We have been planning next year’s layouts and goals instead of daydreaming about cool bikes and fun filled rides lately. Don’t get me wrong; there are worse things in life than being in the Kustomized Bicycle Magazine office talking on the phone to cool bike people, in the photo studio taking pictures or in the back actually building bikes. But lately it has been setting 2017 goals, looking at costs of certain trips to bike shows and a new spending plan. Once we get through this we will be back to the fun that makes Kustomized Bicycle Magazine the biggest and best custom bike publication in the world.
Speaking of biggest - I am pleased to announce that last month we hit 10,000 page views in the month of July. That is right. The July issue was viewed 10,000 times. We set the 10k goal to be met by the end of December of 2016. We ended up hitting it six months early. Thank you readers for checking out our magazine and for helping us spread the word through social media.
With the 10k page views also comes bad news. Our service provider decided that we are using too much space with all our archives and page views so they decided we needed to bump up to the next rung of service. The next run offers unlimited space but at a price. To offset the costs we are working on some ideas that will offer chances at cool stuff for a minimum cost while still building our readership and covering our extra costs. We will spread the word when we get things ready to go.
With the next rung of service from our provider comes some perks. One is that we can see the locations of our readers. In the month of July we have had viewers from six of seven continents. Claiming that Kustomized Bicycle Magazine is worldwide is no joke and we have the proof. (If anyone has friends in Antarctica please let them know to take a look at the magazine).
This month’s issue features two beautiful bikes. They are completely different styles but still equal in coolness. Like I wrote in last month’s column: Custom is what you make of it.
None other than Jimmy Peek of Peek Cycles wrote a feature and gave Kustomized Bicycle Magazine some pictures from the trip he made to the Shiny Side Up show. Thanks Jimmy, we always appreciate people adding features to our magazine.
The builder’s feature is something I have been thinking of doing for over two years. “Inside John Brain’s Brain”. If you don’t know John Brain the very brief synopsis is: John has lived custom bikes for more decades than some of you have lived. He has searched to find the real history of customizing bicycles and its history. He has found the designers of the original muscle bikes and has been able to interview them. He is also a builder that has designed some of the most popular custom bikes. His interview will answer the questions we have all thought about and have dozens of pictures of the history of custom bikes. With so much information we will be running John’s feature in four different parts so make sure you read them all.
I have always loved bicycles for as long as I can remember and I am passionate about design, engineering, composites, working with my hands and of course bicycles, particularly downhill mountain bikes.
I have been riding DH bikes for about 18 years and then I stumbled across the custom bicycle scene on the web about 5 years ago and was blown away by the freedom of design of custom bicycles and was immediately drawn to stretched out beach cruisers. I was instantly hooked and was inspired to try my hand at building a custom bicycle of my own and to showcase what is possible using composites. Thus the name ‘Rogue’, as I decided to take a different approach custom bicycle building using nontraditional materials, such as fiberglass and carbon fiber.
I gained composites experience working at an aircraft factory in the small town of George in the Western Cape, South Africa, and manufacturing light aircraft constructed from fiberglass. I worked there for 3 years gaining knowledge of mold making, composites and production techniques, and then about 7 years ago I decided to start my own composites company designing and fabricating various fiberglass and carbon fiber products. I love the versatility of these materials, and the ability to create shapes and profiles that would be very difficult to replicate out of metal, while keeping the products lightweight yet incredibly strong
I have now decided to start producing limited quantities of these unique composite bicycle frames under the name Rowdy Bikes. A production version of the frame and springer fork, with a few modifications, is currently in development due to released in the next few months. Details are to follow on the Rowdy Bikes Facebook page.
The frame, seat pan, handle bars, direct mount stem, front suspension components, and chain tensioner bracket are constructed entirely from fiberglass using various reinforcement materials and techniques to deliver an incredibly strong, yet lightweight end product. The only metal component in the frame is an aluminum BB shell. The head tube is a 1.5 inch and I used a reducing headset to run a 1 1/8 steerer tube on the fork. The frame and seat pan weigh about 8kg and a total weight of just under 20kg with all the components, with a wheel base of 1800mm and head angle of 54 degrees. The frame and seat pan have recently been painted candy red with a course metallic silver base, and other components with a gloss black.
The cranks, pedals, hubs and headset were salvaged from one of my old downhill bikes.
