Friday, March 14, 2014

Lotus Classique Update

Haven't had much going on in my bike life besides a few rides here and there, mostly solo, some with friends. So I forget that the Lotus exist and is still pretty cool despite all the awful things I've done to it.

This is more or less the final fate of this bike. I've had some stupid ideas that I have subjugated this bike to throughout the years and still it really isn't where I want it to be... But it functions well none the less.

I really need to reposition the front light... The fender isn't long enough to keep all the run-off water from hitting the back side of the light--right where all the wiring is. Some day I'll get off my ass and deal with it. Also metal fenders wound be nice.

The rear light wiring goes from rack > downtube > non-drive chainstay > lower fender stay > light. All held together with electrical tape. Keep in mind I never wanted this bike to be pretty as it gets locked up in some pretty shitty places. I'm trying to keep the attitude that people with a lot of tattoos from their youth have, where "each tattoo is a reminder of who you were at different times in your life" or something like that. In reality, I look at those canti post and shutter in my own little pool of shame. Not that cantis aren't cool, I just did such a bad [rushed] job on them. Oh yeah and when I got merged into by a car, one of the post snapped off.

Anyway, I like this bike despite my shit talking. Can't wait to get new tires...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Schwinn Mirada - Mom Bike MKII

I found this frame at the Evergreen Shop a year or so ago and kept it hanging around the house. What caught my eye was the single top tube that merges into two additional stays in the rear, just like the French  constructeurs would do. In a way it is a very peculiar build. It has the heart of a 80's mountain bike with a build mixed between beach cruiser and French city bike.

The majority of the parts came from this Schwinn of the same era. The problem with the original build was that the seat tube was at a fairly steep angle for the upright riding position.

Since she'll be riding this mostly in Sacramento, there isn't much need for wide gearing. With only the front ring in the front, I took the liberty to add a little flair.

The fork crown is kinda amazing. I'm not a huge fan of these Tektro cantis, but I think they're a good match for the rider and purpose.

Not the best way to route the rear brake, but it is certainly an improvement over most step throughs that require a caliper brake with the housing coming from the reverse angle. Sadly, the braze-ons necessitate the housing running the full length of the cable...

Wheels were freebies and look the part. Maybe some day it will get generator lighting and racks.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Prelude

The blog has been noticeably quiet for the past half year or so. Truth be told, I haven't really been doing anything bike-wise other than saving money and getting parts. But after 8 or so months, I have built the prelude to the dream machine. It started as...

This was the photo I saw in August on ebay. I can't remember how much I bought it for, but I was so excited to find a touringish frame above 63cm that I just couldn't resist. Problem was that it pretty much emptied my bank account out, and then I got in a bike accident which left me jobless for a month and in debt. Luckily my bosses are kind of the greatest and were super supportive during that time, so I was back on the parts hunt again. Fast foward from November to now (April) and we have a a complete bike.

Though dressed up as a fancy randonneuringish bike, it's simply a large touring frame with a small amount of rake added to the fork. It's a 67cm c-t-c Takara Challenge--mid 80's Japanese touring frame. The paint was in bad shape when I got it as the original owner tried to remove it. Soooo I sandblasted the who thing (didn't want it looking too shiny) and then spray painted it. Nothing fancy, but didn't cut any corner either.

Despite have an almost cohesive aesthetic, there are a lot of weirdo things going on. In fact, I change my plans for what I originally wanted from this bike multiple times, but the end results are satisfying. I call it the 'Prelude' because I wanted to test out a number of things on this bike that would later inform a custom project that I have down the road.

One of the most important aspects of this bike is lighting. All I really have to say is that I'm so tired of battery-powered light systems. Suitable for rear, totally unreasonable for the front. Also the Grand Bois front rack means I will be able to have luggage in the future.

The Edelux light is wired to the SONdelux generator hub. This guy is laced 2 cross to those shiny new Pacenti  PL23 rims--though the 700c version.

The Grand Bois 'Extra Leger' tires are filled with Stan's No Tubes. Probably the smallest possible tire you can tubeless safely. Seriously, these 30mm tubelessed tires are more supple and comfortable than my tubed 38mm Pari Motos. And those things are a dream. It doesn't make any sense really... I will say the 40psi limit on these things are not ideal--heavier folks beware.

This is the first bike that I've built where I had someone else build the wheels for me. Though I built over 50 of them at this point, I can say that my work is below what I come to expect from the wheels I ride. This NOS 36h XT hub is race-laced 1 cross drive, 3 cross non-drive. Different gauge spokes on each side. Black and silver mish-mash because I dgaf. Bracing angle and torsional load, that's all I'll say.

Despite being exotic, this derailer was merely a piece of nostalgia for me, and a nod to my days of MTBing where I worshiped anything CNCed and made in the USA. Aside from all the pretty looks, it's Shimano 8 speedish stuff. The real weirdo part?

Thanks to John Speare and Elephant bicycles, I thought that it would be cool to try the 10 speed Campy, 8 speed Shimano hack. It totally works and I love it. Though I have had multiple comments telling me how out of place these brake levers are...

I've got some more things I wanna change, particularly putting my TA cranks on and getting a bag, but I will keep this updated as I get there. Hopefully that means more post???

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Raleighish Schwinn Cool Guy Bike

This latest project took 6 months to complete for some reason, but I just completed it. So nice. So many kinks along the way. So frusterating. But looks pretty. So pretty.

The bike use to be a typical 10 speed sport touring Schwinn World Sport or something with drop bars and 27" wheels. The owner approached me about doing a basic tune up, and I asked him how much a tune up. Well it eventually evolved into a complete rebirth for the frame, and the results are satisfying. Stuff like this is always exciting to watch happen and develop.

The owner was about to switch from a car to bike for commuting, so that's were most of the inspiration came from. Environmentalist wet dream right there... Anyway, I think in total the parts cost came around to $400ish not including labor and new powder coat. Through a shop it probably would have been more like $800ish, so its crazy to think about how a little know-how and right connections can save you money. 

One thing I came to terms with this build is that I'm a terrible wheel builder despite building over 50 wheels at this point, and that I'm probably happier not being a shop mechanic. I'd probably be good at it since I'm doing so damn well in food service, but it might kill projects like this for me, so it's nice to have a bit of autonomy over such endeavors.

Some of the parts also got stolen while being stored at the Evergreen Bike Shop, but luckily the majorly important part that was thefted (the rear rack) was replaced thanks to a generous donation from Ben C L to the Keep-Chris'-Stress-Level-Down cause.

The original derailer hanger striped out, so I had to use a clamp on variety... A very stressful last minute change. P.S. look at that small ring, wtf. Came stock on the crankset. Oh and Primo Super Tenderizer pedals are pretty sweet. 

The fork was a nightmare to deal with. First, the fork crown race was 26.4 instead of 27.0, unexpected since it was a Tange fork (JIS vs. ISO.) Second, the walls of the steerer were ridiculously thick, making only old school BMX and MTB stems fit. I had to compromise with this POS stem, but it worked fine for the job. Also, the clearance on the front is way less than the back--annoying...

The Sanyo hub and B&M Lumotec Fly+ light are decently bright, considering the price. Sorry, Blogger is doing weird photo orientation stuff that I can't figure out.