When Bryan Rottinghaus wanted a custom ride he jumped on the interwebs and started searching for as much information as he could find. After all Indiana isn’t really considered the custom bicycle mecca of the world. After much searching he finally dropped two dimes and gave The Cruiser Shop a call. Everyone that knows custom bikes knows The Cruiser Shop located in Campbell, California. Shop owner Dominick Guida has been around the block more than once and has more than his share of builds. Bryan knew his build would be in good hands.
Starting out with a Ruff Cycles Tango frame a chrome triple tree fork was attached with a polished headset and topped with a set of chrome three bend HBBC 14” ape hanger handle bars. A perfectly sized LED headlight was painted and set with a chrome ring off the bottom tree to let Bryan steer his way through the night.
Rolling stock consists of 72 spoke 26”X3” hoops assembled with white spokes, a Godspeed front hub and a Shimano Nexus 3 speed rear hub. A set of custom hub adapters took the 36 hole Shimano hub to the 72 spoke hoops. The 26” hoops were wrapped with a set of wide white walls. Letting no detail go untouched even the bell crank was painted. To keep the Nexus shifting a clamp on shifter mount and The Cruiser Shop shifter were installed on the seat tube just below the seat.
The drivetrain was fitted with a sealed bearing bottom bracket and three piece polished crank set with painted chain ring. Even the pedals were disassembled and painted to match the rest of the bike. To get the pedal power from the front to the back a couple KMC chrome chains were merged together.
A rear fender was mated to the frame with custom mounts and hovers just over the rear tire.
Once the mock up was complete everything not polished was dusted with Prismatic Powders Illusions Gambler Green and sent to the oven. Everything not green was polished except a few white accents which include the handgrips, seat, and spokes.
Only taking a month and a half to complete Bryan is now rolling the Indiana streets and hopefully converting the mid-west to the bike life.
If you want The Cruiser Shop to build you something they can be contacted at:
321 E Campbell Ave, Campbell, CA 95008
King Zebba Custom Cruisers
There is the guy who builds bikes. He doesn’t assemble bikes, he actually buys tube and rolls it out, then miters the corners before chucking it all up in a jig and glues it together with electricity. His name is Danny Hazlewood and he owns King Zebba Custom Cruisers. After talking with Danny and checking out his builds we can truly say that he is on top of his game and a builder that everyone should keep watching. We aren’t even sure we should be referring to Danny as a builder at this point. Maybe something like an “Artist” or “Master” would be more fitting. Kustomized Bicycle Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with Danny and ask him the “11” and hear what is ticking in his head. Read on and see what a lot of time, effort, and hands-on hard work can build.
(KBM): When did your shop form and what is your background pertaining to fabrication and design?
(Dan Hazlewood): King Zebba Custom Cruisers started May 4th 2013. That was the day I started fabricating my first custom frame. "Lady Jivaro". All my fabrication skills are pretty much self-taught. I played around in my Dad's garage quite often growing up. He had an old Lincoln tomb stone welder I tinkered with. Growing up I loved to draw. I enjoyed putting my imagination on paper.
(KBM): Who originally got you into bicycles and can take credit for your hands-on interest?
(Dan Hazlewood): When I was 3 years old, my dad took the training wheels off a little bicycle I was always riding. After that it was all over. I've had a love for bicycles ever since.
(KBM): What is your favorite bike you have built to date?
(Dan Hazlewood): My favorite bike I've built to date is the bike I made for my wife. "Lady Jivaro"
(KBM): With the explosion of the custom bike world in the last few years where do you see this scene going?
(Dan Hazlewood): The custom bike world is growing so fast. New builders and bike customizers are popping up all over the world. We're starting to see big companies get into the picture with new products tailored for what we do. It's great! Five or ten years from now it's going to be crazy! I can't wait to see what the future brings.
(KBM): If someone hasn’t seen a King Zebba Custom Cruisers bike how would you describe its style?
(Dan Hazlewood): There is only one word I use to describe my style...."Gangsta". Lol!
(KBM): Is your shop a one stop shop? Do you build custom bikes that are ready to ride or a series of pieces that can be purchased together?
