04/25/17

Wow, We just made it back and what an extended weekend it was. We didn’t go on every ride but we tried to hit as many as we could. Our photographers shot a ton of bikes and OBCers partying it up. The bike show was awesome even though the Las Vegas wind tried to put a serious stop to our party.

Some of you didn’t read last month’s tech feature. We ended up loaning out tools and handing out a few extra tubes. Luckily we had a few of the sizes needed. In the end, it only matters that everyone is riding down the road and having a blast.

We will publish a few pictures in this month “Rides” section from OBC 2017. We just didn’t have enough time after the event to put together a feature. Next month’s magazine will have a full breakdown of America’s best bicycle party.

king zebba's "the bully"

King Zebba Custom Cruisers is at it again. It seems like they are releasing new items monthly and all of them are amazing.  This month they are introducing "The Bully" King Zebba Custom Cruisers newest frame. If you have seen the work coming from their shop you know that workmanship is top of the line and the company stand by their work 100%. Being a small shop we think these frames will be on backorder on day one so get ahold of King Zebbas as soon as you can to get this beautiful piece into your stable.

Frame will be $600

Can fit up to a 130mm rim
100mm American bottom bracket
170mm rear dropout spacing.
Will start taking orders May 1st. Thanks for your interest!!

miller multimatic 215

I think I got the phone call not so much as a friend telling me we should do a review of his new toy; but more of a friend bragging about his new toy by telling me we should review it. My friends are like that. However, when there is an excuse to go to someone else’s shop, play with their new toys and relieve their shop fridge of tasty beverages on a sunny afternoon, I will be there with bells on.

The Miller Electric Manufacturing Company has been producing welding machines for years and have a great reputation. Their newest machine is the Miller Multimatic 215. The advertising says this machine will do it all. It can MIG, TIG and Stick weld. If these are truths, this sounds like a heck of a machine. It also says it can weld as thin as 24.Ga and as thick as 3/8”. 

The first thing I noticed is the size of this machine. The box measures approx. 26”x11”x11” and weighs is at only 38 pounds. The second thing is the new plug. Miller is calling this the Multi-Voltage Plug. The end of the power cord can be fitted with either a 240V or standard 120V plug. Magically (probably not magic), the machine knows what plug is attached and will make its own internal adjustment per the voltage. This is a lot better than the re-wire I have to do on my old machine every time I need to change voltage. With this plug, you can weld wherever you have electrical service.

I have always like Miller welders because of their “Auto-Set” feature. It has always provided easy machine setup no matter what materials you are working with. Miller has changed the name of this feature to “Auto-Set Elite”. This is a more fine-tuned optimize process algorithm for welding that makes the perfect tuning all the time without having to have manual adjustments.

The Unboxing-

The basic machine comes with the welder, a stinger for stick welding, a spool of wire and a MIG gun. We easily attached the MIG gun by pushing the cable through the hole in the front panel and tightening a screw clamp behind the side door. We attached the control lead behind the side door as well. We placed the spool of welding wire on the driver roll. There is enough room for everything from a 1 lb to a 10 lb roll of wore. A new device within the machine is the drive roller. It has three different slots milled into it. This allows the roller to run 0.024, 0.030-0.035 solid core and 0.030-0.035 flux core wire. This is a great design and will allow for a smooth wire feed instead of constant adjustments to avoid slipping. We ran through the pressure lever and into the MIG gun feed. We removed the end of the MIG gun and pulled to trigger which quickly fed the wire through the feed. We double checked the tip sizing for .030 solid wire and replaced it on the end of the gun then screwed on the shield.

We said earlier that the machine has several welding processes.  Miller was nice enough to put the power terminals on the welders face with quick releases. If you are switching from solid wire to flux core you can swap the terminal in a matter of seconds. You also know what the machine is set to by simply looking at the face. In the upper left corner, all the settings are shown with a bright LED.

There is no difference as far as connecting gas to the machine. We rolled a bottle of C-25 over and attached the regulator.

