2016 Stanforth Kibo:

 Photos! [ Set 1 ] [ Set 2 ] [ Set 3 ] [ Set 4 ] [ Set 5 ] [ Set 6 ] [ Set 7 ] [ Set 8 ] [ more from time to time ] 

The story: my first ideas that eventually led to this began as I thought about having a custom built frame made based on my beloved 1984 Trek 830. As described on my 830 page, the geometry I find sort of 'magic', or at least just right, though nobody seemed to be making anything similar anymore. So I decided maybe I'd have a custom version built with a few enhancements.

In my long book and web-researches into the minutiae of frame geometry, fork rake, chainstay length, tubing gauges & series, etc. designing that frame (in order to see if I'd maybe change anything), after many months I came across this page on the Stanforth Kibo, and was amazed - not only was the geometry nearly the same as what I had come up with 'independently', but this was using a practical 1" threaded steerer and quill stem, and even the same Tange Levin headset as my 830 (and what I had, of course, planned for the to-be-built '830 custom version' as it's my favourite as well as being well-made, sturdy, silver, attractive, long-produced, Japanese made, and cheap besides!).

It's not entirely coincidental of course that the 830, my custom design based on it, and the Kibo frames are similar; the Kibo was designed based on the 1985 Saracen Conquest bikes that the Cranes used on Kilimanjaro (here are some nice photos of the model, and here are some more with comments), the same brief 'golden age' of mountain bikes with this nice geometry - not the suuuuper long and suuuper shallow head angles of the early mountain bikes, and before the steep angles, shorter chainstays, and eventually crazy slopes, suspension, etc. of later stuff.

A little prior to 'discovering' the Kibo I'd been working with another builder on frame design here), so sent Simon Stanforth an email just to 'congratulate' him on designing and marketing such a great bike and filling an important void in frame types, and let him know I'd been designing & planning a custom frame almost exactly the same and so offering some additional indication of enthusiasm for such a bike. Some back and forth communications on the general ideas of these sorts of frames & bikes continued for a while, and - realizing that Goff is a famously long-wait builder - I eventually, after many months, got to thinking (hmmm...) that maybe I ought to think about a Kibo frame as
1) it'd get to me sooner [April 2017: I am still 'on order' for over a year!],
2) the price of the Kibo as a handmade frame from a English framebuilder as good as Lee Cooper is very reasonable (and I think that British frame prices will probably increase significantly in the coming years if the prices charged for US framebuilders are any indication [~2-3x more, usually from less experienced builders]),
3) my work project ending in Alaska and planned relocation to back my native Michigan 'for good this time' meant I'd probably make a lot less money in 2017 and subsequent years than in Alaska [already not that much as a botanist!], so maybe should stock up some while I have the money and they're not as expensive as future years,
4) maybe it'd be interesting to compare the Kibo to the 830 and the (eventual) Goff build of my design, and
5) maybe I ought to support such a noble endeavour as the Kibo as I am such a proponent of this sort of frame!

Well obviously I did (paying for the frame in fall 2016 just before I'd've gotten a better ©-$ exchange by about 10%!), specifying a few minor additions/deletions, but sticking to the already just right geometry and tubing (Stanforth will pretty much customize any part of the frame's materials or geometry you like), and asking for Simon to hold it for me until I got down to Michigan late winter. It arrived to me here in the UP in March, and looked as good as hoped. After gathering together the parts I'd been saving for this, a few bits that I didn't have, and a few more minor parts that I realized I needed during building (e.g., freewheel spacer), etc. I built it up over a month or so in March & April 2017.

The only two minor things I might have thought of specifying on the Kibo build (but forgot or didn't want to seem like too much of a hassle) were 1) having the chainstay bridge drilled-through (it's threaded on the wheel side, which works well enough with plenty of wheel clearance, but having it drilled through would allow adjustable narrower fender clearance if desired as described here), and 2) an under-the-crown fender mount. Because the 'daruma bolt' suppled with the fenders was a little short (as are the others available) to hang the fender low enough to match the back fender's 'lines', I had to solve the problem myself, as described here. But despite those two very minor points it's just right, and perfect.

So there's the (long-winded as usual) story, below are super-duper specific technical details, and on the following pages are pictures (all this for my record and fun and perhaps your information or ideas). In appreciation of the English content I've tried to use real English spelling & terms when I remembered. I'm having such a gas slowly putting this together and seeing my beautiful new green & silver friend emerge that I even like this 'blogging' about it too (and bloody hell - as I type this on April 17 it's snowing again)!

