Downtown Red Rat Ross

Discussion in 'BUILD OFF 2 BIKES' started by NLCTVWguy, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator

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    Red Rat Ross gets some pedals

    In keeping with the BMW theme, I wanted to do some things that would make you look twice.

    BMW's are almost all flat-twin engines. They're air cooled, horizontally opposed engines, a lot like old Volkswagens, which you can guess I'm also familiar with... a bit too intimately for the last, oh, 23 years or so.

    So what do you see on a BMW? The cylinders stick out the sides! What sticks out the sides of a bike? The pedals! I need pedals that look like cylinders!

    I had a couple of old VW cylinders hanging around gathering rust, leftovers from blown up projects. I also have access to a great big bandsaw at work. :D Sounds like a plan! Well, easier said than done... turns out that cutting a thin-wall casting like a cast iron cylinder is tricky. The thin fins are brittle and like to snap off once the blade bears down on them too much. There was a lot of grinding, crunching, and PLINK noises from the saw. Even on the finest cut I could manage, there were still fins broken off.

    However, I did eventually manage to achieve a couple things: I cut a flat into one side of the fins, that matches the flat cast into each cylinder. Once it started cutting, this went well and turned out a nicely finished piece. Then, I cut each flat section away from the rest of the cylinder, cutting a cross section or about 1/3 of the cylinder off on each side. More PLINKing and many more broken fins, including one domino-effect event that took out 7 or 8 at once! But it did cut off and I eventually had two flat finned pieces, and two little throwaway segments.

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    I wasn't sure how they would turn out when mounted to pedals. I found a really bent, rusty pair of junk pedals that didn't match, but were a left and a right. I cut the through-bolts and removed the end cap and pedal blocks. They basically fell apart leaving me just a spindle and the back piece of metal.

    The heat on the welder had to be just right to weld a thick casting to the thin pedal metal.

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    The finished pieces do turn, a bit unhappily but they didn't really have good bearings to begin with. They tend to flip over but surprisingly will stay put once you place them flat. You want to wear boots when riding this bike!

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    There's lots more to come!! Stay tuned!

    --=={{Rob}}==--
     
  2. VicXsaN

    VicXsaN

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    cool pedals! crazy idea! remember that the deadline is on friday!
     
  3. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator

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    Handlebars and forks

    I wanted to make something that looked like the front of a motorcycle. BMW didn't use a modern triple-tree design back then, but had a sheetmetal version of something similar.

    I wanted to retain the original Ross forks because I thought they looked good. I just wanted something to come up parallel to them to look like a springer or a big fat motorcycle fork.

    We had an old Columbia fork, and cut off pieces of fork tubes from some older bike, maybe a Western Flyer.

    The two sets of tubes were mated together and welded end to end to form a gentle S curve. The end result was bolted into the fork inboard of the regular forks, taking up empty space left by the wheelset I was using.

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    The end of the small tubes were ground off to create a rounded tip and a unique look. I thought I could make them reach to the handlebars but they ended up slightly uneven, and we decided a conventional stem arrangement would be better.

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    The headlight bracket just kind of appeared at the right time in the build. It got welded on over the seam in the fork, and the fork was welded to the front of the original forks.

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    The parts were masked off for painting. I wanted to keep the edges of the headlight bracket chrome and the middle part black.

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    For handlebars, I found a set of Wald bars that are like a Schwinn cruiser setup, but more square. I really like their profile, upside down or right side up. The stem came from one of my Schwinn Collegiates, a very small-frame model. Turns out it will drop all the way down into the long Ross fork tube.

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    For grips, I found an old pair of black short grips. They have that vintage look.

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    BMW's use bar-end levers, reverse from everyone else's. I figure no one will object to some Weinmanns. I cut the grips so they form a hollow part and a cap end. They were heated in hot water and slipped on.

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    The finished assembly:

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    More to come, comments welcome!

    --Rob
     
  4. Manny Moons

    Manny Moons

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    wish I had a welder. Lots of possibilities when you bring that into the equation. Few more days left!!!
     
  5. CCR

    CCR Mouth-Breather Moderator

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    you have been busy.

    im still waitin for a clue on the double chainring tho :shock:
     
  6. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator

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    Progress and pain

    To allay any fears, the double chainring idea was strictly for looks. I hadn't seen it done before, and I was just looking for something a bit different. Looks dangerous, for sure. Watch your pant legs! It also goes along with the motorcycle theme- the idea of seeing mechanical parts moving, out in the open. BMW actually did a fantastic job of hiding just about everything, but the engine cases and cylinders are very visible from the sides. You can call it artistic license or just plain ol' crazy, it's ok with me.

    It also has a lot to do with the fact that I picked up another one of these Ross girl's frames for free at a swap meet in August. Someone literally came up to me and said "you have to take this home". It had a Columbia chainguard on it and a spraypainted seat but I did throw it in my pile. The sprocket was identical to the one originally on this Ross. It's just held on by the outer nut of the crank and doesn't interfere with anything.

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    OK so where are we in the build... The bike came home from the welding shop, literally around the corner from my house. Volvo wagons are best described as cavernous... That's my daily driver with 282K on it.

