Flippin eck – 3 years??

Well, umm.. sorry to anyone who’s interested in my ‘adventures’.  It seems I’ve neglected this blog a little, but I have got a good excuse; my liver died, so I got a second-hand one, then that died, and then I got another one.  That one hasn’t died yet!

So, all that has kind’ve put me out of action for the past couple of years. My last major illness was back in September last year, which resulted in 4 months in hospital, and the loss of almost all my muscle mass.  It took 3 months of protein supplements and physio to get me on my feet again, and another 2 months to be able to walk normally.

After a few local rides to the supermarket, I finally managed a proper ride on the Middlewood Way in February.  I only had a small amount of time, and I’m pretty slow at the moment, so I only managed about 7 miles in total.  I’ve ridden there a few times previously, and it’s a nice place for a pootle.  Just watch out for the horses!

ooh – the Muddy Fox is complete!  I actually completed the build back in 2015, and the Kili’s been out of action due to setup issues, so I’ve used it quite a lot since then.


There’s also been another addition to the fleet, which I bought *just* before my liver keeled over; a Lynx Parrilla.  If you google the name, you get motorbikes and barbeques, and practically nothing about the bike (except my own posts to retrobike).  Info on the bike is rarer than it was for my Courier, so I have no idea how many exist, or what their spec is supposed to be.  Luckily, the frame under the branding is not so rare; it’s an early Roberts Genesis!


So that means it needs a decent spec, but as I’m a cheapskate, XT is about as far as I’m willing to go.  I’ve got the crank and mechs so far, and I bought some Project 2 forks.  I just need to get some brakes and put it all together! Once I’ve built up the strength to hammer in the headset, that is.

I just noticed that I never posted an update about the Kili Racer, or the ALX89 for that matter.  Shameful!  The Kili worked for a little while, but after the ride down south, it was clear that I’d set it up badly, and I never quite got around to finishing it properly.  I’m gonna finish it soon, though – honest!  Here’s how it looked just before heading south:


Not bad, eh? Since then, I’ve put on some silver chainrings, swapped the front brakes for some that work, put on a black handlebar with some Yeti grips, and the tyres are now Panaracer Smoke and Dart.  The brakes are Suntour SE XC self-energising brakes, which are spring loaded to pull the brake in as they grip the wheel.  Only the rear are spring loaded, but the front brakes are a lot more expensive, despite being basic brakes.  Originally, I had rear brakes on the back and the front (they’re reversed, so the spring does nothing on the front), but the shape of the brake meant the fork got in the way when trying to adjust them.  In the end, I bought proper front SE XCs, but now I’m pondering fitting some Maguras that I’ve got…

As for the ALX89; I sold it.  It was just too small!  Shame, though.. that bike was ace in every other respect.

And that’s everything up to date!  Except for my most recent ride, which I’m gonna stick in the next post.  It’s gonna be a lot sooner than 3 years!  🙂


Raleigh Twenty: Proper photos!

I had nothing to do at lunchtime today, so I used my 30 minutes to take photos of my bike.  I didn’t pick a very good day for taking photos.. even at lunchtime, it was so dark that my camera wanted to use the flash!  It didn’t get it’s way – I’d rather take a blurred photo than a photo using a flash.  😛

All the photos are in a set on flickr, which is here.

So, here’s the bike in most of it’s glory.

Rear view

I’m probably keeping the paint the way it is, btw.  The blue’s grown on me, and who doesn’t love a bit of patina?  okay.. I don’t like patina much, normally.. but I’ll let it off just this once.  I’m just going to clean off the sticker residue, treat the rust, and leave it at that!

RH View

The crank’s staying too, but the 18T freewheel will probably swapped for a 16T.  I’m cycling a bit manically at the moment..


It doesn’t fold up particularly small, but it’s better than trying to fit a full MTB on a train!  The handlebar causes a bit of a width issue, which is more annoying than the general size.

