Friday, April 27, 2012

Rock-Hopper F.S. Update. And a few other projects taking shape in the shop as well

Hello and Welcome, The last time I posted about the Specialized Rock-Hopper F.S. I was awaiting arrival of a new suspension fork. I had trouble locating a new suspension fork with a 1-1/8 threaded steerer tube and the proper hub width and suspension travel. It appears that the bicycle industry is more concerned about selling the new than supplying the old. And I guess we the public dictate what they offer for sale by what we buy.

Above: The replacement fork was very cheap about 20.00 plus delivery and a Tektro Front Cable Hanger /guide. About a forty dollar investment. I wanted a slightly better fork (100.00 to 125.00 range) but this was literally the only one I could find where all the numbers matched. After doing all the measuring I realized that the steerer tube needed to be cut and the tube re-threaded. Despite the numbers matching the two forks were totally different. Talking to two local bike shops about re-threading was depressing. Again the emphasis is on servicing and selling the new, not the old stuff. Seems nobody wants to have anything to to with re-threading these days.
Above: I went to see Dan at Cycle Therapy in Waterford after inquiring about some headset spacers. He was able to sell me some spacers that would make the whole thing workable, although it would raise the bar height by about 10 mm. Since this was going to be my "urban warrior" bike, I had no problem with raising the bar height a bit. While I was there I had them remove the crown race from the old leaky suspension fork.
Above: When I got home to install the fork I ran into another problem. I ended up about 4 mm short on thread to screw the top part of the head-set/cup down. So not wanting to got back to the re-threading issue I decided that if I could just raise the crown race 4 mm, I could make this thing work "maybe". Knowing this would raise the front of the bike with the already taller fork another 4 mm. Oh what the #%&@ if it does not work I can always take it apart and try something else. Well here you see it standing tall in the front. It settles down a little when I put my 189 lbs on the bike. I have since ridden it at least a half dozen times with no problems. I raised the crown race by honing out a 5 mm spacer (after grinding it down to 4mm) just enough so it fits tightly onto the top of the crown and the race sits a top the spacer.
Above: I have also installed a set of Kenda K West road tires or "smooth rollers" as I like to call them. These really roll nice and smooth with much higher air pressure than I could run in the cruiser tires on the Giant. These max out at about 65 psi as the Cruiser Tires max out at about 35 psi. But the cruiser tires did ride nice, I was just looking for less drag. At nearly 56 years old I need all the help I can get.
Above: I installed a nice looking tubular rear rack that was under 40.00. The rack is very adjustable. I did have to cut-off the excess rods that were left sticking out under the rack platform. I will post a pic that shows the excess below.
Above: The adjustment rods have rubberized plastic caps. I just removed the caps and cut the rods down in place with a cutting wheel on the high-speed drill. Then I wiped off the shavings and replaced the caps. Good as new.
Above: I did take my "WTB Speed V Comp Saddle off the Giant along with the tool kit bag and my new Avenir Ultralight Pedals with old style clips. One of the reasons it made more sense to sell the GIANT and keep the Specialized is, I`m not sure how well the spacer under the crown race is going to hold-up. If it is going to fail , it is better it do so when I am riding the bike. And I really like the Specialized! So far it is working flawlessly and does roll a little better than the Giant with these higher pressure tires.
Above: There is nothing wrong with these Schwinn grips. But I would like to upgrade to some Ergon Grips, like the ones on the Giant. Also I am considering converting it to a threadless headset. This would allow me to get a much better suspension fork. Other than the fork I would need a thread-less head set (about 30.00) and a new stem as well(another 30.00) along with a few spacers. Not to mention it would make a great post topic. And greatly increase the performance and value of the Specialized. And there are some Rock Shox Suspension Forks that are not all that expensive. I think they start about 125.00 . Being this bike is not going to be used off road, I am sure the entry level fork will do fine.
Above: I relocated the tail light (Bobber style) to the left side seat stay. Although not visible the headlight is in the normal spot up front. If I had a "do over" I would have gone thread-less the first time. But I had no way to foresee all the problems I would encounter. The description of the replacement fork led me to believe it would be a simple "remove and replace" project. I should know better by now...ltms However, Anytime you learn something new or gain experience, it is a positive thing.
Above: Here is the original suspension fork. You may or may not have noticed I also changed the front cantilever brake. The shorter cantilever arms just seemed to fit better with this new set-up. With the new cable hanger down lower I did not have as much room for the taller cantilever arms and straddle cable. I will get around to installing the matching arms on the rear cantilever brake when I replace the brake shoes.
Above: The Chro Mo frame, fixed gear / single speed touring style bike is coming along fine. It now has fenders, pedals and functioning front and rear brakes. Also front and rear racks are on the way (I have made a change there) And I am picking up the lights tomorrow. I might be changing the handlebars (and or lever position) and or type of levers I am using. I am just a couple of deliveries and decisions away from wrapping this one up. So I will be posting this one real soon.
Above: Despite the dirtiest and nastiest crank housing I have ever seen, The Roadmaster "Star Rider" restoration is coming along nicely. This pic was taken after I used the Shop Vac to get all the dead bees out of the crank housing. The front fender and tank-light and housing has arrived from Pennsylvania. The fender is a little pitted but for about 50 it looks pretty good. I am awaiting delivery on several components for this bike.
Above: The after shot of the crank housing and races. Ok! That gets us pretty much caught up for now. So until next time Please RIDE SAFE and Remember to Always..RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE! Cheers,Hugh

