Got some more work done recently on my fatbike rebuild. After the flux was cleaned off and the frame was given a good working with steel wool to remove any surface rust, I gave it a rub down with Acetone and got to work with priming.
A good paint job is all in the prep and doing light coats. I sprayed the self-etching primer and let it cure for a few days. A soft rub with a scouring pad and another Acetone wipe down, then a coating of primer sealer. Not many people bother with a primer sealer but I find it makes the paint job tougher and improves the look of the finished project. Self-etching primer is also a great option for extra hold on your base coat.
Its looking good so far. After the primer sealer cures over the next couple of days I need to start thinking about a colour. Lots of options in the automotive isle, and am thinking I'll spray it with an Acrylic Laquer. It will be my first time with laquer, I've done a few with enamel but it does not seem to cure very well and won't polish up nice with wax.
Once its shot with colour and clear coat, the fun beings and I get to hang parts back on it. So far I'm going to need a new bottom bracket, cables, and a chain. Everything else looks good. This old friend is going to be back and badass when she's done. Can't wait.
Back in the spring of 2011 I was getting bored with my tried and true 26er and needed something different. It was right at the cusp of the 29er explosion so I decided to buy a Cannondale Trail SL4, my first 29er. This was back in the days before I had children and could afford to buy a bike then upgrade it to my liking. Upgrades included things like a DT Swiss wheelset, Thomson post and stem, Rock Shox Reba fork, Avid Elixir brakes, and the cutting edge (at that time) Shimano 3x10 driveline. I sure do miss all that reckless spending I did back then, upgrading parts that didn't really need to be upgraded, owning a stack of brand new tires because I wanted to "try out" various makes and models. These days I'd rather buy a well spec'd mid level bike and leave it nearly stock.
I had this bike for 3 (semi-abusive) years before the frame cracked and she went to the scrap yard. The nice parts went on my fat bike and I started riding fat 100% of the time after that. I did eventually get a warranty frame after a few months and having Cannondale send me a 26er frame by mistake (way to go C-Dale, lost a customer there) that I sold to buy some replacement bits for the fat bike (Kids in the picture at this point). The C'Dale was fun, but fat tires are better. No more pizza cutters for this guy.
As my recovery comes along and I get closer to getting life back to normal, I've felt the urge to mountain bike again. I've been out on some easy going rides this year while out camping and with the kids around town, but have not had a good hard ride since the TPMBC Spring Kicker (and the Tillsonburn4 a week prior). I sold my awesome RSD Sergeant to help pay some bills while injured and am left without a mountain bike.
As my body has been healing I've realized that maybe I gave up on the old fatbike too soon. I was empathetic to it. I felt as if I should have helped it recover from its own broken frame just as all the doctors and physiotherapists have been helping me recover from my fractured spine. I spent a good evening out in the shop staring at the dust and cobweb covered frame, reminiscing of all the good times we shared, before finally arriving at the conclusion that I should give it another chance.
I got to work stripping the pain from the frame and fork and fashioned a gusset from some plate steel. It wasn't long after that I fired up the torches and got to work brazing the frame. I felt right at home with the brazing torch in my hand while carefully doing the dance of heat and bronze. The smell of sizzling flux filled the shop while the gentle hiss of the torch played its melody in my ears. Fillet brazing is a bit of a lost art that I got good with years ago, but its just like riding a bike.... you never forget.
I added brass as I needed, carefully wetting out the puddle for maximum penetration. I didn't want to have this joint crack again and the plate I made is very heavy duty.
Brazing is a gentle process. You have to run the torch at low pressure to avoid blowing out the base material from too fast of a flame. The slow flame and quick wrist are what makes a good welder here. You need to be able to adjust on the fly and use your gut to know when to wick the torch away and prevent cooking the joint, and when to pour on the heat and lay in the brass. Experience is the greatest teacher when it comes to this type of welding, and you need to think one step ahead of where you are. There is nothing quite like it and it brings me a slice of inner peace during my rough injury recovery.
