Thursday, September 24, 2009

$100 Bike Challenge - Finale: Mission Accomplished!

When I last posted, the bike frame had been painted and clear-coated and was left to cure for a week. The final product turned out pretty nice and I was satisfied with it.

Reunited - frame and fork
Now the fun part, assembling the bike. First, the fork, headset, and quill which all went on easily. Next the bottom bracket and and crank set, went on fine but I notices the pedal were quite far out. Then I put on the rear wheel - I had removed the cassette and installed a freewheel - and quickly figured out that the chain line was not going to work at all. The free wheel was way too inboard and the crank too outboard! *&?%#@!! As you all know, the chain line is the key to a single-speed (SS); it has to be straight! So, I went out and checked with the experts. The guy at re-Rycles didn't know much about SS bikes but suggested that the bottom bracket (BB) spindle was too long. Next, I brought the frame in to the dudes at Tall Trees. They suggested a few things:

BB spindle too long,
  • a mtb crank (which I was using) is further outboard because it has 3 rings compared to 2 on a road crank
  • I could move the spacers on the rear hub to move it further out but that would require redishing the rear wheel
I have done 4 other SS builds, guess I had been lucky because I had never had any of these problems with the others. So, my option are: new BB, new crank, wheel rebuild or new wheel at that price.

Considering these options and my $100 budget, I decided to try one thing at a time starting with the cheapest. So, I started with the BB. I found one at Pecco's in Hull for $15! And not a really crappy one with plastic cups. I know it does not have great bearings, but it will do. This time I went with a 107mm spindle (the other was 113mm). Let's see what happens!

When I got home, I installed the new BB and then the crank. Well, what a difference! The cranks actually set totally flush with the spindle and gained about 1cm inboard on the drive side. Things were looking up. I put the rear wheel on and threw a chain on and 'shite'! Chain line still slightly off but not by just a couple of millimeters - slight bend in the chain. Now, how was I going to solve this bit. I put the bike away and decided to ponder this little puzzle.

See the bend in the chain at the top of the freewheel?

The next day I did a bit of research and do-it-yourself bike Guru Sheldon Brown (R.I.P.) had the solution - spacers between the crank bolts and spider. And, I just happened have 3mm spacers. I installed them as suggested and bingo! I got a straight chain line!! Pretty damn close anyway.

Spacers between the spider and chain-ring improved chain alignment

Straight chain line!!
I was finally ready to put the rest of the parts on, handlebars, brakes, seat and post, grips all went on with know. As I was adjusting the rear break, I notice something that almost made me want to throw the bike over the fence! The wheel was seriously out of true! @#$%&!!! I know that most shops charge a standard fee between $25 - $35 for truing wheel that would break my budget. So, I had to do it myself but I had never trued a wheel in my life.

So, where do you turn when you want to know how to do something? The Internet of course, and Youtube and plenty of video and I found one that I liked. I went ahead and put the bike on the stand, using the rear brake as guides and started tightening and loosening spokes as per the video I watched. After about 20mins, the wheel looked pretty good and wasn't rubbing the brake pads anymore. That's it, I can't believe it; I am finally done! The bike looks great and works great!

Grips matching the paint job

Our spokes-model shows off the new build!

This was my most rewarding build for many reasons: it was challenging, I learned a lot and it made Melissa happy!

Did I meet my objective of the challenge - under $100? Here are the details:
  • Frame - $0 (from the trash)
  • Paint materials $40
  • wheel, tires, tubes $0 (already had those)
  • Brakes, cables, housing, seat post, seat bolt $20 (Re-cycles)
  • Brake levers, handlebar $0
  • Grips $12
  • Freewheel $10
  • Bottom bracket $15
  • Pedals $0
  • Crankset $0
  • Chain $0

Add it all up for a grand total of (drum roll...) $97! I should get a few stickers with leftover $3!

Now if you remember my very first post about this build (aka Part 1), I mentioned that I built myself a fixie. Well, take a look at the pics below. Took a few days to get use to riding fixed but I love it now and ride it every day.

Vintage Miele frame, Velocity Deep V rims - Nothing says Pimped-out like Purple!
Rides like a dream on 700 x 35 tires

Sweet chrome sweep-back handlebars with rim-matching purple grips


The Vegan Vagabond said...

very cool Gilles!! Looks great.

Not bad for $100.

Golonghardman said...

Great work Gilles,I'm inspired, I have an old frame in the garage that may get the same kind of attention.

Len said...

Ditto... well done Gilles!

Rob Young said...

Well done, that looks great!

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