The rims were constructed by means of welding two 40mm downhill rims together then wrapped with carbon fiber to hide the join down the centre of the rim. I used a 12mm thru axle hub for the rear and a 20mm thru axle hub for the front, both 32 hole and built using black spokes and red anodized nipples, skinned with 26 x 3 inch Kenda Flame tires.
The fork legs were handmade in house using 40mm aluminum tubing wrapped in carbon fiber. The inverted rocker components are also constructed entirely from fiberglass and the springs are automotive valve springs delivering about 30mm of wheel travel. The fork crowns were molded from carbon fiber to add stiffness and to save on weight.
· 100% custom fiberglass construction
· Candy red paint with silver base coat
· 1.5 inch head tube
· Custom fiberglass adjustable chain tensioner
· Custom fiberglass seat pan
· Leather seat upholstery
· Custom 750mm fork with 40mm aluminum fork legs wrapped with carbon fiber
· Molded Carbon fiber crowns with 1 1/8 steerer
· Custom made fiberglass 6 bolt direct mount stem
· Fiberglass inverted Springer system.
· Custom molded urethane rubber fork bumpers
· Molded fiberglass
· Zoomhydraulic disc brake with 160mm rotor
· Woodman 1.5 – 11/8reducing headset
· Specialized lock on grips
· Truvativ Holzfeller 175mm DH crank
· Wellgo DH pedals
· Truvativ Gigapipe 68mm BB
· 2 x KMC half linkBMX chains
· 32 Tooth front chain ring
· 16 Tooth rear sprocket
· Custom made 80mm wide 32hole rims.
· Kenda flame 26 x 3 tires
· 20mm thru axle front hub with custom made axle
· 12 mm thru axle rear hub
· Anodized red alloynipples
· Black spokes
· Anodized red bullet valve caps
· Stainless steel bolts
· Anodized red aluminum bolts
· Paint – Danny Meyer
· Photography – Kelvin Saunders
What do you get when you attach a 1950’s Rollfast mens bike and a mammoth vintage chainsaw? Either catastrophe or a ton of coolness.
Rodney Moore had a 1950’s Rollfast laying around in a very original condition. Being almost seventy years old the Rollfast had seen its better days but also like bikes of that period it was still in a rideable condition and was even a bit of a looker in the Rollfast style that we all love with the trussed forks and bird wing chain guard. Of course an old bike with most of its paint and a little surface rust is never a bad thing.
When Rodney’s grandfather passed away his inheritance included a chainsaw. This was no ordinary stump cutter though, it was a massive 1957 Sear UG4 model. If you didn’t know, these machines were originally designed by David Bradley. There were two different models. The “U” in UG4 stands for “Gear Driven”. Yeah, a gear driven chainsaw is a pretty wicked machine. These saws were built to cut at a lower RPM than modern day saws. Running from 3,800-4,500 rpm’s they would last forever due to a cast iron liner and stock needle rod bearings while cutting down rock oak with a 20” bar and 3/8” or larger pitched chains. They were known as the indestructible tank in the chainsaw world. This 2-Stroke motor is at 77cc and sucks fuel through a Tillotson carburetor with a reed valve. Rodney rebuilt both the motor and carburetor before taking it to the next step.
Rodney Moore relieved the chainsaw of its motor and thought it would be rather fitting on a bicycle….as any person would do. He started assembling bits and pieces to build a board track styled mean machine. He started by welding in a series of motor mounts off the normal non-drive bicycle side carefully lining up the drive chain to the power driven large rear sprocket. To keep the motor in place he had to weld a mount to the top tube, down tube and seat tube. Then using exhaust pipe hanger rubber he mounted the top half of the motor trying to keep some vibration out of the frame.
Feeding this monster motor full of fuel and 2-Stroke oil is a Lauson motor gas tank dating from the 1940’s that fits the look and feel of this bike perfectly.
Liberating the kill switch from the chain saws handle Rodney made it fit the dropped bars next to the right throttle grip. The other side of the bars are taken by the other grip and the front cable driven drum brake lever.
The Rollfast still has the original fork with truss rods. With a custom mount between the fork and head tube lies the speedometer which would defiantly be needed once this motor gets wound up. Rodney used a #420 roller chain to link the motor to the drive sprocket.
The rest of the custom work consist of the stock rear fender that has been cut down and a custom drop down bike stand which also resembles the originals from earlier times.
