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A tale of two bikes, or; One Bike To Rule Them All?

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A tale of two bikes, or; One Bike To Rule Them All?

Old 05-20-23, 07:15 PM
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A tale of two bikes, or; One Bike To Rule Them All?

First off, let me begin with a disclaimer: This thread will be filled with my opinions and prejudices. They may or may not offend. There will be some bike butchery involved but nothing truly gruesome. Non-originality will abound, so purists beware. Its not even a road bike so if you are so inclined, be warned. It could be debated that this doesn't even belong in the C&V section. Is it old enough? Or does the general ethos of the frame qualify it as at least vintage(ish) if not classic? Who knows? Who cares? Read on to find out!

So I picked up this old Kona Smoke last October as a kind of a "kit". It was advertised as a frame with a stuck seatpost and some parts to fill it out. Should have walked away but you know, the price tag reeled me in. I took the bait and ended up with this:


Indeed, the seatpost was stuck. And how! The PO stated he had soaked it with penetrating oil, froze it with compressed air, and as a last resort, beat on it with a hammer. That's usually pretty good for a bike frame... I bought it any way. So first order of business was to set about to succeeding where the previous guy failed. He was a hipster so he was bound to fail anyway. Clearly I, with my 7 years' bike mechanic background and total lack of hipster-ness, would prevail. I debated going the caustic soda route but decided it was too messy, smelly, and risky to do. So instead I commissioned a woefully inadequate tool made to cut that booger out:




Basically, its just a section of hacksaw blade mounted in the custom handle. I say it is woefully inadequate because it turned out to be too short, and too close to the diameter of the inside of the seatpost. Any rocking of the tool would bind up and make it more difficult to push back and forth. But, I couldn't let all the work my accommodating maintenance guy at work had done go to waste, so I dutifully struggled and struggled and struggled and fought and fought and swore a time or a dozen, until I could see my efforts were not totally in vain. My plan was to cut the seatpost into 3 sections, then peel them away from the inside of the seat tube. Keep in mind that the post was about 9" into the seat tube. Yikes! Alas, after about an hour of hard effort, I had cut one full slice through. Sorry, no pics of that momentous achievement. Thusly encouraged, another hours' worth of effort yielded this:




There is a light at the end of the tunnel! But my arms were very sore and my reserve of curse words about exhausted. Diligently, I plunged forward. Would I succeed before running out of swearwords? I'll tell you this: It was close. But ultimately I won:




Lots of corrosion and have a look at the inside of that seatpost!



More to come....
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Old 05-20-23, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Smokinapankake
So first order of business was to set about to succeeding where the previous guy failed. He was a hipster so he was bound to fail anyway.

This thread is gonna be good.
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Old 05-20-23, 08:28 PM
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Way to perserve! And it's good to know there's someone right across the divide from me with the right tool if I ever wind up with a totally stuck seatpost.
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Old 05-21-23, 05:46 AM
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James,

You got it any time you need it. I'll say I'm NEVER doing that again. I shoulda walked away at the very outset. Who could have guessed succeeding where a hipster failed would be so hard?

I disparage the guy but he was a stand up dude. When I first got the frame he had misplaced the fork in a recent move, but promised me he'd look for it. Indeed, later that afternoon he texted that he'd found it and would deliver it to my house the next day. Which he dutifully did, 45 minutes away from his house. He was driving a Prius. Of course.
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Old 05-21-23, 06:27 AM
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You should treat the seat tube, bottom bracket and head tube with rustol just to prevent rust. Congrats anyway and having removed the seat post
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Old 05-21-23, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by georges1
You should treat the seat tube, bottom bracket and head tube with rustol just to prevent rust. Congrats anyway and having removed the seat post
Yes, I probably should. But I probably won't. My very last concern is this frame rusting through somewhere. It has what my pastor would call "a nice personality". That was his euphemism used to describe either a very homely, or very "sturdy" type girl. While the Smoke is not overly homely, I will say it is rather "sturdy". I definitely get a workout lifting it up into the repair stand.

