Monday, November 22, 2010

Winter Commuter Project Bike: Day 17

Started building the bike on Saturday morning with optimism in my heart. Little did I know, the day would be wrought with failure.
I figured that the bottom bracket was the logical place to start, so I got out my shiny new bottom bracket and bottom bracket tool. Watched a quick youTube video on 'How to Install a Bottom Bracket' and got to it. I had a Shimano ball and cup style one, so I started with the ball, as the video instructed, on the right side. It felt a little tight, but with some elbow grease I was able to set it all the way in. Then I started putting on the cup part, and it went it with a few stuck spots until about the 3/4 mark. Then it felt really stuck. Thinking that I could give it a little persuasion, I really cranked on it, and heard a distinct *CRACK*.
The teeth part of the cup that were still sticking out of the frame had separated from the rest of the cup and went flying in multiple directions. The cup now only had about half its teeth, and was impossible to remove as it was. After a moment of panic, in which I had visions of the broken plastic piece of the bottom bracket being stuck in the frame forever and fears that I would have to scrap the whole thing, I was able to remove the other side of the bottom bracket first, and then get the plastic piece out VERY CAREFULLY.

This left me a little frazzled (not to mention minus one bottom bracket), but I decided to press on. The fork assembly was the second idea that I had for where to start, so I tackled that. I soon found that the powder coating had put too much width on the stem, so I couldn't fit it into the fork. Not to be thwarted twice in one day, I gathered my frame, fork, stem, and seatpost (which had the same problem as the stem), and my resolve, and headed over to my grandfathers house (where I was going anyways for a family Thanksgiving get together) to use his power buffer. The power buffer was working well, and just when I thought that I was getting back on track it started shooting flames. Well, OK, no flames, but lots of sparks and lots of smoke, from the inside.  So no more power buffer.
At this point a crowd of my redneck uncles had gathered to drink and watch me work (the use of power tools  and/or beer seems to draw them like flies to dung), and one of them helpfully suggested I use an angle grinder. Dont get me wrong, my redneck uncles are an inspiration in my life, but I knew that the angle grinder was the equivalent of using a sledgehammer on finishing nails.  However, at this point, I was frustrated enough to try anything. (which, by the way, is the point at which you should QUIT. Im just not the brightest bulb in the knife drawer)
So out came the angle grinder, and after a brilliant array of white paint chips and enough vibrating to make me completely numb from the elbows down, I had everything stripped that I wanted to. At this point it was about noon, and I decided that it was 5 O'clock somewhere and started drinking heavily.
The rest of the day was a blurry mess of good beer, good food, and good times. I didnt get home until well past the closing time for Greenstreet, despite my good intentions of getting there.

Im going to try to get a new bottom bracket today and tackle the project again. Wish me luck, I apparently need it...


  1. I almost piped up when I saw all the parts you had powder coated, but when I saw that the parts had originally been painted, I thought you might be ok. This post now confirms my concerns. Other parts I'm concerned you'll have issues with: brake cable stops, brake studs, fender mounts, seatpost binder bolt, and maybe wheel axles.

    The fender mounts can be taken care of with a really hard fender bolt that has a 5mm hex head since it'll kind of tap the threads itself. I've experienced this myself. A frame was WELL painted inside the threads and the first bolt I tried was soft and had a 4mm hex head. I stripped that bolt pretty good and almost messed up the fender mount on the frame itself. I found a harder bolt that had a snug fit to a 5mm hex and made sure to thread it in very carefully. It still had issues, but I've since sold the frame.

    The seatpost binder will either work or it won't. My guess, based on the fact it was one of those quick release bolts, it should be fine. Those bolts are usually pretty loose inside the seat clamp unlike the old style binder bolts that have 5mm hex heads on either side. Those things can be a PAIN.

    You may have to take a grinder to the brake studs also. Either that, or just get new ones. Some bike shops just have some old ones laying around or you could find some at the Bike Co-op I'm sure. I believe that is one of the only parts on bikes that has been standard since they've been around. This is assuming that, on your bike they're removable, which most are.

    Your wheels might have a harder time fitting into dropouts now. That same frame that had the fender mount issue was also way painted over at the drop outs. I took a flat bastard file (seriously, that's what it's called) to it and solved the issue. I do this anyway on most bike forks that have lawyer tabs. I want a wheel to drop out of the "drop outs" when I release the "quick release." Grr.

    All of these are fixes I have experience with, but your possible brake cable stop over-painting is something I can't think of a good solution to. You might have to try different brake cable stops if the fit is too tight on standard cable stops. Otherwise, for your rear brake, you might just have to run the cable housing all the way to your rear brake and zip tie it to the frame. This isn't such a bad thing on a winter bike anyway since more open spots along a brake cable just means more chances for rust and crap getting in the way of brake functionality. If I can't make v-brakes work this winter, I may give up on cabled brakes completely and figure out a commuter that has hydraulic disc brakes and just be done with it. But who knows how well hydraulics work in negative degree weather? That plus, I've never worked with them, so it'd be a whole new undertaking. But maybe that's a good thing.

    So anyway, I hope, after you take care of these few setbacks, your bike goes together easily. Good luck!

  2. Munsoned,
    Thanks for the informative comment!
    All of the braze-ons for the bike WERE taped, including the fender mounts. Now that I think about it, I am worried about the brake cable stops, axels, and the seatpost binder bolt. Hopefully they will be able to be fit in.

    What part of the bike is the 'brake studs' exactly? Ill have to google it.

    And like you, I was strongly considering disc brakes for this bike, but by frame sadly does not have mounts for them. Next time...