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  1. #1
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    Another Full Suspension Build (2nd times the charm hopefully)

    Some of you may have seen my last electric fatbike build, which was a success and failure at the same time. Though it's extremely fun to ride and handles very well, it turned out to be a moped and not a bicycle. I'm hoping this build will be all bicycle. I started getting parts ready for this build about a month ago. They include 80mm rims with surly nate tires, surly crank, bionx sl 350 electric hub motor, and surly horizontal dropouts. The rear hub is offset 17.5mm (similar to a pugsly). I should have offset it more than that, but had enough trouble getting the 17.5mm because of the narrow flange width of the bionx hub. I chose this hub because it amplifies a persons abilities. Which in my opinion is why bicycles were invented in the first place. This bike will have similar front and rear suspension as the last one. Using bearings on the bottom bracket shell and a modified noleen girder fork. The tubing is .035 wall 4130, with 1 3/8 for the main triangle and 3/4 for the rear stays.

    Here are some pictures of the progress so far. I also made a new frame building jig out of 8020 aluminum and that has helped me a lot.


















  2. #2
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    I guess you do some farming...

    As I recall, the BB-centric suspension designs of the past didn't pedal all that well, which is one reason they didn't catch on. How well does such a design work with the hub motor?

  3. #3
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    It will be interesting how your spring/shock arrangement comes together, as there is significant unsprung weight there to be compensated for.

    It looks awesome so far!

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
    Where am I? Again.

  4. #4
    will rant for food
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    Hubba hubba.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  5. #5
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    Cool;

    I am - of course - curious as to how you are bending your tubing? I assume it is not by running it over with the background implements...
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
    - John Hajny, a.k.a. TrailMaker

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailMaker View Post
    Cool;

    I am - of course - curious as to how you are bending your tubing? I assume it is not by running it over with the background implements...
    what you've never seen farm equip capable of artistic tubeantics??

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy FitzGibbon View Post
    I guess you do some farming...

    As I recall, the BB-centric suspension designs of the past didn't pedal all that well, which is one reason they didn't catch on. How well does such a design work with the hub motor?
    Since I never pedal the first build and have never used a hub motor before, I'm not sure how well it's going to work. Hopefully it turns out okay. Thanks for the response.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanSyncro View Post
    It will be interesting how your spring/shock arrangement comes together, as there is significant unsprung weight there to be compensated for.

    It looks awesome so far!

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
    Your response is the reason I posted this here. That was something I hadn't thought of. Do you have any ideas on how to compensate for unsprung weight? Thanks for the input.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailMaker View Post
    Cool;

    I am - of course - curious as to how you are bending your tubing? I assume it is not by running it over with the background implements...
    No farm equipment was harmed in the making of this bike. I use the Harbor Freight tubing roller with Swag Offroad dies. It works fairly well, but I can't seem to make very tight curves without distorting the tubing. It works really well for gradual curves.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riverbend Bicycles View Post
    No farm equipment was harmed in the making of this bike. I use the Harbor Freight tubing roller with Swag Offroad dies. It works fairly well, but I can't seem to make very tight curves without distorting the tubing. It works really well for gradual curves.
    Hey;

    I love the compound curve look, but I can just see the hint of some distortion in the tubes.
    I imagine it shows more closer up. Still, it seems like a lot less than I would have thought
    possible. interestingly, it seems far more noticeable on the ST than in the front tubes,
    which seems odd. I was under the impression that you would not be able to roll a tube
    thusly because you always get a distorted portion of tube just beyond where the pressure
    die reaches. 6" of scrap at either end with a constant arc bend like these.



    It occurs to me sitting here that you might be able to avoid the "distortion zone" by
    ratcheting the tension down as you roll, and then taking it out as you stop at the end of
    the radius, thereby "blending in" the distortion more smoothly and over a larger area than
    if you just stop. The real problem is getting it tensioned in the same spot all the time, and
    then keeping the bends in plane. I find the tube likes to wander A LOT in that roller. It
    doesn't seem to matter with one arc, but doing plane of bend radii would make it a lot
    tougher.

