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Bike Check

Bike Check: Ebbin’s Peacock Groove

February 25, 2014
bike check: ebbin martin's peacock groove

bike check: ebbin martin's peacock groove

Name: Ebbin Martin

Age: 39

Started Playing: March 2005

Club: Minneapolis, MN

Team name: HA! No set team. Yet.

My first polo bike, an 18 spd Lemond road bike with a carbon fork, was also my road bike. Twice. It was my road bike in Madison, Wi; my road, commuter and polo bike in Brooklyn, NY; my polo bike and now my road bike, once again, in Minneapolis, MN.

I have lost track of all of the bikes I have used for polo since I started playing. Besides the Lemond, the most memorable have been a Gary Fisher Gritty that I ran fixed gear 700c rear with a 26” front disk wheel; an aluminum Bianchi hardtail mountain bike that I gave ghetto horizontal dropouts and machined as much of the headtube off as I could to steepen up the headtube angle; and most recently my All City Dropout (whose dropouts are cracking from too many hops).

However, not one of them ever felt “right”. The more bikes I tried, the more I knew I wasn’t going to find it without a custom build. After meeting Erik Noren and seeing his unique bikes, I knew I had to have the first (and only?) Peacock Groove polo bike.

Details of note: 1.5” steerer and oversized headtube = super stiff front end and confident handling. Nose pivots will never ovalize this beastly headtube. Straight gauge tubing throughout – to me, durability was more important than weight savings. I can still hop this baby like a kangaroo, and it feels so quick and balanced. Canti (removable) and stainless steel faced disk mounts front and back. Hey, you never know, I might want dual brakes again… or quad (Paul duplex lever with problem solver splitters?). Internal cable routing for the rear brakes. Super deep horizontal dropouts for maximum chain length options. Nickel plated steel front disk brake guard with four point mounting. Obviously, the paint job. I have a color coordinated top tube and stem pad in the works, and really want some two side printed, watermelon cross-section Fixcraft HDPE wheel covers made, but they are prohibitively expensive for me right now

Frame & forkPeacock Groove of Minneapolis, MN. Oversized headtube and steerer (1.5”). Stainless on all raw surfaces, disk and cantilever brake mounts front and back, internal cable routing for rear. Multilayer watermelon paint job by Brad Galvin of Dirt Designs.

Drivetrain: EighthInch freestyle splined crankset (170) (arms painted to match), 30T Tree chainwheel, 18T White Industries trials freewheel, Time ATAC carbon pedals.

Wheelset: Fixcraft 48 hole disk hubs, Velocity NoBs 48 hole rims (26”), Bontrager Hardcase 1.5 x 26”.

Brakes:  Deore MTB (long) lever (I am missing half my left index finger, so I use longer levers so I can get  my middle and sometimes ring finger to it), Avid BB7, Avid clean sweep rotor. I will be replacing this with an Avid XX Hydraulic setup I picked up at a swap.

Stem/Bars/Headset:  New Transition Bikes Temple Lite Stem 1.5 x 50mm/Fleetvelo bars with Ergon grips/Cane Creek 1.5”.

Seatpost/Saddle: Thomson/Salsa lip lock/Brooks Colt.

bike check: ebbin martin 2 bike check: ebbin martin 3 photo[4] bike check : ebbin martin 5 bike check: ebbin martin 6

Bike Check

Bike Check: Dany Majard’s SingleBe

May 29, 2013

886454_397420310356321_327904225_oYou may have seen this bike over in GOALHOLE’s Lookin’ at ya Bits section, and that is because Dany Majard was so excited about his new bike that he wanted to show it off everywhere. I do not blame him for this since the frame is as beautiful as a resurrected Greek goddess. Hera, Artemis, Aphrodite, and Demeter all coalesce into this custom SingleBe frame.

Name: Dany Majard

Age: 30

Started Playing: August 2009

Club: Brno Kolo Polo

Team name: BKP

I played intermittently in Kansas for about two years and went through a few changes before getting something decent to play on. When I had to get a new frame again because the old one broke, I decided to do it right at last instead of finding a second hand mountain bike to tweak. A big motivation was to get S&S couplers so that I could take my bike around the world with me when I travel for work (3-4 times a year). I debated the solutions for a while until I found a Czech brand that was thrilled on trying and had some nice frames to show off. I therefore left behind the Joust and such options as I was really happy to keep Czech money within Czech Republic. They got certified by sandsmachine and we started working on the project. I really like the result and they were super helpful throughout the process. If I had to do it again, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Their name ? SingleBe Bikes.

