2004 (05?) Omega Alchemy Ti 55cm

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To be honest, I never really ride this bike. Road riding is BORING. There, I said it. So…while I can still do it, I’m MTB all the way. I’m basically keeping this bike for my future golden years, since it looks like everyone who rides in my town is a roadie and like 80+…

Just under 17lbs with pedals, the Omega Alchemy is a Bri’ish made bike. The company is now defunct, but I believe reborn under another name (Enigma). When I decided I wanted a road bike (for the days I couldn’t manage a trail ride), I wasn’t really sure what to get. At first I looked at some carbon big brand bikes like the Specialized Tarmac and whatnot, but came across a listing online for this one. What caught my eye was that it was made of Ti and had brand new Dura Ace C24 carbon clinchers on it.

I’m not really an experienced road biker, so the handling feels skittish to me. I think that’s just how road bikes feel, though; they are just too light and tight so they feel every bump and crack.

Upgrades since I bought it:

  • Ultegra 6700 brifters and brakes
  • Syncros Ti post
  • KCNC seat clamp in red anno
  • Columbus Super Muscle full carbon fork to match the rear wishbone. Superlight and looks much nicer than the 3T bladed fork it came with when i bought it.

1997 GT Xizang Titanium (Sold!)



Yikes(!). What can be said about one of the winningest, most iconic mountain bikes of all time? Yes, the GT Xizang is perhaps one of the most sought after bikes on the VRC scene…and I have one! In the 16" size no less (18" C-T), which is the perfect size “medium” and even harder to find. This one’s from ‘97, but with ’94 NOS decals applied. The little tab on the back of the seattube is for running canti-type brakes; an extra piece that served as a bolt-on canti hanger could be fitted there to act as the cable stop. Not sure why they kept the tab though, as v-brakes were by far the way to go by ’97.

As she sits: 20.6lbs.


  • ’08 SID Race. Wow, what an upgrade over the original ’98 blue SID, with its 32mm stanchions. 80mm travel. The v-brake model is a bit hard to find and I think they stopped making it in ’09. You can still buy v-brake lowers on eBay for about $160 if you’re desperate.
  • XTR m970 levers and shifters; XTR m952 rear
  • Race Face (RIP) Deus XC crankset
  • Mavic 517s to Hugi hubset (super lightweight; from an ’03 S-Works Epic)
  • Specialized carbon flat bar, Ritchey WCS bar ends/stem/post, Selle SLR saddle
  • Continental Speed King 2.1 black chili tires

Update: Sold(!) on fleaBay on 07/20/12 for $1999.99. Some changes to the final auction build were:

  • ’98 SID Blue 63mm fork
  • Styff Carbon flat bar
  • Dura Ace 9spd barcon shifters mounted to Paul Components Thumbies
  • XTR m952 wheelset to Mavic 517 black rims and Wheelsmith double-butted spokes
  • XTR m950 levers
  • Final weight was actually less, at only 19.90lbs. Not bad.
  • Sold it because, well, I never rode it and I am itching for something new…I think I got a good price, but eBay and PayPal gouged me at about 13.5%! Ouch…
Update 2: Bah! I found another 16" frame and decided it was a good deal so I bought it! This one is a ’93. I’m currently swapping over some parts from the Bonty to get it running so I can take it for a ride. You know, to give it another chance…yeah.

1992 Bridgestone MB-1

Another bike I always wanted BITD. We sold these at the shop I worked at in college. Cool, very classic. After finally tracking one down and then obtaining the ultra-rare Ritchey bi-plane crown fork, I thought the ride just sucked. Maybe the old school geometry was just too low for me now. I nearly got rid of it, but didn’t find a match on my local Craigslist. Of course, one of the offers was for the biplane fork alone. And a rather ridiculous one at that, so I parted it out and slapped on an old champagne Judy I had lying around to complete the bike again. For kicks, I took it for a spin and was a bit shocked to discover the ride had been transformed; the extra one inch or so of axle-to-crown height picked up the front end just enough to make the bike comfortable again! It’s now my “townie” bike; my go to ride for zipping through traffic and reliving my fearless college days…


  • Set up 1×8 with XT m732 rear thumbshifter and XTR m900 rear derailleur and cassette
  • ‘97 Judy in factory “cream” color is a near perfect patch for the “Pearl Tusk” of the MB-1 (less the “pearl” part of course). 63mm travel and internal Speed Springs with my custom Judy decal repros (need NEW decals for your Judy?)
  • Ritchey “Special Edition” Zero hubset laced to Vantage Pro rims.
  • Ritchey Pro Logic bottom bracket (I have a NOS Ti one, but can’t seem to talk myself into installing it)
  • XTR M-900 headset
  • White Turbo perforated saddle
  • Ritchey Logic crankset and Logic Pro bottom bracket
  • Bontrager Titec titanium bar
  • Original spec Ritchey stem and post
  • Ritchey foam grips

Update: Sold June 2013 on craigslist for $625 to some jerk who tried to haggle me to no end, even after we settled on a sale price! In the end, I think I got a pretty good price for it. I had forgotten I already sold the rigid Ritchey biplane fork alone for $300 last year, so not bad considering!

