It isn’t often that you get to pull a redo in life. Usually it is a system of paying consequences for past decisions but once in a blue moon the stars line up, planets are in order and thing just fall into your lap. (Note: I don’t believe in stars nor planets influencing life in general and science is your friend). The back story is as follows: I bought my Dyno Roadster back in the late 90’s. On the showroom floor were several standard seat over pedal styled Dyno cruiser models, a red Roadster and a black Roadster. In the back corner untouchable as it was corralled by other bikes was the Dyno Taboo Tiki. The shop owner said he was afraid that someone would knock it over and break the tiki fender light so he made sure no one could get to it. I went back and forth trying to decide what to purchase and at one point almost thought I could buy both of them. But after an adult decision I finally was the proud owner of the black Roadster (which I still have) and pedaled my way out into the world.

In the back of my mind I kept the pictures of that Taboo Tiki. Every now and then it would pop into my daily thoughts and I would day dream about its faux bamboo accessories, beautiful artwork designed by none other than famous low-brow artist Von Franco and the blinking fluorescent lime green tiki light on the front fender. I have had my Dyno calendar hanging in the shop permanently set on the tiki picture since moving into the shop in 2001. By this time I thought a Taboo Tiki should fill its spot in my personal bike corral I thought finding a tiki of my own was a lost cause. By 2007-2008 I was regularly checking eBay and Craigslist for one. Obviously they weren’t a big seller nationally and locally they are pretty much non-existent. I found a few on eBay but either the prices were reflecting the standard gold prices per ounce or were in such poor condition that they wouldn’t be able to be restored (mostly due to the lack of available artwork).

Two months ago on a Tuesday night I am lying in bed flipping through Facebook posts on my iPad while half watching some television show. A guy had posted in one of the local cruiser ride Facebook pages that I attend now and then a Taboo Tiki. There it was….for sale….locally…in good shape…mostly original except seat, bars and grips. Have original parts and owner’s manual. This more than caught my eye and I practically punched my wife in the arm with my iPad. She looked at the post, looked at me and rolled her eyes a bit. She tolerates my bike addiction pretty well normally.

“What do you think?” I asked.

“Do we have the money?” she replied.

I thought for a bit and said nothing more about it. We went on a pretty expensive vacation last fall, OBC in the spring, I had just finished the Gut Punch bike a month ago and we are in the midst of a major home remodel project. I turned off my iPad and went to sleep.

Wednesday morning while at work I checked the post again. Gladly I thought, no replies. I went about my workday.

Thursday morning I checked again. Still no replies. I thought to myself “I haven’t even seen a Taboo Tiki” in person for quite a few years so I’ll drop the guy a message and at least go check it out (this is how the human brain works). Later that night I told my wife what I had done as if I was a eight year old who just ran into the car door with a bike handlebars after being told 100 times not to ride into the garage (truth, it happened). She replied that if we have the money she would understand if I bought it because I had been looking for one so long. But it felt more like that scolding you get from your parent when they say “we aren’t mad at you, we are more disappointed”.  I finally manned up inside a bit…or maybe the exact opposite of manning up. I want a Taboo Tiki and I am sick of looking for one (there may have been some internal stomping and flailing of arms).

Friday I get a message from the owner on FB. It is still for sale and available Saturday for me to take a look at it.

Saturday morning met me with a steady downpour as I kissed my wife goodbye and told her I needed to go check out a bike. I run a magazine all about bikes so I “go check out a bike” many times every month. I drove across town in the rain with most of my available tool box fund rolled up in my pocket. I kept thinking back and forth and asking myself if this is an adult thing to really do. (“Tool Box Fund”-a term my father used for a stash of cash he kept in his tool box which was enough to get a hotel for the night when your wife throws you out, pay for a bar tab after a hard night partying or savings for the next hot rod speed parts. My dad was very old school.)

Saturday afternoon I am driving home in even heavier rain. In the bed bike rack of my truck is a Dyno Taboo Tiki. I didn’t do a test ride or anything. I tucked it into the corner of the Kustomized Bicycle Magazine shop and shut the doors.