I did, however, smear grease all around the inside of the headtube and as far down into the seattube as I could. After using a flexible hone to clear out most of that nasty corrosion.....
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Old 05-21-23, 06:42 PM
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Okay. Since this frame probably won't be crushed, shredded, or melted down to make Toyota parts, lets figure out what it really is. Various Google searches return results of varying quality. There is some information out there about these, but not a ton. Here's what I've gleaned so far:

The Smoke was introduced in the early 00's as an urban assault type machine. It sported 26" wheels and was basically a Kona mountain bike but with slick tires. Some have said that they were left over frames from a previous year or so, and this was a good way to get rid of them. Slap some new decals on and some cheaper parts - 'viola' a new model appears! Then, late 00's they converted it to a 29" wheel model. When? '06, '07-ish. They called it the Smoke 2-9. Kona's website, Konaworld, only went back to 2010 where they simply call it Smoke. Notice that the 2010 graphics are not the graphics on my particular Smoke, so I think its somewhere around '08 or '09. Mind you, I haven't tried looking up the serial number to try to nail it down. Additionally, the 2010 geometry chart does not match my Smoke either.
But I have found other Smokes that look exactly like mine labeled as '08 and '09, some with dual eyelets at the rear dropout, some with singles. Mine is endowed (you said endowed... huh huh) with single eyelets, a fact I am a little disappointed with. Oh well. Some are show-ers and some are growers. Story of my life....
In the end, does it matter if it's an '08? What if I call it an '09 when it clearly isn't and I should know that if only I had looked longer and harder at it, trying to discern the inner workings of the product managers mind at Kona? Really, who cares? Its a beat up Asian made (probably) frame I got for beans! Lets fix it and ride the damm thing!

So its a cheap commuter bike with a street price somewhere around $450 - $500 bux. This means cheap frame, cheap components, and cheap thrills. It was originally specced with fenders from the factory, reinforcing the idea that this is a commuter oriented ride. But its not a total pile of crap. The seat tube has a decal proclaiming "Kona Butted Cromoly", whatever that means.

So, lets assess what we have to work with:
A "Butted Cromoly" frame in my size that appears to be straight and not too badly abused
A pair of single wall, 36(!) hole wheels with a 135, 8/9/10 speed compatible quick release hubs.
A box of miscellaneous parts to include an LX hollowtech II crank and BB (nice!), and a Deore wide range rear derailleur (nice!)
Probably the original Tektro unremarkable V brakes, mated to cheapy brake levers
A stem or two, and a Jen-You-Whine Easton Monkey Lite carbon fiber riser bar, straight outta 1999!
A bunch of other rusted out low end commuter level bike parts: dismal gripshift 8 speed shifters, a crusty and worn cassette, and a chain that is almost rusted solid.
Oh yeah, a rusted out headset with little rusty pebbles for bearings.

Lets have a look at the geometry of this frame, measured using the measure app on my iphone and a shaky hand. So you can be assured the measurements are accurate to within a country mile:



This, of course, is after I'd built it up into a rideable bike.