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Bottom Bracket Conversion / The Red Fixed Bike / And the Flu / And a New Project too!

Hello and Welcome, Please excuse my absence. I took a little time off to recover from the flu. Because of my procrastination I did not get a Flu shot this year. That turned out to be a big mistake. It started with muscle aches, in my arms for the most part. The next day I had bouts with the chills, I simply could not get warm. The next day I started to feel feverish. And the day after that everything hurt, even my skin hurt. I felt absolutely awful and did not feel like eating much. After about the fifth day I started to feel a little better. I lost 5 lbs in a week, which put me within 4 lbs of my target weight of 185. Not the best way to lose weight, that's for sure. I guess the lesson here is, if you have health problems (and even if you do not) and your doctor tells you to get a Flu shot. You should do so a.s.a.p. I read somewhere that I could still be contagious for 8 days after I felt better. So I kept my distance from everyone and so far it appears to have worked.

Above: The "Cycle Pro" shown with the original old style bottom bracket. When I was ordering the single Pake Track 46 tooth 1/8 Crank for the Cycle Pro. I took note of the size and type of bottom bracket required for the crank installation. It stated I needed a 107 mm to 110 mm square tapered JIS bottom bracket. So I decided to do a search to see what came up.
Above: When I saw the Shimano BB UN55 I thought this is "just the ticket" I can have the correct size and type bracket and a bracket upgrade "all in one". I actually like the old style bottom brackets that I can service and adjust myself. But, The times they are a changing. And I appear to be in the minority once again. I can`t help but wonder are these new bottom brackets really better? Or are they just easier? I mean seriously, you could probably teach a Chimpanzee to install one of these in about 15 minutes. I also noticed that it says in the information "avoid high pressure washing the new bottom bracket". So is it really sealed that much better than the old style? And I can not adjust the tension on the bearings. So basically "what you see, is what you get". I don`t know if I`m gonna like that very much.
Above: Hats off to Shimano for making this so simple. If this set-up makes it so that more people can service their own bottom brackets, well maybe that is reason enough to like them. Between the simple directions and markings on the bracket itself, it would be difficult to screw-up the installation.
Above: These are all the tools needed for the bracket install. Of course you can substitute the Teflon tape for grease if you like. I prefer the tape, as most of the bottom bracket shells I work on are on cheaper bikes. Most have pretty good threading, but some not so good. You will need the Shimano bottom bracket cartridge removal tool. The tool runs about 6.00 to 9.00 dollars US. For personal use, a good one should last you a life time.
Above: Here I am screwing the large piece or "main body" of the bracket into the shell. As always I start threading it in by hand. And I like to go as far as I can that way to avoid cross threading. The proper torque is listed in the instructions. I used the "that feels about right" method. If you have any doubts use a torque wrench. If you have never used a torque wrench before, remember to turn it back to zero when finished. Leaving it set or loaded will screw up the calibration.
Above: Here I am wrapping the smaller piece or "adapter" with Teflon Tape. If the threads feel tight I wrap the tape around the threads once. If the threads feel loose I will wrap the threads two or three times. I have no scientific data to back this up, it`s just the way I like to do it.
Above: This bracket definitely gives the bike a more modern look. I dab a wee bit of grease on the square tapered spline before installing the single crank-set. I have damaged two crank removal tools removing cranks that I know damn well were mounted on non greased splines. So yes "in my opinion" it is important do do this. Same goes for free-wheels and fixed cogs. This method is commonly referred to as "assembly grease".
Above: Here is the PAKE 46 tooth 1/8 Single? Track Crank. Let me keep this simple. I DO NOT LIKE IT! "In my opinion" it is not a true single crank. And although I paid a little more for it, IT is not as straight as the less expensive Tech 9 or the Origin 8 crank I used on the last couple fixed gear bikes. I feel like I was conned, hood-winked, bamboozled! So this is the first and last PAKE crank you will see me use. Enough said about that.(wanna bet)