Later that evening my wife asked “Did you buy that bike you were looking at?” (Proof that she knows me better than I know me and actually listens when I talk to her though it doesn’t look like it).

“Yes”, I replied sheepishly with my head down.

“Too bad it’s raining, we could go for a bike ride downtown” she said and then went back to watching some show on the television.

I rode my Taboo Tiki with my wife and friends today for the first time. It was a short ride of probably 5-6 miles maximum. I had gone through the bike last week, taking it down to the frame and rebuilding it from its many years of abuse (and lack of maintenance). I haven’t ridden a seat over pedal bike in many years so it was a different.

It isn’t often that you get to pull a redo in life. Usually it is a system of paying consequences for past decisions but once in a blue moon the stars line up, planets are in order and thing just fall into your lap.

Note: I am missing these pieces from the tank (both sides). If anyone has some or knows where I can find them please let me know.  KustomizedBicycleMagazine@gmail.com

UNO

Chad Morgan has created a reputable name in the custom bicycle world with Chop Shop Customz. For the last year or so he has steadily been putting out more and more products that normally have to be custom made. He is the go-to guy for seat posts, dropouts and head tubes. Not only is he an owner but he has given time and talent to various other charitable projects. Kustomized Bicycle Magazine met Chad at OBC 2014 and we have kept in regular contact with him ever since. When we heard that he was taking part in the Custom Builders Challenge for OBC 2016 we were a little shocked. Chad is a parts guy so joining full build contest mode is something he hasn’t done in the past.

When Chad rolled out “UNO” we can say that we were pretty awestruck. Low slung, off the wall color and all the right parts really made it a standout. But it doesn’t stand out in the crazy “too much time on the tooling roller” kind of way. It has a certain higher amount of class look to it. Let’s face it. A chopped and dropped DeSoto will never look as cool as a stock 1950 Mercury.

Chad got this ball rolling by stopping and the steel supplier and picking up 1.5” tube for the frame, 1” for the fork and 7/8” for the bars. All pretty standard fare in the custom bike so far. As he got more into the fabrication process things really started come together. The bottom bracket placement fits the lower section perfectly and copies the rest the frame angles. The frame is super low to the ground and the multiple bends on the rear triangle almost have a Googie style to it. If you don’t know what that means hit up the Googles and Google Googie. All the welds were ground and smoothed and the tube ends were capped and smoothed before getting the finish.

The front fork is a custom springer design by Chad. The spring mounts to a custom spacer above the headset and remains unseen to the eye. The rest of the fork is comprised of a multiple bend four leg system that it hooked to the head tube through a set of bushings to keep the rocking motion smooth and free. The legs finally stop behind the drop outs kicking the front wheel out just a bit. There is no chopper look with this front end. It looks strictly hardcore bobber.

Once everything was welded up all the custom tube was sent to Kotes Powder Coating in Cedar Rapids Iowa. The finish consist of a copper green base then coated with some mint vein. A coating of green flake clear was then apply before being topped with gold clear flake.

The driveline consists of a healthy paycheck to Profile. The Mid BB, crank arms and sprocket are all polished Profile units that have been buffed out to a deep shine. At the end of the crank arms are a set of Shadow Conspiracy pedals. Brakes are a rear TRP mechanical Hydro Disk setup. The shifter is a Boxkar unit designed to be used in conjunction with the NuVinci hub. All the cables are covered in a bold transparent housing that match the accents in the powder coat and wheels bringing the whole bike together. The attention to detail and parts choices are what really makes this bike a winner in our book (err magazine).

Let’s talk about these wheels. They are a beautiful set made from the best components by Tim Sanders of Chop Shop Customz Michigan. Starting out with a set of 26”x80mm hoops which were sent to Syrarium Color Studios where they were sprayed and striped with about half a million different colors and flakes. Tim then grabbed two handfuls of 11 ga. stainless steel spokes and laced up the back wheel with a NuVinci N360 hub and a the front with a sealed Black Ops hub. Both hubs had their stock coatings

Chad left the photoshoot with a quote: “I would like to give credit to Tim Sanders for the tremendous support and kicks in the ass. His eye for details and quality pushed me to go outside of my zone. Now there is no looking back! “   

Did we fail to mention that not only where these wheels the custom paint see all-end all but there is also a matching skateboard?

