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  1. #1
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    16" Custom Build Project

    My two year old has been riding a Specialized Hotrock 12 for almost a year now and I was idly wondering what the next step would be when I stumbled across this forum and all the amazing builds and mods.

    I decided it would be a good idea to attempt my own build, despite (or rather because of) having very minimal bike mech knowhow I thought it would be a good idea to teach myself more about how bikes are put together so I can do more of my own work on all the kids and my own bikes. My husband (yep I'm a girl) is not into bikes, only motorbikes) and with four kids we have a lot of bikes to service!

    My goal (as well as learning how to do stuff) was to hopefully have a fairly lightweight 16inch bike ready for next Summer when he would be about 3 and a half.

    My enthusiasm somehow got the better of me and the bike is almost done...

    The build so far:

    I picked up a Merida Dakar 616 with an aluminium frame, and started sanding. Gave up and got it blasted Have kept it raw aluminium as I really like the look. At the same time I began buying bits...

    Still waiting for the cranks to arrive from Spawn Cycles, then will do BB, chainring etc and also the brakes at some point. Will do a list of all the parts I've used. Just remembered I still need a seatpost clamp! The one that came with it has disappeared and atm I can't justify the one I really want (red Sinz for a 22.2 seatpost)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 16" Custom Build Project-merida.jpg  

    16" Custom Build Project-stripped-frame-2.jpg  

    16" Custom Build Project-sam_2036.jpg  

    16" Custom Build Project-sam_2042.jpg  


  2. #2
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    Meant to say thank you for all the advice and inspiration I have received on this forum

  3. #3
    Birdman aka JMJ
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    Looks nice so far! I've seen the smaller Salsa LipLock clamps on sale a few times - very nice design with few sharp edges.

    You'll get lots of great advice on this forum.

    JMJ

  4. #4
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    Great looking start. You might try polishing some raw aluminum, see if you like the polished look for this frame.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the tip about the clamp, googling now. GrayJay - I have been umming and ahhing about whether to polish or not. I left it untouched in the end, but I don't know what it will look like once it starts to age a bit. Good idea to try it out on a spare bit of aluminium.

  6. #6
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    Hurry up and grow boy!

    16" Custom Build Project-big-bioke.jpg

  7. #7
    Havok
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    What kind of headset is that? That looks cool.

  8. #8
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    Trailbright Threadless External Headset

    It was only cheap - 17 ($27) It was the lowest stack height I could find without spending a lot of money.

  9. #9
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    One thing I would recommend, is getting a new fork that has V-brake bosses. One of the main reasons I went from a Specialized 16" Hot rock (that I put U-brakes onto), to the 16" Spawn Banshee, was that the U-brakes had no stopping power. If kids aren't confident in their brakes, they won't ride that confident either. You can get by with a u-brake on the back though.

  10. #10
    Havok
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    If you do find a good light weight option for your 16" fork. Let me know, I am looking for one as well.

  11. #11
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    I will see how he goes with the u-brakes first, then probably start the hunt for a fork. Let me know if you find a good one first

  12. #12
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    I just added a front Tektro 984 u-brake along with a 316AG lever and my 3.5 y.o. is stopping himself fine. Of course he's only been riding a pedal bike for one week now so performance braking is not exactly what it's all about. He didn't take to the coaster at all so this is very confidence inspiring for him!

    I will probably have brake studs welded-on down the road as his skills improve, unless a good replacement fork is cheaper.

    One tip on the u-brake for those adding one: disassemble it and bend the return tension spring arms in, to lessen the actuation power needed. Don't bend in the middle or it won't fit back together, instead bend to the outside of the "loops". A pair of pliers is all you need. Also, it has no grease so disassembly is a must.

    I also cleaned the rim with alcohol and then roughed up the black anodizing with a scotch-brite pad to increase grip. Sand paper would be better.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProjectMayhem View Post
    I will see how he goes with the u-brakes first, then probably start the hunt for a fork. Let me know if you find a good one first
    I would see if Spawn sells forks only. Not sure what diameter steerer tube you and it has, but it is a decent fork with V-brake bosses.

  14. #14
    Havok
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    I messaged spawn, but they won't sell me a fork.

  15. #15
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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    FYI those are called 'side pull' or 'caliper' brakes.
    U-brakes mount to studs similar to cantilever/V-brakes.

    Those brakes will have no problem stopping 60lbs of kid/bike.

    If you feel the need for something different you can get a 990 plate (to mount U brakes or rollercams) or a V-brake plate. for ~$20 that will bolt on and let you add re respective brake.
    *** --- *** --- ***

  16. #16
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    Yes that's right they are side-pull brakes, no idea why I referred to them as u-brakes

    Glad to hear that they might be okay - I am hoping bike and boy together will be less than 50lbs, hopefully about 45lbs.

    A quick question about levers: The levers I bought are v-brake levers and when I googled it says you need specific sidepull brake levers. However the new levers are identical to the old ones (but rather less bashed...) so surely it must be fine?

  17. #17
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    Sorry that was my bad in referring to them as U-brakes, Shayne is correct, they are cantilever brakes.