To keep traction at speed and to generally look like they were born there Rodney added a set of wider than stock blacked out wheels wrapped in Michelin Gazelle 2.50 X 17” moped tires. Normally this would be overkill for a bicycle but they are rather fitting on this particular build.
So far this motorized bicycle has hit 50 before he shut it down. Rodney says it has more but wasn’t willing to let her wind all the way out. But he has done the math and with calculating the gear ratios, RPM, and tire size he should be able to hit 65 mph give or take.
Congratulations on combining the old together to create something new and super cool in the process.
John Brain is a multiple award winning bike builder, designer and bike historian among many other things. He has done a vast amount of research and interviews to slowly piecing together the history of the custom bicycle. There probably isn’t any other person who has the amount of knowledge he has been able to document. When we first met John a few years ago. It was daunting to get some of the questions answered because of the amount of people stopping by to say hi to John. We ran into him again earlier this year and was able to have a good 45 minute conversation which only led to more questions. We finally put all of our questions on paper and John graciously agreed to answer them as well as sending only a small portion of the history he has collected through pictures. We had so many questions and John’s answers are so detailed that we will be breaking this feature up into four parts. So keep reading Kustomized Bicycle Magazine and get ready to have your mind blown with John’s answers and stories.
(KBM): John, you have been building bikes for a long time. What got you started ad what were the early years like compared to today?
(John Brain): I moved with my family from the Metro Detroit area to Toronto Canada in 1971, and I brought along a strong interest in bikes with me. I had two muscle bikes to ride in Toronto - transported in with our other stuff from Michigan; the first was an older 1965 Schwinn Super/Deluxe Sting-Ray – with Coppertone paint, and a 1968 Schwinn “Lemon Peeler” Krate. I soon came to realize these bikes were rather unusual in Toronto, as Schwinn did not sell their bikes in Canada then. The other kids in my new neighborhood and school were kind of fascinated by them, especially because of the chrome spring forks they had.
Within a year of living in Toronto I was touched by a new craze that was sweeping North America, and that was “Chopper forks” for bicycles. Of course I already knew about chopper forks from seeing them on motorcycles in the movies, and from seeing comic book ads for things like “California Angel Forks” for bicycles, but they were - up to that point – something I was not able to get my hands on. That changed.
I had a good friend in grade 6 (1971-1972) who shared my interest in obtaining chopper forks, his name was Mike. We also shared an interest in raiding people’s garbage - on garbage day - for bike parts and related items. Back then people threw out all kinds of stuff that was pure gold to us. We were able to collect perfectly good bike frames, banana seats, high rise handlebars, and even tall sissy bars out of the trash. And through our social grapevine we were also able to obtain aged but complete bikes, older boys and girls models that had24 inch tires on them, small seats, and short handlebars – all ripe for modification.
Obtaining fork extensions was a bit of a problem. Some people would cut off the tubular fork legs off of old forks and hammer them onto another set of forks, others would use chrome shower curtain rods, flattened on the lower ends with a hammer - with axle holes drilled in. Shower rod forks would usually bend on the first hard braking maneuver though. So we decided to go a slightly different route.
In our neighborhoods it was still common to find new housing construction. And all the houses were being built with brick exteriors. Scaffolding was needed to put up the upper levels of brick walls, and Mike and I noticed that the cross bracing they used to construct the scaffolding was exactly what we needed to make our chopper forks. The braces were 8 foot long tubes -1 inch O.D. - with flattened ends, and a hole already drilled in each flat - perfect for our needs. We would explore construction sites at dusk, and find these lonely 8 foot scaffolding poles lying on the ground. And - not wanting them to go to waste - we took a few sets home with us from various places.
This was the beginning of my early attempts at kustomization, and Mike and I continued on like this for a couple of years. At which time I decided to get serious about bikes. Generally, the early years of kustom biking - at the time I got started in the early 70s anyways – was very much a youth driven movement. Of course young teens in California started it all back in the late 50s, emulating custom motorcycle style. And by the early 70s - after 8 years of market domination by factory made banana seat bikes - kids were still building ratty custom bikes with styling cues that related to the chopper motorcycles.
