Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A New Fixed Gear Bicycle

I haven't had much opportunity to work on the Yamaha, so I decided to build up a new commuter bike for myself. I had seen an old Novarra MTB on Craig's list for a decent price, so I emailed the lister (Bruce) to see if he still had it.

He did, and I went by to pick it up Wednesday evening.

This is the picture he had on his listing.

I liked the old-school geometry, and the wide (28mm) Araya rims with Ritchey SpeedMax 2.1 tires, so I bought it. I didn't care too much for the paint, stem bars or saddle, so I figured they could all go away.

I removed the bars and cables, and stuck a 125mm Specialized road stem in. For bars, I used one of the original bars from the Huffy Tandem I fixed up last summer. I flipped it over, and installed a Shimano aero-style brake lever on the bend.

Since it was about 10:00 PM, I snapped a picture of it in the bowels of Grinder Bikes World Headquarters, and went to bed.

The next day, Thursday, I got off at noon, and decided to paint the bike before the forecasted cold weather moved in. I pulled the parts off, and took the frame and fork out to my front yard. After torching, grinding and filing the extraneous fittings from the frame, I applied a liberal coat of Krylon Ultra Flat Black. The cold front apparently moved through as I was painting, as the temp dropped by about 20 degrees from the time I started spraying until I was done.

I hung the frame and fork on my shower curtain rod, turned on a space heater and closed the bathroom door. Not quite a "baked-on" finish, but close enough. It sure is a good thing I like the smell of spray paint.

One thing I don't like the smell of, however, is burning leather. I trimmed the skirts off of an old ADGA leather seat, to emulate the Brooks Swallow in shape. I used the cutting wheel on my Dremel to cut the leather, and I never dreamed it wouuld produce the cloud of noxious smoke that poured off the saddle as I cut. When I walked out of the room where I was cutting, the entire house (all 600 square feet) was full of smoke. A layer of "fog" was swirling around the ceiling, about a foot thick, and it smelled like a Voodoo ritual gone bad.

I opened the windows, turned on some fans, and cleared the funk out. Believe me, if I ever trim another saddle down, I'll be working outside; whether it's cold or not!

Anyway, I let the paint dry from Thursday afternoon until this morning (Saturday). Then, after my weekly trip to Kaladi Brothers for coffee and whatnot, I decided to assemble the bike.

Of course, I had forgotten to paint the handlebars, so I did that first. I used a blowdryer to hasten the drying process and, by the time I was ready to install them, they were dry enough to (carefully) manipulate without damaging the finish.

I used an old Stronglight crank, rather than the stock SR,and modified the old-school VP copies of Shimano beartraps to use toeclips and straps. I also upgraded from a lower-end no-name bottom bracket to a nicer Shimano bottom bracket. Other than that, and the respaced rear wheel, things were pretty straightforward.

The stock pedal, on the left, wouldn't allow the toeclip to sit level. The recess for the toeclip was too deep. The picture on the right shows the pedal after I removed a lip from the face of the pedal, which allowed the clip to sit flat against the pedal.

After everything was together, I installed an old CatEye computer and took a test ride. Here's the finished bike. Well, not quite finished, as I want to make a headtube badge for it, too.


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