Thursday, July 24, 2008

SPC Destroy


Another day, another brutal blindside attack on the defenseless seatpost clamp.

This time it came from those crazy folk over at FBM, who went a new route, drilling a pair of holes straight through the seatstays and lopping off the top of the seattube.


(Don't worry, the seatstays were eventually welded to the seattube. I hope.)

While this is indeed a new route for BMX, it's long been a method used by manufacturers of steel road frames from this classic Cinelli:


to this brand-new Scapin:


I'll be curious to hear how it works in a BMX application, especially with the larger stays.

Personally, I remain a fan of seatpost clamps, for reasons stated here. I'm in favor of frames being kept as simple as possible so a small part breaking doesn't wreck the whole thing. Then again, I also like the fact that some companies are using tech borrowed from boutique road frames, like Deluxe and their dome-ended stays. And at least FBM's SPC-murdering design looks a lot sturdier than the good ol' two tabs welded on the back of the seattube.

I e-mailed John Paul at FBM to ask whether the clamp would be internally threaded (bad) or use a captive nut (good). This was part of his response:

"That one is threaded, but we are going to go for a captive nut, we should be able to sort that out. We thought of it to put on my Sword. It was a prototype and the seat tube was 26.8 and super, super thin walled. For some reason at the trade show we put a pivotal on it with a shim, after I started riding it the seat tube got mangled and actually started to "rip" and basically the top needed to be lopped off. Dave was going to weld a small section back on, we decided to remedy it with this instead. If my bike wasn't mangled, we would probably never have thought to do this. I've always liked road bikes with this style seat binder in its different variations."

Another day, another one-off design, another perfectly logical explanation. This stuff keeps up, I'm gonna have to find something new to write about.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

I got my seat clamp free by writing to 4down, thanks Dean!

Anonymous said...

I saw JPR respond to the obvious questions somewhere on the net, but I'm still not convinced. I know tubular frames have some spring in them, but is this really a good idea considering how we abuse them?

Could this twist a rear end or help crack around the seat stay junction?

I'm honestly intrigued.

Anonymous said...

i think this blog i ruining me even though i love it. its hard to decipher what is real and fake anymore with these new products coming out. i thought the new s&m stuff might be a joke but i thought this fbm clamp was def a joke. sprfls blurs my reality. cool.

-T

typoll69420 said...

SOSPC stickers need to happen.

Duncan said...

I'm just wondering if flexing your seat stays back and forth tightening the seat--even that tiny amount--is a good idea.

I thought built-in clamps were the cat's nuts...on JMC's. Now, being old and clapped-out, I like running a quick-release clamp so I can jack my seat up for riding from spot to spot, and so prefer a regular, non-integrated seat tube.

G.S.GUCCILIFE said...

Its 2008,finally,someone,tried to make it cinelli style,after the Legnano version i ve seen on other frames....

G.S.GUCCILIFE said...

Ps:Russ,whats up with them SPRFLS t-shirts?

mat said...

idk about all that jazz
i have a fly 3A and i feel they were the only ones to pull off a built in clamp successfully, it looks good and works good, yeah it's threaded but i've had the frame for 2 years now and no problems. i mean how much do you horse around on that little bolt?

as much as i like my built in fly clamp, i'm not into all these other ways of clamping something barely anyone sits on to begin with. a hole in the top tube for a clamp or a hole in the seatstays for a clamp just screams cracked.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of the integrated clamp, but find it too easy to over tighten and snap the bolt. Such a fine line. Yes, I'm old and basing my experience there on an old school jmc. This fbm design looks interesting though; they may have something there. Generally, it seems that slammed seats are for people who drive to the riding spot. That's fine, but I'm just saying it isn't the most practical thing for biking to the spots. It's probably happening already, but I expect a coming trend will be no seat at all, like a trials bike.

Anonymous said...

"This guy is right! look at it, it doeast have one long bolt going through the whole thing, there is 2 short ones for either side so it can tighten something like a hose clamp like JustinE said.

