Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Two Fixed Gear Projects and the RockHopper FS

Hello and Welcome,
First a sincere Thank You to everyone who reads and supports this blog. We are well on our way to another "monthly hits" record for March. The weather has cooled off a bit and we had a frost warning last night. But it is back up around 50 degrees F today. I am waiting for all kinds of stuff to show-up for these three bikes I am working on right now. So I have been tinkering around the shop killing time.
Above: After this pic was taken I removed the adhesive residue left behind from removing the sticker graphics using "Goo Gone". I did put a saddle on it and took the bike for a test ride. It is working fine but felt "kind of light". I think I am going to set a rider weight limit on this bike at 150 lbs. It felt like the bike was straining to carry my 195 lb. frame. That might just be my imagination though.
Above: My very first attempt at making a badge by hammering out a copper penny. I actually engraved the H into the copper. But then I screwed it up using too wide of a brush to fill it in with glossy black.I guess it is ok for my very first attempt.
Above: This badge I am hammering out of an aluminum token. The kind you find at a theme park souvenir shops.
Above: I hammered it around this old piece of gas pipe to get the shape. This token is about the size of a US Silver-Dollar coin. A much better size for a head badge I think.
Above: Afterwards I polished it up using the fine brass wheel-brush on the low speed 18 volt rechargeable drill. I think I`ll try to cut out the letter or design on this one. There has to be something in the Dremel kit that I can use for this. That is as far as I got on this badge. I will post an update when I get it finished on a future post.
Above: The frame all cleaned up after using the Goo Gone, all I need now is my parts. Currently I am waiting for the grips, the micro adjust seat post and the saddle to arrive. And I still need to fix that ding in the top-tube.
Above: I have decided to replace the "soft" (and leaky) suspension fork and the tires on the Specialized Rock Hopper FS. When it`s finished I will test ride it. And if I like it, I might keep it for myself and sell the Giant. You know, the Giant I said I would never sell. It will all depend on how the Rock Hopper feels with the new smoother tires. I think I ordered the K West street tires for it.(it was late) I might have ordered the Kenda Kross tires, but I don`t think so. I`ll keep the off road tires for it as well. The only "threaded" 1&1/8 fork I could find with all the right dimensions (travel and hub width) was a generic one. I hope I don`t regret that. I`m sure it will be fine for street use.
Above: Here is the fork for the "Cycle Pro" (Touring Style) fixed gear bike that will have a flip-flop hub and fenders (maybe hammered) and racks. And I`m considering a vintage bell and generator lights. The head-set bearings were in fine shape and cleaned up easily.
Above: The wheel set for the Cycle Pro arrived! I don`t have the tubes yet, I just popped the tires on to see how they look. When it is finished I might remove the colorful stickers on the rims. We`ll see how it looks first. I had the tires in stock. Left over from the Centurion Accordo RS build a while back.
They were to tall for the Centurion, I`m glad I finally have a use for them.
I have a 1/8 Single Crank on order as well as a "cartridge type" JIS bottom bracket unit they tell me will fit. I was careful to order the recommended bracket length 110 mm (and type) for the single crank. This old style bottom bracket to cartridge type conversion will be another first for me. I think I might already have the correct bracket tool. I spent a little more on this crank and I am hoping it will be straighter than the last one. I don`t think you should have to spend a lot of money just to get a straight crank. We will see how that goes I guess.
Above: I think the set of fenders above might just fit this bike. I was thinking about chrome hammered fenders. But the black fenders might look good with the black fork. That would save me a some more cash. I also have a cool mini front rack that needs a little welding. And I think I know just the guy who can do that for me. That would leave me more money for a Genuine Pletscher rear rack and a vintage stem mounted bell and a generator light set. I`ll have to mount those SKS fenders and see how they look.
Above: The Ross about to go home with it`s new owner. It was great to see how much this young man loved this bike. Also the GT and the Gary Fisher found new homes this week. As did the MotoBecane Nomade! Yes it was a good week around my little shop! Also the Free Spirit lugged frame fixie might be sold as well. The GT is coming back for a new front derailleur. I test rode the crap out of it and shifted the front several times with no problems. But so it goes. I will gladly fix it for free. It just bothers me a little because I was so sure the problem had been fixed. I have enough spare parts on hand that I could replace the crank-set, shifter and front derailleur if I have to. I`ll do whatever it takes to get it right I guess.
Above: Now that the weather is warmer I have a plan for finishing the "Parliament/Custom Built/Made in England". First I am going to paint the fork white from the bottom of the crown down. The fork crown itself will remain green. The top? tube will get white piping to match the lower tube. (they both look like down tubes to me) And that should finish it. I have no idea what to ask for it. I can`t find another one just like it anywhere to compare it to. I only found that someone had been asking about the same make on Bike forums a few years ago. And he got no real info there. I have matched the original fenders as close as possible. And mounted a new Brooks Saddle on it. The rack is a genuine Pletscher not a Pletscher style rack. The stem mounted bell is vintage off an old KTM touring bicycle, not a reproduction. I had the rear hub and free-wheel serviced by the only mechanic I could find that still had the free-wheel tool for the old English Free wheel.(He`s pretty much retired now) At three hundred dollars I might break even. But that is not good enough not for this bike. I am hoping to get four hundred dollars, which means I`ll have to ask at least 450.00 . I guess we will have to see how it plays out.
Well, I think we are all caught up for now. Hopefully my parts will start arriving tomorrow and I can get these three bikes wrapped up. Until next time,Please RIDE SAFE and Remember to Always... RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE
Cheers, Hugh


  1. Just a thought: might a Dremel cut an "H" in the badge which would let the underlying paint highlight the letter? VERY chic.

