News and Events

Keep up to date with the latest news and events of Modular Bikes.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

New Bike Part 1

The stripped Byk Frame.

Clean swap for a 40t Sunrace cassette from the olt 32t largest cog one supplied on the Byk.
Byk front wheel and forks.
Spreading the fork to take the wider rear wheel, a couple of round tubes slipped over the fork legs add leverage.
Back wheel fits nicely.
Oyama frame and front wheel
A bit of a start I had made on the steerer, here is some detail,

..... and here is the whole thing.
Frames side by side,

..... and another view.
Steel frame weight.

Alu frame weight.
Sketch for discussion with parts supplier. This is the steerer tube and bottom bracket casting, its equivalent is seen.....

top right in this photo. The new front fork will make the new bike a bit lower (and faster, woohoo) than the old one. 

Trying some steerer tube bearing parts on the steel frame bottom bracket - they seem to fit ok and the steerer bearings should make things a bit lighter compared to bottom bracket bearings.


Over the last few days I have been working on a new bike, as started in my last post. I've been taking apart the Byk bike, and gradually pottering around and planning with the pieces, seeing if they will fit together with other pieces, dragging bits out of the shed and doing the occasional bit of modification.  I came across a 20" folding bike frame and got that out.

Its interesting to compared the Byk frame to the red folding Oyama.  The Byk is aluminium, and weighs about 1/2 as much as the steel Oyama. But the Oyama folds, is slightly bigger to suit adults, and I can weld and bend steel, so do a bit more with the Oyama.  The plan is to saw a frame and use the rear triangle on a new bike and add rear suspension. This is like some bikes I built a while ago.

A few engineers I used to work with make machines which 3d print aluminium, and I went to see them in Dandenong on Thursday.  Its possible I will be able to get some parts from them, so that's a bit exciting too.  Very happy with progress sofar!

Till next time, Regards

Steve Nurse

Monday, August 13, 2018

2 New Projects

Victoria separating bike with Velocino front end....

and the same thing with wheels.

Velocino in its heyday... well ok, it never had one.

Byk E450X8

Checking out brake cabling: after swapping to a mini-V brake, this arrangement will work, just like....

this one does on my wooden trike.

Cranks with 2 sets of pedal holes.

Of course, when you are dealing with 451 wheel bikes you wander around then see them everywhere.  This was taken on a pleasurable post office, pub and supermarket shopping trip. Foreground: Tokyobikes mini-velo, background, modularbikes leaning trike.


After some time spent fixing some fairly standard bikes including some donations to Wecycle, I have hauled some projects of my own round to the back yard.  For a while, I haven't been building anything new because I have too many bikes already and wanted to sell one on ebay before starting again. But the ebay bike (still there, still a bargain) hasn't budged and its been a few months, so I'm breaking my drought of building.

Project 1, Velocino Convertible

Quite a while ago, I bought some Victoria separating bikes.  They are like folding bikes, but instead of folding split into two.  The red one I had was fixed up, sold to a friend, was donated back to me and eventually sold for charity.  And the blue one.....

Well I've treated it as an experimental bike, lavishing attention on it, then ignoring it for long periods, before returning to it to hack away again.  Upgrades have included making a Velocino front end for it that was never finished off, fitting a Sturmey-Archer S2C rear hub to it, and then swapping forks so the front wheel is 20" instead of 24" to carry more load over the front wheel.  A few weeks ago, the long suffering Victoria had a tyre switcheroo done on it, leaving it front wheelless.  Since then, on windy, rainy, stormy nights, I can hear it creaking "help me" as it sits forlornly outside.* But it does need fixing up!  Paint, derusting, pack racks, steering for Velocino etc quite urgently required.

