Monday, October 26, 2009

Bike mock-up

Here is a quick sketch up of the bike that i did on a bike CAD program online. When I dropped it off at the painters this morning they informed me that because the fork had some plastic on it, they could not paint it because it has to be baked. I think I will keep the fork its original color, which is a very bright silver. I'll touch up all the scratches and make it look whole again, but I don't want to mess with matching the color to the frame (which will be gloss black).

I think I will go with red accents on most of the bike. Red grips and a red seat post. I haven'tyet decided on what decal to go with, but I'm leaning towards Ofanym ( or some variation thereof) which means "bicycle" in Hebrew.

Let me know any comments or suggestions you have about the colors/layout/decals/anything.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Transplant list

About 3 years ago the apartment complex I used to live in was throwing out a bunch of old bikes--so I snatched up a 2006 GT mountain bike. Its an aluminum frame, but I don't care for the frame style, so I will not be using it. However, it does provide an excellent organ donor to my bike. I decided to take a look at it this afternoon and noticed that the suspension was still in excellent condition. This bike has a much nicer air type suspension, so it will make the ride noticeably smoother. My favorite part about this suspension is the front fork; its magnesium and about 5lbs lighter than the steel one from the trek, so it will be going to the painters tomorrow and not the OEM one.

the fork is in really good condition

I have an '86 Cannondale which I converted to a single speed a few years ago, however, since the frame was way too big for me, I'm going to cannibalize some of its components. Namely the crankset--which is a good brand--and maybe the single speed hub on the rear wheel.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 2: cleaning.

I spent most of the morning and some of the afternoon in the workshop cleaning up all the components that I will be putting back on the bike. The first things to be cleaned were the shocks. Trek decided that it would be a good idea to put arguably the worst shock absorbers ever produced on this model of bike. The repair book I am using says that most shocks "these days" were either oil or air shock absorbers. "These days" refers to when Clinton was still The President. I bought this bike new in 2004, and these shocks are spring--not air or oil--springs. Thanks Trek.

To clean the shocks, I placed them in a bucket of hot water and CLR and let them sit for about an hour. I then took them out and scrubbed them with a wire brush for 30 or 40 minutes. It was very difficult to get ALL the grime and stuff off, but i removed the vast majority of it.

What the shock coils looked like before cleaning

Here is the finished product. I think they came out nicely.

I also cleaned out the fork and the tubes in which these coils reside with lots of CLR, degreaser and fresh oil. I put it all back together and it works!

Here is the partially assembled unit. I'm keeping all the components in bags with oil for now until its time to rebuild the bike.

Oh, and here is the CLR bath after I finished cleaning the parts. Keep in mind it was clean/clear water when I started

After the shocks I dismantled the rear derailleur and began to clean it. It was nearly seized and needed a thorough scrubbing to get moving again. Some wd40 and some Teflon lube and it looks like new. The rear derailleur serves 2 functions, it moves the chain on the rear cassette, changing the gearing and it keep the chain taught.

before being cleaned.

being scrubbed--look how black that brush is

This string/hair/wtf was underneath the washer, I feel like this had something to do with the lack of movement.

Rebuilt and back together.

The last thing on the agenda today was to pick up the frame from the bike store. I had them remove the crown, bottom bracket and crank set. The frame is now totally stripped and I'll take it to the painters some time this week. The bottom bracket is rusted and needs to be replaced, and I am going to need a new crank set. This only fuels my love of buying junk online. I spent the rest of today getting as much of the rust off the frame as possible, before they sandblast it. I know the sand will get rid of the surface rust, but there is a lot of stuff on the inside of the tubes and some deeper rust that might not be removed.

D came out and snapped a few pictures of me working/AWing.

Oh, and Ike spent the entire day putting his ball in every possible nook and cranny of the shop, and then preceding to whine about losing it.

