New Project? Sure!

Not sure if you’ve caught on, but we love doing bike projects. In previous years we’d take on extravagant builds where we source parts from various brands. But times have changed and companies are a bit more strict now when it comes to sending out promotional products. So what we’ve devised in our recent projects is to re-purpose old bikes. Take this for example, a Trek 6500 with 27speed drivetrain, Manitou fork, v-brakes and grime. I’m not really sure on the year on this bike, but some Googling has led me to believe that this bike might be around 2006…so about 10 years old. The condition of the bike was relatively rough when I got it it. It had a bent saddle, blown out fork, gunked up drive train and dry-rotted tires. The wheelset was decent, a set of lightweight Mavics, but they’re not disc ready…boo! But the frame is!

The bike shop where I purchased this bike from had this in their used-lot for quite some time. Someone traded it in for store credit towards a new bike. My cost would be $75+Tax. Not bad in my opinion. I took it home that afternoon and started improving the bike with parts I had laying around.

trek 6500 mountain bike

 

The first thing I addressed would be the blown out Manitou fork. I had no use for it so I swapped it out for a Fox F100RL and I also had a Synergy disc front wheel that I added. I threw on a rotor, some crappy Tektro caliper, replaced the stock bar with a 680mm (still too short for me) WTB bar, replaced the 100mm stem with a 35mm, put a WTB saddle on, replaced the shifter cables/housing, lubed up the rear brake cables, cleaned/tuned the drivetrain, installed lock-on grips and installed some new tires on.

Here’s a picture below, a huge improvement from the stock form. I took it out on a ride at the world famous Fullerton Loop, It did great! It’s a wonderful climber and thanks to the Fox F100RL fork, it descends like a boss.

photo 2 (1)

 

There’s actually a few more things I want to do to this bike. I’m weird about having things match…well at least the wheels need to match. I wanted to search for a used Synergy rear wheel, but that’s almost impossible. So I’m settling for some lightweight/budget friendly wheels. Since we’re on the subject of budget, rather than spending money on some hydraulic brakes, I’m going with some period-correct Avid BB5s that I have laying around. The drivetrain is actually in decent condition. Rings and cassette aren’t too worn, about 50% life in them, the chain was checked with gauge and we are still at 50%.

The plan for this bike is to help me get in some sort of shape other than round. I’ve always been a big fan of hard tail XC bikes and in the last few years, all I’ve really done is XC riding. So I figured I might as well have a rig that will match the riding I do. Besides, my investment on this bike so far is $75, all the other parts I’ve had laying around. This is probably the only time in my life where being a bike hoarder paid off!

photo 4 (1)

The joy of building your own bike

Ok Ok, so I didn’t really “build” my bikes, but I certainly put them together from the frame up. I think we all enjoy riding our bikes, but to me, riding a bike that I put together brings me the most enjoyment. I understand that this is not for everyone, you do have to have some intermediate mechanical skills, some special tools and money. I still remember the first bike that I built:
redlinec1
This was a Redline Monocog that I built as a commuter bike. Single speed bikes are the easiest bikes to build for obvious reasons; no shifters or derailleurs to mess with. This also cuts down on the cost of the bike, drivetrains are usually some of the most expensive parts on a bike.

Here are other samples of bikes that I’ve built:

IMG_5438
A full blown XC racer
b27skin
A crazy looking commuter bike
konax06
A Kona Smoke with an Xtracycle
swobo5
A cool Swobo Fixie
IMG_3869
A sweet 29er that unfortunately was stolen from my garage
DSC08010
A bad ass Super D racer
xrayf01x
And my absolute favorite; a single speed Cyclocross commuter-trail riding bike which was later converted to a 1X7.

There is one downfall though, building your own bikes can cost you more than if you would have bought one already built. Still, it does not beat the fact that you have a one-of-a-kind bicycle and something that you broke your skin on while putting it together.

Happy Valentines Day. For get the flowers, get her Carbon!

If you’re lucky like me you’ve got a wife who is into riding. For the most part Lady P nerds out on bikes just as much as I do. But for about the last 6 months, she’s been wanting carbon bike. Why? Well she likes how they look. She loves the carbon weaving and how pretty the frames are. So this year I surprised her with a new Titus Rockstar Carbon frame. Don’t think I got this thing for free, I actually paid for this bike. The fact that I paid for it with my own money and not tapping into our regular finances, makes this gift more thoughtful in her eyes.

