Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Website LIVE!

At long last, there is a new website up, with a blog attached, so please follow along there, rather than here as I'll no longer update this one.

I hope you like the new format.
The page is still under construction, so check back from time to time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holiday travels

We are going to be out of town for the next few days for a trip to the coast. We are going to stay in a cabin in La Push on the Quileute reservation, to celebrate with family and friends and enjoy some time from the day to day. A mini vacation of sorts.

We did this two years ago and had a great time. The cabin was as basic as you'd care to rent for any amount of time. Cold water, wood stove, hot plate, card table, one large bed and a bunch of slim foam mattresses in the loft above. Good, simple accommodations so you spend less time indoors and get out to enjoy the area. We took a long walk along First Beach and were granted a fine day with gorgeous weather.

Gorgeous weather? Yes. I've been out to La Push in July and experienced unpleasant weather. In '07 for Thanksgiving weekend, the sun shone brightly in a lovely blue sky. We had some drizzles and a little cloud cover too, but the temperature was mild and the scenery was breathtaking. One the morning we were leaving we took one quick walk along the beach and watched some hardy surfers playing in the waves amidst the dazzling sunshine.

This year the cameras are loaded with film, packed and ready for something good!
Perhaps we'll have a small taste of the nice weather this year. I hope so.

Back next week with news and updates!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Back from Oregon and back to work!

For Lisa C.:
These photos (and the associated build) are long overdue. Lisa, you have an angel's patience. This bike is gonna be great!

The photos are of the build process, starting with the fork and moving on to the lug preparations.

The photos are a jumble on the page because I don't have the best Blogger arrangement skills. I do, however, know how to build a bike.

First step is I rake the blades, basically bending the fork blades over a bending mandrel (form) one at a time to match the offset of the bike design. Since this bike will spend a lot of time as an urban porteur/commuting bike, the blades were offset a fair amount.

Next, I prep the blade ends and braze in the drop outs. I use the fork jig to hold things in place, though it is not set up for the final fork dimensions. It's just acting as a parts holder at this point.

Then I clean up the fork crown and prepare it for brazing. There's a before and after photo of the crown. I didn't take any pictures of the brazing process, since it really is a time sensitive procedure and I don't have any assistant. I don't have a timer on my camera either, so maybe it's time to pick up a cheap assistant. Ha.

I braze the fork blades and the steerer tube into the fork crown all at once to minimize the heat cycles the crown must go through. It may get a small touch of heating later on to install shoulder mounted threaded eyelets for the rack mounts, but this is a very minor amount of heat, so no worries.

Then I moved on to the lug preparation. They needed some clean up and I decided to reprofile the radii of the lugs so they have a better flow from one tube to its adjacent tube. There are some just brazed photos and a couple where I've begun the clean up. More to come on Saturday.

We are headed out of town again to have an early Thanksgiving celebration with family in Stanwood tonight and tomorrow. Then it's back to work work work. It felt really good to be back in the shop with the music blaring. I can't wait to get down there again soon.

Oh yeah, the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show, put on by the OBCA was great. We had a very simple booth, comparatively speaking, and enjoyed talking with many attendees and other vendors as well. I really enjoyed meeting some other builders from out of town, especially our booth neighbors, Wade Beauchamp and Co. from Vulture, out of Bend, Oregon. These folks had a great booth, the best costumes of the show and definitely the most fun attitude. Thank you Portland for hosting and attending another great Cycling event an extending the warm hand of invitation to Boxer Bicycles.

Thanks again to my wonderful wife, Katie who participated way more than expected and was always quick to give me a break when I needed to clear my head. I'm so lucky to have you as my partner.

A huge thanks also goes out to our friends and super gracious hosts, Joshua and Britt. Your house is so lovely and welcoming and the dinner was to die for. Our time in town wouldn't have been nearly as pleasant if we had stayed elsewhere. Their dog Sofie is a sweetheart, and probably the most rambunctious dog I've ever met, and that's saying alot. Her reaction to the friendly Halloween Trick-or-Treaters was hilarious!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

OBCA Framebuilders show this weekend!

We're heading back down to Portland this weekend for the Oregon Handmade Bike Show. If you're in the area and feel like a trip to P-Town, don't miss it.
More info here. I am so stoked about this. Come check it out!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Info for the uninformed

Here's some pricing and order process information. I realize this is long overdue.
I'll put a link to it permanently at the right, so it's easily accessible.

