Sunday, August 31, 2014

1996 DiamondBack Venom Pro Restoration

A friend of mine brought me his well used Diamondback because he heard that I am a bike guy. Because I am a sucker for bikes that need a little TLC and because I am a total sucker for mid school BMX bikes, I told him I would restore it for him.

Here are some BEFORE pics. As you can see everything is there and in relatively good condition. Well, OK it has some rust......

I love the Schwinn grips! I am sorry, but they have to go

Even the pedals are Diamondback, how cool is that?

Step 1: Disassemble. Number 5 would not be happy.

Step 2: OA Bath. Not much to show here because the water is murky. All the chrome parts go in the bath to remove the rust. Because only chrome parts go in the bath, all other parts must be removed including the headset and bottom bracket.

The chain went in the mineral spirits. I do not know if it salvageable.

After the OA bath.

Step 3: Re-assembly
I cleaned the headset and bottom bracket cups.

Headset and bottom bracket cups installed.

Cleaned the rest of the headset.

Cleaned and polished the stem.

Headset, stem, and bars installed. I want to point out the fork looks dull compared to the rest of the bike. I believe this is a nickel finish, which means when the bike was made, the fork was never chromed. Good chromers will nickel plate before chrome plate.

I cleaned and polished the brake levers.

I cleaned the seatpost clamp and seat. I used a trick I learned. I stuffed the seat guts inside the seat to give the seat a lower profile.

The seat clamp and seat installed.

I cleaned and polished the front brake.

The owner stopped by the other day with goodies. We put on the new clear AME grips to showcase the cool DB graphics on the handlebars and we installed the white upper and lower gyro cables.

My son was helping me this weekend. He enjoys the process as much as I do and he is getting good at it. I was impressed with his work. 

He cleaned and installed the bottom bracket and crankset.

The cleaned and polished rear 990 brake. I did have to buy a straddle cable because the old one was frayed.

I wanted to show the spokes and nipples. On the left are the spokes and nipples after take off. On the right is the cleaned spokes and new nipples. The old nipples were not reusable.

My son rebuilt both hubs. He disassembled, cleaned and even re-threaded the axles. We did have to replace one of the jam nuts because it was stripped. Here is his picture of all the parts before re-assembly. The rear hub is missing from the picture because I was lacing it to the wheel at the time. 

It has been a few weeks since I worked on this project. The new job and other projects have kept me busy.

I purchased a new front cable in white and installed it. 

I did not get pics of the wheels before I got them mounted. They turned out really nice. I hand polished the wheels and used steel wool to freshen up the sidewalls.

Here are a few pictures of the completed bicycle. It has already been returned to its owner. He is very happy with the results :-)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

1950's Armstrong Project

So my buddy needed a bike, low budget. I got a Trek from another friend for him but while the gesture was most appreciated, the frame is 60cm and my friend is 5'11" with short legs. Not a good fit. So I got to thinking - (I know, dangerous, right??) I have an Evolution in 56cm, which would be better, but after some discussion I discovered he wanted to ride on trials too, but he did not want a flat bar, so a pure road bike is not very good fit, and I do not have any spare Cyclocross bike sitting around - enter the Armstrong.

I picked this bike up from the dump. It was too nice, and probably too rare at this point to scrap. I do not have a good track record for documenting my projects in the before state, so I will do my best to document the entire process. So this is what it looked like when I got it. Some parts are original, and some are not, like the Shimano 600 derailleur and the Shimano brake levers.

I broke down the brakes, which are original. This is what they looked like before an OA bath.

Here is the stem before the OA bath.

Here is the broken down crankset before the OA bath.

This is the Brooks seat before being cleaned up. It is not original, however I date it from the '70's.

After several failed attempts to get the freewheel off and removing the nipples, I just clipped the spokes. I hate doing it, but sometimes you have to.

The rims definitely need some help.

The circa 1970's Carlisle tires are shot and went in the circular file.

The bars need help too, but I am not too concerned considering they will be covered.

As you can see the bike was originally bright mustard yellow - maybe it is not from the 50's???? That seems like such a 70's color....

Some pics of the frame...

Mmmmmm, OA Bath!!!

Later that evening....

So I had to make a decision about what kind of components to use on this bike. Ideally when restoring a bike you want to return the bike to its original factory configuration, or as close as you can get. Since this is not technically a restoration, and more of a project I decided to stick with Shimano 600 since this bike was already equipped with this line of components. So I just happened to have a Shimano 600 headset. I think it will work very nice on this bike.

Here are the cups installed on the frame - it was a tight fit. I think will set the stage for this build. All of the dimensions and threads have really tight tolerances. I think modern bikes have looser tolerances. 

Here is the fork all cleaned up. I actually took the buffing pad on the drill to polish up the paint a little bit. The picture does not do it justice, but I think it looks 10 times better.

Here is a snapshot of the fork, headset, stem and handlebars re-installed. 

A closeup of the headset. I just really like the styling. 

These are the brake levers that were on the bike. They are Shimano, but are basically trashed. It is hard to tell from the pic, but they are also bent. 

I found these BEAUTIFUL Shimano 600 levers on e-bay,  and for a reasonable price. They look almost new. They even had the ferrules, but no hoods. 

The only issue is the clamp is made for a 1" bar and the original bars on the bike are 22.2mm. I originally thought I could just use the clamp from the old levers, but the thread pitch was not correct. I looked through my stuff and I found a set of shims (middle) that worked perfectly.

This is how it looks installed. Now I just need to find out where my buddy wants them on the bars.

So the chainring bolts did not look that great, so again I went through my stuff and found these. They are obviously not correct, but they will look overall better that the original ones.

The original cotter pins were in really rough shape, as you can see, the threads are a little messed up. I ordered some new ones - they came all the way from Greece! 

The bottom bracket has been disassembled and I repacked the bearings. The old grease was like glue. 

The crank has been re-assembled with the freshly packed bearings, new cotter pins and new chainring bolts. 

Even though they are not correct, I installed a new seatpost binder bolt and handlebar binder bolt. The old ones were not only incorrect, they were in terrible shape. This bike is going to be ridden, so the parts need to be very functional.

I had some black and aluminum MKS Sylvan pedals laying around, thought they would look good on this build. The toe cages came from another set of pedals. I removed the strap and I am going to leave them off. I believe they are death traps, but just the toe cages are helpful and safe.


After some cleaning an polishing:

An update coming soon! Goodies have arrived!!

Here are two Shimano 600 rear derailleurs. One came with the bike and one was purchased by the owner. Between the two I will have one good derailleur. 

Here is the derailleur completely rebuilt.

The owner purchased front and rear Shimano 600 hubs. The rear came with a Uni-glide body and Hyper-glide body. Here I am rebuilding the rear hub. 

The finished project with the Uni-glide body installed - which after some consideration I will be putting the Hyper-glide body back on to support an 8-speed cassette.

Before and after pictures of the Shimano FE (VIA) front derailleur that came with the bike. I did not find any reason to change it. 

Next up is wheels!!