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Friday, March 16, 2012

Bicycle Craft

Most off-the-shelf bicycles sold at most bicycle shops are assembled by children.  Well, young adults, but my point is many of these mechanics are really not, and have no real experience.  If you want an off-the-shelf bicycle, I have some of those.  Let me professionally assemble one for you, and when you take a test ride you will notice the difference.  But what I really want to sell you is my Bicycle Craft and a bicycle put together based on your needs and desires; a Pake or Soma steel frame do-it-all bicycle that you may ride for the rest of your life.  Bicycle Craft begins with a raw frame that gets professionally prepared.  I learned how to do this from Carl Strong (yes, I'm name dropping).  Let me show you:

The first thing I do is ream and face the head tube.  This removes any burrs and excess paint allowing the headset cups to sit flush against the head tube.  This means your headset will not make noise.  No creak.  Notice the before and after pictures.

Before.  Note the excess paint.

After.  Smooth and clean.

Next, I chase the threads in the bottom bracket shell and face the end(s) of the shell.

This removes the paint and allows the bottom bracket to sit flush against the shell.  Again, no creaking sounds.

Notice several things here.  The drive side of the bottom bracket shell and the bottom bracket have a perfect interface.  Also, the customer wants an inexpensive yet very durable bicycle, so I use a traditional JIS taper bottom bracket and crankset.  No, I'm not even going to get into why I think it is really stupid for normal non-racer types to spend hundreds of dollars on a bottom bracket and bunches of hundreds of dollars on a crankset.  This entire bicycle is less than $800 (before labor).

Then, I ream the seat tube.  Also, all eyelets, bosses, and braze-ons are chased.  A word about brakes:  Cheap V-brakes work better than traditional cantilevers and are much easier to adjust.  Mal-adjusted V-brakes work just as good as perfectly adjusted cantis.  However, linear pull road levers (Tektro 520A) are required with 26.0 mustache bars.  The bars will get wrapped once the customer decides on bar flip and lever position (now the bars and levers are in the aggressive position).  Other important steps:  true wheels, adjust hubs, lube and pre-stretch cables, check the chain line, and fine tune the brake pad placement.  This bike will eventually get wood fenders, a rear rack and basket, and a front wood bottomed basket.  Yep, I better flip the bars over in the rise position and move the levers back in front of the bend.  What do you think Peter?  I think this is a really special bicycle.  By the way, she's going to get a 52 cm.  This thing built up way too big.  Now I get to start over.  It's all good though.  Now there is a 54 cm on the floor for folks to test ride.  Also, I'm keeping my saddle and pedals.

I have missed working with my hands.  Ouch.

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