Saturday, January 28, 2012

Thruster Fixie Finished! And under budget as well.

Hello and Welcome,
Things have been hectic around here these past few weeks. We are having one bath-room fixed-up and another completely remodeled. And in the midst of all this my wife's car broke-down. So between cleaning-up after the tradesmen and dealing with the car, there has been little time for this project. So after the first bath was finished the builder needed a week to line-up the tradesmen. And we decided to park the car for a while. This gave me most of this week to take care of some other things.

I have been very eager to see what the new Origin 8 1/8 Single Crank-Set would look like on the Thruster. So let us pick it up the project there.

Above: First step is to loosen the rear axle so we can move it forward.
Above: After removing the dust cap I remove the crank retaining bolt. I do not use an extension on the ratchet. And I use the smaller ratchet. For me this makes it easier to keep the socket snug on the bolt head. I don`t want to round off the bolt head by letting the socket slide off while putting torque to the ratchet. It is equally important that the socket have the same number of points as the retaining bolt head.
Above: Here after removing the retaining bolt I have threaded the crank puller tool into the crank. I am very careful not to cross thread this. To avoid cross threading I start screwing it into place by hand. I put this in snug but not over-tightened.
Above: Now I have moved the wrench handle out to the nut on the threaded post. As I thread this in using the wrench handle it will contact the end of the bracket axle or spline. As I tighten the post, it will pull the crank off the spline. I also have a Park tool crank puller. But on the Park the handle is fixed so it can not be used to screw the tool into to crank. And you can not remove the wrench handle and change the position to get better torque on the wrench. I would say "in my opinion" the Park tool is very well built. But the Sun-lite wrench again "in my opinion" is a better design. UPDATE: Removing a badly frozen crank set on another bike I damaged the Sun Lite crank puller. I had to hit it (crank puller handle) with a hammer to break the crank loose from the spindle. I do not think any puller would have stood up to that much abuse. It does still work but with the threaded spindle now slightly bent, it does not thread in easily. As I mentioned I was able to remove the frozen crank. The Sun Lite crank puller "took one for the team."
Above: When I installed the new Single crank. it went on a little too easy for my liking. So I removed the Crank. I then took it out to the shop to check the bottom bracket splines I had on hand for a match. I found one I liked so I went back in and removed the bottom bracket spindle or axle. I compared the two for length then checked the bearings to see that they rode on the spline the same. After I re-assembled the bottom bracket it was actually smoother than the original. So I went ahead and installed the new crank. The arm on the left side removes exactly the same way as the drive side. I did not expect I would find such a perfect spline or bracket-axle match. Sometimes it`s better to be lucky than smart.
Above: A close-up of the new Origin 8 crank and a look at the new Avenir ultralight pedals with old style toe-clips and straps. I think the new crank looks great! And I still think the Avenir pedals are the most bang for your buck you will find anywhere.
Above: I have chosen to re-use the stock saddle. I like the narrow nose and the over-all design. But of course the real test will be the feel after a decent ride. Not that I am planning any extended fixed gear rides. But you never know. Also you can see the micro adjust seat post is installed. As those of you who have followed this blog for a while already know. A micro adjust seat post is one of the best "inexpensive" up-grades you will ever make. Not only better "performance wise" but it looks 100% better too. And I`m not even going to say "in my opinion" It is simply "better".
Above: Being that I have no brake levers to tape around, I used these extra pieces of cork handlebar tape to create a little more padding. I have used these type bars on about three or four bikes now. So I know this lack of padding has been a problem area for me in the past. I have also done this on the flats of drop handlebars and found it works fairly well. In this pic the front brake is mounted "just to check for fit". I will remove it and give it the full treatment latter.
Above: I taped the bars in the modern way, from the bar end towards the center or stem. Usually the end of a flop and chop handlebar is not perfectly round. So be prepared to work a little bit to get the plugs in place. You might even want to go to a smaller pronged plug. In this case I was able to use the plugs that came with the tape. But I did have to snip off a few burs on the prong side of one of the plugs.
Above: I have borrowed some of the bits (small parts) off the original side pull caliper brake to dress-up this old caliper brake a little. I am using the acorn nuts and barrel adjuster and the shoes. I will now remove the brake and take it apart and polish the whole thing.
