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  1. #1
    weirdo
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    OT: Building a "fun" bike...

    This is my first complete bike build, so I`m pretty excited. It`s still a long ways from being finished, but last night I was finally able to piece it together (with a little help from 3M) enough that it took on the shape of a bike for the first time. Hopefully I`ll "get bent" by sometime in July. Since it`s my first, I decided it would be in my best interest to copy an existing bike- that takes most of the engineering out of the picture and just leaves me with the actual fabrication work. To make it even simpler still, I opted to pass on diamond frame constructions for the time being. So, here`s where I stand now with my rendition of a Rans V-Rex.
    https://www.ransbikes.com/VREX07.htm

    Select pixels here, a more complete collection is up on Photobucket.
    https://s161.photobucket.com/albums/...w%20recumbent/
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    Recalculating....

  2. #2
    a lazy pedaler
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    awesome rodar...pure steel?....did you make the fork too?...were you able to get bike specific tubes or are you using material from your work?....very interesting

  3. #3
    weirdo
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    Thanks, Martin. The fork I`m using for now is a cheap BMX fork. I plan to build one myself later on, but for now I just want to get it on the road as soon as possible. It`ll also give me a chance to evaluate the front end geometry and change it a little bit if necessary. The tubing is straight wall cromo from Wicks Aircraft in Kansas- 1 1/2 inch and 5/8 Dia with .035 (about .8mm) wall thickness and 1 3/8 x .049 for the telescope. Only the head tube and BB shell are bike specific.
    Recalculating....

  4. #4
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    I'm looking foward to seeing it once it's complete. Please keep us posted with updates.
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  5. #5
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    Wow! That is really cool! Amazing to take a block of steel and some pipes and make your own bike! Lookin' good

  6. #6
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    My optometrist forbid me to learn welding from Dad, given my eyesight. It is projects like these, I wish I wish I'd at least learned brazing.

    I think all bikes are fun, well all rideable ones, anyway. Sorta the point.

    Guts to try, more guts to show it in progress. Impressive. Very Impressive.

  7. #7
    weirdo
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    Glad you enjoy the pics, gang- I`ll keep updating periodically. It`s been a lot of fun, and so far, not as tricky as I imagined. Then again, there`s no way to know yet whether I`ve botched anything, so maybe there`s more trick to it than is apparent to me

    Brian:
    1A My mom doesn`t forbid Dad from teaching us things, but she gets a a wary look in her eye whenever that starts. Her forsight has been highly honed over the past 45 years.
    1B Actually, brazing is probably worse than welding for your eyeballs. Welding is so bright that it`s never tempting to "just do this little bit" without the required gear. If your dermatologist had been concerned, he would have been right to warn you away from welding- sometimes I can spend a whole shift brazing without ever burning myself once! Two hours of welding without burning myself is something to mark on the calendar.
    2 ...and sometimes it`s getting the bike to the point of being rideable that`s the most fun, making UNRIDEABLE bikes kinda nice.
    Recalculating....

  8. #8
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    Sheeeee's a super freak, super freak , she's super freakyyyy!

  9. #9
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    You made the dropouts on the bridgeport, and the so called "bottom bracket" with the lathe, damn kid , I think you somethin somethin going

  10. #10
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    Ha Ha Ha Ha H aHa ! Your killin me! There's some kind of passion burnin on inside you! build us a mountain bike rodar , build us a mountain bike

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    Two hours of welding without burning myself is something to mark on the calendar.
    Yeah. Sometimes I had to help hold things while dad tacked them, looking away or eyes clenched shut. I have a holey if not holy hide having held his handiman hunks of steel.

    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    2 ...and sometimes it`s getting the bike to the point of being rideable that`s the most fun, making UNRIDEABLE bikes kinda nice.
    Yeah I shortened the top and bottom tubes of a straight guage 531 frame 2" and twisted the forks and stays 'real nice 'n' purdy'! Scrapped it. Should've chromed it. Had nice Newvex lugs. Would have been a garden sculpture conversation piece. I don't remember it being kinda nice, other than the 'not breaking, or rupturing major body parts' part.

  12. #12
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    That is really slick. Nice work.

  13. #13
    Bedwards Of The West
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    I will only be impressed if you kill an animal to make the seat.




    kidding, that's a pretty sweet project. A recumbent is a heck of a complex first attempt. Lookng forward to seeing it done!
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  14. #14
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Wow, in true Rodar fashion you are literally building it, including fabrication of the frame and fork!!! Nice work, I look forward to seeing it completed!
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    I will only be impressed if you kill an animal to make the seat.