(Dan Hazlewood): When I first started King Zebba Custom Cruisers I only built frames. Now I build my own custom bars as well. My plan next year is to add custom forks to the lineup. At this time I don't build completes.
(KBM): What is your favorite style of bike to build: chopper, bobber, stretched cruiser?
(Dan Hazlewood): I don't really have a favorite. I enjoy building all of them.
(KBM): When not in the shop building bikes what do you spend your time doing?
(Dan Hazlewood): When I'm not in the shop, I enjoy riding at the beach with my wife and friends. It's so relaxing. It doesn't really get any better than that. I wish I was there right now. Lol!
(KBM): What is your favorite tool in the shop and what is usually playing on the stereo?
(Dan Hazlewood): My favorite tool in my shop is my band saw. It's not too loud, it doesn't throw sparks, and it's a time saver. I enjoy listing to all kinds of music. If you step into my shop you may hear anything from classic rock, R & B, to country music.
(KBM): If a person hasn’t had access to the settings, tools, and skills like welding, fabrication, paint, etc. What is a good first step to take in learning what it takes to build a project bike?
(Dan Hazlewood): The first thing I tell people to do if they want to get into building a custom bike is to learn how to weld. After you do that everything else will fall into place.
(KBM): What is next for your shop? Upcoming projects, lines of parts?
(Dan Hazlewood): Next for is to start building my own forks. I feel having my own fork design along with the frame and bars will complete the King Z style I've always envisioned. I'm hoping to have a triple tree and springer style fork by the end of next year.
Want King Zebba Custom Cruisers to build you something spectacular or pick up a set of his bars or frames? He can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/KingZebbaCustomCruisers
Suicide Shift How-To
Custom cruisers need gears. They are usually pretty heavy bicycles and many have the legs-forward design which require more muscle to keep rolling. Having several gears will allow easier riding than the standard single speed. There are several reasons to run a stick shift on your bicycle. There is the overall coolness factor, the ability to locate the shifter where ever needed and by not having the grip-shift style shifter clamped on to your handlebars allows you to minimize the length of cable needed.
As with every tech article we will say that there are several ways to do anything. This is true also with getting your ride fixed up with a stick shift. You can purchase a complete assembly from many reputable companies like Bastard Garage's Shifty Bastard, Ruff, HBBC or Boxkar. You can do it yourself for fractions of the price.
For this article we will be using the pretty standard Shimano Revo SL-3S35 shifter for the Shimano Nexus 3-speed internally geared rear hub though it would work on most “grip shift” style shifters. We will not go into making the cable or setting up the hub to shift. You can see Shimano’s user manual for these instructions.
Shimano Revo SL-3S35 Shifter assembly
34mm Seatpost Clamp
1 1/8” Headset Cap
1 1/8” Headset Spacer 10mm thk.
7/16“ dia. Aluminum Round Bar Stock
Cut Inner Tube 5” X ¾” wide
#10-24 1 ¾” Bolt with Lock Washer
#10-24 1 ¾” All-Thread with Nut
Shift Knob of choice
7/8” O.D. Tube 3 ½” lg.
3/16 thk. Steel stock
1 ½” dia. Hose Clamp (optional)
· #10-24 Tap Drill Bit (or 3.9 mm drill bit with #10-24 tap)
· Drill motor
· Metal saw
· Grinder w/ sanding disk
How and where do you want to mount your shifter? It needs to be easily accessible while riding so you can row through the gears. This particular shifter was designed to be on the right side of the bicycle. Do you want to weld on or clamp? We will show the clamping method. If you want to weld the shifter mount to the frame then do so and remove the hose clamp from the parts list. Since the welded on post shown is opposite of the shifter’s design the shifting motion will be backwards compared to normal.
