Thought this was a bit refreshing compared to most of the other stuff we read and see about cycling. Also enjoyed the way Pope Francis didn't even touch the bicycle they just gave to him. What can you say, he's got more important stuff to do, no?
Thursday, January 18, 2018
I finished getting the frame all cut and fit today and had planned on tacking it but realized I don't have the bottom bracket shells with the serial number back from the engraver yet so I'm gonna have to find some other stuff to work on until they arrive. I was bummed because here lately things have been flowing pretty good and I was trying to keep the momentum up. I've been getting to spend some quality time in the shop and that makes me feel more like a frame builder, and building bicycle frame makes me feel more like a cyclist, and riding keeps my mind clear. If I scan the shop for more than a few seconds I can easily find something that I started working on and then put on the sidelines for something else. First thing I see is a carbon fiber saddle that I started back in the summer. It will get done eventually but as one of my art teachers used to tell me, "You need to always be working around the canvas and not just focus on one area." Sometimes I think I took that too literal as I look around at a half dozen unfinished projects laying around me. Coincidentally, yesterday, I called about trying to find some art instruction for the near future. It's been some 20 years since the last time and I've been wanting to create some different paint schemes and figured some professional help might help get the creative juices flowing. Besides, all these side projects are more fun than say sweeping up the shop.
Just a quick glance over to my desk reveals unfinished projects. I can't remember if I've posted a pic of this or not. I'll try to get it finished up. Me arse isn't exactly looking forward to it.
There's also an unfinished (uh-hmm, never started) carbon fiber bicycle pump on my desk. What can I say, frame building is priority number one. Actually Jack is priority #1, frame building is a close 2nd.
It's starting to really bother me that I can't focus the camera squarely on the subject. I've noticed it's always leaning to the left. I'm guessing it has something to do with me but luckily I have the level to back me up on this, otherwise I could be riding my bicycle in circles to the left. Left hand corners are definitely my favorite but never really problems hanging to the right.
This is a little better.
Always clean the surfaces of the components you're brazing, welding, bonding, etc. It's crucial. I think it helps increase the internal fillet as well. I can't remember if I've ever tried to braze tubes together without removing the coating on the inside of the tube or not but why chance it. Good clean scuffed up surface wiped down with acetone and it's good.
Trying to braze without my reading glasses results in wasted silver.
It's gonna be sitting like this for a few days. The bottom bracket shells aren't supposed to be back until mid-next week. That saddle may get done after all.
Thanks for stopping by.
Friday, January 12, 2018
Yesterday evening, right after I posted some pics of the current build along with a few comments, I was thinking about what I had done and said. I remembered that I was gonna mention something about the fork that I just built and how it was gonna go on this frame. Then I remembered the words, 'integrated head tube' and lightning struck me right between the eyes.
"I'm not so sure that steel fork is gonna look right with an integrated style head tube."
Integrated head tubes are more suited toward a bigger, fatter, more modern looking carbon fork. Handmade steel road forks are generally a little more narrow and the area around the lug is not very thick. The bottom integrated cup sort of dwarfs the lug of the steel fork, and while it works just the same, it's not exactly eye candy. And so I walked over to the shop in order to lock it up and get a quick glance in order to get my plans in order for the following day. Sure enough the fork didn't look right inserted into the head tube and so a change was in order. Luckily I had a 200mm length of
1 1/8" head tube that would fit. I laid it on the table, locked up, and went to sleep knowing what had to be done.
It totally slipped my mind. I was just too eager to use that integrated head tube that's been sitting in my box for over 2 years.
I had to totally rework the front triangle as everything but the seat tube changes by a few millimeters. Mainly just at the head tube because the straight-wall head tube is actually a couple millimeters smaller in diameter than the integrated and since the miters of the top and down tube were made for larger head tube they needed to be tightened up a little.
The good news is that I got to take some more pictures of practically the same exact thing that i posted yesterday and share them again like it's something new. It is. Some of these photos are a little blurry as the automatic focus on the camera isn't working and I have to focus manually. Everyone knows I need all the help I can get with a camera but it is what it is. We're stuck. Try and see through it, there may be some treasure on the other side.
Before I got started on the task at hand I ate a big plate of leftover chicken and dressing for my breakfast. Anne had made it the day before and it was excellent. She's an excellent cook when she wants to be and dressing is one of my all-time favorites. These days i don't label food into certain groups like breakfast, lunch, and dinner anymore, if I'm hungry and it's available I'll eat it no matter the time. Chicken and dressing with a side of catfish for breakfast or bacon and egg sandwich for dinner, it's all the same to me.