Eric Proto

Kustomized Bicycle Magazine has seen its share of clean bicycles. When we stumbled upon Eric Proto’s unfinished Smyinz and we were more than impressed we knew that waiting for this bike to be completed was going to be a long haul. I finally got an email from Eric saying it was finally done so here it is. Assembled to perfection and on super clean ride.

Not many guys I know would drop coin on a new frame and take it straight to the saw and welder. Eric started with a Ruff Cycles Smyinz frame and wasted no time. He modified the frame with a single mid tube gracefully sweeping under the top tube. By adding this tube and a few welded in mounts he had a place for an awesome tank insert that we will talk about below. As the old saying goes Eric was in for a penny, in for a pound. He cut the seat tube down to get the seat as low as possible the mocked up a Monark style fork. With his tire choice he realized that he needed a bit more bicycle belly room so he carved some length out of the steer tube to raise the frame to a rideable level and to get the lower tube parallel to the road. When it was all done he had enough clearance for anyone….2 1/8”.

Rolling stock consists of a 26”x3” front and a 26”x4” rear hoop. Both were powder coated gloss black. The front was assembled with a 32 whole hub and a Shimano BR-M375 disk brake to match the Shimano Nexus rear hub also with a BR-M375 disk brake. The rear tire is a Ruff Cycle 3” white wall and a Project 346 2.35” white wall on the front.

You don’t see fenders on customs much because of the amount of work it takes to get them right. Eric matched up a front motorcycle fender with skirts that he found on eBay to the rear stays. He says that he wasn’t sure it would fit but lucked out. We would agree since it matches the radius of the tire and the fits the frame perfectly. It is like it was born there.

The frame, fender and fork were packed up and taken to a friend of Eric’s that just happens to own AutoBody and More. Brian Kenny prepped the metal work by filling the welds and getting everything smooth. The frame was painted House of Kolor Lime Gold. Before spraying the clear the frame was beautifully pinstriped. The top and bottom tubes, head tube, fork legs and fender all had pinstriping done by Eric Sedletzky, a local in Santa Rosa. The final coats of clear were sprayed and Eric went to work with the components.

Erik took his pile of parts and polished everything that could be taken to the buffing wheel. The chrome and polished parts really set off the color of the frame and wheels. The Origin8 crank arms, seat post clamp, chain ring, handle bars, neck, headlight, 346 shifter, and Monark springs and caps all have the shiny high luster. In typical builder form Eric says that this is the fourth set of handle bars he has had on the bike. The rolled arches of the uprights match the frame’s downtube perfectly.

Not every builder can do everything. Erik enlisted the help of his mom to sew a new cover on the seat to match the grip he had already picked out. Bike moms are cool moms.

IMG_8273.JPG

Erik is a cabinet maker by trade. So the tank insert made of wood was definitely a must. He used his skills to mill Sepele (the darker wood) with a Figured Maple inlay. He built to mirrored pieces and bolted them to the frame mount welded onto the frame with a set of acorn nuts. He then carved out a custom handle for the 346 shifter to match the tank. Once milled and sanded the wood parts were sprayed with automotive clear for a brilliant high gloss finish matching the rest of the bike and bringing out the colors in the wood.

All in all Erik’s bike is a beautiful piece of custom rideable art that has all the form, fit and finish that would be a show winner anywhere.

CBurke Customs is kind of a new builder that has taken the custom bike market by force. If you have some sort of internet connection you have probably seen one of his builds on one of the social media platforms. Kustomized Bicycle Magazine had talked to Chris Burke of CBurke Customs on and off for the last year but we were able to meet up with him at OBC2016 in Las Vegas where we got to discuss bikes, bike life and custom fabrication (while our wives were at the blackjack tables until the wee hours of the morning).

(KBM): When did your shop form and what is your background pertaining to fabrication and design?

