Silver King Unchained: BELT DRIVE....What a ride~!

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OddJob

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This will be my 8th Annual RRB BO entry. And I will be combining two bike models that I have never previously used in a build. Here’s a little back story on how it all began….

Last August, I got a message from our brother @kingfish254, asking if I would be able to help him out on picking up and shipping a bike he was purchasing from another vintage bike enthusiast, who happened to live in our Twin Cities metro area. It turned out that, in our metro area of 7 counties and 182 communities and around 3000 sq miles; the seller lived a mere 6 miles from me! In the same community even. Wild stuff.

Kingfish and I made arrangements over the phone with the guy to meet him, and after ironing out some of the details, I was soon standing in front of an ‘80s pickup in a narrow driveway with a blacked out windowed single car garage right behind him. We made small talk, found out we had a lot in common when it came to bikes, and he unbolted the padlocked door and I raised it, squeaking and groaning as it lifted. (and that was just my knees!)

My first goal was to extricate the Electra Rockabilly Boogy bike that KF had purchased. It was a little hard to focus, as the garage was jam-packed with bikes from every era ‘30s – late ‘90s, wheels , parts, and the heavy odor of ‘cool factor’ throughout. I grabbed the Rockabilly, and on my way out, spotted two bikes that really caught my eye. Here’s a short video I made, and had sent to KF that day to show him I had been successful, and that I had ‘picked up a little something’ for myself as well.



I will be pulling the wheels and tires from the Felt bike and using them to build up the Hawthorne Silver King as a bare metal ‘hot rod’ bike; with a twist….

The basis for my build, a 1936 Wards Hawthorne Silver King frame.

Day 1 post 3.jpg


And the wheels and tires from this Felt Flying Machine, and maybe one or two other parts.

Day 1 post 2.jpg



And as always, an inspirational shot of the 'bare metal hot rod' idea. This is the vibe / look I have in my mind.

Day 1 post 4.png


Stay tuned! And…..RaT oN~!
 

GuitarlCarl

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I like them Silver King's, I had one for a minute, but it was too small for me so I passed it down the line. Good luck, they're real fun to work on...

Carl
 

kingfish254

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Silver Kings are always cool. It was cool that you and 5speed were basically around the corner from each other and didn't even know it.
Looking forward to you performing "Unchained Melody" on the Back40.
 

OddJob

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Last Fall, after I had the two picked bikes in the BACK40, I began to research and plan for this year's RRB BO 17.

There are many unique features on the Silver King frame. Because it's not welded steel tubes like we typically find on vintage bikes of that era, different construction methods were used in it's creation. Basically, the frame is made up of 4 aluminum 'tubes', joined together by 3 cast aluminum parts with lugs, where the tubes are inserted and connected by an adhesion process. (glue) Update to the preceding statement: I have been told by KF that there is actually a pressured wedge that bonds the tubes into the cast lugs, not an adhesive. See his comments following this post for more info.

Here is a little chart and diagram to explain:

A: Top tube
B: Straight bar tube
C: Down tube
D: Seat tube

1: Head cast junction lug
2: Seat cast junction lug and seat stay
3: Bottom bracket cast junction lug and chain stay

SKU cast alum parts.jpg


And a better view of the bottom bracket chain stay lug cast piece.


SKU part 3 alum cast.jpg



There is one more 'connection' on the bike, that is also very unique to bicycles in general, much less one that was produced 86 years ago. And that is what is sometimes referred to as a 'split' rear triangle. Meaning, the rear triangle shaped part of the frame made up of the seat tube, seat stay, and chain stay, are not bonded together either by a weld or some other process. They are mechanically connected, in the case of the Silver King, by a bolt and nut passing through the upper seat stay and the lower chain stay just above the sliding rear dropout.

242500593_1280710845707807_1260595589105694589_n.jpg


This process was used I'm sure, to make for an easier junction for the flat stays to be joined, while still maintaining a sliding horizontal drop out which was typical of that era. A larger lugged and cast connection would may not have had the accessibility that the flat stayed / bolted one provides.

It is this unique part of the frame that stimulated my idea for the Silver King 'Unchained' build.........
 
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kingfish254

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Last Fall, after I had the two picked bikes in the BACK40, I began to research and plan for this year's RRB BO 17.