Let’s Weld-

I grabbed a few pieces of angle and flat steel plate from the scrap barrel and threw them onto the welding table. Ready to glue some steel together with electricity….time to set up the machine. The first step was to set the machines process. Using the Up/Down arrow on the left side of the face panel we selected the MIG STEEL C25 assignment.  The LCD display screen showed the setting we chose. There is a button in the center of the panel that turns the Auto-Set Elite function on or off. We left it on then used the plus and minus buttons to select the welding wire diameter and material thickness.  The machine automatically set the voltage (V) and Wire Feed Speed (WFS) both shown on the LCD as well. The LCD shows exactly where you are and shows the “Plateau”. The Plateau is where the machine is set to Auto-Set Elite but still will allow the user to make changes to the variables. If you make changes, the LCD will show you if you are going outside the plateau. However, what if you know what settings you want and don’t need some machine telling you want to do.  Well, A) your kind of a goon and B) turn the Auto-Set Elite off and open the side door. A vast array of settings are shown inside the door for a wide range of uses. You can use this chart as your guide.

We are welding all sorts of stuff. I did a few beads on a 20-gauge panel then some 1” x .080 tube. I changed the settings with welding gloves on without a problem and both the welds were hot, arced quickly and splatter free.  One thing I noticed is that the fan hadn’t come on for the first10-15 minutes of welding. After doing some research, I found that the fan power is based on internal temperatures. It only comes on when it is needed.

(Note: I am a hobby welder. I definitely don’t have the skills as other bike builders. My first welds coming out of this machine were just as good if not better than my welds using the machine I have been on for ten years.)

On to the TIG-

The Miller MultiMatic 215 doesn’t come with a TIG setup. You can purchase the TIG Contractor kit P/N#301337 that comes with the torch, pedal, regulator, hose, spare tips and points. My friend had purchased the kit and also had a bottle of Tri/Mix so we gave it a go. The setup was as easy as it was for MIG welding. We connected the foot pedal through the side door. We changed the cable connections to go from C-25 MIG to TIG and hooked up the Argon bottle.

(Note: The paperwork says that this machine is set up for DC TIG welding only. It won’t weld Aluminum or Magnesium.)

The Miller machine is programed with what they call the “Lift-Arc” feature. The arc will start by touching the electrode to the work piece then pulling it away a short distance. It starts with a lower current and ramps up. We all know that scratch starting at full current is a great way to contaminate electrodes. 

The Lift-Arc took a few passes to get used to but in the end we felt that is was great technology and much better than the scratch and burn process we have all done for so long. The arc was steady and smooth. Heat was very easily controlled through the pedal and not ratchety like other machines I have used. We were able to adjust to get full penetration in varied thicknesses and were ha[[y with the stock torch (though we will be replacing the cup with a clear one in the near future.

All in all this is a beautiful machine that would be a great asset to anyone’s custom bike building shop. Though it is on the more expensive side there is no reason this couldn’t be the last machine you ever buy. I even told my friend that if he wants me to review more tools like this at his shop I would start stocking his fridge with tasty beverages.

fix your flat the right way

Kustomized Bicycle Magazine has spent a lot of time in the shop showing you have to do some pretty elaborate bike building techniques. We have built custom square tube forks, laced wheels and converted vintage headlights to LED units. These are all great things to know and expands builder’s imaginations. We get many emails thanking us for the knowledge but asking for the more basic how-tos that will help the new person entering into the custom bike world.

The very first thing you need to know when owning a bike is how to fix it. They are basic machines and simple to fix without specialized tools. I will guarantee the firs thing you will need to do is fix a flat tire. Whether you picked up a thorn, pinched the tube in a hard curb check or over inflated the tube until it popped you need to fix the flat.  Now all you readers that have been around bicycles your whole life and think you know everything may also want to read this feature. It is really surprising how many people fix their flats but still do it wrong. There also may be something you didn’t know.

Proper Tube: The tube holds the air that keeps your tire inflated. The more air in the tube (measured in PSI (Pounds Per Inch)) the harder the tire is. Too little air and the tire will wear unevenly and be harder to ride because of the larger contact patch. Too much air and the ride will be harsh; traction will be minimalized due to the small contact patch and more than likely the tube will rip at the worst time. All tires and tubes have a max PSI rating. Stay under that rating and you will be fine.

