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

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sears Free Spirit Fixed Gear Project Update

Hello and Welcome,
I have made a few decisions regarding the Free-Spirit. For starters I will be using the handlebars I took-off the Thrasher. Also the grips I originally purchased for the Thrasher will be used. They are a perfect match. And here is the big one. I have decided to take the wheels and tires off the red white and blue fixed gear bike. I will be painting the rims black and re installing the red tires. I am thinking this will look great "if I don`t screw it up".
The Rust Oleum Glossy Black paint on the handlebars is curing, so far about 24 hours. I should be able to install them tomorrow (3 16 12) about this time.
Above: I taped the spokes and lightly sanded the rim mostly to get traces of rubber off the rim`s side wall (breaking surface). But also to give the paint something to stick to. Then I wiped off the dust using a paper towel.
Above: I cut a X in a paper plate and am using it to protect the hub from over-spray. Probably not necessary, but it certainly won`t hurt the process.
Above: I painted one side and flipped it over to paint the other side. So far I am really liking how the black looks. Everyone is doing red bicycle rims with black tires. So I thought I would do try something different.
Above: The handlebar grips are a good match but would need to be cut. I really do not like to cut new grips. I might have to do some more digging. #%&@!
Above: I ended up taking the Tech 9 Crankset off the Schwinn fixed gear bike. The crank off the Thrasher is garbage. It is warped beyond anything I want to attempt to straighten. So I`m taking the crank, pedals and wheel-set off the Schwinn. I will use some of the other take-offs on the lugged Cycle Pro frame I just cleaned up. Which by way I will be starting to work on real soon.
Above: The Schwinn was my first fixed gear build. I should have waited for a better lugged frame to turn up. Or waited for the weather to warm up and re-painted the whole frame. I will use the handlebars on the "Cycle Pro" frame and most likely the saddle too. I`ll hang on to the frame until I decide what to do with it.
Above: I think the glossy black enamel rim looks good with the red tire. I also painted the rear rim black today. The black grips with the red stars are too long for the bars I am using. So instead of cutting new grips down to size, I ordered a different black/red set today. I think the new ODI grips are going to look fantastic.
Above: Here I am taping each spoke for paint. I found it easier to run the tape length wise and envelope the spoke inside. Then I cut a short piece (about 1/2 inch) and wrap each of the spoke nipples at the base. Removing the tape after painting is by far the hardest part of the process.
Above: I sprayed one side of the rear rim and flipped it over and painted the other side. I used the Pepsi cans to prevent the rim from touching the cardboard. They did not work all that great. I used the paper plate to protect the hub from over spray.(that worked great) I`ll come up with something better than cans next time. Maybe a wheelbarrow tire (off the rim) laid flat would make a good resting place for the wheels to cure. Just lay the wheel on the tire with the hub centered in the tire. I bet that would work great.
Above: I spotted a few tiny scratches on top of the handle bars. So I sprayed one more coat of paint on the top side. I did that yesterday so I can install them tomorrow. You can handle the painted parts after about 6 hours. But it takes 48 hours for this paint to cure real good. Thank goodness for the freakishly warm weather. This is the first winter I never used my "Snow Blower" or "Tractor Plow" for snow removal. That's in the 28 years we have lived here.
