News and Events

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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Building a New Bike, Part 10

Graham Signiorini and his Rans X-stream

Saturday was spent putting a corflute tailbox on the bike.  During the day I built the base which is one relatively thick and strong piece of 5mm corflute sheet and the nightshift (about 9 - 11.30) was spent building up the side walls.  No lid on the corflute tailbox at this stage.  There was a ride the next day so I was more or less ready for that.

John Kuljis and Graham Signiorini
  So the next day at a bit past 9 O'clock I am on my bike and heading over to the start of the VicHpv ride which starts at East Malvern station.  The bike goes well but it needs a mirror - and some of the unpadded seat bolts are ripping the arse out of my bike shorts!  I get to the station on time and there are a few familiar faces, Robert Waryszak, Graham Signiorini, John Kuljis and Allan Ball.  Graham has a Rans Xstream which has a layout a lot like mine and we put the bikes side by side to compare them.

  After a bit of a chat the ride group headed off.  I had no intention of going on the full ride and neither did John Kuljis but we managed to lose the rest of the ride group quite promptly and enjoyed a short ride together along the Gardiner's creek trail.  On the way home I stopped at an Aldi store and was able to fit a slab of beer into the bike.  Not sure if my current bike can do this but I'm very pleased with this result on the new bike.  When I got home, one of our neighbours was helping her daughter to weed our garden.  Apparently their chooks love to eat weeds and they were in our place to collect some!  All for now.
The beer pickup on the way home.
Our Wonderful Neighbours (beer in back of bike)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Steve's seed Starter (Minimalist Greenhouse)

Cadel with rear wheel disk in a time trial

UCI rules do not apply! My home-made wheel disk.
Steve’s Seed Starter (Minimalist Greenhouse)

Well this blog post rambles on a bit and the topic may seem to have nothing at all to do with the initial photos or text but bear with me.  As Lesley Gore famously sang, it's my "blog and I'll write what I want to".  Or maybe it was something to do with parties and crying. Ok, just bear with me.
Last Sunday I took my recumbent bike for a ride down to Mordialloc. The bike was going quite well and I was able to drag several expensive road bikes off at the lights and stay ahead of them for several kilometres. (You can’t touch the national shopping race champion!). I met Robert Waryszak near Mordialloc station and he and a small group were heading off on a VicHpv ride. Amongst them was Andrew who had a home made trike and a few others I’ve seen now and then on rides.
The route took us around the back blocks of Mordialloc, Aspendale and Carrum along the not-very-exciting-sounding secondary drain trail. At Carrum I said goodbye to the others on the ride and started heading back home. Had a puncture along Station Street and decided to catch the train home. Some of the ride down had been spent thinking about my new bike ¾ finished at home. One part of the bike I wanted to work on was a wheel disk for the back wheel, which is a 20” size and is quick release. A wheel disk is the shape of a shallow cone and covers the spokes of a bike wheel to reduce drag. At significant speeds, air gets “tangled” in the spokes and a disk wheel eliminates this complex air path and lets the wheel and therefore the bike, go smoother and faster through the air.

A couple of techniques and ideas for the disc came to mind:
  • The disc often covers the tyre valve and you usually have to accommodate access to the valve in the disc design. But my wheel is quick release – why not take off the wheel and one side of the disc when you want to pump up the tyre – it doesn’t happen that often.
  • This would then open the way for a simple piece of plastic to be used as the disc – something like a flat sheet could be changed to a shallow cone shape, and fibreglass could be used to stiffen and hold the cone in its correct shape.

So, got the train home and I wasn’t completely knackered as I would have been had I ridden all the way. Had enough energy left to do some gardening for my wife, Christine when I got home and this included raising some pots off the ground to make them more accessible. Later in the afternoon I drove to Kmart and Bunnings, I bought some seedlings at Kmart and some plastic sheet for the bike building at Bunnings. The plastic sheet from Bunnings is clear, 0.8mm thick flexible sheet and the aim was to make some wheel discs out of it. The seedlings are planted in the late afternoon.

Now I’m not sure when I thought of it but at some stage I realised that something like a wheel disc could be used as a mini greenhouse, and the plastic material in the back of my car could be used to make some samples. I slept on it and in the workday morning expounded to Christine on the subject, tearing up a tissue box and making a small demonstration model in the process.

Anyway, at the end of the workday and after dinner when Christine has settled down to watch a video of “Cabaret” on the TV I am cutting up bits of plastic for prototypes of “Steve’s Seed Starter”, the minimalist Greenhouse. A bit of drilling and hole sawing and more cutting and the samples are done! Christine is left with instructions to give one away to our good friend Ermi, the next day.

So that is it, from idea to sample in a day or two. It might be a crap idea and someone might have thought of it before but at least its mine. I will report on progress later – maybe some more samples will be made, and I intend to try growing some seeds under Steve’s superb sustainable seed starter and report on results, be they crap or otherwise. All for now, except the photos.
Seed Starters in Action
Next stop is the Chelsea Flower Show

This is it, a plastic sheet cut to humidify and warm seedings, Steve's Seed Starter. The conical shape and hole in the centre lets rainwater in to the pot.

Clipping the holes together forces the sheet into a shallow conical shape.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Building a New Bike, Part 9


Some progress over the weekend.  I hooked up the second of the bike's brakes and replaced the aluminium stem (which was several types of wobbly all at once) with a brazed-in steel version.  Much better and neater than before.