Front view

The headset needs a spacer added, and the stem is still giving me issues.  It turns out it IS a 22.2mm clamp (so the shim I bought is way too big), but the clamp is deformed.  I think I need one with more forward reach anyway..

So, this project is nearly done!  Just lots of fine tuning to do.  🙂

Raleigh Twenty: First ride

So, yeah – the Raleigh Twenty (or Triumph Traffic Master, if you’re being pedantic) is now pretty much assembled, and had it’s first test run this morning! Naturally, things didn’t go quite to plan..

As the front brake isn’t set up (the brake blocks are too close to the rim, and rub like nobodies business), I was relying on the coaster brake working.. which it did! It’s actually quite a good brake, although it’s a weird experience not being able to align the pedals. If I align them for a dismount and coast, I can’t brake! If I brake, I lose alignment.. I’m sure there’s a knack to it, as fixed speed must be even more difficult to stop, and plenty of loonies ride fixed. I’m not sure that I’d like to lose the front brake entirely, though. That just seems like an accident waiting to happen.

The coaster brake can also be quite powerful, I found. Or at least, it felt like it was powerful as I braked and the handlebars swivelled forward! I knew they’d be the biggest potential issue, but I’d hoped I’d managed to tighten them enough. The stem I’d bought was supposedly for 22.2mm bars, but it didn’t seem to want to grip the bar properly. I tightened it up some more on the train, which resulted in the bolt snapping in half, so I think I can safely judge that it’s actually intended for 25.4mm bars. 😛 I’ve ordered a shim, but I’m not sure where I’m going to find a replacement bolt. I’m sure I must have something in all the spares that I’ve got at home.

Everything else worked alright, though! It’s a weird old thing to ride.. the crank is in front of the saddle, rather than underneath it, so my riding position is very laid back and relaxed. Getting up on the pedals makes it feel more BMX-like, with it’s short wheelbase and low center of gravity. I can’t work out if 18 teeth is right for me or not.. it’s alright for cruising, but pedalling is a bit frantic when I’m standing up. I reckon a 16 tooth cog might be better, but I’ll give it a while. It was hard to get a proper feel for the bike when the handlebars kept pitching forward. 😛

A really poor photo - sorry!

The current plan is now:

  • Fit shim to handlebar
  • Fit new bolt to stem
  • Fit a headset spacer (there’s a 2mm-ish gap between the clamp and the nut, so it’s not as tight as it can be)
  • Sort out the front brake (it doesn’t seem very adjustable. Tempting to swap it for a dual pivot or center pull)
  • Strip the paint
  • Paint?

I should proooobably have stripped the paint before I assembled it, but I’m not blessed with that kind of patience. Instead, I’ll probably end up stripping stuff I wanted to keep, and painting stuff I didn’t want painted. I still don’t know what colour to paint it!

Raleigh Twenty: Starting to wish I’d left it standard!

Another day, another issue!

I got the new fork over the weekend, so I started putting things back together.  I got the old lower headset race off, put on the new one, and then attempted to fit the new crown race to the new fork.

  • I tried hammering it using the old headset cup and a screwdriver.  It wouldn’t budge.
  • I tried hammering a piece of plastic pipe, to even out the force.  It wouldn’t budge.
  • I filed down the fork crown a bit, then tried hammering it via the pipe.  It wouldn’t budge.
  • I tried using a hammer again.  It budged!  Then it got stuck.
  • I hammered more and more and more…


So, it turns out that there are different measurements of fork crown.  Just because a fork is 1″ diameter, and you have a 1″ headset, it doesn’t mean they’ll fit together.  In my case, the fork had a JIS crown, which is 27mm in diameter, whereas the headset had an ISO crown, which is 26.4mm.  ISO has been the standard for years, with JIS only being adopted in any kind of number in Asian countries.

The fork I bought has a German-sounding brand name, so it surprised me to find that it had a non-standard crown. My theory is that it makes more sense to make the larger diameter, and let bike shops face it down to 26.4mm if needed.  That way it can fit anything! That’s probably why it also has such an enormous steerer – let someone else cut it, rather than limit the appeal.

