An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

And then there were four...

A couple weeks ago I had “one of those days” in the shop.  Already with two bikes in near-complete status, plus the aforementioned extensive re-do, I suddenly had four bikes in a state of build or rebuild.

The two that were already in process:
* a gravel bike (groader) was in need of the braze-on bits and finish work that was set aside to finish
* a first pedal bike for my daughter, which just needed seatstays and finish work.

I took an hour to cut up the lightweight climbing frame and set up the jig for the re-do, then set to work on the seatstays for the kiddie-ride. Getting them mitered was a quick job, brazing them on only slightly more time consuming. Letting that cool a bit before dropping it into the flux bath, I moved over to mounting a new tire on my MTB rear wheel. It was slightly wider than the one I took off, and chainstay clearance wasn’t all that prevalent on this frame, so I fit it into the dropouts to make sure I had the sliders positioned correctly. Bike upside-down to better access the adjuster screws, I put the wheel in, and saw that it was rubbing on the left chainstay.

When I opened the quick release to pull the wheel out, I noticed it – a little line along the bottom the drive-side stay about an inch from the dropout, where I’d drilled a vent hole. Oh no…

I got a razor blade to scrape the paint back, and, sure enough, it was a crack. Obvious where it started (that vent hole), it circled the stay almost all the way around.

This would be the first frame I’ve had fail, it did so in a very non-catastrophic manner (good), and pointed out a detail which I’ve not put into any other frames (the vent hole located on the bottom of the stay – normally I put them through the dropout; also good). This would also be my first structural frame modification/repair on one of my builds after it’s gone into the wild. Fortunately I have a back-up bike to take to work for my lunchtime rides.

Back to the other bike (may daughter’s bike), I decided to throw the wheel and crank arms into the frame to check on the chain run and coaster brake tab location. That meant making sure the bottom bracket shell was tapped and faced, and since all the heat operations were done in that area, it wasn’t a risk. I got the parts installed, and sighted the chain line… which passed right through the seatstay I’d just brazed in.


Four bikes now in-process.

I’ve got the kid bike to the finishing stage, the groader is getting the hand-work treatment, and the climber is slowly getting closer to getting brazed back together. I’ve stripped the MTB frame and it’s ready to have the chainstays cut out, and I’ve got replacement tubes to put in their place.

And on Saturday I do a day road-trip for a fitting on a MTB for a new customer.

Then there will be five…

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