StratoFlite (Spaceliner style)

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Shakedown run today.
20220812_161327.jpg

20220812_165556.jpg


Rode about 7 miles. Bike rides nice and smooth and tracks straight; it's a good no-hander. But the drivetrain had me pretty concerned. It was way more crunchy and clunky than I expected. The clunks came once every time I leaned hard on a pedal, so twice every rotation of the crank if it was under load like going uphill. Crunchies were just kind of random. My first thought was that the cheap Taiwan hub was to blame, in conjunction with the butt end of the kickstand coming in contact with the back of the sprocket.

I shaved down the end of the kickstand with a Dremel, thinking that would cure the clunks on power strokes. Nope. By the time I was done, there was plenty of daylight between the stand and the sprocket, but the clunk hadn't changed. But in flipping the bike over and watching the drivetrain while pedaling, I noticed the chain was kinda floppy on the rear sprocket.

If there's one bike lesson I will never learn, it's that you should always start with a new chain. This one was crispy when I got the bike, but I doused it in WD-40 when I started working on this thing, and it seemed to loosen up so I just rolled with it. I guess I've read one story too many about saving an old chain by soaking it in kerosene. Now, looking at the chain while I pedaled the upside-down bike, I could see it wasn't always meshing nicely with either the sprocket or the hub, so I started looking closer. Oops.
20220812_210540.jpg


And this was in the dim light in the garage. It took me a while to find the master; I'm used to them having a more oval shape. Not this one.
20220812_211008.jpg


Finally popped it off and took it in the house where I could see it under some better light. WOW. It's a wonder I made it to the end of the block today. much less the end of 7 miles.


Yes, that's 6, count 'em, 6 cracked links.

Conveniently, I happened to have a brand new KMC single-speed chain in the bike dungeon. Putting it on cleared up the crunchies. Still had the clunk, thought. Tried swapping out the pedals, no change. So I opened up the bottom bracket locknut and cranked the cone just a little tighter. Voila! Clunk is gone.

This is not to say the bike is nice and silent. The seat is plenty creaky. And the rack is held together with a lot of rivets, as are the fender brackets. Also, the rack has that rattrap spring on it. It's not bad on fresh tarmac, but once you hit rough pavement or a driveway apron or sidewalk cracks or a gum wrapper in the street, all those little fasteners sing out together to remind you you're riding a 57 year old bike.

Overall, though, I'm digging it. I started out with the seat too low today, but it got a lot more comfortable to ride once I raised it a couple inches, and it'll be even better now that it doesn't clunk on every pedal stroke. Still hoping my ideas for the taillight/rack come into focus in time for the deadline.
 

kingfish254

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Glad the chain didn't fail when you were trying to brake. That could have been very bad.
Bike is looking great. Glad you found the problems.
 

Pondo

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Awesome, this is a sweet build! Nice work and great job maintaining the patina and vintage spirit of the bike while doing some personalizing and making it reliable. That's crazy with the cracked chain links, I've never seen that before. I'll definitely be referring back to this thread when I do some LED upgrades. Keep up the great work!
 

JA331

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Looking good there mate. I have always thrown away any suspect chain on an old bike I have bought. The one chain I decided to save, clean and refit snapped 5 mins into being put back into use. Chains are not expensive even the really good ones.

I’ve had the clunk before too all too often on a shakedown ride. I now adjust the BB with the chain off so I can see how the crank spins and tighten that big nut up well.
 

kingfish254

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Just saw this image and thought of all of your wiring.

1660667881673.png
 
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Ok so here's the thing...

I have a vision in my head of how I want this taillight treatment to work. So I'm trying stuff, buying little random bits from the hardware store, ordering stuff online, digging through stuff in the garage, and I got to this point:
20220818_150906.jpg
20220818_150911.jpg
20220818_150916.jpg


And I'm not sure I'm sold on it. I keep adding stuff and modifying stuff and tinkering with stuff and it still looks like a bunch of oddball parts from the plumbing section. Which, of course, is exactly what it is, and that's a cool look and it works great on some bikes, but I'm not sure if that's the look I want for this one.

Like for example, just in the last week I have seen these two bikes.
20220811_193126.jpg
20220819_135945.jpg


They both have the right "twin jet exhausts" look. They scream 1960. If I had started with a rack like either of them, it'd be easy. But trying to change mine to give it that look, it just looks patched together. Part of the problem, of course, is that I'm trying not to drill any holes or make any other irreversible changes. (Another part is that I need smaller pan head screws, not those big flat head ones that stick up out of the plate, but I digress.)

At any rate, I got tired of fooling with mine and I wasn't having fun anymore, so I put it all in a coffee can and set it aside for possible future re-evaluation. Then I tinkered with this, which I happened to have in my Bag-O-Lites and which runs on two AAAs:

20220818_164724.jpg
20220818_164738.jpg


Not too bad. It solves the problem of where I was going to stash a battery and switch, which I still hadn't figured out.

Then I looked back at the original taillight apparatus, which is missing all its guts. Pretty much all that's left is a red lens that threads onto a black cup with two holes in the bottom. I looked at the holes and thought about what a buddy of mine said, which is that the thing was pretty cool and I should just put a light in it and call it a day. Hmmm.

Back to the Bag-O-Lites!

These two were from Wish, and they work off a couple of CR2032s each. They each come mounted to a plastic clip/rubber strap affair to attach to your seatpost. There's a screw that holds them to that plastic clip. Unscrew them from the clip, and voila!
20220819_150549.jpg
20220819_150559.jpg


I set it up this way for last night's weekly Retro-Ride, and I decided I like it.