    And THEN, only IF you use a Neolithic hunting kit you knap yourself! Also kidding,

    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    Lookng forward to seeing it done!
    Guts to put it out here before it's a fait accompli so we can critique very step of the way!

    That this 'bent is being built and that this thread exists makes me smile. Thanks.

    Don't get any ideas about starting out with raw ore, now.
    Last edited by BrianMc; 04-26-2010 at 06:27 PM.

  16. #16
    weirdo
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    Haha- maybe an armadillo seat!

    Cranky, I didn`t turn the BB shell myself- that pic is just boring out the shims I put in the telescope to dea lwith too much difference in diameter between inside and outside. I wouldn`t mind doing a new mtb frame, but since I really have no complaints agaist the lonesome Kona frame I have now, it`s down on the list a ways.

    CB, this `bent is actually simpler than a DF- one triangle and it`s so squatty that any misalignment in the vertical plane won`t be noticeable except with close inspection. That`s the main reason I started with one before moving up to a more traditional frame.
    Recalculating....

  17. #17
    weirdo
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    Where it stands now...

    Well, my slow progress has slowed even more with a bunch of birthdays, Mothers Day, and other Days seeming to fall on the nights when I would otherwise be able to go in early and play with my tubing . I still might have it done by the end of July, but I`d better get a move on.

    Last week, I did the last brazing of the main tubes, so it`s now an official triangle. The lower tubes (chain stays?) were a real bear to miter and then a bear to braze- they definitely turned out on the ugly side. Brazing is kind of like pouring concrete in that once you start you`re in it until it`s done. Anything that goes wrong you just do what you can on the fly and hope for the best, then try to clean up the carnage afterwards. Vanity prevented me from snapping any pics of the initial brazes there, even though I should have gotten some now that I think about it. The brass is now pretty much cleaned up and the next step will be to go back and try to hide the ugliest parts with silver, then file and sand again.

    Still to do: final dropout alignment, cap the ends of the T where the "seat stays" tie in, cut face and ream headtube, face and chase BB shell, brake bridge, rear canti studs, cable stops, FD post (since there`s no seat tube), seat brackets, seat back struts, quill and stem assembly (no idea yet how I`m gonna do that). Did I say July?
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  18. #18
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    It's coming together nicely!
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010

  19. #19
    M8 M12 M15 deez nuts
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    It must be really nice to have access to such a well-equipped shop.
    Don’t frail and blow if you’re going to Braille and Flow.

  20. #20
    weirdo
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    My toy store is the best part of the job- sometimes I think it`s even better than the paychecks.

    I`m glad that Gary approves of the work in progress. When it`s ready to roll, I`m going to drive it down to the peninsula and have hime guinea pig it for me before I risk my own skin on the thing

  21. #21
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    If I had your welding skills, I'd make a sidecar for my son to ride in.
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  22. #22
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    Wow! It looks like a bike! Very impressive.

  23. #23
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    My toy store is the best part of the job- sometimes I think it`s even better than the paychecks.

    I`m glad that Gary approves of the work in progress. When it`s ready to roll, I`m going to drive it down to the peninsula and have hime guinea pig it for me before I risk my own skin on the thing
    While I don't have a beard (or a helmet mirror for that matter) I do have mutton chops which should be enough to qualify me to pilot a recumbent!

    Actually that would be fun to take up and down the SF Bay Trail. It would certainly make fighting the headwinds easier.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010

  24. #24
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    Looking good!

  25. #25
    weirdo
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    Thanks, all. Solomon, I think I could handle the fabrication of a sidecar, but I doubt I`m up to the design part of it.


    [QUOTE=Gary the No-Trash Cougar]While I don't have a beard (or a helmet mirror for that matter) I do have mutton chops which should be enough to qualify me to pilot a recumbent!

    Aw, man! I forgot about the beard! I`d better start on it soon because I`m slow at that too.

  26. #26
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    Wow, look at those miters! you're quite a craftsman rodar. Who cares how the brazing looks now as long as they clean up and are strong. I never brazed, but I did some evidure 20 years ago. That was the beer talking in the first few posts.

  27. #27
    weirdo
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    Lots of progress this weekend. The only thing left for the frame is clean up some brazing I`ve already done, finish work on the head tube and BB shell, and add cable stops. I`ll still need a derailler post eventually, but I can test ride it with one ring if I go to Lassen County. The long joints at the front of the main tube are as done as I can get them- still not pretty, but hopefully they won`t scream after a little Rustoleum and with the rest of the parts on to serve as a distraction. When I first installed a rear wheel, I just about did a double back flip, seeing how centered it came out. Ya win some, ya lose some.
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  28. #28
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Wow, you've been busy! Looking like a bike...or at least as close to a bike as a recumbent can look Can't wait to see it done! Have you slain a wild beast and started tanning the hide for the seat yet?
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  29. #29
    weirdo
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    That`s pretty close for a superfreak, alright!