Its not going to clamp the seatstays together, they are not going to move at all. there is just a bolt on either side do this "inside mechanism" up. im sure of it. they are not stupid enough to make the seatstays move/clamp together, because obviosly its going o cause the frame to crack."

"So, all because everyone wants their seats to be touching the TT. FBM decided to not weld the seatstays to the seattube...stupid."

To think, both of these guys think we are stupid. We are developing this for the Sword frames. I didn't make that clear in my email because I didn't know it was going to be used as a source of news, thanks jerk! Dave put it on Boogie's custom frame because the tap was too big to use on my Sword. I guess not many people could sense the sarcasm in the news post about eliminating seat clamps all together, and it's just a fucking prototype. Even though it would work fine, I doubt it will make it onto BMX production frames. Last week was Chris Elliott, this week is seat binders, next week we'll unveil our life like vagina seat for those lonely street missions.

As far as flexing the seat stays back and forth while tightening the binder, don't forget there is going to be a post in there, how much is it going to move? Everyone's acting like if you tighten it down the stays are going to blow off the seat tube.

Jon said...

Come on Russ the orignal T1 Progressions had domed caps on them a full 10 years ago :)

Anonymous said...

The hoffman condor frame has had an integrated seat clamp for as long as I can remember too.

Anonymous said...

Trek aluminum and carbon/aluminum road frames from the mid to late 90's, back when they were gluing them together, rather than welding them, all had this type of seat post clamping system. It's been done for years. If anything, the FBM one looks a bit over-built.

I really think that you kids need to give people that have been building frames for years some credit. I think they've probably built about 100% more frames than you ever did. I think the vast majority of those frames gave their owners several years of worry free performance.

"oh, but my friend's friend's cousin broke his howler" you whine, to which I reply that this mythical person probably also broke himself when he broke his frame, because he was trying to 360 down the escalator at the mall or something equally ridiculous. Or he was trying to learn tailwhips and it took three months of landing sideways and ballriding out and ejecting at height before he gave up on learning them and went back to sitting on the deck and shit-talking about the 1/8" crack that recently appeared on his gusset. None of you deck monkeys ever considers the 500 slams the bike took, or that it's still rideable, if not exactly re-sellable.

The bottom line is if you abuse any frame long enough, and hard enough, you're going to break it. And, yes, most hard-core riding is abusive. Ejecting from 6 feet out is abusive. Derek Dusters are abusive. Dropout Icepicks are abusive. Throwing your bike is abusive. Hell, stomping on your wheel to pick the bike up off the ground is abusive.

ok thanks bye.

Charly said...

applause to the above post. Its like Dennis Leary goin' in on the state of bmx. haha ha

Stephen said...

Yeah, the Condor did have a built in seat clamp, and they may as well have come with a can of cola too, since you would be using the can to make a shim because the seat post would always move about all over the place.

It seems like a neat idea, sure, but it would seem to increase the time to manufacture and thus potentially increase the cost of a frame.

I'll hang on to my Coalition clamp.

Anonymous said...

Come on!
Once again I must point to the one and only KINK EMPIRE REV B!!

domed end caps!!! in the 90's

REV B's forever!!!!

exclamation points!!!!!

-bob

Anonymous said...

Building a lot of frames doesn't immunize you from making mistakes. With all the companies in BMX these days, it's hard to differentiate yourself without some wacky feature, be it good or bad.

The time would be better spent on post-weld machining the BB & HT, too bad nobody except Sunday (and Alone, but they don't machine both) does that.

John Paul said...

One of the benefits of working in real life at a frame builder and distributor is we can constantly asses things. Like machining the HT and BB after welding. Take our BB shell first, I asked Dave what he thought about post weld machining the shell to make it easier to put bearings in when I first got here.

His reply was logical and simple, our shells aren't externally machined or super thick, the bearings go in easily. Look at how much thinner our shells are comparatively to almost every other frame. And FBM's been doing the mid exactly like that longer than anyone, with no problems.

