Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kalten's Dirt Road/XC machine

Kalten had a plan...use his experience from hanging around the shop and some guidance from me to build a do-it-all bike for use at college.  He plans to run everything from 700x35c to 29x2.5" tires, with room for a front and rear rack and fenders.  Not an easy design to accomplish, as the geometry has to be set to balance the line between road handling and not too steep for the trail.

With some numbers in place, we began by setting up the fixture under the watchful eye of Cubby...

With the fixture set, we began with the spine of the bike, the seat tube.  Kalten turned down a piece of 4130; creating a shoulder to press into the main seat tube, boring out the inside to the diameter needed for the seat post, and creating the pinch bolt interface...

The parts made up, Kalten practiced working the TIG torch to tack on the seatpost binder...

The days pass...and each opportunity to work on the frame is put to the side to take care of other needs prior to leaving for school.  Soon my role of advisor/teacher transitioned into "lets get it done" and doing more than originally planned.  The frame mostly put together, we dropped back into the instruction role and allowed Kalten to begin learning to braze on the rack mounts, water bottle bosses, and other fiddly bits...

One of the most difficult decisions any customer has is how to paint the has to reflect their personality.  Given the options, there are sooo many choices.  Kalten found a pic of a vintage race car that he liked.  Blue, scratched, hand painted artwork and racing stripes with the common discoloration of dirt and rust.  And Cookie Monster, had to have Cookie Monster  :)

I created a paint scheme based on his picture.  I began with a bright blue powder coat, sanded it down with 80 grit to give it some texture, began going over it with the Dotco belt sander to bring it down to bare metal in spots, then grabbed some Scotchbrite pad and brown, black, and grey paints to begin to create the weathered look.  The racing stripes and graphics were painted on with a horse hair brush, heavy bristles so that it does not leave a solid paint line, then brought down with a bit of sand paper.  A matte clear and bake in the box helped to yellow out the decals to show some age.

The build took place the morning we were leaving for Ohio University, a race to the end.  A nice mix of functional parts that should be solid for him as he fends for himself.

This bulletin board outside his dorm room was a good indicator that he was in the right place.



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