The ordering process is fairly simple. It starts by you sending me a note to let me know you're interested. I will reply with a few documents to begin the process, collect some information about you and your current favorite bike and gather more specifications for your new Boxer Bicycle. We then arrange a time to meet
and go over the forms together (or talk on the phone, for those of you outside Seattle) to clear up any questions before I create a proposal. If we meet in person, it's also an opportunity to take a short ride together. We can talk for hours about how to design a bike for you, but a 30 minute ride speaks volumes.

Upon your approval of the proposal and $1000 deposit, I begin the design process, including CAD illustrations of the proposed bike. After further discussion, and your approval, I create a full scale drawing and prepare an order for the frame and fork components. If your bike will have custom, handbuilt racks, I will also compile an order for these materials.

As things progress, I will provide updates on the status of your project and photos of the build sequence. If your project calls for a complete build, I will then require an additional payment towards the build kit. When the time comes near, I'll let you know to begin thinking about powdercoat colors and/or paint options. After that I build the bike up and you come for the first ride!

Please note, pricing is subject to change, based on marketplace variations.
Base pricing

• Custom lugged frame and fork $2000 and up
Hand-selected crome moly tubing, two sets of water bottle mounts, fender eyelets, standard brake bosses (cantilever) and pump peg or hanger included. Single color powder coat finish included.

Add-ons and upgrades

• Lightweight tubing upgrade (where appropriate) $200 and up
• Hand-carved lugs $200 and up
• Disc dropouts $200
• 3rd set of water bottle mounts $40
• Internal brake cable routing $100 per
• Internal lighting wiring $120 per
• Rack mounts $30
• Chain slap guard $75


• Custom chrome plated rack (with frame/fork order only) $200 and up
• Decaleur du sac (with fork/rack order only) $150 and up
• Custom LED tail light $200
• Custom chain rest $ Ask
• Custom chain guard for single ring configuration $200 and up
• Kickstand mount $100

Finish upgrades

• Additional color $70
• Wet paint $350 and up

I am happy to offer complete build kits for your Boxer Bicycle. Please inquire for pricing on all components, including custom handbuilt wheels and specialty items such as lighting and luggage (handlebar bags, panniers, etc.). Complete professional assembly is $200. If you require anything else, please ask.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

PDX Cross photo gallery

I'm sorry , but I'll never get sick of this. PDX Cross has a photo gallery up of the Constructor's Race here.

Beautiful pictures by Mike Davis chronicle the race from pre-start to finish line antics and podium celebrations. I had the pleasure of chatting with Mike on the chartered bus ride up to the start in Vernonia. He gets the credit for the photo above.

Enjoy the gallery.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happenings, man

There's a lot going down here at Boxer Bicycles central command. Namely, there are more events coming up in the very near to near to not so distant future.

This coming Saturday, 10/17, I'll be attending/participating in the Counterbalance Bicycles Demo Day. There will be a few tents set up along the Burke Gilman trail, just north of the University Village with bikes and products available for demo/test ride. Being right there on the trail does have its advantages so come down, or up, to check out Boxer Bicycles in the flesh, as well as other swell bikes and stuff. The street address is 2943 Ne Blakely, Seattle 98105. The number there is 206 922 3555 and the hours on Saturday are 10a - 6p. I'll probably cut out a little early (say around 5-ish) for a dinner engagement.

The following Friday, 10/23, Boxer Bicycles will participate in the Shop for a Mission Showcase at the Vulcan headquarters in South Lake Union neighborhood. We will have a couple bikes set up in a booth during lunch hour for Vulcanites to peruse. This showcase is being presented by Washington CASH (Community Alliance for Self Help), the entrepreneur development and training non-profit organization. WA CASH was super helpful in getting Boxer Bicycles off the ground last Spring. Dig, Washington CASH. If you are a Vulcan employee come on by and check us out.

Lastly, the Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association (OBCA) is presenting the 2009 Handmade Bicycle Show in Portland (where else?) October 31st and November 1st. Check out for more info. I'm excited about this event because it's a great follow-up to the Oregon Manifest Design Challenge and Rapha Constructor's Race. In fact, the OBCA show is part of the month-long Oregon Manifest extravaganza. For more info about that, see Oregon Manifest.

Good times to come. See some of these bikes in person and take something for a ride, perhaps?

Oh yeah, there are more photos of my Oregon Manifest Design Challenge entry on flickr. I especially like these.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

'nother pointer

Curtis Inglis caught this great picture of Josh Muir and I during the Constructor's Race here.
This is a decent photo of my bike as well. The lighting was pretty good, so it shows some of the details pretty well.

