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Huffy AeroWind Rat Rod

Old 05-16-24, 02:09 PM
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Huffy AeroWind Rat Rod

I'm starting this thread as a declaration of intent -- something to hold me accountable and get this project moving.

Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having too much money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me in the garage, I thought I would buy a Huffy AeroWind frameset that I came across on Craigslist.



This was before the days of the glorious Huffente and I'm not even sure what my original intentions were, but I soon decided that I would try to build it up with good components, the sort of components that I would use on a nicer frame. Then the Huffente happened, and I thought do myself, "Well, dang. I can't compete with that." And so the project got shelved.

But I didn't actually put the thing away. (Anyone who has seen my garage will have guessed that much ) It sat out beside a bookcase in the garage where I'd see it regularly and think "I should do something with that." Over time something like a plan has emerged.

I intend to build it as described above with good parts. I'm a resto-mod kind of guy, so they won't be period correct. I'm thinking Shimano 10-speed, probably a mix of 105 and Tiagra, because that's what I have on hand. The focus will be on functionality with nothing done for aesthetics. I don't intend to go out of my way to make it ugly, but it will be. Mismatched colors, silver and black components intermingling, a threadless stem adapter, whatever it takes. But I will be pursuing comfort and functionality to the full extent that the frame's dimensions allow.


...in which Doris gets her oats

I kicked it off yesterday by removing the bottom bracket and headset. No pictures today, but many things were learned.

I was pleasantly surprised that the bottom bracket came out without a fight. There was some sort of locknut arrangement holding the spindle in place. I didn't have a thin enough wrench to hold the inner flats while loosening the locknut, but amazingly I was able to get it off just by holding the splines of the spindle with a pair of pliers. With the spindle removed, a few taps on a screwdriver knocked out the cups. I've got an adapter on hand that will let me install a BSA threaded bottom bracket. I'm leaning towards an FSA Gossamer triple with external bearing bottom bracket.

The headset was a different matter. It had an aluminum locknut that was pretty stuck. I used my biggest adjustable wrench and held a wheel for leverage but it wouldn't budge. So I soaked it with penetrating oil and waited. A few hours later, I got it to move. Unless my eyes are deceiving me, I ovalized the locknut in the process, but it came off.

That left a knurled top race. I couldn't find my vice grips and pliers didn't provide sufficient leverage, but it was late and I wasn't going to sleep without seeing the thing done. I ended up using a long woodworking clamp to hold the race while I rotated the fork to unthread it Success.

Here's where it gets interesting. First, the top cup came out with the race. I guess the clamp was holding it too and it wasn't seated very tightly. The head tube measures 33 mm (not 32.6 mind you 33). What's really curious is the steerer. It has no raised edge for the crown race. The crown race was just sitting there loose with a fair bit of play. [MENTION=133054]AdventureManCO[/MENTION], do you know if that's normal for Huffy?

At this point I'm thinking I'll try to salvage the original headset. If I can shim the race into place, clean up the bearings, salvage the locknut and get the thing to turn smoothly, I'll call it a win. If not, I'll be looking for some other solution.

More to follow as it happens....
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Old 05-16-24, 02:18 PM
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And, of course this is required for any Huffy AeroWind thread

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Old 05-16-24, 02:18 PM
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Old 05-16-24, 02:22 PM
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An excellent start. Following with interest!
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Old 05-16-24, 02:42 PM
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You better measure the bottom bracket ID too. It looks kind of strangely oversized like the head tube.
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Old 05-16-24, 02:47 PM
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”Available at Toys R Us.”
That says it all.

There’s one on CL here for $35 but I’m not tempted. Let me know if you need any parts from it.
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Old 05-16-24, 03:01 PM
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Whoop whoop! Another horror thread has come! Awesome!!!!

I think Dura Ace AX, modified through trickery to support a 130 spaced, 10 speed Spynergy 4 spoke wheel, with Winspace integrated aero carbon bar-stem! It should be pretty cheap...

Originally Posted by Andy_K
I'm starting this thread as a declaration of intent -- something to hold me accountable and get this project moving.

Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having too much money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me in the garage, I thought I would buy a Huffy AeroWind frameset that I came across on Craigslist.



This was before the days of the glorious Huffente and I'm not even sure what my original intentions were, but I soon decided that I would try to build it up with good components, the sort of components that I would use on a nicer frame. Then the Huffente happened, and I thought do myself, "Well, dang. I can't compete with that." And so the project got shelved.

But I didn't actually put the thing away. (Anyone who has seen my garage will have guessed that much ) It sat out beside a bookcase in the garage where I'd see it regularly and think "I should do something with that." Over time something like a plan has emerged.