The only problems our customers have with head sets has been when Kink head sets were used due to the fact the compression ring on their version isn't split. Other than that we've had minimal if any problems with "out of round" head tubes. I've seen post weld machined frames with paint in the head tube and bottom bracket. Bearings being a pain in the ass to put in the BB shell is a bigger issue than ovalized head tubes, and we don't have that problem due to the reason I stated above.

Basically, ovalized head tubes are very, very minimal if present at all with most frames, you can use a cup press to put your bearings in your BB if it's a tight fit. It also hasn't been an issue whatsoever with head tubes on the Sword frames.

I met with people that make reaming machines over in Taiwan and it's not worth investing US $12,000 to have a machine shipped over here for problems that doesn't exist for us. Without doing the math, that'd probably add in the neighborhood of 20-30 bucks retail on a frame if we went that route.

Thanks for your concern whoever you are.

Anonymous said...

And thank you for taking the time to respond, JPR. I had forgotten that FBM was American-made. I'd like to high 5 you, but I'm too busy trying to remove my foot from my mouth.

Anonymous said...

Having said that though, I still feel that HT distortion is still an issue, but can manifest itself in very subtle ways.

Anonymous said...

After reading this, my closing choice is that i think every company should copy the superstar new deal frame as it is purfect and only old men/ nerds have there seats rammed up there bottom with some giant seatpost.

todd from albe's said...

so what i'm reading is that only "nerds" and/or "old men" would dare to show a little post (so to speak) and with that statement would come the implication that all slammed seat youngsters are always better than all three inch geezers...really? do you honestly think that? speaking as a rider that is fine with the stigma associated with a few inches to spare i'm positive (if i can keep my Life Alert necklace from getting tangled in my spokes) i've got a few more tricks up the sleeve of my cardigan sweater than more than one of the show-no-post grommets that hang around my store every day. i'm not throwing down a challenge by any means but i'm simply asking you to keep an open mind and not generalize riders solely based on the set up of the bike they ride, the grey in their hair, the steriotypicle tape in the middle of their thick frames glasses or the number of pencils in their pocket protectors.

real life. said...

damn Todd way to contradict yourself you dousche. And it's amazing how pathetic your lives are. Making such a big deal out of a fucking seatpost clamp. Go get laid you dorks.

Russ said...

I run a high seatpost to keep my cardigan from getting caught in my chain.

Anonymous said...

well slam it russ get some girl jeans and x small tshirt

t.f.a. said...

i love when people insalt your intelagence but speel the insalt rong. hahu. and all i said was that some riders are better than others regardless of the bike and/or age. if you think i contradicted myself based on my assuming i might ride a little better than some of the slammed seat kids my statement was directed at those that i have seen ride, i'm sorry for not being clear. i will stand by my statement, though...i have seen people with the most up-to-date bike that can't do a thing yet talking shit about other people's bikes for being "old school". i assume most of you understand what i'm getting at. thank you, Real Life for letting me clear that up before attacking me. now if you don't mind i've got to cut this short as i have a vagina to cleanse.

G.S.GUCCILIFE said...

Todd from Albes,you got "stereotypical" spelled wrong....

t.f.a. said...

g.
first, i mis-spelled based on poor typing skills and the hurried response so as to get back to satisfying the needs of the customer, not that i am asking to be excused for my errors. and the simple fact that i have chosen to make a living in the fast paced and rewarding world of BMX shows my lack of foresight and general smarts. but make no mistake, at the end of the day i am more than happy to call myself out on my own dumb-assness.

G.S.GUCCILIFE said...

Todd

mine was supposed to be interpreted as a line,nothing personal, i wasnt trying to make fun of you...hope you will still make a 5% discount on my next bars...:P

Gsg

t.f.a. said...

10% if you use Stephen's "dinner plate" discount code.

Anonymous said...

i have over 20 broken frames all in the seat clamp area. this is road bike shit that needs to be left to the spandex crowd