Tools Needed:

Repair Stand…if you don’t have one you can always flip your bike over resting it on the seat and handlebars.

Wrench to fit the axle nuts (Do not use Crescent wrenches or vice-grips). This is optional as you may have quick-release axles.

Multi-tool

Tire Levers

Tube (Properly Sized)

Air Pump

Removing the tire from the wheel

1.       Deflate the tube completely. You aren’t sure what the tube looks like inside the tire so deflating the tube completely is a great idea. It makes it much easier to remove the tire from the wheel, it keeps the tube out of the way so you can hopefully patch it and reuse it. While pushing the valve down you can also apply pressure to the tire, which will help push the air out.

2.       Push the tire bead off the wheel. Work your way around the wheel on both sides pushing the tire away from the wheel. This will loosen the bead from the rim. On some assemblies, we have found that the bead can be caught in the wheel because of the width of the tire and wheel combination (1.75” tires on 3” wide wheels is a great example).

3.       On the opposite side from the tube’s valve push the tie away from the wheel.  Using the spoon end of a tire lever place it in between the tire and the wheel. Using the second tire lever place it between the tire and the wheel 1”-2” inches away from the first lever. Work your way around the tire until you are able to pull the tire’s bead completely over the wheel.

(Helpful Hint: See the hook on the back of the tire lever. You can hold the lever in place while applying pressure on the tire by wrapping the tire levers hook around the spoke in line with the tire lever. You can then use the other lever to slide around the wheel between it and the tire. This will make quick work of unbeading the tire.)

4.       Starting opposite of the tube’s valve reach inside the tire and pull the tube out of the tire’s cavity. When you get to the valve reach inside and pull that valve though the wheel’s hole and remove the tube completely from the tire’s cavity.

5.       Using your hands pull the other tire bead off the wheel to completely remove the tire from the wheel. Tire levers usually aren’t necessary but if they are needed you can use them without damaging anything.

INSPECTION: TUBE, TIRE & OTHER COMPONENTS

6.       Before replacing the tube you should figure out why the tube is flat. Replacing it without fixing the problem will only leave you with another flat tube. These are the usual problems causing flats.

·         Pin Hole or Holes in Tube (outside diameter): Thorn, tack, small nail. Remove items or items before replacing tube. Usually able to be patched.

·         Pin Hole or Holes in Tube (inside diameter): Rim tape torn or not covering the spoke nipple. Possibly an object inside the tire rubbing against the tube like a small rock. Usually able to be patched.

·         Small Double Slits (also known as a “snake bite”: Rim pinch. Add more are pressure to replaced tube or install wider tires and tubes. Usually able to be patched.

·         Large hole with shredded rubber: Blowout. Too much air pressure. Check wheel for damage as well. Not able to be patched.

·         Large cut : Blowout. Too much air pressure. Check wheel for damage as well. Not able to be patched.

·         Cut around valve: tube was misaligned within wheel.  Not able to be patched.

 

(Note: If there is no noticeable issue with the tube check the valve core inside the valve. If the valve core has started backing out of the valve it will lose air quickly.

7.       If you haven’t found the problem with the tube by looking at it then inflate the tube to twice its non-pressurized circumference.  

8.       Rotate the tube around the perimeter keeping it close to your ear. You can usually hear the hissing of the air.

9.       If you can’t hear the leak, fill a container of water large enough to press the inflated tube into. Submerge the entire tube under water (you can do this in sections) until you find the leak. The leak will be very visible as bubbles will lead you to the puncture.

10.   If the tube’s issue is repairable, dry the tube off with a shop towel and mark the location of the hole on the tube with a marker. Make your location marks far enough away from the hole as to not sand the marks off when you rough up the area for a patch.

TIRE INSPECTION

Now that you have found the source of the problem you need to find the problem itself. Your tire is not only there for stability and traction but it is supposed to protect the tube. For 4 out of 6 of the problems listed above there is an effect to the tire’s casing.

