Showing posts with label trek 520. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trek 520. Show all posts

Monday, May 10, 2010

Trek 520 Build - Part Three - Powdered, Dusted and Sprinkled

Mmmm. Donuts. I love donuts. And recently blasted bike frames. If you showed up here because you love donuts too, I am afraid I am about to disappoint you. Take comfort in the fact that my regular visitors come here ready to be disappointed ahead of time, and maybe get yourself a donut at your local deep fried dough establishment. That should make you feel better.

This is Part Three of an ongoing series of posts documenting my painfully slow progress in building a light loaded touring bike. If you care to read the whole thing so far, use the "Post Series" link to the right.

So, to continue: I took my newly blasted bike frame to H&G Powder Painters here in London. I didn't know if it was strictly necessary, but I only handled the frame while wearing some thin disposable plastic gloves and when the H&G people saw that, they thought it was probably better that I had done so and complimented me on the care I took. It is entirely possible that they just thought I was a big freak and were lying to me, but even if that was true they certainly got the message that I wanted proper care taken with this frame.

The big question was, of course, what colour I wanted the bike to be. In completely boring but practical fashion, I went with a glossy black. There were two main reasons for my choice, the first being that I quite like "plain" bicycles in black, white or silver. The second was that H&G does "runs" of black all the time, often for industrial applications. If I had wanted something more interesting, I would have had to wait longer and possibly pay more. Decision made.
I consulted with a young man named Jason from H&G who was enthusiastic and showed very quickly that he understood what needed to be masked off and why. I got the feeling he was looking forward to doing something a little more sporty than screen doors or gardening equipment or whatever. Anyway, the frame got done and I'm really pleased with the results:

Those pictures show pretty well that the black powder looks good and stops in all the right spots (no threads or inner surfaces for me to clean out) and that my front lawn really sucks. Ah well. I like making bikes, not caring for grass. Sue me.

So that covers the "powdered" part of this post's title, but what about the rest? When I first brought the frame home I left the frame and fork on top of a wood pile on our porch. There is a ton of construction going on in my neighbourhood, which is raising lots and lots of dust. When I took it down to take some photos for this little article, it looked like this:

Now that wasn't gonna do for a "hey look at my pretty bike frame" picture, now was it? I had to rinse off the frame and give it a wipe before taking the nicer photos from earlier. Despite the little annoyances like this that the road work produces, you will never, ever hear me complain about it, because I love smooth pavement. The frame now resides in my basement tool room, where most of the dust is kept down by sweet, cool basement-y humidity and an abundance of cobwebs. So that's the "dusted" part. Now for the sprinkles!

The day after my bike was done, the aforementioned Jason gave me a call. He said he wanted to discuss how my job went. I was naturally a little concerned and went over to H&G at the first opportunity. Jason wasn't happy with how my frame coating had gone. It had sprinkles:

You may need to click on the above image for a bigger version to see the sprinkles.

For reasons Jason wasn't exactly clear on, some particles from some other job or item being treated ended up part of my powder job. Jason told me that he takes great pride in his work and that didn't want me to see these sprinkles later and come back unhappy. I had to take the frame out in the sunlight to see them at all, and overall they looked kind of like a sparse metallic fleck to me. I asked if there was any chance that the durability of the coating would have been affected, and he said absolutely not. He offered to try re-coating the frame or knock $30 off the original $80 we had agreed on. I took the $30 without a second thought. I had thought the $80 sounded like a pretty damn good price in the first place.

I would like to thank H&G for their friendly service and Jason in particular for presenting me with what may be the first ever occurrence of a price being reduced by adding sprinkles. Just try asking for that at an ice cream place and see how it goes over. I dare you.

To be perfectly honest, I don't know enough about the powder coating process to have caught this "problem" on my own. I would have paid my $80 quite happily. But they were honest and I really appreciate that. I wonder if my carrying the frame into their place while wearing silly little plastic gloves has anything to do with it? Perhaps, but I would rather think that this is just a case of a business doing the right thing in the hopes of gaining one more happy customer. They have.

Before I go, there is one more picture that I want to share with you for no good reason other than that I think it looks kind of cool:

Thanks for reading Part Three. The next parts will be about components, of course. I have 'em all picked out, but don't know when I'll be able to buy them. There's also a Police auction coming up that may yield some cheap bikes laden with good parts, but I am skeptical. Short version, don't hold your breath for the next part. Everything comes in its own time, even stuff you don't necessarily care about or want.

I have promised to keep good records of the costs involved with this build; I am beginning to regret that because the final, true cost of my bike building is going to shock me and Mrs. Rantwick, I think. A promise, however, is a promise:

Build $ Tally:

Used Frame + some parts I will re-use: $80.00

Used Wheelset: $100.00

Blasting of frame: $50.00

Powder Coating of frame: $50.00 (super deal)

TOTAL to date: $280.00

Yer Pal,


PS - Upon re-reading this post, it looks like I'm promoting H&G. I suppose I am, but only because I'm a happy customer. Neither have I have received any monetary consideration for what I have written, nor do they even know that I have written it.
Click here to continue to Part Four - Have Parts, Will Dawdle

Friday, April 16, 2010

Trek 520 Build - Part Two - I Strip and Get Blasted

Before I begin, if you are enough of a bike freak to want to follow my Trek 520 light-loaded tourer build from beginning to end, use the "Post Series" link near the top of the sidebar to the right. If, on the other hand you are only here for the "strip and get blasted" part, here we go:

The Trek 520 I picked up last fall looked like this:

The frame was going to need attention in the paint department, which meant it was time to strip. I mean, like, take it all off! WooHoo!

