Wednesday, November 16, 2016

First Bike Project

The 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 ei
Project One Plan

ther 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.

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