Project 2, Byk Trike

For a few weeks, a rather good kids bike has been available at Wecycle, a Byk E450X8 and last Saturday I finally bought it, getting it at heavily discounted mates rates.  Its got the "narrow tyre 20" " (451) tyres on it, cassette rear sprocket and a light frame.  The plan is to convert it into one of my recumbent bikes or trikes, and I've been scoping the parts for potential uses as I dismember it.  More to come on this project.


Steve Nurse

* Note: not actually true

Monday, August 6, 2018

Mural Ride

Leaning trike as transport mural
Recumbent and electric bike mob in St. Kilda, Glen's new Trisled trike in red.
My trike and an admirer
Waiting for the punt to Williamstown in Port Melbourne.
Punt pier, Dale centre with horns on helmet.
Detail of the real, big-ass transport mural from one of the better viewpoints.
Viewing not quite so good from other positions

A few weeks ago, the combined talents of my wife Christine and I made some "classic transport" panels for my best bike, and I rode it to World Bike Day soon after.  I showed my friend Simon Watt a few pics of it, and he said it reminded him of the Southern Cross Station Transport Mural.  Although I'd seen that mural quite a while ago when the station was still called Spencer Street, I thought I'd try and track it down again just for the hell of it. 

A quick look on the internet revealed its current location, and a "Be Spon" ride came up that could land me in the general area of the station, so yesterday morning I headed off for the ride to St Kilda, met up with friends there, then visited the transport mural on the way home.  I did a bit of a blocky to find the Outlet Centre where the mural is, but was not to be discouraged and eventually found it right in the station building. 

The mural is right up one end, and you have to look up, and through various lights, shop ads and other paraphenalia, and you only see bits of it from each of 3 or 4 shops. However, I can now say: * It is there, * I have seen it, and  * My own rolling transport mural got relatively close. * Nice to catch up with Glen, Dale and a few others on the ride.


Steve Nurse

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Modular Bike


This post is part of a cleaning out process for my website, it had existed as a separate tab on my web page, but I will be replacing that tab with a 3d printing blog soon, one that may even earn me money.  My friend Ann Thompson of Thinking Eye has been coaching me on all these changes which include opening an Instagram account here .

So how did the modular bike end up? Well - Ok I guess!  The best version of it I made is presented here and although it looked quite good and was capable, it was made of steel and was always a bit heavy.  An aluminium version might have done better, but it was beyond my motivation, funds and welding abilities to make one.  The builds resulted in a chapter in my book, and I remember a nice afternoon and a visit to the pub with Adrian Gotts and Struan Little after a working bee building one of the versions, and a visit with our recumbent cycling mob to Fringe Inventions where it was exhibited for a while.  My nieces and nephew still remember racing at an ozhpv challenge at Broadford on it. 

"Modular: constructed with standardized unit or dimensions allowed flexibility and variety in use; modular furniture: modular homes"
A few years ago, I built an adaptable tandem bike from two abandoned Malvern Star folding bikes. It was made with an "insert" between the halves of a folding bike. The bike was good, but I started thinking of the possibilities of something better or different. My modular bikes are the end result. The bikes are designed from the ground up to be assembled as tandems, recumbents &: load carrying bikes and the aim is to make these specialist bicycles affordable by using a cost-effective modular construction.

The design was patented and featured in the Jan. 2005 issue of Velovision (you can find the patent here, search for 'modular bicycle' to find the patent documents. Pick the top entry you find).

This construction includes standard frame units with extras, like a suspended rear triangle, steering link, rack, trailer and recumbent seat & boom. The frame has attachment points at the ends for holding another frame or extras, a tube that acts as a static handlebar mount, and tubes that can support pulleys for a front-wheel drive mechanism. The seatpost doubles as a mount for the recumbent seat, as do the bottle mount bosses on the top tubes.

I have taken care to ensure that the extra features on the bike don’t look scrappy when unused – for example a plastic plate can fit over the front attachment points. So far there have been 3 designs of the modular bike and I have designed a set of models of the bike which you can make for yourself at home. "

Tony Hazeldine on one of the modular bike's predecessors, a conversion from 2 Malvern Star Folding Bikes.