Before I did that, I took closeup photos of all the parts I thought I might have trouble reassembling. Then I put everything I meant to keep in little plastic bags. They eventually went into a larger bag.

Bars, stem and crankset will be replaced. Anyway, I and the 520 stayed in the bag for 6 months. Everything just sat in my tool room until this week. The paint and decals on the frame were in pretty bad shape. I have stripped a frame using a combination of chemicals and wire brushes on a hand drill. It was a lot of work and yielded acceptable but less than perfect results. I wasn't going to screw around this time. Given the situation, I knew in my heart that it was time to get blasted, which I proceeded to do a couple of days ago. I picked up the frame just yesterday:

As you can see, all that messy stuff was cleaned right up. Finally clean, me and my Trek 520 are ready for the next steps. We will try not to get all freaked out on powder...

Build $ Tally:

Used Frame + some parts I will re-use: $80.00

Used Wheelset: $100.00

Blasting of frame: $50.00

TOTAL to date: $230.00

PS - I'm going on trains and planes for a few days. Be good while I'm gone, and maybe I'll bring you something back from my trip late next week.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Trek 520 Build - Part One - A Bike Needs a Frame and Wheels

Since several of my favourite blog people are doing articles in several parts and I am nothing if not a sheep-like follower and imitator, I'm jumping on the bandwagon. There may be months between the parts of this documentation of my Light Loaded Tourer build, since the restrictions of time and money will make it a very slow process. To see all posts relating to this build, use the "Post Series" link near the top of the sidebar on the right.

On previous builds, I have been asked by people, "so how much did it cost to do?" I could ballpark it, but in all honesty I didn't have any good answer. This time, I'm going to keep track of everything in these posts, right down to the bar tape. I've got a bad feeling the total amount will be more than I ever guessed, but I know I do that to myself by needing to upgrade lots of stuff that probably would have been fine. As such, please don't treat these posts as a "how to build a good bike for cheap", but rather as a "how Rantwick builds a bike he'll love". Also please know that this is not a restoration project. Lots of new bits and pieces that have nothing to do with the original 520 will go into it.

Of course the first step in building up a bike from scratch is getting your paws on an appropriate frame. In my case I found a local classified ad for a "90s Trek 520". The back wheel was trashed and the frame would require a complete re-paint to look nice again. When I got the bike home, a little online research at
Vintage Trek revealed that my bike was actually an 1988 or 89. The serial number puts it in 1989, but the 27" wheels make it a 1988! Anyway, here it is, just as I brought it home:

Double-butted made in the USA lugged steel goodness. Long chainstays. Braze-ons and eyelets for racks and fenders, including eyelets midway on the front fork, two water bottle cages and mounts for the downtube shifters (which you can switch between friction and indexed for the rear).

Like I said, the rear wheel was trashed, and the 6 Speed freewheel cogs showed the signs of a long life spent with the same chain, so I couldn't use it either. The front wheel was OK, but the spokes were grungy with oxidation. I needed some decent 27" wheels if I didn't want to replace the perfectly good cantilever brakes or get into moving the braze-ons. Once again, the local online classified gods smiled on my project: I picked up a pair of Mavic G40s (double eyelet, 36 spoke) laced to sealed cartridge Specialized hubs. They even had nice silver skewers without a mark on them.

Brass nipples, DT Swiss stainless spokes, and 6 Speed freewheel (the original was a 6 speed too) in excellent condition. I didn't measure, but the rear spacing of the bike is a perfect match. It's gear range (12-19) is higher than that of a typical touring bike, and I'm debating with myself about how to proceed. I was intending on replacing the Deore/BioPace crankset (which was also really worn) anyway, so I've been playing with gear calculators to see if I can get touring-style gear ratios by choosing the right crankset. I'm thinking the smaller chainrings of a MTB crankset might do the trick. I know some bike people who would gasp in horror at the notion of using MTB components on a road frame, but I'm way more interested in function than convention. That said, I'm a sucker for a nice Ultegra crankset... obviously I'm still percolating on the matter. Maybe a road triple crankset with no rings off ebay? Buying rings one a time can be expensive. Gaah! Ack! I love this, and I hate this!

Sorry you got dragged into my tortured thought process there. So: A frame and wheels that I really like. What an excellent start!

Build $ Tally:

Used Frame + some parts I will re-use: $80.00
Used Wheelset: $100.00

TOTAL to date: $180.00

This was Part One.

Click Here for Part Two: I Strip and Get Blasted

If you were expecting something funny or interesting to normal people, I apologize. Like I said, it will likely be quite a while before I post on this build again, so come back soon for something more entertaining.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This Is Not a Post - I'm just Excited

I just had to mention that I have found the foundation for a new highway tourer build, a lugged steel 1988 Trek 520. God knows I'll be writing about this some more, so I'll leave it there for now.

Since people always want to know... I paid $80 for it, but I'll need a new 27" rear wheel which may be hard to source, might switch out BB and crankset, but brakes, levers, derailleurs and shifters are all good. Frame is scratched but not rusted... will probably repaint.

Wish me luck on my obsessive journey,