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27.5 Klunker Kat : Komplete!

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A week or so ago there was a discussion that popped up on a thread as to if 27.5 mtb wheels and tires could fit on a 26" cruiser bike. I had a Schwinn Jaguar steel cruiser that was left at the bike shop I work at seasonally, that was given to me after no one claimed it 2 years later. It didn't have any damage, and seemed pretty straight forward, so I towed it home.

As I looked at the bike in the rafters of the shop, I could see that the spacing in the rear triangle was huge! The thinner (and thicker walled, read: heavy) steel chain and seat stays left a ton of room to try what I had theoretically thought possible; put 27.5 wheels and tires in a cruiser frame and turn it into a Klunker, in this case the Klunker Kat (Jaguar).

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I stopped in yesterday and grabbed an empty work stand in the back of the shop, and resourced the wheel and tire combo I had in mind for the rear. The wheel is an Alex MD 35 rim (35 mm I.D.,outside diameter is 40 mm) laced to a 32 hole disc hub. It came as a 7 spd 12-28t , I put a new 8 spd 12-34 t cassette on the new wheel. Wanted the extra 'teeth' for climbing; this will be an off-road klunker through and through!

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That long cage Shimano Acera der will give me the room I need to get to the low gear cogs. Probably could go to a 40t if needed.

The rest of the parts I used to get it started yesterday either came on the bike or I had in my BACK40 bike shed. Since the bike was given to me for free, this is going to be a very economical build, with the wheels and tires eating up almost 90% of the cost. And, with my employee discount, I should have it all in for under $250.

I had this Nitto Torsion Bar on my Surly fat bike back in the day. Great bar, and it fits the stock 25.4 clamping stem that came on the bike.

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The grips are a pair that I picked up a couple years ago at my local shop in Mesa, AZ; 'Two Wheel Jones'. They are a Trek shop as well, and have helped me out with shipping and using some of their tools that I don't have in AZ. The shifter came on the bike, the MRX grip shifter that is designed to work with Shimano derailleurs.

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The cranks are some that I had sitting on my crank shelf in the parts bin. I mounted a BMX 32 t chainring to the 7" (175 mm) crank arms. This will work nicely with the 12-34 cassette for off-road gearing. The pedals are some Bear Trap knock offs I had on the pedal shelf.



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When I sold my Gary Fisher Gemini tandem about 23 yrs ago, I kept the saddles from the bike. These are some of the most comfortable, all leather, saddles I have ever ridden. One went on my Fisher CR7 build three years back, and this one is going on the Klunker Kat.

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The fork was originally on the chrome cruiser I used to build RaTs GaSs in BO 15 last year. I like the nice clean look with no brake bosses, and today I will find out if the same wheel and tire combo will fit in that fork! (already eyed it up on the rear wheel, hopefully we will be good).

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Speaking of brake bosses, I will be grinding off the rear mounts for the linear pull brakes that were stock. I have used these disc brake adapters on two different klunker builds, Mesa Buggie and Desert Sky. They mount on the QR axle and then the clamp goes around the seat stay. They are mild steel, and can be manipulated to get the right angle and adjustment for the caliper and rotor to match up.

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So that's where it stands after Day 1. I have some disc brake kits coming tomorrow, and plan to pick up the wheel and tire for the front today at our shop. Riding by Thursday?

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You can deliver it to my house after the BO. I'll have time for testing then. Extensive testing. I can already tell it will pass. Gonna go brake free up front?
Yep. I only have / had a rear disc brake on both Mesa Buggie and Desert Sky. Shifter on the right, brake on the left.
 
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Got the matching wheel and tire combo for the front this morning. The fork dropout is only 100mm wide, and this axle is 110mm. I've got a wrench spanning and pushing out on the fork to stretch the steel over night.

This hub is a 15mm thru axle, basically a hollow tube 15mm inside diameter. My fork is designed for a bolt on or 9mm quick release hub. I've got a $10 adapter coming that will allow me to insert a QR through the axle and clamp on to the fork dropouts.

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I've nearly finished doing a klunker single speed for a friend that normally takes 26" but tried out a set of 27.5s from a budget full suspension bike it has 40mm rims and 27.5 x 2.5 tyres,its a beast,had to remove 7speed cluster and remove the wide spacer from the axle and going to screw on a single speed cog as the hub is unusually wide,looks pretty cool and there's not much space between tire and frame,I've done a few builds which involves putting larger wheels on,some success and some fails,everyone should give it a go you can be surprised at the difference it makes sometimes
 
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And, we have a rider! I got the "mail order" brakes installed (that's what we called it before on-line, Amazon, ebay, etc) and then took the Klunker Kat for a ride in the woods around Applewood Park across the pond from the BACK40. I need to trim back some of the rear der housing, and I want a longer reach, flatter profile stem to get me forward just about 20 mm more, but that's it.

Favorite part of the test ride was as I approached a couple of hikers, looked like a 50 yr old dad and early college aged son, I called out "Hey guys!" just so they wouldn't be surprised to see me. As they looked up, and sidestepped up the slope above the trail, the dad said,
" You're braver than me." That made me smile. Gray hair and 65 years and I still got it. :grin:

The BlueSunshine BB7 mechanical disc brake works o.k. But I mean, for $31 for a pair of brake kits; cable and housing, caliper, rotor and all the adapters and mounting hardware, you can't go wrong! I won't be risking life and limb on this bike, just some light local trail cruising.

The conversion for the 15mm thru axle to 9 mm QR axle worked great. And I reverted back to my toggle bolt spreader I used on the rear triangle for my '53 Shelby build this summer, to spread the dropouts in the fork another 10 mm and left it for about 48 hrs. This new wheel has what they call 'boost' spacing, wider and with the hollow thru axle provides more rigidity and less lateral flex than traditional mtb fork / wheel combos.

Anyway, I'm calling this done for now. If anyone has a 1" quill mtb stem with a lower rise and about 100 - 120 mm of reach, and a 25.4mm bar clamp, let me know.

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Oh, and while I had the rear wheel out to install the rotor on the hub, I got out my trusty angle grinder and took off the rear brake bosses. At some point I might get them really smooth, if I decide I really like this bike and want to paint it someday. For now, they are out of the way for the tire install, and a cleaner look.


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And another build comes to fruition in the BACK40. This bike building stuff is fun~!

Hope you're having a good one!~

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Cool bike! How is that disc brake adapter holding up? I bought a few on eBay but i found them pretty thin. Do you think it will hold with hydraulic brakes?
I have had two previously, been satisfied with the performance. Not sure on yhe hydros.
 
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@OddJob Just waiting for ss cog and attach the brakes, Giant frame, generic wheels and tyres, surly bars, GT stem, wtb seat, truv cranks,motsuv 32T narrow wide chainring,my friend wanted an ss klunker to hit the trails but may just be used as a fun cruiser because the wheels are generic they prolly won't handle a sweet DH run for very long,but at least my friend knows it will work so if we get a proper set of wheels it will work, tyres are half flat so not as big looking as they can get
 

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Joined
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@OddJob Just waiting for ss cog and attach the brakes, Giant frame, generic wheels and tyres, surly bars, GT stem, wtb seat, truv cranks,motsuv 32T narrow wide chainring,my friend wanted an ss klunker to hit the trails but may just be used as a fun cruiser because the wheels are generic they prolly won't handle a sweet DH run for very long,but at least my friend knows it will work so if we get a proper set of wheels it will work, tyres are half flat so not as big looking as they can get
Dig it!
 

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