    BTW, Cranky- you need more beer than that if you want to bum me out.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    The long joints at the front of the main tube are as done as I can get them- still not pretty, but hopefully they won`t scream after a little Rustoleum and with the rest of the parts on to serve as a distraction.
    A strong weld's a strong weld. An ugly one is just a matter of finishing. A little JB Weld or body putty cured and sanded will smooth out a lot of the nasties.

    Good work.

  31. #31
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    Congrats, it looks great...I think it's taken me longer just to decide what bike to buy.

  32. #32
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    Rodar, thought of you when I read this quote from Natalie Ramsland of Sweetpea Bicycles in the Patagonia catalog...when asked how she started handcrafting bikes she says, "When I was in architecture school one of the concepts that made the biggest impression on me was from the book The Nature & Art of Workmanship by David Pye. When you make something by hand, you notice things in the metal or make a cut that allows the design to grow or change, all with the exciting possibility that it could go awry - or be amazing. You have the workmanship of risk, and that is part of what I'm looking for when building bikes by hand." Although her world is filled ith the tiny units of measure for length, angles and temperatures, the real test is the ride. "There are times when I'm descending down the west hills going 40mph and I think, 'I built myself a vehicle and that is pretty damn cool.'"

  33. #33
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by M Ramsland via mtbxplorer
    "....When you make something by hand, you notice things in the metal or make a cut that allows the design to grow or change, all with the exciting possibility that it could go awry - or be amazing. You have the workmanship of risk, and that is part of what I'm looking for when building bikes by hand."
    I love it!
    I had never heard of Sweatpea or N Ramsland, but I checked out the website- very cool.

  34. #34
    weirdo
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    Seat and bars

    The seat is done. 1/2 inch EMT (light duty "conduit") for the frame, then mesh sewn over it. The frame came out fine, but my sewing was UGLY. The mesh I bought didn`t help any either- it`s really stretchy and I don`t expect it to last long, so I ordered a yard of a heavier duty kind that should be much better. When the original webbing goes South I`ll be all set to redo it and hopefully it`ll turn out less wrinkled the second time around.

    For the stem, I`ve got a quill and wedge with a socket on top, kind of like one of those threaded to threadless adaptors. A piece of 3/4 EMT serves as a riser with another socket and clamp on top. The idea is that all the work went into the sockets, so I can play around with different heights just by cutting different lengths of dirt cheap tubing and bolting them in. I think I`m going to have to bend it forward a little bit too, but that`s no big deal either.

    I made the seat bracket and clamps out of several little pieces of aluminum welded together. That one really turned out sweet! I used a technique that I`ve used before for stems caps, but this is the first shot at it with aluminum. Next in line should have been seat back struts, but I ran into an unexpected setback- I ordered 5/16 tubing with the rest of the frame parts, planning to telescope it inside some 10mm tubing (8mm inside) that I already had on hand. In theory, it should have worked with about .003 to spare. In practice, it only slides with a hammer or press That ain`t gonna work. I can see that I need more slop room in there, so I`ll have to order up more tubing before I can sit on the seat and start figuring out the fit. For the purpose of shooting a pic this morning, I kind of balanced myself on there, but the seat is still only held by the front bracket.

    Current weight according to our pallet scale is 23#, so.... about 30 for the finished product? I`ll be happy with that.
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  35. #35
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    Very cool! The sewing looks good to me, I guess that says something about my sewing ability.

  36. #36
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Man, that is really turning out nice! No beard yet though?
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010

  37. #37
    weirdo
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    Having trouble with the beard, too. I may as well fabricate one when I`m ready to pedal.

    Too many wrinkles and lots of stretched threads = not sew nice up close...
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    Too many wrinkles and lots of stretched threads = not sew nice up close...
    Yeah. I can't stand the idea of you suffering having to look at that every time you ride. So when it's done you can ship the bike to me and suffer no more. It's the least I can do.

  39. #39
    a lazy pedaler
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    your bent is turning really nice rodar... hope you can get it done soon

  40. #40
    weirdo
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    Golpe a golpe, verso a verso...

    Last week I got the SuperFreak to a point where I was able to hang a chain on it and take a few rides around the shop. It was in a crazy stage of development then: two chains only allowed me to ride in a smal-small crosschained setup, the chain dragged against the side of the fork and on the chainstays, knees hitting the bars, no cables whatsoever (so no shifters or brakes), seat too high and flopping forward every time I sat on the edge of it in order to get a start, and the cranks hit the front tire with any turn more than about 5 dergrees.

