Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Updates: Diamondback 29'er / L.L.Bean Bike

Hello and Welcome, The weather has been pretty bad this past week. Fortunately I did manage to get in a second ride on the 29'er before the arctic front arrived. I wanted to see how it felt with the new Ergon Grips combined with the clip-less pedals and the W.T.B. saddle.
Above: The Ergon P-1 grips combined with the WTB "Speed V Comp" saddle make for a very comfortable ride. Although the second ride was 6 X longer than the first, I felt absolutely no discomfort in the palms of my hands. I have suddenly become a big fan of these Ergon brand grips. For more aggressive riding Ergon also offers this style grip with integrated bar ends.
On the first ride I tried out the stock Diamondback saddle. Even though I was wearing my Canari Cycling Shorts (padded) under my Adidas long pants, the DB saddle was still somewhat uncomfortable. On the second ride I was not wearing the padded shorts underneath, but with the WTB Speed V Comp Saddle they were not needed. On a longer ride I would have surely worn them. But for six or seven miles they were hardly necessary. I still have to adjust the WTB saddle a wee bit, it is about 95% good now.
Above: For the wedge bag I chose this detachable small Topeak Wedge Pack II . It has just enough room for my Topeak Alien II multi-tool , a small patch kit and my keys. And I imagine a few Allen wrenches or other small items. One thing I read in the reviews sealed the deal. A rider had mentioned how snug the tail light strap was. They stated that even after some pretty rough terrain the taillight stayed in place. This is a problem I have encountered in the past. And I had not really thought of it until I read the review. So read those reviews! they can be very helpful :)
Above: I also installed this very basic and affordable ZeFal Light Set . I do not ride in the dark, so I use them on flash as more of a "to be seen" light set. The set retails for around $20.00 (less on sale). And you can use rechargeable AAA batteries, but those you will have to purchase yourself. The light set does come with a set of non rechargeable AAA batteries.
Above: After installing my used (and somewhat battered) set of Shimano PD-520L clip-less pedals on the Diamondback, I noticed they looked a little rough. So I went ahead and ordered a bright and shiny new set for the 29'er. Which by the way came with a spare set of cleats that I can save for when mine wear out. This way I can have the same pedals on my road bike (which will probably be the L.L. Bean bike this year) and my off road bike with no need to swap pedals or shoes. That will be sweet!
Above: I ordered the white ZeFal Bottle Cages because I thought they would look good on the glossy Black frame with white trim. Oh yeah, and because they are affordable too. I am very pleased with the way they look. My Nalgene Water Bottle fits in these cages nice and snug. Although I may loose one on "really rough terrain" where a camel back type system would undoubtedly be much better.
Above: Other than having to re-adjust the saddle and wedge bag position the 29'er is ready to go. Moving the saddle way back made it easier to install the wedge bag & bracket. Now all I need is some weather. If it hits around 50 degrees F (and it`s not raining) I`m out of here.
Above: The L.L. Bean bike as it looked the last time I talked about it on the blog. Once I switched the handlebars I liked the look so much I decided to go ahead and order the "Velo Orange" hammered mudguards (fenders) for the L.L. Bean. My biggest concern was, would I be able to fit these fenders on this Multi Terrain frame which now has much smaller tires and narrow rims? My thinking is... if not I will promptly remove them and use them on another project this summer.
Above: What I feared would happen, has happened. The standard L bracket that connects the mud guard or fender to the fork crown (via the brake caliper mount hole) is too short. So that should not be a huge problem I`ll just order a longer one. I am sure this problem is fairly common and I should not have any trouble finding a longer one. Wrong again! I was unable to find a longer L bracket. They all looked exactly like the one I already have.