Anyway, this lesson in crown diameters has now cost me a crown race, and judging by the stuff available on the interweb, and what I’ve got at home, I might have to buy another headset.  For £10.  I guess I should’ve taken this job to the bike shop.  😐

ooh, and while I’m here – I forgot that the locknuts from the old fork won’t work on the new fork, because the old fork has Raleigh threading.  It never bloomin ends!

Raleigh Twenty: Forking it up

I know, I know.. no-one likes a wall of text like the last update.  I’m the same – all we really want are nice pictures of bikes to marvel over!  I don’t have any new photos, though.  It’s not that I forgot to take any; it’s because I’m too embarrassed to take photos in front of the wife!  She thinks the bike obsession is weird enough, without me sitting there taking close-up photos of bolts and bushings.  😛

But that doesn’t stop me putting up photos of other people’s bikes, wot I have found on the interwebs!  Therefore, before further ado, here is the only photo I’ve ever found of a Raleigh Twenty sporting mag wheels:


It appears to be a near-stock bike, with just the wheels, tyres, and seat replaced.  It’s quite stylish!  I particularly like that shade of bronze paired with black wheels and tyres.

Anyway, why was I posting?  Oh yeah – my fork issues!  It turns out that I should’ve seen my problem coming.  Standard R20 forks only have a 90mm gap between the fork dropouts, which is quite narrow.  For a little while, I was tempted to replace the fork with a small BMX fork and a tube extender.  It would mean there’d be no thread, but I could use a couple of seatpost clamps to hold it in place.  However, in the end I decided on getting a fork that’s not actually much different from the stock fork, except that it can take normal wheels.  One of these:

It not only works out cheaper than the fork/extension plan, but it has a thread.  Quite a lot of thread – the steerer is 20mm longer than the stock fork!  It’s most probably a fork intended for use on recumbents, as they seem to be about the only type of bike that has a steerer that’s anything like a Raleigh Twenty.

of course, this will mean more hammering, as I’ll now need to replace the lower head race and attach a crown race.  Nearly there, though.. nearly there..

Raleigh Twenty: aaargh!

Time for a project update! It’s been a while since I last made an update, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that I’m practically finished. I’m not. In fact, I’ve barely progressed at all since the last update! Since my 3-year-old son dropped his naps, I no longer get the 80 minutes of nap time on Saturdays and Sundays that I used to use for doing bike stuff. I can do some stuff in the evenings, but if it requires hammering/sawing or using something messy and/or stinky, the project stops in it’s tracks.

Hence, my projects are at the current states:

  • Saracen Kili Racer: Stopped due to requirement of hammering and probably need for using acid to get rid of the seat post and BB.
  • Reflex ALX89: No longer riding due to cracked headset. Need to hammer it out, then hammer the new one in.
  • Saracen Tufftrax: Needs a dose of stinky linseed oil. Can only really do it outside, when it hasn’t rained for a couple of days. It hasn’t stopped bloomin raining! I’ve also got a new headset, but it’s not essential.
  • Raleigh Twenty: Need to file the fork dropouts to fit a 10mm axle, and hammer out the cotter pins. Need to saw off chain guard fitting.

Despite all that, I have managed to progress the Raleigh Twenty a little bit. I found out that the axle on the front wheel was removable, so I can avoid having to file the dropouts for a bit. Knowing that, I decided to fit the new headset…

The plan for getting the headset on was to use a threaded bar, some nuts, and some large diameter washers. The washers push against the races as the nuts are tightened, and should seat the headset race perfectly! If the race can be kept straight. Which was apparently impossible. 😐 I tried and tried and tried, using different washers, different ratchet spanner heads, and bottom bracket cups. It would all be aligned, I’d tighten the nuts a tiny bit, check, tighten, check, tighten, gah! Every time, the race would slip slightly to one side. It didn’t seem to matter how careful I was.. the washers just weren’t a precise enough fit, it seems.