Frame & fork: Custom SingleBe 5-0 with all the good stuff I desired. We added much bling with the paint job that continues their tradition of half/half paint job with touches inspired by the stunning work of Firefly bikes (to which I have no connection whatsoever). The fork is a Charge plug that I found for 1 cent on Ebay (Oh the joys of Ebay in the US…). The guys at SingleBe were kind enough to weld mounts on it and sandblast it.

Drivetrain: Ebay once granted me a bontrager SS crank+BB with a Profile impreial 32t sprocket for about $14. I didn’t say no. From my experience with Trial riding I knew that I wanted quick engagement so I used the money I saved on the cranckset to buy a second hand Echo TR freewheel (108p of engagement, 9 pawls). It’s a tad noisier than the SL (i.e. the loudest on the market, according to Tartybikes) but I like to use the noise as a scare tactic in game and for pedestrians (it works 10x better than a bell). I am switching to a BlB 120p 20t though as 32×18 doesn’t give enough leverage for quick maneuverability about the rear wheel (and it all goes into my knees).

I am now dissatisfied with the high flex of the crank and am looking for a better solution. Time to switch to external BB ?

Wheelset: My front wheel is a mavic Crossland that Ebay offered me for $16 (didn’t I tell you ?). 24h radial tubeless with silk smooth bearings. I protected these spokes with wheelcovers from the get go and the damn thing is still true, even though the axle snapped once. It is light as hell too. My rear wheel is a Chucker laced on a 48h Surly Old new hub by a Crow’s Foot pattern. I used to ride rear brake only and I tacoed so many rear wheels skidding that I decided to go all out. Hence the Crow’s Foot lacing. Now I realize that I don’t really need such a burly wheel with front/double brakes and I will certainly go lighter next time.

Brakes:  Paul Duplex + Nokon + Avid Arch Rival 25.

Stem/Bars/Headset:  Kore B52 70mm stem with Origin 8 Urban Riser on echo SL headset.

Seatpost/Saddle: Brooks B17 on a standard seatpost.

Website: HERE is the page for the bike in English. Check it out, they will make whatever you ask and they make snow bikes too!

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Bike Check


June 13, 2012
polo bike

I had the opportunity to play with Luca last winter while doing a polo trip throughout the UK. He didn’t have this bike at the time, but even on a generic single speed frame this kid was tearing it up; I can’t imagine how good he is now with this polo specific bike. A few of the other players I met while in the UK had these bikes so I figured who not give 14bikeco some more recognition on this side of the pond. Check out Luca’s 14bikeco bike… – Aaron Hand

 Name: Luca Semeraro

Age: 17

Started Playing: April 2010

Club: Cambridge Bike Polo (UK)

Team name: Dead Rappers (London)

I’ve been playing playing polo for two years now since I was 15. My first bike was an old Puch 27” road frame which had 700c wheels and was fixed (and too big and long for me). I loved this bike but I soon realised it didn’t really work and that freewheel was the way forward. My second bike was a 26” jump frame called an NS Bitch which I built up for the 2011 season. This bike was completely different and I loved it, I rode it to the ground. Towards the end of 2011 I noticed that more and more people were getting custom polo frames, there was a couple 14bikeco frames, a couple Marino frames and a couple completely custom of an independent frame builder. I realised that my little old bike would not cut it against these guys and in order to compete and win I need something new.

Initially I had no idea what I wanted I considered everything and then thought it would be best to go for the Max Power frame from Germany, I started emailing him. But then I got an offer from two London players asking if I wanted to play with them next season. I was very honoured and accepted, this is now my team ‘Dead Rappers’. They had a sponsorship with 14bikeco who gave me an offer for their new polo frame. I accepted. The whole process was over the Christmas period so was a bit slow and because 14bikeco polo frames are no longer custom I couldn’t really have an input into anything specific I wanted which I now realise was probably for the best! But John from 14 is very helpful and will always try hard to answer any query you have. I now love this bike, I would highly recommend it to anyone.