(Chris Burke): For now, my shop is set-up in our home garage.  I started out building custom parts for import cars. Items like strut bars and suspension components were a big hit among road race enthusiasts. I learned to MIG weld from watching videos and testing different techniques on my own.  Eventually, I became pretty good at it and found that I enjoyed making everything from parts to art, including custom bicycles.

(KBM): Who originally got you into bicycles and can take credit for your hands-on interest?

(Chris Burke): While surfing the web, I stumbled across the Ruff Tango bike frame and thought, “Wow! That’s pretty bad ass!” I figured I’d try my hand at a frame of my own. I did some research, looking at what was already being done, who some of the top builders were and what made particular builds popular. I gave it a go and with a little creativity came up with some unique creations of my own. I would give credit to Jessie James, motorcycle/metal fabricator/now gun maker, for my “I can do anything” attitude. Watching him since I was a kid sparked my love for working with metal. I’d like to think that one day I will be to custom bicycles what Jessie is to custom motorcycles.

(KBM): What is your favorite bike you have built to date?

(Chris Burke): Draggin’ Anchor is my favorite build to date. I was given a design concept from Joe Johnson who commissioned the bike, but was given free creative reign. I had so many ideas and was challenged to bring them all to life. I was excited to do something I’d never seen done before and I love the way it turned out. The bike was a big hit at OBC 2016!

(KBM): With the explosion of the custom bike world in the last few years where do you see this scene going?

(Chris Burke): The East Coast is slower to pick up the trend, but I’m confident that the custom bike crowd will continue to grow here, particularly in Florida. Custom bike builders are sprouting across the state.  With year-round sunshine and booming markets like Miami, Orlando, and Tampa Bay, I suspect the custom bike scene will expand exponentially in coming years.

(KBM): If someone hasn’t seen the Draggin’ Anchor bike how would you describe its style?

(Chris Burke): Envision a one-off stretched cruiser built for Sailor Jerry complete with an old school tattoo style anchor securing the back wheel.  Follow the anchor chain to the “Poop Deck” just below the porthole in the faux wood tank plate and you’ve got yourself a pirate ride on wheels.

(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?

(Chris Burke): I build custom bikes to buyer’s specs complete and ready to ride. However, I also build and sell frames by themselves. In other words, the buyer gets whatever the buyer wants. Toss me an idea and I’ll run with it.

(KBM): What is your favorite style of bike to build: chopper, bobber, stretched cruiser?

(Chris Burke): Rat rod stretched cruisers are by far the most fun to build. I’m able to go balls out on creativity without the worry of perfection or plagiarism.  Rat rods are the kind of bikes you can ride hard and in the event of a mishap, any scraps or dings just add to the aesthetics and character of the bike.

(KBM): When not in the shop building bikes what do you spend your time doing?

(Chris Burke): Women! Ok, not what you think. I have a gorgeous wife and 3 beautiful daughters who are my life.  I spend as much time with my ladies as possible. We love cruising around on our bikes, bumming at the beach, or just lounging at home in the pool.

(KBM): What is your favorite tool in the shop and what is usually playing on the stereo?

(Chris Burke): My grinder! It can cut, shape, do just about anything and everything I need. A grinder and welder should be the first things you buy when starting metal fabrication.

(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?

(Chris Burke): I’m a product of YouTube. I wouldn’t consider myself particularly handy, but with a little step-by-step video guidance I manage to do all right. My wife thinks I’m innately adept at all things mechanical.  I just let her think I was born awesome. In addition to videos, I turn to other builders to troubleshoot challenges and discover new techniques. That’s what it’s all about really, builders helping the new generation. Without them, this would all die out.

(KBM): What is next for your shop? Upcoming projects, lines of parts?

(Chris Burke): If I told you, I’d have to kill you. 

Really, I’d like to start a “his” and “hers” production style frame. Something that you can slap on some parts and ride yet still have that custom look with comfort. I’m not really one for doing things more than once, but ultimately, I want to provide what people want.  

There you go. Chris Burke builds cool stuff and if you want him to build something cool for you then hit him up and the FaceBooks or type CBurke Customs into the Googles.

Paint striping 101

The topic of the day is stripping. First you need a pocket full of one dollar bills, securely mount and 2" diameter stainless or chromed tube from the floor to the ceiling......HOLD IT, not that stripping.

