Alt Bike Culture - Custom full suspension Bike.
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09-01-10, 01:36 PM
I am not sure why but I am rather smitten wit this bike I
salvaged from a local dumpster. It is a Next full suspension aluminium frame Wall Mart special. I guess I like it for 3 reasons. I got it for free, it is light as hell and the shape is fun to look at.
Now the frame parts are built rather ok it is all the supporting equipment that is crap. The one big issue I have with the frame is that it is not a unified rear end. The crank and the rear drive sprocket are seperated by a joint. When I test rode the bike it rode well but it had issues with chain slack and bounce when riding in the rough. This is due to the rear not having the crank attached and it caused issues with power tranfer to the wheel and shifting problems. So I decided to drag out the old mig and tig welders and the grinder and mod the bike to make it a unified rear end. Then build the bike up using mid range gear.
So far I am only working with the steel parts that I can MIG as my TIG welder is down and I may have to replace it.
here are some pics.
This post will be updated later with more progress.
09-03-10, 10:12 PM
Ok some progress. In the following pictures you will see that I chopped up the rear triange for the Next and kept the top bars from the triangle, the kickstand mount, the spring mount, and the joint for pinning it to the aluminium frame. On the doner frame I removed the top bars of the triangle as well as the wheel mount and ground out the mounting points to take the wheel mounts from the Next triangle. Now it is going to be alot of fiddeling to make sure I have all the geometry right then weld the triangle together.
Next will be deciding how I am going to change the mount on the aluminium side of the frame then borrow a tig and chop and weld till that bit is done. Then test fit the main components back together and figuring what gear I want to run and what style features I want to add. Total time on the bike so far, maybe 3 hours.
The frame is indeed a Next (Wal-Mart's 'house brand label), it's the Mountain Ridge -- and overall, the bike IS a turd. Front disc was a joke, the single-pivot suspension design is NOT worse than a URT, and there are FAR too many stamped, cheap steel parts on the thing. (Crank was a pleasant surprise -- managed to procure two of them for my kids' bikes, and they are a BIG step up!)
If you choose to put all that work into it, have fun -- it'll be a PERSONAL investment, that's about it.
Be interested to see how it turns out....
09-05-10, 05:54 PM
are you using the derailer that came with the frame? some of them don't work as good as they should and can cause the problem you are having. there was a reason it was tossed in a dumpster. that might be why.
i built a full suspension bike (http://lh5.ggpht.com/_u26Z1RDZ_Po/THR4vf9P8TI/AAAAAAAAAuw/rJzp8knY35U/s800/Picture%20030.jpg) and it worked good except for i didn't choose the right front section of frame and my seat post started to bend.
09-07-10, 08:44 AM
The main problem I have seen with trying to upgrade these lower-end suspended frames is that the shocks they use are really short.
You can swap in a low-end Rock Shox fork easily enough, but it's the bike's FRAME shock that is the problem.
This level of bikes adapt the "obsolete" parts of more-expensive brands several years ago, so they lag in tech, and bicycle shocks are getting longer over time.
The longest frame shocks you will find on these cheap bike frames are around 150mm long, while the shortest name-brand shocks you can buy from a bike shop (Rock Shox, Manitou, RST) are up around 175mm now.
If you can weld then you may be able to fix that, but it doesn't stop bicycle shocks from getting longer over time (the longest ones now are 250mm I think,,,).
If you weren't real serious about the performance, you could just switch it to using minibike shocks. They have been 12 inches eye-to-eye for about forty years now, and there is an oil-damped one that only costs like $40.
09-11-10, 01:49 AM
Ok so here is some more. I test fitted the rear triangle parts together and decided I needed a jig to keep the parts in place at the rear wheel mount to keep all the parts at the same length and in the proper geometry. I did this with a bolt and some nuts and flat washers. I then tacked every thin into place and then welded the frame. Sry no inprogrss shots of the welding itself. What you will see are the welds and that they are rough dressed with a 4 inch grinder and painted to keep them clean for the moment. later the welds will be redressed with a fine stone on a dremel tool to get them looking really good. Welding smaller tubing like this with a mig was a bit of a chalange. I went with a high heat and a medium wire speed to get good penitration and a good fill on the weld. Need to go tig next time it is a cleaner process with less clean up.
I then test fitted the rear tire and all looks well there. Next is geting the triangles realtion to the aluminum portion of the frame correct. Then modify that side of the frame. Once i know this portion is good to go and I have a working joint between the 2 parts I will figure out the shocks and all the other supporting equipment.
Oddly the front disk brake was one of the few things on the bike that was working right out of the dumpster. So I decided the bike will get front and rear disk breaks. Quality rims and tires. What brand those will be I dont know yet. I may have the guy who runs the bike farm give me some suggestions.
THis is my first ground up bike build. Up untill this point I was just an average rider. I rode what ever I got my hands on and kept it going with spit and wire, didnt care if the bike was worth any thing. My efforts here are 3 fold.
1- I like the bike
2- I want to see if I can make a cool looking good riding bike from scrap.
3- can you polish a turd untill it isnt a turd any more. The aluminum frame of this bike is pretty darn light. Wall thickness is good and seems to be welded together well. with a few little add ons and changes I think i can make this portion of the bike even better. The rear triangle is now unified and doesnt have as much of the cheap steel in it. Once the frame is filled out and i put on alot of good parts on it the bike wont be a turd to me any more. I might bo to other people but not me.
To me a bike has to meet a few standards to not be a turd.
1 looks good
2 rids well
3 easy to maintain
4 keeps on trucking even with some neglect or abuse.
So if i meet all these. problem solved. lol
Some of you may be wondering why I post Flickr links instad of putting the photos directly in the post. The reasons are simple. It keeps bandwidth usage down and lets the posts load faster. Lets me post photos with out reducing size or quality. And finaly it lets the reader decide if they want to veiw the photos or not.
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