    Since then: I chopped the cranks down to 150mm, clamped the seatback struts so they can`t extend by themselves, installed a taller stem riser, overtorqued and broke the seat bracket clamps (damn!), made chain idlers, rigged up a temporary front brake, fabricated a beard.

    Yesterday I sprung it from the "nursery" for a home visit and drove it into town to show my dad. I probably got about four miles in just dinking around the neighborhood- what a thrill! It was the maiden voyage for my first born! There are still a few problems to straighten out, so it`s going back to the shop today (after ANOTHER ride in a few minutes here). I thought it was a single speed, but I soon reralized that I could switch chainrings on the fly with my fingers- try that one on your N-Bar bike, CommuterBoy! The three speed plan was a good thing because my mom and dad live in a very hilly neighborhood.

    I still get heel strike on sharp turns if I don`t watch out, but it won`t be a big deal on the road. The high speed handling leaves me a little concerned. I got up to around 25MPH, I guess, and I survived, but it really gets interresting. I`ve heard that short wheelbase bents are "twitchy", so maybe I just need to get used to it. Actually, I`d describe mine as "squirly" rather than twitchy- it`s very willing to turn, no matter how you slice it. I didn`t expect it to be so sensitive to weight movements. I thought they were mostly steered by the bars, like a tricycle, but that isn`t the case at all. Just moving my hips a little bit to one side will change a lane. Also, I found that pressing my back straight into the seat and pulling back slightly on the bars goes a long way to holding a line. Oh,yeah- the short cranks don`t feel wierd at all. Maybe it`s because the whole bike is so weird that my feet don`t associate it with pedaling any bike they`re already used to.
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  41. #41
    weirdo
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    I forgot to post the modified cranks. Actually, I think they look pretty cool.
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  42. #42
    a lazy pedaler
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    awesome rodar!
    is good to hear the 150mm are not going to be a problem
    great job!
    put the cables, ride it here and I pay for the Powder Coat job ...I can see it in black already

    ahh and great beard too!

  43. #43
    weirdo
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    That`s a very tempting offer, M! Maybe when you dry out a little bit, but I already have two black bikes and need some variety. Trurly Green would be a better choice.

  44. #44
    a lazy pedaler
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    ...need some variety...
    you are right...that reminds me I need to take a pic of our bikes... the Green, Yellow and White look good together ...I already have a pic of the wife bike with the white halos but with all this mess I haven't had the time to post it...later on the halos thread.

    back to the bent, is it ok that the lower portion of the chain has that "hang" look? like it was a little long?

  45. #45
    weirdo
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    It doesn`t just LOOK long, it IS long. Two full chains plus about seven inches, which makes it very heavy. It`s going to droop like that unless I run it through a tube. Some people do use tubes rather than idlers, but that looks to me like it would make maintenance a PITA. Some folks just let it hang and rattle on the stays, too.

  46. #46
    the test dummy
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    sweet
    Quote Originally Posted by craftworks750
    Riding a mtb is like a reset button, 10 mins in and there is nothing else in the world that matters.
    my bikes
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    Ben

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    Last week ... and... fabricated a beard.

    Looking good.

    Yeah I noticed that the SWB bents didn't steer much in teh HFH 500 last summer. Any practice with the old VW Bugs in side winds? Could be helpful. Lane changes with no steering input.

    Sorry you had to expend so much time on the beard. My brother (blond, shaves one every 2-4 weeks whether he needs to or not, usually not, because his beard is so fine, slow growing, and sparse), won the 'Smoothest Beard" in a college beard growing contest by liberal application of charcoal. The classic way to an instant 'beard'.

  48. #48
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    She's superfreekyyyy owwww! Very cool rodar, has got to feel good. Congratulations on the maiden voyage! Love the front bumper/ hemroid remover?

  49. #49
    weirdo
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    Almost there now

    LeFreak is now at about 95%, maybe the final update for this build.

    Since the last photo update:
    added housing stops
    dinked around a little with the chain idlers
    swept the bars back a little and bent the stem riser for a few inches of "tiller"
    set up rear shifter and derailler
    set up rear brake
    cable rerouting and cleanup

    Still missing:
    front derailler/shifter
    paint

    While I was cleaning up my brazes from tacking on the cable stops, I had a heart-stopping moment- I had the bike upside down and noticed a big gouge in the right chainstay. Apparently, most of the obnoxious racket that I had attributed to the idlers was actually the sound of the chain eating its way through the frame tubing ! I was able to bend the stays out with a small jack enough that the chain JUST clears in the smallest sprocket and clears by a decent margin in all the others. The rear hub is an old mtb model with 130mm spacing, so I think respacing both the hub and the drops to 135 will give me a nice clearance for everything.

