When you think “Sinister” lately a really bad horror movie pops into mind. The movie was so bad that Kustomized Bicycle Magazine wants to wipe that thought from your mind and replace it with brain snap shots of something truly Sinister.
Tim Sanders built his murdered out bike to be about the most sinister thing rolling. Besides the custom parts and the murdered paint job the best thing about Tim and his bikes (I have seen a few) is that the choices in parts he makes are pretty incredible and the fit and finish is impeccable. Everything flows like all the parts were born together.
Starting with a Basman Inverted frame Tim went straight toone-off parts and milled a set of custom aluminum forks. The thick and beefy blacked out fork legs with black oxide button hex screws holding it together is really set off by the ball milled fluting that runs down the length. The forks sandwich a Chris King headset and are topped with a Project 346 short stem. A set of custom bars fabricated by Plan 9 with Oury grips lets Tim keep his machine pointed in the right direction.
When I said Tim can pick out the parts I wasn’t lying. Sinister’s drivetrain is like the who’s who of the red carpet. Profile 145mm cranks are attached to a Profile Spline Drive 20 tooth sprocket which spin on the Profile Evolution bottom bracket. You have to push on something to get the drivetrain to spin so Tim decided on the super cool Exuster pedals threaded into the ends of the cranks.
The drivetrain is hooked to the Snafu satellite disc hub that has a 10 tooth driver via a Shadow Conspiracy half link chain. Rolling stock consists of a Wienmann 700 X 28mm hoop spoked to a Simple BMX flangeless hub capped with a Michelin 700 x 35 Durasport skinny tire for that evil chopper look.
In the rear Tim went with Wienmann again for a 26” x 3” hoop capped with a now deceased Jerald’s Sulky 26” Slick.
With the big slick in the rear and the 700 in the front you know this thing is going to fly down the road. But things can’t go on forever and those pesky red lights and pedestrians will get in the way. A Paul’s Components Revolver brake lever runs a cable to the rear to a TRP HY/RD Disc brake with a stout 140 mm rotor.
Tying up the rest of the bike is a Project 346 seat mast that connects the frame to an Azonic Love Seat saddle and to keep the mud and blood from flying up your back is a set of Electra Rat Fink fender flails drafted to a Basman aluminum rear fender that has been bobbed. Keeping with the Sinister theme Tim assembled the bike with black oxide button head cap screws. With the entire bike dipped in a satin finish black you almost miss all the glorious details but fit and finish of this ride is the finest we have seen.
It is funny how one thing leads to another. Luck, karma, divine intervention, or just coincidence? Kustomized Bicycle Magazine just happened to be talking to a few high end builders one sunny afternoon in a miscellaneous parking lot after a ride. One of the builders calls a guy over to the group for introductions. Lance Tudor strolls over with his beard blowing in the breeze (If you know Lance you will get it) and we end up in another hour long conversation. It turns out that Lance is the owner of TudorBuilt Bikes and is an up and coming builder that has already proven he has the chops and skills to be on the list of big builders. Just look at the October issue of Kustomized Bicycle Magazine’s Bike Features and take a look at Rustabilly. So as any good Kustomized Bicycle Magazine would do we got Lance Tudor to sit down with us and let us know the whats what at Tudorbuilt.
(KBM): When did your shop form and what is your background pertaining to fabrication and design?
(Lance Tudor): The shop formed in July of 2014 after an accident my fiancé, son & I were involved in. In April of 2014 we were hit by a truck while out on our bikes and our bikes were ruined in the collision. We bought a Greenline stretched cruiser for my fiancé in June of 2014 but I figured I would try to build one to replace mine and that's where it all started. My fabrication background was welding as a heavy wheeled and track mechanic in the US Army (job title 63S10H08) as far as design I was thinking of woody style hot rods and beach style cruisers to begin with and just went from there.
(KBM): Who originally got you into bicycles and can take credit for your hands-on interest?
(Lance Tudor): My buddy Frank Jones, we have been friends for a quite some time. We lost contact for a few years but ran into each other on an organized bike ride in March 2014.
