RVL's Ugly Ducklings

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  • I've just moved house and discharged my heap of ongoing projects into one corner of a new mancave.
    Whilst we await planning consent on our new gaff I anticipate a lull in the DIY schedule enabling a little build-action....
    I've still got the Gillott on the go (glacial pace), but there's a horde of other projects up my sleeve that I'll lump together in a single thread.
    Previously, when I inhabited a 8' x 6' shed my bike policy was
    1) Proper Road bike (De Rosa)
    2) Utility everyday fixed (Duratec)
    3) Transport of delight (or the +1 in my n+1 if you prefer).

    Typicaly the ToD is vintage steel - sometimes shiny, sometimes ratty - here are some recent candidates

    (all have since been sold except the Bob Rat which is a bit too nice & fits too well to ever let go of).
    A substantially bigger garden/outbuildings means a revision of the n+1 policy (i.e. an expansion of the current stable...)

    I'll be needing a new MTB sometime soon as I've agreed to Transalp in 2014 or 2015 so I'll have to re-learn bike handling by then....
    I'm planning a spot of rough-stuff/CX sportives etc over the winter so I'll be needing a CX-ish bike too (so hot right now I'm told), and the new gaff has H10/10 on the doorstep (Drift Road) so a TT bike in time for spring would also seem sensible.
    Then there's the promise to my wife and daughter that they'd get something classy too, so their builds will figure in this thread...

    In my bike bags I have a selection of frames that I've saved from the tip - these will form the basis for the above projects.
    I've become the bicycle equivalent of one of those cat fanciers to whom the RSPCA send strays... living ankle deep in cat piss generally overwhelmed by their inability to control their compassion.....
    The basic plan is to assemble the contents of these bike bags into rolling projects and get some idea of whether they have any future in my stable, if not, like the +1's above we can let them go. This means I can empty the parts bins of accumulated crap for a fresh clean start...

    Being a frugal type I shall endeavour to use everything in the bins and purchase as little as I can get away with....
    Along the way I hope to hone my craft skills, share a few laughs and learn some new stuff. I shall attempt to make at least a little progress each and every day...
    Ah, but will there be drillium I hear you say? Rest assured that there will be...

  • We'll start off with the CX/Roughstuff bike.

    The story here begins with a call a couple of weeks back from my mother-in-law saying their neighbour (reclusive computergeek) had run out of lock-up space during a house move, and did I want his bike...
    I agreed anticipating something dull and was pleasantly surprised to find this.

    All it needs to be rideable are some of those curly handlebars.
    With that in mind I combed forum classifieds and acquired Ultegra bra-ends & Tektro RL520's. There was a Cinelli Pinocchio in my office desk, and I picked up some tidy 3T drops on ebay. all it needs is a new reel of bike ribbon - I'll get cracking on the assembly tonight.

    I'm not wild about the saddle either, so I dug a San Marco/Pirelli out of the parts bin.
    For the time being I'll fit Look deltas for road use & address CX pedal/shoe issue later.

  • Didn't quite finish it last night but it's certainly shaping-up well
    Just need to sort cabling & pedals, dial position and then wrap the bars and we're there...

  • Whilst I await a spare moment to thread cables, tape bars and persuade the pedals off, I can start the next project....
    There's certainly not been much mechanical jiggery-pokery on the Marin, although sorting front brake hanger & removing the apparently siezed pedals may be a bit of a game.
    By contrast, the next project will be rather fettle-intensive...

    When I bid for the 3T drops above, the seller also had an unknown MTB frame which I identified as an early '90's Shogun Trailbreaker
    Sadly could not resist - chiefly because I was the only bidder at 99p but also because I quite like 90's Steel. Looks like we have a basis for the Transalp training bike!!

    My idea is a dirt-Jump-rat-bike to see if I can learn to handle mtb again...
    When the time for commitment to Transalp comes, I'll drop cash on a Dialled Alpine and transfer parts.
    Hence I'm looking to build with kit worthy of Transalp (although to keep costs down I'll probably start SS & gear up later).

