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Image of author’s lungs showing a 2 cm lesion in his lower right lobe

Spending $129 on a diagnostic test saved me from the worst of lung cancer. What is more horrible is that health insurance in the USA does not typically cover this test. It still seems crazy that the cash price of a low dose CT scan is so low, but I’ll rant about American health care and insurance in another article.

I wanted to share the story of my successful (so far) battle against lung cancer. I hope my journey will get more people to get a low-dose CT scan to catch their cancer and heart disease earlier.

I am a…

I’m done. It is somewhat of a let down that I’m done. The shopping for components was fun if not a bit frustrating at times due to the global shortage of everything.

I initially ordered the frame the end of September 2020 and didn’t finish the last assembly until nearly 4 months later. My initial budget was about $3,600 but I fully expected it to be a bit higher. As you can see I ended up at $3,900, which is only $300 over the initial budget. …

Finished MTB. Just needs a name.

I’m at the fun stage now. Putting all of the components together. However, as I write this, I am missing a key component — the shifter. Apparently, SRAM GX shifters are a hot commodity, nobody has stock and it looks like 2 weeks out.

Starting with the bottom bracket and crank. I inititally tried to install the Pressfit BB-92 using a c-clamp. The c-clamp wasn’t big enough so I asked the local MTB Facebook group if anyone had the pressfit tool to borrow and luckily someone had one. The tool made the process of installing the bottom bracket very easy…

My custom mountain bike build is coming together, part by part

A new thing that I’m doing with this set of wheels on my MTB build is to go tubeless. Tubeless MTB wheels are the latest cool trend with many advantages over tubes, including decreased weight and the ability to run lower p.s.i. I’ve never investigated tubeless until now, and I was not prepared for a couple of nuances in the setup.

First, the tires are a bitch to get on the rims. They go on tight, taking a lot of force to get the final bead on the rim. You need to put sealant into the rim/tire. I didn’t do…

It has been a while. My last post was about a month ago. The biggest reason for slowing down is component stock. I cannot find both the derailleur and the shifter for SRAM Eagle GX in stock. To a large degree, this is also affecting other components, most notably wheels. A reason, maybe not a significant one, for building an MTB was the global supply of bikes is still horrible due to COVID-19. These issues have affected other components in the supply chain too.

I did finally find some wheels. I ended up with the Ibis S35. The wide profile…

Things have been a bit slow on the part acquisition front as of late. Primarily, I wanted to slow down the cash flow a bit. Also, some of the drive train components are out of stock; or I’m waiting for the 2021 revisions.

I did score a couple of slightly used components from a local MTB enthusiast who saw a post I made on on Facebook. I was able to pick up a SRAM XX1 carbon crank for a steal, handlebars, and some tires. All for less than $250. Of all of these components, the crank is the largest compatibility…

Rear shock mounting and bushing parts

I’m not sure that I got the right bushing and mounting kit for my rear shock from TF Tuned. The package finally came after I installed it such that everything fit, I had some extra nylon parts.

The main bushing fit well and was the correct width, but since I had extra parts I feel like it was possibly the wrong kit. I’m probably going to send this blog article to TF Tuned and see if they can help me.

Here is what it looks like assembled. It it is very secure and no play at all.

Manitou R7 Expert MTB Fork

I finally pulled decided on a front fork. After purchasing the rear shock from Manitou, I decided to go with the R7 Expert Fork. With most purchasing decisions on this bike, I don’t have a lot of brand awareness or awareness of the capabilities of the equipment. My default assumption is that most components are equally functional at a given price point. As I mentioned in the discussion of the rear shock, a friend of mine who does downhill racing suggested Manitou. …

Manitou Mara rear shock

High on my list of components to finalize was the rear shock. Partially because the rear shock cool and part because I had a suspicion something was going to be difficult.

Let’s start with the frame. The specs provided by Light Carbon:

Mount 165*38mm or 40mm shocks get 100mm travel
(compatible with standard mount and trunnion-mount)

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the aesthetic that I’m going for with this bike. The frame is flat black. One idea that I had was to do accents in something bold, like neon green or orange.

As a designer, how the bike looks is very important to me. I want something minimalistic and understated. Something that most people would miss as a nice bike unless they take a close look. Lots of front forks have accent colors. But I didn’t think that I could match the color with any other components.
So where I ended up was to black on black. The decision on the rear shock dictated the front shocks and those are both gloss black. Gloss black on flat black.

I’m hoping it will look like I envision; minimalistic and understated.

Brian G

I am a designer specializing in interaction design, information architecture, UI architecture, patterns, and design systems. I also ride bicycles.

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