    I would have given that a go, but did not think it possible, was not willing to accept highly
    visible distortion, and did not want to chance wasting expensive tubing. However, I'd say
    you've had reasonable success. Care to share how?
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailMaker View Post
    Hey;

    I love the compound curve look, but I can just see the hint of some distortion in the tubes.
    I imagine it shows more closer up. Still, it seems like a lot less than I would have thought
    possible. interestingly, it seems far more noticeable on the ST than in the front tubes,
    which seems odd. I was under the impression that you would not be able to roll a tube
    thusly because you always get a distorted portion of tube just beyond where the pressure
    die reaches. 6" of scrap at either end with a constant arc bend like these.



    It occurs to me sitting here that you might be able to avoid the "distortion zone" by
    ratcheting the tension down as you roll, and then taking it out as you stop at the end of
    the radius, thereby "blending in" the distortion more smoothly and over a larger area than
    if you just stop. The real problem is getting it tensioned in the same spot all the time, and
    then keeping the bends in plane. I find the tube likes to wander A LOT in that roller. It
    doesn't seem to matter with one arc, but doing plane of bend radii would make it a lot
    tougher.

    I would have given that a go, but did not think it possible, was not willing to accept highly
    visible distortion, and did not want to chance wasting expensive tubing. However, I'd say
    you've had reasonable success. Care to share how?
    Reasonable success is the key word here. I know exactly what you're talking about. I scrapped a few attempts because of this. I had a lot less trouble with the .049 wall tubing on the last build. My method is to start wide and work my way to to middle of the arc. That way the distortions aren't in one place. I have to confess that I then sand and file away the ripples that are caused by the devise. I am very open to suggestions of better ways. What's the best way to bend tubing in your opinion? Thanks a lot for the input.

  12. #12
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    Totally hot.

    Subscribed.

    As for BB concentric FS designs? I dunno. My Lenz Milk Money is pretty sweet, I think any complaints about pedaling efficiency come from the old days of single pivot with a coil over.

    How much travel are you aiming for? And the obvious self aggrandizing question would be,(since I like the Lefty so much) what fork do you intend to use? Or are you building your own, (looks like you're fully capable...)

    Modern air units with platform damping and good low speed compression damping have pretty much put the "single pivots are crap cause they bob" arguments to bed.

    Love the farm implement motif as well, though I'm sure it's simply environmental and not for looks.
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith View Post
    Modern air units with platform damping and good low speed compression damping have pretty much put the "single pivots are crap cause they bob" arguments to bed.
    I've gotten that impression from a few folks on the frame building subforum as well. They weren't as enthusiastic, but the same vibe.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  14. #14
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    as far as the bb centric bob problem, I would not worry about that with a multilink setup, as it appears you are building. I see that your dropouts are in the chainstays, so it won't be a Horst link(brake mounted to seatstay). That will cause some brake induced forces compressing the shock, which at the higher speeds may be a good thing, As far as controlling the extra unsprung weight, talk to the shock manufacturer to make sure it has plenty of damping adjustment in both directions. You will probably want to make the linkage to the shock progressive, so it will ramp up damping at the end of the travel.

  15. #15
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    I've gotten that impression from a few folks on the frame building subforum as well. They weren't as enthusiastic, but the same vibe.
    Yeah, been on SP bikes for years, and they did bob. With smooth pedal stroke though, not obnoxiously so. Same time, riding other designs, I just don't like how the mute the activity of the suspension. They either get spiky or do weird things like make the back end of the bike feel like it's breaking off.

    Add modern units to the SP and they just come into their own, at least IMHO.

    Sorry for the minor thread derail.....
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riverbend Bicycles View Post
    What's the best way to bend tubing in your opinion? Thanks a lot for the input.
    Ahhh...