The inner trouser guard was rubbing badly on the chain pins in low gear and these left marks on the trouser guard.  With a bit of grinding I put a chamfer and radius into the guard.  Works much better now.

I started work on the back of the seat, I've been formulating plans for the rest of the bike for a while and the milling work I've done will help make the corflute on the back more aerodynamic.  A couple of blocks of  wood on the back will let me hook up a load carrying platform.  More on this later.

The machine is becoming useable now and after a rainy morning (on the day after Cadel Evans was within a whisker of winning the Tour de France) I headed off in to the city to see a Design exhibition at the Exhibition buildings.  There were a few bikes and bike related objects on display so I took a few photos: unlike last time I'd ventured out with a digital camera I remembered the sd card / film. So here is one of my bike's long lost cousins at the "Treadlie Home Made Bike Show".  There are a few more photos from this bike show here.  My friend Jeremy Lawrence was at the bike show and I rode a round - about way home with him, city, to Clifton Hill via Richmond.   Bike goes well but there is a noticable pedal-steer in the low gear range. Till next time....

Steve Nurse.    

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Building a new Bike Part 8


Today was spent brazing on the derailleur hanger, making up the stem and steerer for the bike and testing, then finding a gear changer and a brake lever, then more testing. So now I have a bike with 14 gears. The Schlumpf works! I found a website for the Suntour V-luxe Derailleur! The gears only make horrible clunky noises in the biggest gears! The brake cables only scrape the cranks when I go round corners! In short, I have used up my quota of exclamation marks for the day, and I think I can fix the problems with the bike. All for now.

Steve Nurse

Friday, July 15, 2011

Building a New bike Part 7

June 15 2011
Quite a bit of progress today, I've finished off the seat and it's securely attached to the bike, set up a derailleur (suntour v-lux chosen as much for its style as for its weight or anything else), modified a tool and used it to tighten the Schlumpf gear and set up the back wheel. Should be ready to do a blocky or two tomorrow. There is "only" the steerer and a few controls to go to get it on the road although there is a lot more to be done to get it into its final shape. In the 3rd photo you can see the (surfing) legrope ankle strap I use to attach the seat to the main tube.

All for now.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Building a new bike, part 6

Finally I've started on the seat. I used the plans to make a full scale (2 x A3 pages) drawing of the main seat frame tubes. This took a couple of goes, the first plot wasn't to scale so I had to rescale the border and replot. Tonight I bent up the tubes, heating them with an oxy-acetylene set to red hot and confining the walls before bending. As well, the tubes were drilled in a few spots, these holes are pilot holes for the "ladder rungs" that will be the main structure of the frame. Still some brazing, drilling and carpentry on the seat to go!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Building a new bike part 5


For the last few nights I have done some work getting ready to make the seat frame. This
will mostly be made from 12.7mm chromolly tube and will have 2 main support areas: it sits either
side of the main tube and is clamped in a seat clamp on 2 cantilever posts at the back.

A 2d cad sketch was used to work out the spacing of the seat frame rails. I find some bits of 40mm SHS and will be able to use that as seat jigging.

The spacing of the seat frame rails is set by the way the tubes will sit either side of the main tube and I will adjust the spacing at the seat post clamp using washers. So I make a few washers using a holesaw to cut bits out of a plastic tool caddy I'm no longer using. I think it was a sample from an engineering exhibition or something. These washers might come in useful in the suspension assembly as well.

One of the photos shows the finished, custom seat clamp with the frame tubes they will carry in place. I have brazed an 8mm tee nut into one of the plates, eventually this assembly will be able to be tightened by hand and it requires a captive nut on one side. Can't get much more captive than this! Quite pleased with progress, will be able to start on the seat itself now.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Building a new bike, Part 4

A wet and wintry day in Melbourne and a day spent mostly around home except for a small excursion or two on the bike. My son Ewan was home and he helped me a bit with the bike building, he was temporarily employed as a human vice grip, holding some parts in place with pliers while I welded.

So today's progress has been good and I "only" have the seat and steering and corflute box left to do.

* Brazed V - brake bosses on behind the front fork.
* Bought a 14-28t cluster for the front and ordered a tyre for the back.
* Very happy with the way the mini v-brakes fit on. Cabling will be very minimalist and I still have quite good (15mm or so) clearances from the brakes to the front wheel. Front wheel can be standard 700c with no special hub for disc brake: as light and as aero as you wanna go!
* Also happy with the suspension and top seat clamp arrangement, on my current bike, its a mess with lots of extra and unnecessary parts.

All for now, on the road within 2 weeks, all going well.


Steve Nurse

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Building a new Bike Part 3

Hi It's Saturday today and I've made quite a lot of progress on the bike. The mini-v brakes arrived during the week and that let me set up the steerer tube and bottom bracket shell one night last week. Last time I wrote, I'd just started on the rear triangle: after several hours today, that is all complete. The work involves cutting tubes of chromoly steel and brazing them together. As well the holes in the precut laser parts needed a bit of enlarging to fit tubes at odd angles. I made about 20 "suspension blocks" from old bicycle tubes and these seem to do a good job as a suspension block.

Before starting on the suspension blocks, I made a wad punch for putting the hole in the centre of the blocks. This is a piece of chromolly tube with the wall made very thin and sharp all the way round. To make the blocks, you find an old bike tube, then cut square lengths, wad punch a hole through and finally cut a small triangle off each of the corners. I'll try to get a better photo of the suspension later. For the monent I'm very pleased, way lighter and simpler than the arrangement on my current bike.

All for Now!