Above: Every original part of the brake caliper has been cleaned-up. As always I used Mother's Mag and Aluminum Polish on the cast alloy arms and Turtle Wax Chrome Polish and Rust Remover on the steel. And the small pieces were brass brushed with a fine brass wheel brush on the low-speed drill. I only did the assembly in the house, the brass brushing and polishing was done in the shop.
Above: Here the caliper brake is re-mounted on the bike, complete with smudge marks from my greasy hands. Now it is time to run the Jag Wire Basics brake cable and cut the cable housing.
Above: The barrel shaped end of the cable fits into the corresponding hole in the inner ARTEK brake lever. If you look closely you can see I have not lined up the grooves or slots in the barrel adjuster and nipple.
Above: Here with the slots lined up I am able to swing the brake cable into place. Once in place I screw the barrel adjuster in so the slots no longer line up. You always want the adjusters screwed in all the way when you install the cables. This is so you will have plenty of adjustment to work with latter on when the cable stretches or your Jag Wire brake shoes wear down.
Above: After I have cut a piece of cable housing to length, I check the cut end for obstructions with a small nail or wire. In this case I did have to cut off a little bur with my diagonal cutting pliers. And before running the new cable through I gave the inner housing one drop of cable oil. (one drop because it is a very short cable)
Above: Here with the cable properly connected at the lever, I route the cable through the housing. Then down through the caliper adjuster and through the cable clamp or anchor. I hold the brake caliper closed with one hand then pull the slack out of the cable. Before I tighten the cable anchor, I check to see that my cable is inserted into the barrel adjusters at both ends. If it all looks good, I just tighten the anchor bolt. Then test the brake. There are cable pullers available that will make this job easier for you. (if needed)
Above: Once I have tested the brake and checked both ends of the cable and I am satisfied with the amount lever pull. It is time to trim off the excess cable. I like to use this particular pair of pliers / side cutters. You will probably want to use bicycle cable cutters.
Above: After trimming off the excess cable length you will want to use a Jag Wire Cable End Crimps right away. If you are a beginner, you might want to leave a little extra length, just in case you have to make an adjustment latter. Then when you are 100% positive all is well, you can cut-off some more excess cable.
Above: Because I like the cable routing better, I chose to install my front "and only" brake lever on the right side. If you are accustomed to it being on the left side you might want to just go with that. Even if you have to relocate the lever position to do so. NOTE: Rear Breaking is done by skidding the rear tire. Check-out the "Video(s) of the Week" section to see how to properly skid your fixed gear bike.
Above: Finally the Greenfield kick stand. I know some do not like them. But for my needs it works out fine. If your friends tease you, you can always remove it latter. Personally, I almost never worry about what other people think. I have seen people really stress-out over what other people will think of them. That is no way to go through life.
Above: Drive side view. All finished and on budget. CORRECTION I make it to be $191.50 not including taxes and delivery. But there is one other thing to consider and I will get to that in a minute.
Above: A view from the front left side. I can`t wait to get some pics of this bike outside.
Left: A view from the front. I`m thinking about removing or modifying the graphics.
Above: Here is the other thing to consider. What is the value of these take-offs? I will use most of this stuff eventually. Except for the plastic grips that I cut-off with a Stanley Quick Slide utility knife. And there is also a good set of handlebars that no doubt have some value. So all things considered, I would say a conservative value of the take-offs is 30.00 . Subtracting the 30.00 the build Total Cost is $161.50 (not including taxes and shipping). (Take-Offs : New parts removed for upgrade or personal preference)
Above: Just before the Holidays I picked-up this rolling tool box. I thought it would be handy when I need to take some tools on the road with me. It has already worked-out well for bringing tools in the house. That's when I have some "not so dirty work" that I can do indoors. BELOW: The bike as new from the store
I was so bloody tired when I wrote this, that I forgot to close. So Until Next Time, Please RIDE SAFE and Remember to Always RESCUE RESTORE & RECYCLE!
Cheers, Hugh
A sincere Thank You to those of you who have been using or just checking out "Hugh's Online Bike Shop". It is pretty well stocked now and it is getting a little more organized every day. If you have not visited it yet and would like to. The link is in the top right column just below the Followers. And the Amazon Search feature is still located at the bottom of the right column. And I am in the process of adding word links to the components, tools and supplies I use everyday. The word links like Hugh's Online Bike Shop are powered by Using any of these feature will help support this blog. Thanks for your continued support.
Cheers, Hugh

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thruster Fixed Gear Bike (Walmart) Rebuilt and Upgraded for 200.00 Total Investment?