    The age old riddle. The answer is any way you can, and unfortunately there are many ways NECESSARY to get any particular job done. In other words, it is very bend specific as to what process you use.

    I have a Pro Tools 105 draw through bender that has proven to work extremely well for relatively tight radius (3.5CLR) bends in small stay tubing (I too have been using .750x.035). It leaves what I feel is an acceptable amount of distortion in the tube. I have not tried bending large thin wall tubing with it yet. Somehow I'm guessing that I might be inclined to accept more distortion in a stay tube than a main tube, and I'm not at all sure that it would bend larger stuff at all, let alone with an acceptable amount of distortion. I measured around .025" change in tube diameter on the .075. I'm not sure if it would bend the bigger stuff with so little distortion.

    However, that is not the right tool for these large sweeping arcs. For instance, the largest CLR die you can get for that bender for 1.375 tube is 6"CLR. I imagine your bends are larger radius than that. You would have to have a relatively tight bends with some amount of straight tubing in between them, and this would quash the vibe.

    The tube roller is obviously problematic for these types of tubes as well. Getting a nice smooth arc in one direction is not problem, but you will always have that big lump at each end.

    I would wager that any tube that was formed to a shape such as you have created, and had no distortion in it to speak of, was hydro formed in some fashion.
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
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  17. #17
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    did you have to cut up a perfectly good pugsly to get those chainstays?
    or, did you somehow get the dropouts, and make your own?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by autodoctor911 View Post
    did you have to cut up a perfectly good pugsly to get those chainstays?
    or, did you somehow get the dropouts, and make your own?
    Surly sells 'em:
    Universal Cycles -- Surly Cast 4130 CroMoly Dropouts

  19. #19
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    I was able to get some work done on the front end of the bicycle. This is my second fork using the noleen linkage. I used the same 1 3/8 x 0.035 wall tubing. The forks take some time, but actually aren't that difficult to make. A lot of the time is spent machining the axles and the attachment points to the tubes. I've really enjoyed the fork on my other fatbike and feel this method of suspension handles very well. Though I should mention that I'm not as experienced a rider as a lot of the participants in these forums are.




  20. #20
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    Great job I am jealous!
    Happy holidays to all my Fat friends !

  21. #21
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    Wow!

    Unique doesn't even scratch the surface! Can't wait to see the finished ride!

    So you are a farmer, welder, machinist, and now a frame builder? I must say I am jealous!

    What/where do you farm, and is the welding/machining a necessary part of your farming business?

    I worked on my uncle's alfalfa farm from when I was 12 until I graduated high school. Hard work, but I learned a ton.

    If only I'd learned more welding, my dream of building my own frame may be closer to reality!

    frog

  22. #22
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    Excellent work, love the rolled tube look.

    I've done a lot of tube bending making roll cages and such and the dies always make a visible indention where the die starts. Not a huge deal, but may be an issue visially for you.

  23. #23
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    Merry Xmas. This thread is so fcuking macho I can't stand it. Tractors as a backdrop? Homemade bent tubing FS e-fatty? This edges out the carbon fiber disc brake pad thread!
    Responds to gravity

  24. #24
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    wouldn't it have been easier to use the carbon girvins as a straight bolt on?

  25. #25
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  26. #26
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    loving those curves
    2014 milage so far - 2,485
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  27. #27
    ride more
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    Sooo much awesome...

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by sylus View Post
    wouldn't it have been easier to use the carbon girvins as a straight bolt on?
    I bet the legs would not be long enough.

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  30. #30
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    I would guess from what I see so far here, that a custom linkage fork would be doable as part of this project. I had one of the original AMP research bikes, and loved it(21lb full suspension in 1993). I think you might want to check out the German Answer Kilo fork for a design with more travel and better damping:
    german:A.® - lightweight bike engineering since 1995
    I have thought about trying to make a new lower section for an AMP fork out of 4130 in a wider, longer configuration for fat tires. they didn't have much travel or damping, but the antidive was built into the geometry so it was able to resist the front dive, while still absorbing bumps.
    to get this on a telescoping fork, you would have to have a roller design like the lefty, and a floating brake caliper with linkage to the upper.

