Sunday, July 15, 2012

Frankenstein X...It Lives!

Every story needs a final chapter.

Each day I walked through the shop and passed the shattered remnants of the X, I felt sad.  Sad that Roy had only the opportunity to enjoy the bike for a week, sad that the frame met it's demise in such a dramatic fashion, and sad that all the work that went into the frame from both Bill and I was for naught, save a few precious memories.

Fortunately for Roy, the stars aligned and unbelievably, he found another Groovy to call his own. 

Jay R, who had commissioned a beautiful custom bike to inspire him to begin cycling again in the mountainous dirt roads of Tennessee, had abandoned the fully rigid/Rohloff designed frame after a number of years of solid use.  He has been lured into the dark world of all mountain down hill riding and the squishy rides that dominate that niche.  Rather than see it sit unridden, he wanted to find it a new home to be appreciated...bullseye, mission accomplished!

Emailing with Roy about his new purchase, he inquired as to the fate of the X.  After a thorough looksy, it was obvious that the frame would never be repairable without a LOT of work, and even if it was possible, it would not be suitable to be ridden by a customer again...a prospect that sent my lovely insurance agent into a tizzy.  Roy and I agreed, and the issue was laid to rest.  The remnants of the frame went into the scrap bin.

I swear I didn't move it, but the next day when I opened the door to the shop, the X parts were no longer in the scrap bin, but laid out on the floor by the lathe.  "What the heck????  How did those get there?"

Hours later, working at the lathe on some bars, I my gaze lowered and the doggies were laying on the floor at my feet, the X situated between them.  All three looked up with adoring puppy dog eyes... I heard a whimper, "fix me".

Easily explained, such delusional apparitions are common with sleep deprivation, and I've no shortage of that of late.

A few days passed, stepping around and over the tattered pieces, I just could not toss it back in the bin.  The frame wound up on the work bench;  What would it really take to sew it back together and make it strong enough for use?

The next week, it was back in the fixture, couldn't hurt just to look, eh?

July 4th, birthday of our nation.  A day to celebrate a new beginning.  Adventurous spirit, fighting adversity and all that jazz.  Damn it, I gotta try.

Time elapsed version...

- vigorously strip and clean the frame inside and out
- hours to finesse/manipulate/persuade the tubes back to round
- clean the tubes more
- created a 5 inch long butted, press fit insert that supported the main beam generously on each side of the fracture, tapering on the ends to distribute stresses evenly to the original tube
- clean again and purge
- circumfrentially bullet welded in place every 10 degrees on both ends of the insert
- alignment check
- root and overlay passes on the fracture line
-alignment check
- a little one on one time with the Dotco to smooth it all out
- Finally, a 225 pound dynamic weight drop test on head tube axis...who'da thunk, it survived straight as an arrow.

Now what?  Given all the frame had been through, it's repair and subsequent rebirth, I could think of no greater finish for it than that of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but with a campy, fun twist.  So into the paint booth I went, and out came this...

A metallic monster green, stitches, dripping blood, and old school horror movie font set the tone...

 A broken F29 fork was rebuilt and repurposed, painted to match...

 Had to put this on it...
The X will live out it's days under my fat ass and less demanding riding style (if you can call it style) with a smirk on Frank's face and a smile on mine. 

See, most stories have a happy ending if you are willing to work at it hard enough.



martinoo said...

Great job, especially with that history!!

utahDOG! said...

Awesome. Just awesome.