    Usual story, I flogged downhill rig cos I just wasn't using it, and a few days later my brother arrives in the UK for the summer with a new 29er keen to get it muddy.

    Whilst shouldering the Shogun home it dawned on me that I'd cocked-up....
    Low end 90's XC bikes have 1" forks... decent forks are 1.125" ... swapping steerers on modern boingy-forks is non-trivial....

    Options as follows...
    1) Buy pre-2007 Marzocchi fork, find someone with a fly-press, remove steerer... Find someone to turn stepped steerer (1" steerer to fit 1.125" crown) .
    2) Find suitable old-school 1" fork (e.g. late 90's bomber, Pace RC35, Judy etc) and deal with the flex and short travel
    3) Find suitably sized steel pipe. Get someone to weld it to outside of headtube (top & bottom). Ream inside to fit 1.125" headset.
    4) Weld cups of a steel 1.125" aheadset to top and bottom of existing headtube...

    Putting vernier to existing headtube I have an OD of 34.4mm and an ID of 29.85mm - there must be some solution here... I know I should cut my losses, walk away and find something with a 1.125" headtube, but it's an amusing project, and with an investment of 99p I've nothing to lose....

  • Analysis of "inverse shim" options:

    *1) Flypress/turned steerer: *
    Tempting, but I'd imagine total cost could be prohibitive - I'm aiming £10ish + beer for welder.... Were the frame more exotic/valuble and not to be chopped this would be the way to go.

    *2) Period correct forks: *
    I'm loathed to pay retrotwat-tax on inferior forks that I won't like riding and can't transfer to Transalp dream-machine....

    3) Weld reinforcement & ream:
    1.125" forks in 1" headtube - not uncommon in BMX (but BMX headtubes are much meatier and bigger)
    I've seen this in a blog but it raised 2 issues.
    a) I'm not planning to braze so the idea of brass wicking up the perfectly toleranced/clinically clean gap between reinforcement & headtube is a bit fanciful.... - this is going to be a proper ghetto job - Arc welding (or MIG if I'm lucky).
    b) Reaming headtube to fit cups - I've had a scratch around in the drawers at work and none of the adjustable reamers are anywhere near big enough so it looks like the reaming would need to be left to a frame-builder...
    The only framebuilders I can think of who'd ream headtubes for beer are Cycles Maximus and I don't live in Bath anymore, and I bet they're all posh and executive by now.

    4) Weld cups of a steel 1.125" aheadset to headtube: Do they even make steel aheadsets? If so this probably looks like the way forward... If I could chamfer inside of the headtube and mod the cups to fit (The only risk is heat distorting headset cups).

  • I've discovered that micro-scooters of the sort used by grotty adolescents are rocking 1.125" steel Aheadsets! - Splendid
    I've purchased one from woolyhatshop for £6 including delivery, and am reaching for my dremel as I write.

  • but it's certainly shaping-up well

    Agreed, its certainly got something about it.

    Analysis of "inverse shim" options:

    1) Flypress/turned steerer:
    Tempting, but I'd imagine that the total cost would be prohibitive - I'm looking to try and do this lot for £10ish + beer for welder....
    Were the frame something a bit more exotic/valuble such that it would be sacrilidge to chop into, this might well be the way to go...

    i think i'd of backed this option, i have access to a lathe and 20 ton press though...

  • ^ I agree it's probably the safest, but in addition to lathe/press access there's also the issue of relative value of the frame and forks.
    In this particular case the frame is approximately worthless, if I don't use it as a jump bike It'll go to the tip...
    Hence I'm more inclined to trash the frame rather than risk ending up with a slightly undersized steerer slopping about inside a slightly opened up hole in an expensive fork crown....

  • While I wait for the headset to arrive I shall prep the headtube.
    The plan is to counterbore top and bottom of headtube. I managed to blag a sheet metalworkers holesaw with a range of bores and will fettle the cup to suit the most appropriate hole size that the saw can cut as shown in the diagram below.