Above: The PAKE Single? Crank installed. It should have a P.O.S. logo on it instead of a P! Again "my opinion". I tried to leave a bad review, but amazingly the "review thing" was not working. So this will have to do. My rating "Zero Stars" and a T.P.O.S. (T = Total) You should already know what the P.O.S. stands for.
Above: On a happier note, The inner-tubes arrived. So here I am removing the tires from the new wheel-set. I had mounted them to see how they fit and looked, and I`m happy with both. Notice the tire removal levers I am using are not plastic. I had a plastic set but eventually they all broke. So for heavy use, metal levers are the way to go.
Above: The first delivery contained two "Michelin Pro4" tires (65.00 each) instead of the two Michelin inner tubes I ordered.(considerably less than 65.00 each) I e-mailed Niagara Cycle and they got back to me the next day. I told them about the mistake and they sent the tubes along straight away and instructed me on how to print out the prepaid postage to return the tires. I did not like the idea of UPS charging me to come and pick-up the package, especially since they are here all the time anyway. So I dropped the package off at one of their official pick-up points. Our Post Office has a "Fed X" drop off but no "UPS" drop-off. What's up with that anyway?
Above: The tires mounted on the new track wheel set (79.99 + 19.99 shipping) with the new Michelin tubes with threadless Presta valves. I was careful to order the recommended valve stem length for the medium v wheels. I think they are around 55mm.
Above: I ordered a couple of these clamp-on cable hangers. I am always borrowing them off future projects and I knew this is going to catch up with me someday. I also ordered a couple of straddle cable carrier hangers for the same reason. I also have a fork-crown mounted cable hanger I can use, but I think this one will be fine. I also got in some new shoes for the cantilever brakes that this flip flop touring style bike is going to have.
Above: Someone suggested that I turn the lever around on the Schwinn fixed gear bike. I never did, but the idea stuck in my mind. So I `m going to try it out on this bike. See I do listen, sometimes it just takes me a while to warm up to an idea. Don`t be surprised if you see them in a different position when the bike is finished though.
Above: I can`t believe I am still waiting for the saddle I ordered from Focal Price to arrive. I have actually given-up and ordered one locally. So now I am waiting for two! I think The Rolling Stones did a song called "I am waiting" What bicycle restorer / bicycle recycling person can not relate to that?
Above: This is my first "Tank Bike" restoration, a Roadmaster Star Rider. Here I am just trying to get all the parts together before I actually start to restore any of the components or parts. It arrived with no wheels or front fender and a saddle with no cover and no pedals or chain as well. I found an identical Star Rider for sale on the E Bay. I convinced the seller to sell me the light fixture for the tank and the front fender for his asking price of 45.00 for the whole bike. Plus I pay the shipping. Hopefully it is en route as I type this. I did say I would give his e bay store a good review on my blog if He got it to me asap. Of course that can also go the other way too! That ought to put the fear of God into ( And No I do not think I am God, It is just an expression!)
Above: I built and sold this Sprint about two years ago. It came back last week for a tire replacement and some routine maintenance. It was great to hear that the owner has not had any problems with the bike in the two years she has owned it. Anyway it was cool to spend some time checking out the old bike and seeing how well everything had held up. If you like, You can read more about this bike and it`s owner on the face book page.
Above: Removing 50 year old hardened grease lines from a upper headset bearing cup using the "Dremel like" rotary tool with a mini wire wheel brush and super bright mini flashlight. The mini led flashlight, another must have tool that never made it onto the Shop Tools post. I will be doing a big post about the Tank Bike soon. And also more about the fixed gear Cycle pro bike. And I plan to do a post about the top-tube ding repair real soon as well. Also once the saddle arrives, I will post a bunch of pics of the red/black fixed gear bike finished. Until Next time, Please RIDE SAFE and Remember to Always RESCUE,RESTORE & RECYCLE! Cheers,Hugh

