Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Made a Bicycle

Barbara gave me the steel frame of an old "Romana" brand bike. It's very proudly Italian according to the stickers on it. Seems like it's a 70's era department store bike. It was basically a frame, crank, and bearingless fork when I got it. After a bouncy and bangy ride in the back of my work van and showing it off to Daniel I got to work around 6PM trying to get it road-worthy. Over the next three hours I did the following:

* Unscrewed the top of the head tube
* Figured out it had no bearings at all
* Broke down the bars, bar tube, and fork from another bike for parts
* took parks from original forks and parts bike to bodge together a working bearing/hardware set
* Pumped up spare tires, found front has a bad tube
* Tried temporarily fitting another front wheel, holds air but tire too big
* Pulled tube, put in correct sized front wheel using butter knife handles for tire tools
* Found out front fork is a little crooked, still in an adjustable and usable range
* Put on rear wheel
* Borrowed chain from my trusty, rusty, squeeky, creeky, blue bike
* Tightened the handlebars, stuck the brake (minus seat and brake pads since they didn't fit well) on and rode around the yard and sidewalk a minute to see if everything was holding up
* Pulled the most road-bike looking seat from my junked kids bikes I use for welding material
* Ground the gap in the seat post clamp wider so it could properly clamp
* Installed and adjusted seat
* Cut a brake mount tube from junk bike, welded in place under the bike's original mount. Cleaned and painted to avoid rust.
* Installed brake caliper
* Made brake cable from two short broken cables with a bolt, washers, and nut in the middle to hold it together
* Rode it up and down the road some to see what needed adjustment
* Adjusted a few things.


Tossed bike in my car, rode downtown to watch Anderdown do their thing. I rode it around the Veterans Memorial Arena and it's parking garage a little after the guys had played and it's smooth riding and feels very narrow to ride on. Up next I'll strip it back down, toss on some new brake pads, maybe or maybe not weld in a kick stand mount, clean up the chrome, and re-paint the frame and fork, and re-assemble the whole thing. Not a bad bike for 3 hours of work and some parts that were slated for the scrap pile otherwise I'd say though. More pics to come as I get more done.

UPDATE 4-28-10:
I got some silver hammered paint and after some sanding, grinding, wire-wheeling, and taping I've got the bike looking pretty good. I went with a flat handlebars and brake handle since I'm not one for using drops and the drop bars I had were too narrow for me. I need to replace the rear axle bearings since they're pretty shot, add bar wrap, new brake pads, and clean up the wheels, but to have under $7 invested in it so far I'm very happy with it.

Frame prepped for paint.

Glamor shot in the front yard.

Detail of the orange bands and crank.

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