Saturday, March 1, 2008

Not a bicycle project...but

But the reason, or one of them that the Phantom has fallen way behind schedule. See i have this affliction. I take on too many projects and rarely finish any of them. They say admitting you have a problem is the first step. The first step here was coming across this picture of a Newton online a week or so ago. I suppose the Newton could be considered an early ancestor of the I-phone for Apple. it was a palm-sized organizer that was supposed to revolutionize the industry. For the most part the Newton was quite easy to forget, Apple was not the juggernaut they are now and Palm had at that time most of the market share in shitty hand held storage devices that had less memory then an old folks home. The one thing i do remember about the Newton is that iconic power button that used the multi-colored apple dohickey in the bottom middle. The idea struck me to find one of these Newtons on the fertile garage sale that is Ebay and strip it to somehow hobble it onto my i-phone. I initially set the project budget at sub$20 and the cheapest used Newton i could find was still upwards of $100. I had to reload. I scoured the cesspool of resale until i happened upon another apple product from the early nineties that was within budget. An apple II Extended keyboard. it had the same icon in the corner albeit not a power button I hoped i could make it work.

The keyboard arrived well within budget $16.54 incl shipping and i was off.

I quickly cracked the keyboard in half being careful not to damage the upper left hand corner. Once open i found the apple logo pops out neatly from the back through a small hole. I then wtn to work on extracting a workable sized piece of beige plastic with the apple in the center. Once removed i realized the plastic was far too thick to simply cut a square out and slap it on the face of the i-phone. it took a considerable amount of sanding carefully with a duct-tape backer and every grit of sandpaper i own. to thin it to half its size.

once a had a square of the correct proportion and thickness, i went to work on the corners using the phone face as a template and 700 grit sandpaper. Its like sanding with a piece of wet silk.

A finished piece?

I had to open the little hole in back up to accomodate a piston of some kind to strike the HOME key from behind my little eighties apple. After searching for nearly twenty minutes through the small bolt and nut carriers above my work bench for a usable piece,I found a usable piece of plastic tubing in a small plastic bin labeled "misc plastic pieces". Oh the memories. It took a surgeons hand to trim off a 10/100th's off with a minature pipe cutter.

Then i drilled the plate to fit.

Test fit.

The piston is a bit long and will have to be shaved further.

Soooo close.

Now Paint!

Rattle can paint is the worst part of any garage project.

Ready for assembly.

Voila! A bit thick but...a bit trick too.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Happy New Years! The tank is mounted. Complete with working D-cell operated horn! This portion took longer then i thought it might. The tank had to be shaped considerably around the top and down tubes. The mounting brackets had to be completely removed and rewelded to accomodate the new placement of the horn. The assebly had to take into account the fact the bike will be taking a pounding. A rail was riveted across the top of the top tube to hold the tank in an upright position. then bolted under the top tube sandwiching the tank around the bike. I scanned in the stickers that were removed and will recut them on the graphics cutter. To be applied after paint. I have the metal for the rear skirt and the steel purchased to brace the fenders. Accounting for the disc brakes will take some doing.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

New parts

The tank is obviously the cornerstone of the project. The most visible and most likely it will carry the name of the bike on it. I scored this sweet retro tank and with some minor modifications i think its going to fit nicely on the bike with room enough for the horn

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chain guard design

A shout out to my peeps at Bike Haus for lending me parts for the mock up. They have been what I call "drunk daredevil" supportive. It’s the kind of support you only find when a group of guys sit around drinking too much and then somebody brags about being able to jump over a van with their skateboard after being towed by an equally drunk friend in a late model chevy pickup. Sober, somebody steps up and tells you that you are going to break your neck and they try and talk you out of it. After a few glasses of pale ale however, they are fighting for the steering wheel. It wouldn’t be the first failed project and I rarely abandon projects, they just sit waiting for a second wind in some stage of completion. Mamma didn’t raise no quitter,
I would consider buying the fork if it could be resealed; it has a slight leak on the compression adjustment side. The "FOX SHOCK" stickers would peel off nicely leaving a nice anodized surface to paint. As for paint, I am now torn between BMW crimson red and Electric red, also a BMW color. Could go either way. 50/50, even money, no front runner, neck and neck.
I was sketching some form and design ideas yesterday and came across a nice way to tie the chain guard into the fender and to solve the problem of it floating as well. Since the front derailer will be removed, a down tube clamp with a ball joint should do the trick nicely for a rotating mount for the chain guard. Then, and this is the tricky part, ( I love it when a plan comes together) the tail will overlap the outside of the fender skirt, coming to a point well beyond the cassette. It’s kind of hard to explain, here is a sketch. As you can see, the chain guard then becomes the first of four to five white painted scallops on the rear skirt. I think I will cut a few louvers into the front portion of the skirt just for the hell of it. On the other hand…not just for the hell of it, for cooling purposes. That rear wheel is going to be turning at some crazy RPM’s with me turning a pedal in anger at the Peddler...ahem "The Pounder" (see prior post). I put the project estimate at somewhere around 40-50 hours not including design and paint. So we have our work cut out for us.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The peddler

