Oct 242011
 

I got the frame and fork back from the powder coaters just in time for the weekend so I spent Saturday reassembling the bike. I love the way the finish come out. Even though I know it is stronger than paint I was still afraid of scratching and chipping. After several slips with wrenches I was convinced the finish was on there for good and would provide plenty of protection from the road and weather.

Assembly went off without a hitch. Had to replace one damaged brake cable but other than that a good cleaning is all that was needed for the parts that were to be reused. I think the wheels need to be trued, never tried it so maybe I’ll just let the shop handle that job. There is not much else to say besides how happy I am with how the bike looks and I just wish Powder Coating was a little less expensive.

Cost Breakdown:

  • Bike – Free, thanks to my uncle
  • Powder Coating – $206
  • Tool Kit – $45 but reusable
  • Seat – $29
  • Bottom Bracket – $13
  • Grip Tape – $5
  • Brake Cable – $3

Such a nice clean looking and uncluttered bike if I do say so myself. Next bike will have to be a fixed gear bike, but I think I’m supposed to build a poker table first. Maybe I’ll post that project here too even though it has nothing to do with transportation.

 Posted by at 3:56 pm
Oct 092011
 

I decided to start cleaning the Ross bike to get it ready for the Fall riding season. Fall? Yes, it has finally arrived, although a little late, to Texas. The bike needs a complete shake down to make it ready for the long rides I have planned for it. Possibly the MS150 in April.

I made a checklist and placed an order at my favorite online bike store: nashbar.com. I can always find a good deal or two on their site and catalogs.

Here is what I had planned:

  • Replace the seat.
  • Replace the bottom bracket, the one in there was in bad shape.
  • Replace the handle bar grips.
  • Repack the wheel bearings.
  • Clean, Clean, Clean, this thing has a nice layer of dust, grease and surface rust.

I started by taking the wheels off and repacking the bearings. They are now spinning much better.

Then I removed the cranks and bottom bracket. The tool kit I ordered from nasbar is really nice but did not contain the tools for removing a 35 year old bottom bracket. A pipe wrench was a great substitute tool for this job. I have a nice Shimano sealed bearing that will go back in, the kit has the tool for that job.

I ordered a nice split seat to try out and it will go on in place of the temporary seat that was on there before.

I also ordered a good set of handle bar grip tape that I hope are long enough for the bars (They seem to be longer than modern bars)

Then I started taking parts off to clean and I kept taking parts off to clean until I looked up and noticed I had completely disassembled the bike. I had not planned on taking it this far down but I kept finding more grease residue and rust the further I got in. At this point the bike is going to get a complete make over and I’m really excited.

The bike weighs a lot less than I expected for an all steel bike so I’m going to stick with the stock frame, fork, crankset, brakes and derailer/gear setup. Reusing all these parts will allow me to focus on the finish of the frame and fork. The paint on the Vigilante is not as strong as I would like so this time I’m going to try powder coating. I am not sure on the price for this service yet so I will follow up in another post.

When I decided to go with powder coating I realized I would need to take a few more parts off of the frame. Specifically the fork bearing cups. Guess what, another tool needed that I don’t have and there is a specific tool just for this job. I found this one from Park for around $30:

Not wanting to wait for another order or even pay the price for a gloried piece of pipe I decided to make my own. It cost me the grand sum of $2.48 for the pipe and 10 minutes with the cut-off wheel. Since I have enough pipe to make 4 of them I set the total price of this tool at $0.62. How did it perform? flawlessly! Let me know if you need one, I’ll only charge you a few bucks. Here  is my version:

I’ll put together a price list in the next post…Assembly.

 Posted by at 10:18 pm
Jul 102011
 

I have been casually looking for a second road bike ever since completing
the Vigilante make over. On a recent visit to my aunt and uncles I was given a vintage
Ross road bike. My uncle is veteran triathlete that has decided he will retire
from the sport. He knew I was looking for another bike so he gave me this one.
It is all steel and slightly heavier than my other bike but still in really
good shape. When I got the bike home I gave it a quick top to bottom
inspection. Everything looks pretty solid, the front rim’s bearings look like
they need to be repacked but the wheel still rolls well and the seat no longer
has a cover or padding. All the components need to be cleaned up and the frame
needs to be touched up but I just wanted to get it safe to ride. I removed a
few unneeded items like reflectors and an old saddlebag and borrowed the seat from
my mountain bike. The bike rides nice, it is bigger than the Vigilante but it
actually fits me better and was very comfortable. I plan on stripping the bike
down and inspecting the components further and buy a new seat. Then touch up
the paint and put on a nice thick layer of clear coat. I want to maintain the
classic color and plan to keep it as close to original as possible. Here is a picture
of the bike as I got it.

 

 Posted by at 11:48 pm
Mar 232011
 

So I completed the bike redesign and upgrade project in time for a nice Sunday ride. The bike performed great, it fells like a completely different bike. It was noticeably lighter and more responsive. The new handle bars and grips kept my hands from going numb, especially since I had my gloves on correctly (just kidding CK). The gear derailleurs and brakes worked well. This was a major concern considering I had to remove the cables completely to get the bike apart. I think the only thing left is a little more fine tuning on the headset; an additional 10mm spacer and maybe an 80mm neck will put them exactly where they need to be. Other than that I consider the bike done. The only parts I plan on changing are the ones that wear out and maybe moving to a CO2 kit for flat repairs instead of the bulky pump I have now.