(KBM): What is your favorite bike you have built to date?
(Lance Tudor): Rustabilly the 9 foot 1 inch stretched cruiser I build specifically for OBC 2015. (see the Featured Bikes in October’s issue of Kustomized Bicycle Magazine.)
(KBM): With the explosion of the custom bike world in the last few years where do you see this scene going?
(Lance Tudor): A World domination takeover by pedal power.
(KBM): If someone hasn’t seen a Tudorbuilt bike how would you describe its style?
(Lance Tudor): Low & long with clean flowing lines, often has wood in the tank & tractor seats
(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?
(Lance Tudor): Most often I build bikes ready to ride, but I will take existing bikes & chop them up, build an entirely new frame and utilize all the other parts. I also build custom frames and leave them raw for the customer to detail on their own leaving their imagination to be a part of the finished product.
(KBM): What is your favorite style of bike to build: chopper, bobber, stretched cruiser?
(Lance Tudor): I would say a bobber & stretched cruiser. I am a huge fan of old school rat rods so my design and imagination often flow with that theme in mind.
(KBM): When not in the shop building bikes what do you spend your time doing?
Spending time with family & friends, going concerts and riding our bikes.
(KBM): What is your favorite tool in the shop and what is usually playing on the stereo?
(Lance Tudor): My favorite tool is my grinder/cutting wheel...second favorite are my hands. I love to be able to chop, cut, and rebuild. As far as music it depends on the mood I am in and the frame I am building. Anywhere from Nine Inch Nails & Foo Fighters, to Iration & Dirty Heads, a little B.B. King & Journey, even a bit of Opera....every bit helps to get the juices flowing.
(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?
(Lance Tudor): Research. Do your homework. Reach out to other builders. Find local options through hometown bike shops. Do Not Copy someone else without permission. Be creative. Always sharpen your skills. Let your imagination run wild. When you get frustrated and have many "mantrums", take a step back, a deep breath, and never give up.
(KBM): What is next for your shop? Upcoming projects, lines of parts?
(Lance Tudor): We have many upcoming opportunities to have a vendor booth at local hot rod shows & fundraisers. I have recently been selected to participate in the Biker Build Off Challenge for OBC 2016. I am truly blessed to have so much love & support for this "bike life" Tudorbuilt has become a part of. Just want to thank everyone for supporting what I love doing on a daily basis. Without you there would be no Tudorbuilt.
The custom bike scene isn’t just an American past time. We have received emails from all over the world. Luckily we all speak the same language (and thankfully have Google translator). Antonio Rudello started Rude Cycles in 2013 on the beautiful red roofed island of Venice, Italy in Venezia. Image being able to hop on your custom cruiser and rolling around the island, maybe stopping to eat some amazing food at Hotel Santa Lucia, then down to the docks at Direzione Porto Maritime to check out the cruise ships and yacht. Antonio is an electrician by trade whose hobby is building custom bikes. His latest bike is called "Katana" which shows off Antonio’s skills and what Rude Cycles can do.
Antonio started by rolling out a custom square tube frame. It has some very unique arcs and ends that we haven’t seen before. We really like the seat post tube that rolls forward through the down tube and connects to the chain stays. It is very unique geometrically and really lets people know that it is a one off build. After welding in a neck gusset Antonio fabricated the fork in which the fork legs graft into the handle bars.
Interestingly the fork is a triple tree design but only has one lower welded into the steer tube and fork legs. The top of the square tube legs / handle bars form into round tube with a nice taper to make grip and brake lever mounting easy. Antonio also integrated a headlight mount into the fork’s design. After all the welds were smoothed the steel was painted in some blue flake with white accents.
The color matched drivetrain consists of a three piece crank assembly, white chain, and a Shimano Nexus three speed. Antonio hand crafted an outstanding shifter to fit over the Nexus housing that is also painted to match the frame. Note that the shifter cable is ran through the frame.