  31. #31
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    Intresting, keep us informed.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1 cog frog View Post
    Unique doesn't even scratch the surface! Can't wait to see the finished ride!

    So you are a farmer, welder, machinist, and now a frame builder? I must say I am jealous!

    What/where do you farm, and is the welding/machining a necessary part of your farming business?

    I worked on my uncle's alfalfa farm from when I was 12 until I graduated high school. Hard work, but I learned a ton.

    If only I'd learned more welding, my dream of building my own frame may be closer to reality!

    frog
    Thanks a lot. We farm in north/central Wyoming and raise sugar beets and malt barley. The barley is grown for Coors. Welding is always a big part of farming, but not tig welding which I've been struggling with. The machining has come in very handy since I bought the small mill and lathe 3 years ago, but I am limited to what I can do because of their size.

  33. #33
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    seriously SERIOUSLY cool!
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  34. #34
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    Awesome thread. Interested to see how you plan to mount the batteries...in the frame?

  35. #35
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    Riverbend - It's probably a little late to contribute this, but thought I would for any future frame building projects:

    1) Tube bending - I had some experience with this when I used to fabricate parts for my Jeeps/Scout. The better choice is to use a nicer tubing bender like the Protools 105. However, you can improve your results with the HF bender by packing the tubing full of sand and duct taping the ends before you put it in the bender. This seems to appreciably reduce the deformation in profile.

    2) Really like the modular aluminum frame jig!

    This is a very cool project - looking forward to see it develop.

    Cheers,

    Rob

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by robselina View Post
    Riverbend - It's probably a little late to contribute this, but thought I would for any future frame building projects:

    1) Tube bending - I had some experience with this when I used to fabricate parts for my Jeeps/Scout. The better choice is to use a nicer tubing bender like the Protools 105. However, you can improve your results with the HF bender by packing the tubing full of sand and duct taping the ends before you put it in the bender. This seems to appreciably reduce the deformation in profile.

    2) Really like the modular aluminum frame jig!

    This is a very cool project - looking forward to see it develop.

    Cheers,

    Rob
    Thanks for the advice. It's very funny that you mention the sand technique. I had heard about this a few years ago and just remembered it a few days ago. Hopefully I can retain this information for the next build.

  37. #37
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    Progress has been slow, but has been made. The first thing I worked on since my last update was the front derailleur. It's a direct mount and took two tries to get it where it's at. I'm fairly certain it's still not right and will need some more attention. The next step was the chain stays. Before I was too far into that, my design had to be changed. I always seem to forget about that thing called a chain. It looks like the design I used will work and probably look better than the original plan. The brake tabs are tacked in place and look like they'll be okay. The linkage and shock mounts went together pretty good, but seemed to take a long time to make. As you can see in the pictures, a lot of the pieces are just tacked in place. I wanted to take some pictures and update this thread before I took it apart and finished welding it. After it's welded I'll probably work on routing the cables, making cable guides, and tacking them in place. Hopefully I can ride it then and make sure it's going to work. There's still the rear rack with the battery to deal with and I also have plans of having a front rack. I think a front rack would work really well with this type of fork.










  38. #38
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    Awesome. You should get with somebody who can make these up for customers. I bet you'll get some takers for a non powered version if it's done in titanium.

    By the way, what motor is that and what's your OLD for the axle?

    It looks like a Bion-X, which would be a 135mm, right?

  39. #39
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    Really enjoying watching this come together. Keep the pics and updates coming.

    Cheers,
    Rob

  40. #40
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    Awesome work. It looks amazing and now I'm subd for the finished spectacle which is your custom bike.

  41. #41
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    Man...

    That is one guhNARLY lookin machine, Bro!
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  42. #42
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    Very good, sir. Very good.

