Tuesday, April 25, 2006

26" fixed gear wheel for sale

I’m selling the fixed-gear wheel that came with the frame that is now the Hot Karl. It’s a nice wheel. A 26" fixed-gear wheel is kind of a niche market, to say the least. If it were a 700 wheel, I’d save it as backup for my fixed gear. But I’ve really got no need for it. Hmm, what would happen if you ride a bike with two different-sized wheels? Probably nothing. But it still doesn’t seem kosher.

I could also save it for Karl, and just swap the wheels if he ever gets cocky with his new bike. That would learn ’im.

I put it on e-bay. Don’t tell anybody, but if it doesn’t sell, I’ll virtually give it away on Craig’s List. Still, this wheel can be yours for as little as $25 if you win the auction with a low bid and pick the wheel up. What a bargain! New Mavic Rim. Suzue Hub. Round, true, ready to go.

If that link doesn’t work. The e-bay item number is 7237143885.

UPDATE: Wheel sold. Buy it now for $50 + shipping. It's new home is in Chicago.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Hot Karl

I’m pretty pleased with the Hot Karl. Total cost, around $550. That’s within pennies of Katie’s Del Ray. But with the internal hub, I think the Hot Karl is a nicer bike. It's light, rides great, makes a nice old-school clicking sound as you peddle, and has some flourishes from the Mexican-run bike store (purple chainring bolts and silver handlebar grips).

And my first experience painting a bike. Spray paint is fun... and cheap. I felt a wicked thrill buying it as the man at the hardware store unlocked the case. But despite my outlaw feeling, I don’t think too many taggers buy primer and masking tape with their spray paint.

The only problem with the bike is the damn hub itself. There are two related problems:
1) the shifting mechanism sticks out the side, just waiting to get smashed. There is a metal guard, but I don’t know how long one can go with breaking the damn thing. We’ll see.
2) the front of the external shifting mechanism is teeny bit too close to the pedal. If you’re not careful, the back of the right foot hits it on the backswing. Whether this is a fatal flaw or something that correct pedaling position can cure, I figure we’ll figure out in about a week.

Shimano hubs, of course, don’t have any of these problems. They managed to get everything inside the hub. Those clever Japanese. But I couldn’t buy an internal 5-speed shimano hub on a new, built wheel for the bargain price of $150 dollars. Whether this hub out of be a good buy or wasted money on a flawed design remains to be seen. The frame and wheels cost another $270. Everything else (seat, chain, peddles, brake) cost about $150. The bike still needs fenders. They’ve been ordered on-line. In the end, the total cost will be closer to $600 for parts. Labor is free. And a rack and bags would also be nice. That would be another $50-$100. And the words: “Hot Karl” still need to be painted on the frame in a very bright red.

Putting the bike together right took about 1 1/2 days of labor and 2 trips to the bike store. The bike store is great. They actually made me a $1 coaster-brake strap from scrap. No charge.

The external shift mechanism with metal guard

Removing the external shift mechanism, you can see the shifter pin. This moves in or out to change gears.

purple chainring bolts

locking down the seat with a 3 links of chain


US flag bell… for the Canadian

blinky handle bar lights

front brakes

rear hub and rear drum brake cable

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wicker baskets

Check out David Hembrow's wicker baskets! It's the wicker chainring guard that really makes me happy. Alas, it is only for recumbent bikes. And yes, it says he does ship to the US.

A new, no-longer-new Astoria bike store. What joy!

One year ago I reported on the opening of a new Astoria bike store. A good one. One in whose hands I would trust my nice bikes.

Unfortunately, it opened right after a spend a lot of money building two bikes. So I didn’t actually have a need to go there too much. And when I did go there during the day, the main man’s wife was often manning the store. And neither her English nor her bike knowledge is too great. The main man worked for another bike store during the day.

I was always afraid the place would close. It was never that busy. And if you went there during the day you might not know a brilliant bike mechanic would be there that evening.

Anyway, it did close… but reopened a block away in an improved space. They lost their lease. But now have a five year lease in a store with more space! And they even specialize in Bianchi… my favorite bike.

The store is the Bicycle Repair Man, 40-11 35th Ave, (718) 706-0450. Just East of Steinway, near the 36th Street and Steinway St stops on the R/V/G.

The main man, Andres, says starting next week, he’ll be there 7 days a week. They’re open to 10pm on weekdays. And if you ask him nicely, I’m sure he’d love to show you his spoke making machine.

Introducing the Hot Karl

I went over to Jersey City today. N to the PATH train. It really is easy to get to. It’s kind of like what we say about Queens, I suppose.

And I picked up the bike that will become the Hot Karl. $270. It’s a perfectly sized frame. Light. Steel. Lugged. Two excellent wheels. Bottom bracket. Crank arms. Fork. Handlebars. And break levers. All top of the line. It’s a fixed gear. 26-inch (559, not 650B). My plan is to replace the rear wheel with an internal 5-speed hub that I bought on e-bay. And then sell the fixed gear wheel on e-bay. I don’t have any use for a 26-inch fixed gear wheel. And Karl is not an advanced biker. A fixed gear is not for him. The new wheel should be here any day. The wheels are standard mountain bike

I also got an extra very nice rear wheel (700cc). $70. It’s always good to have backup. It will fit my Bianchi and Katie’s Del Ray. It’s always good to have backup. And with that he gave me handlebars and stem. I don’t really *need* them. But they’re nice and it was quite a bargain.

It’s too bad that I haven’t used the same size wheels for all the bikes. The Bluebird is one size (650B). My bikes and the Del Ray are another (standard road 700). And now the Hot Karl will be a 3rd size (standard mountain bike 26 inch). But when you assemble, sometimes you have to take what you can get. And the standards 700mm size wheel is not the best size because it has no clearance. If only everything was 650B.

On the way home (FYI, you can get a bike through an “iron-maiden” style turnstile. But it takes a little effort), I stopped by the wonderful bike store (see above) near here and bought a chain and front brake and chain ring bolts. The Hot Karl will be sweet.

Once the new real wheel is on, the bike needs:
1) fenders
2) a rear brake cable
3) peddles
4) probably a new seat
5) cable to lock the seat
6) crank arm nuts
7) a proper lock
8) a paint job

Sunday, April 16, 2006

What a sweetheart

Check out this post on Craigslist:

small womans road bike found on Grand street. actually... i bought it off of some homeless-esque dude for twenty bucks. I mostly did it to reunite it with its owner, but i do need a bike so in two weeks if no one claims it... it has a new home.

here's a "rendering" of it:

if you can identify it with sticker details or an image of you two together or whatever then ill gladly give it back...

I call that doing the right thing. Really.

If you know the bike, the original post is here.

I need (another) city bike

I'm getting bikes for two of my friends. I biked up a Bianchi Milano on Craig's List for about $250. That's a bargain. And lucky. But that still leaves my other friend. If anybody is trying to sell a good city bike for a guy around 5'10", let me know.

I bought a built 26" rear wheel with a sach/sram internal 5 speed hub on e-bay last night for $150. So I think the rest of the bike will be build around that.

This bike should have upright handlebars and a light steel frame.