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Some of the Tools I use Restoring and Recycling Bicycles

Hello and Welcome,
A while ago Ryan suggested I do a post about the tools I use in my shop. Great idea! I love my tools almost as much as I love my bikes. I think a good place to start would be with my main tool box.

Above: If you squeeze the grips or if it cuts, I keep it in this drawer. (A&B) Large and Small Robo Grip channel locks (C) Needle Nose Pliers (D) Pliers (E) Pliers folding Multi tool (F) Bull Nose Nipper Cutter (G) Park Tool Professional Cable and Housing Cutters (H) Stanley Quick Slide III sports knife (I )Diagonal plier cutters (J) Vintage Imperial folding Knife (K) Swiss Army Knife (L) Large Scissors (M) Small Scissors

Above: (A) SAE Gear Wrenches (B) Metric Gear wrenches (C) Small Allen Wrenches (D) Metric Allen Wrench Set (E) SAE Allen Wrench Set (F) Small SAE and Metric Wrenches (G) Various Small Wrenches (H) Extra Metric Wrenches Popular Sizes. I would highly recommend the Gear wrenches. They are a real time saver. And quite often they will fit where a ratchet/socket will not.

Above:(A) Slotted Head Screwdriver set (B) Phillips Head Screwdriver set (C) A new addition to my tool box! T Handle Hex Wrenches (D) Pocket Screw Driver (E) Phillips Head attachment for 18 Volt Electric Drill/Driver