Above: What I ended up doing was making a longer L bracket out of an extra "rear rack" mounting slide bracket. Basically I flattened it out on the anvil part of my Wilton 11104 Bench Vise using the stricking end of my ball pein hammer and cut it off using a hacksaw just past the slot. Then rounded of the edges off using a file. I then added an extra mounting hole in the top of the mud guard for strength using the DEWALT DWD112 3/8 drill. When reinstalling the mudguard I relocated the L bracket to the rear of the crown. This is where it should have been in the first place, but the inset nut would not work with the original L bracket. This time I replaced the mounting bolt and nut with one that uses a typical washer and nut.
Above: A view of the new L bracket from the backside of the fork crown. I bent the L bracket using the ball pien hammer and the straight edge of the anvil surface on the bench vise. I used the original L bracket to match the angle on the new one.
Above: Once I am satisfied with the position or fit of the front mudguard I can now mark the struts with a Sharpie (marker) just past the collar clamp. Then I will remove "just the strut" and go make the cuts and re-install the wrap around strut. Of course I will need to remove the (quick release) front wheel to remove the strut.
Above: The struts have been trimmed (hack-saw) and the installation now has a nice clean / professional look to it. You may have noticed the crown mounted cable hanger is now gone. When I made the switch to road bars the brake cable routing / hook-up longer worked or looked correct. I will talk about that latter on. I have the strut mount clamps facing upwards away from the axle nut. This is just my preference I do not think it really matters (facing up or down) as long as the axle nut or skewer is not in the way.
Above: To simplify the installation of the rear mudguard I will remove the rear rack and the wheel. I am sure this rack is not going to work with the new look I have envisioned for the L.L. Bean bike. Note: As of 3 21 2013 the Pletscher Style rack is $17.86 US The Genuine Pletscher CS Rack is $41.99 US. Since this is a Multi-terrain Bike rebuilt to look like an old touring bike.. It makes sense to go with the "less expensive" saddle, rack, tires & tool bag, etc. etc.
Above: The mounting bracket for the rear mudguard is just the right length. Looking at this pic I think I should have cut a slot in the mudguard and run the bracket up though the inside or underside of the mudguard. After all the trouble I had with the front bracket my heart just wasn't in it. I think if I were to mark it carefully with a Sharpie then drill a small hole at each end of the mark, I could then make a cut between the two with a small cutting wheel on the rotary tool. I may try this yet. If I do I'll be sure to do an updated post about it. The only real problem is a huge gap at the front chain stay brace. This is where the lower front of the rear mud guard connects to the frame.
Above: Although it is hidden somewhat by the chain-rings (crank) and front derailleur, here the gap is really noticeable up close. I have marked it on the picture you may want to blow up the pic to see it. But fortunately this gap is a fairly easy fix.
Above: Here I have added a spacer between the outer fender and the threaded frame brace mudguard mounting hole. I did also add a few washers after this pic was taken to get it just right.
Above: Just like the front mudguard I do not trim the struts until I am sure I have the mudguard positioned exactly where I want it.
Above: Here the rear struts (A) have been trimmed. I had this "Pletscher Style" style rack (B) hanging around doing nothing. Which by the way fits in perfectly with the direction this project has taken. I have been saving this vintage (not a reproduction) water bottle cage (C) for just such a project. I also had this stem mount drop cable hanger (D) in stock. Which is perfect for changing over the brake cable routing and hook-up to a more road bike set-up. It all started with changing the handlebars. Since then I have envisioned a "vintage style" touring bike look for the L.L. Bean. But I still have a few more changes and accessories to go yet.
Above: While there is nothing wrong with the way the cantilever brakes are hooked-up, and they are working just fine..... They do not fit the look I am now after. I know I have some road bike straddle cables and hangers around the shop. I just need to locate them and then clean up the hangers to make the changes.
Above: I installed these salvaged pulley type cable hangers (A) and hooked them up to these road bike style (B) straddle cables . This is really much closer to the "vintage touring bike" look I am after here. If you think there is nothing retro about this style brake, Browse through "The Golden Age Of Hand Built Bicycles". You will find many innovations (including cantilever brakes ) that have been around since long before I was born in mid 1950's. A truly amazing book :) P.S. I have since repositioned the crown race seal.