There are many unique features on the Silver King frame. Because it's not welded steel tubes like we typically find on vintage bikes of that era, different construction methods were used in it's creation. Basically, the frame is made up of 4 aluminum 'tubes', joined together by 3 cast aluminum parts with lugs, where the tubes are inserted and connected by an adhesion process. (glue)

These duralium (an aluminum alloy) frames are super cool. The joint constuction between the frame tubes and the cast sections isn't done with an adhesion of glue process though. There is a special wedge insert they used inside the tubes. It is somewhat described in this article. I think there is a patent drawing of the joint out there too.

1651497831299.png
 

kingfish254

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Did not know that ^. So it's really 'mechanically' joined with that wedge and pressure. Interesting.

That is part of what makes repairing these frames a big challenge.
 
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This will be my 8th Annual RRB BO entry. And I will be combining two bike models that I have never previously used in a build. Here’s a little back story on how it all began….

Last August, I got a message from our brother @kingfish254, asking if I would be able to help him out on picking up and shipping a bike he was purchasing from another vintage bike enthusiast, who happened to live in our Twin Cities metro area. It turned out that, in our metro area of 7 counties and 182 communities and around 3000 sq miles; the seller lived a mere 6 miles from me! In the same community even. Wild stuff.

Kingfish and I made arrangements over the phone with the guy to meet him, and after ironing out some of the details, I was soon standing in front of an ‘80s pickup in a narrow driveway with a blacked out windowed single car garage right behind him. We made small talk, found out we had a lot in common when it came to bikes, and he unbolted the padlocked door and I raised it, squeaking and groaning as it lifted. (and that was just my knees!)

My first goal was to extricate the Electra Rockabilly Boogy bike that KF had purchased. It was a little hard to focus, as the garage was jam-packed with bikes from every era ‘30s – late ‘90s, wheels , parts, and the heavy odor of ‘cool factor’ throughout. I grabbed the Rockabilly, and on my way out, spotted two bikes that really caught my eye. Here’s a short video I made, and had sent to KF that day to show him I had been successful, and that I had ‘picked up a little something’ for myself as well.



I will be pulling the wheels and tires from the Felt bike and using them to build up the Hawthorne Silver King as a bare metal ‘hot rod’ bike; with a twist….

The basis for my build, a 1936 Wards Hawthorne Silver King frame.

View attachment 191562

And the wheels and tires from this Felt Flying Machine, and maybe one or two other parts.

View attachment 191561


And as always, an inspirational shot of the 'bare metal hot rod' idea. This is the vibe / look I have in my mind.

View attachment 191560

Stay tuned! And…..RaT oN~!

Hey OddJob, what are your plans for the left over Flying Machine stuff? I would like to purghase if you would part with the remains.. I actually own a Rockabilly bike that i bought last year off feebay.. Cool little bike.. Razin...
 

The Renaissance Man

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The two part rear triangle is perfect for using a belt drive! I had considered that myself. :thumbsup:

However, (I'm sure that you know this already), but you may want to check the spacing on the dropouts against the hub spacing before you commit to anything. Spreading the dropouts on that aluminum frame would be very risky.

Looking forward to this!
 

OddJob

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Hey OddJob, what are your plans for the left over Flying Machine stuff? I would like to purghase if you would part with the remains.. I actually own a Rockabilly bike that i bought last year off feebay.. Cool little bike.. Razin...
@rat krate orange , see my conversation I just started with you.
 

OddJob

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Day 3 Update on Silver King Unchained, aka SKU.

For those of you who have ever worked in retail, a SKU is the abbreviation for 'Stock Keeping Unit'. It is used for inventory purposes, tracking sales, and purchasing / receiving. Here is a def I just found that pretty much sums it up:
"SKU (stock keeping unit) is an alpha-numeric product identifier that holds information about the product like the brand, category, color, size, pattern, or just any other prominent feature that makes it stand out among other goods."

I like that; identifying features that make it stand out among other goods. That's what I'm striving for with my SKU build; make it stand out.