The topic of the day is PAINT stripping. We all have picked up a used bike for a steal with huge dreams of turning it into the show winner in your mind. Unfortunately, most bicycles aren’t treated that well throughout their lives which results in scuffed chrome, ripped seats and most importantly chipped and scratched paint. So if you have ever wanted to get that super slick paint job or even get your ride ready for some welding modifications there will be stripping involved. Stripping that doesn’t require a feather boa that is. 

Paint stripping is exactly that. It is the removal of paint from and surface. It can be done in a variety of methods. Which method is best for you? We don’t know. But we will give you the information to best make up your own mind. First you must figure out what will work best for you. What type of paint are you removing and what is the reason you are removing it? Since we deal with bicycles I am sure you are either removing paint to either repaint the bike, getting it to bare metal to get the frame powder coated or you are doing some customizing requiring welding. If you make the wrong choice up front you will be neck deep in a dirty mess that may make your project a long messy nightmare. The same thing will happen if you try to take shortcuts. For this article we will be referring to a bicycle frame only. This will be an old frame that has been stripped to a bare frame including bearing races.

Before we start let’s talk safety. Paint and primer dust while sanding can get into your respiratory system and eyes causing a multitude of problems. Chemical stripping requires caustic poisonous liquid that can burn your skin, leach into your blood, and the vapors can get in your respiratory system and eyes causing serious life threatening issues. Always read, understand and use the PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) listed on the label of the materials you are using and read the MSD (Material Safety Data) sheets. Safety glasses, skin protection and a respirator are a must.

Removing paint falls into two categories. These are mechanical (abrasives) and chemical (chemical strippers). We will discuss both these methods below.

MECHANICAL

The Scuff and Shoot Method

If you are just doing a new paint job and the existing paint is in good shape without and deep scratched, chips or rust then you got off easy. You can simply use some store bought degreaser and scrub down your frame then starting with 320 grit sandpaper sand every inch of the frame taking off all shine from the existing paint. Follow this with 400 grit and you are ready for primer and paint. We have found that using 1" wide by 50 foot long rolls is the easiest method. Tearing off 16"-18" inches from the roll you can wrap it around the frame tubes and in a two handed sawing motion you can scuff 90% of the existing paint in very short time. What you can't scuff with this method you will need to do with your poor soon to be raw fingers.

The Bare Metal Sanding Approach

If you are taking your frame down to bare metal and don’t mind a little labor we use the same method as above but we start with 80 grit before bumping up. Be careful though. 80 grit paper is very aggressive. It will remove paint quickly but it is also very easy to gouge the metal. If you don’t have a light touch you may want to move up a grit level or two and spend the extra time to do it right. Remember, shortcuts never work in the long run.

Power Tools. We have stepped away from trying to use DA sanders or rotary sanders to strip paint from a bike frame. Round tube doesn’t lend itself well to the flat surfaces of the sanding pads. You will either flat spot the tube or just burn the paint up causing it to clog your sandpaper. Even Rolok Scotchbrite disks tend to clog up with paint and primer as well as not being able to get to every nook and cranny.

The Bare Metal Wire Wheel Approach (Mechanical)

By far the easiest and quickest way to mechanically strip paint effectively while still keeping your frame in good condition is the almighty wire wheel. A wire wheel consists of solid wire strand (available in different materials and either single or cabled) pressed into a cylindrical mounting apparatus that will chuck into a drill motor. Preference for a bicycle frame would be a crimped untempered wire over steel and single stand over cable. Cabled steel wire has enough density and strength that it can scratch the frames tubes deeply requiring more prep work before paint. Though wire wheels can be used with a drill motor they are much more efficient when used with pneumatic tools like angle grinders and pneumatic drills. On an electric motor you will get the wheel trying to bounce off the tube because of the slower RPM’s of the electric motor vs a pneumatic motor. It is also a somewhat time consuming effort so putting an electric motor through this task will cause them to get hot and force you to take breaks.