I had actually been checking out this frame for quite some time for her and I was talking to El Guapo of Titus Cycles in Portland to get some advice. He answered all my questions, even on the weekend and when it was 10 o’clock in the evening. Now that’s customer service! After mulling it over, I finally bit the bullet and placed the order online.

The process was pretty painless. I placed the order Wednesday and by lunch time on Monday, UPS dropped off the frame. At this time I hadn’t told Lady P what I got her, but since both don’t really like Valentines Day, I went ahead and gave her the frame later that evening. She was pretty surprised to see the frame and when I told her that it was Carbon, she got even more excited.

I took some glamour shots of the frame to show you how sexy this bike is going to be. Check it out!

Titus Rockstar Carbon

I simply love the lines on this frame. Shapely+Curvy=Sexy Bike

Now that’s one sexy frame!

 

I can’t get over how pretty this frame his…that gloss. Superb!

I forgot to mention that this frame has internally routed cables. In fact the rear brake and front derailleur cable goes into the same routing. So that means I’ll have to cut her brake line, feed it, then re-install it. I love the idea of internal cables, makes for a cleaner looking bike.

I’m really looking forward to this build. I’m still waiting on a few parts to come in before I start working on it. But I figured once I have everything, it should only take about 1-2 to get all the parts on and have it dialed in.

 

 

I’d like you to meet John…John Bon Jovi

Yes you read it right. This is Bon Jovi. He’s our latest build project here on MtnBikeRiders.com. Bask in the awesomeness of Bon Jovi for he is a Rockstar! A Titus Rockstar 29er to be exact.
Titus Rockstar 29er

So why did I chose the moniker for this build? Well duh…Bon Jovi is a Rockstar and so is this Titus. Makes perfect sense to me!
Titus rockstar

RockShox Monarch RT3 with 100mm of travel.
mtnbikeriders.com titus rockstar

I like this nice little detail, a stainless steel chain suck shield protects the Full Carbon Construction rear swing arm. Yes you read it right, FULL CARBON in the rear!
IMG_6403

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is the FRS rear suspension linkage being used on Bon Jovi.
titus mountain bikes

Check out these sexy chain and seat stays…bent and contoured for more clearance and all that fancy, dirty talk.
titus rockstar

Here’s another nice detail. An On-One Smoothie tapered headset with a reducer race.
mountain bike 29er

Behold what I can do in 20 minutes! Pressed the headset, installed the fork, wheels, stem and bars. I mated it with a Marzocchi 44 TST2-29. It’s got MAAAAD travel, hovering around 140mm, ya that’s like 5.5″ in American measurements. By the way those sticky tires are CST Dusters. They are wrapped around the Shimano MT55 29 wheels in white. But one thing I’m sure you all are already complaining about…”It would look better if that fork was white.” You know my response to that? “I wish I was taller…” But the thing is Capt. Obvious, one little detail you didn’t notice is this. the fork matches the rear shock’s color…of how I like my coffee and my men, BLACK.
Mtnbikeriders.com titus rockstar 29er
In the next few days as parts start to roll in, I’m hoping to get the brakes situated. I went budget conscience and stuck with a new set of Elixir 1…ya I know there are better brakes out there, but since I’m paying for this project and you’re not, we’re sticking with the Elixir 1’s.

One last little detail. Wolf Tooth Components sent us this fancy chain ring. That’s right Fart Faces, we’re going 1x! 1×9? 1×10? 1×1? Who knows! As we move forward with the build, we’ll keep you updated on the happenings.
photo

Mountain bikes and Cigars

Probably not your most common pairing, but those are two things I enjoy, but not necessarily at the same time. But check this out, here’s a little tip that might come in useful if you like to smoke. One problem I had with a batch of cigars I recently purchased was that they were hand-rolled a bit too tight. So that means the draw on them is somewhat difficult. Rather than spending some cash on a drawpoker from a cigar shop, I used my noggin and a bicycle tool.

What you see here is my handsome hand, one of my favorite cigars, a Dolce Vita and a 2.5mm allen tool by Ice Toolz.