The original goal was to have the bike ready by the first of the year for the second running of the fools or as the event hosts like to call it...the Papago Pounder. Its my home turf. Cut my teeth on that shitty little dusty box of rocks. Having the bike even built not to mention painted is a long shot, with all the projects i've got on the bench currently. Maybe the MBAA at Mcdowell Mountain.

cardboard mock up

Lets see what kind of a hand we have been dealt here. One third fender skirt, lays right along the seat stay for chain clearance.
The fender isnt a true "balloon" fender so the wrap is minimal, but the length is right. The rear suspension link is going to have to anchor and trim the front, and the rear will be held with standard fender braces. Due to the size of the knobbies and the clearance issues, they will have to be fabricated from flat stock. Probably aluminum. This bitch is going to be heavy, no doubt, but full fricken aero too. Look at this profile.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Project one:

Project one presents quite an enigma. Take a fully functional 2005 FSR 120 (stumpjumper) operating mountain bike, and turn it into a replica (of sorts) of a 1950's era Schwinn Phantom. Oh yeah...and still have a fully functional mountain bike

The real challenge is that the bike we are trying to replicate is defined as much by the shape and geometry as by its details and look. I cant change the geometry of the FSR so we will have to compensate by creating what i hope will be "cultural camouflage" or fabricate details onto the new bike that could have been on a Phantom era bicycle but not necessary were on the bike.

What the hell am i talking about?

Well for starters, i plan on adding half skirts on both the front and rear wheels, where the phantom had only fenders. The skirts will give me some room to add era proper decals and design elements and give the nostalgic feeling of a vintage bike. I cant replace the fork with springer front end but could add a fin and integrated light into the fender (Chrome, lots of chrome) i love that integrated rack/tail light. I hope to fabricate or better yet, purchase a replica rack just like that for the rear end. A chain guard, replica seat, chrome bars, molded grips, all these things are easy (i hope) here is the stuff that wont be as easy:

Challenges: yes there are many.

1. The frame is constructed entirely out of aluminum, that means anything added has to be bolted not just welded or brazed on. or we have to involve professionals. If there is one thing i have learned its when you take a project like this out of the garage for a five minute fix at a professional shop, you end up with them trying to either re-engineer your project, or you find yourself defending why you are cutting up a perfectly good mountain bike in the first place. I have found most people lack the vision for garage engineering and would rather just leave them out of it.

2. The variable suspension in the rear means anything i add to the rear also has to float, fenders, skirts, racks, lights, yes....anything.

3. The tank. The tank is as integral to the piece as the right paint job. The construction is the one part of the project i really haven't got a solid game plan for. I could find a motorcycle shop that does custom tanks to take on the project, however there are a few reasons i don't think that would work, firstly: see rant in #1, secondly it could be costly. Again the material of choice would be steel and attaching it will require some kind of complex strap or rig to keep it from rattling off. I could mock it up with foam and fiberglass, cast it backwards with resin and have essentially a hollow shell, but it would lack the chrome look i was hoping for. This for now remains undecided.

4. Keeping the bike light enough to be ridden but sturdy enough to not rattle apart on the first ride. I could easily create a great looking bike that would work well enough on the street, but what is fun in that? I could just get a replica cruiser to do that on. I want to be able to rock this bitch in papago.

5. Drive train. This is less of a challenge and more of a design engineering sticking point. the obvious choice is to go single-speed. The bike could handle it. I love my single speed, (see below)
A second choice would be 1x9, or one front gear, and keep the rear derailleur. this means the skirt couldn't hide the derailleur and it will show below the trick skirt. This decision remains still on the chalkboard undecided.

6. There are many more challenges not listed here, but these are what i would call "deal breakers" not being able to push past a challenge like one of these is the reason projects either get shelved for years at a time, or shit canned altogether. I will keep this diary apprised of the progress as it become available.