·         Pin Hole or Holes in Tube (outside diameter): Inspect the inside of the tire’s casing for thorns, tacks or nails. Feel the inside of the tires casing with your fingers looking for any issue.  If you can’t find any problems, use a ball of toilet paper and rube it around the inside of the tire’s casing. The toilet paper will rip on anything sharp enough to poke through a tire’s tube. Remove the issue, whether you can pull out a thorn with your fingers or have to use plyers to remove a nail.  Usually the tire is reusable.

(Note: If you find one thorn, there is a very good possibility that there are more. Check closely and if you find one keep looking for more.)

·         Small Double Slits (also known as a “snake bite”: Check the tire’s casing for larger punctures or a crushed bead. Larger holes in a tire’s casing will tear open quickly while riding and a crushed bead won’t seat correctly. Replace the tire.

·         Large hole with shredded rubber or Large Cut: Check the tire for any holes or tear. An over pressurized tube has enough pressure when it fails to blow a hole through a normal bicycle tire. If there is any issue, replace the tire.

(Note: If your tire is older, you should check the tire for wear, thin spots in the tread area, tears in the sidewall and tears in the beads. If your tire has any of these issues, you are putting that new tube at risk)

RIM INSPECTION

So you had a hole in your tube but it was on the inside diameter.

·         All rims should have a rim strip. The rim strip is a piece of rubber that wraps around the inside of the wheel covering the spoke nipples. Make sure your rim strip is clean, is covering the spoke nipples, is free from holes and is on the rim without any creases.

·         Squeeze all of the spokes together with your fingers. Look for movement at the nipple. Loose spokes can make the spoke’s nipple wear a hole in the rim strip and possibly into the tube as well.

REPAIR OR REPLACE

Either is fine. If a tube is repairable then don’t waste it. If the tube needs replaced, they are cheap enough that it hopefully won’t break the bank.  We aren’t going to tell you what to do but remember, there is nothing worse than putting a new tube in and having it loose pressure half a block away.

 

TUBE AND TIRE REPLACMENT

11.   Look at the sidewall of your tire. If the tire is a directional tire it will have arrows printed indicating the rotation of the wheel. if you are fixing a back wheel or have a single sided disk brake you need to make sure the rotation is correct.

12.   Remove the valve stem cap from the new tube and inflate the tube with just enough air to hold its shape.

13.   Install the tube into the inside cavity of the tire. The valve should be adjacent to the air pressure recommendations printed on the tire’s sidewall.

(Note: this is an old real bike shop mechanic’s trick. If the valve is adjacent to the pressure recommendations, you never have to look for it. )

14.   Place the wheel perpendicular to the ground with the valve hole at 12:00. Lower the tube and tire combination onto the wheel with the tube’s valve into the wheel’s valve hole. Screw the valve cap back onto the valve. Make sure the valve is pointed straight towards the hub. A crooked valve will be cut by the wheel valve hole and eventually and lead to another flat.

15.   Start installing the bead closest to you. Work the tire bead over the wheel with your hands. Usually the first bead will be very easy. You can use a tire lever as a last resort but be very careful not to either pinch the tube between the tire lever and the tire or wheel.

16.   Turn the wheel so the other bead is now facing you. Do the same as instruction 15.

17.   Inspect both sides of the tire’s bead area. There should be no tube showing between the tire and wheel and the tire should be close to concentric to the wheel.

18.   Remove the valve cap and inflate the tire to a low pressure and inspect the bead area again. The tire should be nearly perfectly concentric to the wheel.  If it is not, you can let some air out of the tube and adjust the tire. Inflate the tire again and recheck.

(Note: Most tires have a small molding line at or right above the tire’s bead. The distance from the rim to this molding line will show the concentricity of the tire to the wheel.)

19.   Inflate the tire in 5 PSI increments until the just under the desired pressure.  Quickly inspect the bead area to insure that the tire’s bead is locked into the wheel.  If there are any bulges in the bead area deflate the tire, push the bead area back into the wheel and slowly inflate again.

