Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Holiday Weekend Is Over. Time To Go back To Work and Get Some Rest!

I had Friday off, so I ended up with a 4-day weekend. And, it was a busy one!

I started it off by picking this up from the Post Office, Thursday afternoon:

 It is a Gibson Les Paul Junior Lite Double Cutaway, which I purchased from a dealer in Asheville, North Carolina. I paid for it at 11:00 AM on Monday, and the mailman left me a notice that he had missed me for delivery at noon on Wednesday! Forty eight hours from North Carolina to Denver, Colorado ... Never let anyone tell you that the USPS can't get things delivered, quickly...

 I spent about 2-1/2 hours restringing the Junior, and setting it up to suit me. I love the tone, which is just a bit more aggressive than the Les Paul Special I have been playing. Each of the Pauls will be getting a lot of use in SFOB.

Friday, I went to a yard sale on the way home from the coffee shop. One of the things I bought was a skull and bones necklace, along with a bracelet, for a dollar. I got home with it, and realized that The necklace fit perfectly on my hat, as a hat band. I glued it down, and called it good.

The next day, Mark and I decided to go yard sale cruising, to see if we could score some bikes and whatnot. We stopped by the yard sale where I had gotten my hat band, and showed the two ladies who were running the sale a picture of the hat. They were amused, and promised to come see Skull Full Of Blues at Herman's Hideaway on June 29th.

As we drove through the Capitol Hill  neighborhood, I made Mark circle the block and stop so that we could get a picture of this early-70s CB-550F roadster which was parked on the street.

While we were out, I found a bike for Steve's oldest daughter. She wanted a bike to ride at college, down in Colorado Springs, and I had planned on building up an old mountain bike for her. This Specialized HardRock Sport lady's-framed bike from the mid-90s fitted her request for an "uncool" bike, which will be less likely to get stolen. Steve brought her over, after Mark and I got back to the house, and she loved it.

The next day, I spent 9 hours working on a couple of bikes for a fellow at work. I ended up doing two full overhauls, replaced four tires and tubes, shift cables, and brake pads on an old RD Coyote and a Panasonic touring bike. I was a bit worn out from that, since the temperature was in the upper 80s and the sun was beating down. I got sunburned despite the fact that I used SPF 50 sunscreen and had my pop-up sun shade up.

 Today, after I got home from the coffee shop, I cleaned up the Mukluk and listed it for sale on Craigslist. I need the cash to pay for the new Gibson...

Then, I cleaned up an old Centurion mixte (like the one I built up for my sister, a few years ago) that I picked up, Saturday, and made a bunch of upgrades to it. I converted it to upright bars, with mtb brake levers and thumb shifters. I also swapped out to 700c wheels, from the original 27", and overhauled all of the bearings, plus new cables, cable housing and a decent seat. I listed it on Craigslist, as well.

It turned out pretty nice, and there seems to be a demand for mixte-frame bikes in the Denver area, so I hope that it will sell pretty quickly.

Now, I am ready to go to bed and try to get a bit of rest before starting what I hope is a work week a bit more relaxed than my long weekend...


Sunday, May 19, 2013

It's Raining Bridgestones

I got a call from Mark, again, today. He had found a lugged Bridgestone mountain bike for a reasonable price, and he wanted to know if I wanted it. Of course, I did.

So, he brought the bike over, and I paid him back for it. Then, we found out that the seat post was stuck in the frame, and we worked on getting it out, for a bit. I finally just left it sitting with some Liquid Wrench soaking in. An hour later, I managed to get it put.

 The bike is  (as near as I can tell) a 1989 MB-3. It has Shimano Deore components, a lugged frame and, unfortunately, a unicrown fork. I will probably just leave the stock fork on this bike, though. I am thinking that I might just refurbish this bike and keep it as my vintage mtb. If I do that, I will sell my Nishiki Ariel, with the elevated chain stays. I don't really have the space, or the money, to collect a bunch of vintage mountain bikes, even though I would like to.

The MB-3 is the same size frame as the orange MB-1 650b conversion. I am contemplating building the bike up in a similar manner, with mustache bars, but keep the 26 inch wheels and running some nice, fat mountain bike tires. I just think it might be cool to have a brace of Bridgestones.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Saddle On The 650b Fixed Mountain Bike

I didn't have a saddle for the Schwinn, when I built it, and ended up putting an imitation leather seat on it, just to be able to ride it. I had planned to put the Frankensaddle on it, but I decided to go ahead and put a Taiwanese Brooks Flyer copy on it, instead, since I found a seller who had them priced right on eBay.

The saddle is similar to the brown one on the orange Bridgestone, but more closely resembles the Brooks B-17 in shape and size, rather than the Swift.

It is branded as a "Gyes", and it appears to be from the same factory that produces the Cardiff, Origin8 and VeloOrange saddles. I have had good luck with the saddles from Taiwan, so far, and I trust that I will with this one, as well.