After eating that big plate of food I was stuffed but I had a little craving in me for some chocolate. Anybody that knows me knows I have a serious sweet tooth. I put away sweets like a heroin addict goes through smack on a holiday weekend. And so with my truck between me and the workshop I jumped in and took a quick drive down to the Dollar General where I had noticed a couple days earlier that they had a new display filled with boxes of chocolate on sale getting ready for the upcoming Valentine's Day that's only 6 weeks away. It's a 4 minute drive from my house, I got there in 3. I ran in and walked straight back to the display and my eyes settled on a box of so-so brand chocolate turtles with pecans. "Only $3.50!" I almost felt guilty for ripping them off so bad. It didn't say how many were in there but I would've paid that much just for a couple of them and I knew a box of that size had to have more than two. I paid for them, jumped back in the truck, and was back on my way to the shop.
I pulled up in the driveway and put the bag and all under my arm hoping my wife wouldn't see me, or if she did, maybe she would think I went to the paint store or Home Depot or something, basically anything to keep her from looking at me like the junkie I am, plus I really wasn't wanting to share any of them. Luckily I made it back to the shop without issue and took the box out of the bag and threw it on my workshop bench. No sooner than I got it open Dizzy started crazily barking and I figured that the FedEx driver was pulling up with my chain stays and dropouts so I headed for the front door but not before grabbing a couple of those sugary, tasty, chocolate turtles and stuffing them both in my mouth. Don't forget that these things do have pecans in them which I consider a health food and that's how I have to think in order to live with myself through these episodes.
Good thing it wasn't the FedEx driver because my mouth was so full that I wouldn't have been able to talk, not to mention I had chocolate caramel ooze running down my chin. I didn't see Dizzy out front so I thought I would go look around back and of course on the way to the back door I grabbed another 2-3 turtles because I wasn't sure how long I would be looking for him. He came running around the corner of the house about the time I got outside and so we went back inside where is was warm and past time to get to work and fix the frame. So I headed over toward the tool box to grab my files and of course picked up another couple of turtles on the way. I was getting really full at this point after the plate of chicken and dressing just a few minutes earlier and then shoving 7 good-sized pieces of chocolate candy in my mouth within 5 minutes but at this point there were only 4 left in the box and that's hardly worth saving. I would do a little filing and then grab another piece of candy in between miters until the entire box was empty and the binge had to stop. Eleven pieces of candy in shortly under 30 minutes is roughly..., well, I don't know how many a minute but it's too damn many. I could barely move around the shop for the next 30 minutes and I realized that I was lucky that I didn't have a weight problem because I would be helpless (remind me to tell you about the time I was gonna try and get fat just to see what it felt like, unfortunately I didn't have time to get fat). Little by little the pain in my stomach got to be less and less and I managed to get the frame re-mitered. So here are a couple of photos of what you've already seen with the new head tube in place.
Down tube re-mitered. The straight head tube is not as sexy as the integrated head tube but when you throw one of Chris King' headsets in it'll take on a whole new look.
Top tube re-mitered.
Didn't have to touch this.
Chain stays cut and fit.
Llewellyn rear dropouts were the closest match I could find to match the fork. Nicely made dropouts.
Tried to get a little nighttime photo in but it's little more than a blur.
Thanks for checking things out.
Monday, January 8, 2018
Knocked the front triangle out this morning on this build while waiting on the chain stays and dropouts to arrive. Gonna be another road frame built around 30c tires. Did a little custom fab on the down tube turning into a bi-oval complements of a vice and thick piece of leather. Head tube seems long in this pic. It's got integrated bearing cups brazed in.
Another crooked photo of a level bottom bracket. I have to quit doing that. The level doesn't lie.
Always shooting for the tightest of miters.
Not as light as the True Temper S3 bi-oval down tube but will be much stronger on the off-roads this bike is being built to handle.
Hopefully the chain stays will arrive tomorrow and I can get back on it in a day or two. Temperatures finally warmed a bit back up into the 40's. I got a short spin around town yesterday morning but today is pretty soupy and not really wanting to get my feet wet.
There once was a day that I wasn't such a puss.
Screw it! I'm going.Nobody calls me a puss without getting a little dirty.
Like my granny used to say, "I'm bad ass and I know it." She used to have a floor mat on her front porch with a lever action rifle sitting next to it and it read, "Welcome-To Try Your Luck". The mailman was scared to death of her. He used to just throw the letters in the yard and run away as fast as he could.
