Article by Alan Ashe
If necessity is the mother of invention for the backyard engineer – Joshua Clark – the owner and operator of Velo Gold Bicycles in Fort Worth, Texas, has developed a propensity to understand the necessity for gadgets of a cool factor that all bicycle technicians, mechanics, and everyday maintenance troubled cyclists will want in their tool boxes.
The tools required to maintain that high-end road bike or mountain bike or whatever is brought into his shop is ever more as critical as that used to care for that low-cost bicycle bought at a retail store.
Josh does not simply fix and repair, he cares for the equipment as if it is his very own and is an old soul technician in a modern day hipster, roadie, coffee drinking, craft beer connoisseur environment. Josh is an innovator and has created a new line of custom tools for those who share the same commitment to care for their bicycle investment as he does.
The necessity: what to do with the chain upon removal of the rear wheel and how to maintain a level of cleanliness not always easy to do with the grit and grime unfortunately collected on the chain.
I am sure most of you reading this have at some time in bicycle ownership and repair or transport have had the displeasure of chain grease on your hands, legs, clothes, vehicle interior and grossly dreaded aspect of the greasy contact with the frameset.
Oh sure, you can lay a rag under the chain or rely on that little strip of vinyl, inadequately positioned on the chain stay and hope for the best of your pricey ride, hope that you do not get pitting, chipping and grease that seems impervious to degreasing.
What you need is a chain keeper.
A few exist already and quite possibly you currently have one in your toolbox, but what if a better chain keeper existed? What if you had one that served more than a single purpose? What if you had one that is the coolest tool you ever owned?
This is where Josh of Velo Gold Bicycles comes in by offering you a custom-designed chain keeper that is precision machined and manufactured by his own hands.
I give you the CK1, CK2, and CK3
The CK1 is a bolt on a device manufactured from high-grade 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum and the roller is made from a high-grade Navy approved, machinable acetyl plastic.
With a simple, quick tightening feature allowing for easy mounting, the user can remove the wheel and install the CK1 without touching the chain. Thereby keeping the user’s hands clean, the chain will not touch the chain stay and if doing any mechanical work the chain will move freely about the acetyl roller with complete smoothness.
Upon the removal of the wheel place the plastic roller directly under the chain and slide the mounting bolt into the dropout and tighten easily with the aluminum mounting nut. This will allow the free spin of the chain for cleaning, degreasing, and lube. The added bonus of no chain contact during transport of the bike.
The CK2 offers the same materials as the CK1 however with added features that exceed the value of this ingenious product. The CK2 is a full axle width chain keeper that fits 130mm axle spacing and also has an ingenious method to covert to 135mm width with a quarter turn of a spacer. The keeper is mounted to the bike with a standard quick release as used on your wheel-set. The uniqueness and attention to detail of design and craftsmanship by Josh makes this a must have for any tech or at home mechanic.
The CK1 and CK2 both allow you to mount without touching the grease and grime of a dirty chain. The CK2 not only allows you to spin the chain as with the CK1 and allows for the full travel of the rear derailleur. The bonus of the device is since it mounts with a quick-release, it allows you to use as a spacer for shipping a bicycle without fear of damage of compression of the rear end by mishandling
Finally, the CK3 is an all plastic keeper for use on 12mm diameter through axle mountain bikes and can be custom made to allow for larger axle sizes when specified by the customer. Josh has covered every base of design, functionality, and beauty of craftsmanship for each device.
Your order can be placed directly with Josh through his website and payment made through your Paypal account. Delivery takes a few short days once your order is received and any specifics desired over the basic model should be addressed prior to manufacturing as each keeper is custom made per order. Currently, the pricing for the chain keepers is a bargain at $65 for the CK1, $85 for the CK2 and $35 for the CK3. The product value far exceeds the cost and the uniqueness of the device, along with reliability and functionality. American made.
Velo Gold Bicycles offers more in one of kind, custom ordered full carbon fiber saddles. The saddles are not your average saddles, they are a work of usable art. With more concepts in the brain of the backyard engineer, custom chain keepers, custom carbon fiber saddles, I am intrigued to find out what Joshua Clark will come up with next. Stay tuned, more to come.
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