Category Archives: Factory 5
Epilogue – Themes While Bicycle Touring Through China
Shot from a Moving Bicycle 04 - The roads were mostly empty in the industrial areas.

After looking back through all 800 photos I shot while on bicycle tour through China with Mission Workshop and Factory 5, I had a hard time breaking it down to a cohesive gallery show.

What I began to notice were themes in the photos, not apparent as I flipped through the files, but when I printed out a selection of photos, they began to tie in together. These themes represent not only my eye for cycling in urban environments, but also my background education and professional career as an architect.

China really changed my perspective on the world as a whole. I saw beautiful landscapes destroyed in the name of progress and capitalism. I witnessed a precious and old culture wiped out to assimilate with a preconceived notion of luxury. Everywhere I looked, I saw western civilization to blame.

Globalization, our desire to own and consume had changed China. Granted I had no benchmark for the status quo, I could only gather enough information through examining the landscapes.

The Chinese build for the sake of building. Supply and demand is a skewed balance, tilted in the former’s favor. This growth is unwarranted and most importantly, uncontrolled.

So where did this bike tour fall into place? It was, after all, Mission Workshop’s idea. While I was given no direction, no instructions, I did have really, complete freedom to do what I wanted.

We had an agenda: test out the new US-manufactured Acre clothing while riding a bicycle through some of the most polluted areas of China and document the trip for a gallery show. Was it successful? I’d say so…

Which brings me to this post: a selection of 50 photos, all shot with my Mamiya 7ii and Kodak Portra 400. These photos break down into illustrative observations, all of which are noted in the photo’s title. Some are obvious, others are not.

You’ll see the themes fairly easily and I’d like to hear what you have to say about them. Feel free to critique / comment, just be polite and constructive.

Many thanks to Mission Workshop / Acre, the Factory 5 crew and anyone that helped us on this journey.

Jan 8, 2014 24 comments
Factory 5: Lattice Chainring Now Available
Factory_5_Lattice

The guys at Factory 5 in Shanghai just launched their newest product, the Lattice chainring:

“The Lattice Chainring is one of our proudest moments in F5 history. We went back to the drawing board with this one and came up with something technically innovative and intrinsically beautiful. In other words, it’s freaking light and euphemistically gorgeous.

Precision CNC milled from a single piece of 7075 aluminum, the dual-plane cutouts maintain strength whilst reducing the chainring’s weight to a mere 78g. We’ve radially brushed the ring and had them deep anodized to give the industrial feel we strive for at F5… and the result is something we’re chuffed to say is made in China.

It comes in 144BCD, Black, Slate and Silver, 47, 48 and 49T.”‘

I’m stoked on these! Pick one up here!

Nov 25, 2013 4 comments
Factory 5: Prototype Track Chainring
Factory-5-chainring

The crew at Shanghai-based Factory 5 are some talented folks. They’ve been working on designing, developing and fabricating track bike goods in China. For them, it’s actually quite an easy task because they live just miles from the factories. One of their recent developments is this precision CNC milled, intricate dual-plane lattice cutout, prototype 7075 aluminium track chainring that weighs less than 80g.

So solid guys! I’ll post more once they’re available.

Jul 26, 2013 6 comments
Mission Workshop: The Ends – Video Trailer

Here’s a video trailer promoting a series of webisodes that Mission Workshop is working on with the Werehaus, showcasing our bike tour in China:

“Setting out from Shanghai, John Watson and Mission Workshop began their cycling tour of China’s Yangtze River Delta. Using both film and digital formats, Watson photographed the surroundings and encounters with the local community. Led by their friends from Factory Five, they headed into a frenetic network of massive residential complexes, large industrial parks, and super highways. At first glance, the route seemed straightforward, however, the reality of the 1,000km trip was far more intense than anyone expected.”

Keep on top of The Ends at Mission Workshop and please come to the opening party, let’s hang out!

Jun 12, 2013 10 comments
The 2013 PiNP Calendar: June
PiNP_June_lowRes

This is the sixth layout of the 2013 PiNP Calendar, entitled “Into the Void”. The camera, lens used and location are noted on the bottom left of the document.

During my tour in China with Factory 5 and Mission Workshop, we often found ourselves riding into the unknown. When visibility is low and you can’t see more than half a mile ahead of you, who knows what lies ahead. Part of that mystique is what made that trip so unique and photos like this barely scratch the surface of what it was like to ride through the countryside.

Right Click and Save Link As – 2013 PiNP Calendar: June

Jun 1, 2013 1 comment
Get Out and Ride This Weekend
riderip-1

It’s almost the weekend and I shouldn’t even have to tell you to get out and ride. I haven’t shown any of my film photos from China but I can let these two slip through. It’s Jeff, MMC and Tyler from Factory 5 ripping out of the bamboo forest…

May 24, 2013 2 comments
Jeff’s Factory 5 F550 Track
Beautiful Bicycle: Jeff's Factory 5 F550 Track

Last month’s tour was one of the best months of my life. China was, albeit a bit taxing at times, incredible and that’s all thanks to the crew at Factory 5. One of those dudes is Jeff and this is his no frills Factory 5 F550 track bike. Bare aluminum, black components and my favorite rims, this bike is clean!

I have to admit, it’s my favorite from the group and that’s mostly due to the utilitarian nature of the setup. Sometimes, there’s risers and a front brake, other times, compact drops. The gear range is spinny and as Jeff proved by smashing it up some serious climbs, he’s well equipped for anything…

May 2, 2013 19 comments
Tyler’s Factory 5 Low Pro Track
Beautiful Bicycle: Tyler's Factory 5 Low Pro Track

Another one of the Factory 5 track bikes that was on the bike tour was Tyler’s. This 61cm frame has quite the component kit on it. Most interestingly, one of five pairs of H+Son carbon fiber wrapped Formation Face rims. The aluminum rims were thinner, to compensate for the wrap, resulting in a lighter rim. They’ll never see full production, because they were a pain to fabricate, but they look great laced to Dura Ace 7600 36h single side track hubs. Tyler’s also riding Paul Royal Flush cranks, which he’s had for over four years in China with no issues.

This is the third prototype of the forthcoming Factory 5 aluminum low pro frame, with smoother welds. The final version will still have a few revisions. Factory 5 has been working on this particular model frame for over a year, revisiting the geometry before making the final version. It makes their motto “We Build. We Ride” even more fitting.

I wanted to photograph his bike after the tour, muddy and all, as a recording of how fucking dirty his bike got riding through China. I’m going to miss hanging out with Tyler. He’s like my metal brother in China…

Check out Factory 5′s current frame offerings here and more photos in the Gallery.

Apr 9, 2013 16 comments