Rolling stock consists of black 26"x4" hoops in which he runs either 26"x2.35" Schwalbe Big Apples or 26"x2.125" for that low profile look. When it comes to brakes it is coaster in the rear and Promax disk in the front. Check out the post style caliper mount. The brake cable is also ran through the fork leg.
Being an electrician Antonio thought that lights would be a good idea. He wired in a motorcycle headlight for the front and integrated tail lights with hidden switched into the rear tubes. Yes, integrated into the tubes…that is all custom and about. He even made the lenses. Probably one of the coolest tail light setups we have seen
Aluminum.....light weight, strong, cheap, and easy to machine. These are the greatest assets of this material. So you buy some stock aluminum bar or plate and machine some super bling for your new custom bicycle. You can't just leave it in its raw form. Well you can but what is the point of that custom paint job and upholstered seat if you are just going to throw some raw aluminum parts next to it? With some time and a little work you can have your aluminum blinding traffic.
Warning: Polishing aluminum is a messy and somewhat dangerous job. Eye protection, gloves, and a dust mask are all needed.
Polishing is like painting...90% prep and 10% making it pretty.
If you have read the last few issues of Kustomized Bicycle Magazine you would have seen the product review of Cuda Custom Cycles square tube triple trees. Since we are using them on the magazine's build up bike and that bike is disassembled and headed to the powder coaters this week we decided to start on the trees to get them ready for final assembly. The trees are cut with a water jet and though the top and bottom planes are relatively smooth the cut edges are not. On large parts I would have started with some good sandpaper starting at 200 grit and worked my way up to 2000 grit. But the trees are small with many edges and I could sand my fingerprints off before getting them to the point of polishing. Instead I pulled out the trust air powered small angle grinder and a handful of 3M Roloc nylon mesh disks.
The more time spent getting your parts as smooth and even as possible at this point will save you much more time on the polishing side. Sure you can sand a piece of anything smooth with 1200 grit sandpaper but wouldn’t it save you a huge amount of time by starting with 200 grit and moving to 1200?
Starting with a red 3M Roloc nylon mesh disk I carefully knocked down all the ridges left by the water jet. I would estimate these pads as roughly 80 grit. Work slowly with very little pressure. You can dig trenches in aluminum very easily. I use the flat center part of the disk whenever possible. Since the aluminum plate the trees were cut from was cast and pressed there were some pin sized voids as well. With the same 3M Roloc nylon mesh disk I gently removed material until I was sure the voids were gone.
For a second pass I used a blue 3M Roloc nylon mesh disk. It is much less aggressive (approximately 200 grit). Working at 45 degree angles I used minimal pressure removing just enough material to take any scratches out the red 3M Roloc nylon mesh disk had left. Working at the 45 degree angle helps keep the material left over flat.
Let’s get Messy.
Once satisfied with the condition of the trees I put a new 6" spiral woven cotton polishing pad on my old Delta bench top grinder. Tearing open a new stick of Tripoli compound I ran it across the spinning pad a few times. Polishing compound comes in different consistencies…think sand paper grit but in the thousands. Each consistency has a different color. Though manufacturers use different colors see the chart below for the rouge color explanation.
Now comes the fun. I started polishing the first tree using only 5-10 lbs. of pressure. Letting the machine do the work is the key. Pass after pass at the same 45 degrees opposing angles slowly brings a good polish to the aluminum. I reloaded the polishing pad with Tripoli every 5-7 minutes. The new pad will throw cotton strings all over you and the shop and you will be turning black just as quickly as the pad is. I warned you this was a messy job. Be very careful while polishing. The aluminum will turn very hot quickly. If you don’t have a firm grip on your part the polishing pad will whip the part out of your hand and shoot it across the shop into the one thing that will dent it the most before it gets pitted and scratched hitting the shop floor. If this does happen you end up starting over at step one.
The Tripoli will get you very close to a good shine but I really wanted it to be the retina burners I dream about. I swapped the polishing pad for a new one. Hint: Never mix rouge on a single pad...it just creates a gummy mess and a bad polish job. Following the previous steps I loaded the new pad with white rough instead of Triploli. Using the same 45 degree opposing angle system I kept polishing until it was mirror like.