Custom bicycle building tended to be a solitary activity in the 70s, or an activity you might do with friends from school as I did. The average bike project was simple, usually starting with a 20 inch banana seat bike outfitted with store bought accessories. Chopper forks were home-made and sometimes fell off. There were no custom bike clubs that I knew of at that time, although I found out later that some informal groups did exist in California. There were no custom bicycle magazines, only chopper motorcycle magazines - that would on rare occasion have a picture of a custom bicycle in them. This was the only way we knew that the activity was taking place in other localities.
My big push forward - to getting really addicted to kustom biking - came in about 1973, when I attended the big yearly custom car show they held every year in downtown Toronto – called “Speed Sport”. My friend Mike and I went down to the show by subway and streetcar. And at the show we discovered they had a chopper bicycle corral - with about 6 bikes on display. Seeing this display was the beginning of my passion. The bikes were made to a higher level of finish than what I had seen on the street. I had actually seen custom bikes already at the Detroit Autorama in the late 60’s, but I was still a little young for them at that point - but seeing the chopper bikes at the Toronto show in 1973 flipped a switch inside me – and from that point I was totally hooked!
Really good examples of kustom bikes were as scarce as hen’s teeth back then, pretty much only seen at kustom car and motorcycle shows, but for me they were pure magic. I developed a crush on them - which carries on to this day.
(KBM) Who originally got you into bicycles and can take credit for your hands on interest.
(John Brain): It seemed that a natural part of growing up in 60’s suburbia was having bicycles in the family, every family I knew - with kids anyways - had them, it was kind of a given. I have older brothers, and my first bike was a hand me down, a 20inch Huffy cruiser. New bikes came along for me eventually; it seemed like a standard parental duty at that time to set your kids up with a bike. The parents had new cars, and the kids got new bikes – those were the times. My older brother, and my first bike was a hand me down, a 20inch Huffy cruiser. New bikes came along for me eventually; it seemed like a standard parental duty at that time to set your kids up with a bike. The parents had new cars, and the kids got new bikes – those were the times. My older brothers wanted English racers, I wanted banana seat bikes, and that is what we got.
While our parents provided new bikes to us, everything else that concerned bikes was our concern, and that included maintenance. Once you learned how to fix a flat tire you were on your own. Bikes were not in my parent’s personal world, but they became a vital part of mine. My brothers were 5 and 6 years older than I was, and once they reached the age of 16 they concentrated on getting their drivers licenses, and like my parents they were never involved in what I was doing with bikes; they had their own separate interests.
When the homemade chopper bike craze hit big in 71/72. It was apparent that kids made their bikes with very little help from grownups, and often crudely. The hands on part was kind of a “learn as you went along” kind of affair. My friend Mike and I kind of put our heads together and did some basic experimentation, we had nobody showing us the way, so we found out the hard way – by trial and error.
After I saw the show quality (for that time) chopper bicycles at the local custom car show in Toronto in 1973, I knew what I wanted to do, and I set about learning what I needed to make it happen. I quickly developed a near fanatical interest in custom bicycles at this time, and crude homemade bikes were just not going to cut it for me anymore.
I learned about working with body filler from reading articles in chopper motorcycle magazines and from seeing people in my neighborhood work on cars, I learned basic welding skills in a Jr. high shop class, and got immersed in the world of chopper motorcycle stylingby reading magazines like “Street Chopper”. From the magazines I also learned that there were a few people in other cities building show quality bicycles as well.
STAY TUNED to Kustomized Bicycle Magazine for more of this feature.
Grip Shift Bling
Michigan Built has had their hands on many award winning bikes in the last few years and is known for their one-off parts and out of the box designs. Tim at Michigan Built was nice enough to send Kustomized Bicycle Magazine a prototype of a Shimano grip ship shifter cover that will definitely add some bling to your handle bars.
Machined from 6061 aluminum this piece is made to replace the ugly rubber shifter grip. It will fit most Shimano grip shift style shifters. We tested it on the standard Nexus shifter in both 3-speed and 7-speed models. Accurate machining gives it a tight fit and the single grub screw locking it in place is nearly invisible depending on how you rotate the shifter. The two finger groves are a cool design and add some sparkle to the piece. Our review model was delivered raw. We did some testing and pictures then spent less than 20 minutes in front of the buffer and had it shining like the bumper on a new 1959 Cadillac. We then took another set of pictures showing how well they polish out.
