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  1. #1
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    This bike did not want to come together...

    No questions here; this experience is just shared for entertainment and maybe education purposes.

    I've had this ally frame lying around for ten years; when I got it, it had a 600 STI group with some other nice kit like Spinaci, and a Syncros stem and ti BB, and I thought it was a good buy for $500.

    But when I got it home, I found one of the little ally lockrings had cracked, and the previous owner had just kept riding it and thrashed the threads in the frame on one side (the BB cup was fine, being made of a much harder grade of ally). Bastards at the hock shop wouldn't give any of my $$ back.

    So anyway, I used the gear and forgot about the frame, hoping I could figure out a way to fix it one day... and then a little while ago I came across this. Win : D

    But when I took the frame with me to buy the BB, I got the bloke in the shop to check how straight the frame is... and it turns out the right dropout is a bit further from the centreline. Since I'm not in the habit of swapping wheels often, I figure it's no big deal, and actually a slight bonus in terms of reducing dish. What's of more concern is the slight crack I found in the top of the head tube... definitely one for the to-do list.

    So I build it up, and it's a total weapon. Riding it to work is a joy, and I kept thinking I was in a lower gear... sweet. But after a few days I noticed the crack had grown a mm or two... it was now about 6mm down the tube. Time for a stitch in time.

    Stop at the LBS on the way home to ask when they shut, I have an hour up my sleeve. Get home, pull the stem and forks and try to work on the bike for about 30 seconds before stripping it down to just frame plus BB, rear brake and gear cable stops before continuing. Do a bit of measuring of the length of the internal recess and the length of the internal bit on the cone, and figure I only have about 0.5mm to spare, so I grind a chamfer along the bottom of the cone just in case. I eye up a tape line 7mm from the top of the tube, and then it's time for frame to meet bench grinder.

    These things don't like aluminium and and the result wasn't pretty (I'm gonna have to clean up that wheel), but I was in a hurry. Once the grinder had made it close enough, I took a bastard file to it and prettied it up enough for the facing tool... but I'd gone into the radius where the head tube meets the top tube a bit, so I grabbed a rat-tail and tidied it up, and finished it with a bit of sandpaper and scotchbrite (good thing I stripped the frame - it was brown - before I noticed the wrecked BB). Jumped in the car and got back to the LBS with twenty minutes to spare.

    Where they told me their wrench had gone home. Dammit. So I left the frame expecting to pick it the next day, since it was a fifteen minute job... but no, I had to drive to work for two more days, which sucks cause it takes just as long, and then I have to find somewhere to park, not to mention blowing my lunch break on walking to buy lunch. After I'd done the hard yards in record in record time, I was a bit peeved over that... anyway, it was nice to be able to get my bars that little bit lower (the frame's a little on the large side for me; I normally take a 57, but this is 57 square with a longish head tube). I'm liking the extra top tube length, though.

    So by now, it's almost there... I have a nasty clamp-on adapter for a braze-on FD, but I'd rather just get a 34.9 clamp-on FD. Not too easy to come by, though...

    And my hub was squashing the dropouts in a few mm despite being 130mm, and I only have 7 of 8 gears on a 7spd cassette body, so today I got hold of an 8spd one (cost me $1 from this joint) and that's when the fun really started...

    So I've recoed the cassette body (it was off a MTB wheel and ran pretty rough so I swapped the bearings and double cup from my 7spd one in) and it's almost silent, which is pretty cool... prolly down to a rubber seal on the back my old one lacked, plus me packing the ratchet with grease. I determine that with the wider cassette body on, the hub slots into the frame perfectly once I've ditched a spacer, and I still have about 4mm of spindle in each dropout. So far, so good...

    But because the point between my dropouts is to the right of the bike's centreline, I can't just flip my wheel to get the dish right. And merely getting the rim centred between the stays is no guarantee the dish is correct... if the spindle is anything other than dead perpendicular to the centre plane, it's guaranteed to be wrong.

