Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Yamaha Carb Fixed (I Hope)

It was in the low seventies, here in Denver, today. So I worked on the Yamaha, after getting home from Grand Junction (lab inspection).

I took the float bowl off of the right-hand carb and installed the new gasket. I then ran the bike for a few minutes, leaning it on the side stand to see if the leak was gone. All appears to be well.

I did notice, however, that the centerstand tang hits the left muffler. This doesn't allow the centerstand to retract, fully, and causes it to touch down in the corners. I will try to bend the tang, some, and see if I can make it work.
I also rotated the bars forward, somewhat, to give me a more natural hand/wrist position. It also looks better, to me.
Coming soon: New headlight mounts and headlight shell, levelling up the seat pan and finallizing the mounting, tires and tubes, rattlecan paint job, new brake pads and new mirrors.

Monday, February 20, 2006

G-Bar Fabrication - Phase 1

While we are waiting for Burd Phillips' folding mountain bike frame to get here, he and I are discussing how to build it up. I lean toward the flip-flop hub, 26" rim setup, myself.

Yesterday Burd (he is the computer genius behind the look of sent me a drawing of what he thinks would be the ultimate handlebar for this bike. His drawing showed a straight bar 18" wide, with two parallel extensions extending 5" fore and aft of the bar.

So, I sat down with two alloy MTB bars, and the Dremel, and went to work. This is the result, mounted on my Triumph fixie for testing purposes.

Using the cutting wheel on the Dremel, and some grinding stones, I mitered the ends of the bar to accept the straight sections. I then drilled holes through the center of the straight sections, and ran the bolt of an expanding connector though them. Once the ends were bolted in place, and aligned pretty well, I welded them in place with some low-temp alloy welding rod.

The Grinder "G-Bar" is born.

I'm not real sure how strong the welds are, so I will leave the bolts in place. I had planned on recessing them, but that won't be possible now that everything is welded together.

So, for now, I will ride the Triumph, with them on it, and make sure they hold together. If all goes well, they can go on Burd's bike when it comes in.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Headtube Badge

I'll be out of town for few days, and I won't have anything to post about. So, I thought I'd just put up a picture of the headtube badge I made for the new Cafe Scorcher. It's cut from copper foil (to match up with the brown saddle), and attached it with silicone adhesive.

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.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Nice Day For A Ride

Too bad I was too busy, buying supplies to work on the floors of my house.

I did work on running a cable to operate the choke, since the stock choke lever is missing. I used a mountain bike thumb shifter, and fashioned a cable stop using old DiaCompe brake parts which are probably as old as the bike.

My first version didn't allow enough swing for the choke to be fully engaged, so I flipped the cable stop mount over to allow for more cable travel.

Seems to work okay. I might end up finding a stock choke lever and replacing it, eventually. For now, though, this allows me to start it up without having to hold the choke open by hand.

I bled the front brake a little more, and that seemed to free it up. maybe the piston isn't sticking in the caliper, after all. I'll rebuild it, eventually, but for now it seems good enough for test rides.

Speaking of which, I actually took it for a short ride around the neighborhood, this afternoon. The carbs are still a little problematic. The revs are slow to come back down (I suspect I should replace the stupid diaphragms), and the right hand side float bowl is now leaking gas, but only when the bike is on the sidestand. I think it's just the gasket and/or that I didn't get the screws torqued down evenly the last time I had the bowl off.

I have two gaskets, and I'm planning on checking the jets one more time, installing inline filters and then replacing the gaskets.

Oh, yeah, I also ran a couple of sheet metal screws though the undertail to hold it in place. I'll finish that installation when the rear wheel is off to swap out the tires.