I have setup my bike differently to almost everyone with a polo specific frame (in the UK) everyone is going more inline seatpost with longer stem, which feels good and I had it on this bike at the beginning but then I went back to super short stem with seat slammed back over rear wheel, feels great. If you ever see me, ask to have a go! check our site

Frame & fork: 14bikeco V3 polo frame and forks, v brake bosses front and rear, 135mm rear spacing and custom added disc tab on front (by Oak cycles of London)

Drivetrain:  Shimano Deore 175mm external BB cranks, 32t chainring, FSA polycarbonate bashguard, Shimano m520 pedals, 21t (soon to be 20t) sprocket

Wheelset: 26”, Rear – Hope Pro 2 36h laced with plain gauge spokes to Mavic 317 rim, Front – random 36h crappy wheel with disc hub. Continental Ultra Gatorskin tyres 28mm (1.1)

Brakes:  Avid Speed dial lever, Shimano Deore mechanical disc brake (replaced with Avid Elixr r hydraulic)

Stem/Bars/Headset:  Custom Bar/stem combo 35mm length with flat bars, Oury Grips, Tifosi integrated headset with Hope Head Doctor. (Bars soon to be replaced with Victorie cycles S-42 stem and flat bars, on its way!)

Seatpost/Saddle: Titec seatpost (26.8mm – sucks) and a Giant road saddle which is super comfy.


Bike Check

BIKE CHECK: Aaron Hand’s Custom Marino.

April 20, 2012

I’m seeing more and more Marino bikes out there and they look great.  Picking components is cool, but it’s so much more  interesting to see what people are doing now that they can go COMPLETELY custom from the ground up.  Check out Aaron’s Marino…

Name: Aaron Hand (Air In Hand)
Age: 24
Started Playing: March 2011
Bike Name: Dan the Marino

In the year that I have been playing I’ve gone through three bikes. The first bike I played on was a Fuji Sunfire that was too small for me, and was more than happy to give up once I found a new bike. My second bike was a Trek Antelope 800, which was a great bike that allowed me to slowly build up nicer parts. A few months back people in our club started talking about this Peruvian bike builder that was building custom frames for only $250. Several people in the club said that they would build one if they had the money or if they could just see one in person first or any other number of excuses. I was approaching the end of my first year of polo and I decided that I wanted to take the sport as serious as possible, so I decided to be the first in the club to test out a Custom Built Marino Bike.

I had a general idea of what I wanted for my custom bike but I didn’t know exactly how to get there. I knew I wanted something similar to the Joust but with, what I consider, upgrades. Not being the most knowledge person on bikes, I asked for the assistance of club member Tim Altnether, who was more than willing to help me out. He helped me take the Joust and pull in the wheel base a bit, change a few angles, and change a couple other things so that the idea in my head could be a real bike. I sent my ideas to Marino and he drew it up for me on Bike Cad so I could see it in real life. Marino was great to work with in the process. He was quick to respond to any questions I had and he always double checked before going to the next step of the process. All in all it was definitely worth it for a custom bike from a great man named Marino.

Bike Specs: Frame and Fork – Custom Marino frame and fork hand built in Peru using 4130 Chromoly steel. Marino includes custom paint job in the price of the frame, Fixcraft bike polo stash pad.

Drivetrain: 33t splined TREE Lite black sprocket, 175mm Madera Protocol Cranks, Time ATAC mountain bike pedals, 20t Excess Pro Series Freewheel, Shadow Conspiracy Corvus bottom bracket.

Wheels: 26” 48 hole Salsa Gordo rims, Surly Polo Hubs on front and back, 2.1” Intense MK2 tires.

Brakes: Tektro Sabre BX2 brake lever with Odyssey London mod, Shimano BR-M590 Deore V-Brakes, Clear soft Odyssey Slim By Four brake pads.

Stem/Bars/Headset:  Black Ops DefendR BMX stem, Redline junior race 3.5″ rise handlebars, Cardinal Sole grips, Stolen Insider 2 integrated headset, Milwaukee Beer Stein bar caps.