WARNING: I'm going to digress off into opinionland here. It may or may not make sense, and can be dismissed as the ramblings of a senile old man who's spent too much time sniffing repair patch glue.
A little background:
I've wanted a real live 80's touring bike for many many years. Not just any, though. I want a 1985 Nishiki Cresta GT in blue and white. One of my grail bikes. As such, it has formed my belief of what a touring bike should be. The truth is I'll probably never buy one because I can't stand drop bars. And I don't particularly like the look of those really skinny frame tubes. I cut my cycling teeth on mountain bikes, starting in about 1987 or so on a sweet Peugeot Tundra Express. Everybody knows mountain bikes have larger diameter frame tubes than wimpy little road bikes, even ones intended for and successfully used to cross the country with. So I like slightly larger diameter frame tubes. But not too big, mind you. And I do like chainstays and seatstays that taper down to a fine point.
Back to the Nishiki. A full blown touring bike should feature at the very minimum:
Dual eyelets at both the front and rear dropouts.
Mid fork blade low rider rack mounts.
Rear rack mount braze-ons on the seatstays.
Braze-ons for at least 3 water bottles. One of them must be on the underside of the down tube. One on the seat tube, and one (or even two) on the top of the down tube.
Long chainstays to allow for heel clearance.
A pump peg is nice but not necessary.
Also, spoke holders on the chainstays are sweet but not necessary.
Stable geometry. What does this mean? Something to do with fork rake, wheelbase, and head and seat tube angles... I don't really know what makes one bike stable and another not. In looking at lots and lots of geometry tables on lots and lots of different kinds of bikes, I find that most have seat and head tube angles pretty close to one another, generally to within a degree or two. Argue if you like, these are just my personal observations. This leads me to believe that "acceptable handling" falls within a window of opportunity, and most bikes regardless of style (touring, commuting, mountain, road) fall well within that window. Throw a bunch of weight on a front fork low rider rack and that steering will settle right down.
Comfortable. Else how can you stand to ride the stupid thing? And why would you? My time riding is always considered goofing off, so why would I want to be in pain to goof off? Racing? Honey, that train left the station long ago... Personal best? Come on - at my age making it through the night without getting up to pee is a personal best!
A little more background:
I've been thinking over the past year or so that I should get rid of some of the 15 bikes hanging around my house (Gasp! You didn't really say that did you?). To that end, I've been wanting a bike that could both commute to work and tour around the state, hence the thread title "A tale of two bikes..." A bike that can perform two tasks with equal aplomb. Two bikes in one, or one to rule them all. I'd been looking pretty hard at a Surly Bridge Club, but... money. Then this thing popped up. And here we are.
If you haven't figured it out by now, this thread is really only about one bike.

So, back to the bike. Looks like this goofy Smoke checks most of those boxes, except the dual eyelets. And the multitude of bottle mounts can be easily remedied. Which I did, but we'll get to that later. It looks like this Kona could also fill in as a decent mountain bike, but honestly I've already got a really nice hardtail ('94 Norco Nitro):



and my 2003 Curtlo Epic Mountaineer soft tail:



so the Kona will probably never go further afield than an occasional dirt road. I'll probably use it for 99.5% commuting and .5% touring in the form of mostly sub 24 hour overnighters and day trips to a lake or something. So in the next installment, lets build the thing!

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Old 05-21-23, 06:58 PM
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I need to read your posts properly, but just jumped in to say Kona frames are bomb proof. I've put a Kona Paddywagon (see: hipster fixie) through the wringer since 2009 and it still happily gets me to work and back without complaint.

My Kona is also the mysterious butted chromoly you mention. There were some Reynolds tubed Kona frames around the same time, but I would have thought if it was Reynolds they would have been shouting about it.
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Old 05-21-23, 07:26 PM
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Yep, this is the 2nd Kona for me, the first being a 1995 Kilauea that I've regretted selling the moment the money hit my hands. It was of Tange Prestige Concept tubing. I have reason to believe this bike is more than just "butted cromoly". It is double butted, meaning it is butted at both ends of the tube.

How do I know this? At work I perform ultrasonic inspection of nuclear fuel tubing using a rotary head with 8 transducers to detect longitudinal, transverse, normal defects and dimensions of the tubes. Obviously I couldn't put a bike frame in it, but we also have a Panametrics handheld thickness tester that is used on thin plate and channel used to form a grid structure.

I took this Panametrics instrument to the Kona and while the material velocity was incorrect (Zirconium vs. 4130 cormoly), there were definitely thicker readings at the tube ends than in the middle. At least on the top and down tubes. I couldn't get a good reading on the seat tube. I doubt the seatstays are butted. They may not even be cromoly.

It is definitely a sturdy frame and I expect it to outlive me....
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Old 05-21-23, 10:37 PM
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WOW!

Just WOW!