Standard bike with load carrying

Front Wheel Drive bike with trailer. Note redundant rwd drivetrain.

Load Carrying Bike, my employer at the time was Trimcast, and the blue box which we still have is a storage box for military and 4 wheel driving use.
Steers from behind tandem at a Broadford OzHpv challenge with my son Ewan.
Atholl Reid is captain and steers from behind, counterpoint tandem at a Canberra ozhpv rally.
Racing at Broadford with my niece Josie, counterpoint tandem

Back to back tandem, the Jewel in the crown. We are going left to right.
Front steer counterpoint tandem
Long Wheelbase

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Audax Head Tube Badge

Audax bling as head tube badge on Malvern Star Sportstar.
1st try was not quite so successful, this was an attempt to make a brooch or display case mount for the older series of French Audax badges.

2nd go quite a bit better.

RHS, note biopace.


Final badge detail, the 3d printing is not much good at handling stress, and the timber at the sides makes most of the forces on the orange printed parts compressive.

In the Wild #1.....

and #2

For a while I have been accumulating Audax Badges.  These are small pats on the back you can give yourself after finishing a ride and come in French, Australian, and cloth badge varieties with different distances from short (ish) 50k to much longer 600, 1000 and 1200k rides. Every few years the badge style is refreshed, so you can start collecting, or slinging them into a dusty old box all over again.

Anyway, the French enamel badges don't come with any pin on the back, so they can't easily be mounted on a board or worn as a brooch, or even put on display in the pool room .  I decided to do something about that, so about 2 months ago tried scanning one of the badges, tracing over the resulting profile in Autocad, importing that into Solidworks, and then 3d printing it as a mounting plate for the badge.  Unfortunately that attempt came out no good (top photo, a small problem with scale!), and I shelved the idea for a while.

Then, a few weeks ago, more bling arrived by post courtesy of Rober Wikinson's Big Al Rides 200 brevet, and at about the same time as a Malvern Star Sportstar bike frame arrived in my life courtesy of Wecycle.  I was motivated to start again, and did so, and the above photos are the results of both the bike resto and badge mounting.

Here are the relevant details!

Bike: Malvern Star Sportstar frame, fork and seatpost with pieces salvaged from other bikes & my stockpiles, 11-34 6 speed cluster, Shimano 38t biopace single chainring, non-indexing gear shifter, 27" steel wheels, Selle Royale suspension saddle.

Bling: Audax 2016 -2019 French 200k medal, mounted in 3d printed plastic and timber frame, suits 32 diameter head tube.  3d print completed at home on Cetus 3d printer, in orange PLA+ material. 19 x 7mm pine timber.


Steve Nurse

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Flower of the month for July

Stopping to collect Brassica, or cabbage-type weeds in Studley Park Road, just near the Yarra River

There is masses of the stuff, and its easy to pull out. I am not sure if they appear every year, or this is just the first time I've noticed it.
Some of the weeds I pulled are now in planters at the side of the house.  Instant garden!  Note bike under repair, it was rescued from a hard rubbish pile and is in pretty good nick.

More captive salad leaves in the kitchen.
Of course, once you see and notice a plant once, it seems to be everywhere.  Here is another patch in Royal Park.

In previous posts like this one, I documented a Melbourne "Flower of the Month" but have been a bit slack on that lately, but I'm reviving the series.  And maybe it should be called weed of the month, as my recent involvement with plants has involved edible weeds including Fennel, and this month's Brassica.  Our ex neighbor was Greek and used to pick edible and cookable weeds and plants from the nearby creekside, and a recently acquired book, The Weed Forager's Handbook has rekindled the foraging weed instinct in me. Anyway, enjoy the pictures, and the book is highly recommended!  Regards

Steve Nurse

My trike and more Brassica plants (at left) Other unknown plants (at right)