On Tournesol

Right now my feeling with Tournesol is that it has been a fun project that lasted for seven years or so and we seem to be moving on to newer and simpler iterations. As much as I like big tires, rack/fenders/lighting/650B, it seems that other people are doing well with this combo and my enthusiasm for complicated builds – and I’m also looking at you, disc brakes and Di2/EPS – isn’t what it used to be. 

Our Strada Bianca has been killing it, imho, with fenders, bigger tires, choice of material/forks/brakes and lack of complications to the extent that promoting Tournesol seems a tad redundant and, at times, self-defeating. Martin does great work with the frames and forks but having Max build the racks takes him away from the welded frames which currently have a six-month wait. And sourcing odd parts and dealing with the fussiness of rando bikes – well, bitchbitchbitch but I think one can see where I’m headed with this.

In addition we have a few other projects that could come to fruition in the next year or two and should be fairly intertwined – if you were to think new shop location, material choice, and alternate models you might not be too far off – and cleaning house now makes sense. But we still have Tournesol decals and graphic files, the rack benders still work, so who knows – maybe 650B electric-assist track racers will be the next new, old thing. And we’ll be there!


Web tweaks

There have been a couple of small tweaks to the website, to wit:

Steel frame prices increased $100, titanium frame prices increased by $200.

I added a section on the Process and Details page called “The No List”, trying to give a sense of what makes us whiney and what we will say no to. Current text reads:

This where we really shine! Di2 and disc brakes make us grumpy but I guess we’re not saying no yet on those. On titanium frames you may not have a pump peg, rack mounts, or front der tab. On travel bikes you can’t have a pump peg or disc brakes. MAX tubes are incompatible with couplers. I’m sure I’ll think of more…

Crabby, crabby me.

Good times…

Here at HampCo Towers we’re usually pretty shameless about tying in products with anniversaries and Andy’s bigger wins – see pretty much anything to do with the 1988 Giro or the Passo Gavia – but in the case of his win at L’Alpe d’Huez in 1992 we completely dropped the bidon, as it were. No Motorola Eddy Merckx paint scheme tribute, no jersey mock-up (yet), we’re still keeping it in the 80s.

But our excuse is that we’re busy here with sales, production, Nahbs prep, some Big Plans For Next Year, Tyler’s book (natch), and our skirt got caught in our chain. And, to be honest, the Motorola years maybe didn’t seem quite as carefree and innocent as those early halcyon days of 7-Eleven, at least from where I sit. Some good results, to be sure, but more pressure, more seriousness, bigger sponsors to keep happy. Following Andy’s departure from that team, it appears, a downward spiral began that we’re still learning about to this day.

Be that as it may, there are few single stages in any rider’s career that have filled me with as much sheer joy as that win on top of the Alpe. I still remember joking to a friend about “What if Andy won today?” while out on a ride that day and to come home and find he did – well, that was pretty sweet.

 Enjoy.