DIY Cigar Drawpoker

 

So what you want to do is carefully insert your allen tool on the base of the cigar.

You’ll want to get your tool all the way in, then rotate it to make the opening bigger inside.

What this ends up doing is opening up the cigar for a better draw so you can thoroughly enjoy it. If I may add, this works really well and I saved myself at least $15 from having to buy an actual drawpoker tool.

Interbike 2013 Coverage Proudly Sponsored by Black Tiger Jerky

Black Tiger Jerky

All projects have been put on hold…

Well technically not all of them have been put on hold. Just the ones that will cost us to dip into our beer money. So for now I wanted to share with you what we’ve got going on at at the World HQ of MtnBikeRiders.com. Check it out! It’s a custom-made sidecar from the Philippines! If you grew up there or have visited the Philippines, you may have ridden on one or your own family might have had one at some point. My family and I did! I recall doing really stupid things on the sidecar with my brother. So in the 80’s when my family immigrated from the Philippines to America, I was jonesing to have a sidecar. Seemed like no one made those here, but in the Philippines, you could normally find a “Latero” or fabricator who can build you one in a matter of hours.

Fast forward nearly 30 years later and just by chance my mom was going back to the Philippines to visit some family. I had asked her to look into the cost of getting a sidecar built and shipped to the US. As she was enjoying her trip I get a message from my mom asking about my bike and wondered which one would I be using with the sidecar. You have to understand, up until this point, the sidecar was more of an idea rather than an actual reality. About a few days later my uncle sends me this photo…I said to myself…”hmm…could it be?!”
philippines Sidecar

A few more days later I get messages from my other relatives stating that when we pick up my mom from the airport,we’ll need a big vehicle like my van since my mom was bringing home a sidecar for me…whoa whoa whoa! For me! WOW! My mom came through! She really came through and boy was I excited!

Here’s how she brought it back with her on the airplane.

After I got it home, it took me nearly 40 minutes to remove all that wrapping.

So in order for me to complete this project, I will need a 20″ wheel for the sidecar then a BMX bike to mate it with. I tried mocking it up to my daughter’s Manhattan Hot Rod to see if it would work. It’s possible, but it’s a bit too short and the person pedaling might feel a bit cramped.

Just for pretend. I’ll need a 20″ wheel and a BMX bike.

So this is the reason why our projects have been put on hold. Then again, now that I think about it, the tandem project hasn’t been put on hold. In fact NickD and I are going to work on it next week.

But I do want to thank my mom for getting this sidecar hand-built for me and bringing it all the way back from the Philippines. Just the excess baggage fees alone were astronomical , but my mom said that this was my birthday and anniversary present all rolled into one. Thanks mom!

Double Banger Tandem Build Progress Report

Nick D. welding the tubes to the rear triangle of the tandem.

The first order of business was to tack weld the eccentric bottom bracket (EBB), then build the jig.

To make the new tubes used to extend the tandem, Nick D. made fish mouth cuts to the ends so they can fit just right onto the bottom brackets.

After Nick D. built the jig, he mounted the two frames then tack welded the bottom tube. Notice the front, we had installed the EBB. Both bottom and the top extension tubes were measured to 29″. This will give the Stoker ample room in the rear without making the bike too long.

Here’s a shot where the top has been welded on. It’s starting to look like a real tandem!

After the frame cooled down, we wanted to mock it up and see how the frame will look. So we installed the rear suspension linkages, bottom brackets and cranks. The frame still has more work to do, mainly a cross bar that will go from the rear bottom bracket to the captain’s seat tube right underneath the top tube…make sense? We also still need to make shock mounts. Nick D. wants to run a design where we have multiple shock mount positions. That means depending on the type of travel we want, we can adjust it.

Double Banger Tandem Project, 80% done.

Here’s a different angle. Did you notice that the timing chain and drive train is on the same side? Most tandems have the timing chain on the left side. But I didn’t feel like spending a ton of money on tandem specific cranks. So I ended up using 34t chain rings on the front and rear timing, then I’ll have the drive train run on 32t/22t. With this set up, I am able to get enough clearance from both chains and still be able to shift. One thing I’ve learned with tandem riding and racing, you don’t need a big ring. So eliminating the 42t chain ring made sense and using that spot for the timing made even more sense.

