Yes! whenever bicycles are broken, or menaced by international communism, Bicycle Repair Man is ready!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Arrival of Big Blue

The black Diamond Back did sell after all, although I had to swap the flat bar for risers. No biggie.

The red one is almost done now - I still have to replace the saddle and give it the final adjustments (cantilever brakes are miserable). I found a nice old Ritchey Mega Bite tire for the rear. A bit knobby for city use but very nice in the mud or gravel.

This bike also has odd 18-speed under bar STIs - with a single lever. I don't like them, they are hard to use and slow, but still seem to be pretty accurate.

Also picked up another freebie today - an absolutely gigantic frame. Not sure what's under that blue paint, but I suspect it might be an old Asama or Norco...?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Renewing Axle Cones

One of the side projects I do for bike builds is bearing overhauls.

Most folks consider cones and races to be disposable. Not here! They are only really disposable if you have a ready supply of new ones. I do not. Nor do I really want to fork over $7 for a new axle/cone set when a new hub is "only" $20.

Generally the races are good. So, it's just the cones that need replacing, right? But finding a matching new cone is troublesome too - so many combinations of sizes and depths!

Re-enter the venerable Drummond lathe. The process is simple - chuck a cone in the lathe, spin it, grind a new bearing surface on it, removing any pitting. I use the rotary tool (Dremel) to do the initial grinding.

The process also works for headset crown races and bottom bracket spindles. When I want an exceptionally nice job I will polish first with 600 grit wet/dry (and oil), then with Veritas green honing compound. Mirror finish, better than the original cast metal!

It's nice to make something pretty, even if it's going to get hidden.

None of the rotating parts on a bike go fast or hot enough to require anything more precise than a practiced hand. This isn't an perfect solution, either - the grinding will most certainly strip off any case-hardening; but, with regular maintenance further damage can be avoided.

Is it economical? Not hardly. It takes an hour or two to clean, align, grind and polish one cone or race. Even longer for races if regular cleanout is required. I've only ground out a hub once, and it was much more difficult than an axle cone.

These pictures are of a front axle cone, before (top) and after (below).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

[Red] Diamond Back

Interest in the black Diamond Back has been underwhelming, so I think I'll put fenders on it and/or drop the price.

The red Diamond Back isn't nearly so much of a nice bike. Stamped horizontal dropouts and a heavier frame make me sure it's a later model, perhaps made by a holding company who bought the name. Oh well, it's not terrible, and the single-lever STI rapid fires are unusual.

I also collected another donor bike for overhaul, it's a low end Canadian Tire bike. "Falcon" components look like copies of Shimano's cheap stuff, or maybe it is produced under license? I don't know.

It has steel rims (ugh) but very little wear or rust. I will probably tune it up on the cheap and take it to the OBB swap meet.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Black Diamond [Back]

I sold the white Sekine today and finished up another bike, the black Diamondback.

Rigid fork, new headset, all tuned up. Have posted it for sale as a commuter... it's almost collectible, but I can't be bothered to find a rich collector. All the good stuff (frame, XT kit) is really too scratched up to be that collectible. Although perhaps there's someone who likes genuine "patina" ?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Diamondback #1: 1990 Avenir

To re-do the lettering on the Sekine, I got a gloss black Testor's paint marker and did it freehand. It shows!

My queue was arranged such that a black Diamond Back came before the red one. This one is from 1990, has no decals, and very dated white spatter on black.

I stuck a Trek fork on it and have assembled a motley crew of Shimano components. The crown jewels are the XT thumbies - not in good enough condition to be sold on eBay but certainly good for a 21 speed MTB commuter.

I need to get a decent seatpost for it - the only one I have that fits is a bit small and steel. With all the other alloy components, it deserves better.

A few days back I picked up two freebie bikes - one pretty rough, was abandoned - a Sears-sold Jeep frame. I've cannibalized it for consumables and will likely cut it up for scrap. I don't want to sell another liability!

Friday, April 2, 2010

5-speed Sekine

After much work, the white Sekine is rideable again.

I'm not overly proud of this one, but it's miles better than when I started. I ground new bearing surfaces on the bottom bracket and headset race, repacked the hubs, and replaced the rusty fork with a decent chrome Ishiwata one.

Unfortunately the 700c fork and 27" rims mean very little clearance for a front fender. As such I am leaving the dented fenders off for now - and I will suggest its future owner upgrade to 700c wheels at their earliest convenience.

Next up: the first of two early 90s Diamond Back MTBs. Lovely red spatter paint!