Maybe more later but for now, just WOW!
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Old 05-21-23, 10:42 PM
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I have a Kona Kilaeua that from 1997 made from Reynolds 631 that I bought as frame alone back on ebay more than fifteen years ago for cheap. Now the price of one in pristine condition has skyrocketed. I have been eying for an Explosif in Reynolds in 853 but the ones I have seen are either in bad condition or too small.
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Old 05-21-23, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by P!N20
I need to read your posts properly, but just jumped in to say Kona frames are bomb proof. I've put a Kona Paddywagon (see: hipster fixie) through the wringer since 2009 and it still happily gets me to work and back without complaint.

My Kona is also the mysterious butted chromoly you mention. There were some Reynolds tubed Kona frames around the same time, but I would have thought if it was Reynolds they would have been shouting about it.
Yes Reynolds supplied Kona in 1997/1999 for the Kilaeua with 631and the Explosif with 853. Columbus also supplied Kona with Cyber tubes for the Kilaeua and with Max for the Explosif in 1994/1996.
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Old 05-21-23, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by georges1
Yes Reynolds supplied Kona in 1997/1999 for the Kilaeua with 631and the Explosif with 853. Columbus also supplied Kona with Cyber tubes for the Kilaeua and with Max for the Explosif in 1994/1996.
Thanks. There was also a 520 Paddywagon and 853 Rove.

Edit: let's not forget the 853 Kapu

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Old 05-21-23, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by P!N20
Thanks. There was also a 520 Paddywagon and 853 Rove.
Yes, you are correct
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Old 05-21-23, 11:19 PM
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I had an early 26" wheeled Kona smoke. A solid bike if a tad uninspiring.
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Old 05-22-23, 06:47 AM
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I lucked into this Explosif some time back. It was an eBay find with local pickup. I was the only bidder! Original suspension fork was trashed, so I fitted it with a cheap steel Carver fork and rode it on last year’s Cino ride.



My sacrilegious plan is to turn it into a commuter with fenders and an e-assist front wheel from Swytch bike, which I used on a Bridgestone MB-3 this past winter. I figure it’ll be very quick!
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Old 05-22-23, 03:43 PM
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wow. that was a high tech tool! I have done the "cut out" method and simply used a hacksaw blade wrapped in a rag- it was surprisingly quick and easy after all the previous efforts to try to extract and preserve the post. aluminum is pretty soft cuts fast if your blade is sharp. 10 minute job!

sincerely,

your friendly neighborhood hipster.
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Old 05-22-23, 04:13 PM
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A sawsall and some of these blades worked well for me They're about 9/16ths across.
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Old 05-22-23, 04:51 PM
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In retrospect, I should have just used a sawzall with a blade like pictured above. It would have been done in 10 minutes or so. I don't have a sawzall or a blade like pictured above. There is always some concern about scoring the ID of the seat tube but looking at how thick that seat tube appears to be, I doubt it would do any real damage. Unless you're completely oblivious, and in that case you probably should not be allowed near power tools ever.

So lets build this bike!

