The All-City Dropout Novella

If you’re not following what’s going on over on the All-City blog, you should be.

In short, Anna is going through the thought/design process that lead to the new sliding, singlespeed, disc-brake dropout on the Nature Boy Disc.  Here’s day one of the novella (the Prologue), and here is day two of the novella (Formative Days).  More posts are forthcoming, and here is the finished product:

(Pic from CX Magazine)

Why do I find this so interesting?

1)  Because it is good design, and I love good design.

2)  Because I love seeing the through process that others go through in their line of work, particularly when the thought process is logical, easy to understand, well-written and compelling.

3)  Because allen wrench.

I was super-excited to see this picture (Picture linked from All-City Blog/All-City Flickr account):

See that red thing?  That’s an allen wrench.  Why is that exciting?

Have you ever worked on a bike and found that you just cannot reach certain bolts with common tools?  I have bikes where, to get to the bolts that hold the rear brake rotors on, you have to use a 1/4″ drive allen socket, a papal blessing, a universal joint, and a 12″ extension.  You can try using one of those multi-angle allen wrenches, but you’ll just end up rounding off the allen screw…and then you’re screw‘d.  It is incredibly frustrating to work on a piece of equipment where it is clear that the designer had not contemplated future maintenance.  I’ve changed oil in cars where the canister oil filter is located in such a location that you cannot change the filter without dumping oil all over the engine / subframe.  It sucks.

What I love about the All-City novella is this:

You’ll notice that at every point in my computer model, I have allen wrenches drawn in.  You have to be able to get your tools in there.  Have to.  So it is something we consider right off the bat.

That’s quoting Anna.

If you read the rest of the posts, you’ll see that she wants it to function awesome and look awesome, and being as rad as awesome.  And the solution that she develops is both aesthetically pleasing, highly-functional, and likely to be durable and useful.  But at the heart of it, if you buy this bike, you won’t need a toolbox full of tools to adjust the sliding dropout.  No universal joints or wobble-head allen sockets.  Nothing exotic…just an allen wrench.

I love these posts because allen wrench.  And I think it’s super-awesome that in modeling the parts, the designer actually modeled them in CAD with a tool in place, to make sure that it would fit, and work, properly.

Also, while I’m customarily not a steel guy, day-umm.  These bikes are looking good.

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One thought on “The All-City Dropout Novella

  1. I agree, great to see the respect to details. Although, to go the extra mile, I’d like to see a multi-tool in the CAD model. Who carries a single allen key with them?

    I am lusting for an 853 limited King disc…. love the color and love that they are made domestically.

    -Joel

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