Sunday, April 7, 2013

LEARNING, RESEARCH, TOOLS and other things of two wheels

I have been busy but don’t have much tangible to show for all the effort that has been expended.  After my first look at a Sonic-Weld like spine frame I decided I needed more learning about frame design and construction.  So I dragged out two fairly well respected books on the subject of motorcycle design and fabrication.

Of course this lead to other sources of information and so time just evaporated away like on a hot day in a draught summer.  But I have learned much and feel much better about what I’m trying to do.

As for the tools there has been a drastic management shift in the upper echelons of my employer so I will have to give up access to the TIG welder.  While this loss is semi-irritating I have stepped back and outfitted my UNIWELD Airline torch with more tips.  This range of tips will give me the right size for welding pretty much any type and thickness of material I’m likely to use on this build.  I haven’t given up on TIG just don’t have the kind of access I need to learn it at the moment.

I have had one bit of a set back regarding the JAP SV.  I thought I had a solution to the rear brake linkage.  I thought, but when put to the test the linkage failed semi-dramatcially and locked up the rear wheel.  All low speed and nothing got damaged.  Well only my ego because I thought it was a nice clean little bit of work.  Good thing I tested it down the alley and not on the open road.

As winter finally gives way to some sort of spring weather I have taken the time to get my other two wheeled passion in riding shape.  I also took the time to clean up and get prepared a loaner single speed that a friends needs the last bit of June.  Both pretty unusual bikes in certain respects.  Got them free of the winter storage and did a bit of clean up and tune up.  Along with some new tubes and tires.

                                         My Proteus

The Proteus started as a used frame I was able to snag.  It was silver brazed by the firm called Proteus someplace of the east coast.  I can’t remember all the details.  However were the first shop that an amateur could get small quantities of bike building supplies from way back in the 60s and 70s.  They also built custom frames.  This particular frame was built using a then new 531 Mountain Tube set from Reynolds.  Conventional wisdom suggests this frame would be too small for my 6’ 1 ½” fat old body.  However the top tube size is perfect and the bike rides and fits a dream.

And the unusual bit doesn’t stop there.  I’m running a set of Chris King single speed hubs on Rhyno Lite rims.  This gives me the same length spokes in the front and rear wheels.  I also am running 6 cogs on the single speed hub.  Because the hub is a full width flanged hub the spoke length is the same side to side because there is no dish.  Up front I have a classic set of Cook Brothers Dog Bone cranks on a White Industries TI bottom bracket with sealed bearings along with three chain rings and no shifter.  I’m lazy, old and not a racer so it’s pretty easy for me to read the road/trail ahead and decide which ring I need to be in.  Stop reach down and move the chain by hand.  No I don’t find it bothersome.  While losing on the fly shifting I lost the weight of the shifter on the bars and the front derailleur and cable.  The rear is controlled by a Sunture mountain thumb shifter and the brakes and levers are from Paul’s Components.  The seat post is a White and all of the skewers for the seat and wheels are something TI.  And of course the seat is a Brooks Conquest.  The bars are from Jeff Jones and are his H-Bar in TI.  The headset is a classic Campy off road bit that has been ok but a bit disappointing because I can’t keep it tight for some reason.  And the new tires are Fat Franks.   Love the tires.  They are a 2.35 and fill my fame but the ride is Most Excellent!

                                         Schwinn Paramount Mountain R30

This is the bike road in Baghdad for two years while on contract for NATO.  I did some research before I bid on this bike.  What I remember is that it was the mid range of the Paramount mountain line, I think in the 90s, and was silver brazed by a respected contract frame building firm on the Pacific Rim. The frame is Tange doubled butted tube set of Chromalloy.  It came pretty much as you see it.  Ryhno Lite rims, Avid Shorty 4 brakes and Paul’s CX levers.  The bars are an alloy Jeff Jones version of the H-Bar made by TiTec.  The hubs are from Surly.  All in all for a single speed messenger type bike I really still like it.  And the bottom bracket as a durable Tange.  This frame is sized about the same as my Proteus.  I didn’t care about any frame dimension except for the top tube length.  And of course it is perfect for me.  What I found is that with even moderately moving city traffic I could out maneuver and out run just about all of the big heavy armored traffic that was on the road in Baghdad.  It was also my escape vehicle.  That is a story for another time I think.

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