The reason I tried to be clever, rather than just hammering it home, is because the top of the head tube has a notch taken out of it, which is used to seat the nylon bush. I was worried that hammering it in could result in accidentally splitting the head tube if done badly. After wasting several hours trying to get it in cleverly, I decided to just hammer it using a steel hammer and a piece of wood, which meant hammering it in while my son was about.

Recently, my son has not been very happy when he hears weird noises. He was getting upset whenever he heard something rattling, or the sound of an extractor fan. Even loud lorries were scaring him, which was bizarre – he’d always loved lorries, no matter how loud they were! Guy Fawkes night had gone alright, though. He wasn’t at all scared by the fireworks (even the crappy airbursts), so I hoped that meant he was over that weird phase.

I brought the bike in, and got the hammer and wood out. The sturdiest place to do the hammering was on the step between the kitchen and the lounge, so I put the bike in the kitchen, with the head tube resting on a bit of wood on the step, almost dead straight. Seeing the bike got my son’s curiosity, so he came to sit in the chair opposite and watch. I explained what I had to do.. “I need to get this silver bit into this blue bit, which means I need to bash it in with a hammer! Is that okay with you?” This was met with a “Yeaaaah!”, and much bouncing up and down in the chair. I put the other bit of wood into position, and lifted the hammer in the air.. “Are you ready?” “Yeaaah!” BAM! BAM! BAM! He still seemed okay.. he seemed happier, if anything! So I started hitting it properly, and watching the angle. It didn’t take many hits to get it into position, and it didn’t look as though I’d bent the head tube at all. I finally had a proper top race on my Raleigh Twenty! Huzzah! Also, my son didn’t dissolve into tears, so I can probably hammer my other bikes, too. Huzzah!

Anyway, last night, I set about trying to put it all together. The headset fitted together pretty well, and now it just needs about 10mm of spacers to go where the QR used to be. No biggie! With that (nearly) in place, I set about putting the other parts on, starting with the front wheel. I had to disassemble the hub to put it on, as with the axle removed, a pointless-looking metal bar falls away. I guess it’s there to stop the hub from being over-compressed. I put the axle through the RH fork dropout, through the hub, and.. I couldn’t get it to align with the other dropout? What was stopping it? The axle seems loose enough at one angle.. but when I.. oh.. oh nooooooo!

One of the good things about Acorn Freestyle mag wheels is the hubs. Unlike most other mag wheels, the hubs can be dismantled and serviced. The hubs are quite snazzy looking.. they’re kinda bulbous, with 5 bolts going through them – one for each spoke. What I hadn’t noticed is that the hub is also quite.. erm.. fat. They’re designed for BMX forks, where the dropouts are level with the inner of the fork arms/blades/whatever you call them. R20 forks have short dropouts that aren’t level with the inner of the fork arms, so the fork protrudes out to where the hub wants to be. I’m sure there’s probably a nice technical way of describing this, but I don’t know what it is, so I’ll just say that the Acorn hubs are too fat for a standard R20 fork. The only way it’d fit would be to cold set the fork, but it’d require expanding the width by about 10mm in total, I think. Maybe more.  I don’t really trust cold setting forks by that much distance.  I barely managed to align the rear stays when I did them on the Cobra, and from what I can remember, forks are more vague.

So, what now? Do I get different wheels, or a different fork? Maybe attempt cold setting the fork?  I wouldn’t mind a different fork, to be honest, but the ebay seller who had them (one of the bankrupt parts sellers) has been sold out for over a month, and I can’t find an alternative. Wheels are easier to come by, but I’d have to sell the Acorns at a loss, and I’d lose the coaster brake..

What a pain in the bum!

Raleigh Twenty: That headset

Have you ever pondered doing something, decided to look it up online, and found lots of semi-answers that don’t give you the full picture?  Yeah, me too!  Annoying, isn’t it?