    Once I've achieved a neat and tidy interference fit I can pass it on to someone with an ARC or MIG welder in the hope it can be held firmly (without thermal distortion).

    The hole saw has the following sizes: 26.9875mm, 30.1625mm, 33.3375mm, 36.5125mm, 39.6875mm
    Since I'm looking for 29.85-34.4 the preferred option is 30.1625 (1 3/16") - I'm a bit scared of 33.3375 in case I don't keep a steady hand and break out of the tube!

  • Dug out my £12 Wickes power drill and showed the headtube what's what.
    According to my calipers I now have OD 34.4 ID of 30.3mm (2.05mm walls) - counterbore is 3.5mm deep

    Having slept on this I realise I've been to hasty and should have thought it through.....
    Now I'm no longer intoxicated with power tools I've realised the error of my ways... A 1.125" fork steerer measures 28.6mm and headset cup OD is 34.1mm-ish... Wall thickness on a typical 1.125" cup is ~2mm so the ID is ~30.1mm
    Hence if I reduce cup OD to fit my counterbore I'm left with a cup of wall thickness 0.1mm.......

    I'm now thinking about an alternative solution...
    Headtube has OD 34.4mm (incl paint) Cup OD is 34.1mm
    If I can acquire 42.4mm tube with 4mm wall & weld it to headset cup I have a cup that can be welded to the outside of a 1" headtube!
    Splendid.
    (Alternative tube would be 1.5" x 14swg tubing (OD 38.1mm, ID of 34.04mm))

    Cup I measured has an insertion depth 10mm so a couple of rings of height 20mm should do the trick. This will further dick with the handling by jacking headtube even higher, but this is the price to pay for big forks on rigid bikes - a common problem back in the day

    The bit of headtube I've removed won't cause problems, it'll help keep things concentric.

    I'll need to find somewhere to buy some tubing off-cuts - a 500mm length is available for ~£5 + £5delivery on ebay, but that's way more than the bikes worth so I'll try shopping locally first!

    In other news, I've threaded the gear cables & rear brake on the Marin and managed to remove the pedals by showing them flying fist of judah (lump hammer to persuade spanner).

  • Would be great if you could give me some more info on this, was it your belter bike for summer days steaming along, what gearing did you run?

  • Sad story on that bike. I sold it to a very nice young lady and a few weeks later it got nicked from her balcony.
    Wheels came up on ebay a few months back and I think she reported them to the police - It seems the build has been parted out across ebay and the frame probably left the country!

    Full spec & extra pics are on my pedalroom
    Drivetrain was debadged, but comprised Campag Chorus 52T chainset on a Miche Primato BB, Suntour Sprint Hubs and Suntour GPX rear mech, Regina 14-21 block and a single plastic shimano SIS d/t shifter.

    It went like stink and I loved riding it

    I used it all last summer for commuting everyday (Conti Sprinter Tubs), Sunday riding, evening laps of the park etc, I loved riding it but couldn't justify shed space for it over the winter and needed the dosh for L'Eroica, so I sold it last Autumn.

    I'm not 100% sure that it's a Barry Chick as Leo RC used Lo Pro's from various sources and stuck shorter stickers on them - one guy I met said his shorter was an Olmo!

  • What a shame a. you sold it and b. it was stolen!

    Am toying with a 1x8/9 for summer belting around the Chilterns. Thanks for the info...

  • You'd probably want something a bit smaller than a 52 up front for the Chilterns.
    In my teens I had a 48T chainring on a 1x6 perfectly good in the Purbecks which were also quite hilly.

  • The steel headset has arrived (big up the woolyhatshop for such prompt shipping)
    As expected it measures 31.1 ID, 34.1 OD (1.5mm wall thickness on the bit that goes into the headtube) - and as promised it is indeed steel.
    Whilst I hunt a suitable metal pipe and dial the position on the Marin I can start thinking about the next project.

