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!