Above: (A) Mini Frame Pump (B) Teflon Tape (C) Tubing Cutter (small) (D)Under Seat Bag tube repair Kit (E) Bicycle Tire levers (F) Free Wheel removal tools (G)1,2&3 Bicycle Crank puller tool (H) 3/8 & 1/4 Mini Ratchet (I) 3/8 ratchet extension (J) 14mm socket (remove crank retainer-nut or bolt) (K) Schrader Valve Tool (L) Bicycle Chain Tool (M) Spoke wrenches (N) Cone Wrenches (O)Sealed Bottom Bracket Cartridge removal tool (Shimano) (P) Allen Key sockets (Q) Chain Whip (R) Bicycle Air Pressure Gage (S) Spanner (T) Lock Ring Wrench (U) Metric Rule (V) Caliper Type Measuring Tool (metric) (W) Mini prying tool (for rim strip removal)
Above: (A B C) 3/8, 1/4 & 1/2 Inch Sockets (D) Allen Key Sockets (E) 1/2 Inch Drive Ratchet (F) 1/4 Inch Drive Ratchet (G) 1/4 - 3/8 Mini Ratchet (H) 14mm Socket (crank nut or bolt) (I) 3/8 Swivel Attachment (J) 1/4 Inch Extension (K) 3/8 Inch Extension (I have several more sockets put away)Most of my Craftsman sockets and ratchets etc. came in a set like the Craftsman 154 pc. Mechanics Tool Set
Above: (A) Wheel Truing Stand (B) Craftsman Bench Grinder. I use both of these a lot. A Truing Stand is an absolute must for getting wheels as true as possible.
Above: Shop Vise (To the right) A File. I have other files as well. A vise is another absolute must for any shop. And a set of files as well.
Above: 18 Volt Rechargeable Drill / Driver (Also) Fine Brass Wheel-Brush Attachment. This is one of the most important tools I own. Especially with the "fine" brass wheel-brush. I have saved countless parts and components with this tool. If your going into restoring old bikes, this should be the first tool you buy.
Above: Small Campbell Hausfeld shop Air compressor. Not a necessity, just faster. I could probably live without this, but I don't want too!
Above: Small Makita Angle Grinder. I don`t use it a lot. But when I do it`s a real work saver.
Above: (A) Adjustable Wrench Often Called a Crescent Wench (Crescent is actually a brand name) (B) Large Crescent Wrench (C) Ball Pein Hammer (There are three was to spell it, So hold the comments please) (D) Vise Grips locking pliers (also a brand name)
(E) Stupid "As seen on TV" Gadget wrench (I also have one of those stupid battery powered crescent Make me an offer!
Above: "Dremel Type" Rotary Tool And Accessory Kit. Another tool I don`t use often. But it really saved my A$$ on the single to three piece crank conversion.
It paid for itself that day.
Above: High Speed Dewalt 8 amp Electric Drill. I use this for more demanding drilling. Like drilling through steel. Sometimes you just need more speed and power. This was a gift from my wife. I asked for a cheaper one. But she found this one on sale. She must actually listen to me sometimes when I talk about quality tools. And the Dewalt is just that, a quality tool.
Above: Heat Gun used for removing decals and stickers. Can also be used to remove some types of paint. No more borrowing the wife's hair dryer gun. This was very affordable, less than 15.00 if I remember right.
Above: My collection of touch-up paint. I often use nail polish because it comes in almost every shade of almost every color. The worst part is actually purchasing it. My wife has a better eye for matching color than I do. So I often have her go purchase it for me.
Above: (A) 3M Trim and Detail Tape (look for this tape in the paint section) (B) White Lightning Brush and Scraper (for cleaning free-wheel units) (C) J.B. WELD Stick (8th wonder of the world) (D) Medical Gloves (for working with chemicals) (E) Safety Glasses (eye protection) (F) White Lightning Chain Cleaner (G) White Lightning Clean Streak (parts cleaner)
Above: Storage Bins and Tubs for Organizing Spare and Salvaged Parts. I am finally getting the shop organized this year. And I have been getting rid of the last of my masonry stuff.
Above: A repair stand is an absolute must. As I work on steel bikes I have no problem mounting a bike on the stand in this manner. I do occasionally clamp onto the seat tube. This Feedback Bicycle Work Stand is my favorite. Some of you Rockers may recognize the name. Feedback manufactured stands for the music industry "hence the name". This one breaks down easily, which makes it nice for travel or just moving inside during the winter. If you are going to rebuild or restore bikes, you are really going have to get or make a repair stand for yourself.
Above: My parts cleaning pot. Total investment including brush about 20.00 . I have found that spraying, then brushing the parts and respraying really speeds up the process. And conserves the expensive parts cleaner as well. My parts cleaner of choice White Lightning "Clean Streak". You should wear gloves and safety glasses when working with any chemical parts cleaner. And a heavy duty shop apron is always a good idea as well. Some kind of parts de greasing system is also an absolute must. And I use this almost everyday when I am busy.
Above: Another option for parts cleaning is a can of carburetor cleaner with a basket.(see arrow) This is very strong stuff and should be used carefully following all directions and cautions carefully. And you probably don`t want to put any plastic parts in there. But check the directions carefully. But for really old and dirty bearing cartridges and races and cups this stuff works great. I don`t recommend this to anyone who is inexperienced. This carburetor cleaner "in my opinion" can be dangerous stuff. READ ALL CAUTIONS
Above: This Mother's Mag and Aluminum Polish is so important to what I do that I consider it one of my most important tools. I don`t let myself run out of this stuff ever! I have never heard from anyone who did not think this stuff was fantastic. I first heard about and started using Mothers back in my motorcycle days. For me, An absolute must have.
Above: By far the most important tool I have found yet, my P.C. I would be lost without it. What an amazing tool! Every time I would run across a problem the answer was always a few clicks away. The amount of information we have at our fingertips is mind-blowing.
Above: Coming Soon! Bottom bracket conversion, Unbelievably Simple! Until next time, Please RIDE SAFE and remember to Always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE!

P.S. I have since thought of other tools I should have included. But that could go on forever. So this post will have to do for now.
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