Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Zebrakenko and other stuff too

Hello and Welcome,
Well spring has finally sprung and it is time to get the Zebrakenko bike project moving forwar,d again.

Above: As luck would have it, the threaded headset I ordered for the Zebrakenko does not fit. So I scrounged this one up from a few old parts bike frames that I kept around for just such an occasion. I am pleased with this headset it is quite smooth the bearings and cups are in fine shape. After de greasing with White Lightning Clean Streak and cleaning, everything got re greased and reassembled. I`m not feeling this stem though. It does not really fit with the style bike I want to have when finished.

Above: This handlebars and stem combination fit my vision for the Zebrakenko perfectly. I am not sure if the stem off a Dutch bike will fit this Japanese beauty, but I will soon find out.

Above: I would like to explain my next choice. I really love the look of the L.L.Bean bike finished. The L.L. Bean started life as an all terrain bike. However, I hate the ride! It is much too stiff for me. I can feel bumps I can't even see. My narrow and low profile HP tire choice was terrible. Which also led me to using very narrow mud guards or fenders. I have wanted to go to a wider fender and beefier tire selection. But I can't afford to waste a perfectly good set of tires and Velo Orange Hammered Fenders.

Above: My solution is to use the white tires and Hammered Velo Orange mud guards
 on the yellow Zebrakenko project. Please note: I have not yet fine tuned the fenders. I will not be using the wheels off the L.L. Bean. Hopefully I will be able to scrounge up a vintage set of 700's for the Zebrakenko. It had a mixed set of wheels on it when I took it apart, one 700 and one 27 inch lol. So hopefully I can refurbish the 700 and I will only have to find one matching wheel. Part two of the plan is to sell this bike and use the cash to finance all the changes to the L.L. Bean bike. Honestly, I think I could really enjoy riding the L.L. Bean with the right set up.

Above: The buckle part came off the pouch that holds the battery pack for my Cree Headlamp to the head tube on my 29'er. I was going to sew it back on, but before I could Eddy (cat) made off with the pouch. I had not been using the pouch for my Topeak multi tool. Since I keep the multi tool in my wedge pack anyway, the pouch seemed unnecessary. But it does make an awesome pouch for my battery pack.

Above: I have it double zip tied (through the belt loop) to the head tube. As seen above, I just leave the pouch on the bike all the time. The pack is secured much better now. And there is no need to constantly check it and re tighten the velcro straps all the time. A huge improvement indeed! One good zip tie will do the job, the second is just for back-up.

Above: A friend of mine accidentally struck a bicycle (ladies bicycle) that was traveling the wrong way (on the shoulder) when He was pulling out from a side street. He did brake hard, but despite his best efforts He still bumped her over. I feel for him, because the same thing almost happened to me the summer before last. I was pulling out of a side street when a girl riding the shoulder in the wrong direction, seemed to appear out of nowhere. I did stop in time, but it was a matter of inches that I missed her by. It really shook me up! But she seemed oblivious to the whole thing as she pedaled by. The lesson here is twofold. One: If you are on the shoulder riding in the wrong direction, don't assume people are going to see you. Two: If you are driving in your car don't assume some dumb ass isn't coming down the shoulder on the wrong side of the bloody road! When I rode motorcycles my motto was this "Always expect the other guy to do the stupidest thing imaginable."

Above: Anyway this was her rear wheel, I also trued her front wheel and adjusted her rear derailleur. At the time I laced the wheel, I did not know the whole story. So if you saw me post it on the face book page as "my friends wheel" that is because "at the time" I thought it was.

Above: My first total wheel rebuild was a smashing success! (pun intended) Only a slight limit screw adjustment on the Low end was required to make it function properly. And being a Department Store Bike, it was likely already out of adjustment. Also I reset all the brake pads properly which were all "Willy Nilly" for lack of a better description!