Thanks for stopping by.
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Finally got back into the workshop and did a little frame building, or fork building rather. I've spent the last few weeks fixing up an oldish 2006 RM 250. I didn't plan on spending as much time (or money) on this bike since I hardly ever ride any more these days but once I got into it I realized that it needed more work than what I had planned on doing. These days I can't do just a little something and let other stuff go, I have to go front to back and replace everything that I feel is necessary to make the project the best that it can be so I can feel like the job is done right. And so I ended up spending twice as much time and money as what I wanted but I know everything is as it should be and that's worth everything spent.
Anyway, I had this Columbus Max fork kit laying around for some time now and planned on using it on the next build so i finally opened the box and got to work. I enjoy building forks now for some reason. Used to be that I never looked forward to it. I would always build it after the frame was finished and I think I just felt like it had to be done in order to complete the frame set. Now, I build the fork first and view it as the start to a brand new frame set and feel as though the frame is being built around it, as in most cases it actually is. I can remember years ago, before frame building and even before knowing much about bikes at all, I purchased a Carrera Volans frame set, and then, like a moron, I purchased a super-lightweight Time carbon fork for it in order to get the weight down to what I perceived as an acceptable level. After riding it with the new fork and noticing that the bike just didn't feel right I called the owner of Red Rose Imports and started telling him about my problems. It was then that he informed me that the bike had been built around that fork and that I had totally ruined the bike's ride by taking the original fork off. I took his advice and switched back to the original steel fork and that was a very good lesson that still lives with me. To this day I feel like steel forks are untouchable. The weight is a slight disadvantage but the strength, handling, and tracking makes it worthwhile. Carbon forks have improved a lot since they were first introduced making them compliment the frames more and more and honestly I've never had a fork fail that I can remember be it carbon or steel, however, if I had to decide based on straight line tracking, comfort, and just overall confidence I would always put my money on steel.
It feels good to be back working on some bicycle stuff and so I'm leaving you with a handful of pictures and hopefully I will get back to posting some frame work as well.
Columbus Max Aero fork blades.
Pretty much everything is new here except for the motor. Motor seems to be pretty solid. I tore it completely down and painted the frame, suspension front and rear completely gone through and revalved, new bearings and hardware in linkage and swingarm, the dents in the pipe were taken out and it was clear-coated, not to mention bars, cables, plastics, levers, silencer, brake pads, seat cover and so on. It's race ready for some lucky guy. Now I'm just waiting on some warmer weather to go see how it all feels. If it's too good it may become a keepsake as this was one of the best years ever for this particular model and it is probably one of the best 250 2-strokes ever made.
I'll forever be a Suzuki guy.
And Jack? Is there any doubt? This is my dilemma. Unfortunately he's just like his dad, one hand on the bars and as usual it was the throttle side. I feel like I've said that before. You're gonna tear a lotta rear fenders off riding like that son. Do as I say, not as i do.
Thanks for stopping by!
Happy New Year!
Sunday, October 22, 2017
Finally got something finished up to post. As simple as this paint scheme looks it took me a while to get it right. I can be pretty picky at time, especially when my name is on something. I don't think I can ever say I'm completely satisfied but at some point you just have to lay it down and let it be. After all, it was built to be ridden, not looked at. But I like looking at them. This is more of an older, traditional style frameset but I tried to give it more of a modern twist, or maybe just a MEECH twist. It's funny, I was really excited to start building this frame, it started with the fork, and then I've worked on it so long that the excitement had worn off. But the other day while I was shooting these pictures and really looking at the bike I became excited again and thought, "I want to ride this bike." Then I realized that it's not my size and immediately got bummed out. So then of course my reaction was, "Now I have to build one for me."
I wasn't the first one to use these colors of course.
Remember this fork? I know it's been a while. This is a 30c Kenda Kwik tire fitted up under a standard Campy road caliper. It's always nice to have a little extra space if you need it. This bike will make a great winter training bike.
No head badge yet but they're on the way.
Not sure where this idea came from, the ideas just come and I have to do them or I can't rest and move on to the next one. Kinda like the Lords of Dogtown frame or the Frankenstrat frame.
I used to run this number on one of my mx bikes years ago. Novice class of course.
Stencils by my good friend Vince Pearcy.
My good friend Lance rolling his MEECH through the Vegas desert. Beautiful photo Lance. Makes me wish I was with you guys.
Thanks for stopping by!
MEECH Custom Bicycles