Back to the Future: The Café-Scrambler

Jul 8, 2008
15
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I know, I know… this is a late entry, but I should be able to fit a bike project into my already busy schedule. I came across this web site, quite by accident (less than a week ago). I saw the “RAT ROD BIKE BUILD OFF 3” and after a few days of deep thought, I am going to enter.


Here it is (after disassembly and I had cut off the braze-ons).

The Official Name of the Bike: “Back to the Future: The Café-Scrambler.” You will figure out the name if you read on.

The Objective: I want to build a bike from fairly modern parts, but have the underlying look of a classic. Because I live in the foothills of Appalachia, and ride on gravel country roads, it has to have strong brakes, off-road tires, and fenders. I want it to have the combined look of the early Café Racer and Scrambler motorcycles. To keep the costs down, I want to use parts that came with the bike, that I have in may garage, used/thrift store finds, or sale items to complete the build.

The Frame and Forks: Late 80’s Diamond Back mountain bike, Chinese-built. I will shave off all of the cable guides and other extraneous braze-ons and do a complete “rattle-can” paint job.

The Components: I will convert the six-cog freewheel into a single gear, by use of a chain tensioner and single gear kit. I will modify the three-chainwheel cranks into a single. I will use V-brake style cantilevers for the brakes. I will add fenders, and if I find a decent one in time, a rear rack.

The History of the Bike: I work in a small college town and got the bike for free--from the garbage outside of a fraternity house. I asked one of the frat bros if I could take it from the trash and he said: “What bike? That motorcycle?” (There was a Kawasaki Ninja parked by the trash). I told him no, the mountain bike. And he said: “Oh… yah, man, you can have that... I thought that you meant my buddy’s Ninja.”

The front wheel was badly “tacoed” and the cranks had spun out of the bottom bracket, and were frozen against the chainstay. It was muddy, both tires were flat, and the chain was rusted solid. And I have to say it was one ugly bike.

I took the bike apart. Took both wheels to my LBS, and for a paltry sum of eleven bucks, both wheels were trued. The owner of the shop said that he was amazed that the wheels came out so arrow-straight. So was I.

I scored a set of “Planet Bike” ABS plastic fenders on sale at another LBS. They have a few minor scratches but I am sure I can buff them out by using 1200 grit sandpaper and plastic polish. And from another bike shop, I got more “sale/scratch and dent items”: an ugly seat (but usable), taller seat post, and aluminum "rise" handlebars. That evening, I ordered single gear kit (also on sale).

Last week, I got my Dremel, hacksaw, and file set out and commenced to remove the braze-ons. After an hour or so of racket, I was done. I came inside, took a shower, cracked open a beer, and did a few searches on the Internet for he word “Colson” (I scored a ladies Colson at a yard sale for nine bucks a while back and have been wanting to ID it). That’s when I came across the ratrodbikes.com website.

Now you know the story. I will get back to work on it this evening, and put up some pictures. The clock is-a-ticking: Midnight, August 31, 2008...
Wish me luck!
 
Jul 8, 2008
15
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Here's an update:


The rims after I got them trued. Those tires look weak!


1st mock-up with some of the parts and the black wheels off of one of my MTB's. The seat is not right!


After some grinding...


Front view of 1st Mock-up
 

CCR

Mouth-Breather
Moderator
Mar 9, 2007
8,107
293
Southern Illinois
nice start !!! are you goin with a black and stainless look :!: :?: and a flux capacitor :!: :!: :!: and capable of 88 mph :shock:

guess i'll have to wait to find out :wink:
 
Jul 8, 2008
15
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CCR said:
nice start !!! are you goin with a black and stainless look :!: :?: and a flux capacitor :!: :!: :!: and capable of 88 mph :shock:

guess i'll have to wait to find out :wink:
1.21 gigawatts? 1.21 gigawatts? Great Scott! No... it's going to be more "George McFly."
 
Jul 8, 2008
15
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Here's another update:

As I was planning, I decided to steal the Panaracer 2.10 MTB tires from one of my mountain bikes. I have been wanting to make that MTB bike more of a commuter/"bike trail" bike anyhow. So the Kenda hybrid slicks go on that. I got some orange paint and some clear. Overall, I like the orange test that I did. I was thinking about bobbing the fenders, but I am digging the full fenders and big knobbies. And the leather seat makes things look way better.


I found a "Speedic" leather seat fo' three bucks at one of the local thrift stores! Is it a sign from the customizing gods?


I picked up a few DIY supplies and some cheap tubes at a local discount store


2nd mock-up (with the new seat and the silver wheels with fat knobbies). Looks better! That's Zoe the Jack Russell looking in the upper left.


A quick blast of the orange paint. Hmmm... it's not the Chevy engine orange that I had in my mind's eye, but I still like it. Zoe seems alarmed.
 
Feb 1, 2008
228
7
West Virginia
If you prime with the gray primer I see there in your pic, it'll lighten it up some too. I'm diggin't the full fenders too. You've got an interesting bike coming along there.
 
Jul 8, 2008
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sking1973 said:
If you prime with the gray primer I see there in your pic, it'll lighten it up some too. I'm diggin't the full fenders too. You've got an interesting bike coming along there.
I will do a another quick test (before sanding). I'll do a white base-coat if it is not bright enough. Thank you everyone for the tips and kind words of encouragement.
 
Jul 8, 2008
15
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I FINALLY got to work on my bike this morning!


Here's the single speed kit that I got to replace the rear derailleur and 7-speed cassette freehub.


The "Before" picture of the freehub.


Out comes the chain whip and the cassette tool...


Look Ma, no freewheel!


The "After" picture of the freehub single gear conversion and tensioner. I might put a little red paint in the cracks between the spacers (for the red stripe hub look)


I decided to do a poor-man's "Brooks Proofihide" recondition. Yes, that is cooking spray. A few coats inside and out, left to bake in the 95 degree sun.


I got the clear shoe polish and brushes out, and also "AquaSeal" that I use on my hiking boots. A quick buff, and it looks a bit better.
 
Jul 8, 2008
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I was out of town for a while. Now I might get a few hours (here and there) to work on things. I picked up a stripper, er, um, I mean a can of stripper. I also stopped by my LFS to get a bearing for the bottom bracket. ...Now back to work!


I have painted bolts like this forever. Punch a few holes in some cardboard and paint away!


Old bearing cage -- New bearing cage. This was the reason for the bike being in the trash.


Let the awful job of stripping begin.
 
Jul 8, 2008
15
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The fork has been stripped, sanded, primed, and the base coat applied. I think I like orange.