Friday, September 24, 2010

The Project

This is indeed a project.  It is nowhere near completion... as you can see.  Please enjoy the process along with me.  Allow me to explain what I have here.  First of all, This is the frame of an old Schwinn World Sport that I purchased from a fellow at University of Colorado in Boulder.  He obviously spray painted it white and (unfortunately) replaced the fork with a cheap solid steel fork that is pictured below.

 This fork is not an asset.  Yes, it is a functional bicycle fork, but it is not a nice one.  It probably cost $5 at your local rummage-bin, and that's not a deal.

Attached to the fork is a good brake caliper, which I will probably use, if I decide to put brakes on the bike.  That may not seem like an optional thing to most people, but allow me to explain.  This bicycle may wind up a fixed-gear bike.  That means that it has only one gear, and when the back wheel turns, so does the crank (which is what the pedals are attached to).  So, if it is a fixed gear bike, you simply need to slow your pedaling speed to slow the bicycle.  That can, however, be difficult when you need to stop in a hurry, so I might add brakes anyhow.

On a recent escapade to Recycled Cycles here in Fort Collins, CO, I purchased a new (used) fork and planned on putting onto the bike (pictured above).  This fork is considerably nicer, with forged drop outs, a slightly down-slanted crown, and hollowed steel or chromoly (it's hard to tell when it's just a fork without the rest of the bike).   I did a little research and found that it once belonged to the front end of a Raleigh Technium road bike, in case you were wondering.  You may notice that the fork has some pieces attached to the steering tube, that is the head set.  It is what holds the fork onto the frame.  This particular type of headset is threaded.  Until recently, all headsets were threaded, but now there are threadless headsets, which means that the steering tube is not directly connected to the bicycle, but is snugly fitted into the head tube of the bicycle after which the handlebar stem is placed on top and finally a cap with a screw to hold the whole thing together.  That may seem confusing... yep.  Confusing.  Just look it up on Wikipedia if you are confused, they have helpful diagrams.

For those of you that are interested, here are some more pictures of the bicycle in detail, with short explanations.

This is the top of the head tube (that's at the front of the bike).  It currently has part of the headset stuck to it (that is the cupped part right on top).

These are parts of the headset.  There are two sets of ball bearings here, they are what allow the headset to turn side to side even though it is screwed down tightly.  One of those sets of ball bearings will rest inside of the cupped part and then the larger silver part on the right will go over them, etc.  The "threaded" part is this the larger silver piece that actually screws onto the threads which are on the steering tube of the fork. 

This is the crank set that came on the bike.  It is clean, and at least a decent crank.  I would prefer something like an old Shimano 600 or an FSA, but I can't complain.  It will serve it's purpose.  It is difficult to see, but you can see that the chain stays (the skinny tubes on the bottom), have dimples on them.  That's due to the manufacturers, it's not a devastating blemish.  Before they knew what to do about the crank arm coming around and hitting the chain stays, they just bent them a little to compensate for the discrepancy. 

Finally, we have the rear drop outs (this is the part that the wheel "connects" to).  Rear drop outs come in many different shapes and sizes.  It is important here that the drop outs are horizontal.  It is also common to see vertical drop outs, but for a fixed gear bicycle it is important to have horizontal drop outs.  This arises from the dilemma of having only one gear.  With only one gear it is unnecessary to have a rear derailleur (the part of the bike that moves the chain from one gear to another).  You may notice, if you take a look at the bicycle sitting in your garage, that without the rear derailleur, the chain would just flop around.  That is precisely what the horizontal drop outs fix.  You can't always take up the slack by removing links from the chain.  The slack, instead, is taken up by moving the wheel farther back in the drop outs and then tightening it up. 

That is my project.  I will be working on it periodically, and updating you on the progress. 

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