Bicycle articles are particularly bad, because they almost always assume that you have the bike in front of you, and that you know what you’re doing.  I don’t!  I’m at work, and my bike knowledge may be above average, but I’m still pretty noobish.

So, when trying to find out how to upgrade the nylon headset of the Raleigh Twenty, I was getting annoyed by not knowing the full story.  After doing some measurements last night, and having a proper look at what everything does, maybe I can redress the balance myself!  🙂

Firstly, I’d better describe how it all works.  It’s not quite the same as a normal fork and stem, because it has a quick release for the stem.  The fork steerer has a long slot cut out of it, which allows it to be compressed by the QR, just like how a seat tube is compressed by a seat clamp.  The stem, which is just a basic tube, can therefore be gripped in the same way as a seat post.  The steerer is extra long, and the QR fits under the locknuts.  It’s quite a nice arrangement, really!

Here be the measurements, from top to bottom. Measuring tubes can be a bit tricky, so give or take a millimeter:

  • Handlebar OD (where it’s clamped) = 15/16″ / 23.8mm
  • Stem OD = 7/8″ / 22mm
  • Stem height = 9 7/8″ / 250mm (no minimum insert line, because it’s supposed to be tethered to the front brake with a rigid wire)
  • Upper locknut height = 3/8″ / 9.6mm
  • Lower locknut height = 3/32″ / 8mm
  • Stem QR height = 5/8″ / 16.1mm
  • Lamp clamp height = 1/16″ / 2mm
  • Nylon bush protective cap height = 1/32″ / 1mm
  • Nylon bush lip height = 3/32″ / 3mm
  • Nylon bush ID = 1″ / 25.4mm
  • Nylon bush OD = 1 1/8″ / 29.8mm
  • Fork steerer height (inc thread) = 9 3/16″ / 235mm
  • Fork thread height = 3/4″ / 19mm (Raleigh 26TPI thread)
  • Fork steerer OD = 1″ / 25.4mm
  • Fork steerer ID = 7/8″ / 22mm
  • Head tube ID = 1 1/8″ / 30mm
  • Head tube OD = 1 5/16″ / 33.1mm
  • Head tube height = 7 3/32″ / 186mm

I was only using a digital calliper, which wasn’t long enough to measure the head tube height, and I haven’t got any measurements regarding the lower race or crown race.  My measurements were coming out all over the place on those, so thought it best not to include them.  If I ever decide to replace the fork (quite likely!), I’ll get them measured.

My intention is to replace the nylon bushing with the top half of a 1″ threadless headset.  There’s no issues with diameters, but there is an issue with heights.  The bushing, including cap, is only 4mm tall, and you can also add the 2mm from the pointless lamp holder, but the exposed top of most threadless headsets is taller than that. For example; the threadless headset that I randomly bought is about 10mm tall, which would mean the upper locknut would be only half attached. :s

However, all is not lost!  It just so happens that BMX seat clamps have a diameter of 25.4mm – the same diameter as the steerer tube.  That means I could potentially ditch the tall original QR and replace it with a much shorter seat QR and possibly a couple of spacers. The only problem is knowing how tall the BMX clamps are, as that measurement is never mentioned, and they come in a range of heights.  I might have to brave the BMX section of Evans, and have a look for myself!  😮

UPDATE: Evans have a rubbish BMX section! Also, it turns out that only old 80s seat clamps are suitable for the job.  The old standard was 22.2mm seat tubes, whereas they’re now 25.4mm.  It makes searching for a clamp rather tricky.  The old clamps are all quite chunky, though, and most are actually taller than the existing QR.  gah!

I also measured the seat tube, but it rather illustrates how I can get things wrong with the callipers.  I measured 28mm ID and 32mm OD, but apparently all Raleigh Twenties have a 28.6mm seatpost.  Hmph!  The seat post is 315mm high (top to bottom) .

UPDATE 17/10/13: Added a few more measurements.

Raleigh Twenty: The Plan!