Next up is getting the bike painted and assembling all the necessary components for the rebuilding.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I couldn't help myself today, I had to figure out why my front shocks were frozen solid. I doused them with some wd40 to penetrate the grime and tried pushing down on them. Nothing. I tried tapping with a mallet--nothing. I finally put a board against the fork and hammered on it until the shocks popped off. What awaited me is too horrific to write, so I will just show you.

after about 30ml of black water fell onto the floor

close up of the shock absorber.

one of the shocks after some wd40 and a quick brushing. Ill buy some heavy duty penetrant this weekend and really clean them up.

Painting the bike.

I calculated up everything that I would need to buy to properly paint my bike;

sand paper, stipper, putty knife, paint, primer, clear coat, plastic sheeting, masking and duct tape, masks. All of this would total about 60 dollars at home depot.

This would the be total for painting the bike with spray paint, which can chip easily. I called a specialty painting place in town and they quoted me 50$ to sandblast and powder coat my bike. Powder coating is a dry powder which is sprayed on the frame and then baked on. Its an extremely durable coating, and the best one to do with on an everyday use bike. The only problem is that it comes in a limited range of colors--they said they have dark green, which is what I wanted. If they don't have the right color, i can always supplement the color with some vinyl graphics.

Powder coating is sprayed before baking in a large oven. I want to paint the bike British Racing Green, i.e. hunter green.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 1: strip down

I only get the opportunity to be in the workshop maybe every other weekend and one weekday every 2 weeks (the day of a test), so I have to make the most of my time in there. Today after my test I cleaned up my work area a little, mounted a bike rack and got busy. My goal for today was to completely dismantle the bike and get it ready for cleaning. This proved harder than anticipated. The bike hasn't been cleaned in so long most every hex bolt was completely seized. After lots of WD40 I was finally able to remove most of the components. I got the bike completely naked, save for the crankest, which requires a special tool (which happens to be on the way from amazon).

This weekend I'll be degreasing the bike and most of the compenents, along with removing a lot of the rust with my new knock-off dremmel tool. I was able to scrap the front derailleur becuase I am turning the bike down from a 21 speed to a 7 speed. This will save me some weight and hassle. The rear derailleur needs some serious degreasing, but should be clean soon enough. I am at a loss on what do to about the fork. The shocks are completley sized and pretty rusty, they might not be salvageable.

Aside from the surface rust the frame is still solid; I will probably start stripping the paint this weekend and tackling the rest of the rust.

For those of you wondering how I am going to do with with no mechanical knowledge whatsoever--I've been using this book which I jacked from my father. Its great, has step-by-step instructions, pictures and a very DIY attitude.

Here are some pictures from today's work;
Wheels off; nothing else done

An example of some of the rust, this is from the bottom of the seat post. Most of this came off with a metal brush

After about 4 hours the frame is nearly naked.

That's all for now, more to come this weekend.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Rebuild

Ever since I started medical school I have had an urge to do something that was not studying or sitting in front of some type of screen. I wanted to do something with my hands and not the memory part of my brain (hippocampus for those of you paying attention) I recently cleaned out the creepy back room we have on our garage, put in a workbench and created a space for projects and puttering around.

I also decided that it was wasteful and sort of stupid to drive the 2.5 miles to school, only to park 1 mile away from the building, then take a shuttle or walk to class, wasting another 10 minutes of my life. I have a bike and I used to bike all over LSU's campus, but now it sits in my garage, tires flat and the frame starting to rust. I have come to the conclusion that a productive waste of my free time can be spent rebuilding my old derelict bike. I'm going to use this blog to monitor my progess and preserve a record of just how much I screwed up a perfectly good bike. Also, if it put it out in the public forum, people can ridicule me for not following through on my plans.

courtesy of

The bike itself is a 2004 Trek 820, purchased new for just over $200. Its a steel framed mountian bike, weighing in at 35lbs. This is heavy, most commuter bikes weigh in at about 25-30lbs, but the bike is sold. The idea is to start this rebuild now, and hopefully be done for the spring to start riding to class. My plans for the rebuild are as follows.

  • Complete disassembly
  • strip, sand and paint.
  • Thorough cleaning of all components
  • conversion from a 21 speed to a 7 speed.
  • installation of slick road tires.
  • fenders, lights, chain guard and what ever else I deem nessesary for a commuting bike.
  • new saddle and grips