So the jet-exhaust Impala-style taillight treatment is on indefinite hold. I may get ambitious and attack it again from a different angle, or I may just set it all aside for a future project that also uses electrical conduit and Dustbuster parts as a theme.

I tell you what, these two little lights combined with either of the twin-reflector racks I pictured above would be an instant home run...
 
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Ok so here's the thing...

I have a vision in my head of how I want this taillight treatment to work. So I'm trying stuff, buying little random bits from the hardware store, ordering stuff online, digging through stuff in the garage, and I got to this point:
View attachment 205109 View attachment 205110 View attachment 205111

And I'm not sure I'm sold on it. I keep adding stuff and modifying stuff and tinkering with stuff and it still looks like a bunch of oddball parts from the plumbing section. Which, of course, is exactly what it is, and that's a cool look and it works great on some bikes, but I'm not sure if that's the look I want for this one.

Like for example, just in the last week I have seen these two bikes.
View attachment 205106 View attachment 205115

They both have the right "twin jet exhausts" look. They scream 1960. If I had started with a rack like either of them, it'd be easy. But trying to change mine to give it that look, it just looks patched together. Part of the problem, of course, is that I'm trying not to drill any holes or make any other irreversible changes. (Another part is that I need smaller pan head screws, not those big flat head ones that stick up out of the plate, but I digress.)

At any rate, I got tired of fooling with mine and I wasn't having fun anymore, so I put it all in a coffee can and set it aside for possible future re-evaluation. Then I tinkered with this, which I happened to have in my Bag-O-Lites and which runs on two AAAs:

View attachment 205112 View attachment 205114

Not too bad. It solves the problem of where I was going to stash a battery and switch, which I still hadn't figured out.

Then I looked back at the original taillight apparatus, which is missing all its guts. Pretty much all that's left is a red lens that threads onto a black cup with two holes in the bottom. I looked at the holes and thought about what a buddy of mine said, which is that the thing was pretty cool and I should just put a light in it and call it a day. Hmmm.

Back to the Bag-O-Lites!

These two were from Wish, and they work off a couple of CR2032s each. They each come mounted to a plastic clip/rubber strap affair to attach to your seatpost. There's a screw that holds them to that plastic clip. Unscrew them from the clip, and voila!View attachment 205116 View attachment 205117

I set it up this way for last night's weekly Retro-Ride, and I decided I like it.
View attachment 205118

So the jet-exhaust Impala-style taillight treatment is on indefinite hold. I may get ambitious and attack it again from a different angle, or I may just set it all aside for a future project that also uses electrical conduit and Dustbuster parts as a theme.

I tell you what, these two little lights combined with either of the twin-reflector racks I pictured above would be an instant home run...
I'm honestly glad you went that route. What you had going was interesting, but it didn't really blend in with the rest of the bike. This looks good, and even flashes like an old police car or fire truck light!
 
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I'm honestly glad you went that route. What you had going was interesting, but it didn't really blend in with the rest of the bike. This looks good, and even flashes like an old police car or fire truck light!
That's what I needed to hear. Thanks!
 

OddJob

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Building these bikes is a journey. And it's not always a clear path. Some 'forks in the road' lead to dead ends, some lead to new discoveries, and some lead us back home.

Your tail light 'trek' ended up right where you belong; solidifying your original vision for this build and creating a fitting, and unique, lighting configuration. Welcome home, and...

RaT oN~!
 
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Yes Yes YesYesYES!!!
I'm sure you'll be happy to hear that this all got the wheels turning for next year's Build-Off.

Bought this at a yard sale in 2014, according to the date on the photos:
IMG_7390.JPG


By random coincidence, I found a much older Murray tank and rack that are painted the same color as this bike.
IMG_7394.JPG
murrayversion.jpg


Unfortunately, though, they're off a girls' bike so the tank doesn't really work. But it comes close if you turn it upside down. Hmmm...

Then this bike got stripped down and rebuilt as a 26" BMX cruiser.
20160904_093250 (2).jpg


That didn't stick, though, and it got stripped down again. Now it's in a pile in the basement and I keep saying I'm going to do something with it.
20220820_202247.jpg


All this talk about taillight treatments reminded me of this misguided attempt to jam a couple of reflectors under the back of that rack.
20220820_202347.jpg


Now for next year I'm brainstorming ways to incorporate 26" MTB wheels and drivetrain and some kind of taillights on the rack while building a bike with this vibe:
1963 murray pg9.jpg
 
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I think I have seen one of those green bikes before....
Funny...I already have an idea for next yers build off also...and a muscle bike...and the year after that...
Seriously, I love your StratoFlite. And I will love to see what you do with the Murray next year. Unfortunately, my next two builds need some weird frames that seem to be hard to find around here. And, well, some other parts too. Like....everything else...lol.
 

kingfish254

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I loved all of the experimentation, but I think you made the right decision in modifying the cool original flying saucer light. It's very cool and unique. I hope you stick with it.


692732862ufo-flying-saucer-animated-gif-image-12.gif
 

GuitarlCarl

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Walmart sometimes has the same little LED lights that you got from wish, in black on a rubber bandy type thing. Same single screw on the back. I snag em' every time I see them and toss the rubber mounts. They bolt right on to anything with a screw hole and the push button lenses are slick.
Oh, and yer bike is looking good bro.

Carl.
 

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