Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Sunday, September 22, 2013

More Gears on The Walgoose Beast

I pulled the single speed freewheel off of the rear hub of the Beast, yesterday, in order to test fit an old SunTour 5-speed freewheel on the rear hub. I screwed the freewheel on, then added another lock-nut on the axle, so that the frame and the freewheel would not contact each other.

Then, with a little elbow grease, and a lot of leverage from some pry bars, I spread the rear triangle of the frame, a bit, and managed to slot the wheel in.

Out came the angle grinder, to trim the huge drive-side dropout in order to allow the rear derailleur to mount up. I used a reverse-slot claw mount, originally designed to mount derailleurs to bmx frames, and an old LX derailleur from the parts bin.

Shifting is handled by a basic friction thumb shifter, also from the parts bin.  The cable and housing, from a Bell Sports cable set, were just long enough to work, so I didn't even have to trim them.

The smallest cog on the freewheel runs a little too close to the frame, so the chain won't run on it. But, that's fine with me. The other four cogs, 17-20-24-28 teeth, combined with the 22-32-44 chainrings give me a pretty wide selection of gear ratios. I'll be looking through my parts, derelict wheels, etc, to see if I can find a 5-speed freewheel with a 32 or 34 tooth cog on it, just to get that ultra-low climbing gear for the long, steep climbs we hit on a lot of the trails around here. In the meantime, though, the 22/28 low gear is usable in most circumstances.

The rear rack was on the closeout table, down at Performance Bicycles, a couple of weeks ago. It was packaged as "disc brake compatible", and had spacers for the lower bolts to run through so that the legs of the rack would run outboard of the dropouts. But, the whole rack is so wide, I don't see how it would fit on a standard mountain bike frame.  It fits on the wide rear end of the Beast like it was made for it, though.

I actually rode to the coffee shop and back, both yesterday and today. Those were the first rides I have made since getting sick, a couple of weeks ago. The 4.5 mile round trip wore me out. I am not convinced that I am completely over whatever I had.

That said, I think I may ride to work, tomorrow, just to jump-start myself a bit. It all depends on how I feel, tomorrow morning.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

What A Week

I started the week off, last Sunday, throwing up in the middle of the night. I then proceeded to sleep for about 30 hours. The rest of week was spent in a fog, which I am just now pulling out of.

Then, a couple of days after I got sick, the rain came down like some kind of biblical plague. Yesterday, for instance, we had over 12 inches of rain at the airport. That's about what we usually get in the whole month of September. They say that if we had gotten this week's moisture as snow, it would be over 20 feet deep.

Huge floods were the result. My buddy Danny had 18 inches of water in his basement. Considering the fact that he finally completed his finished basement in April, it was a pretty hard hit.

I wrote a song about the floods. We will debut it at Bushwacker's, on the 27th.

In bike news, Bikes Direct (the company who owns the Motobecane, Windsor and other classic bike names _ my 29er frame came from them) is taking preorders for fatbikes. They have a fully-equipped alloy model for $695.00!

Now, there is an affordable entry-level fatbike available.  Between that and the new entries in the field from Specialized and Trek, the fatbike field is opening up!


Wednesday, September 04, 2013

A Small Herd of Walgoose Beasts

I decided to build Danny's BlackBeast up, on Saturday. That meant that I had to spend some time, on Friday, swapping parts on my own Beast. Danny and I struck a deal where he bought the brakes off of my bike, for his bike. I had a new fork and brakes coming for mine, so it seemed like a good way to get his bike built, quickly.

My fork had arrived a few days earlier, but my brakes were nowhere to be seen. I decided to rob Peter to pay Paul, and I removed the brakes from the ti bike to put on the Beast. (I'll put the new brakes on the ti bike, when they finally show up.)

 I unlaced the front wheel, dug out some nicer spoke nipples, and started lacing the new hub into the rim. That was when Problem #1 showed up: I had a 32 hole hub and a 36 hole rim.


Since the wheel was already apart, and the hub was a Surly singlespeed rear which I had scored from Danny for the good price (free) a couple of years ago, I made the Command Decision to just go ahead and lace the wheel up with what I had. It took a bit of futzing and figuring, but I managed to get it laced with two pairs of empty holes on opposite sides of the rim.

I dropped the old fork out of the frame, and stuck the new one in. Problem 2: The hub isn't actually a disc hub, it is a flip-flop singlespeed hub, with a screw-on disc adapter. The rotor sat too far outboard, and it would not line up with the caliper.

I ended up putting a spacer under the hub locknut,redishing the wheel to accomodate the spacer,  and grinding a bit off of the back side of the adapter. Problem 2 was solved.

Which, of course, led to Problem 3: The suspension-corrected Salsa Enabler fork (obtained off of eBay at less than half the cost of a new example) raised the front of the bike by about 15mm, and slowed the steering down, unacceptably.

Fifteen minutes later, the bottom of the head tube on the Beast was 12mm shorter. Abit of work with the angle grinder and a file took care of Problem 3.

Now, the bike sits very close to the stock geometry. The new (used, from Craigslist) Vee Rubber tires have a bit more street-oriented tread on them than the Surlytires I had on, before. But, they got rave reviews on for their off-road performance.

The oddly-laced wheel seems fine. I rode the bike 25 miles, on Sunday, with no problems. I'll let you know more, after I take it off-road.

Once the red bike was squared away, I was ready to start the build on the BlackBeast.

I had a heck of a time painting the fork on Danny's bike. One leg kept orange-peeling, no matter what I did. I painted it, sanded it, painted it, sanded it... Finally, I sanded it down to bare metal on that leg. Interestingly, as I sanded the fork, I found that it had been green, originally, then overpainted in red. It seemed somewhat ironic, since green was Danny's first choice, and he only bought the red because it was on sale!

Once I started assembling the BlackBeast, on Saturday, everything went pretty smoothly. I used a two-speed ACS Claws bmx freewheel, and an old-school Shimano 600 rear derailleur, mounted to a claw-type adapter, to give Danny a bit of gear choice.

It's only a one-tooth difference between cogs (16/17), but it makes enough of a difference to be helpful around town, where Danny plans to ride, most of the time.

I had an equally old-school Shimano friction thumb shifter which I mounted on the bar and stem from my Tommisea Fat Sand bike (my first fat bike, from a few years ago). The stem adapter and brake hanger were on the red bike, as well as the brakes. Random grips and V-brake/canti-swappable brake levers finished up the cockpit.

I figured a Frankenbike deserved a Frankenbadge on the head tube. Got this little beauty off of eBay, last week.

And, so, the BlackBeast is on the road, sort of. Danny is sourcing a lay-back seat post and some sort of saddle, as well as pedals. Plus we aren't sure if the stem and bars are staying on the bike. We'll know more, once Danny has actually ridden it.

The Vee Rubber Mission tires are a bit knobbier than my tires, but still pounds lighter than the originals. The crank and brakes are the parts I originally used on the red Beast, and the rear hub is the same model of Schwinn chopper hub I used on the red bike, except that it was chrome-plated. I painted it black, at Danny's request, before I built the wheel.

The rear brake adapter is another of the Busettii Bikes adapters. It went on a bit easier than mine, since I had already schooled myself on the red frame.

Once my new 220mm front rotor comes in for the red Beast, I will be done with the beastly builds, for a while. Then what will I do with myself...?