Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Building a Single Speed Path Racer

Path racers are the old track bicycles that used to be raced on velodromes in the early 1900s. They were fixed gear single speed bikes made for speed. Here is Major Taylor on his. I just love their retro look, and it's easy to recapture. Here is how:

Take an English roadster or lightweight cruiser with a straight frame, the most basic kind of bicycle. This one was picked from a trash pile at a street corner.

Rip off anything that is not strictly necessary to the elemental functioning of the bicycle: fenders, chain guard, brakes, reflectors, grips. Clean and lubricate what's left.

Here I replaced the three speeds rear hub by a single speed coaster hub, which involved rebuilding the wheel, but a fixed gear hub is another option.
To finish the bike, add a nice spring leather saddle, flip the handlebars upside down, and put some bar tapes. Pay attention to details, and colors. The cream tires are Schwalbe Delta Cruisers.

Perfectly silent, fast, comfortable, and stylish. Ain't nobody else got one like this in Syracuse.

Here is another one I outfitted with a homemade disc wheel:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trash Picking!

On her way to pick me up from work, my dear wife saw these two Raleigh English cruisers (probably from 1972) in a junk pile on the side of the road. Nice straight frames... with strong and nicely cut cast bracket shells and lugs... made in England... old fashioned looking... the kind I can easily turn into single speed path racers. That was the opportunity I had been waiting for! So here is my winter project: twin bikes.

Friday, November 5, 2010

DIY Disc Wheel

Winter is coming: it's time for customizing! Here is my last project inspired by the recent elections: A lenticular wheel!

Cost: less than $10
Manufacturing time: 2 hours

Made from Recycled Political Signs:

Measure 'em, trace 'em, Cut 'em, drill 'em, paint 'em

Tie the two sides through the spokes with cable ties:

Finish nicely with weather stripping and duct Tape

And voilĂ :

That's one fast ride!

Homemade in Syracuse, NY USA