akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Friday 20 June 2008

Building Naza’s bike

Last Sunday, the parts for Naza’s bike were mostly complete – I took the frame from Hj. Ali after the usual ride in Pasir Gudang.

To my dismay, however, Tajudin’s bike shop in Nusa Damai was closed, and my numerous calls to his handphone went unanswered.
Much earlier, I’ve entrusted him to assemble the bike, with a few more items from his shop to complete the bike:
• One tire – Maxxis Larsen TT
• Rim tapes
• Inner tubes

Well, there might be something in store for me, this ‘misfortune’. I’ve been contemplating of assembling a bike from scratch. Perhaps, this is the right time. Albeit, the headset and cassette (8 speed) have been assembled on the frame headtube and rear wheelset respectively – much easier for me!

Monday morning before going to work, I attached the fork – Rock Shox Judy TT - to the frame complete with stem. It was a job done in haste, so it didn’t turn out good – a piece of the headset was not securely put on the bottom part of fork steerer tube. It seems that the tube diameter is a bit bigger right there. It was not obvious, until I had that problem. It makes the headtube ‘floated’ through the steerer tube for about 3mm. Well, I lay that to rest for now. After all, my itch for assembling the bike, for now, has been scratched a bit – and it feels good.

On Tuesday, I had a chat with BC Kelolo on bike assembly. Quite a few pointers he gave, especially on the tools needed.
So, yesterday I bought a set of bike repair tools (Bike Hand) and other parts needed to complete the job. I managed to get a good price for all those, and a dollop of grease courtesy of Auntie’s bike shop in Taman U Skudai.

Last night after dinner at 9.30pm, I set out with the parts and started wearing my bike mechanic hat. First task: to try out with pulling out the crankset and bottom bracket (bb) on Apis’ K2 Proflex frame. It went very well, and I’m quite surprised at how easy it was - most of it because I have the right tools, of course.

Confidence gained, and on to the second task: putting on the rim tapes and complete the wheelsets. By having the wheels ready, I can mount the bike on the bike stand, thus making my job easier. It seems logical, and that came to mind as an afterthought. The rim tapes were nicely put, and two inner tubes (Schrader valves) ready at hand – half inflated. Tires were ready, and I’m getting excited.

Starting with the rear wheelset I placed the tire bead inside the rim, and the half inflated inner tube inside the tire – starting point: valve, and around the rim. First casualty: the rim’s valve hole is a tad smaller than the valve. Perhaps a presta valve would fit very nicely. Wheelsets aside, then. Eventually, I took the wheelsets from t-bolt instead. Et voila! I have a frame with wheels, so I can mount it.

Prior to that, I went with the bottom bracket and crankset. It went well, much from the confidence of the trial from the K2 frame earlier. In fact, it went quite well I don’t have much to say about it here. Except that it looks good :)

Now that the bike is on a stand, I moved on with the cockpit – handlebar, shifters, brake levers and grips.

Back to the fork. I suddenly had an idea on what to do with the headset piece (‘ring’) to the steerer tube. Employed simple science lab procedure in the kitchen – heat it up for a minute, let it expand, and place it back to the fork. It was good! Science really works!! The ‘ring’ went down straight to the bottom of the steerer tube.

Next, the chain. The one that I bought is for a 9 speed drivetrain. This bike (because of the shifters and cassette) is meant for 8 speed system. So, the chain has to be shortened. I discovered this after painstakingly connecting the chain with the chain tool (my first ever) – the chain was ultra slacked. With the chain tool, I went on with the job.

To complete the drivetrain, pedals were installed. Soon after, I went for a short spin, without brakes. It went smooth.
Pat on my back, a smile on my face, confidence and sense of accomplishment in my heart.

Brakes. For this bike, I’m using v-brakes instead of disc brakes. The bike is intended for on-road cycling around the housing area and Tasik Layang Layang. Wheelset hubs are for v-brakes. Anyway, they are what I have. Most important of all, the driving factor – Naza’s criteria for her bike – lightweight, and not tall (unlike mine) for her to ride. So, v-brakes it is…

Alhamdulillah, I still have the v-brake boss hangers from Apis’ Manitou fork. They were put into good use on the Judy. The front brake was easily installed, and the plain bicycle now ‘upgraded’. Another pat on my back, another smile, another short spin. On to the rear brakes, and this was where a snag occurred. I don’t have the bosses for the rear brake. This morning I asked around – and BC Kelolo came to the rescue. He agreed to give me the bosses for free – to fellow biker. Thanks very much BC! One caveat: I have to repay him by doing the same to fellow biker in need, in bike parts or in kind. Next Monday & Tuesday I'm attending meetings in KL. So, it is just nice to collect those bosses.

So far so good, and I'm quite happy with the progress thus far.

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