Well, the Raleigh Twenty is a proper project, and no mistake! There is much to do. As it’s so quirky, I feel that I should keep up the updates regarding what I do to it. Maybe someone on the interweb will find my dabbling useful!

Normally, I like to take loads of photos of a bike that I’ve just bought. It helps me plan anything that I might want to change, and reminds me of what used to be on it. This time, however, I got straight down to taking it apart, and I didn’t stop to take photos. I was on a mission to get as much off of the bike as possible! Why? Well, despite having smaller wheels and having less tubing than any of my other bikes, it is by far the heaviest bike that I now own, and I wanted to find out where all the weight was coming from, and also make sure that I hadn’t just bought a complete and utter dud.

The weird thing about the weight was that it appeared to be mostly distributed toward the back of the bike, whereas I would’ve thought the chunky main tube and hinge would’ve been the center of the weight. It turned out that this was due to the rear wheel, with it’s Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub and steel rims. I reckon the wheel must weigh about 2kg! Everything else was fairly lightweight. The handlebar, despite being a massive steel 70’s thing, was lighter than the original handlebar from the ALX89! One thing I haven’t checked, that I think will also be contributing a lot of weight, is the steel crankset. It’s about the only thing that hasn’t been removed, due to the need for hammering.

The bike itself seems to be in good condition. There’s some missing paint here and there, and some small bits of rust, but overall it’s pretty good. This is, however, completely irrelevant, as I intend to replace almost every single part!

So, onto the plan..

The frame
The paintwork is a bit ratty, and the blue colour isn’t great. The metallic blue is mottled, so it looks like it’s been painted with hammerite. I don’t think it is hammerite, as the decals are all original, but I figure that if it already looks hammerited, then I may as well make it actually hammerited, but in a nicer shade. 🙂

The wheels
The wheels are currently 20 x 1 3/8 (451), and made entirely of steel. 451 tyres are expensive, and new wheels are hard to get hold of, so I’m not replacing them with 451s – I’m replacing them them with 20 x 1.75 (406) BMX wheels. Despite both claiming to be 20″ wheels, neither are, and the BMX wheels are smaller enough to cause brake reach issues. I’ll come to that in a bit.

Due to the weight of the SA hub, the bike will be singlespeed. That’ll also reduce cabling, which is a bit messy on the Twenty.

I’m unsure about what tyres to fit. I’m hoping I can find a way to get 20×2.2 tyres on it.

The brakes
I’ve got a couple of options with the brakes.. I can keep the original calliper brakes, and make some drop bolts so that they can reach the new 406 rims, or I can try to find a kit that’ll allow me to fit V or cantilever brakes. Additionally, I could fit a rear wheel that has a coaster brake, which would completely remove all rear cabling. I wouldn’t consider it on a full-on commuter, but this thing is only supposed to go a few miles every now and again, so a coaster might be a neat solution!

The drivetrain
Currently, the bike has a steel cottered crankset. It’s Raleigh, so the threading is all wrong, but I already have a solution for that, leftover from when I was experimenting with the Cobra – I’ve got a square taper spindle that will fit inside a Raleigh bottom bracket and cups! That means that I can fit any crankset I like, and I can ditch the horrible cottered nonsense.

Oh, I’m also ditching the pedals, but I don’t think I’m going to spend a lot on them. I’ll probably get some plastic platform pedals. I don’t know what gearing to go for, however. As I’ll probably be ill, I guess I’ll go for something undemanding.

The seat
A new seatpost, seat clamp, and seat are definitely in order. The seatpost is apparently 28.6mm, which naturally doesn’t match any spare seatpost that I own. I have a 27.2mm seatpost somewhere, so maybe I’ll just buy a shim.

The headset
The biggest issue with the headset is that it’s really only half a headset. The bottom is normal, but the top is a greased nylon bushing with a chrome cap on top of it. The handlebar adjuster sits on top of the cap, and then there’s a couple of locknuts on top of that. The bushing adds resistance to the steering, so that you have to physically turn it to steer it. You can’t ride no-handed, or push the bike along while holding onto the seat.