20.   Inflate to full pressure and check with a pressure gauge. If the pressure is correct replace the valve cap and recheck the bead area. If the bead is locked into the wheel, you can install the wheel onto the bicycle.

 

Raffle Bike

From KBM January 2016:

In this day and age bad things happen to good people too often. The Los Ryderz Bicycle Club has done amazing things for their community for some time and unfortunately were cleaned out when their building was broken in to. The bikes, parts, and the fabrication tools were long gone.
A handful of bicycle builders partnered with the awesome Amy Tuleen (of OBC fame) and decided to use their skills and give something back. Everyone started scrounging for parts and rolling tube in order to make a one of a kind raffle bicycle. Having some of the best builders around getting together on one build hasn’t happened in the past. We were sure the outcome would be everything you would expect. Amy took care of all the tickets sales and advertising.

Amy, T-Flo, Pee-Wee, and the rest of OBC helped spread the noise for this build and let the masses know all the information and how to purchase tickets.
People around the world bought over 120 tickets for $20.00 apiece and watched the build come together on the Custom Builders Challenge Facebook page. The winner was picked at the end of November with Skipton Skiba being the winner. Of course, the funds from ticket sales were given to the Los Ryderz Bicycle Club to build their shop back up again.

The Bike:

 Lance at Tudorbuilt was tasked with frame fabrication. He drew up the initial design making sure that it would be rider friendly for both male and female riders. The frame consists of the neck to neck head tube design that is almost the standard fare for Tudorbuilt bikes. The long sloping backbone runs the top chain stay where it reverses angle and heads to the lower chain stay area. The downtube heads straight to the ground in a hard arc before heading the rear of the bicycle. Lance went a little off the wall with the bottom bracket shell mount by making it with a long scallop of tube from the lower tube. Jimmy Peek at Peek Cycles donated the bottom bracket shell. He added a mid-bar to the front end for a little extra support and a place for more custom paint. The chain stays were designed with the same arc style of the bottom bracket shell mount. The dropouts are tucked nicely between the series of tube and were fabricated and donated by Joe Cavaliere of Lowtide Customs fame.

Back up front is the Lowlife Bike’s Knuckle forks donated by Gary Sheron. Custom legs had to be made fabricated to fit the tall head tube and head tube angle. The triples trees were polished up nicely and a good amount of bling to the front end. The fork is topped with a polished neck donated by Chad Morgan of Chop Shop Customz. To keep the front wheel pointed in the proper direction and set of custom bars were fabricated then donated by Peek Cycles.

 The drivetrain consist of a three piece crank set and chain ring dontated by Peek Cycles. Tudorbuilt put together a series of chains to run to the rear hub. The rear hub and shifter were donated by PCB Joe and Pacific Coast Bicycles.

The outrageous rolling stock consists of 26”x4” hoops that were donated by LowTide Customs. Gary Sheron donated the wrap for the hoops which were done before the wheels were built. Matt Molner at Matt’s Bicycle Center stepped up and donated the front hub. Chad Morgan of Chop Shop Customz donated the 26” Thick Slick tires, tubes.

The frame ended up being painted with a blistering silver metal flake platinum and a flaked deep blue which matches the wheel wrap perfectly. The silver head tube matched the triple trees perfectly then cuts down in a single scallop fashion on both the top and mid tubes. Randy and Carrie Blackledge donates a hefty amount of cash and the flake for the paint.

The only thing missing from this beautiful custom ride is the accessories. Danny Hazlewood of King Zebba Custom Cruisers contributed a seat, pedals, grips, and a custom built kickstand.

With all the parts in house and the fabrication complete, Tudor assembled the bike just days before the raffle where it was sent to its new home (Chop Shop Customz took care of all shipping costs).

Bad things can turn into good things when the right people are involved. 

 

 

from Italy with love

 

The great thing about custom bicycles is that there is no boundaries. People on every continent in every walk of life have custom bicycles. Roberto Oddone is a car guy, motorcycle guy and also a bicycle guy that runs N.T.T Kustom. He spends his days at Mirafiori Motor Village in the providence of Turin, Italy. Though his garage if filled with Jeeps and Harley Davidsons he is also a fabricator of custom bicycles.