Blasting (Mechanical)

Media blasting is a very quick and easy way to remove the paint. Instead of taking hours to remove that 50 year old paint it is easily vaporized within seconds. Most people don’t have a blasting cabinet or tools large enough for a bike frame so you may have to pay for this job. If this is the case talk to the blaster and tell them what your final outcome will be. Depending on the blasting medium and line pressure they can wreck a frame with small craters but done correctly a good blaster can remove paint from soft plastic without hurting it. So the media and line pressure will be less aggressive for the super swanky paint job than if you’re getting your frame powder coated. I prefer having blasting done with baking soda. If done correctly I have found that soda blasting dries the metal out enough that it won’t start to oxidize for days or even weeks depending on the weather. Soda also in light enough that you may want to scuff the metal before primer. Prices general run from $50 to $100 dollars. If you have more money than time this may be the route you want to take.

NOTE: We have stepped away from trying to use DA sanders or rotary sanders to strip paint from a bike frame. Round tube doesn’t lend itself well to the flat surfaces of the sanding pads. You will either flat spot the tube or just burn the paint up causing it to clog your sandpaper. Even Rolok Scotchbrite disks tend to clog up with paint and primer as well as not being able to get to every nook and cranny. But using a Rolok Scotchbrite pad to do some spot removal isn’t out of the question.

 

CHEMICAL

Stripper

So you don’t like the idea of aching arms and removing your fingerprints by stripping paint with the mechanical method? There is a do-it-yourself way to chemically strip as well. It is a pretty simple way to go about things. Buy a can, bottle or drum of chemical paint stripper and slather it on. Then wait an amount if time that is written on the container and scrape the paint off. Of course it isn’t that easy. Chemical stripper is a dangerous liquid that can corrode most nonmetal objects, gets everywhere, releases toxic fumes and may not be legal to just throw in the trash can. You also need to make sure there is no stripper left on the frame before you spray some primer. None, nill, nit…nowhere. You can do this by washing the frame down with a neutralizing agent when all the paint is gone.

Stripper runs between $25-$50 per gallon. My preference has always been Naval Jelly. It is thick like syrup so it will stick to all areas of the frame, even those bottom areas which liquid would normally just drip from. You will need a disposable tarp to make sure nothing gets contaminated. Also needed are gloves, cheap 1” paint brush, eye protection (a full face shield is your best bet), respirator and some plastic or nylon scrapers to remove the paint.

The process is pretty straight forward. I normally pour some stripper into a stainless steel bowl I keep in the shop for just this purpose then using a cheap 1” paint brush I start applying liberally the stripper from front to back. A helpful hint to speed up the process is to scuff up any existing paint with a quick scrape of 200 grit sandpaper which allows the stripper to bite into the paint faster. Once complete and depending on the wait time you really are just letting the stripper do the work. I have even put the frame with stripper all over it into a large lawn style trash bag and tied the end up so I could keep it in the shop for a few days and not have to deal with the smell. Once you have waited the allotted time get to work with the scrapers to remove as much of the paint as possible. Don’t work too hard at it. A second or third coat can always be done to finish the job. If there are still paint / primer spots left you can use a wire brush or wheel to get into the hard to scrape areas but please wear the appropriate protection for using such a tool. Once all the paint is removed wash the frame down 2-3 times with water. I usually wipe the frame down afterwards with a clean shop towel and some carburetor cleaner. With a bare frame hanging on the rack it is time for a quick sanding job with some 150-200 grit sandpaper. This will give the bare metal a little “tooth” for the primer to stick to.

Dipping (Chemical)

Do you want the easiest way to strip paint from your frame? Send it off to have it dipped. Dipping is just submerging the frame in a bath of caustic liquid (paint stripper) for a period of time until all the paint has been chemically removed. You might be able to pull this off at home but you will have a ton of expensive leftover chemicals that you can’t dispose of and just finding the room might be a problem. I called around the area and found that dipping a bicycle frame will run between $70 and $115 locally. It is the easiest way but probably not the most cost effective if you are on a budget.