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    The bike immediately got stripped down. The tank came off, was masked off to preserve the cool little white silkscreen dots on the side. This tank is from a Columbia convertible boys/girls bike. It's the top bar and it splits into two pieces. A pretty cool idea! I have another one, in blue/green, if anyone is looking for one. I'm a sucker for red so saved the stamped teardrop down the sides.

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    The paint is Dupli-Color DA1603 semi-gloss black. Great paint, dries fast and no runs unless you really screw up. My asbestos-filled furnace room is a perfect paint booth. It is ventilated by both an outside-air inlet duct and the chimney draft from basement to 3rd floor.

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    Some other details I came up with, and parts from my big parts-bin collection... The BMWs use fender stays on some models which wrap around the fender on the outside. I decided to try to set this up on my fenders. This 20" front was a rear from a full-fendered model, unknown brand. It had some curious indentations in it from the factory, and the back edge was painted white, perhaps to match an original bike or maybe just for fun. Several of the fenders I have were hand-painted like this.

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    I know I've jumped around a little in time, but here's the way it looked built up.

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    The fender is a good fit over the 20x1.75 tire, giving an even overhang and the heavy look of the original bikes.
    For a rear fender, I had one hanging around, literally, for years. It was from my first bike, also a Ross, a bike I converted into a BMX bike back in about 1980 when I was 11. I took the fenders off and stashed them under my dad's porch. They were still there last year when he started cleaning the house out to move. Ross' chrome is great, nearly as good as Schwinn, and I could have cleaned these guys up, but instead scuffed it and painted it black. I mad no attempt to press out any dents. If they've been in the metal this long, they can stay there.

    [​IMG]



    More coming soon! The build has gone faster than I can post all this stuff!

    --=={{Rob}}==--
     
  7. VicXsaN

    VicXsaN

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    that fork is looking killer! Can't wait to see it on the bike so you get a good picture of it! :D
     
  8. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator

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    Couple details of paint and assembly. At this point, things started to go very quickly, and I probably missed a few steps with the camera.

    The boiling water shot, by the way, was a little tribute to ClothesPin'ns kitchen! :? The bar pictures were also on my commandeered kitchen table. The only rule here is, no bikes in the kitchen, so we kinda broke that one. My wife is very understanding!

    Here's how the fork turned out. Sadly, the headlight seems to have a really rusty ground strap welded in place from the battery box. I haven't yet gotten it to work, which is a shame because it has a cool Hi-Lo-Off switch.

    [​IMG]


    The add-on forks had this band of reflective tape at the bottom, so I saved a bit of that when masking off. It's kind of an interesting look for the bike. Also, the fender had a white end at the little ducktail. I saved a triangle of that to give it that classic bike look.

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    Both wheels take some pushing and shoving to get into place, and then when you add in fender stays, you start all over again. With it together finally, it's very striking in its look and stance.

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    The rear takes a little care to align, because the dropouts are angled oddly, but once it's in its sweet spot, it just pops into perfect alignment.

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    Lengthened a part-bin chain only 2 links to make a perfect fit. Must have been a chain from a BIG bike. The chainline is nearly as perfect as you could ask for. Low low gears on this baby, 36t front and 20t rear. You can also see how cool of a color the original red metallic was. Very different from Schwinn's red.

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    Here's the first view of the bike coming together. Seatpost wasn't done yet.

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    More to come soon, haven't had time to post all the pics yet! Some details I'm finishing up, and I get new ideas for it all the time! I will say this: that Komet coasterbrake could really be a whole lot tighter!

    --=={{Rob}}==--
     
  9. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator

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    I'm jumping ahead to some finished pics. I've got a few more details to show and to describe. There are also a few things to add to the bike, some emblems and some cool little tricks I have in mind.


    Here's the bike out in the sun for the first time:

    [​IMG]


    That's my front porch. The house just got painted Red Sox colors... thanks Benjamin Moore! They have a paint selection that includes the official team colors. Dark blue body, bright white trim, a bright red for doors and railings (the paint is called Poppy- bad pun!) and "Pesky Pole Yellow" as an accent color. It's the brightest house on the block and of course enabled the Red Sox to win the World Series!

    [​IMG]


    You can see the headlight and fork details as well as the drop handlebars and bar-end brake levers. I reall should come up with a killer cable job for those.

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    The bar ends actually contact the tank almost exactly the same time as the upper fork ends touch at the front.

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    Here the bike hits the street for the first time. The double chainring gives it the same look from either side!

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    It casts a pretty mean shadow!

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    Another shot of the front:

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    Kickstand? We don't need no steenking kickstand!

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    The rider's eye view. I went through 6 seats trying to find hardware and a good look that would work. Still want to do more with it but this is functional and has a nice vintage look.

    [​IMG]


    Enjoy the pics, comments welcome! Once a few details are done, it will be over in the Finished section.

    --=={{Rob}}==--
     
  10. cman

    cman Moderator

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    Nice job. That is very unique with lots of cool details backed by good information.
     