    But I disagree that they are able to stop a kid/bike as fast as a pair of v-brakes. With the cantilever brakes I put on the Hot Rock, my daughter several times a ride would miss turns or hit objects in her path that she couldn't get around. I am pretty sure I got them adjusted as well as they could, roughened up the rim, etc. She rode them for a good month before we got the Banshee, and they didn't get any better. The first time on V-brakes, she almost endoed, as she was used to having to grab the cantis with a death grip to come to a stop.

    Every kid is different, and maybe my daughter doesn't have great hand strength, but she has done several 2,000+ foot descent steepish trail rides with the V-brakes and only complained about hand soreness at the very bottom. We could barely do a ride to the park on streets with the cantis, without having to stop and massage out her arms.

    But it sounds like the best advice is to try what you got, and then if that is not enough, try what Shayne recommends above (v-brake plate). But seeing that your family has a motorbike background, I assume that your little one will be riding fast and dirt, and brakes sure reduce the chance for hurt.

  18. #18
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    That's true. At the moment he uses his coaster brake very well, but of course it makes him skid when going down steep dirt. I'm trying to encourage him to use his front brake (now I have a longer screw to adjust it - hadn't thought of that til I read it here, doh!)

    If we have problems with the sidepull brake I will look at those plates which look useful. Though how come these things are always harder to find in the uk and we usually end up paying the same price in pounds as you do in dollars? (googled and found it for $24.99 or 24.99...)

    Anyway none of this matters til the damn cranks arrive from Spawn Cycles...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProjectMayhem View Post
    Yes that's right they are side-pull brakes, no idea why I referred to them as u-brakes

    Glad to hear that they might be okay - I am hoping bike and boy together will be less than 50lbs, hopefully about 45lbs.

    A quick question about levers: The levers I bought are v-brake levers and when I googled it says you need specific sidepull brake levers. However the new levers are identical to the old ones (but rather less bashed...) so surely it must be fine?
    V-brake calipers (and most MTB cable disk calipers) generate a high mechanical advantage so for a ballanced braking system are paired with v-brake specific levers which have less mechanical advantage (otherwise, there would not be enough travel of the caliper arms and the levers would bottom-out against the bars before the calipers were fully engaged. Using v-brake specific levers with either cantilever or sidepull brakes has the opposite effect, plenty of caliper travel but insufficient mechanical advantage so poor braking requireing high lever pressure. For sidepull brakes, you instead want hand levers with high mechanical advantage. Some MTB levers can be switched between V and cantilever/sidepull settings (by altering the cable pivot location) but others are only made specifically for use only with V's or only with cantilevers.
    Sidepull caliper mechancial advantage is similar to cantilevers, perhaps even a bit less so dont use them with V-brake specific levers.

    My thoughts are that a kid on a 16" bike is just not going to be able to bike trails/hills that require serious brakes. Some kids sized to fit a 20" bikes get into more demanding riding but I suspect that very, very few 16" bike riders are strong & skilled enough to actually need much more than sidepulls. I tested them myself and was actually very suprized how well the cheap stamped steel sidepull brakes on my 5-year old daughter's cheap/heavy 16" bike worked and she certaily had no problem stopping with them for the riding conditions she could handle.

  20. #20
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    Thanks for that info. I'll see how he goes, he does ride more demanding stuff than most kids his age, but obviously nothing too gnarly

  21. #21
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    Brake lever and rear hub upgrades for Hotrock 16.

    I did the side pull on my son's bike and got v brake adapters at evolution bicycle. Night and Day difference. We have a lot of hills and I have much more peace of mind now. Bill

  22. #22
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    Done!

    16" Custom Build Project-sam_2105.jpg

    It is too big for him still but he can ride it and put a foot down when he stops.

    Will maybe need to go down the v-brake route as the sidepull don't seem very effective (or it could just be he isn't interested in slowing down ). I might have a source for a fork though.

    Also need to swap the pedals as his feet keep slipping off these ones.

    PS Excuse the dog's nose in the photo!

  23. #23
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    Great job!

  24. #24
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    The whole thing weighs in at under 16lbs.

    Frame & fork: Merida Dakar 616
    Wheels: stock 16"
    hubs: stock (with new axles bearings and cones)
    brake calipers and cables: stock
    brake levers: Tektro TS325A
    headset: Trailbright threadless external headset
    stem: Sinz Pro-Lite 55mm reach
    handlebars: Redline Mini
    grips: LikeaBike
    saddle/seatpost: Onza BMX mini race
    seatpost clamp: Sinz Lite Seat Clamp
    BB Adaptor:?
    BB: Sinz Expert Square-taper
    cranks: Spawn Cycles 89mm
    chairing: Aerozine 7075 22t
    chain:?
    freewheel: Dicta 16t
    Pedals: Primo Stricker plastic (for now)
    Tyres: stock

  25. #25
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    Right, I now have a new fork with v-brake bosses (just need to get it stripped). The steerer tube is longer than the old one (kind of makes a mockery of my seemingly endless search for a low stack headset) so do I:

    a. cut it down
    b. put spacers on top of the stem so I can move the bars up as he grows (is it even ok to do this?)

    It wouldn't be an option to put the spacers beneath the stem as the bars would be way too high.

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