Above: Riding my Raleigh Sports on Easter Sunday. My pledge to ride my bike everyday in April "fell a little short". I did manage to ride my bike 27 days. That's much more than my typical April, that's for sure. It wasn't the weather that messed me up, it was more of a time issue. I did manage to ride all the really bad weather days though. So I am 95% satisfied with my pledge.

Above: This picture "taken from my bicycle" is of a canal in 7 Harbors. It was taken in early April 2014. The canal is still frozen and you can still traces of our record snowfall we had this winter. Camera:Fuji Film FINE PIX S4500

Above: The same canal on April 29th 2014. The ride on the 29th was most enjoyable. It was a long, cold and snowy winter. A winter that won't be forgotten anytime soon by folks around here. But finally it is springtime and everything is coming back to life. I put out one of those Hummingbird feeders after checking the migration report. I have not seen any Hummers yet. But they should be making an appearance at any time now.

Above: Recently... I was finally able to convince my bud Tom to let me swap out his high mileage wheels for this 26 X 1.50 wheel-set off my old low mileage 1980's Rock Hopper FS. I have shown work done on both his front and rear wheels on here and on the face book page. Tom had the most battered set of cones on his rear wheel axle that I had ever seen.

Above: Tom has reported back that the wheel swap was a great idea. He says it is rolling smoother and coasting better as well. Now if I can just talk him into a set of beefier road knobby tires. Some phat tires would really smooth out the ride in the back.

Above: As of late I have been working on my friend Brian's FELT Q-720. It has been an educational experience "for sure". So look for a post about that real soon. Also the beefier tires for the L.L. Bean have arrived :) Aaaaaannnnnnd.... when Brian's FELT is finished I should be able to resume work on the Zebrakenko. I have received inquiries about 2 restorations, but nothing has developed yet.

Until Next Time...PLEASE... RIDE SAFELY!.......And Remember to Always.....RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE!
Cheers, Hugh


  1. Good to see you posting my friend, I think your Zebrakenko is going to look sweet with the VO hammered fenders and white walled tires playing off that sunny yellow paint job. Looking forward to the next installment and congrats on you riding in April you got farther along than I did.


    1. Thanks Ryan,
      I am looking forward to finishing the Zebrakenko. And I am looking forward to making the changes
      to the LL Bean bike. But lately I have been captivated by the FELT Q-720 I am working on now. It needs lots of attention. which is fine with me! The disc brakes are hydraulic, which is a first for me. And thanks, I did ok in April, but I have been really dragging my ass since then. I am hoping the helmet cam (which I ordered last night) will get me into riding more again. As always it is great to hear from you. I have been checking in on your blog from time to time. And I think it is awesome. Keep up the good work.
      Cheers, Hugh

  2. Good to see your back to blogging. Like the new videos too, Did you get a new video camera during the off season? =)

  3. Hey John,
    I hate to admit this but I am using my Fuji Film FINE PIX S4500 I have owned for a while now. But I never shot any video with it. I had no idea it would or could work as well as it has. Having said that, I did just order a helmet cam. It is a Chinese knock off of a better more expensive camera. But the reviews say it is good for the beginner, and actually works fairly well for the price. If I enjoy it I can always get a better one down the road. And Thanks it is good to be back.
    Cheers, Hugh

  4. It is always a welcome thing to see an old friend return. I myself have all but stopped posting and spend most of my webular typing time leaving comments on my friend's sites.

    An old buddy just ordered a new comfort/hybrid/whatever bicycle from Bikes Direct. I will be doing the assembly and maybe do a review/write up.

    I am glad the weather is finally becoming acceptable in your area and I am glad that your hibernation is over for a while.


  5. Nice to hear from you, Hugh. I can feel your quandary when it comes to swapping parts between bikes. I prefer to re-use what I have in my parts box also, but occasionally must get something new, which not always works out on the bike I intended it for...

  6. Hey Hugh, I am going to be a bit of a hypocrite here (as I have about 5 bike projects languishing in my queue right now) and ask about the Zebrakenko... How'd it turn out?

    1. If I ever get around to finishing it I will let you know :) Good to hear from you Ryan


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