I initially used what came with the "kit" but found that most of it was not to my liking.
What I didn't like and therefore set aside:
Wheels: They are lame single wall aluminum jobbies, I think by Formula or something. The only redeeming feature was that they were 36 hole, 8/9/10 speed compatible, and quick release. The bearings felt smooth, too. I initially used some nice double wall wheels sourced at the collective. I think they came off a Specialized or something. I didn't tell the Kona where they came from....
Shifters: Lame Gripshift 8 speed something or other. Usable but 8 speed is so early 90's... Replaced with some 9 speed XT 2 way release trigger shifters. Nice!
Headset: Rusty pebbles for bearings. Replaced with a Tioga Alchemy banging around in my parts stash.
Seatpost: Well, you saw the condition it was in. Replaced with a bike collective sourced Easton micro-adjust in 27.2. Like new. Nice!.
Seat: Lame, ripped cover, big butt version. Replaced with my favorite of all time, an out of production Bell Dart 500. Comfy!
Handlebar: Easton Monkey Lite carbon fiber. I don't cotton to plastic handlebars so this got traded for an aluminum Marin flat bar at the local collective.
Grips: non existent, replacement required. Found some big ****y grips from the collective that are just like the ones on my old Peugeot mountain bike in 1987. Sweet!
Tires: Excellent Continental City Contact in a fat 700 x 47c size. I'm usin' these for sure!
Rear derailleur: Excellent Deore 10 speed model. Obviously the guy picked up a few parts in anticipation of the build. I ended up using a like new LX rapid rise instead because Rapid Rise!
Front derailleur: Lame stamped steel something or other. This will never do. Found an XT M750 front in my box. Nice!
Chain: Rusty. Replacement needed, so I bought a new KMC X9 or something. Nice!
Cassette: Suspicious looking 8 speed crap. I put on a used but nice 9 speed SRAM 11 x 34t from the collective. Nice!
Crankset: Shimano Deore LX Hollowtech II with sweet bearing cups. Nice! I eventually changed this to something cheaper because it would allow me to change individual chainrings easily.
Pedals: Sweet Wellgo aluminum with rubber inserts. Spin smooth and quiet. Nice!
Stem: A couple of no-name 31.8 clamp diameters of different lengths. Probably useable but we'll have to see about fit. Adequate!
Brakes: Probably the original spec, basic Tektro V-brakes. Pads were completely shot. I initially used some Shimano BR-M600 found at the local collective, but they were strange so I just put the original Tektros back on with new pads and cables. Adequate!
Brake Levers: I sourced some Avid Ultimate's from the collective in rough but useable condition. Light, and they kind of look trick, but meh... So they eventually get changed out.
New cables and housing all around. Obvioulsy. Duh...

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Old 05-26-23, 05:51 AM
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So now we've got this thing built into a bikeable bike, let the tweaks begin!

1st off is a replacement handlebar. Could never get along with that super wide "riser" bar from the collective, so Amazon to the rescue for a cheapy tourist style bar:




Sharp eyes will notice a different set of wheels and a different crank. Your eyes do not deceive!

The crank came off a 1997 KHS Summit I picked up last summer. I don't really know what to do with it, so I've decided it will be a parts donor for now. The crank is an SR unit. I thought they were out of the bike biz by 97 so I was kind of surprised to see it. The rings were all steel (ugh!) and in a strange combination: 26/34/42 so off to the collective again for something better. They did not disappoint with a NOS Syncros 44 and a very useable Sugino 32. Interestingly, the inner BCD on most compact cranks is 58mm. Suntour initially introduced the compact drive concept in the very early 90's with their MicroDrive system. Their BCD was 56/94 mm which allowed a very small 20t granny gear. Shimano followed suit with 58/94 BCD, and set the industry standard. Their lowest gear was (mostly) limited to 22t, with the exception of the CX 400/CX700 hybrid line, which did offer a 20t low.
Anyway. Back to this SR crank of ill repute. I discovered it follows the Suntour standard of 56/94 mm BCD and therefore would allow me to install my old but in very good condition MicroDrive 20t granny gear. So now it is sporting a 20/32/44t x 175 mm chainset. Sweet!

The wheels: Just before the pandemic hit I bought a Trek hybrid/commuter type bike off a kid at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. I literally paid almost nothing for it. I only wanted it because it came with a nice Bontrager rear rack. I still have that bike, and it has evolved into its own thing, but it came with these bolt on axle, freewheel threaded hubs laced to some nice double wall 36 hole rims. No idea the make or model of them beyond a sticker that says ETRTO 622. I held on to them thinking one day I might want some 36 hole rims for a touring type build, but had a heck of a hard time finding hubs at the collective that were 1: 36 hole 2: 135mm & 3: 9 speed freehub. Also, around that same time, I bought a couple of Panasonic dynamo hubs from SOMA fab shop because they were just too cheap to pass on; one in 32 hole and one in 36hole patterns. They are just a relabeled Sanyo H27 hub. Cheap but according to reports here and other places online, quite reliable. I built one of the Trek rims into a dynamo hub wheel and bought a Supernova E3 Pure 3 for my commute duties and have been well pleased with it.
Recall that the bike initially came with some 36hole single wall rims laced to generic mountain bike hubs? Perfect! So I measured the rear hub dimensions, compared them to the bolt on hub dimensions, and found they were very close. So, without further ado, I did a quick switcheroo of the rear hubs and had a matching set, with a dynamo front. Yay!