I finished off my joint rebuild and shut down the torches. I let the joint cool for 10 minutes before putting the joint into the dunk tank. The dunk tank is just warm water and will dissolve the glassy flux off of the steel. Without the dunk tank, the hardened flux is nearly impossible to chip off but will disappear overnight in water. Science Bitch!
Check back for Part 2 soon. This baby is going to need some paint and lots of parts!
I'm like a crow..... I see shiny things (or things that could be shiny with some love) and I need to have it. That was the case when I stumbled upon this old mid 90's GT Karakoram on Kijiji for forty bucks. It needs some love and a tender touch to get it back into fighting shape again. There are some obvious signs of neglect here, from the caked driveline to the collapsed fork, that need to be remedied.
I present to you, the Karakoram. I see it becoming a sort of utility / touring / towing bike when finished.
Its a fifteen foot bike right now, as in it looks pretty good from fifteen feet away. Get up close and things get scary looking.
It even has some really awesome Kool-Stop brake pads and a Kore stem.
The driveline is all kinds of fucked up and will need a gallon of varsol to clean it up. It looks like its not too worn out and should be okay after a clean up.
The seatpost was firmly stuck in place (as with most bikes of this age and lack of maintenance). I've gotten good at freeing these up and went to work on it. I found that someone else had already tried with the hammer (dumbass) method and I would work smarter. I stripped the cranks and bottom bracket, flipped the bike in the stand and filled the seat tube with penetrating oil. A bit of time and a breaker bar in the seat rails had it moving. Keep your catch pan handy as the oil is going to cover your floor when the post comes out.
Next will be stripping the bike and checking wear on all the parts. Then cleaning, lots of cleaning. Check back soon.
Picked up this beat up old 1st gen Karate Monkey recently. It needs some work and decals. I'm not even really sure what I'm going to do with it yet but the price was right for this cool old Surly. Lots of options here, disc or canti, clearance for huge tires, track end style dropouts, derailleur mounts and cable stops. I have to admit, Surly makes some super versatile bikes. Time will tell how this old project turns out.
Its been a few weeks now, but a bit of elbow grease and a bunch of new parts have the C'Dale up and running again. The owner is going to be pretty happy when he gets his hands back on it. Its going to be a great reliable bike and easy to maintain.
Upgrades from stock include:
I managed to save the crankset with some love and also serviced the headset and hubs. Its all done now. All thats left is to take it out and get it dirty.
I got to work stripping the bike down. I found a few more small issues that need to be fixed up but nothing catastrophic. The frame is in excellent shape but needed the years of built up dirt and grime washed away. A little bit of surface degreaser and polish made it good as new. This bike is going to be so fresh when its done.....
Now that I've got a clean frame to build from its time to put together a parts spec and get the a-ok from the owner.
In my head its shaping up to be something like a Deore / SLX driveline with a OneUp 30t chainring, something big and meaty for tires, and some uber reliable Avid BB7 brakes with FR5 levers and Goodridge cables / housings. Should make for a dam fine machine...
This is part 1 of a multi-part Garage Files blog about rebuilding a friends Cannondale.
A few years ago I managed to convince a friend that mountain biking was a fun pass time. He set out with me in tow to look at new bikes and bought a 2013 Cannondale Trail 4 29er. Its a well spec'd bike for the price and he put 3 seasons of riding on it since, shredding singletrack at Turkey Point, towing his kids around in a trailer and a trail-a-bike, even a trip out to The Hydrocut where I might have gotten him in a little over his head and he cracked a rib. There has been lots of good times aboard this bike and it has an established story at this point, no doubt in my mind that the bike has taken on its own character in the owners mind.
After 3 seasons of use, its looking a little haggard and needs a facelift / overhaul. The front brake gave out this year and he has been getting by just using the rear (yikes!) and the shifting is getting sloppy, no doubt from the cheap Acera derailleur being completely worn out and the build up of dirt in the driveline.