Take the 7/8” OD round tube and cut it to length (3 ½”). Cope (fish mouth) one end of the tube to the diameter of the tube you are going to mount against. Cut a slot in each side of the tube ¼” from the longest point of the cope and 180 degrees apart. Cut deep enough that the hose clamp will fit through the slots. Make sure the slots are oriented on the long side of the cope so the hose clamp will wrap around the tube. From the 3/16” thk. steel plate cut a 7/8” diameter circle. Using the #10-24 tap drill bore a threaded hole through the center of the 7/8” diameter circle. Place the 7/8 diameter circle on the non-coped end of the 7/8” tube and weld them together. Using the grinder with sanding disk grind the welded areas down until the Shimano Revo SL-3S35 Shifter can easily fit over the tube.
Modifying the Shimano Revo SL-3S35 Shifter
Remove the rubber cover from the shifter by pulling it from the roller mechanism off the small end of the shifter assembly. Notice that the cover was held in place by a series of plastic ribs the length of the shifter. These ribs are molded at an angle tapering to the small end of the shifter assembly which is backwards of what we need. Using a grinder with sanding disk or even a flat file remove enough material from these ribs against the roller face of the mechanism as wide as the seat post clamp so the seat clamp will fit tight against the roller face (white area in picture). We have found that removing material at a slight angle towards the roller face (opposite of what was originally molded) will help keep the seat clamp in place when the assembly is complete.
Modifying the Seat Clamp
Remove the clamping assembly lever, screw and nut from the 34 mm seat clamp. Insure the #10-24 bolt will fit through both holes of the seat clamp (if it doesn’t some reaming with a drill motor and bit may be necessary).
Fabricate the Shift Arm
Cut the 3/8” aluminum round stock to the desired length of the shift arm. Using the #10 drill bit tap a hole at least 1” deep in one end of the 3/8” aluminum round. Thread the #10-24 All Thread into the newly tapped hole until it bottoms out.
Note that the length of the shift arm multiplies the weight of the shift knob. So the heavier the knob the shorter the length of the shift arm. The bouncing of the bike while riding will cause an overly heavy shift arm to jump from gear to gear when riding.
Attach the shifter mount to the frame in the desired location. To avoid scratching the finish on the frame you can wrap the frame with some electrical tap then use that area to shield the paint from the hose clamp.
Slide the Shimano Revo SL-3S35 Shifter over the tube. Make sure the shifter is in second gear. Tighten the shifter with the hex wrench that came with the shifter assembly.
Assemble the seat post clamp and shifter arm by sliding the #10-24 All Thread through the seat post clamp then threading the nut to the All Thread.
Wrap the modified section of the shifter (where the plastic protrusions were sanded down) tightly with the ¾” x 5” cut inner tube and while holding it in place (black electrical tape will help) slide the shifter arm / seat post clamp assembly over the inner tube. Position the shifter arm so that it has enough area on both sides to be rotated into both 1st and 3rd gear. Tighten by tightening nut on the #10-24 all-thread that goes through the seat post clamp into the shifter arm. Do not over tighten or it will put too much pressure on the shifters rolling mechanism and make it hard to shift.
Slide the Standard 1 1/8” headset spacer over the end of the shifter assembly and against the seat post clamp.
Attach the 1 1/8” headset cap to the shifter mount by threading a #10-24 bolt though the headset cap and into the threaded hole in the end of the shifter mount. Do not over tighten or it will put too much pressure on the shifters rolling mechanism and make it hard to shift.
Attach shift knob to shifter. There are hundreds of shift knobs available to use. We have found that 1” aluminum rounds can be milled into interesting knobs easily then attached to the shifter arm. To attach the shifter we drill two holes into the shifter as shown below then tap the holes with 2.5mm threads. We then use two 2.5mm grub screws threshed in to the holes and against the shifter arm.
Like all industries the custom bicycle world will have its ups and downs.
In the last few years I have watched prominent builders move on to other things, young builders master their art, local bicycle shops (LBCs) go under and larger shops / online retailers cut contracts with builders to start mass producing their once one-off parts and accessories. OBC has grown every year to a mass of enthusiasts that is beginning to be hair-metal stadium concert sized. As the "custom" bicycle scene grows with popularity also will the attention from factories and those wanting to profit from this "scene".
What does that mean to us? Many things both good and bad.