Seatpost/Saddle: – Oxford something seat, Salsa something seat post clamp, and Felt CXR seat post.

Bike Check

Bike Check: Brad Quartuccio’s yellow Geekhouse 1 year later

March 15, 2012

When Brad’s yellow Geekhouse hit last year, it swallowed up the entire blogosphere cycle that week because it was so awesome.  Everyone was sharing pics of it and commenting on how the different ideas were executed.  I’ve yet to see a bike get that kind of attention in Hardcourt since, so I thought it would be a cool idea to follow up with Brad a year later and see how it’s been treating him and what he would change (if anything) if he got to do it again.  Check it…

Name: Brad Quartuccio

Age: 30

Started playing: Back in 1998 I played grass polo fairly regularly with a group of locals, enough so to have a dedicated bike for it that season. Mountain bike based, with the classic bamboo and wood mallets on a grass field with lots of rules. 2012 is my fourth season playing hardcourt.

Bike theory: I got hooked on short chainstays and steep angles back in my mountain bike days—I had both an Eastern Woods Research and a Spooky xc bike back when they were pushing the limits of tight handling woods bikes and defining what became known as east coast mountain bike geometry. When I got into track bikes I instantly felt at home with the steep angles and tight wheelbases of traditional sprint and keirin bikes. My first two seasons of hardcourt were played on a Pake track frame  (that I still have and ride regularly) before I switched to a Milwaukee Bruiser. There were some significant differences between those two bikes, but each has a short rear end and a steep head angle with a short offset fork for “track” trail. As I transitioned from fixed to freewheel and dual brakes, mechanical advantage became that much more important and discs seemed a reasonable solution. Choosing to go with 26″ wheels was a bigger jump than anything, and came down to wanting larger volume tires, stronger wheels, short wheelbase and no toe overlap… and wanting to give the 26″ wheels a try, as many people who’s opinion I respect made a strong case for them.

Working with Geekhouse came down to the classic perfect storm coming together. Marty and I had talked about a NAHBS bike for roughly a year before this one came to be, as I could come up with the parts build and was willing to give Geekhouse more flexibility in the final design and look of the bike then you could really expect from most customers. We went back and forth with some geometry specs—I provided a wheelbase spec, head angle and trail, bottom bracket drop, and cockpit specifications and let Geekhouse design the rest. I wanted disc rotor guards of some sort, conventional track ends, and a burly fork with 135 mm spacing to match the rear end. Geekhouse made it all happen with oversized BMX tubing and integrated headset, a curved seattube, and their very first box section crown fork. When it came to the paint I sent Geekhouse all black parts and a link to the Wiz Khalifa Black and Yellow video, which being from Pittsburgh was quite the hit a short year ago. I first saw the bike at the 2011 NAHBS and couldn’t have been more pleased. Nearly a year after have first received it I still catch myself spying it a guilty glance as I walk through the house.

If i was to do it all over again I’m not sure I’d change more than a cable guide here or there. Part of me says I’d put a large volume 29″ tire (I ride a 29/26 single speed mountain bike) on the front for goal tending, a slightly lower bottom bracket, standard fork spacing for roofrack compatibility and the original fancy dropouts that Marty had designed for the project. Another part of me is so genuinely happy with the bike to this day that I don’t know if I’d change anything given the chance. Perhaps a slightly lower bottom bracket or standard fork spacing. Perhaps not. Larger diameter disc guards are in my future, as I bend my front rotor on other’s peoples wheels more frequently than I’d like.

Frame: Huffy
Fork: Murray
Hubs: Surly 36 h 135 mm single speed disc f/r
Rims: Velocity Blunt
Brakes: Avid BB7 f/r, roughly biased 30/70 f/r
Brake Lever: St Cago Double Pull
Cranks: Sugino XD 165 mm
Ring: 35 t Milwaukee Polo Guard
Freewheel: 18 t White Industries
Stem/Post: Thomson
Saddle: Some old mtb race saddle. I tried the giant DH saddle for a bit, but went back after breaking an admittedly seatpost.
Bar: Truvativ
Pedals: Fyxation Mesa
Tires: Vary, generally 26 x 2.0 or 1.75