Above: Another accessory I really wanted "to continue with the vintage touring look" was a front rack. I would love to have installed a minimal vintage style Nitto M 12 front rack . But it was not in the budget. So I settled for this Sun-Lite front rack which was about 14 bucks delivered. Damn sweet looking little rack for $14.00 US. It was common to mount the headlamp as far forward as possible on the front mudguard. This was to make room for luggage. Another method is to mount a light on the underside of the rack. In my opinion the latter would work best on this bike otherwise I would probably have to ad another strut. Recently I read somewhere that mounting the headlamp on the lower fork is not a good idea. According to the author it casts too many shadows. So for better light, higher is better.
Above: The next thing "well actually the next 3 things" I really want to change are the black seat post and the black easy adjust seat post clamp and the saddle. This is all "Mountain Bike Stuff" and needs to go. On the post I got lucky, I had a salvaged micro adjust on on hand that fits really good. Same with the black easy adjust seat post clamp I had a newer salvaged Aluminum one on hand. As for the saddle, to get what I wanted I had to spend some cash. I wanted brown leather and springs. A new Brooks was out of the question I needed to keep this as far under 100 bucks as I could...
Above: The "Velo Orange" Mod 5 tour sprung saddle was 84.32 delivered. However the clamp (11.99) was free. The post (13.62) was also free. With an estimated 5.00 shipping I saved 30.61 on those two items alone. This is how I justify spending 84.32 for the saddle. Hey, It works for me.....ltms..... As one of the saddle reviewers stated, The nuts that attach the springs have no lock washers or thread lock. That will cost me about a dime to fix. I think I can suffer through that. Looks like this is going to be another bike I will have to keep for myself. At least for a while :)
The L.L. Bean is pretty much finished (again) There are just a few more details I need to take care of. Today after a lengthy search I finally located a tool bag that I think is both stylish and reasonably priced. I also have to apply some graphics on the top tube and locate a suitable light set. The lights are also taking a while to locate. My idea is to mount the headlamp on the underside of the front rack. This hopefully will keep the headlamp out of the way of any thing that might be strapped onto the front rack. I have not given any thought to the taillight at all.
Above: This is the $22.49 Banjo Brothers minne haha tool bag. I was looking for something in canvas with leather straps. My first choice would have been off white canvas (like a mason's tool bag) but for $22.49 the black looks just fine. I now offer this bag in Hughs Online Bike Shop. (Powered by
Above: My first bike with real custom graphic's. I found these nice folks "Cesar & Dawn Diaz" while surfing the net for decals. The business is called "Stickers by Design". I told them if I like the product I would send them some business. So tell them Hugh sent you! Here is the URL you can link to their Etsy store from there. The prices are very reasonable so lets give these good people some business!
Above: Here is a close up for you folks who are viewing this on a smaller device. These are good quality vinyl stickers. They appear to be the same as the graphics I had on my truck(s) when I was a mason contractor. And those held-up really well.
Above: A look back at where we started this project. One of the original wheels is on the floor (blue arrow). In this pic I was seeing if my old 700 wheel set would fit. You can see how big the gap was between the front wheel and the front fork crown. It is a miracle the mud guards fit as well as they did. The Bicycle Gods were watching over me again. I will include a few more pics in a future post showing the tool bag and lights. That my friends about wraps it up for this post. Until Next Time... PLEASE Ride Safe.... and Remember to Always...RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE!!! Cheers, Hugh
Thanks again to those who have been checking out "Hugh's Online Bike Shop". I will try to make sure that all the new stuff in future projects is available in the store. If you see something that is not in the store let me know (via comment) and I will do my best to get it in there. The Link to the Store is in the upper right column just below the Members/Followers. Cheers, Hugh