Contact Tim and Michigan Built if you want to add some custom shine to your Shimano shifter. The price is a mere $50.00 bucks. While you are talking to them ask about their custom kick stands and LED headlights. Kustomized Bicycle Magazine will hopefully got some of these items for review in the near future…hint, hint, hint.
Michigan Built also has decades of machining under their belt. If you have an idea or need a one of machined custom part then hit them up.
Wheel covers seem to be making a comeback this year. Just looking at the RRB Build-Off 11 there were several bike with wheel covers. Up until now if you wanted discs for cruiser sized bikes you have had the choice of building them yourself or ordering an aluminum set from a company that will remain nameless for almost $200.00 a wheel.
We talked with Nate at Deko Discs about his product and he nicely offered to give us the run down. Deko Discs are a wheel discs made of 1mm thick polycarbonate plastic. They are first printed with the artwork design then thermoformed to give the discs their shape and add the stiffness to the product. This completes the product that is not only great looking but also strong. The discs are all manufactured in-house right here in the U.S.
Deko Discs are producing over 60 different graphic options currently that you can order. A standard imaged disc can be made and shipped usually in two days.
The really cool thing is that you can also work with Deko Discs to have your own custom discs made. If you are wanting a custom design, company logo or club graphic then this is the company to work with. You can send them a high resolution file and information and they will get back with you with a quote. Even the custom images can have a standard two day turn around if the art file is a usable image. Extra time will be needed if artwork needs to be revised to fit. Deko Discs works with a graphic artist that knows there process and can get you what you are looking for.
Currently Deko Discs is only manufacturing 26” models but we have been told that they are looking in to 20” and 24” models. There are also several size options for the current 26” rim that can be used to fit your needs. These options are based on hub style and rim width. So whether you are running a cassette - derailleur system, single cog hub, coaster brake or disk brake they have you covered. The designs offer fitment for both “normal” sized rims and wide rims.
At just $99.99 per full set (includes 4 discs) you really can’t beat the price.
Feel free to contact Deko Discs at:
Shimano Nexus 3-speed Internal Gear Hub SG-3C41 Coaster Brake w/Shifter
Taste: Aluminum with a tint of light lubrication oil
Smell: Mostly like a light lubrication oil….after all that is what is inside the hub
Touch: Heavy compared to a single speed hub, but cool and solid
Look: Nice dull aluminum finish. I am sure 20 minutes in the buffer would really make it shine.
When you are looking to add some gears to your single speed cruiser or replace a failing hub you have hundreds of choices. We have done a great amount of research into hubs and all will be judged on the following characteristics.
Our hub needed:
3. Standard sizing for cheap and easy installation
4. Coaster brake
5. 36 Hole
We have tested several hubs in the past and will keep reviewing them as new models hit the market. This month we are taking a close look at the Shimano SG-3C41 which may be the most popular of mid-range cruiser hubs.
Shimano is unarguably the kings of bicycle components from the cheapest box store bike to the most expensive race ready triathlon bikes. They have been in the bicycle business for decades and have components on millions of bikes around the world.
The Shimano SG-3C41 meets all of the above needs. It has 120mm frame spacing and is one of the cheapest models of internally geared hubs. We purchased the entire assembly (hub, and shifter) for less than $60.00 shipped. It has the standard 3/8” axle diameter and 168mm axle length. It also features a 26mm hub to center of flange dimension which is also very standard.
The three speed gearing has a 186 percent gear range with the first being 0.733, second gear 1.00 (direct drive) and third gear being 1.36. Note that this is just the gearing ratio. Actual gearing can be changed easily with eight different rear cogs sized (16 tooth thru 24 tooth) that can be changed in seconds.
The weight of the hub is 2.1lbs or 1120 grams. Not especially lightweight but not pigish either. The comparable SRAM hub weighs 3 lbs.
Once the hub was laced into the wheel and trued with an 18 tooth cog we installed it in the typical cruiser frame. We installed the grip shift style shifter on to the handle bars then read the adjustment instructions that came with the assembly. We surprisingly found the all the specs within the range listed in the adjustment instructions once assembled. Not a bad deal at all.
As far as being bulletproof we decide to ask everyone we found running this hub what they thought. Everyone said that they had no issues with the hub in the many years they had ridden with it. These people also said that they had not performed any maintenance on it as well. So far it is sounding really good. We finally talked to one guy who said he had broken the pawls within the hub assembly. But he was able to order the new hub internals complete as an assembly and after removing the wheel from the bike, the brake arm and dust cover from the hub housing he was sable to slide the assembly out and slide the new one in in less than a half hour. So he had a brand new hub without having to unlace and re-lace the wheel.
