If MKS is known for anything, it’s their ability to design and construct a no-nonsense pedal with zero required maintenance. However, MKS hasn’t seen many advancements in its catalog over the years, so when a brand like Sim Works reaches out with idea, you get the best of both worlds. The Bubbly pedal is the result of a tight collaborative effort between two Japanese companies, fusing the heritage of MKS with the practical, modern designs of Sim Works. These pedals include a triple-sealed bearing housing, a stainless pedal spindle, and the largest platform of any MKS product to date. The Bubbly comes in black, silver, and a limited edition bronze for $98. They’re in stock and ready to ship today at Sim Works’ webshop!
A few years ago I went to Japan for a visit with Nitto to discuss some ideas I wanted them to work on for Crust. While there, my friend Nori asked if I would like to visit MKS pedals. Being a huge bike nerd I could not turn down the opportunity to see a company that has been manufacturing pedals since 1946. That’s right, 1946!!!
In a lot of ways, my first Geekhouse Woodville touring bike served as a catalyst for me taking cycling more seriously. It was my first custom bike and provided me with ample motivation to just get out there and ride. The first major tour being Portland to SF and from there, I took it on numerous other trips here in Austin. When it was stolen last year, I began planning out a replacement with Geekhouse. There were some things I wanted to change, but mostly I just missed having a touring bike to ride around on.
As it sat en queue, I couldn’t decide on how I wanted it to function. Initially, I wanted a dirt-drop 29’r pack-bike tourer for riding the MTB trails here in town, but then my Independent Fabrication took over that role, so I revisited what I loved the most about my first touring bike. The riding position is what I would consider traditional but having acquired the Bruce Gordon Rock n Road tires, I wanted to make sure it would roll at least a 50c. I also opted for external cable routing and passed on the S&S couplers.
I’ve had great luck with the SRAM XO rear derailleur and its 11-36 range matched with a compact crank. This time I went with White Industries VBC system and a Force front derailleur, converted to a top-pull. With a 50 outer ring and 32, inner, I’ll have a wider range than I would with a triple. Chris King classic hub on the rear and a SON hub with matching Edelux lamp on the front for light.
Paul components throughout: Tall and Handsome post, Touring Cantis. Other components include a Thomson seat post collar, Brooks Swift saddle, Salsa Cowbell 2 with SRAM barcons, TRP levers and MKS Lambda pedals. With all the Made in the USA bling, I got Marty and Brad at Geekhouse to fabricate a one-off custom stem as well as front and rear racks. The beauty of the front racks lie in their low-rider detachable hangers on the front…
I always load front and low on trips. The bike rides a lot better since the handling isn’t compromised as it would with a rear load and these low-riders are low. My large panniers sit about 6″ off the ground, which is perfect on a 43c tire. On top of just looking amazing, these racks weighed a lot less than the Tubus system I had been using previously. The fork is another highlight: internal cable routing for the Edelux lamp and the segmented shoulders have rack attachments.
Even with all those details and that component list, a build can still go south with a bad powder job. Brad really knocked this one out of the park. Olive Drab green with a matte clear adds to the utilitarian / military aesthetic I wanted. I’ve been scooting around town a lot on this beaut and took it on a few trail rides last week and am in love. Even the ride out to shoot these photos was super dreamy…
I still need to dial it in though. The derailleur cables are now routed under the tape, mostly to make it easier to mount a Swift Industries Ozette randonneur bag. I’ll also need to splice some more chain so I can use the 50t with more of the cassette but for now, it’s riding really well.
That said, it’s not a touring bike until you’ve at least camped on it and summertime in Texas will provide ample opportunities. Right now, I’m just pumped that it came together so well. Many thanks to PAUL, Bens Cycle, Chris at Mellow Johnny’s and the Geekhouse crew for making yet another dream come true.
… also, buy renter’s insurance! Most plans will cover your bikes when they’re stolen!