April 19-22 update—finished & riding! I finally finished the bike on April 19th, and it's maybe the most beautiful bike I've ever seen - almost translucent in the silver and brown on green. Unfortunately, the Scheißewetter returned as I was photographing it the next morning (but decent light), so I waited a few more days before I was able to ride un-soggily. On April 22nd (Earth day) it was nice again, and my friend (Lft. Philip Clark of the Idaho National Army—a fellow cyclist and fan of good bikes) was visiting, and we took a great inaugural Kibo ride (and a great cultural & cycling excursion for the Lft.-tourist); he on the 830 and I on the new Kibo (mostly). We started at the Jasper Ridge Brewery in Ishpeming and, over the next ~9 hours (most sitting in taverns!) and ~24 miles, took the Iron Ore Heritage Trail finishing in Harvey, MI, and visiting all six beer-making establishments in Marquette County. We also stopped at a couple of non-beer-making taverns (for further research of course) in Negaunee. Admittedly we'uns were a little more crookedly-steering by the end, but it was all on cycle paths with no automobile traffic so relatively safe! (The last four pictures on photo page 4 are from that trip.)

It rides, of course, as great as it looks, and since words can't describe a bike's 'feel' I'll leave it there. I did adjust the seat up a cm or two after the first photos, and didn't yet but will maybe bring the bars up about the same distance (there's more than ample extension on the Nitto stem of course). Other than that I got lucky with brake adjustment (no fine-tuning needed after setup!), the shift and brake levers are angled nice and ergonomically, the Brooks Flyer seat is just right with the bars (and is a 'good' one; there seem to be a few saggy 'duds' with new Brooks these days so a little hit or miss), I like the Schwalbe 'Delta Cruiser' 47mm tyres, and the rear rack even holds the Carradice 'Junior' saddlebag I'm using on it perfectly. The 1980s-2010s new & used parts all work perfectly together, and the 3x5 friction-shifting gearing is especially nice. And the kickstand is great!! I've got it set up as a fun riding & day (or overnight) trip bike now, so have a standard rear rack & no front for the time being. Some possible longer-term future ideas might be some variations including racks F&R for loaded touring, a 5-speed internal gear hub (the horizontal dropouts make that convenient), or butterfly bars & a Brooks B67 like the 830; but for now this is just right. After all, I've got the 830, the new Woodrup touring frame (which I have to build up soon), and the future Goff frame, so this Kibo may stay as-is for a while or forever.


Frame: 2016 Stanforth Kibo, 22", standard geometry and tubing, with a few extra braze-ons.
Built by the respected & experienced English framebuilder Lee Cooper. Serial 010916 LC, which means 1st frame 9th month 2016, and Lee Cooper of course.
Materials: Reynolds 631 main tubes, 525 rear triangle. Top tube and down tube are .9/.6/.9mm, seat tube is .8/.55, seat stays .9, chain stays .9/.6. Fork blades 1/.6. Medium-point lugs, forged horizontal '1010 style' dropouts (convenient for later trying a hub gear!) & fork ends, with double eyelets, F&R rack mounts, etc.
Geometry: Unmodified from standard (because already just right!): Seat Tube C-T 55.9cm & 72°, TT 57.8cm, HT 6.5cm & 70°, fork rake 5.5cm, chainstays 46.8cm, BB drop 3cm, standover 81.7cm (I measure about 82.7 with the tyres used).
Frame extras I specified include chain hanger, pump peg, extra barrel mounts under top tube & behind seat tube, kickstand plate, and no rear brake cable hanger (so I can use a QR on binder bolt). I added Ti Cycles short dropout adjusters to the already threaded dropouts. (The Lawyer Lips they were compelled to have were filed flat by me of course!)
Colour: British Racing Green powdercoat.

Chainset: Sugino Aero Tour (used). New chainrings: 26 (Sugino stainless), 36 (Sugino aluminium), 46 (Blackspire aluminium), Sugino Autex bolt (wait - can't find one in my stash, oh no!).
Derailleurs: Suntour XC Pro front & Shimano Deore RD-MT-650 rear (both NOS but ST camp on XC used - can't find any NOS in 1.125!).
Freewheel: Suntour Winner Pro 5sp. 13-17-21-26-32 (NOS, 1980s mfg.), with Wheels Mfg. 2mm spacer & Suntour chromed steel dork disk (NOS) (aka Fred Frisbee, spoke protector, pie plate, etc. and perhaps one of the most controversial and angrily 'debated' items in cycling for some reason, but sensible and looks good to me).
Here's a gear table - I do get a nice even spacing. I'm the type who rides the 36 chainwheel "most of the time ... the outer ring is there as an overdrive and the inner ring is a grovelling gear... (to quote Tony Oliver), using the cogs for fine-tuning. 26-36-46 has become my standard last few builds - can't believe I was using like 28-38-50 20 years ago (or the old standard, 42/52, but when I was 15...)! Anyway, none of that complicated multi-shift 'half step plus granny' gearing for me ("a theoretician's delight", says Tony Oliver in his book!). I also don't consult this chart often, nor do I have it taped to my top tube or stem. So here I've slandered St. Frank, and I've disobeyed St. Sheldon too, in my use of freewheels on new bikes (and 40-40 spoking) - plus this is gear inches and not gain ratios, and I spell derailleur properly! [thunder sounds]

26 38.5% 36 27.8% 46
13 51.5 71.3 91.1
17 39.4 54.5 69.7
21 31.9 44.1 56.4
26 25.8 35.7 45.6
32 20.9 29.0 37.0

Shift levers & cables: Suntour Bacon ratchet with Suntour Barcon wound stainless casings & braided cables (NOS).
Chain: Sram PC-870 (new) (had to add one extra link for proper fit, so another whole chain bought!).
Bottom bracket: Tange LN-3922 sealed, 68x127 (new).
Pedals: MKS BM-7 (the reintroduced copy of the long-missed BMX-7 that were standard on several early mountain bikes, including my 1982 Stumpjumper), with MKS pedal flips and MKS deep half-clips (new).