I got it all set up and took a trip up the block and back to make sure that the height was close to right. It seems fine, so I think that I will call the bike complete, as of now.

Until I change something else on it, anyway...


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Bike O' The Week

When I said, the other day, that the 650b Rockhopper was undergoing some changes, what I didn't mention was that the main change was that the bike was becoming a donor for parts to build up another bike.

About a month ago, my buddy Mark sent me a link to a Craigslist ad for a 1986 Bridgestone MB-1 frameset, and I picked it up for $50.00. The '86 MB-1 is one of the the earliest (if not the earliest) examples of a "modern" mountain bike frame, with a 71 degree head tube angle, 73 degree seat tube angle and 17" chainstays (compared to the 18.25" stays on the Schwinn Sierra I just built up).

Unfortunately, it also had the latest and greatest (in 1986) unicrown fork...

I set about trying to find a lugged crown fork for the frame.  In the meantime, I contemplated what to do about the ratty paint on my frame.

The rusty spots were simply cosmetic, and I sanded them down to bare metal.

I hated to lose the original decals, but they were in pretty poor shape.

The Shimano 600 headset was stock on the bike, in 1986. Also stock was a Specialized bottom bracket. It was common, in the '80s for other companies to spec parts from the Big Red S. Trek actually used Specialized wheels on some of their bikes, if I recall correctly...

 I checked the frame for clearance with the 650b wheels and tires from the Rockhopper. The roadish tires fit fine, but there is no way that I could run the 2.3" wide Neo-Motos that ended up on the Schwinn. Thankfully, the Cunningham-designed Suntour Powercam brake actually could be adjusted to reach the larger rim.

The original head tube decal.

 I finally found a lugged fork, with a hugely too-long steer tube, and threaded the steerer down to where it would fit the frame, then trimmed it to length. Then, I rattle-canned the frame and fork with International Safety Orange paint, which I let dry for a week before building the bike up, today. I just didn't feel like I had the budget available for powder coat, right now. Maybe, later...

I added some decals I obtained on Amazon, and called it good. The decals are a nice heavy-duty vinyl, and Used a large one as the chain-slap protector on the chain stay.

The Origin8 mustache bars have mountain bike grips on them, with Cinelli cork wrap over them. I need more padding than the cork tape, alone, affords. But, I like the classic look for the tape, and the combination gives me both the look I want and the padding I need.

I masked off the "Made In Japan" decal, just because.

It's not a 1993 XO-1, but it's close enough. And, I really like the 650b wheels for a bike of this sort.


Thursday, May 09, 2013

Adventures In Bike Commuting

I have a nine mile route that I ride on my homeward commute from work.  From about mile 4 to mile 7, today, this was what I was riding in.

That was the first hailstorm I have gotten caught in, in quite a while. It was an appropriate end to a rainy, wet week of bicycle commuting. I was a bit soggy, and more than a little chilled by the time I got to the house.

Fun ride, though...


Sunday, May 05, 2013

One More Down

I decided, last week, to get off my butt and finish up some projects. Today, I got this one done:

It was originally a 1983 or '84 Schwinn Sierra (near as I can tell).  At that point, Schwinn was having their mtbs built in Taiwan, by Giant. Later, after Schwinn unexpectedly canceled their contract, Giant began selling bikes in America, under their own name. Some say that this was the death knell for the original Schwinn company, which couldn't compete with quality and price of the Giants.

It originally had a 6-speed cogset and a double crank, and has a "Twelve Speed" decal on the chain stay. (The High Sierra had a triple crank). I bought the frame and fork off of eBay, a while ago, to use the nice lugged fork on a project. Unfortunately, the steer tube was too short, and I ended up having to source another fork, which left me with this frame set.

So, I used the wheels I had built up with disc hubs (which were on my 650b conversion RockHopper) to build up a 650b fixed gear mountain bike. The RockHopper is going through a bit of a process, right now, for which I built up some wheels with non-disc hubs. More on that, later.

The 18.25" chainstays accept the 2.3" wide 650b tires with no modification necessary. (If measured the same way as a 26" mtb wheel, a 650b mtb tire is the equivalent of 27.5", by the way.)

The sloping crown of the fork, likewise, has room for the big knobbies.

The Tektro Oryx cantilevers have enough vertical adjustment to reach the larger diameter rim, so I didn't have to make reach adapters, like I did on the 650b StumpJumper I built a few years ago.

I geared it with a 38 tooth ring and a 20 tooth cog. This gives me a 52.25 inch gear, which is pretty good for off-roading. There is a 20 tooth cog on the freehub, on the other side of the wheel. If need be, I can turn the wheel around, and use the bike as a coaster singlespeed for faster downhills.

So, that's one bike off of the to-do list.

Oh, and there was a snake in my yard, the other day...