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Saving three kids' lugged steel track bikes!

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Saving three kids' lugged steel track bikes!

Old 08-15-19, 05:46 AM
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Saving three kids' lugged steel track bikes!



Some of you already had a chance to see my thread where I visited Recyclable Bicycle Exchange in Ft. Lauderdale and found 40 kids' track bikes (Found a 1980's Roberts at the co-op...and a bunch of kids' track bikes), but I finally had a chance to write an article about them, as I picked up three for the non-profit that I work for:

Saving the Velo Yellows: A kids bicycle salvage story! - KiDZ Neuroscience Center - University of Miami

It's been a C&V adventure picking these three up, and it should be equally interesting to see how well they turn into English roadster-type builds. I know I'm dealing with a higher-than-normal bottom bracket, but it shouldn't be that much of a problem - it's no downhill MTB.

These frames are an interesting bunch - two are 42cm and one is 44cm CTC. I found no length difference in the fork steerer tubes though, even though each are marked per size (!). I picked these three as they were the only ones built with road fork crowns and could be drilled.

The rest had track crowns, though the tire fit on those was as generous as these. The fork blades appear to be seamed (there's a huge seam / roll line on the inside of one blade), but I've been told that Andantes are usually Columbus. As the story goes, the local Andante Bicycles shop is closely affiliated with a Columbian framebuilder - the shop sends Columbus tubing and framebuilding parts to the builder, and they come back as bicycles. Or something like that.

At any rate, I'm not worried about the usual concerns of track blades. The fork blades are so stiff that you could ride one of these Andantes into the side of a Peterbilt truck - and the only one with a bent frame would be the truck.



Not a single one is quite alike. Sugino keirin chainrings on two, a one-size-fits-all on the other, different decals, components, whatnot - it's all here.

Anodized Mavic Open 4's are on all of them, with exception to one (it has an Open 4 in front and a CXP-11 in back):



Not a single one had a lockring. I hope this was because someone removed them. Sure wouldn't be advisable to run them like this on the track.



It's going to take a bit of work to get these guys put together, but I'm eager to see how kids react to a simple, lightweight C&V bicycle over the BMX/MTB-inspired stuff that's virtually imposed on them today.

Incidentally, [MENTION=251447]ThermionicScott[/MENTION] was kind enough to donate a freewheel to the project (even though I'm doing the work, these still aren't my bikes - or my budget - at play here). This is the intended build that I've cross-posted from the article above:
  • Kids-sized North Road handlebars (45mm wide or narrower) and stems (22.2mm quill w/25.4 clamp) - might have to come from old Schwinn kids' bikes
  • 650C tires and tubes
  • Road brake calipers with medium reach and non-linear brake levers - will have measurements shortly
  • One 26.8mm micro-adjust seatpost (one post is a straight aluminum post)
  • Folding pedals (for storage)
  • SKS Chainboard chainguards Ė even those that might have been cut down would probably do; they'll need to be cut pretty short.
If anyone wants to donate any of these parts to the project, the program would be super grateful for the assistance. There's a possibility I can arrange to trade for the bits coming off the bikes too (fixed cogs, Viscount Coda saddles, and handlebars).

-Kurt
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Old 08-16-19, 12:35 PM
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Cool bikes Kurt. Are you sure they are kids bikes and not like... adult Japanese men bikes?
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Old 08-16-19, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by JaccoW
Cool bikes Kurt. Are you sure they are kids bikes and not like... adult Japanese men bikes?
Certain of it. They were built specifically for a youth program at the velodrome, so I hear.

-Kurt
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Old 08-17-19, 08:53 AM
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It is great to see things like this happen...too often we are much too self-absorbed to pay things forward.
Sometimes it is the little things that we are not aware of that can make a tremendous difference in others lives.
Hat Off to you!
Best, Ben
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Old 08-17-19, 09:32 AM
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I can get tires and tubes for about $3 each they are a common size here in Cambodia. if only i could figure out how to get them to you.

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Old 08-30-19, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by xiaoman1
It is great to see things like this happen...too often we are much too self-absorbed to pay things forward.
Sometimes it is the little things that we are not aware of that can make a tremendous difference in others lives.
Hat Off to you!
Best, Ben
Ah, but it's just a little something for the program. No biggie - getting to work on lugged steel is a treat when you're the archetect.

Originally Posted by bwilli88
I can get tires and tubes for about $3 each they are a common size here in Cambodia. if only i could figure out how to get them to you.
That's a real nice gesture, but perhaps it's just as well - given the distance - that those are EA3 tires (the size for Raleigh and other 3 speeds - ISO 590), and not 650C (ISO 571).