I swapped to another new pad and loaded it with red rouge. Another several times over the part and I finally flipped the switch on the desktop grinder. I washed the parts with soap and water scrubbing out the rouge left behind from the pad. Some people spray a clear coat on the aluminum parts to keep the shine but I have found that it turns yellow and clouded over time. I prefer a coat of quality car wax for a little protection against water spots and road grime.
Over all I have around four hours from start to finish. Rouge and polishing pads can be found in most hardware stores for fairly cheap. If you have contacted a polishing service you will know that the cost of materials is worth about a half hours’ time the service will charge.
I keep my polishing pads in separate Ziploc freezer storage bags to keep them clean and store them in a file cabinet in the shop. I keep the rouge in the same bad as the buffing wheel to be sure I don’t mix rouges on the same pad.
So polishing is an easy job and though very messy it is simple enough for anyone to do and can save you hundreds on your bike build. You can also follow the same instructions to bring old or weathered aluminum parts back to the high quality luster they deserve.
Review: PArk tool cwp-7
I am a self-defined tool snob. I admit it. I like the blue handles and the "Park" logo. But I also am reasonable and if the tools don’t work they won’t be in my box. I have ventured from the dark ages not too long ago and started using non pinch bolt three piece cranks on my builds. Assembling them is a no brainer but getting them back apart requires a special tool. Unless you don’t mind beating the hell out of them with a hammer and very possibly committing catastrophic harm to both the crank arms and axle.
As I do in these situations I dropped in at my local Park Tool dealer to check out the selection. I checked out the full size CCP-22 and CCP-44C which looked like great tools but bulky. I like to get smaller portable versions of tools that I can keep in my pack if necessary. I decided to pick up the Park Tool CWP-7 crank puller. It has a universal design that is reversible to fit both 11.3mm and 16.mm to work on both square taper and splined crank arms. The main body is threaded at a 22 x 1 mm pitch which fits a vast majority of three piece crank systems. It is small and doesn’t have the attached handle like the CCP-22 and CC-44C to carry around. Since I already ride with a wrench set in my pack I should have everything I need. Costing a little more than $14.00 with taxes it wasn’t a bad deal compared to other manufacturers. .
Because this is a review I thought some testing may be in order. Even the best of manufacturers can have their issues (think Pontiac Aztec).I found several different bikes around the shop with three piece cranks. The testing method was to thread the piece that threads into the crank arm hand tight until it bottoms out. Then screw the "shaft" part of the puller into the tool until it bottoms out against the axle with the button attached per the instructions. Using a 15mm socket on a dial type torque wrench slowly apply pressure to the point where the crank arm starts to remove itself from the axle. No lubricant / PB Blaster type fluids were to be used. I then checked for any damage to the crank arm, axle, or new CWP-7 tool.
The Guinea Pigs are:
1. A newly installed splined crank arm that was torqued down less than a week ago. Note: When assembling I put a thin coat of grease on the splines as a rust preventer.
2. A well maintained twelve year old mountain bike where the square taper crank arms possibly have been off at one time for a bottom bracket check or replacement.
3. An old Trek mountain bike that has set outside behind the shop for several years in the elements (rain, snow, sleet, and blazing sun) that even has weeds growing through the frame and spokes. It is very likely that these square taper cranks have never been off.
1. Newly Installed: It took 14 ft/lbs of torque to remove the crank arm from the axle. Absolutely no damage to any of the components or tool.
2. Well maintained older mountain bike: It took 22 ft/lbs of torque to remove the crank arm from the axle. Absolutely no damage to any of the components or tool.
3. Old Trek mountain bike abandoned outside for several years. It took 40 ft/lbs of torque to remove the crank arm from the axle. Tool showed some wear of the black oxide finish on the threads and button.
Over all the Park CWP-7 does exactly what it is made to do without issue. For the price you really can’t buy a better crank arm puller.
Works with square and splined bore crank arms
O-ring that hold buttons in place last only a few button changes.