Above: The chain line looks really good. I squared the fixed cog (rear) off the crank using an artificial wood yard stick. (I just gave-away a really good square a few days ago) It is near perfect. When I did this with the crank off the Thrasher it was real close on one side of the crank at say 12:00 and about 5/16 inch off at 6:00 . I removed the bash guard and chain before squaring off the crank. And on the "Tech 9" crank I was careful to square off the flat part of the crank face. The "Tech 9" is not perfectly flat either. But it is within a couple of millimeters between 12:00 and 6:00 and should not be a problem.
Above: Here I am using the Heat Gun to warm up the stickers / adhesive for removal. Be careful when using a heat gun not to over heat the frame as you can cook the paint. Keep the heat gun moving and try after a little bit to peel off the stickers. And be careful where you set the gun down, the tip gets very hot.
Above: Stickers are much easier than decals to remove. Once warmed up they should peel right off like this. In a warm climate you could probably park the bike in the sun for a while and do the same thing. With decals I use a combination of "heat gun" thumb-nail and "Goo Gone" and rag.
Above: Here I have mounted the handlebars and slid the brake lever on. I will not slide the lever on all the way until I have the grip. Then I will know exactly where to stop. I had a piece of debris in the lever clamp or on the bar which marred the paint when I slid the brake lever collar onto the bars. The scrapes will be under the grip, so it is not a problem. I just wish I had checked the lever clamp first.
Above: I used the black side pull caliper brake off the front of the Thrasher. I am probably going to order a micro adjust seat post. I was able to find a 25.8 diameter post, but only in black. And if I remember correctly, one of the other two bikes I built with this almost exact frame I had to purchase a black post as well. So now I wait for the red/black lock-on grips and the red/black saddle to arrive. I think the saddle is coming from the other side of the planet. So I might have to use a substitute saddle for a while.
Above: And there it is, the "Sportex 12". Pretty good for a guy who can`t remember what he had for lunch yesterday. The big difference is in this case I want the black seat post. Honestly I thought the black post looked cool on the Sportex 12 as well. Some did not agree.
Above: The General. In the words of the great Yogi Berra "It's like deja-vu, all over again" There you have it, The trilogy is complete! Three nice looking Asian lugged frames on three cheaper Road Bikes. (I am sure at least one of the other frames was labeled Taiwan) The other two have long since gone to their new homes.
Above: Took this pic of the south end of White lake the other morning while riding into town for coffee. It had been foggy that morning and there was still a little haze over the lake. The island on the near right is called Youth Island. I was told years ago that there was once a summer camp on the island. I used to catch Northern Pike just on the edge of the weed bed on the west side of the island. This was on the ice using tip-ups with bait fish. About 3:30pm to 4:30pm the Pike would come into the weed bed to feed on pan fish. Those were good days out on the ice. When it was to cold to lay brick (-10F wind chill or less) we would spend the day out on the ice. I did have a portable shanty with a heater so it was not all that bad. The worst part was breaking it all down when it was time to leave. Seems like it was always windy and colder than a bat's behind.
Above: Recently I mentioned the "wetlands" area. And that part of it came right up to DuckLake road. Could you imagine trying to make your way in and out of that mess? I think I`ll take a pass on that one. Well I think we are all caught up for now. I will most likely do a post about the Cycle Pro Bike before I finish the red / black fixed gear bike. Until then Please RIDE SAFE and Remember to Always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sears "Free-Spirit " Korean lugged frame salvaged for yet another Fixed Gear project