-Kurt
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Old 08-30-19, 09:53 PM
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Today, I was able to get bike #3 of the three to this point of completion:



But before I get ahead of the story, here's what was done today:

All the forks have been off the frames for a few weeks now, waiting for me to find some spare time to drill the crowns. I finally got around to it:



Two of the three came out flawlessly. The drill bit must have walked from my punch mark on the third, as the hole on that fork is offset 2mm to the right. Don't know what I'm going to do about it - might be time for a threadless replacement. Not the best thing when you're on a budget of $0.

Whatever the case, the drilling went smoothly otherwise:



I've been warned that lugged steel frames coming from Andante (more specifically, their framebuilder) are not always nicely executed. That's not to say they're unsafe; they're just not prepped or refined. This became completely obvious when I tried adjusting the headset; I was getting excessive binding, but not consistent binding.

Well, it doesn't help when you don't prep the crown race. This is fork #2 , and it is better than what I found on fork #3 :



And this is what Fork #3 looked like once I cut it with my Park crown race cutter (on its maiden voyage). Couldn't have done it without the cutter - it was one of the tools in that big tool pile so generously given to me by No Boundaries (an LBS) recently.



It turns out that of the three steel crown races, the lack of prep had cracked two of them. Someone must have installed them with a hydraulic press or a battering ram over the paint. I really can't believe that a velodrome saw it fit to put kids on these bikes given how the handling must have been somewhat compromised.

I also installed the 19t (don't quote me on the teeth count, might be 21t) freewheel donated by [MENTION=251447]ThermionicScott[/MENTION] and redished the wheel, as one spacer had to be moved over so the freewheel would clear the frame. [MENTION=44781]Iowegian[/MENTION]'s Continental tires - also a donation to the project - were put on and I happened to have one 650C tube on hand to put on the rear; the front is floppy and for looks (really?) for now.

I knew that the 50t chainring is going to be ridiculous for the speeds these bikes will be ridden at, and I happened across a red 43t BMX ring in my parts pile - [MENTION=73614]rhm[/MENTION] gave it to me long ago for my Raleigh Twenty video bike project, and that went down a completely different tangent, so on went the BMX ring.



It looks great, and picks up the subtle red outlining of "Andante" on the frame...now to find two more that aren't being sold by vintage BMX or NJS scalpers

Yes, I had to leave the chain that slack because the threads on that high-flange Suzue track hub is about as concentric to the axle as a camshaft lobe. It works though.

I've resolved that I've got to put a chainguard on it, given that beginners may be using these. I really want to put an SKS Chainboard chainguard on it, which has the coverage necessary and an excellent mounting system that can take abuse and will quickly rebend if bashed hard. I'm crossing my fingers I can find one cheap. Amazon's $27 isn't bad, but spread between three bikes - that still don't have brakes, stems, or bars - it adds up.



Speaking of brakes, part of the whole brake drilling job was to get the reach measurement for the eventual front brakes:



It looks like a conventional 39-52 reach sidepull will work here. I've drilled the back of the forks for recessed brakes, as I'm hoping for dual pivots or some 1990's Shimano SLR's that respond well to light input (If anyone wants to donate one - or two, or three - I'm all ears).

Also, if anyone has any youth-sized North Road handlebars (old Schwinn kids bikes had these), let me know.

That's it for now - except to say that these little bikes are exceptionally rewarding to build. The saddle may be incongruous, but we have enough of them - they come off the heavy, clunky, and "geometry-so-wacky-they-fit-no-one-on-earth" Giant Brass 1 MTB bikes that we are retiring.

-Kurt
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Old 09-05-19, 09:52 PM
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Any suggestions for brake levers on these? I'd like to get some slightly shorter reach levers, just in case. If there's something out there with an actual adjustment knob (rather than an allen key for the reach adjustment), that'd be super.

-Kurt
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Old 09-05-19, 10:55 PM
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Awesome progress!!

Iíve built bikes for the absolutely craziest kids Iíve ever seen and nobody chopped their finger off. FYI

as for brakes, i hear the cool kids just pedal backwards 😂... really though, Iím not sure. I have used old school Weinmann levers and theyíre pretty tiny. I got them off of a 3 speed style bike.
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Old 09-06-19, 07:02 AM
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fyi, you don't need a lockring on the velodrome. Most places "rotafix" the cog on and there isn't much reverse pressure being applied on the track. Don't need one until you start throwing phat skidz.
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Old 09-06-19, 11:32 AM
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Aww yeah! It's exciting seeing these bikes come together!

Originally Posted by cudak888
Any suggestions for brake levers on these? I'd like to get some slightly shorter reach levers, just in case. If there's something out there with an actual adjustment knob (rather than an allen key for the reach adjustment), that'd be super.