And that's about how it stands today. It's been a bombproof commuter that soaks up the road irregularities without complaint. The tires, I've read, wear like iron and I've yet to have a flat. Did I mention the frame has massive clearance? I think I could fit a 2.6 slick in there without even thinking about it!

So now we have a capable commuter. But those long chainstays keep tugging at the back of my mind.... What if I built not a commuter but a commutour? Stay tuned to see what happens!
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Old 05-26-23, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Smokinapankake
So now we've got this thing built into a bikeable bike, let the tweaks begin!

1st off is a replacement handlebar. Could never get along with that super wide "riser" bar from the collective, so Amazon to the rescue for a cheapy tourist style bar:




Sharp eyes will notice a different set of wheels and a different crank. Your eyes do not deceive!

The crank came off a 1997 KHS Summit I picked up last summer. I don't really know what to do with it, so I've decided it will be a parts donor for now. The crank is an SR unit. I thought they were out of the bike biz by 97 so I was kind of surprised to see it. The rings were all steel (ugh!) and in a strange combination: 26/34/42 so off to the collective again for something better. They did not disappoint with a NOS Syncros 44 and a very useable Sugino 32. Interestingly, the inner BCD on most compact cranks is 58mm. Suntour initially introduced the compact drive concept in the very early 90's with their MicroDrive system. Their BCD was 56/94 mm which allowed a very small 20t granny gear. Shimano followed suit with 58/94 BCD, and set the industry standard. Their lowest gear was (mostly) limited to 22t, with the exception of the CX 400/CX700 hybrid line, which did offer a 20t low.
Anyway. Back to this SR crank of ill repute. I discovered it follows the Suntour standard of 56/94 mm BCD and therefore would allow me to install my old but in very good condition MicroDrive 20t granny gear. So now it is sporting a 20/32/44t x 175 mm chainset. Sweet!

The wheels: Just before the pandemic hit I bought a Trek hybrid/commuter type bike off a kid at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. I literally paid almost nothing for it. I only wanted it because it came with a nice Bontrager rear rack. I still have that bike, and it has evolved into its own thing, but it came with these bolt on axle, freewheel threaded hubs laced to some nice double wall 36 hole rims. No idea the make or model of them beyond a sticker that says ETRTO 622. I held on to them thinking one day I might want some 36 hole rims for a touring type build, but had a heck of a hard time finding hubs at the collective that were 1: 36 hole 2: 135mm & 3: 9 speed freehub. Also, around that same time, I bought a couple of Panasonic dynamo hubs from SOMA fab shop because they were just too cheap to pass on; one in 32 hole and one in 36hole patterns. They are just a relabeled Sanyo H27 hub. Cheap but according to reports here and other places online, quite reliable. I built one of the Trek rims into a dynamo hub wheel and bought a Supernova E3 Pure 3 for my commute duties and have been well pleased with it.
Recall that the bike initially came with some 36hole single wall rims laced to generic mountain bike hubs? Perfect! So I measured the rear hub dimensions, compared them to the bolt on hub dimensions, and found they were very close. So, without further ado, I did a quick switcheroo of the rear hubs and had a matching set, with a dynamo front. Yay!

And that's about how it stands today. It's been a bombproof commuter that soaks up the road irregularities without complaint. The tires, I've read, wear like iron and I've yet to have a flat. Did I mention the frame has massive clearance? I think I could fit a 2.6 slick in there without even thinking about it!