Hello and Welcome,
I am not a huge fan of Walmart. Or at least I like to think I am not. But after hearing from a friend that they had seen exercise bikes on display there. I thought to myself, what can it hurt to look? Well after not being able to find an exercise bike that I wanted, I decided to wander over to the bicycles... Just to get a look at the latest in Department Store bicycle offerings. I had no intentions of making a purchase. Then I spotted the last thing I ever expected to see, a single speed bike with a flip-flop hub. However the brakes looked really cheap as did the crank, seat-post, pedals, handlebars and grips. But the frame looked like it could get the job done. And the wheel-set looked entry-level. But they did spin fairly straight, well the rear one did anyway. I`m thinking, this could possibly work with a few improvements. Then I saw the price tag $99.00!!
Above: Oh God forgive me! I have succumb to temptation! ok seriously, I was doing the math in my head. How much did it cost me to build the Schwinn lugged frame fixed gear bike? How much will it cost me to make this thing reliable? Then I came up with the perfect excuse. It was as if the Devil himself were whispering in my ear. "You can make this a really cool bike for under 200.00 Then you can blog about it!" Well There you have it, that is how I came to purchase this department store fixed gear bike. I am reminded of a line from the movie Tombstone when Doc Holiday said "That's what I love about Wyatt. He can talk himself into anything."
Above: A shot of the rear hub and sturdy looking 1/8 bicycle chain. The rear rim is yellow with a red tire and the front red with a yellow tire. I would have preferred they both be the same. I decided to switch the tires so they match the rims. My hope was it would give it a taller look, and to a degree I think it did just that.
Above: A shot of the "cheesy looking" front side pull caliper brake. ˈCHēzē Adjective: cheap, unpleasant, or blatantly inauthentic. Yeah! that is the word I was looking for alright. I have some vintage alloy (side-pull) caliper and center-pull brakes in the shop. I think I can polish-up something that will get the job done and look good doing it. I will not be installing a rear brake. And the resin pedals are going to be replaced with Avenir ultralight pedals with old style clips and straps. I can just see me trying to perfect my skid with my feet sliding off the plastic pedals. Did you ever notice how many other names they have for plastic?
Above: The seat-post and clamp will be replaced. In fact I just received the "your order has been shipped" e mail this morning. I think I have spent about 75.00 or 80.00 so far. The only purchase left is the cork handlebar tape. Which I now need since I have decided to make a set of flop and chop bars for the fixie. So I should be right on target when finished.
Above: I stripped the bike down to the frame and upon closer inspection the crank and threaded headset were both set too tight. But what really bothered me was some of the bicycle grease. It looked like it had been scraped-up off a dirty floor. And there were little pieces of dirt or scrap from the manufacturing process. It appeared that nothing was cleaned-out before greasing.
Above: This photograph of grease wiped off the bottom bracket bearings was an after thought. This pic by no means shows the worst of it. The little bits of grit on this paper towel are barely visible in the photograph so I have marked them for you. Basically I needed to clean all the bearings, races and cups then I re-greased everything. And of course reset the bottom bracket to the proper tightness (or lack there of). The headset was the same story just clean everything off and re grease and reassemble to the proper setting (no play/no grind)

You have seen me do enough bottom brackets and headsets on here for a while. So let`s start with the front wheel axle (ABOVE) with the free bearings. The first thing I need to do is break this over tightened axle loose.

Above: Here I am loosening the front axle using two adjustable wrenches. Once the cone nut breaks loose only one side is going to be removed easily. But that is no problem. We only need one side to be loose to grease both sides. I will hold the bottom nut (tight side)so the axle does not spin as I and loosen the top side (by hand) to expose the bearings for greasing.
Above: At this point you want to keep the exposed bearings facing upwards. You do not want these all over the floor. You also want to keep the opposite side on a table or bench-top. You also do not want the axle sliding out of there. I greased these bearings in place, buy just putting a little grease on my finger tip and packing it into the bearings. I would only do it this way with a new bike.

Above: Here after greasing the bearings I am replacing the cone/nut by hand,leaving the lock-nut off for now.
Once I screw the cone into place (snug not tight) I just wipe-off the excess grease with a paper towel.

Above: Now I have flipped the wheel over and loosened (unscrewed) the top side which is now backed-off enough for me to wipe-clean and re-grease the bearings. I am careful not to back it off so far that the opposite side cone comes off the threaded axle. With a finger on the end of the axle, I can feel when I have backed the top side out to the max. I just stop when the bottom end is flush with the axle cone-nut.