FINAL FINISH:

Once you are happy with your bare metal frame you need to do something with it before the rust starts. If you have metal work to do or are not ready to prime the frame you can spray all surfaces down with some lubricant like WD-40 or spray lithium grease. These will need to be removed before any priming/welding can take place by rewashing the frame like mentioned above. If you are ready for primer then give the frame 2-3 light coats following the manufacturer’s instructions. 

There you have it. Stripper 101 and you didn’t even have to gather $1.00 bills, get covered in glitter or make a trip to the local jiggly room.

 

 

Where's Bixby?

We have all been on rides and even some epic rides. But imagine packing up everything you need to survive on to a bike then heading around the country. Most importantly you are taking your best friend with you.

Bixby and Mike have a great relationship. Best of friends really. Matching personalities maybe? Two bodies and one mind possibly? By the way, Bixby is a dog.

Back in 2010 Mike found Bixby in an animal shelter and they instantly became the best of friends. Since then they have travelled around the United States to raise awareness of animal shelters, rescues and pet adoption. They ride from city to city meeting with local shelters and raising the public’s awareness through multiple social media platforms and the local news. Mike and Bixby have topped 10,000 miles at this point and been through over 30 states and many more than once. They have posted pictures on their website (www.wheresbixby.com) showing their travels from corn fields in the middle of nowhere, the beaches on both coasts to Time Square in New York.

We have been able to pal around with Bixby and Mike a couple of times and they are both the best of people. Yes, Bixby can be classified as a people since we like her more than some people we have met. Both are great to spend time with and you need nothing more than a friendly smile and hopefully a stick to throw. If they ever are rolling through your town you should make an effort to meet with them. You can never have too many friends and both Bixby and Mike instantly become everyone’s friend.

The trip has had its ups and downs. Thankfully more ups than the other. While in Mission Beach San Diego Bixby and Mike had their bike stolen with all their gear. The Yuba Mundo was stripped and most of the gear gone by the time a Bixby follower saw the bike being ridden and called the police. The thief went to jail and Mike and Bixby got their ride back. People searching where able to find Bixby’s bed, the bottom section of a dog crate bolted to the rear rack, and with the help of donations and a GoFundMe page they were able to get back up and riding.  Because of their message and what they have done for to many animal shelters to name a new Yuba Spicy Curry electric cargo bike was donated to them for their ongoing trip.

You can follow Bixby and Mike’s adventure through all the social media platforms. He has his bike set up with GPS, Bluetooth for tunes and a GoPro. If they roll into your town make sure you say hi and take a few minutes to toss a toy around. If you want a Bixby of your own check the local shelters and adopt a pet. They are just waiting for someone to take them home and a friendship will be formed for life. There is nothing better than rescuing a dog.

As Bixby says: “Dreams are like sticks, you just have to chase them.”

From the Author- I rescued my first dog and my best friend 14 years ago from an animal rescue and he is sitting in my lap as I write this. Besides meeting my wife, meeting my dog has been the most important day in the last 40 or so years.

Photos: Sct Bur

 

Cheapest Bicycle Repair Multitool

Taste:  Sorry folks, not tasting it with its galvanized coating. It’ll kill ya.

Smell: Not necessarily raw metal but more of a coated metal that spent much of its newly stamped life in plastic.

Touch: Usually a little cool.  Except when I left it on the concrete while fixing a kids bike in the summer sun for 20 minutes then grabbed it and put it in my back pocket. It was damn hot.

Look: Erector Set? Kind of Kinetix looking?

My dad always used to say “Never ride farther that you want to walk home”. My dad was a pretty smart guy and I am not. Sometimes bikes break and sometimes it is fixable while on the ride. Sometimes I haven’t listened to my dad and ended up walking just under eight miles in the blistering heat in Sidi riding boots. Of you don’t want that to happen then you need to be able to fix your bike on the fly. In order to fix it though you need to be packing the right tools and parts. If you pick up a bike related Multi Tool your odds of fixing your bike just got better. The proper tools will sometimes keep you from the Cruise Night Walk of Shame.