Hello bicycle lovers and welcome.
Why another fixed gear project already? Two reasons really. Reason One. This very inexpensive bike has about the cheapest components you will find anywhere. The best thing about this bike is the lugged frame. To make a decent road bike would require I replace pretty much everything else. Not very fiscally responsible. I would not even come close to breaking even. Reason Two. I already have a single crankset left over from the Thrasher Fixie project. So basically I will need about 1/4 the components I would need to build a multi speed road bike. I think the bike was 25.00 and they reduced the price because it has a very small dent "more of a ding really" in the top tube. Then it turns out it was half off day. So the frame was almost free. How could I not make this bike a single speed or fixed gear bike?

Also I have a set of handlebar grips I purchased cheap that I did not use on the Thruster single speed bike . Not to mention the handlebars and a brand new set of pedals. And some other bits that may be useful as well. And I just watched this cool video about painting rims! And I am dying to try that out as well. (if it is warm enough)
Above: Here I did a quick mock up to see if the single crankset "take off" from the Thruster would fit this frame. It seems to fit ok. So I stripped it down to the frame and cleaned it up and moved the project inside where it is warmer. You would never know it now. But my friends and myself laid brick all winter for years. I can`t believe what a wimp I have become since retiring. Maybe it is just old age.
Above: I am going to back track for a minute. You would not believe how much trouble I had removing the original crank from the Free-Spirit. The funny part is, the cotter keys or pins came out easily. Same with the left side arm. I should also mention, I did use WD40 on the pins after removing the retainer nuts. Well the crank slid off about 1/3 and it Froze Up "tighter than a gnats behind ". I warmed up the crank arm with a torch thinking that might help. Then I destroyed this cheap puller (twice) trying to remove the crank.
Eventually I gave up and was able to cut the bottom bracket spindle behind the crank using a cutting disk on my high speed DeWalt drill. Then I opened the bench vise up just wide enough to slip the crank into position. Then with a bolt and a ball pein hammer I was able to punch the remaining piece out the back with one good hit. And I don`t want any comments from anyone who "claims" that they Never had a problem removing one of these! Because... I don`t care! Why? Because that's not skill brother, that,s just good luck.
Above: Here the bottom bracket shell has been cleaned out with the drive side cup cleaned in place. I have cleaned and re packed the bearings with grease. Before installing the bracket axle or spline I will reach in there and smear a little grease on the inside of the drive side cup. Now I am ready to slide the bracket axle into place with the exposed part of the bearings facing outward or into the drive side cup.
Above: Here with the frame re positioned on the stand I am sliding the lightly greased bracket spline or axle into place. Notice the exposed part of the well greased bearings is facing outward towards me or into the left side cup. I will spin it by hand to make sure the drive bearings are seated properly into the drive side cup as well.
Above: First I lightly greased the inside of the left side cup and threaded it into the bracket, just far enough to hold it in place. Now I am wrapping the cup threads (counter clock wise) with Teflon tape. This way the tape will not get messed up as I screw the cup in clock wise. The tape makes a good seal and should prevent any creaking sound caused by poor threading. Now you are seeing why I leave the drive side cup in place if possible. And it is not as tough as you might think to clean the drive side cup while it is in place. Actually it is easier in a way. (With the frame top side up) I spray the inside of the bracket shell then wad some paper towel or rag. Then stuff it in the left side real good. Then I insert my needle nose pliers and push them in and twist the rag while applying pressure. Unless it is a disaster in there you should be able to get it very clean and shiny. Of course you will want to check for scoring or scratches. You can do this with your finger.
Above: You will probably need a spanner to thread the cup in all the way. When you feel the bearings grind stop and back off the cup till it feels free but not loose. As I like to say "No Grind / No Play". Now I am ready to screw the lock ring into place.

Above: As I tighten the lock ring with the lock ring tool, I am careful to hold the cup in place with the spanner. If I do not do this the lock ring can turn the cup and make it all too tight. If this happens, just loosen it up and try again.
Above: Now I remove the frame from the stand and turn it around so I can install the crank side first. I like to do the crank side first because the adjustment is done from the left side. So after spinning it a while, if I need to adjust the crank I don`t have the left pedal arm in the way. The crank should slide into place but not all the way. Tightening the retainer bolt will pull the crank onto the spline tightly. You might want to use a little blue thread lock on the retainer bolt threads. You also want to put "just a touch" of grease on the spline before installing the crank. I bet that someone neglected to do that on the original crank.
Above: In this case I did feel a tiny bit of play. So before I installed the left pedal arm I backed off the lock ring a little and tightened the cup a wee bit. Then I checked it and re tightened the lock ring. Good to go!
Above: Just like the crank, when rebuilding the threaded headset the first step is to clean up the cups and bearings. Since I am in the house I had these pretty clean before I brought the frame inside. I did smear a little Permatex Hand Cleaner in the cup and the outer surface as well and let it sit a minute. That actually worked really good. But these were not in bad shape to start. Also being indoors
I soaked the bearings in Park citrus chain cleaner. I moved it into the shop while I went for coffee break. I knew the cat would get into it if I did no move it out side. It froze over while I was gone.
Above: Here are the bearings (headset and crank) after soaking and ready to be wiped off. While they certainly look ok. They are not as bright as the White lightning "Clean Streak" would have gotten them. But there is no way on "God's green earth" I`m spraying that stuff in the house.

Above: The Crown race" sits a top the fork crown. (hence the name) It is important to clean this up as well. The lower headset bearing sits on this race with the exposed part of the bearings facing upward into the cup. I lightly sanded this one with some very fine automotive grade sand paper to remove the scratches. The bearings actually roll in the cup. The crown race pretty much just holds the bearings in position. Had the cup been in this condition I would have probably replaced it.
Above: Here I have the top headset bearing cartridge greased and in place. Again with the exposed side of the bearings sitting in the cup. The race for the top headset bearings is threaded. The race along with the headset washers and cap nut hold the front end of the bike together. The threaded post on top of the fork crown is called the Steerer or Steerer Tube.
Above: Here the lower headset bearing cartridge is greased and in place with the exposed part of the bearing cartridge facing upwards. Notice I have the threaded race in my hand at the ready. After you have inserted the Steerer Tube is no time to go looking for the race.
Above: Now I carefully insert the Steerer Tube into the head tube. Being careful as the tube comes out the top so that it does not get hung up on the bearings.