Our once most loved custom handle bars may be available to everyone on the open market. BAD
But those same bars that you couldn't purchase because they were either one-offs or limited runs will now be available. GOOD
The "Kustom" bicycle may be copied and mass produced. Frame designs may be "borrowed" from the master builder and start coming from a factory in far off lands for half the price. BAD
Master builders will step up their game to avoid putting out stagnant designs and staying ahead of the curve. GOOD
There is nothing worse than pedaling up to the local hot-spot and seeing your ride with nothing different than valve stem caps and paint color.
Will the custom bicycle world keep growing for the next few years? Yes.
We are looking forward to see what the next few years holds for the custom bicycle world. Whether you are into full custom builds or customizing your current ride there should be something to fit everyone’s tastes. Kustomized Bicycle Magazine will be out front showing off the latest builders and custom bicycles. We will be reviewing parts to let you know what works and what may not. We are also planning some great tech articles that may help some readers who are in the middle off their own build.
The future will be interesting so keep reading.
Planet Bike Air Kiss Inflator Pump
I have been looking for a portable pump for a while. Once is too many times to be pushing one of my bikes home. The muscle bike always seems to pop the front tube which makes it a bear to push home with the tall butterfly ape hangers. My daily low slung bobber is so low that I can’t walk while holding the handle bar in my hand without hunching over a bit. So yeah, I lost three tires last summer and was none too happy about the aftermath. Neither was my wife when I asked her to fold all the seats down in her new super fancy SUV so I can throw my greasy bike that hasn’t been washed in months into it.
I made a list of things I was looking for:
Small and easily portable
Able to fill 26”X100mm and 29”x80mm wheels to 45 psi quickly and easily
Fit Presta and Schrader valves without adapters
A descent price that won’t make me afraid to lose it
I was putting in an order to a well-known online retailer and started thumbing through pumps. I first thought a mini frame pump would be the route to go until I thought about how much air it takes to fill up my 29”X80mm wheels so a nice 40-45 psi. Most CO2 pumps I found were either expensive or only able to fill Schrader valves without an adapter for a Presta valve. I stumbled across the Planet Bike Air Kiss Inflator for just over $12.00. It wouldn’t break the bank if it turned out not working so I added one to my order which put me at the amount to get free shipping. It has already paid for itself….score.
Once it arrived I was surprised at how small and light the pump head and cartridge is. It wouldn’t take a lot of room in my pack even with a few extra CO2 cartridges. (Helpful hint, put extra cartridges together and wrap them together in some masking tape. They won’t bang into each other and roll around inside your pack and are easily able to be found). A nice feature is that the cartridge that comes with the pump head has a removable neoprene sleeve. Cartridges get super cold when they are losing pressure quickly. So cold that they can blister skin.
I headed to the shop to play with the pump and ended wasting a cartridge. I didn’t bother to read directions because it looked like any other pump head but….it isn’t. After reading the instructions I found that the trigger on the pump head regulated the attachment of the pump head to the valve. It doesn’t control air flow. The easiest way to remember how the system works is to push the trigger down, attach the pump head to the pump, then pull the trigger out. You can then screw the threaded cartridge (not unthreaded cartridges) into the pump head which will pierce the cartridge. Leaving the system assembled in your pack probable wouldn’t be the best idea. Once screwed in you control the air by pushing the cartridge into the pump head. The threading is actually a slide valve within the pump head. The packaging says you can do it with one hand which is probably true. I prefer to hold the pump head and valve still while using the other hand to push the cartridge. One handed it would be more of a chore than it is worth. After much use I also found that a single cartridge can fill any of my fat tires to a good pressure. My 29”x 80mm are Presta valves and my 26X100mm are Schrader. The pump worked equally as good on both types. I also noticed that the assembly doesn’t seal well so once you use a cartridge you can consider it pretty much trash.
For the price I think this pump system is a good buy. It loses a point for not being easily used with one hand as advertised and losses half a point for not being sealed very well that if a cartridge is attached it will lose pressure over time. It gains ¾ of a point for coming with the neoprene sleeve so you don’t freeze your finger.
Planet Bike Air Kiss Inflator$12.35 3.75 out of 5 stars.