Before bike companies started making the super titanium carbon fiber 10 million multi tool that you can buy for $59.99 we packed tools. Back in the day we packed the CamelBak with four wrenches (15mm, 12mm, 10mm and an 8mm). A standard screw driver, a Phillips screw driver, a set of tire irons and a pedal wrench. This was all on top of tubes, patch kit and pump. Now days you still need to bring the later but the multi-tools take place of the wrenches and screw drivers. Most of us don’t want to spend $49.99-$149.99 on a multi tool that might get used once in a while anyhow. So what if we found the cheapest of multi-tools and put them through the ringer to see if they it up? 

This multi tool can be found all over the internet for a non-wallet crushing $3.32 plus $1.50 Shipping. The description states it is 15 tools in one including a Spanner wrench (which hardly any multi tool has). It is stamped of steel and galvanized to keep from rusting. It has all the nominal hex wrench sizes from 5mm to 17mm and a flat screwdriver head and two different size spanner wrenches. It also has a 17mm and 15mm open end wrench built in. All of this and weighs a mere 77 grams.

Pros:

•         Small: easy to pack with you

•         Lightweight: 77 grams

•         Super cheap $3.32 plus shipping

•         Takes the place of 15 tools

•         Opens beer bottles

Cons:

•         Small: easy to lose in your pack

•         The thin profile isn’t the nicest to your hands

•         The thin profile will mar bolt heads under heavy torque (like using a cone wrench as a standard wrench)

Testing:

We did two styles of tests for this super cheap multi tool.

1.       We put several bikes up on the rack including a full custom, a downhill and fixie. We proceeded to loosen and tighten as many bolts as we could find on each bike. The tool worked flawlessly in this situation. One thing to note is that because of the tools small size getting a full hand grip on it to loosen some of the more stubborn bolts wasn’t as easy as using the standard box wrench. The smaller sizes were even worse because of the location of the hole needed.

2.       We placed the multi tool in the bench vise then went through the spare bolt drawer in the shop finding as many bolts that we could with matching nuts. We tightened each nut onto each bolt then using a torque wrench we put the bolt head into it matching sized hole on the tool then using the appropriate sized nut on the torque wrench we would twist the bolt / nut assembly in the tool at 5 pound increments trying to break or bend it. We expected the bolts to tear up the tool’s holes as we got to the 30-40 ft/lb area. Surprisingly the tool held up really well with only small deformations on some of the edges. We went a full 45 ft/lbs on the 15mm and the tool started to twist in the vice but the 15mm wrench area still held up. We stopped at that point thinking that no fastener on a bicycle is ever over 50 ft/lbs.

Conclusion: This WILL replace several wrenches we usually put in our packs and a flat screwdriver. It will work great for an emergency on the cruise but isn’t something I will keep on the Park bike stand for daily use. For the price this has a very good value. If you pack this, a tri wrench and some tire levers and there isn’t much you can’t fix on the ride when far away from home. 

ShoGos Wheel Covers

Wheel covers were all the rage in the muscle bike days. But those cheap plastic or cardboard printed covers never held up long though looked really cool. That was 40 years ago. Now you can have wheel covers that will hold up to the elements and still be light enough to barley notice they are there.

Derek Amendola is the owner of Sho-Go’s wheel covers. He sent Kustomized Bicycle Magazine a message to check out his product. We did and thought it was pretty cool. These thick ABS covers are injection molded then chrome dipped and will hold up much better than the ones of yesteryear and look pretty cool on a bike. They look so cool in fact that World Champion Flatland rider Viki Gomez rides with them. The Sho-Gos wheel cover set will add 4 lbs. to your ride and unfortunately are only available in 20” at the moment. But we think we may have talked Derek into looking towards larger diameter versions in the future. At $60.00 a set they won’t break the bank and can add some coolness factor to your ride. Studies prove that SHO-GO’s increase a rider's visibility up to 200% over stock reflectors both day and night because of their high reflective finish.

Check out the videos below showing the ease of assembly and Viki Gomez in action.

Note that Sho-Go’s donates $1 of every set sold to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, to fight for the cure. This is in honor of Derek losing my older brother Dion Amendola, the creator of SHO-GO’s to a rare form of Cancer.

You can contact Sho-Go’s at Derek@sho-gos.com or www.sho-gos.com