  43. #43
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    Stunning job to date, and love the workplace

    2015 Salsa BearGrease Aluminum w/carbon fork

  44. #44
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    I sit in awe, and really wish I'd learned to weld, and play the guitar, and bought Microsoft stock. Damnit. Seriously, great work and beautiful frame.
    2014 SC NOMAD C Nior
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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by autodoctor911 View Post
    Awesome. You should get with somebody who can make these up for customers. I bet you'll get some takers for a non powered version if it's done in titanium.

    By the way, what motor is that and what's your OLD for the axle?

    It looks like a Bion-X, which would be a 135mm, right?
    The motor is the newer SL 350 from Bionx. It is 135mm OLD and was built with a similar offset as the Puglsy.

  46. #46
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    Bike looks amazing!!! Cant wait to see it complete..
    keep the pictures and updates coming!
    Team Van Go
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  47. #47
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    I took the maiden voyage today. I must have been excited because I forgot to check over the tightness of everything. Within two minutes I lost the drive side pedal. A minute after putting the pedal back on I lost the non-drive side crank arm. After that it went really well for the first time out. The derailleurs and shifters work well and the brakes don't rub. The suspension feels really good to me, but as I've mentioned, I'm not a cyclist. I spend a lot more time building bicycles than riding them. I know that's not an ideal practice, but this is my hobby, and that's all that it is. Eventually I will have the one or two avid mountain bicyclists, in my small town, try it out and see what they think. I was able to pedal hard and even did a small bunny hop (as much as an over weight and out of shape person can do) without the frame breaking in half. Maybe I need to ride more and build less. I'm really happy and excited about finishing this build. I hope to have the rear rack and battery on tomorrow, then I can see what this thing can really do. For now the cables are held in place with zip ties until I decide exactly where they need to be. One more thing before I go. The crank has three chain rings, but I'm only able to use the largest two. Because of my design, the derailleur will hit the tire before it can move the chain to the small ring. I always like having the back tire tight with the bottom bracket and this time it didn't work out as planned. I still have room to move the tire back on the horizontal dropouts, but have not tried it yet. Any ideas would be appreciated.






  48. #48
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    Simply Killer;

    That thing is just begging for a camo paint job. It just screams military to me. I'm not sure I'd want to peddle it up any hills, but I love it anyway!

    I have never bothered with the big ring. I've had no problem running a direct mount X7 on the Problems Solvers mount and an 8 cog (reduced from 9) cassette. Of course, I laid my tubes out for that too.
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
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  49. #49
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    Well, it's alive and officially built. The Bionx hub motor is simply amazing. With complete silence I was suddenly going 20mph down a snow packed road. The beauty is that I'm still getting a work out, just going a lot farther and faster than normal. Other than the speed that you attain, you can't tell that it's there. It's smooth and natural feeling. The bike seems to handle very well. I was even riding in some 6-10 inch deep drifts and it simply plowed through it. I can tell I'm going to have a hard time tearing it down for painting, since I won't want to stop riding it that long. The following pictures show the bike with the front and rear racks. The battery is in the rear rack. The front rack is made by Topeak. I've always been impressed with the versatility of their products. I can easily attach a bag one day and a basket the next depending on what I'm doing. I also purchased two pannier bags. In the photos you can see that I was playing around with different placements. I may get two more so I can have front and back. I may try and make a video, before I paint it, while there's still snow on the ground. I'll provide a link if I do.










  50. #50
    turtles make me hot
    Reputation: NYrr496's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    7,621
    Maybe when Surly finally makes the OD Crankset available, that will work for you.

    BTW, when bending tubing with sand, use clean, DRY sand and weld ends on. It's important the sand is dry so it doesn't make steam and explode the pipe while you're welding caps on the ends.

    I'm not sure about your bender, but on the bender I used to use, I always made sure the dies were smooth and clean. Use grease also.
    I like turtles

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