 Taking the design pieces from some of the more popular chopper master builders Roberto fabricated a frame with tons of lift and stretch. Your eyes first catch the swooping top tube plunges to points under the seat where you then notice the massive rear tire / fender combination.

 Getting back to the frame. It is very reminiscent dimensionally with the popular choppers from the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. The frame features dual down tubes that eventually meet up with the bottom bracket shell tubes before heading back to the chain stays. Behind the main frame is a jungle gym of tube to mount a single shock/spring assembly for a suspension seat before heading down to the 7 speed multiple cog/ derailleur setup which offsets a single speed cog that ends the drivetrain at the rear wheel. The whole frame was hand fabricated and bent out of Cro-moly and parts were even bent using his grandmother’s dresser.

 The main focus of this machine is the massive 240 / 40X18 rear wheel. It was custom fabricated by taking two automobile wheels that were scored from the local junkyard where Roberto is known to spend more than a little time. Once they were sliced into sections and tacked in place, Roberto fabricated the thick spokes before welding them to the outer ring and inner hub. Hooked to that hub is a large hydraulic disk brake that will slow this monster down. Wrapping around the whole assembly is a ContiRace Attack motorcycle tire.

 The front tire was fabricated in much of the same way as the rear started with a downhill mountain bike hoop. There is no way to have a stock fork that could reach from the front axle to the head tube. Roberto ended up fabricating a stretched sprung girder fork that incorporates two dampers, a headlight mount and disk brake assembly. The springs are recycled from several Volkswagen Beetle hoods.  Above the fork is the handle bars the house the controls. The hydraulic brake master cylinders, shifter for the Shimano Alvino 7 speed assembly and a set of rear-view mirrors.

 Right before final assembly all the frame pieces and the custom built rear fender were bathed is a bunch of burn orange metallic paint and cleared. During assembly Roberto’s fabrication skills really show with the custom fender braces, license plate mount and rear axle covers.

Since completion, the bicycle has logged tons of miles and many hours. Roberto’s ride is a proven cruiser showing that even larger, more custom bicycles can be riders if you spend the time to design the chassis correctly with proven geometry and pick the right components to add to your build.

 

 

Michigan built

Kustomized Bicycle Magazine came across Michigan Built owner Tim Sanders a few years ago when he displayed a chopped down retro bicycle with a sidecar added to it drive side. It sounds normal until we found out the sidecar was hinged to pivot while being centered by a gas actuator. Who would have thought that a sidecar attached bicycle could lean into corners and still keep the side care wheel on the ground for added traction.

Since that time, Michigan Built has been fabricating one-off parts for some of the best bikes on the show circuit. In case you didn’t know, Tim is a bike builder, master machinist, and designer. The kick stand he designed and now fabricates and sells is a work of art and has a vast majority of bike builders waiting for the next run. Several of the OBC Build-Off bikes had Michigan Built kickstands this year.

Kustomized Bicycle Magazine has reviewed the Michigan Built Shimano Nexus Aluminum Grip Shift cover as well. Tim was nice enough to let us leave it installed on one of our bikes and for the last 6 months, it has worked perfectly.

We met up with Tim Sanders at OBC in Las Vegas and was able to get an interview. He also handed us a few boxes with new parts that we will install and start reviewing as soon as possible. Keep reading Kustomized Bicycle Magazine for the review of these items.

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

(TS) - Michigan Built started in 2010. My back ground stems from growing up in our family run motorcycle shop, till the early 80's. I then went on to work at a local marina, where I fell for restoring wood boats. Did a small stint in college and that wasn't for me. I then did a 4 year carpenters apprenticeship. During that time, my father and I got the hot rod bug. We have had cars in several featured in magazine. The hot rods were sold off when my son decided he wanted to start racing. During the hot rod times our shop acquired machine shop equipment, lathe, mill, surface grinder and metal cutting saws. If you can't find what you want for your project, you make it..