    1. Hey Steve,
      I agree and I will try it. But first I`ll need some thinner stock. I learned that the hard way (as usual) last night.

  2. I keep thinking about that big Huffy H. Maybe a simple design of some sort might be better?

  3. Hugh glad to hear the sales are going so well- I know what that means....more bike parts! Also the hammered alloy fender looks awesome love the faceted look you got, i agree with Steve that an H cut out to let the paint below show would look very cool. BTW I have an original Pletshcer rack, off a 70's Raleigh I think, lying around the shop I would be happy to send you for the cost of S&H. Let me know


    1. Thanks Ryan.
      I really do appreciate that but I already have one on the way. Most people assume Pletscher no longer makes that rack. But they do and it is called I believe "The Classic" And they look exactly the same to me. I was really surprised to find they are still available.(bike mania)
      I`m still working on the badge thing.
      Like anything else it is going to take a while before I can learn t make a badge that looks acceptable.(I really mucked one up last night) First I need to find some thinner stock to work with. Again aluminum step-flashing comes to mind. I really need to get to the Home Depot or Lowe's.
      I gave the mini rack that has a couple of failed welds to a buddy of mine to repair. He is a TIG or MIG welder. He works for a company the builds automated equipment. I will have to make or find an adapter if I am to going install it on the front of the Cycle Pro. As I just noticed yesterday it is actually a rear rack. I can`t wait to see how it comes back. Ken is a really good welder / fabricator.
      Thanks again for the offer. Oh crap! That reminds me, I never mailed out anything to Mr Fink for the vintage English pedal dust cap. I`ll have to do that today before I forget again. In fact I`m going to go do that right now.

    2. Rivendell also sells them occasionally, I'm sure some P-clamps would allow you to mount your front rack on the cycle Pro. After almost a week of silence after posting a tall Peugeot U0-8 to CL, I finally sold it last night. I don't know if you find this to be true but almost all of my buyers are "kids" (<25). I guess being in a metro area with 3 Universities doesn't hurt ;-). Always happy to see them go on to live useful lives.

    3. Hey Ryan,
      Congrats on making the sale. I hope you got a good price for it. I would agree most of my sales are to younger "college age" people. Unfortunately many of those are to replace bikes that have been stolen. However most of my service and repairs are for the over 40 crowd. Maybe that is why they buy less bikes. They take care of the ones they already have.
      And almost all the "restore to order" bikes I do are for the over over 30 crowd. Although my first "restore to order" bike was a "Super Mirage" for a young lady of college age.
      I am really impressed with the young people I meet. Of course being that most of them are U of M students, They are the best of the best! Go Blue!!
      Seriously, they really do impress me.
      When ever the old farts at the coffee shop start ragging on the young people, I tell them about the kids I meet. That usually shuts them up. (for a while) LTMS

  4. I would enjoy seeing more photos of old/restored bikes with their new owners. I think that is what bicycling is all about -- making people happy. A beautiful bicycle is just that -- a beautiful machine, but if it isn't being used it's essentially useless.

    It's great hearing that your home shop is busy for another year, and that your restored/enhanced bikes are popular items.

    1. Hey FP88
      Agreed, I really should try to do that more. And Thanks, I think that this is going to be a good season :)

  5. Hugh! I must be easily blown away, because it happens every time I come here. Head Badges are cool! I wrote a mini-essay over at Padraig's about head badges and I am serious: They are a lost art. Your efforts are to be applauded and my own personal suggestion is an acid-etched bas-relief of your avatar photo: The Craftsman at Ease. If they have an Art Dept out at your beloved Blue you could probably swap a bike or two for for some student's master thesis project. Or not. Me, I'm happy to just write about it.

    By the way, I did some calculations and figured out that you apparently work 24 hours a day, with the blog and the photos and the bike work and so on...keep it up! Good work!


  6. Hey Tim Joe.
    Thanks, It is not so much that I do this stuff
    24 hours a day. It is just that since my "forced retirement" I really have a lot of time to fill. And if I don`t keep myself busy, My wife will have me doing house work all day! And as they say "That $#(%! ain't gonna fly".
    Now, I just read your mini essay at Padraig's blog."Very well done by the way" And while I agree with you 100%, Something you wrote really awoke the English in me. A Rolls-Royce motor car does not have a "hood" lol! It has a bloody "bonnet" with a bloody "motor car mascot"! LTMS.
    Are you feeling me brother? :-) I`m actually 100% yank. I was born 1 mile N. of the Detroit city limit. But mine is the first full generation on Mumzie's side to be born here. On Pops side, they have been here since the "Revolutionary War" as far as anyone knows. My last name is taken from an ancient place in England. Which we assume is where my Dads people came from. So while I am a Yank "and proud of it". I am also very aware and very proud of my English heritage as well.
    You know some days it does not take much to get me going..lol.

  7. Hi Hugh, just an observation--that flat part of your vise is NOT an anvil, and may crack if you keep hammering on it. Good luck with the badges!

  8. Hey M
    I broke a larger shop-vise right off at the base once and I was not using the anvil surface at the time. So I have no doubt what you say is true.
    The following is a description of a shop shop vise from the manufacturer:
    "Features a rotating head for clamping material at any angle and indexed at 90° left and right for quick setup. V-jaw holds 1” - 3” diameter round stock vertically. The large built-in anvil is useful for flat shaping. Includes rubber pinch point safety guards and a positive locking 360° swivel base. The permanent pipe jaws with replaceable serrated jaw faces."
    I was not looking for an argument, I just wanted to know what the "intended use is" for the flat surface on a shop vise. I will start scanning Craig's List in my area for a small anvil.
    Cheers, Hugh


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