1993 Bontrager Race

1993 Bontrager Race

My 1993 Bontrager Race. Medium. Serial No. 1473, 22.4lbs. as pictured.

Here’s one of my bikes. It was originally blue with silver/white decals. It was pretty beat up when I picked it up off my local craigslist. I had it re-powdered a slick orange-sparkle with a gloss clear powder on top. I made the new decals myself (never really cared for the original ones much). They’re just white vinyl made from a home cutter (graphtec). The forks are 2007 SID Race mounted to a Bonty offset crown. I scored a strange lot of NOS Rock ShoxTitanium steerers off eBay a while back and was able to press this one together. I love the feel of the SID over the Judy it replaced. This is about as modern as you can get up front with a reasonable budget.

Notable parts:

  • [formerly] NOS Rolf Propel wheelset. Very light and so far bulletproof. Relatively rare to find these wheels these days. Very smooth and fit the Bonty nicely. Set up tubeless.
  • 2007 Rock Shox SID Race fork. 80mm travel. With the recommended sag, it’s a perfect A-C height of 425mm, just like the original 63mm Judy. I’ll take this fork ANY day over the Judy! The lowers were NOS off eBay, and otherwise exclusive to the carbon-crowned WC model.
  • Ritchey Logic Compact crankset. 175mm. Ti crank bolts. Rare blasted finish. I love these cranks. They were slightly modified to run as low as a 29T ring, but has a 30T on it now. Found I needed the smaller ring for the 1×9 setup!
  • Ti Bottom Bracket, unknown manufacturer.
  • Paul Thumbie(s) with Dura Ace 9spd barcon shifter. Paul chainkeeper.
  • Rock Shox suspension seatpost. I’m an admitted weight weenie, but this post works so well to take the edge off the rear that Can live with the weight hit…for now. I have a mint Syncros Ti post to swap in on those heavy days…
  • Other: Specialized carbon low-riser bar, Ritchey WCS Carbon saddle, Ritchey v4 pedals (light and work great; I ride these on all my bikes)

Update: Sold 06/29/13:

Sadly, I sold the Bonty today for what I think is a relative steal at $800. I’m now down to only 4 bikes(!). Did I mention I picked up a ratty Dekerf Team SL? I decided (for now) to keep that over the Bonty, partly due to it’s standard 1-1/8″ headtube.

I swapped back in the rigid Vicious Cycles fork and kept the SID. I’ve also still got one Bonty Ti threadless crown left as well as the rare Paul Components crown. You know, just in case I come across that elusive Ti Lite one day!

The final build for the Bonty:

  • Vicious Cycles rigid fork
  • Ritchey WCS stem and Marathon saddle
  • XT 9spd m770 rear shifter pod
  • Race Face Turbine crankset 36t
  • Paul Chain Keeper
  • DT Swiss/Hugi 240 laced to Mavic 517 wheelset
  • XTR m950 v-brakes / m952 SGS rear derailleur
  • Bontrager/Titec Titanium bar
  • Curve seatpost 26.8 (debadged)
  • Intense System 2 tubeless tires

Making Android more like a Blackberry: True Push Email using Exchange on a Galaxy Nexus

Gmail app on Android isn’t true push. Not like a Blackberry at least. Try as I might, I couldn’t get my emails to arrive on my new Galaxy Nexus in real-time, which is important for my pseudo server admin duties. I need to know when something’s gone haywire on my servers [preferably] before my users do! And if anything, the Blackberry was really, really good at this one thing (push email).

My tests with Gmail push were all over the place. Sometimes it seemed instant, and other times I didn’t get a notification at all. Or may I would 5 minutes later. WTF?

I even tried using Gmail to forward to my phone’s SMS address, but that led me into other issues: trying to assign a specific notification tone to a contact without a phone number or using multiple SMS apps to achieve what I wanted. In the end, the hacks I was trying to use to make my Nexus more Blackberry-like were pretty sloppy and I wasn’t very happy.

Until now…I think I figured it out (finally).

Set up the Gmail account you need to push using the built-in Email app instead of the Gmail app. Once you eneter your credentials, select Manual Setup (note: this is using ICS, so I don’t know what the interface looks like in pre-ICS). Then select “Exchange”. For server, change it to “m.google.com” and leave everything else as-is.

When you complete the setup, try a test to that account. Instant, huh? (well at least within 1 minute, consistently,unlike Gmail). Niiiice

Next task is to figure out how to set up Ringer Profiles like a Blackberry: Being able to assign specific notifications to specific email addresses I’ve set up to sync, with individual volumes. For example, setting a profile to “Night”, so everything is off but only the dreaded server alerts come through.

Update: Sadly, my Exchange setup doesn’t seem extremely reliable either. Better than plain Gmail, but still not very instant. I’ve now downloaded and installed an app called Mail Alert (free), that polls the email account at a specified interval. I’ve set mine to every 60 seconds, and using that in conjunction with the Exchange method provides me with a sort of backup alert system. True, this may be a battery drain, but so far in my testing it doesn’t seem to make a significant impact; I am still getting a full day out of the stock battery with room to spare. I may pick up a secondary battery just in case, since I tend to use the WiFi hotspot feature of the Nexus quite a bit.