more progress on the bike build
Today was the big day; the day the bike came back from the blasters. All the bits and pieces were ready to roll, and so I arrived at Thetford at about 4pm to pick the bike up.
The quality of the job is stunning. For £40, T&B Blasting have sandblasted the frame carefully back to bare metal and powder coated it in my desired colour. A stunning job, if you are in the east anglia area I strongly recommend them. It is not an industry I’m familiar with, but judging by the number of garden gates, car wings, and other domestic/industrial ephemera lying around in various states of renewal, it is clearly a business in demand.
Climbing the (sandblasted and powder-coated, natch) stairs to the office, I was greeted by the friendly manager, sitting at his desk under the kind of calendar I’d forgotten existed in my modern, cappuccino-sipping pc world. The staff room, such as it was, comprised a set of those old plastic chairs you got at school (the ones which, by placing them subtly close enough to the electric wall heaters, you could get to melt at the back), plus a vat of swarfega that would clean the hands of the entire regiment of Royal Engineers.
I drove back, the forks sitting on the passenger seat beside me (I figured I didn’t want them colliding with the frame and damaging it in the boot), every now and then looking over and stroking them in wonderment at the quality of their finish.
Safely back in the garage, I commenced the reassembly post-haste with the insertion of fresh bearings into the headset and the fixing of the forks and new adjustable stem:
Next, the reassembled wheels, with new greased bearings, were readied, but first the mudguards had to go on. This proved a fiddly job, because the nuts and bolts fouled against the wheel hubs. I still have a problem with the lowest rear sprocket which, when the chain is on, will foul the nuts on the mudguard mount. I’m beginning to think that a spacer in the place of the highest gear might be the safest answer.
With that done, the bike began to take shape. I now have a ‘rolling shell’ and have also fixed on the carrier rack, all using stainless nuts & bolts. The close of play today came at 6pm, and this is how she looked, note the adjustable stem, currently pointing skywards at 30 degrees:
As you can see from the above picture, I have replaced the worn cupped bottom bracket with a cassette one, and lacking the tool, I need to go and buy one tomorrow to finish this job. It is a ‘sit up and beg’ position at the moment, mainly due to the fact that the frame geometry is quite MTB-ish; the headset tube is at a sloping angle and so the reach needed to ride it was quite small – a problem for me as a 6ft plus rider. By adding the hi rise stem I’m hoping the handling and comfort will be improved.
Next on the list is to start re fitting the brakes (new blocks and cables have been bought), the front and rear mechs (again new cables, but some serious cleaning is needed first). Then, with the fitting of a new chain, I should finally be ready to roll. In fact there’s only one thing I don’t have that would really finish it nicely. Can you guess? Here’s a clue……