Wheels: Velocity Atlas 26x25mm rims (special 40-hole batch!), Phil Wood FSA hubs, 3x with Wheelsmith stainless butted spokes: 135mm rear spacing (these US-made wheel parts all new of course), with Suntour QR skewers (NOS).
Built by famous Wisconsin wheelbuilder Earle Young, who says 'these wheels are the cockroaches of the rolling stock world, built to outlast all other species' (I likes me some 40/40 symmetry).
Tires: Schwalbe Marathon HS-404 26x47mm, Michelin C4 tubes, Velox rim tape of course.

Brakes: Dia-Compe 983 eccentric (NOS). (was going to use Tektro 720, but these nice 983s showed up, and I spent the $ on them instead; eventually I'll maybe use these on my 1983 Univega Gran Turismo if/when I swap to 700c from 27")
Brake levers: Suntour Superbe Pro with Modolo 919 'Anatomic' hoods in translucent 'bronze' colour (NOS all).
Brake cables:: Z-Milano (NOS ca. late 1980s mfg.)
Brake cable hangers: Quick release; Dia Compe front (new), Shimano rear (NOS) (more nearly extinct yet completely practical kit).
Brake straddle hanger:: Tektro 1246a, 'custom' black & silver (I wanted silver but could only get black, so sanded & polished the anodizing off of the front & back faces but was too lazy to do the more intricate edges and I think they look good!).

Headset: Tange Levin on threaded 1" steering tube (new).
Handlebars: Nitto RM-013-HT Dirt Drop Heat Treated (new).
Stem: Nitto Dirt Drop 80mm (a little used).
Grips: Grab-On Maxi, covered with Newbaum's cotton tape (4 rolls; brown).

Seat (feel free to call it a saddle): Brooks "Flyer", brown (the 'springed B17'; installed new 2011 and lightly used on the Univega, swapped to a used Avocet Touring II on the Univega that I think was original on my 83 Cannondale ST500)!
Seat pillar: SR Laprade, 27.2mm (used).
Seatpost binder: Campagnolo QR (NOS) (not only is it cool - to me at least - but it's also long enough to use the cable hanger I like).

Rack: Jandd 'Standard' rear, unfinished silver (used). (may change later if touring for Jandd 'extreme' front, 'expedition' rear, that I special-ordered silver unfinished, but this standard looks nice and is plenty heavy-duty for non-touring use)
Water bottle cages: Minoura AB100-5.5, silver anodized, x3 (or x2 depending, because why have the bottom one on asking to bend if not on a long ride?) (new).
Bell: Lion Bellworks brass (made in England), mounted on stem extension (new).
Pump: Zefal HPX (any one of my several in use).
Mirror: Mirrycle original (not yet ... need a mirror but reluctant to tap & thread these nice NOS levers even for the best mirror, so looking for another possibility - an ongoing problem for all my bikes with bar-end shifters abd Campag-style levers or butterfly bars).
Mudguards: Velo-Orange 650b x 58mm fluted aluminum (NOS; I bought them new/closeout in 2011) with Rivendell 'Sackville' mudflap in olive (new).
Kickstand: Pletscher/Esge, with foot (new).
Chainstay protector!: Stainless steel (NOS of course, as these are uninvented & extinct).

And: Carradice 'Junior' saddlebag, Zefal or Jandd ankle strap, Zefal and other water bottle...

Weight: Unknown - this is something I never consider before or after a bike build-up. Not a tank, not a 20lb. racer. Remember too, the less the weight the less the exercise.

A few sources of parts for this build: Boulder Bicycle (Shimano mech, 919 hoods, Campag QR seat pin binder, misc. hardware), Ben's Cycle (chain, 36t chainring, pedals; flips; & clips, Bottom Bracket, misc. hardware), Rivendell (kickstand, bar tape, mudflap), my stash of good bike parts ca. 2005-2015 (brake QR hangers, stem, brake levers, brake cables, Grab-On Grips, gear shifters & cables, rack, pump, mudguards, chainstay protector, etc.). Other stuff from one-off sales (the frameset & headset for one!).

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 Photos: [ Set 1 ] [ Set 2 ] [ Set 3 ] [ Set 4 ] [ Set 5 ] [ Set 6 ] [ Set 7 ] [ Set 8 ] [ more from time to time ] 

More bike & trike stuff on my velo pages.

edition: 2018.11.23 | ©robert liebermann
url: http://rjl.us/velo/kibo.htm
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