If the original fork, handlebar, and stem are to be kept, the usual solution to this problem is to fit a threadless 1″ headset, but I’m tempted to replace the fork with a straight BMX-ish fork (it needs a longer steerer than any BMX, so I think the one I’m looking at is actually a recumbent fork). This will improve steering, and allow a normal threaded headset, but would mean I couldn’t use the original adjustable stem. That could be problematic, as I don’t think standard stems are made in quite the same lengths. I need to do more research! It turns out lots of people make high stems! Yay!

So, not much to do, really!

All change, please!

Soz for the delay, peoples, but things have been a bit busy lately.  Fear not – it’s nothing scary or important; it’s ebay and bikes, damn them!

Remember that Peugeot I bought in the last post?  It was a 21″ frame, and way too big.  Had to strip and sell it.  Then I bought a 1998 Specialized Rockhopper for £40.  It was shabbier than expected, so thought I’d probably just sell it on ebay as-is, and hope I got my money back.  That plan changed, but not before I bought a 1994 Kona Lava Dome frame and fork for £60.  I figured I could transplant the parts from the Peugeot, and that’d be my main bike.  Should I mention the bike that’s in my watch list, which I really hope I get (not telling you what it is!)?  Or my desire to own a Saracen Protrax or Tufftrax from the mid-90s? 😛

Oh, and I stripped my Hardrock, too – it’s now just a frame at the back of the shed.  Fickle probably isn’t a strong enough word!

So, at this point in time, I officially own a Kona Lava Dome and a Specialized Rockhopper.  The Lava Dome is still in the box it was delivered in, waiting for a full quota of parts before I start building it.  I only need a seatpost, a bottom bracket, and some brake/gear cables, so not long to go now! 🙂

The Rockhopper.. well, that turned into something very unexpected!  Allow me to quote the ebay description:

“Classic specialized rockhopper. A few scrapes but overall a good bike that can still be used.  New in 1997 and only two owners.”

1998 Specialized Rockhopper

I dunno what those two owners did to that poor bike, but it was scrape city!  There were scratches, scuffs, bare patches, and even two dents on either side of the down tube (no idea how they managed that).  The gripshifts and brake levers looked like they’d been dragged along concrete for a mile or so.

I was a bit annoyed, but I consider ebay buys like that to be ‘sold as seen’, so anything I discover on pickup is my problem. Should’ve been more careful.

Other than the paintwork, brakes, levers, saddle, and seatpost, the bike was fine. Reading up on that type of frame, it turned out that ‘Nitanium’ frames were highly regarded.  I wondered if it’d be worth getting it powder coated, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend any more money on it, as the two dents bugged me.
Then I came across this, and the future of the Rockhopper was decided!

Specialized Rusthopper flickr set
As I never get any time to do stuff to bikes at home, I decided to do this project at work, on my lunchbreaks.  The plan was pretty simple:

  • Make the bike ridable.
  • Strip the paint.
  • Watch it rust.

To make the bike ridable, I pilfered the seat, pedals, stem, and the gear/brake combo from my Hardrock.  That was the easy bit!

Next came removing the paint.. as a test, I applied Nitromors to the fork.  It did nuffin, apart from making some of the clearcoat go a bit matt.  The next day, I tried a different paint stripper, which didn’t seem much more effective, until I tried sandpapering the paint.  It didn’t exactly fall off, but it certainly started coming off pretty quickly!  In half an hour, I had most of the paint removed from the main tubes!  The next day, I didn’t apply the paint stripper, as I wasn’t sure if the sandpaper had been doing all the work, and the difference was pretty big – I could barely get any of the paint off.  I repeated the process using the paint stripper every lunchtime for a week, and yesterday afternoon, I stripped the last bit of paint off! 😀

Paint-free Rockhopper

Now all I have to do is wait for the rust!

oh, and put a Kona Lava Dome together…
and bid on another bike…

busy, busy, busy!