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

(TS) - My interest in bikes carries over from my bmx days in the late 70's. Sucked at racing. I was a fat kid. So I turned my interest towards building wheels and maintains bikes for others. Got bit by the custom bug when my late wife bought me a first year Dyno Roadster for Christmas one year.

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

(TS) - My favorite build to date has to be my Basman. Featured in KBM's first Vegas issue. It really brought out my minimalist style that I’m known for.


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

(TS) - With the explosion in growth in the past couple years, one can only hope it keeps growing.  I am starting to notice some swelled egos and that is not a good thing in any scene. We all put our shoes on one foot at a time. There is no place for arrogance.

(KBM): If someone hasn’t seen Michigan Built bike how would you describe its style?

(TS) - As I mentioned earlier, my style is minimalist. Clean and simple and as close to perfection as I can make it. Do to my size I only use first class components. Nothing sucks more than breaking down on a ride.

(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?

(TS) - My shop is a micro shop. I get an idea in my head and then I build it. Then I in turn try to sell them. Most of my sales stem from my one off billet parts. If you have something you need made, just ask.

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

(TS) - My favorite style is the mid-stretch/bobber. Something fast and nimble. Easy to transport. Chrome don't bring you home. The bike has to be a rider and able to be ridden by anyone. I love watching others get on one of my bikes and ride, coming back with a huge smile. My bikes are made to be rode, not polished.

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

(TS) - When I'm not in the shop working. I'm usually on the web looking and getting ideas, or in the shop prepping the sprint car for the next race. Also spend a lot of time with the sketch pad.


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

(TS) - My favorite tool in the shop has to be a file. The last thing used to shape something to perfection. Weirdly enough our shop is silent. No 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?

(TS) - Ask lots of questions. Anyone that tells you they knew it all before they started, is full of shit. I try to learn something new every day weather it be bike related or not. Challenge yourself. If someone is teaching .you how to do something, keep .your mouth shut and ask questions when they are thru. They will teach you more then you expected. Interrupt them and you will learn just enough to be dangerous.

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

(TS) - My next project is a full belt drive bike. I have a few frames designed also, and am searching for a frame builder that will work with my style and standards.

EXTRA: I've enjoyed my collaboration with Chad Morgan @ Chop Shop Customz on my Schwinn sidecar build, and Mark Deezy from Sutter St Cruisers helping me out with great parts and service. Also to you KBM, for all your hard work. I am great full for your support by getting my products and bikes out to the bike world.

Need custom machine work? You can contact Tim at www.facebook.com/Michigan-Built

 

OBC 2017 has come and gone. Kustomized Bicycle Magazine was on the scene and will be bringing you a full feature on the greatest bike weekend in America. It was a great weekend and we were happy to have sponsored such an excellent event. Below are a few pictures to give everyone a taste of what went on.

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Mr. Crank McChainring and do not necessarily reflect the position or attitude of Kustomized Bicycle Magazine. The magazine only allows Mr. McChainring to publish his thoughts in the Kustomized Bicycle Magazine to keep him from loitering at the front doors or spraying graffiti on our building and fence.

The Big Jump and $0.75 cents

When I was a boy, I ran around with a set of twin boy from down the street. Wexel and Darby were a constant source of amusement for my young mind. Both were a bit taller than I was and would do strange things like finish each other sentences and each pieces of each other lunches. Most people had trouble telling them apart though I didn’t have an issue after several summers of hanging out together. That particular summer is was very easy as Darby was missing a front tooth while Wexel’s had yet to loosen.

It was in August and all the kids in the neighborhood were getting a little fidgety. We all felt that the comforts of summer with no schedule, no work and unplanned adventures would soon be replaced with bad weather, school five days a week and time consuming homework. Wexel and Darby were have a rather bad few weeks. All the tricks they pulled on people using their “twinness” wasn’t working. They had started getting in trouble with their parents and didn’t have the “blame the other” offense that they had used in the past. This lead to more than one weekend where one or the other would be grounded for a day or two. Having just one of the twins around was something strange to us all.

