Saturday, February 20, 2016

The One True Bike - Part 2 - Frame

Of the two or three people who still read this blog, a couple have asked for ALL THE DETAILS on this my latest bike project. Be careful what you wish for, losers, 'cause here they come, in as many tediously long parts as necessary!

On my fixed gear bike build, I bought a brand new frame. Nothing fancy, but I wanted true horizontal dropouts and they were hard to find in a local, used frame. On my light tourer build, a used 1980's lugged steel Trek 520 frame, which was lovely. Mutant Winter featured a tough-as-nails Alu Gary Fischer MTB hardtail/dirtjumper style frame. On this, the "1TB" build, I needed a flexible platform for what I am hoping will be my ultimate all-rounder. Most of the bikes I have owned in the last twenty years have been compact and aluminum.

I like Alu mostly for its corrosion resistance since I often ride in wet and even salty road conditions. I like compact frames with their sloping top tubes because they are easier to step over. My physical prowess and coordination leave a lot to be desired, and are, in general, worsening. You know how people swing a leg over and coast in standing on one pedal? I don't do that and never have. In addition, planned rear rack and panniers make swinging a leg over the back of the bike a problem for me.

I needed something with the clearances for bigger tires and mounting points for racks and fenders, and canti studs, because I love those frog-leg style cantilever brakes. I wanted 135mm rear spacing because I was planning on really strong wheels, which are more typically on 135mm hubs. Basically I needed a cyclocross frame. What I found pretty much was one, except for the "cyclocross" designation, since it came from a "performance hybrid" bike.

Behold: A used 20" 2010 Trek 7.2 FX compact Alu frame! Cost: $50

It had some pieces I didn't want still attached when I picked it up, like the crankset, derailleur and some of the headset. I removed those and put them in my spares collection, probably never to be used again. Never say Never, though y'know? I was glad to see the bottom bracket was still in it when I picked it up, because it was most likely the original bb, which meant nobody had tinkered with it and accidentally cross-threaded or damaged the bb shell. I am only wary of such things because I have done such things myself in the past, so no judgement there. BB removed, the threads were fine.

For getting the headset cups out of the head tube, I got fancy and made myself a removal tool by using an old seatpost, a vice, and a reciprocating saw. It felt dangerous/foolhardy while I was doing it that way, despite wearing safety glasses. Foolhardy, however, is my middle name and it worked out OK. 

Behold: The Home-made Headset Cup Removal Tool of Destiny! Cost: the fear of losing a finger or stabbing my jugular vein with a flying saw blade or something.

No more hammer and screwdriver method for me, no sir. I was afraid of damaging the inner surfaces of the tube, although my guess is that it would have been fine. Note: If I had it to do again I would have used a tube of thinner metal than that seatpost. My finished product wasn't as bendy or springy as I would have liked. Worked well though.

As you may or may not be able to see, the frame had a few scratches and scuffs, but that is fine with me; I simply don't care much about stuff like that. I may touch it up a bit, but probably not.

That's it for this installment of The One True Bike Build... see ya later. Please feel free to ask any nebulous bike freak questions you may have. I owe you that if you have actually read this far.

Yer Pal,

PS - As with my Trek 520 build, I think I'll keep a running tally on costs...

Used frame                                            50.00
Headset cup removal tool                        fear (0.00)

Total                                                     50.00


John said...

Nice post Foolhardy lol, glad to see you up-cycling for tools and extending the usable life of quality product. As for your choice not to beautify the frame, double kudos, as this preserves the true character and personality of your steads heritage. The scars of a life well lived. Looking forward to more installments and be sure to visit RJ the Bike guys channel for pointers. =)

John Romeo Alpha said...

Nebulous Bike Freak is my new Twitter handle. What sort of rack are you going to mount?

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