He asked me to fix the brakes and driveline, I've convinced him to go to a 1x driveline for ease of maintenance and lighter overall package. A quick go over and it needs a bunch of small issues addressed, but could also use some upgrades to really "unleash the beast" that this bike can be.
The brakes need to go. The low end hydraulic offerings from C'Dale are complete crap, we will be most likely swapping over to Avid BB7's for ease of maintenance and ultra reliability.
Tires are shot. I'm going to set him up with something with more volume that he can really get aggressive with. Thinking something along the lines of the 2.4 Ardents.
The crankset is also hurting. The bb is nearly shot and the old Octalink Shimano isn't the stiffest option out there. Might upgrade him to a nice Deore crank. As far as driveline, most likely a 30t chainring with a 11-36 cassette, 10 speed of course. This bike is going to be awesome once its done.
Stay tuned for part 2, the bike will be stripped and everything inspected.
Not being the kind of person who can leave well enough alone, I went ahead and swapped some parts on the Fatboy SE in favour of some nicer bits. I changed out the brakes with Avid BB7. If Specialized is listening - spec the best mechanical brake made if your going to spec mech brakes! I also took out the heavy Specialized tubes and used some Q tubes in place of them, saving over a pound in rotating mass! I'm not real big in the OEM 2x driveline either, so away in went and a OneUp 30T narrow wide chainring with a OneUp 42t cassette adaptor to give me a nice wide range of gears along with the change from the Sunrace cassette to an XT unit.
I also weighed the tires and found that they (the 60tpi wire bead) weigh the same as what I've seen reported for the pricier 120tpi folding tire. Also, a good call with the XT cassette. The OEM Sunrace cassette had already dug into the aluminum freehub body during the round the block trip that the bike had seen before me. The XT has aluminum carriers for the first 6 sprockets to keep this damage from happening again. Again, if you're listening Specialized - don't spec a cheap ass cassette on an aluminum freehub body you asses! Lucky, its very minor. I've seen much worse after a few hours of singletrack riding.
I previously used a Wolftooth GC40 cassette adaptor and a Race Face narrow wide chainring on my Nashbar (click here for review), but decided to go with the OneUp package this time (watch for a review in the future).
I ended up dropping nearly 2 pounds with this setup.
The rest of the build kit is a no frills get-it-done type of spec. The bars, post, stem are run of the mill but get it done. The wide 750mm bars will take a bit for me to get use to. I also decided to give the OEM Body Geometry seat and grips a chance.
I rode a nice loop at TP today, nearly all of the East Side trails with some West tossed in. The deer flies are bad right now on the West side. Mosquitoes are getting better on the East. I put the Fatboy through its paces on a nice 30+km ride. It did not disappoint, it handles great just like the demo bike I rode last month. It feels light and the traction is amazing from the Ground Control tires. I did a bit of dialling in the pressures and ended up at 10 psi rear, 8.5 psi front, according to my digital low pressure gauge. The seat and grips worked well and will stay on the bike for now. The 1x driveline works great, always the right gear at hand (bad pun, hahaha). With all the black on black and the huge tires the bikes has a bit of a "Batmobile" look to it, I always did want to be the caped crusader. Anyways, I'll do a more formal review once I've had the bike for the long term. In the meantime, here is a healthy dose of bike porn.........
The 2016 Specialized Fatboy SE
I couldn't say no. The bike was offered to me, in brand new condition with a ride or two around the block on it for less than half of the new cost. Owner bought it, rode it around the cul-de-sac and parked it. Lucky me. Looks like she just came off the showroom floor. Its a Specialized Fatboy SE in black, very very black, like Johnny Cash black. I was impressed with the Fatboy model when I test rode on at the WCC open house so it was a no brainer. I've got a few plans for this bike, drop some rotating mass, 1x10 driveline, maybe even a Bluto fork? We will see.
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.