    Not made a decision on what's next on the hit-list, so I though it might be worth a quick recap of what's in my bag....

    1) BobRat (1961 Bob Jackson track frame) - Comfortable fixed for long distances/TT bike/Rad bike.
    2) Percy Pink (Stallard Zakopane)- Proper girly classic-lightweight, primarily for daughter Rose, but also suitable for the good lady
    3) Matt Black Roadster (Raleigh Superbe) - Modern take on a Raleigh all-steel - Like a Pashley but better - for the good lady
    4) Pre-War beater (Claud Butler road frame with integrated headset) - Not sure that I'll keep this, it needs plenty of work so I'll build a budget SS Beater for family rides/pubs/theft-proofing and see if I like it.
    5) 70's Chas Roberts TT - 531c with drilled lugs/slotted BB will form the basis of a classic road bike to last forever as a sunday bike/winter trainer etc

    The build I'm most excited about is the Roberts but it's probably the most labour intensive so I'll kick off with the BobRat.

  • Marin now fully cabled up and rideable.

    Whilst hunting cable ferrules I was sidetracked by the Van Looy vinyl stash in the corner and thought period correct tunes for the job in hand may be beneficial...
    I'm not 100% sure when Marin released the Stinson, but tonights cable threading session seemed best soundtracked by Lush & Portishead/Ride.
    LUSH - Undertow - YouTube

    Ride - moonlight medicine (Portishead remix) - YouTube


    Womb-like sounds in the mancave - shit just got Freudian.

    I had a hunt through the Look deltas accumulating in my parts bin and thought the best match for the Marin would be grey PP56.
    Unfortunately the RH pedal had completely siezed due to criminal neglect - after riding home from the very muddy 2012 Phoenix Easter classic I couldn't be arsed to wash the bike so I left it out in the rain for a week, oiled the chain and hung it in the shed for 18mths - that may have had something to do with it!
    I've been riding Deltas since the 90's and never seen this so I thought I'd have a go at dismantling/Servicing this pedal.

    As with most things in the bike world, the original design was intended for easy maintenance and later iterations for planned obsolecense, which is always a bit more of a design challenge.... The basic rule is that if there's a dust cap on the outside (either the pepper pot or plastic hex-nut) you're in business. if not your choice is acquire/improvise a special plastic wrench or wegschmeissen

    I had a quick squizz on the internets to see if I could find an exploded drawing - Apparently there is one in Leonard Zinn's "Zinn and the art of bicycle maintenance". I do not have a copy of this volume for 2 reasons.

    1) I do not wish to support such a smugly entitled book - I could imagine how pleased he probably is with himself for coming up with that name - in fact he probably came up with the name before the book. nauseating
    2) I think his whole schtick re: silly length cranks is bollocks. I'm all for riding a bike that fits you, but all this bikefit-bedwetting seems daft to me.

    In the case of PP56, there's a pepper pot dustcap that is unscrewed with needle nose pliers. Inside it's held together with a single Nyloc nut which, once removed (11mm nutrunner/socket) means pedal can be dismantled with a good whallop on outer end of pedal axle.

    It's a lovely simple design free from circlips and all the other tat you used to get on Time Impacts etc.
    There's a ball bearing race on the outside

    and a needle bearing by the crank thread.

    Bearing tension is set by the nut, as per a standard pedal.
    In my case problems were with the needle bearing which I cleaned with petroleum ether and then greased up liberally - this got things moving. Because needle rollers are in a nylon cage I was too scared to remove them and cleaned and greased in situ.

    The cartridge ball bearing at the other end could be knocked out with a screwdriver and although it looked pretty grotty, it cleaned up ok and likewise was liberally greased.

    With the axle re-inserted there was quite a lot of lateral play (pedal/bearings could slide along the axle until nyloc nut protruded beyond the pedal). I thought this seemed a little bit strange, but given the industrial strength dustcap I wondered if it might be a design feature.... reattaching cap took up the play in the pedal.....