Curtis had a beautiful entry in the challenge, as did Josh. Each one was littered with refined details that came together as a whole so well and with so much class in a tasteful aesthetic.

Nice write up of the OM/Rapha Constructor's Race

Just a pointer to Mark Reber's story over on
Check it here.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Well, that was fun

I'm back in Seattle. Drove up last night from Portland after a little time spent at the Oregon Manifest Design Constructor's Challenge Race finish line party.

It was a beautiful course with some challenging climbs and a healthy section of gravel climbing/descending. It would make a fantastic permanent or brevet course (hint, hint OR Randonneurs!).

Slogging along on the home stretch I passed the Skyline Tavern and was cheered by a couple guys on the terrace. I couldn't see who they were, so I just waved my bloody hand and kept riding. I worried that the next riders were close behind and gaining, as the last couple climbs were very slow for me and really took their toll.

Shortly after passing the Tavern, I see two riders were approaching (and the wind began to howl!) in my beerview mirror. One is on an unencumbered bike, the other clearly with a load over the front wheel and a dynamo powered light shining below the rack. That sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach descends, knowing that I only have so much gas left in the tank and I'm suffering on any small incline. I have a momentary freak-out, fearing that these two riders are racers and will work together to overtake me and duke it out for the finish.

I can not tell you how relieved and happy I was when they pulled up behind me and I realized one of them is Joshua Bryant, a fine Oregon Randonneur whom I've ridden with on a couple occasions. I hoot and holler and excitedly tell them that I thought all the effort and blood and hopes for any glory were lost, but now I still had a fighting chance! I quickly introduced myself to the other rider, none other than Phillipe Andre, another randonneur whose name has peppered SIR brevet results of years past. I recognized his name as one of the faster riders and am dually glad to meet him.

Josh pulls a couple car lengths ahead and Phillipe tucks in behind. I am still racing and they are not interested in helping/cheating, but they do wish to join me on the ride to the finish. With renewed vigor and hope in my heart, I gave it all I had. The very last bit is a ride through my old stomping grounds, the NW neighborhood of Portland. Each block has a stop sign or traffic light. Sometimes it's a four way stop sign. This is not a very quick way to get through a neighborhood, which is quite lovely for the inhabitants of this part of town, however to me the stops and waiting for pedestrians and traffic was interminably long. I've never won a race before, because I had never raced before this event, so I was very anxious.

Upon arrival at the finish, the organizer had set up a tent for the racers to change into proper party attire, which had to be carried the entire ride, along with a glass 6 pack of beers collected at the f1st checkpoint on Dixie Mountain Rd. and some party snacks picked up at Chris King's barn on NW Kaiser. It was unpleasant trying to stretch a tight fitting shirt over my road-rashed shoulder and left arm, but it was worth it to be presentable at the finish.

I had fun at the event and was proud to wear my SIR jersey, representing a club of strong and well-rounded riders. 77 miles is really a warm-up for most of us, but I rarely ride at such a hurried pace. It has it's attraction, however, and I might try to push the clock a little on the next brevet. And I learned to go a little easier in the sweeping gravel corners. There's some coverage of the event, as you may have discovered and a few pictures of the bike itself on flickr and whatnot. Here's a few from the second checkpoint and the finish line.
This one shows the party attire and the bloodied brake lever pretty well.

Once again, I want to thank my wonderful wife, Katie, whose support is what keeps me improving upon my best each day. I also wish to thank the organizers of the Oregon Manifest for the opportunity to showcase my craft with a larger audience and prove the validity of my design. I am not and will never be a very fast rider, but I do know how to make an effective, fun, efficient and high performance bicycle. That I was the 1st frame builder to cross the line on his own bike has to count for something, no?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Portland bound

We leave for Portland tonight. The Oregon Manifest Constructor's Design Challenge begins tomorrow. The bike is ready. I am prepared. The weather is changing (again).

I'm excited to go to Portland. We haven't been there since the NAHBS '08. We will get one night spent in the Ace Hotel, then Katie goes back to Seattle Friday night on the train. Then I spend a couple nights with a kind couple, Joel and Hannah, who are enthusiastic about bikes and frame builders. It all is exciting and I'm honored to participate.

It has been a great learning opportunity having such a hard deadline to meet with so many details and complications to the build. I was floored by the effort to get a project together in such a short amount of time and I couldn't have done it without the organizational help and support of my wonderful wife, Katie.

