"It's Never Easy" 1971 AMF Aerobee

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CRASH

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I've been granted permission to enter this bike since not much has been done to it, so let's catch you up. Originally this bike was a project I bought with the intention of just finding the needed parts, putting it back together and selling it. But, in true "You knew it wasn't going to be that easy" fashion, this bike decided not to be easy... or cheap. I have the problem of having possibly too high a standard when it comes to restorations. So I end up spending stupid amounts of money, which doesn't help me when I'm trying to use money from a restoration to fund another project. But I'm dumb, and I keep at it.

This is the picture I bought the bike from. Looks great, right? Wrong.

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Luckily, I got the original tires, which is a huge "plus" for an Aerobee, as they are getting very hard to find and very expensive.

Upon close examination, the frame's paint didn't meet my acceptance level, which was highly disappointing. Someone repainted over the original paint with red, then spray bombed over that with gloss black. Since fresh decals had been applied, I could have lived with it, but there was a large scrape down to bare metal along the left side of the top tube. So... I decided to throw any budget I had out the window and do it right. So I tore off the decals (couldn't save them) and sand blasted the frame of all the layers. When I inspected the frame I discovered a thin crack in the right rear of the chain stay, so I welded that closed.

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In my search for parts the only guard I could find was off a coaster version. Unfortunately, coaster Aerobee's used Renegade frames, so the chain guard mount is different. So...
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I researched how the coaster version attached. Copied the idea and made a mounting tab out of angle iron, and tacked it to the top of the bottom bracket. I made a few fitment adjustments, including folding in a small section of the bottom of the chain guard to clear the chain stay.
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Then I prepped for primer including sand blasting the chain guard. If anyone has worked on an AMF you know that they were not concerned with quality when building these bikes. That means a guy like me who prides himself on an exceptional finish needs to put on a lot of time on prepping the frame. I spent 5 hours on a Saturday just on prep before I shot any etch. I smoothed out the repair weld, and guard mount weld, and several substandard manufacturer welds plus sanded the entire frame smooth.

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As proof of me going overboard on prep, I didn’t like the finish of the cut on these fins, so I smoothed them out so they’ll reflect paint better.
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I cleaned up the metal with acetone and shot etch primer.

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And that's how far I got. I haven't touched it in a couple weeks due to time. But now that the MBBO is here, it's time to resume.
 

CRASH

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Like I said, I was going to keep it original with the paint that I got. But when the paint turned out to be crap, I wondered if I should return it to the original black. If you visit my build page you'll see that I restored an Aerobee a few years ago. And every 5-speed Aerobee is black. I thought that's a little boring. I want mine to stand out and make its next owner proud to show off. AMF did some fades on some of their bikes, so... here's a very poor rendition of what I'm going to put on for color.

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OddJob

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CraSh oN~! I like your paint scheme and frame work so far. Keep the posts and energy coming!
 

kingfish254

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Cool to see the level of detail you always go to with these muscle bikes!
 

CRASH

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I haven’t touched this bike in a really long time. Today I got a change to clean up the internals of the shifter. I forgot to take a “before” pic, but I’m sanded the black of the console and gave it a coat of satin black that came out like crap. So… drying, sanding and repainting are in order.

The bike didn’t have brakes or drive train, so I found the right brand of brakes. The rear didn’t fit because it needs a 1080. I dug through a parts bin and luckily found the right brand of 1080 arms. I had to tweak a few fitment issues, but got the working.

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While I was digging I found a nicer sprocket. For the life of me, I’ll never understand how guys think steel wool is good on chrome. Anyway, tried to set the length for the new chain, but ran into a problem with the fender brace mount. It was late so I quit there. I’ll have to current all that to give the chain travel room.

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Well, whether or not you use steel wool I suppose depends on how bad the rust is and whether you want a shiny finish. I don't have any wire wool, but I have sometimes sanded really pitted 'chrome', being really careful to sand in the same direction, and then sprayed with a clear paint. If am restoring a bike, then I make other decisions.
 

DesmoDog

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Very fine steel wool was standard practice for rusty chrome rims at the bike shop I used to work at in the '80s. I HATED how that stuff felt in my hand (still do, along with cotton balles, but I digress) so I rarely did it, but it was done.

Didn't use it on fenders and stuff though, Mainly rims...
 

CRASH

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It’s amazing what you can do with the right hardware. As mentioned, for a previous MBBO I restored an Aerobee. So I referenced some pictures an confirmed that the hardware this bike was using for the fender brace was completely wrong. Luckily I had two of the right bolts, so it looks right, and has the right clearance.

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I said I found a nicer sprocket, but was a single speed, so I swapped them back and measured out the chain.

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CRASH

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When the bike arrived the front fender had taken a hit.

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So I tried some corrections.

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Not bad, but I have one with better chrome, so…

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Man, that looks goofy without a tire! What I quickly realized is the distance to the front rim. The brake I had waiting was an 890. There’s no way. So I dug through the bin and found a 1020.

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Close but the pads only hit the top of tue rim. No good. So it takes another 1080! Yikes!

Before I dig for a replacement I sanded all the black off the face of the console to start with a fresh canvas.

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This satin is pretty thick I learned, so I went a lot lighter. Shot 2 light coats and got a nice finish.

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I’m going to let that cure till the weekend before I put the white inside the indents.

Ok, back to work…
 

CRASH

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got a 1080 front brake put together. (No pic). So wanted to put together the shift system to make sure it worked so I could be done with the wheels.

Maybe this is just my OCD, but when I build cable housing, I crimp the ends to make them look specific and correct to that bike. So I measured out the shift cable housing, and stuck a ferrel on the end, then crimped it.

Before:
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After:
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No one is going to see that detail because it’s stuck into an end. But I like to do it.

So here it is on the bike with the shifter

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After this I tore it all down to the bare frame. Then I cut the spokes out of the wheels and busted the hubs apart and put them in a solvent bath. I’ll rebuild the hubs, measure them and the rims out so I can put in a spoke order. I have to hurry because @Pondo I’m sure is getting impatient with me to come get his project. I’m going to build his wheels at the same time. (Plus my off road build. Plus a Ross set I’m selling to a collector). :D
 

Pondo

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I have to hurry because @Pondo I’m sure is getting impatient with me to come get his project.
No rush man. I've got plenty of projects going on with work and house stuff so there's plenty of time. The bike is looking great! I really like the way you crimp the cable housing ends for a factory look. That's really cool. I didn't know they even made a tool for that. By my count that's 5 sets of wheels you're building. Ambitious schedule! Looking forward to seeing how your bikes turn out. The level of detail you're going to is amazing. :cool2:
 

MattiThundrrr

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No one is going to see that detail because it’s stuck into an end. But I like to do it.
I read somewhere that you don't even need cable ends! You are TWO levels beyond with the double crimp, but that attention to details is what drives a CRASH build. Crash on!
 

Ulu

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….Maybe this is just my OCD, but when I build cable housing, I crimp the ends to make them look specific and correct to that bike. So I measured out the shift cable housing, and stuck a ferrel on the end, then crimped it.

Before:
View attachment 213521

After:
View attachment 213522

No one is going to see that detail because it’s stuck into an end. But I like to do it ….
What cable ferrule crimper do you use?
 

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