-Kurt
In new, there are these Tektro levers for small hands: https://velo-orange.com/products/tek...or-small-hands

I can think of a couple things to try with regular levers... 1) Install them with a shim behind the body, above the band, to rotate the whole lever forward and down. 2) Attach some kind of wedge-shaped shim to the gap formed when the lever opens, so that the lever can't swing out all the way. I think Shimano even sells/sold shims for this purpose.
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Old 09-06-19, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Tulok
Awesome progress!!

I’ve built bikes for the absolutely craziest kids I’ve ever seen and nobody chopped their finger off. FYI

as for brakes, i hear the cool kids just pedal backwards ��... really though, I’m not sure. I have used old school Weinmann levers and they’re pretty tiny. I got them off of a 3 speed style bike.
I still believe a chainguard adds a nice touch though. These will probably be used as Bike to School Day loaners, so riders wearing full-length trousers aren't out of the question.

Do you have a photo of the Weinmanns? They're not the domed-head ones like the Dia-Compes used on post-1977 Raleigh Sports, are they?

Originally Posted by Dylansbob
fyi, you don't need a lockring on the velodrome. Most places "rotafix" the cog on and there isn't much reverse pressure being applied on the track. Don't need one until you start throwing phat skidz.
Sounds about right; they were extremely tight. No threadlock.

Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Aww yeah! It's exciting seeing these bikes come together!

In new, there are these Tektro levers for small hands: https://velo-orange.com/products/tek...or-small-hands

I can think of a couple things to try with regular levers... 1) Install them with a shim behind the body, above the band, to rotate the whole lever forward and down. 2) Attach some kind of wedge-shaped shim to the gap formed when the lever opens, so that the lever can't swing out all the way. I think Shimano even sells/sold shims for this purpose.
I know those Tektro road levers can be adapted to North Roads, but that also means sourcing a different clamp size. I'm sticking with 22.2mm hardware.

I'll look into those wedges. Sounds like a complicated way to do what those limit stops do though. Got a link?

-Kurt
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Old 11-20-19, 04:55 PM
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No full pictures yet, but after being sent the wrong stems (25.4 quill instead of 22.2), the right handlebar stems arrived...and turned out to be too long for those tiny steerer tubes.

I had figured on this though, and finding a suitable shorter option would have been both difficult and a waste of existing resources, so I cut them down last night. I also used shorter, stainless bolts from McMaster Carr for the wedge.

First cut:





After a trip to the belt sander and burrs filed off:



All done:



-Kurt
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Old 11-20-19, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888
No full pictures yet, but after being sent the wrong stems (25.4 quill instead of 22.2), the right handlebar stems arrived...and turned out to be too long for those tiny steerer tubes.

I had figured on this though, and finding a suitable shorter option would have been both difficult and a waste of existing resources, so I cut them down last night. I also used shorter, stainless bolts from McMaster Carr for the wedge.

First cut:



After a trip to the belt sander and burrs filed off:
All done:
-Kurt
It is extremely gratifying and quite rare to see someone extend their hand in order to help another reach the first rung of the ladder.
KUDOS to Cudak.
Best, Ben
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Old 11-20-19, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by xiaoman1
It is extremely gratifying and quite rare to see someone extend their hand in order to help another reach the first rung of the ladder.
KUDOS to Cudak.
Best, Ben
Ah, I can't take much credit for this. There was a great team who brought the original dream to fruition, and I'm just one of the current team to help keep it going.

The idea to repurpose these three is just but a small idea in the midst of much greater ones.

-Kurt
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Old 12-08-19, 08:40 PM
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Update.

This is what the rear recessed mount looked like after creating the brake bridge hole. While I have seen brake bridges with recessed nuts installed just like this, I don't expect the nut to bite properly this way.



I went ahead and bought some Dia-Compe concave washers and drilled three of them out for the recessed nut:





Perfect fit.



With that out of the way, I ran the rear brake cable and tidied up a few things. Even though there aren't any top tube cable clips on the frame yet (and the seatpost may be 0.2mm too small), I couldn't resist trying it out:







Initial impressions:
  • The gearing may be a bit too tall for young riders. The front chainring probably has to come down to a 40t or 38t.
  • The brakes are excellent. It is quite impressive how effortless it is to modulate the braking pressure and still get sharp performance - even with the shorter lever travel.
  • The folding pedals are not so great. They bend under pressure and do not inspire confidence. They might be fine under the torque of a youth rider as opposed to the 225 pound gorilla that is yours truly, so they may ultimately stay.
  • Yes, the bars look a bit wide, but there's excellent knee room . These are the Linus 480mm North Roads, the narrowest North Roads I could find. I'm going to have to kid-test these bars to make sure young riders aren't overstretched on them. A part of me wonders if the Velo-Orange Belleville (430mm) might scale better (granted, they would also be twice the price). We'll see.
  • The handling is impressively stable; there's nothing twitchy about it. You can point it where you want it to go and it'll follow nice and smoothly. The handling can act a bit heavy though, especially if you point it too hard in any one direction. It takes a little bit of extra force to correct such a movement, but the steering is forgiving enough that a young newcomer should not find themselves fighting the front end. Heck, it can't be any worse than the twitchy BMX / MTB kids bikes they sell these days.
In addition to the top tube clips, I want to put kickstands on these that slot into the rear track end, as there's no chainstay bridge on these. I may have to use one that clamps to both stays, or weld up a slotted plate to adapt an a decent kickstand without frame mods. It's really difficult to find something in this genre of stands that isn't garbage.

-Kurt
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Old 12-08-19, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888
Two of the three came out flawlessly. The drill bit must have walked from my punch mark on the third, as the hole on that fork is offset 2mm to the right. Don't know what I'm going to do about it...
Weld the hole full and redrill it! I've done that here and there with my MIG welder with great results. I would over fill the hole slightly s I could grind it back to a uniform surface to center punch. It will of course need pait removed around the hole, and the welding will cook off more paint, but you could repaint the crown black after the welding.

I love the first finished product!
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Old 12-08-19, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jackbombay
Weld the hole full and redrill it! I've done that here and there with my MIG welder with great results. I would over fill the hole slightly s I could grind it back to a uniform surface to center punch. It will of course need pait removed around the hole, and the welding will cook off more paint, but you could repaint the crown black after the welding.

I love the first finished product!
Funny, I might be able to MIG it up from the steerer - enough to fill the offending area without burning off too much.

Though it does bring up the whole question about whether that may weaken the steerer.

-Kurt
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Old 12-08-19, 10:21 PM
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Another option would be to make a drill guide that you clamps to the fork (I'd just use some 1/4" steel plate) and drill the hole 4mm larger than it needs to be, but centered, then use a sleeve on the brake bolt to keep the brake centered.
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Old 12-09-19, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jackbombay
Another option would be to make a drill guide that you clamps to the fork (I'd just use some 1/4" steel plate) and drill the hole 4mm larger than it needs to be, but centered, then use a sleeve on the brake bolt to keep the brake centered.
Not a bad idea - have used a similar trick before to revert frames previously drilled to recessed mount back to nutted. Always on the front though.

-Kurt
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Old 12-09-19, 05:36 PM
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[MENTION=40306]cudak888[/MENTION] Do you have a complete list of items you need? I am sure we could help. I am also thinking some parts manufacturers or local shops might help out with donating or selling parts for cost for this project. We could also take up a collection here to help out with those items.
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Old 12-10-19, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by tricky
[MENTION=40306]cudak888[/MENTION] Do you have a complete list of items you need? I am sure we could help. I am also thinking some parts manufacturers or local shops might help out with donating or selling parts for cost for this project. We could also take up a collection here to help out with those items.
We were lucky with Linus; they gave us a much reduced price on the handlebars, but I wouldn't hold my breath with the LBSs.

The rest of the bikes are pretty near completion. I'm pretty sure these are the remaining bits:That's about it.

-Kurt
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Old 12-18-19, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888
We were lucky with Linus; they gave us a much reduced price on the handlebars, but I wouldn't hold my breath with the LBSs.

The rest of the bikes are pretty near completion. I'm pretty sure these are the remaining bits:That's about it.

-Kurt
Hey Kurt,

Can you throw all of these in an Amazon wish list? I think if you do that we can buy it in a few clicks and have it on the way to you.

Looks like even that crown race is on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Tange-Passage.../dp/B004IFKTUO
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Old 12-19-19, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by tricky
Hey Kurt,

Can you throw all of these in an Amazon wish list? I think if you do that we can buy it in a few clicks and have it on the way to you.

Looks like even that crown race is on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Tange-Passage.../dp/B004IFKTUO
I just put the list together here - a great idea, thanks for suggesting it. I've put a few comments where I believe equivalent used parts would be much more affordable:

https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/l...?ref_=wl_share

The only thing that isn't there (yet) are the chainrings. I'll have a better idea how low to gear it when my neighbor (who rides along with his son) tests out the bike with the existing 43t ring. I'll also see what ratio he usually rides on his 650C road bike to compare it against the Velo Yellows.

-Kurt
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Old 12-20-19, 12:27 PM
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Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 376

Bikes: Schwinn Del Mar, Schwinn Sanctuary, Schwinn Hurricane, Murray Actra, Eastern Shovelhead

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