    Pedals spinning nicely and we're good to go (lesson learned about leaving race bike outside in the rain).

  • Not made a decision on what's next on the hit-list, so I though it might be worth a quick recap of what's in my bag....

    1) BobRat (1961 Bob Jackson track frame) - Comfortable fixed for long distances/TT bike/Rad bike.
    2) Percy Pink (Stallard Zakopane)- Proper girly classic-lightweight, primarily for daughter Rose, but also suitable for the good lady
    3) Matt Black Roadster (Raleigh Superbe) - Modern take on a Raleigh all-steel - Like a Pashley but better - for the good lady
    4) Pre-War beater (Claud Butler road frame with integrated headset) - Not sure that I'll keep this, it needs plenty of work so I'll build a budget SS Beater for family rides/pubs/theft-proofing and see if I like it.
    5) 70's Chas Roberts TT - 531c with drilled lugs/slotted BB will form the basis of a classic road bike to last forever as a sunday bike/winter trainer etc

    The build I'm most excited about is the Roberts but it's probably the most labour intensive so I'll kick off with the BobRat.

    What about you daughter's pink frame?

  • ^ It's Percy Pink (item 2) in the above list.
    I'm also working on another project for her, a vintage 90's Kona mtb, more of that next week.....

    Armenian project is looking good by the way.

  • Missed this thread RvL. I'm still a bit upset about that Shorter. :(

  • Me too. Looks like I'll be doing RotFL - see you there.

  • Another quick hit project emerges from the stable: Lava Dome for the Ladies!
    Got this one from a chap at work who found he couldn't even give it away!

    Scrubs up quite nice so now we can party like it's 1998

    In my recollection, we partied in a number of different ways back in 1998, sifting through the vinyl, some favourite cuts from that memorable year were
    http://www.last.fm/music/Sofa+Surfers/_/­The+Plan+%28Aphrodite+remix%29
    Flytronix - contemporary accousticz jam (origin unknown remix) - YouTube

    Skitz - Fingerprints Of The Gods FEAT Roots Manuva, Life, Si-Phillie & Skeleton - YouTube

    Spiritualized Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space - YouTube

    Happy days.
    That said, most of my memories/recollections of going out at that time sound (in hindsight) more like this...
    Surreal Madrid-Girls Of The Night - YouTube

  • Completed pics of the Marin here.
    Don't think it's true love, but too early to say really!

  • MTB Build
    I fitted h/set, forks etc to Shogun but then I saw a nice black Kona scab on the ebay for £15, proper steel jump bike with ritchey dropouts and all, so I bought it....

    It took ages to arrive so meanwhile conscious of the economics of this project I flogged the Shogun ... When the scab arrived I discovered a flared headtube so after the usual tedious ebay wrangling I got a refund leaving me with no frame - all that work and still no biek.

    In the end I purchased this commencal frame from bower (of this parish) - it came with a chain headset cups and Thomson seatpost. KamalRB kindly donated a pair of nitto risers, gusset stem & grips from his old BB17 and PlasticPedals made a generous offer for Shimano saint c/set & bb.


    I've stuck the Kona wheels on for the purpose of demonstration and like the look so far... I'm planning to fit reasonably decent wheels and brakes so I've sold the Marin above to a friend of Alfie's to fund the build. (I discovered my Duratec will take 28mm tyres so I won't be needing a winter bike this year!)

  • I was just about to write "update??" when i saw this.

    The bike looks nice. Have been riding the marin? Any progress on Percy Pink?

  • I'm planning to fit reasonably decent wheels and brakes so I've sold the Marin above to a friend of Alfie's to fund the build. (I discovered my Duratec will take 28mm tyres so I won't be needing a winter bike this year!)

    Ah, that solves the question i asked earlier about the Marin.

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RVL's Ugly Ducklings

Posted by Avatar for Rik_Van_Looy @Rik_Van_Looy

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