We took our own ride with the hub installed to see how it felt. Ride time was very comfortable using the three speed hub. The low gear was granny enough to climb the steeper hills on the heavy cruiser while the high gear could really get the bike moving on those downhill shoots. We spent most of the time in second gear which was perfect for the flat land around town cruising we normally do. So really we had the ease of a single speed most of the time and a low and high gear when needed. Some people thought the ratcheting of the drive mechanism within the hub was a little loud but it didn’t bother us at all. Of course it only makes this noise when the hub is free-wheeling.
We did notice that the coaster brake wasn’t the strongest one we have ridden. You really had to jam the crank hard to get the big cruiser tire to lock up. If we were to ride in hectic downtown traffic I would probably add a front brake as well. For typical leisure cruising the coaster brake is more than adequate. You can also purchase the same hub with a disk brake non-drive side that we would probably look in to as well.
By the time our rides were over and we really applied some heavy weight cranking we understood why this hub is so widely used. We wouldn’t hesitate to install this in any bike.
Pros: - Cheap, Reliable, Durable, Coaster Brake, “Typical” dimension for easy fit, Easy replacement of internals
Cons: - A little heavy, Mediocre power with the coaster brake
bitchin' inc. designs
Bitchin’ Inc. Designs has prints of their “The Cruiser Shop” artwork up for sale. They are printed on 8 ½” x 11” quality paper. This run is of limited quantity so if you are so inclined you might want to scoop one up as soon as you can. For $12.00 shipped you can’t go wrong for a piece of art that would accent your bedroom or shop wall.
Bitchin Inc. specializes in automotive, motorcycle and rockabilly art and is located in Phoenix AZ. We have seen their work and it is outstanding. For commissioned pieces you can email them at: email@example.com or hit up their website at www.bitchinincdesigns.com
You can order these cool prints by hitting up their website at www.bitchinincdesigns.com or through their Instagram account @bitchin_inc._designs.
Note: This Tech Feature is the recovery of a banana seat. But this process can be done for ANY seat that you need to recover.
I remember cruising the streets on my banana seat bike for hours then making the mad rush home because the street lights came on. I remember my bike being a 5 limb of my body. No aches or pains ever happened because of the geometry or parts. Then thirty years later a mysterious thing happened. Those ape hangers could be adjusted perfectly enough to keep the shoulders from getting tight, the single speed drivetrain made my knees ache and after only a few miles my butt would nearly be numb because of the banana seat. Life is full of choices and I had several: 1. Quit riding a banana seat bike 2. Put some ugly seat on my muscle bike that was more comfortable 3. Take the pain or 4. Do something mechanically to make a banana seat more comfortable.
One through three seem like pretty bad ideas. So number four was the option of choice. I called on Kustomized Bicycle Magazine by the name of Jeff, who just happens to be a tried and true muscle bike guy for help. We got together one night and he walked us through the process. We actually ended up doing two seats. One was a Murray Eliminator High Back and the other was a mini Schwinn model.
1. LOOK. Seat must retain the stock look. In can deviate a bit but should be close to having the original profile.
2. COMFORT. The whole reason we are doing this is so I can do 15-20 mile rides on my muscle bike with little issues to my posterior.
3. Cost. We put a limit on this whole project at $40.00. This should be cheap enough that anyone can do it but still get priority 1 and 2.
Disassembly: Note that most older original muscle bike seats have the two pan structure unlike some of the later seats that were a single pan construction.
1. Flip the seat bottom up and using a flat screwdriver pry the two tabs up to being perpendicular to the seat pan.
2. Pry the bottom pan out of the top pan using a flat screwdriver. It works best to pry up from the back rear of the seat.
3. Remove the old seat cover and foam insert.
4. Hopefully your seat pans are in pretty good shape. Many that have set out on the elements will have serious rust issues. If your pan has developed these issues then start looking for a better seat to use. We ran both seat pans through the wire wheel to remove surface rust and old glue.
5. With the seat pans in bare metal we sprayed both pans with some black gloss epoxy spray paint. It dries quickly, the finish is very stock looking and this will prevent any rust problems in the future. Cost of paint was $4.99 at the local big box hardware store.
