Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Actually getting the SS RIP9 to work right

The other day I was talking about tweaking the SS RIP9. The quick link on my single speed chain was knocking into the cage of my tensioner, and making stuff skip.

So I had the dremmel out, and I was chopping away at the aluminum cage to get more clearance. Which somehow made everything worse. I cut away more and more material, then I stopped. I looked at the tensioner again. The pullys were closer to the right side than the left. All I had to do was flip the quick link around to face the inside of the chain.

I flipped it. Problem solved, no dremell needed. I'm dumb. And now I have a tensioner with a big chuck missing from the cage.

Shipping off to New Zealand (I wish)

Colleen is gone until July, and on a plane headed for New Zealand. I'm pretty jealous that I won't be going on the Lord of the Rings tour with her. Anyway, shes been trying to decide all winter if she wanted to have a bike with her. A day before she left she decided that she did.

So we checked out the options. They were fly with bike, ship bike UPS, or buy a bike over there and try to sell it before leaving.

I punched in a bike box to UPS at work, and it turned out to be $856.00. That was out.

Then we checked out some NZ bikes. A pair of hiking boots cost about $350 there, and mountain bikes are correspondingly pricey. I guess stuff is expensive when it has to be shipped to the bottom of the world. So that was also out.

She called the airline, and it would only cost $200 to fly the whole way there with the bike. I grabbed the smallest bike box I could find and jammed her Karate Monkey into it. Not as professional looking as a hard case, but it'll do:

I wish I could see her trying to carry that thing through the airport.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tweaking the SS Rip9

8 and 9 speed chains were skipping pretty bad on the SS Rip, so I had to use a big KMC single speed chain. Which mostly works. Except for the pins on the quick link, which stick out too far, and run into my tensioner:

I was getting a noise and occasional skip when the pins hit the tensioner cage.

Since I just need a tiny bit more clearance, I cut a channel into the tensioner:

Which somehow made things worse. I guess I have a sharp edge somewhere. Back to the dremel.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

More cabrio fixing

As I mentioned the other day, the tiny convertible is back on the road. It's good to have it back. Such a happy little car:

I was able to get most of the parts from a local salvage yard. But the passenger side fender gave me trouble. After searching all the Craigslists in the Tri-State area, junk yards, and parts websites, I finally gave up and went to Amazon.

And they had one. In their warehouse, with free super saver shipping. I thought that Amazon was just a book store, but apparently they're a book store that also carries VW body parts (and wolf urine. Goes great with buffalo chips)

Since the fender was so cheap, I was afraid that it would be made out of soda bottles or something.

It turned out to be genuine extra-thin Taiwanese sheet steel. For $50 and free shipping, I won't complain. But I do expect it to be even less rust resistant than the already not very rust-resistant VW part, so I sprayed it with a few coats of sealer primer and rubbery undercoating.

I bolted the fender on, and it lined up surprisingly straight. All the radiator parts went in fine, but I still expected that something would be out of wack and keep the hood from closing.

But it closed. I still can't believe it went together so easily.

Cost without paint was about $600 and 15ish hours of work. That's way better than the $2000+ the body shop quoted.

I just hope that the Cabrio's deer hitting days are over.

(I couldn't find used headlights, which blew the budget for a grill)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Building a better guide bike

A good town bike for the river guides at work needs to do three things:

1: Be mechanically sound enough to complete about 20 trips per day from town to the store.

2: Survive drunken crashes.

3: Be cool enough to keep dirt-bag employees off of the nicer rentals.

With those things in mind, I grabbed a can of truck-bed liner and used it to hose down an old cruiser frame.

The bedliner should keep the frame from rusting, and be durable enough to be dropped and kicked across the pavement everyday. Since the bike is going to be left outside in the rain all summer, I used a KMC Rustbuster chain. I'm not sure how much rust it's going to bust, but it sure looks classy:

After I put the chain on and trued the wheels, it was testing time. Just to make sure everything worked, I threw down some phat skidz with the coaster brake.

Then the coaster brake broke, and the wheel fell off. I had to postpone the skidding.

A chain link and a few turns of the wrench later, the bike was ready to shred again. I tried some more destructive skids, and nothing exploded. Success.

The dangerously bent fork just makes the handling livelier. It's a feature, not a problem (until somebody hits the rail road crossing too fast, snaps the fork, and shatters their face)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Colleen and I went for a hike in the woods between Hidden Valley and Seven Springs ski resorts. It was raining down in Ohiopyle, but by the time we got to the top of the ridge it was all snow. This is the first time in weeks that anything has accumulated.

Solid hike.

But more excitingly, the tiny convertible is back on the road. More on that later.