I intend to build it as described above with good parts. I'm a resto-mod kind of guy, so they won't be period correct. I'm thinking Shimano 10-speed, probably a mix of 105 and Tiagra, because that's what I have on hand. The focus will be on functionality with nothing done for aesthetics. I don't intend to go out of my way to make it ugly, but it will be. Mismatched colors, silver and black components intermingling, a threadless stem adapter, whatever it takes. But I will be pursuing comfort and functionality to the full extent that the frame's dimensions allow.


...in which Doris gets her oats

I kicked it off yesterday by removing the bottom bracket and headset. No pictures today, but many things were learned.

I was pleasantly surprised that the bottom bracket came out without a fight. There was some sort of locknut arrangement holding the spindle in place. I didn't have a thin enough wrench to hold the inner flats while loosening the locknut, but amazingly I was able to get it off just by holding the splines of the spindle with a pair of pliers. With the spindle removed, a few taps on a screwdriver knocked out the cups. I've got an adapter on hand that will let me install a BSA threaded bottom bracket. I'm leaning towards an FSA Gossamer triple with external bearing bottom bracket.

The headset was a different matter. It had an aluminum locknut that was pretty stuck. I used my biggest adjustable wrench and held a wheel for leverage but it wouldn't budge. So I soaked it with penetrating oil and waited. A few hours later, I got it to move. Unless my eyes are deceiving me, I ovalized the locknut in the process, but it came off.

That left a knurled top race. I couldn't find my vice grips and pliers didn't provide sufficient leverage, but it was late and I wasn't going to sleep without seeing the thing done. I ended up using a long woodworking clamp to hold the race while I rotated the fork to unthread it Success.

Here's where it gets interesting. First, the top cup came out with the race. I guess the clamp was holding it too and it wasn't seated very tightly. The head tube measures 33 mm (not 32.6 mind you 33). What's really curious is the steerer. It has no raised edge for the crown race. The crown race was just sitting there loose with a fair bit of play. [MENTION=133054]AdventureManCO[/MENTION], do you know if that's normal for Huffy?

At this point I'm thinking I'll try to salvage the original headset. If I can shim the race into place, clean up the bearings, salvage the locknut and get the thing to turn smoothly, I'll call it a win. If not, I'll be looking for some other solution.

More to follow as it happens....
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Old 05-16-24, 03:09 PM
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Since it’s only a frame, it must not have come with the Huffy aero brake calipers. I would assume that you would spring for the Campy ones that are similar looking.
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Old 05-16-24, 03:31 PM
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Once built, you definitely need to re-enact that promo video, Andy. Where might that bridge be?
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Old 05-16-24, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
Once built, you definitely need to re-enact that promo video, Andy. Where might that bridge be?
Probably collapsed from the weight of the Huffy after the shoot.
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Old 05-16-24, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee
You better measure the bottom bracket ID too. It looks kind of strangely oversized like the head tube.
Yeah, it's a BMX size, 50.8mm. Fortunately, I was able to find an adapter on the cheap.
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Old 05-16-24, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc
Whoop whoop! Another horror thread has come! Awesome!!!!

I think Dura Ace AX, modified through trickery to support a 130 spaced, 10 speed Spynergy 4 spoke wheel, with Winspace integrated aero carbon bar-stem! It should be pretty cheap...
Nah. I'm ignoring their attempts at aero. Not looking for anything fancy in the components, just functional.
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Old 05-16-24, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
Once built, you definitely need to re-enact that promo video, Andy. Where might that bridge be?
The most important aspects of recreating the Huffy video is 1) eliminate any aerodynamic benefit you might have achieved by letting your unbutton button-down flapper flap in the wind, 2) create additional drag by having manly man hair legs (bushy porn-stache facial hair a bonus for style points), and then 3) triumphantly go over a steep winding road cliff, arms out in a American bald eagle pose, in a Thelma & Louise style tribute.

Let us know how it goes.
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Old 05-16-24, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
Nah. I'm ignoring their attempts at aero. Not looking for anything fancy in the components, just functional.
Yeah, I donít blame you. I was just kidding in an AMCO sort of way!
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Old 05-16-24, 07:45 PM
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Old 05-16-24, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
The headset was a different matter. It had an aluminum locknut that was pretty stuck. I used my biggest adjustable wrench and held a wheel for leverage but it wouldn't budge. So I soaked it with penetrating oil and waited. A few hours later, I got it to move. Unless my eyes are deceiving me, I ovalized the locknut in the process, but it came off.

That left a knurled top race. I couldn't find my vice grips and pliers didn't provide sufficient leverage, but it was late and I wasn't going to sleep without seeing the thing done. I ended up using a long woodworking clamp to hold the race while I rotated the fork to unthread it Success.