Front timing chain with a 34t ring. Yes I know that it’s missing ring bolts, I have those in a box.

Rear drive train with timing gear.

A closer look of the timing and drive train system.

Nick D. was able to take some video footage of the build work. You can see them below:

High Speed GoPro footage of the build

Another angle of the high speed GoPro footage of the tandem build

The Double Banger Tandem Project has been sponsored by the following companies:

Serfas. Bringing Cycling to Life.

 

Double Banger Tandem Project Update: Cut em’ up!!!

The last time we talked about the full suspension tandem, we were still figuring out the final details on what it’s going to take to build this tandem. I headed over to Nick D’s shop and we did some measuring and some cutting.

One of the things Nick D wanted to do was measure our 2Fast4U tandem and improve on it’s geometry on the new tandem.
tandem mountain bike

Not sure what this tool is called, but it some how measures the angles of things. So far the old tandem is sitting at 71 degrees. We want the new tandem to sit at 69 degrees. Don’t ask me how, but Nick D has it all figured out.
tandem

This is what we call our Pink Prints. This has a photo of the old tandem with measurements. One thing Nick and I remember from racing with it was the Stoker cockpit was a bit too cramped. Adding at least 2 inches to the rear would solve that problem.
mountain bike tandem

The following morning, we went for a ride. All that thinking makes my head hurt. Here’s a photo of Doc Thunda fixing Nick D’s busted chain. I would have helped but I didn’t want to get dirty.
aliso woods

After the ride, we went to the metal shop to get some tubing for the tandem and for the jig that Nick will build.
full suspension tandem

Here’s what I call the “Felt so wrong but oh so good” moment. Nick D, started cutting the frames. There’s just something naughty about cutting a perfectly good working frame…but it felt good to cut them. It was like a hot knife through butter.
cutting bicycle frames

Here’s the aftermath…OH THE HORROR!
bicycle frames

Now that the frames are cut, we wanted to get an idea on how it would look. Check it out!
home made full suspension tandem

The next step would be to create the jig, mount the frames and start fitting the tubes. We’re pretty excited to do this project and I have to say, out of all our builds, this one takes the cake!

How to build your own tandem?

Good question, perhaps you can give us some tips! Haha. I’m just messing. But something exciting is about to happen for MtnBikeRiders.com. You may recall that we were in the process of building our own tandem mountain bike to do super cool stuff with like eating tacos and drinking diet sodas while riding down a gnarly hill. This weekend will be the start of this project, and it should be pretty epic to say the least. Hmm. I like that word…EPIC.

Our Fabricator Extraordinaire, Nick D sent me some thoughts on how to build this monster, here’s what he had to say:

Yeah, I already have some ideas how I want to lay it out.

One thing I need to do is have you take a picture of your old tandem from a side view. Then i need to measure all of the angles and lengths. After that we will want to sit on the old tandem and see where we want more room, angle changes, and any other modifications.

I.E. Front Bottom Bracket to Rear Bottom Bracket, Front seat post to rear seat post, head set angle,

At that point we will have some type of schematic to work from for our new one. That way I know which exact angles work and how far to separate everything. Then I will make a jig that has the exact length of our bottom brackets that we want which will lock both sections together. After that you just connect the points with tubes and call it a day.

So here is the order of operations:

1. Take pictures of old Tandem

tandem bicycle

2. Measure old Tandem

3. Calculate new dimensions

4. Measure and order new aluminum tubing

5. Create bottom bracket jig

6. Cut old frames and prep for welding

mtnbikeriders tandem

7. Set all angles and lengths up

8. Weld all joints

9. Add accessory pieces of flair

10. Powder Coat Frame

11. Assemble components onto frame

12. Our main reason for building this tandem.Race and look cooler than everyone else.

Repurposed Grips

Check it out kids, I took some old grips that I was about to throw away and used them for something else on the bike.

grips

Filet it down the middle.
grips on mtnbikeriders.com

Cut the ends off.
grips

You can now wrap it around your chain stay and zip tie it for the perfect fit. Since you have 2 grips, go ahead and install both to protect the length of your chain stay.
CHAIN STAY PROTECTOR