So now we have a capable commuter. But those long chainstays keep tugging at the back of my mind.... What if I built not a commuter but a commutour? Stay tuned to see what happens!
congrats on a nice build
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Old 05-30-23, 01:57 PM
  #22  
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So we were going to make a commuTour bike, right? Recall my beliefs on what features a real touring bike has:

Dual eyelets at both the front and rear dropouts.
Mid fork blade low rider rack mounts.
Rear rack mount braze-ons on the seatstays.
Braze-ons for at least 3 water bottles. One of them must be on the underside of the down tube. One on the seat tube, and one (or even two) on the top of the down tube.
Long chainstays to allow for heel clearance.
A pump peg is nice but not necessary.
Also, spoke holders on the chainstays are sweet but not necessary.
Stable geometry. What does this mean? Something to do with fork rake, wheelbase, and head and seat tube angles... I don't really know what makes one bike stable and another not. In looking at lots and lots of geometry tables on lots and lots of different kinds of bikes, I find that most have seat and head tube angles pretty close to one another, generally to within a degree or two. Argue if you like, these are just my personal observations. This leads me to believe that "acceptable handling" falls within a window of opportunity, and most bikes regardless of style (touring, commuting, mountain, road) fall well within that window. Throw a bunch of weight on a front fork low rider rack and that steering will settle right down.
Comfortable. Else how can you stand to ride the stupid thing?

Since I've been commuting on it (my route is 35 miles round trip), I've been able to determine its comfort, and I can say its pretty comfortable. Upright seating position isn't too hard on my neck and shoulders, and the bars put my hands into a pretty natural position. Comfortable enough? Absolutely.

What we're missing is that third bottle on the bottom of the downtube, mid fork lowrider mounts, and dual eyelets. 2 of those are easy to remedy, while the third I don't know if I really want to bother with too much.

Let the butchery begin! Today we'll add some braze-ons to the downtube and fork legs. I've never done this before so hopefully I won't regret this for the rest of my life....

I started by finding the centerline of the downtube using my old trusty carpenters square:

Holding the square against the top tube and down tube, and scraping a line in the paint. I did this on both sides of the frame, then centered my marks between the two scraped lines. This is necessary because the down tube is larger diameter than the top tube.


Looks trashy but we're going to trash the paint anyway!

I used a center drill in a cordless hand drill to begin the holes:

Not fully committed yet....

Then it was just a matter of drilling the holes to fit the threaded bosses:

Committed now!

Turns out a drill sized "F" was the perfect fit. I didn't take pics while brazing the pieces but this is the torch I used:


I bought it on a local online classified site. Brand new, never used, and perfect for this application and budget.

The finished result:


Well, not finished but you know what I mean. I used the brass rods that came with the kit. They were coated in flux and worked well. The rods look like they are coated in white plastic; that is the flux coating.

A little sanding and filing later and we have this:


Not too shabby for a hack at home, I might say! I had to chase the threads, then hit them with a shot of black spray paint to protect the bare tube. Don't want it rusting away now, do we?

Next installment I'll detail how I laid out the braze-ons for the fork lowriders.....Thanks for looking!
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Old 05-30-23, 02:17 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Smokinapankake
So we were going to make a commuTour bike, right? Recall my beliefs on what features a real touring bike has:

Dual eyelets at both the front and rear dropouts.
Mid fork blade low rider rack mounts.
Rear rack mount braze-ons on the seatstays.
Braze-ons for at least 3 water bottles. One of them must be on the underside of the down tube. One on the seat tube, and one (or even two) on the top of the down tube.
Long chainstays to allow for heel clearance.
A pump peg is nice but not necessary.
Also, spoke holders on the chainstays are sweet but not necessary.
Stable geometry. What does this mean? Something to do with fork rake, wheelbase, and head and seat tube angles... I don't really know what makes one bike stable and another not. In looking at lots and lots of geometry tables on lots and lots of different kinds of bikes, I find that most have seat and head tube angles pretty close to one another, generally to within a degree or two. Argue if you like, these are just my personal observations. This leads me to believe that "acceptable handling" falls within a window of opportunity, and most bikes regardless of style (touring, commuting, mountain, road) fall well within that window. Throw a bunch of weight on a front fork low rider rack and that steering will settle right down.
Comfortable. Else how can you stand to ride the stupid thing?

Since I've been commuting on it (my route is 35 miles round trip), I've been able to determine its comfort, and I can say its pretty comfortable. Upright seating position isn't too hard on my neck and shoulders, and the bars put my hands into a pretty natural position. Comfortable enough? Absolutely.

