Retro Rocket!

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New England weather constrained me to only one completed bike, but I can't say it was a surprise. There's an old Nike missile site near here, but it's closed off and it looks like there's nothing interesting left to take a picture next to, anyway. Now there's another snow storm going, so it looks like I won't get any good location shots.

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Started with this joking sketch and, later, an orphaned bike:

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A couple details along the way:

Nose cone from desk lamp
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Cocktail shaker for rocket nozzle on a wood bulkhead
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The saddle is a Cardiff I got for cheap (a well-made Brooks knock off, but it is EXTREMELY hard—like marble even after some soaking to the underside with baseball glove softener). I stripped the original brown finish and painted it in turquoise leather paint which is a very close match to the frame. I also did the leather grips.
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The bike was a ~1998 Giant Cypress hybrid. The rocket body is a corrugated HDPE drain pipe with Coroplast for the fins. It is internally braced with aluminum strapping to reduce the bending of the body from the weight at the outer ends and a more solid surface to mount things to (The body still has a slight bow to it and the paint is not durable in spite of an involved process, so I will likely remake this body in fiberglass sometime down the road). The fork and headset were changed from threaded to threadless to allow the front brake cable to travel down the inside of the fork since the nose of the rocket would be in the way of the cable swinging in the air. The housing is then held off the tire by an old handlebar light mount and a redundant bracket from something else to a flexible noodle for the V-brake. I'm amazed at how well this actually works—you'd never know it was such a tortured road for the brake housing. The rear brake travels through the rocket body, which makes for much better braking than the original convoluted routing.

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The shifters required the most engineering and re-engineering. The include the switches that activate the lights—starboard for the headlight and rear derailler and port for the tail light and front derailler. They sit on a length of scrap handlebar that runs across the rocket body and each are tensioned with a bolt in a slot on the inside body pulling on the shifters where the shift tube passes through a thumbscrew modified as an eyebolt. The wiring for the switches goes through the shift tubes into extension springs that act to protect the wires and make them look better. The batteries are two 12V li-ion packs within the rocket body under the nose of the seat with the main switches rewired to work with the shifter switches.

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The tip of the nose is a modified chainlink fencepost capital that holds in the end of the nose cone due to friction and can be removed to use the headlight.

The headlight is a repurposed projector light from a 2006 Mazda3 and the tail lights are from a trailer (inside the cocktail shaker) and a truck running light (inside the cocktail measurer)

Here it is lighting the yard (no flash and small-sensor phone camera, so it's actually a lot brighter than it looks here with the fair lack of pixelation as good an indicator as anything else).

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The rocket is attached to the saddle, but in spite of a fair amount of adjustability, it's really small for me to ride (even though the sight of that probably makes it even funnier), so I enlisted a friend. Luckily, we had a decent day with a little time to get this in before the snow or else it would've been a self-made selfie stick with a lousy phone camera on me wearing my faux leather flying cap and goggles both for comic effect and some anonymity for when I likely crashed.





Build threads:

http://www.ratrodbikes.com/forum/index.php?threads/retro-rocket.97561/
http://www.ratrodbikes.com/forum/index.php?threads/retro-rocket.101673/
 
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Should be fixed. FB refused to work. Must be because it's a weekend.
 
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Thanks! Looking forward to seeing peoples' reactions—good and bad.
 

kingfish254

CHECK OUT MY SALE THREAD FOR COOL STUFF!
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This build just SCREAMS fun!!!!!!
And even though it is purposely cartoonish, it is still well executed with some super cool hidden features. Well done to pull that off so nicely.
Love it!
 
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Oh, baby! That is so cool, and so funny! Freud supposedly once said, "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar," so I'm going to say "sometimes a rocket is just a rocket." I'll leave it at that, except to say no "location" photo was needed. Assuming the rider is you, the look on your face says it all - no need to ask "are we having fun yet?"
 
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Thanks, but that's my best friend (who thinks she looks like a dork in that picture while I'm the dork talking in the videos), but aside from the lovely granite-like solidity of the seat leather, she does like the bike (which is good, because it's a potential loaner for her and a couple other friends for rides, but I'm going to have to try to do something to make that saddle more comfortable).

And the representative quality of the rocket is not lost on her, either, but it just adds to the ridiculousness, which makes it more fun. The goofiness of this project is outside the norm from my usual sober stuff and it was a nice change.
 

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