    So here's a right head-scratcher. Hmmm...
    I've found the solution to such problems is often found by just continuing to look at it and persevering with turning it over in your head, however futile it may seem. In this case, I remembered a technique I'd figured out for eyeing up a wheel alignment on my car. By looking along an imaginary straight-edge resting against the side of your tyres and enduring some painstaking tedium, you can dial in a couple of degrees of toe-in with some assurance.

    So I realised by looking down my frame from behind the back wheel, I could line up the edge of my seat tube with my head tube (pretty much the same OD). This gave me a line parallel to to the centreline on each side, and by looking from there at my wheel, I was able to determine that despite the fact I had it sitting centred between both pairs of stays, it was in on quite an angle. Neither vertical nor longitudinal, it was...

    It was rat-tail and elbow grease time again. It was also time for another king-sized dose of painstaking tedium as I had to file the dropout some, re-dish and true the wheel, then eye it up before having another crack with the file... rinse and repeat like x12. Of course, by the time I had my spindle angle and dish nailed, the rim was out of round, and I had to re-tension and true that bastard yet again... and I like high tension, so those nipples are pretty shagged now.

    But now it's finally sorted. It felt a bit wrong no-hands before, but now it's much better. I have a 13-23 and a new chain on the way, and it only remains to procure a 34.9 clamp-on FD and a new 42 ring... I'd like not to pay like $150 and $90 for em too, so I might be looking a while.

    I've had nicer bikes, but they were pinched... this is a bit lighter than both my carbon bikes, though. It has its rough edges, but I've polished most of em off... the seatpost was pretty fugly; all scratched up with a big ugly clamp... it was pretty light, though. So rather than just buy a new one, I spent a day with a file radiusing the clamp and reprofiling the top of the post, before sanding off the remaining anodising and hitting it with some etch primer and satin black. The pink and blue BB was on the nose, so its visible bits got the same treatment.

    And bar tape... don't talk to me about bar tape. I hadn't done a tape job in ages before today; I'd been putting it off for years. Consequently, the last lot of tape on those bars was a real dog's breakfast... anyway, the reason I CBFed for so long is that I figure there are so many ways to stuff it up, and it's on there that long, that I'm totally anal about applying it and it takes me like three hours. Bottom-up makes more sense because the overlap faces a better way, but looks crap because you have to finish at the top. Top-down is much tidier (especially if you cut an angle off the end to minimise the starting bulge) because you can just finish it with the plugs, but the edges of the tape start rolling before long. My solution is to apply double-sided tape along that edge (of course it had to involve painstaking tedium) which works a treat. Then once I've spent like 30-45min wrapping one side, the other side takes about an hour because I'm compelled to match it perfectly with the first side...

    Painstaking tedium isn't fun. But the results can be... now when I look at this bike, I get to experience lots of nice chemicals of satisfaction. This recalcitrant metal has bent to my will : )



    Epic tape


    By the way, this tape I used is really nice - It has a grippy texture, seems tough and comes with gel underlays for the tops and drops, plus it's not too expensive... this has been a pimp for Specialized Phat Wrap.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Very interesting project and I'm glad it worked out as a usable bike. I expect you don't have much actual money in it so far but probably $1000 worth of your time

  3. #3
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Yeah, well...it feels pretty good for a $1000 bike : )

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    That is a brilliant fix for a cracked headtube, I'll have to keep it in mind. Awesome that the bike turned out so well!

    Cheers
    Rex Kramer: Striker, listen, and you listen close: flying a plane is no different than riding a bicycle, just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes.

    - Airplane!

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    I don't know about style, because I live in the suburbs.

  5. #5
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Good thing it wasn't on the bottom of the tube; my head angle's steep enough, thanks.

    ...Come to think of it, filing away at my rear dropouts will have slackened it a tiny fraction ; )

    I had to go up and forwards on the right one by the best part of a mm.

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