I have been a part of the Trek bicycle family since 1993 when they purchased one of our top selling bike brands, Gary Fisher, at the shop I spent my first 9 years of bike shop employment. Since that first year, I have been able to follow and explore all the ideas this company has implemented into their bike line, innovations across the board from cruisers to proprietary carbon fiber two wheeled rockets to off road suspension rock and dirt eating machines. It is one of the largest bicycle corporations in the world. But my close up experiences with the leadership, as close as sitting towel draped post ride talking retail strategy in the Trek corp locker room with the head honcho, John Burke, have given me an inside view of this family oriented and owned business. We at our own local bike shop have adopted a personal mantra that is similar, " Big shop selection, with small shop attitude."

One of the unique ideas that Trek adopted in 2008 was the use of the Gates Carbon Belt Drive for it's first single speed, belt driven version of the Trek District. This was a light weight aluminum (later year followed with a carbon fiber version) urban flyer with track bike geometry, light weight (thanks to the belt drive components), and all around cool factor. Here's a clip from an early promo:

SKU Trek District 2008 info.jpg


I was there, in that showroom at Trek World and I remember seeing that bike and being really drawn to it. The simple lines, long road stem with a mustache style bar, aero rims, and that quiet, maintenance free, super strong belt drive system. One of the color models from a subsequent year really caught my eye, pictured next:


Trek District.jpg


Alas, with one son in college and the other on the cusp, I wasn't buying any bikes in those years, even at radically reduced employee purchase prices. So I never owned a Trek belt driven system bike; until this SKU.

That's right. I will be using parts from the early years of the Trek District model on my Silver King Unchained.

One of the benefits of the durability and long lasting nature of the belt drive is that parts replacement from breaking or failure simply didn't happen. So when I checked the inside warehouse inventory at Trek via my employee portal last Fall, I found that all the parts aside from the belt itself, were still available! And in large quantities and at clearance pricing! Yahoooo~!


belt for SK build order conf.jpg


Of course, I had to be sure I could get the Gates belt from a supplier as well, they are automotive timing belts in 'real life' use. So I searched the SKU for that particular belt on the Gates site. Sure enough, it was still relevant.


belt for trek belt drive.jpg




And then I found the cheapest distributor I could find on the internet.

THIS ONE belt for SK project.jpg



RaT oN~!
 

Captain Awesome

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Priority uses the Gates with major success on their bikes 👍

I've only seen one belt failure and you're talking thousands of miles and abuse

Can't wait to see it come together
 
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This will be my 8th Annual RRB BO entry. And I will be combining two bike models that I have never previously used in a build. Here’s a little back story on how it all began….

Last August, I got a message from our brother @kingfish254, asking if I would be able to help him out on picking up and shipping a bike he was purchasing from another vintage bike enthusiast, who happened to live in our Twin Cities metro area. It turned out that, in our metro area of 7 counties and 182 communities and around 3000 sq miles; the seller lived a mere 6 miles from me! In the same community even. Wild stuff.

Kingfish and I made arrangements over the phone with the guy to meet him, and after ironing out some of the details, I was soon standing in front of an ‘80s pickup in a narrow driveway with a blacked out windowed single car garage right behind him. We made small talk, found out we had a lot in common when it came to bikes, and he unbolted the padlocked door and I raised it, squeaking and groaning as it lifted. (and that was just my knees!)

My first goal was to extricate the Electra Rockabilly Boogy bike that KF had purchased. It was a little hard to focus, as the garage was jam-packed with bikes from every era ‘30s – late ‘90s, wheels , parts, and the heavy odor of ‘cool factor’ throughout. I grabbed the Rockabilly, and on my way out, spotted two bikes that really caught my eye. Here’s a short video I made, and had sent to KF that day to show him I had been successful, and that I had ‘picked up a little something’ for myself as well.



I will be pulling the wheels and tires from the Felt bike and using them to build up the Hawthorne Silver King as a bare metal ‘hot rod’ bike; with a twist….

The basis for my build, a 1936 Wards Hawthorne Silver King frame.

View attachment 191562

And the wheels and tires from this Felt Flying Machine, and maybe one or two other parts.

View attachment 191561


And as always, an inspirational shot of the 'bare metal hot rod' idea. This is the vibe / look I have in my mind.

View attachment 191560

Stay tuned! And…..RaT oN~!

Super Excited about this one. And you tell a good story. Thanks!
 
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