6. We picked up a yard of foam earlier from a local fabric store. This was ¾” thick open cell standard foam. Some things we have learned in the past is that though denser foam may be much easier on your rear it is also much more difficult to wrap the seat cover around. Even a single piece of ¾” is still more than twice as thick as the original foam that was used so we are ahead in the comfort priority.
7. We laid one of the foam on the seat and with a minimal amount of hit glue we wrapped the foam around the pan. Do not stretch the foam to tightly because you are stretching it and it will not have the firmness.
8. We trimmed the foam leaving approximately ¼” longer than the edge of the pan.
9. We replaced the edge guards on both the nose and the tail of the seat pan. Not all seats have these but they are defiantly a good idea and will keep the sharp metal edges from cutting into the vinyl.
10. Speaking of vinyl, we are going to upholster hi the seat in a gold metalflake vinyl (also called Zodiac Naugahyde) which can be purchased the high back seat in gold Zodiac Naughahyde and red Zodiac for the Schwinn seat. This material can be purchased from many online material shops and even locally (call around first) for around $12.99 per yard. We will be using less than a half yard. We laid the vinyl face down on a clean surface and using chalk marked a pattern of the seat including the edges plus 2”. We added another 3” in length to give us an excess of length for the pleats to be sewn in.
11. Here is where you will need some help if you want pleats. We did some measuring and decided we were going to have 1 ½” pleats backed by a harder 1/2” foam to hold the pleats shape. Our upholsterer says he would normally charge between $25.00-35.00 dollars to do this. We measured out the seat and decided the Murray seat needed 12 pleats at 1 ½” per pleat and the Schwinn seat needed 10”. See the ink marks we made while measuring out the pleats to insure we had the right amount.
12. Here is where the real work starts. We laid the seat on top of the pleated vinyl and using clothes pins and binder clips we wrapped the material around the seat pan. This is to keep the vinyl in place and to insure the pleats are straight across the width of the seat. Throughout the rest of this process keep checking to insure the pleats haven’t moved to any angle.
13. This thick vinyl has no stretch to it at all. So thinking that you will stretch the vinyl over the seat plan is very wrong. We plugged in the hot glue gun and waited for it to start flowing. We tacked to the front and rear of the vinyl on place just to hold it in place. Starting at the nose we pulled the sides tight and tacking the vinyl and foam in place. We checked the pleats to make sure they were straight as we worked. We worked from front to back tacking one side in place then pulling the other side tight and tacking it. If you don’t want the metalflake Zodiac material, you may be able to find a thinner vinyl material that is easier to work with.
14. When we got to the back of the seat pan we marked the sissy bar holes on the material on the inside of the seat with a ball point pen.
15. The front and back require a different procedure. We pinched the material tight and clamped each pinch with the clothes pins. We cut each of the pinches out with a razor blade but only to within ¼” of the seat edge. We then pulled each little section tight and glued them in place one at a time. It takes a little tugging and pulling to get it all in place without any visible wrinkles. But within a few minutes we had both ends glued in place.
16. We put the bottom pan back into the seat and using a large C-clamp and a piece of plywood (so we didn’t hurt the vinyl). Once the bottom pan was tight we peened the tabs back over to hold the bottom pan in place.
17. We made two very small cuts in the inner side of the vinyl where we marked the sissy bar holes earlier. We ran the original screws through the holes a few times to push any remaining foam out of the way. We then mounted the seat to the sissy bar, reinstalled the seat clamp then bolted the whole assembly back on the bike and headed down the block. It was much more comfortable then the wore out original seat and this should improve our ride time on the muscle bikes. After all, we aren’t just going to quit riding them…That would be stupid.
Shiny Side Up – by Jimmy Peek
Where to start with the Shiny Side Up. I will try to keep it short and sweet. Shiny Side Up is a custom bicycle show in its annual run of over 10 years and takes place in San Jose California History Park. It starts with a pre-ride the Saturday before rolling through the streets of San Jose featuring hundreds of custom bicycles and people to gather for an afternoon of fun under the sun! A fantastic way of meeting people for the first time or reuniting with those you haven't seen in a while. The ride rolls through several eateries, bars and lounges well into the evening hours with nothing but smiles and good times to be had.