    There was also a chain problem with the front brake cables, as seen in the earlier picture against my mom`s screaming red garage door. I tried going inside the chain and that wasn`t going to work. Tried to find a V-brake that had the noodle going out the other side and all I came up with were some awesome Cane Creek calipers with a price to match (more $$ than I have into the whole drivetrain), tried to modify the brand new $15 Tektros and only succeded in melting one into a useless blob (note to self: V-brake calipers don`t have enough meat to cut and reweld). Returned from LBS with a new cheapo brake cliper and set it up like it is now. According to Google Images, the commercial models either use that ugly routing or the equally dumb "brakes mounted behind the fork" method. I might buy a whole mess of used calipers from our local bike junkyard and try reworking some to get a set of "backwards" Vs, but it`s going for now.

    At this point, I have about 30 miles on the bike and I`m satisfied with the build. It does take a lot of getting used to, but I think my piloting is comming along very well. I`m still slower than my already slow pace on my commuter (pretty much equal weight), but from what I understand, bents use different muscles, so until I start getting in some real miles, that isn`t going to change. This bike really moves going downhill and offers a noticeable advantage into a headwind. It just plain sucks off the pavement, which is no small sin in my opinion. The little front wheel likes to slide out given any minor excuse and soft surface handling in general is a lot like riding in deep slush- constant attention is needed and it still floats back and forth at will.

    Aside from the FD, the idlers need a little bit more fine tunng and I`d like a seat with shorter bucket so I can reach the ground better for starting. If I get bored some day, I might redo the seat back stays. When I strip it for paint (probably just rattle can primer), I need to weld up the gouge from the chain. Let`s see, I think that`s about all. Oh,yeah- I need to rig up some kind of bag for tools, tubes, pump,etc, plus a way to carry a little lunch or a sweatshirt. That should be easy. I`m thinking it would be cool to take advantage of all the available room on underneath to hang a long, skinny bag out of the way. Hmmm... maybe make one from the extra seat mesh?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails OT:  Building a "fun" bike...-100_0585.jpg  

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    Recalculating....

  50. #50
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    LeFreak is now at about 95%, maybe the final update for this build.
    Looking better and better!

    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    While I was cleaning up my brazes ... I ... noticed a big gouge in the right chainstay.
    Much better way to find it than failure under load! Murphy says you'd be downhill with the wind behind and the road is atop a canyon wall with a BIG drop! Yeah. much better way to find it.

  51. #51
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc
    Murphy says you'd be downhill with the wind behind and the road is atop a canyon wall with a BIG drop!
    No lie. Death, taxes, and Murphy for ever.
    Recalculating....

  52. #52
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    that's coming along REALLY nicely!!
    don't worry about the squirrellyness, it's part and parcel of riding a recumbent, mine had a really raked fork and it still did the same!
    you'll start to enjoy it later on when you can change lanes by shrugging your shoulder!

    pero veras que no puedes voltear la cabeza para prestar tanta atencion a las... ejem... "pajaritas" sin cambiar de dirreccion!!
    tuve que dejar de andar en el mio, casi me mate...
    If steel is real then aluminium is supercallafragiliniun!

  53. #53
    a lazy pedaler
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    awesome rodar...as Brian said, she is looking better and better...hope you solve the little issues in a good way.

  54. #54
    Moderator Moderator
    Reputation: mtbxplorer's Avatar
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    30 miles - wow! I'd be amazed to be able to ride it 30'. So cool that you built it yourself, congratulations!

  55. #55
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
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    Muchos thankyous, gang.

    Byknuts, I think I`m better off not looking anyway- I already have one and con una me basta. Xplorer, I doubt you`d have much trouble. My brother, and later my niece, both hopped right on and rode it away, although I had to chase my niece down because she was afraid to stop . If anybody from internetland ends up around this neck of the woods, I`d be delighted to send you out on a test ride.
    Recalculating....

  56. #56
    a lazy pedaler
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    well rodar...here is an idea for your next fun build!



    someone post it on the fat bike forums this guys made it...no info on their site though, last time I checked.

    more info here.

  57. #57
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
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    Well, it`s weird enough- that`s always good!
    But this time around I`m thinking roadie:

    Recalculating....

  58. #58
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    Needs discs. to be thoroughly freakish.

  59. #59
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    "la pugs-cumbent" or "el comodozer""
    If steel is real then aluminium is supercallafragiliniun!

  60. #60
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Well done! Very cool, even though you didn't kill something to make the seat.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

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