There were about a half dozen of us cruising through the neighborhood and headed to the dirt hills. Though I can’t remember all the facts of the day I do recall that it was a Wednesday and Darby was riding with us but Wexel was mysteriously absent. We didn’t do much talking since we were riding as hard as we could. Our normal goal was to meet in the park before heading through the greenbelt to a certain outlet into the neighboring streets. We always took the same route because there was a long section with fences on both sides that dumped onto the asphalt. We thought it was the greatest thing to bomb down this short section then lock the brakes and leave a long skid mark down the nearly white cement before hitting the black street.  Different colored tires were all the rage that summer so we could tell who’s skid marks were who’s. Mine marks were the lightest of the time since I had a 1983 Free Spirit BMX. Yeah, not the coolest bike in the world but I had just put new yellow ties on the white wheels to match the yellow paint job. I had tried to rebuild the hub a few weeks earlier and of course assembled it incorrectly so the coaster brake wasn’t working. But if I shoved my black and white checkerboard slip on Vans shoe onto the rear tire and against the top chain stay it would lock the rear tire better than any coaster brake. We stopped, examined the skid marks, laughed a bit then headed up the street to the next greenbelt that ran next to a small stream.  At the end of the greenbelt we crossed the stream via some larger rocks that someone placed as a makeshift bridge. With Darby in the lead we headed down the packed single track with grasshoppers shooting in front of our bikes from side to side.

We finally got to the dirt hills now covered with a layer of sweat and dust. The dirt hills were quite the sight. It consisted of a 100 yard long by 50 yard wide basin with a series of drop-ins and man-made jumps down in the belly of this beast. After a few runs with cheap BMX bikes and later model muscle bikes catching little air and landing with a clunk we all parked on the south side of the drop in. Some of us were short of breath while others had their bikes turned over so they rested on the seat and handlebars…as the cool kids did.

Black bread loaf seat, Huffy-riding Cecil was the first to ask Darby where Wexel was.

“Grounded”, he replied sadly.

“What did he do?” asked another kid whom I can’t remember now.

Darby replied with a long drawn out story with the over use of adjectives that they had gotten into their mother’s purse and took a few quarters so they could buy and share a Bomb Pop from the ice cream man a few nights earlier. It turned out that those coins were indeed monies being saved by their mom for a snack while at work. Needless to say the twin’s mom wasn’t happy and when she got home saw the red and blue stained face of Wexel and figured the whole theft out. Hence, Wexel was now grounded “For the rest of his life” we were told.

This was defiantly a shocker to all of us. “For the rest of his life” was an amazingly long time and we didn’t know if the other twin would be able to survive the brave big world without him.

Rhonda, the only girl in our group spoke up, “What if you got 75 cent, put them in your moms purse and asked her to look again? That would surly get Wexel off of his life sentence. Mothers purses are notoriously messy and change could easily be loosed in one.

Rhonda went on to tell a story how her mom had lost something and her parents were yelling at each other when her dad had grabbed the purse and dumped it all on the table. The missing item was found and everyone lived happily ever after. (Note: Rhonda’s parents were divorced by the next summer.)

“What a swell idea!” I expelled. “Where are we going to get .75 cents though?”

This exclamation definitely had the group thinking.  Several in our group had pulled dried brush from sides of the small clearing and started drawing shapes in the dirt.  Others half-hazardly stabbed at small black ants that were roaming over the dirt looking as though they defiantly had a destination. After several minutes, someone in the group looked off towards our neighborhood.

“Who’s that?” he said?  We all turned towards the trail and squinted hard through the sunlight to see. I couldn’t tell even if it was more than one person. It was just a small dark mass bobbing though the tall but dried up weeds. The dark figure was being followed by a small cloud of dust blowing to one side behind them. I kept looking until my eyes began to water from the intense sun. A small gust of hot wind blew and my wet eyes were suddenly full of dust. I put my head down and was rubbing my eyes when someone said loudly, “It’s DC and his buddies”.

STAY TUNED FOR THE REMAINDER OF CRANK'S STORY IN AN UPCOMING ISSUE.