What we're missing is that third bottle on the bottom of the downtube, mid fork lowrider mounts, and dual eyelets. 2 of those are easy to remedy, while the third I don't know if I really want to bother with too much.

Let the butchery begin! Today we'll add some braze-ons to the downtube and fork legs. I've never done this before so hopefully I won't regret this for the rest of my life....

I started by finding the centerline of the downtube using my old trusty carpenters square:

Holding the square against the top tube and down tube, and scraping a line in the paint. I did this on both sides of the frame, then centered my marks between the two scraped lines. This is necessary because the down tube is larger diameter than the top tube.


Looks trashy but we're going to trash the paint anyway!

I used a center drill in a cordless hand drill to begin the holes:

Not fully committed yet....

Then it was just a matter of drilling the holes to fit the threaded bosses:

Committed now!

Turns out a drill sized "F" was the perfect fit. I didn't take pics while brazing the pieces but this is the torch I used:


I bought it on a local online classified site. Brand new, never used, and perfect for this application and budget.

The finished result:


Well, not finished but you know what I mean. I used the brass rods that came with the kit. They were coated in flux and worked well. The rods look like they are coated in white plastic; that is the flux coating.

A little sanding and filing later and we have this:


Not too shabby for a hack at home, I might say! I had to chase the threads, then hit them with a shot of black spray paint to protect the bare tube. Don't want it rusting away now, do we?

Next installment I'll detail how I laid out the braze-ons for the fork lowriders.....Thanks for looking!
Very good job keep us updated
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Old 05-30-23, 02:19 PM
  #24  
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So here's how I laid out the mid fork mounts:

I first cut a piece of 1/8" x 3/4" flat aluminum stock about 10" long. Marked a centerline about 3/4" from one end, and drilled a clearance hole for a 5mm bolt. I then bolted this into the mid blade braze-on that another fork has. I have several bikes with mid fork mounts, and after measuring the distance between the rear eyelet and the mid fork mount, they are all really close to the same distance. Whatever differences there were could be chalked up to my own measurement taking. So I decided to mimic this distance on my aluminum flat stock to make a drill guide.

I then made a pointed end on a longish M5 bolt and threaded it into the fender eyelet of the fork. Using a marker as tool dye, I scratched a line into the aluminum flat stock to locate the other hole. A pic will make this more clear:





It then was simply a matter of drilling the hole in the flat stock, mounting it to the Kona fork, and marking the location. I used my carpenters square again, just like I did for the down tube. The process was the same. Drill, sand off the paint, clean clean clean, then braze in the mounts.
I decided to add a second mount on the fork, higher, spaced to mount a water bottle cage should I decide to forgo the lowrider rack and pretend to be a bikepacker. Whether this will ever happen or not remains to be seen...

So here we have a pic of the bike with the dual braze-ons on the fork as well:


I didn't get any pics of the raw forks. But squint your eyes and you can see the second mount above the lowrider mount. This was on a test ride where I happened to take a rest in the shade of an idle dump truck.

I'm pleased with how these turned out. I don't know how I'd add a second eyelet to either fork or rear dropout, so I guess I won't worry too much about it for now. If you count the bottle mounts attached to the seatpost, I have total capacity for 6 water bottles if not using a lowrider rack on the forks, 4 if I am.

Those seatpost mounts came off a mid '90's Trek Y bike and are sized to fit a 27.2 seatpost, a happy coincidence with this frame. How effective it is to carry a bottle back there I don't know, but they do make a grand seat height stop....

So for now there won't be any more butchery until I decide what color to paint the thing. However, I've been eyeballing some M6 threaded inserts that I could put in the hole in the fork crown. Just to make mounting the dynamo headlight independent of mounting a fender.... And a really strong mount point for maybe a front basket rack!

I need to get another oxygen tank - they sure don't last long!
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Old 05-30-23, 02:34 PM
  #25  
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So then - Is it a touring bike? Or is it a commuting bike? OR - is it a commutouring bike?

Its two bikes in one! And if I put knobby tires on (which it can most definitely fit), it becomes 3 bikes in 1! What a deal!
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