Front or Rear