Our families have also been extremely supportive, especially during our wedding weekend event. Everyone pitched in to help out, organizing, cleaning, setting up and breaking down, and having an all around fun time. What a privilege to share our time with both families as they got to know one another. I hope that we all can find a time to do it again soon.

Thanks too, to the folks at Counterbalance Bicycles in Seattle for all their encouragement.

There isn't much else for me to add right now. I'll have more news upon my return.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Words cannot describe...

the feeling you get when something you've labored over for many months leaves you to go be with another person, forever. I think Robert touched on it on his blog. He wrote, "As I drove away with the bike, I noticed Dan in my rear view watching me roll down the hill with it. He had a huge grin on his face."

I felt like a parent watching his kid drive off for his first day at college.

Robert came by a few days ago to pick up his new Boxer randonneuring bicycle. He is one of the nicest fellows you will ever meet, and rides a lot with the Seattle International Randonneurs.

Robert and I began talking about a randonneuring bicycle for him last winter during the SIR winter training series. I remember, we were riding on Whidbey Island, cruising along, chatting about bikes and enjoying the buzz of the road. Robert expressed an interest in having a proper randonneuring bike for all his long-distance adventures and we promised to re-visit the notion when Boxer Bicycles was up and running. He was one of the first people I contacted when I opened for business in March '09.

It has been a pleasure working with Robert as he's so easy-going. I was also lucky enough to enlist Robert's services to work up a logo design from some chicken scratch drawings I did a while ago. So each Boxer Bicycle will be festooned with Robert's sharp artwork. You can learn more about Robert and his work, life, rando escapades at his blog and website here.

More photos of the entire build sequence are on my flickr pages. Nice stuff, sho' nuff.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Projects are coming along

I picked up the first batch of racks and decaleurs from the chrome plater on Wednesday. They turned out really well. I was originally going to have them nickel plated, but went with the chrome as the chrome is more resistant to wear. It also has a clearer shine to it. Nickel plating is a nice look as well, but the chrome has a silveriness (is that a word?) to it, while the nickel has an amber patina. Since the chrome is a layer on top of the copper and nickel layers, it will be more durable when the chrome plating is done well. It helps to get the racks polished up well before the plating process.

I'm really pleased with the racks and now they will be beautiful for a long long time. I prefer a plated finish on racks, over any painted or powdercoated finish, since they tend to get a lot of friction and rub marks from the bags that rest upon them. I'd hate to think the racks woud look poorly when there are no bags installed, since they are such a distinctive feature of a proper cyclotouring bicycle. My mantra remains, "everything in its proper place, in proportion to everything else." This is why I don't simply use a production rack on my complete builds. There are plenty of fine production racks out there, but nothing works or fits as well as a rack designed for its intended bicycle, nor is a production rack typically as lightweight as a one-off, custom design.

A slender tubed steel bicycle frame marries well with a delicate, shiny rack with graceful curves and small diameter tubes. A bicycle designed for more ambitious portaging pursuits (a full-on camping bicycle) would have racks of an appropriate diameter. Not only would this provide strength where necessary, but the proportions would match the appearance of the bike. You will see that with Robert's bike, I had some pre-existing design constraints to work around, which resulted in a creative decaleur solution.

Robert's frame and fork are also ready at the powder coaters. I'll get them early next week.
In the mean time, I'll snap a few photos of the racks when I get a minute away from the bench.

I'm working on the Oregon Manifest bike today. Some finish work and little braze-ons. I think I'm going to get it assembled for a test ride this weekend. The finish will be rough, but at least I'll get a feel for how it rides. I'm excited about this. No photos just yet. Top secret and all that shilly shally.

Stay tuned for pics.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Gotta hang up the rando wheel for a little bit

My life is very busy these days. Boxer Bicycles and my day job keep my mind and hands occupied with things bicycle-related. My fiancee and I are in the last stretch of preparing for our wedding later this month. The weather has conspired to make it unpleasant to go on extended and spirited bike rides, though it appears that our heat wave is breaking right... now.

It has been an amazing summer in Seattle. We have broken records for high temperatures, highest low temperatures, longest stretch of no rain (I think). The city is parched and needs a healthy dose of liquid sunshine. The forecasters are calling for a change over the next couple days. I'm actually happy to need a warm sweater or jersey on my commute rides along Lake Washington. The tomatoes in the garden are completely going off!