  11. VicXsaN

    VicXsaN

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    It turned out nice! I would like that seat on my BMW bike! Wonder which beemer will get the most votes?! :mrgreen:
     
  12. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator

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    The bike's finally done, though I think this is one that will never truly be finished.

    I have so many ideas in my head, I can hardly execute them and still find time to take pics and post them up.

    There were a couple loose ends left, and a real issue with the seat post mount that I fabricated. I thought a bolt-together type would work nicely, and I did eventually get it to work, but my original idea simply didn't work out. I thought the top of the frame tube spacing would work out equal to the outside of the bars under a middleweight saddle. If this had worked, I would have been home free, and my seat would have been clamped flat on the top of the frame extension.

    I ended up with a conventional seat post and clamp, sitting on top of another clamp spread open to hold the seat post, and clamped to the frame tubes. This wasn't stiff enough for real people to ride it. A new idea was needed.

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    A big metal yoke that came from a junk forklift at work seemed to be about the right size.

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    A junkpile BMX / mini-mountain bike gave of itself to support the final stage of the project. We carved the top of the seat post out of it....

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    And welded it to the yoke. Nice heavy cast-iron pieces!

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    The yoke was welded into the top tubes of the rear frame. It went really well once we gave up trying to clamp it in place and just held it till it was tacked. That stings!

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    Finish welding done up the side of both frame tubes and across the old caliper brake bridge. Again, I can't understand how the crappy brazing kept the original bike together.

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    The bottom of the seat tube was cut off at an angle to look dangerous and interesting. The seat post was cut to match.

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    The parts were painted in place. Love that Dupli-color paint!

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    The bike was reassembled, along with straightening out some rear fender-stay issues that allowed too much movement.

    [​IMG]


    The tank received its BMW emblems, and was tightened up.

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    Another emblem for the head badge. If you look close, it now says BMW - NEW YORK as a bit of the original Ross- CBC New York badge shows under it.

    [​IMG]

    Another little item from my childhood (I've spent part of this week cleaning out my dad's house, the house I grew up in, as he is selling it to move to Florida) I found these little cast metal bombs that I got from some novelty shop 30 years ago. My dad never threw anything out, and I couldn't believe it when I found them. They're fitted tightly into the tops of the old fork tubes.

    The finished bike pics will be posted over in the Finished forum shortly.

    --=={{Rob}}==--
     
  13. sensor

    sensor

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    wow! dont know how i missed this one...........great looking bike and great ideas!
     
  14. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator

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    I need shorter knees I think!

    The bike has been out on the road but good pictures of the finished product will have to wait for tomorrow.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Hmm extra points for an original Rat Rod shirt?


    We were flying up and down the street in the dark...

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    It's short but lots of fun and actually handles just fine. The pedals have a few new scrapes though...

    --=={{Rob}}==--
     
  15. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator

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    The Ross Rat is done. It went for a ride in our beautiful waterfront park today.

    [​IMG]


    It's slow-n-low but rides like a dream.

    [​IMG]



    This was a fun build, and everyone around me got into it. They totally get it!

    The finished bike is beautiful and sleek, capturing both the smooth curves and the businesslike machinery of the classic BMW motorcycles I modeled it after.

    [​IMG]


    It's been a great time! I really want to thank Steve for putting this site together and getting everyone excited about these crazy pieces of machinery. Hats off, you've done a great job taking this hobby to the level that the whole world can enjoy it!

    I've met a lot of cool people through this site and hope to keep doing so. Contests like this always amaze me- the things you guys came up with are incredible. I'm even impressed by some of the things that *I* came up with, inspired by this whole event.

    Take care all and may the best bike win!

    --Rob
     
  16. Boneshaker

    Boneshaker

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    I just want to say that despite the vote tally, this is one of the best looking bikes in the buildoff, period. I would LOVE to own a 26" version!!!
     
  17. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator

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    Hey thanks man! It was a real fun build. I liked how it came out, the whole low down look.

    I'm going to have to keep my eyes open for a similar bike to make a larger version, because I like it too, it's just a bit short for me.

    I think it's going to get the seat raised and pushed even farther rearward, and the bars flipped back up to the upright position so it can get a little fresh air.

    The more I look at it, especially the profile, the more I love the teardrop tank. That thing really made the look of this bike, just transformed it, if you go back and look at the first pictures of the frame.

    It's going to get both some pinstripe work on the fenders and some paint accents along the fender edges and tank sides, to kind of emulate the BMW's it's modeled after.

    And I gotta get that big ol' headlight working. It's just not right for it to be unusable.

    For now, it's hanging out with my Schwinns in the living room... scaring the crap out of them!

    --Rob
     
  18. cman

    cman Moderator

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    HAHAHHAHA :lol: :lol:
     
  19. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator

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    Here's the Downtown Rat, hanging out in the living room:

    [​IMG]


    The nice little Schwinns were all looking nervous, thinking "Keep those pedals away from my chainguard!"

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    It's good to shake things up a little!

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    Congrats to the winners in the build-off, but really, there were no losers in this one! Everyone had a whole lotta fun building and watching the other's progress.

    Happy holidays all,
    --Rob
     
  20. TheFlyingDingo

    TheFlyingDingo

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    Love those tin cans
     

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