The next major project will be to build a bike from scratch, maybe an all carbon fiber frame with Ultegra components. Then I can pass this bike down to my son since he is getting bigger and showing interest in riding with me.

Here is the ride information as recorded by runtastic. A nice slow ride through the hill country.

http://runtastic.com/en/sport-sessions/1650974-biking-2011-03-20

 Posted by at 1:55 pm
Mar 192011
 

All the paint work is done and I figure the paint was dry enough so lets start putting this thing back together.

Assembly was pretty straight forward. The brake cables were reversed so that took a little modification but otherwise everything else went on exactly how it came off.

One thing I realized right away is that the paint was still soft so I buggered it in quite a few places putting it together. Best case would have been to let it dry two more days but that was not in the schedule if I wanted to make a Sunday ride in less than 24 hours. I have leftover paint so I can always come back and do some touch ups.

Brakes and gear shifters took some time to adjust but nothing too difficult. A jig would come in real handy here.

Handle bar wrap was a breeze. I was scared to mess that one up.

Now for the results:

Amount spent

  • Carbon fork from ebay: $20
  • 90mm neck from Nashbar: $15
  • Aerobar from Nashbar: $15
  • Handle bar tape from local shop: $15
  • Head gear spacer from local shop: $5
  • Spray paint (3 cans): $13
  • Reusable tools from local shop $40
  • Hours in labor: ~40 hours

So out of pocket $83 in parts and $40 in tools that I consider an investment for future projects. Also, time well spent getting to know the ins and outs of my bike and honing a few techniques that can be applied on other projects.

Conclusion

I am very pleased with the final results. The bike feels pounds lighter and It feels more responsive. I like the way the paint came out even though it is far from perfect. It would have taken an additional week on the paint alone to get a near perfect results. I cannot wait to get this thing out on the road and yes I would do it all over again.

I was dared to name the bike and so I did… Vigilante is born!

 Posted by at 4:48 pm
Mar 192011
 

All the prep work is done, ready to paint. It is easy to overlook the amount of time it takes for final prep and dry time.

Five coats of the first color and let dry overnight.

I taped off for the two tone paint scheme and my wife lovingly created contact paper lettering for the name. Then five coats of the second color go on and again let it dry overnight.

Now the protective coat goes on. I decided on a flat clear coat for that stealthy look. And guess what, let it dry overnight.

All the final paint pictures will be on the next post, until then take a look at the new carbon fork compared to the old fork. I thought the old fork was aluminum… I was wrong. It was steel. It weighed almost as much as the frame by itself!

Can’t wait to ride on that carbon fork.

 Posted by at 4:27 pm
Mar 172011
 

So I left off needing a couple of special tools. $40 later I am the owner of a chain tool for removing and installing a chain and a crank remover.

Now the frame is stripped all the way except for the bottom bracket which I do not want to mess with at all (another special tool required).

So I started in with the grinder and sander to remove the old paint and as a bonus remove the external welds. Not going to fool anyone that it is not an aluminum frame but I like the smooth look. After grinding and sanding, one layer of body filler and more sanding. At least two more applications of body filler and sanding would be required for a nice finish but this project is already over budget and off schedule.

Here is a comparison of before and after welds.

Here is the frame ready for paint. Don’t be fooled this is a good day and a half worth of sanding.

Next time, the paint flies.

 Posted by at 9:48 pm
Mar 172011
 

About a year ago a co-worker decided we were going to compete in our first triathlon. I had been running regularly so I figured why not. Then I realized a few things, I needed to learn how to swim correctly and I needed a road bike.

I have a mountain bike but riding 20k on the road on that thing is nothing short of torture so I was going to need a road bike. A few bike stores later and my chin permanently on the floor from sticker shock I head to Academy. There I find in the sea of mountain bikes one road bike: a Schwinn Prelude. At $199 I was sold. Now after a year of riding this bike, both on weekend long rides and at the triathlon I am happy with the purchase. The only modifications have been upgraded rim tape and several tubes. Here is what she looked like Monday morning.

This year we have several co-workers interested in riding with us. On my recommendation one bought a Prelude off ebay for $249 since Academy no longer carries them, now they have only mountain and hybrid bikes. Here is what his looks like.

WHAT! It is beautiful! I can’t even look at my bike now. Something has to be done…

So a plan is hatched, parts are ordered and disassembly begins. Nothing crazy about tearing down a bike, especially after the tear down of my truck project (stay tuned for updates on that one).

No sooner did I get started then I realized I needed not one, but two special tools before I can continue. So here it sits in limbo until I can get to the store. (Improvised work stand performed great)

So until next time…<insert catch phrase here>

 Posted by at 12:54 pm
Mar 172011
 

I decided to move hosting to a professional service instead of maintaining a server at home. I started breaking down the total cost including time spent administrating the system to the cost of energy to keep the server powered on and connected to the Internet. So here is sunlightonchrome’s new home. I think it will be even better than it was before.

I have a few really cool thing I have been working on in the garage that I cannot wait to post. Stay tuned…

 Posted by at 2:09 am