Boxer Bicycles is registered for the Oregon Manifest Design/Build Challenge on October 2nd and 3rd. It's an event to encourage handbuilt bicycle builders to come up with creative and innovative solutions for transportation bicycles. The bikes will be judged according to how they meet the requirements of the contest. The event also includes a 77 mile race over varied terrain, including fire roads, broken pavement, a traverse over a small boulder field, as well as a requirement to stop at a convenience store to pick up a 6 pack of bottled beverages and some snacks for the finish line party, at which the racer must arrive in proper party attire. The organizers will provide a changing tent near the finish where riders can change in to the clothes, carried on the bike throughout the race.

It sounds like a lot of fun in a totally Portland kind of way. I'm excited to give this race a wack, as well as have some folks see my handy-work in person. It will be great to also visit with other builders and peruse their designs. I'm looking forward to getting out of town for a little bit and what better place to have a break than Portland.

This project is keeping me busy. Busy, like I don't have time to do much other than go to my day job, work on the bike in the shop at night and on weekends, and have a weekly date break with Katie. All this is to say that I haven't been on a brevet with SIR for a while now. I miss it and wish I could get out there a little more, but I'll just have to suck it up and do my best to take a little time to ride the Windy Ridge 600k brevet in mid-September. I hope to have this project ready to ride on this brevet.

On the side, I'm trying to sell a couple vintage bikes to fund some new projects and clear out the storage space a bit. I'll be posting photos of them on my flickr site here.

The first is a beautiful mid-60's Bianchi Specialissima (probably '64?) in the rare celeste paint, which is now SOLD. I love the color of this bike, and I don't usually care for "celeste" colored bikes. This one is very classy and understated and really matches well the ice cream shake blender passed down from my recently deceased Grandmother. Celeste and chrome is a classic look.

This bike is heavily "patina-ed" meaning it is in rideable condition, but could use some loving care to the finish, probably a light cleaning and waxing to prevent any surface corrosion. It might also be a good candidate for a restoration/refurbishment. I kind of like it the way it is, but that's just my lazy side speaking.

It's not completely original, but much of it appears to be period correct if not actually original.
I rode this bike less than 100 miles since I got it early last year. The rain free summer has allowed me to ride it a few times to the day job (20 mile round trip). Fun, fun, fun. Comfortable, exciting, fast and great on the short sections of mixed surface trails in the area. It would be such a great bike for the L'Eroica ride through Tuscany, with the fat 32mm avocet tires on it now.

No matter how it is ridden, it is sure to create a few smiling faces.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

And so we go

My name is Dan Boxer. I live, ride and build frames and bicycles in Seattle, Washington. I ride with the Seattle International Randonneurs.

My bicycles take great inspiration from the fully-integrated classic bicycles produced by the French constructeurs from the 1930's to the 1960's. Each machine, designed to incorporate basic, crucial details and elements, was perfectly suited for each bicycle's intended purpose. All unnecessary elements were eliminated, resulting in elegant, timeless designs which still hold relevance in today's hectic and modern world. Much of the complication can be boiled down to the following notions:
1) Bicycles need to be able to travel where the rider wishes, regardless of road surface quality and condition.
2) Weather and lighting conditions must not restrict when a bicycle can be ridden.
3) A bicycle rider must be able to bring along items of interest or pick them up along the way.
4) A bicycle must function in sync with it's rider, encouraging the rider to go further and faster than previously possible.

Ultimately, a properly integrated bicycle will have tires which allow the rider to travel at reasonable speeds on roads of varying conditions, sturdy, lightweight fenders which enable the rider to continue riding despite variable, inclement weather conditions and lightweight, powerful lighting (front and rear) enabling the rider to continue riding into and through the night. Perfectly mated with purpose-built, lightweight and sturdy racks to carry luggage and cargo, these bikes encourage a spirited rider to stretch his/her boundaries, be they geological, physical or psychological.

Careful, informed component selection will result in a sporting, quick, lightweight and reliable bike. This may incorporate vintage components as well as thoroughly modern and contemporary equipment, whatever best suits the needs of the rider and the ultimate design. All of this is achieved in an elegant and timeless aesthetic, which appeals to anyone who appreciates finely crafted, beautiful objects.

At least, that's the way I see it.

I offer these beautiful bicycles in lugged and fillet brazed steel as frame/fork/rack/fender and complete bicycle options.
I welcome inquiries, questions and comments, so please hold forth. I maintain a number of Flickr sets. The most recently posted photos are here.