Monday, January 31, 2011

The big bike build - part I

For the last several years I have been riding my mountain bike to work, it takes about 80 minutes along the Fish Lake Trail.  All my friends tell me a thinner set of tires would make the trip faster.  I suppose the quick solution would be to buy a set of tire and change them out on my mountain bike, however, anytime I wanted to mountain bike the tires would need to be changed out again.  My solution was to get a new bike, or more accurately, build myself a new bike from scratch over the winter months.  I bought a frame and front forks for a touring bike from Nashbar Bikes then a headset, stem and handle bars.

The first difficulty to overcome was to get the headset onto the frame.  The front forks have a ring at the base that needed to be filed down, I had to go to a local bike shop in order to find this out.  This was simple enough I bought a $10 file and worked it down until the ring for the headset seated properly.  The cups were a bit more difficult to install into the frame.  All the videos on youtube used a special expensive compression tool to install, usually any excuse to buy a tool is sufficient.  I decided to make my own compression tool out of a threaded rod, two, nuts and a slew of washer.  My makeshift tool worked pretty good once I used the proper alignment tool, a large monkey wrench used like a hammer, since I live in an apartment I am sure my neighbors did not appreciate this all to much.  The last step in preparing the front forks for installation into the frame involved cutting the pipe down to fit the stem.  Again instead of buying the expensive tool specifically for bike the local Bi-Mart provided an equivalent tool known as a pipe cutter, costs about $8.00.  If you can't tell I a bit of a penny pincher. I had to cut the pipe twice, the first time it was too long, always a better option than being too short, I would have had to buy a new set of front forks, and I really do not like spending extra money.

Just a historical note here, Orville and Wilber Wright were bike makers before they flew the very first airplane at Kitty Hawk.  The thought kind of makes me feel a little more adventuresome.

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