Above: Once it is all the way in you can turn it before you thread the top race down to make sure it feels smooth. Of course you have to hold it in position until you have screwed the race down to the bearing cup.
Above: Now that the top race has been threaded down into position (no grind / no play) I slide the two headset washers onto the steerer Tube they will rest on the race/cap. Note: The headset washers have a nub that fits into a groove on the Steerer Tube. After the washers the cap nut goes on. This particular cap nut requires a lock ring tool, most do not. A lock ring tool and spanner are "must have" tools for a bicycle mechanic or hobbyist.
Above: Now I have the basics, a functioning crank and headset. This sweet little lugged frame is "I think" The perfect candidate for a fixed or single speed project.
Above: I was looking at a set of metric track wheels w tubes and tires on the net. I am trying to figure out if I could make them work on the "spec. 27inch wheel frame". The front hub width is nearly the same, mine measures 98mm the new metric is 100mm. The gap between the top of the wheel to the brake mount hole concerns me though.
Above: Using a 700 metric wheel of a future project bike to check the fit, this looks really bad to me. I`ll have to grab the bin of salvaged brake calipers and see if this is even workable.
Above: Here I am checking the width on the rear drop outs using a caliper measuring tool. Good thing I am wearing socks with no holes!
Above: I think the tool spread out a tiny bit after I removed it. I am going to call it 120mm. The new metric wheel hub width is listed as 110 mm. I know I can use spacers to make it fit. But what I don`t know is the over all length of the metric wheels axle. Is there enough extra that I will still be able to secure my axle nuts properly? I`ll see if the seller has a tech info line I can call.
My info request to RetroSpec:
I am looking at the 700mm All Star fixed wheel set. I have measured my drop-outs and have found my rear drop out to be 120mm. My front is a perfect match at 100mm. If I use spacers to make up most of the 10 mm difference in the rear drop out width, will I have enough threaded axle left for my axle nuts? Or can you just tell me the over all length of the rear axle? Thanks Hugh

Yes it will fit with spacers. We've faced that many times. RetroSpec Team

Me again:
Well it appears that if I can workout the brake caliper length issue I will
be able to order this wheel-set, if I decide to go that way. At first I thought it was a little too expensive. But they include both wheels, both cogs, a lock ring, tires and inner tubes.(Presta valve) It works out about the same, if not cheaper.

Above: This stem looks bloody awful with these bars. Maybe if I use a different stem and paint the bars black or red I could use them. But I think this looks terrible. Eddie does not look impressed either. Look closely and you can see the stem is set-up for a center-pull brake. And with these handlebars there is no way I will be using a center pull brake. Maybe if I re-paint the stem and go with flop and chop bars? Then I could go with a center-pull brake. That might look really cool. Or even do the same with (racing) drop bars.
Above: I was considering using these pedals. But now that I see them on the bike, I just can not do it! They look like the belong on a kids tricycle!
Above: I`m on a roll now! This is turning into a "Visual Assault". Both the saddle and post look horrible. A black track saddle and a micro adjust post is the way to go. I could probably live with the post if I had too.
Above: I checked this stem with the steerer tube and it is a perfect fit. I also checked the yellow handlebars, and they fit this stem perfectly. So at least I have a good stem. But I still don`t want yellow handlebars. I`m thinking about glossy black or antique glossy red.
Above: After cleaning and polishing up the stem with "Mothers Mag and Aluminum Polish" I sanded down the handlebars out doors. I think it will be warm enough to primer the handlebars tomorrow. And we have some incredible weather on the way, I should be able to paint them Wednesday.
Above: Today the weather was absolutely beautiful. Because of this I was able to spray the primer and get one side of the bars painted as well. There is a slight chance I will be able to paint tomorrow. But Tuesday and Wednesday are looking really good. I was going to hang the bars from a wire and get them finished toady. But there was no time to dig out the stand for this.
Well friends, I think that brings us up to date. Until next time Please RIDE SAFE and Remember to Always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE!
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