Above: Once I have wiped and re-greased the bearings I can now screw it back down into place. As always not too tight (no play no grind) Afterwards I can flip the wheel over again and replace the (thin) lock nut on the opposite side. When replacing the lock-nut I can use a cone wrench to hold the adjustment on the cone while tightening the lock nut. I suspect this is where the factory screws up and the axles end up being set way too tight. Give it a spin when finished holding the axle at each end. If it feels too tight or too loose try again. Remember "No Grind and No Play" is what your looking for. Now I am ready to move on to the rear wheel bearings.
Above: Removing the fixed gear cog`s lock-ring using a Hozan Bicycle Bottom Bracket Tool. The lock-ring is reverse threaded. So turn it clock wise to loosen it.
Above: The fixed cog is normal threaded (righty tighty - lefty loosey.) So using an Avenir Chain-Whip crank it counter-clockwise to remove it.
Above: This is not how you would want to remove a freewheel unit normally. (single or multiple cog) But there are no slots for a single cog freewheel removal tool. So I will take it apart and remove it in pieces. If I do use a freewheel unit on the bike it will be a freewheel with slots for a removal tool. I`ll save these parts but I doubt I will ever use them.
Above: The remnants of the single freewheel unit. I`m not sure why it was made this way (no slots for a removal tool) Maybe they figured it being a 99 dollar bike, it would not last long enough to ever need a new single freewheel cog. Maybe someone can enlighten me about this design. I did not bother installing a freewheel unit on the other fixed gear bike I built. I do not plan on climbing any big hills on it anyway. It only bothers me because I think it is a stupid design. So lets move onto the rear axle bearings.
Above: I loosened the cone/nuts in the same way I did the fronts. Here I have added some fresh grease and I am ready to screw the cone back into position.
Above: I am now screwing the threaded cone back into position. Like on the front I will set aside the lock-nut for now. I am now ready to flip the wheel over and grease the bearings on the free-wheel side.
Above: Again just like the front axle I will back this side out while holding the bottom side of the axle. And I will be careful not to back it out too far. In this pic you can see I have already greased the bearings and am ready to close it back up.
Above: This pic really shows how the tight side is undisturbed. When I screw this back in I am actually turning the axle. And this side is being drawn back in by the other side being tightened back up. This is why I have set the lock nut (the thin nut)aside for now on the other end. Once it is all closed up again and not to tight or loose I will then thread the lock nut back into place. And I can hold the cone in the proper position by using a cone wrench to hold the cone from tightening while I tighten the lock nut. Again like the front you will need to check this for grind or play before installing the wheel on the bike.
Above: Here is the rear wheel back on the bike for testing, the fixed gear cog is working fine. I have temporally re-installed the original crank for testing. The new crank and post should arrive in a few days. I had already ordered grips before I decided to change the handlebars. I will be wrapping the new bars. But I`m sure I will use the grips on a future project.
Above: Here I have the wheels back on with the temporary crank. Lets move on to the handlebars.
Above: I have marked the spot where I want to make my cut and locked it into the vise for cutting. I am not cutting into the vise :) I had to let go of my hacksaw for a sec to take this pic.
Above: To get the bars cut evenly I use the first cut piece as a templet to mark the other side.
Above: These flop and chop handlebars are going to save me at least $20.00 That is about the least I could expect to pay for bullhorn pursuit style handlebars. And once they are all taped-up I think they will look pretty good too. I think I will mount this front brake lever differently so I can compare the two.(this one to the Schwinn fixie)
Above: I think this looks fine, but I think it will look better if I shorten-up the reach on the adjustable lever. I just need to remember to do this before I trim the cable.
Above: A hack saw can leave razor sharp edges and burs on the freshly cut surfaces. It is best to metal file these off right away. Not only can these sharp edges cut you, they can also cut into your handlebar tape.
My parts order has not arrived yet, So I`m going to close for now. I will get back to work on the Fixie as soon as the parts are delivered. Look for the "Thrasher Fixie Finished" post within a week. Until Next Time, Please Ride Safe and Remember to Always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE Cheers, Hugh

A sincere Thank You to those of you who have been using or just checking out "Hugh's Online Bike Shop". It is pretty well stocked now and it is getting a little more organized every day. If you have not visited it yet and would like to. The link is in the top right column just below the Followers. And the Amazon Search feature is still located at the bottom of the right column. And I am in the process of adding word links to the components, tools and supplies I use everyday. The word links like Hugh's Online Bike Shop are powered by Using any of these feature will help support this blog. Thanks for your continued support.
Cheers, Hugh
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