Then comes Sunday, the early-morning wake up. Many have been back to the hotel for just a few hours to catch a wink of sleep, but that doesn’t faze anyone. Shining their bikes, making last-minute adjustments, maybe even fixing that flat tire. It seems no matter how late you return home the night before you are ready to go for the show as soon as day breaks. Vendors from everywhere were setting up early and just to name a few are HBBC, Pacific Coast Bikes, HB Cruisers, King Zebba, Alejandro’s Garage, Mr. Wim, Lunatic Customs, Peek Cycles and many, many more. I myself had an awesome time talking bikes with several I have never met and those who I have. I was only able to step away from my booth one time throughout the entire day, but long enough to visit and take photos of most everyone. The spectators were of all ages, kids and adults alike enjoying the show while bicycle clubs from all over the world were in full force. This brings me to the awards.
The awards covered a wide span of classes, everything from modern, vintage, choppers, low riders, stretches, mild customs, full customs, you name it! Congratulations to all who were voted into winning any of those categories and a big shout out to the “Best of Show” winner Yo Homma from Japan and his highly detailed amazing build. (photo below)
If you’ve never attended a Shiny Side Up Bicycle Show I suggest saving your pennies and making it a point to be there next year. It takes place annually in San Jose presented by Dominick Guida aka “Dom” from the Cruiser Shop. For more information Dom can always be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To close it is always a great to see, hang out and ride with my brothers and sisters from all over the custom bicycle industry! Until next time my friends, Horns Up! \m/
CRUISER PIONEERS TEAM UP FOR NEW CREATIONS
Huntington Beach, CA: Robert Belyea, creator of the Original Stretch Cruiser, is joining forces with long time custom cruiser and chopper designer, Gary Hoisington to create a line of “Made in America” Custom Cruisers.
The new company will capitalize on Belyea’s creativity and fabrication talent and Gary’s 40 years of experience in the bike industry. Robert and Gary have a combined history of more than 60 years creating Stretch Cruisers, Choppers and custom Beach Bikes. Their new company will focus on the growing Custom Bike Club customers and their growing appetite for unique rides.
Robert has been building stretch cruisers one at a time by hand since the early 90’s, creating a totally new category of bicycles for the more style conscious rider. Robert’s early creations were well received by bike enthusiasts all over the world and he was welding non-stop until a major manufacturer introduced a version of the stretch cruiser built in Asia for half the cost.
Robert backed away from the bike business for many years until he discovered there was a cult following for his early designs. After much encouragement from his fans, he decided to fire up the torch once again. Most buyers wanted a version of his original stretch but some wanted to update the designs with square tubing and some new frame configurations.
Recently, Robert received a “Lifetime Achievement” award from the OBC (Outlaw Bicycle Club), probably the largest of all the custom bike clubs with chapters around the world. The OBC recognized his early creations as an essential step in the evolution of custom bike culture.
Hoisington has an extensive industry background that dates back to 1974, including outside sales with Specialized Bicycles and 12 years as the New Products Design Director at Phat Cycles in Huntington Beach. For the last few years Gary has served as the General Manager at Micargi Bicycles.
While he was with Phat Cycles, he created some of the industry’s best-looking and most unusual production bike designs, such as stretch cruisers with monocoque tanks, classic tandems, 29” cruisers and more.
Gary said, “To me, a bike is more than the most efficient machine ever made. On its utilitarian side, it has mobilized a work force, entertained sports enthusiasts, carried our children to school and taken us everywhere from shopping to a leisurely ride around the park. Socially, the bike has adapted to changing views on sexual equality, politics, and the environment. In the early days, the bicycle was even demonized by religion as the devil’s plaything. Many automotive- and aviation-related technological innovations were first developed for the bike industry. I can’t think of anything that has contributed so much to society or to my personal happiness.”
Robert and Gary have worked on many special projects over the 30+ years they have known each other, including a six-person bike for a Nike commercial and a four-man bike that has been in more film and TV productions than many actors. If you have had the opportunity to visit Disneyland and watched the “Dapper Dans” barbershop quartet perform on their four-man tandem, then you have seen a great example of the quality and craftsmanship these guys generate.
Their new creations are all built by hand, here in Huntington Beach and sold through select bicycle shops and through the internet. New dealer applications can be requested by calling 714-287-8989 or emailing, email@example.com.
If you need additional information or you would like to contact Gary Hoisington please call 714-287-8989 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org