Here's where it gets interesting. First, the top cup came out with the race. I guess the clamp was holding it too and it wasn't seated very tightly. The head tube measures 33 mm (not 32.6 mind you 33). What's really curious is the steerer. It has no raised edge for the crown race. The crown race was just sitting there loose with a fair bit of play. [MENTION=133054]AdventureManCO[/MENTION], do you know if that's normal for Huffy?

At this point I'm thinking I'll try to salvage the original headset. If I can shim the race into place, clean up the bearings, salvage the locknut and get the thing to turn smoothly, I'll call it a win. If not, I'll be looking for some other solution.

More to follow as it happens....
Perhaps a carbon fiber fork? I think it would look quite distinguished on that gold frame in addition to it's weight savings and superior performance.

Wait..... that was intended to be a snide remark, but it actually could make this Aerowind a better riding and less cumbersome bike. And solve the sloppy crown race issue.
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Old 05-16-24, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
Once built, you definitely need to re-enact that promo video, Andy. Where might that bridge be?
I think [MENTION=381793]gugie[/MENTION] knows where it is. Somewhere in California. Probably on the Tourica route.
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Old 05-16-24, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
I think [MENTION=381793]gugie[/MENTION] knows where it is. Somewhere in California. Probably on the Tourica route.

Bixby Bridge, Big Sur Many a commercial filmed on it
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Old 05-16-24, 10:00 PM
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The Depoe Bay Bridge in Oregon might be a serviceable fill-in.

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Old 05-16-24, 11:14 PM
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I can't answer any important questions just yet. I'm too busy crying tears of joy.
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Old 05-17-24, 12:53 AM
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I got a little bit of work done on the headset tonight, and now I have pictures to share. Let me start with the visual reference of what I'm working with.



Following the classic rat rod tradition, I don't intend to do anything about the rust, apart from scraping it away from the threads. I guarantee it will not cause structural damage within the expected service life of this bike. On close inspection, there may be a slight taper at the bottom of the steerer, but that may just be deformation. The crown race itself has a lot of internal taper. It's downright conical. I honestly have no idea what the design is here. The good new is that the chrome is in great shape!

Does this look round to you? The threaded parts came unscrewed so it must not be too far off, but it looks kind of ovoid to me.



A test fit with the stem adapter seems to confirm, but I've definitely seen worse.



The pieces of the headset cleaned up reasonably well. As is typical for a bike that has seen more neglect than abuse, there's no pitting or other serious damage.



The fork ends have the usual 95-ish mm spacing. The good news is this gives me motivation to break out my fork tools.



No, no, no. This will not do.



Better? You'll never see an AeroWind with better alignment, and I don't mean that in a good way.





(I probably should have prefaced this with a trigger warning for any OCD readers.)

In case you are concerned that I'm not treating this project with the dignity it deserves, let me put your mind at ease by showing you the precision shim I used for the crown race.



With everything cleaned and greased, I was ready to put it back together. Unfortunately, my woodworking vise wasn't strong enough to get the top race back on.



I'm going to need to find the vice grips before I can go any further. I can't imagine how they would get lost in my garage.
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Old 05-17-24, 01:08 AM
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Found 'em! They were put away in a logical place, which accounts for the difficulty locating them. This is why I leave things out.



There's a bit of a gap between the upper cup and its race, but if I tighten it down any more it starts binding, so I guess this is the way it's meant to be. I triple checked that I didn't have either set of bearings in upside down.

The top race was a struggle through every single turn. It felt like I was cutting new threads as I went, and maybe I was. I'm very confident it will hold its adjustment. The lock nut went on without a problem. The damage you see to the lock nut is from the removal process.
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Old 05-17-24, 03:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
Found 'em! They were put away in a logical place, which accounts for the difficulty locating them. This is why I leave things out.



There's a bit of a gap between the upper cup and its race, but if I tighten it down any more it starts binding, so I guess this is the way it's meant to be. I triple checked that I didn't have either set of bearings in upside down.

The top race was a struggle through every single turn. It felt like I was cutting new threads as I went, and maybe I was. I'm very confident it will hold its adjustment. The lock nut went on without a problem. The damage you see to the lock nut is from the removal process.
Firstly, cool fork tools!

Second, is my guess is that the ovalization of the steering tube was a purposeful attempt to properly misalign the headset at the factory...

When a SN is that long, quality control is not considered...
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Old 05-17-24, 06:12 AM
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The lava lap is a nice touch
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Old 05-17-24, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by thinktubes
The lava lap is a nice touch
Itís important to have the right tools available when you need them. Sadly, this one doesnít even work correctly. The lava sticks to the side. It was my daughterís and I took it into the garage to see if I could fix it. I couldnít and just havenít bothered to dispose it. I guess Iím waiting for Ridwell to make lava lamps their category of the month.
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