  1. Hugh your finished product looks sweet! is that a VO touring saddle? the brown looks great on your LL Bean. It always amazes me how long it can take to get fenders to fit just right, your fender lines look spot on btw. I have found that a wine cork is a good spacer/rattle-reducer for that gap between the seat tube and rear fender as you can cut and shape them to size and I always seem to um have a lot of them around. The Ergons look right at home on your 29er, I put some on a friends hybrid this summer and he loves them. Looks like a Raleigh road frame in that last shot of your shop- a future project perhaps..? keep up the great work.


    1. Hey Ryan,
      Thanks I appreciate that..... ltms..... And thanks for pointing out that I forgot to mention the saddle manufacturer. Oops! I think the process of fitting fenders is something that is a little surprising to most of us the first time around. They do require a little patience, that's for sure. I was expecting these to be a little challenging considering the L.L. Bean is not a true road bike. But after fabricating the longer L bracket, it actually went pretty well. And I agree 100% the Ergon grips are wonderful.
      About that Raleigh frame, that's actually Brian's rusty Raleigh Sprite. When it came in, it put the L.L. Bean project on hold for a while. I'm not real sure what my next project will be. Although I have a lugged frame fixed gear project I have been thinking about for a while now. I am still planning on changing the old Rock Hopper F.S. over to a thread-less headset as well. And I haven't restored a folding bike in about a million years. (and I know there is one back there somewhere) And I also need to get the second part of the "shop tool review" post going as well.
      As always Thank You for the positive feedback. And keep up the good work on your new blog.
      Cheers, Hugh

  2. That Diamondback is looking really sharp, as is the Bean-Bike. It is good to see the VO stuff on my friend's pages...I really like their site and products. In some reviews the VO saddle gets a pretty high rating compared with the Brooks. I look forward to hearing your opinion.


    1. Thanks TJ.
      I agree Velo Orange has some really interesting stuff. The weather here has been pretty bad for the last month or so. It will be a while before I have any opinions (that require actual riding) to post. I am so sick of winter I can not put it into words. But I will try anyway...
      Hell hath no furry anything like a winter in Michigan!
      Cheers :)

  3. I really like the L.L. Bean and how it turned out. What a beauty as a finished product. I'll bet you have many enjoyable rides. Thanks for the review on the Ergon grips. I am going to do a rebuild for my daughter on a bike to go to campus and I am going to need some grips for her. Plus, there is a 29'er in my future and I have to select some parts to make it comfy so, appreciate the review.

    1. Thanks Jim,
      I am really looking forward to actually riding the L.L. Bean and the Raleigh Sports.
      The Ergon grips are a huge improvement "comfort wise" over the stock DB grips. I would recommend these to anyone looking for a little more comfort. But honestly I think the 29'er is going to me my main ride this coming summer. Funny thing... according to an article I just read in "Mountain Bike Action" (March 2013) my changes to the 29'er were right inline with the authors. The Garage Files "Stepping up to the big leagues on a budget" Hey, Even a broken clock is right twice a day :) Thanks again for the positive feedback.

  4. I like your LL Bean bike also. FYI, I also am using the inexpensive small front rack. The black version is holding up very well on my Ross, however the "silver" finish version (on my Miyata) quickly turned to nickel. Like you, I did not want to spend lots of money on a front rack. It still functions very well, though I'm no longer enamored with its looks.

    I am anxious to hear how the leather saddle performs. I've want to try a leather saddle and the price sounds right.

    1. Thanks Annie,
      Actually before chrome "Nickel plating" was really cool. So maybe a little age will enhance the front rack's vintage look :) Thanks for the review of the Sun-Lite front rack. I agree for the price you can't go wrong. I too look forward to trying out the Velo saddle. I might even do a comparison to the Brooks Saddle on the Sports, as they are of similar design. Thanks for leaving some positive feedback. It is sincerely appreciated :)


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