ORBO The Canal Crawler

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Three updates. Chain is done, this chain is one of the few parts I salvaged from Mayhem in Miami. The new crank and crank arms are installed (crank I was trying to used had a stripped left pedal thread). Sometime before 2011 and joining the RRB site I found my first junk bike. It was a KHS Pro Mtb. These VP 566 Pedals were on it. I like their oversized look on this bike. Polished them up a little. They're the best spinning pedals I ever owned.

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Drive train issues this weekend. When I tested the setup under a load the idler (tensioner) was bouncing and the chain was being thrown. Here is what I discovered. The mounting side of the idler is half the thickness of the tension side. Further the "arrow/logo" cut out of the mounting side only gives you 3/32" on each side. Consequently that mount deflects very easily.


To stop the deflection I got a 10mm frame mounting bolt with a large integral washer. I also used a 6 mm bolt in the center of the arrow (bored out a hole) to mount a steel reinforcement plate.



The plate doubles the aluminum's thickness with reinforcing steel.


Deflection problem solved. (Photo upside down)


You might have noticed the blue chain was gone. I have always read you could use a 1/2x1/8" chain on thinner multispeed sprockets. In this case it side rolled too much. On a hunch, I switched to a multispeed chain which further helped the chain throwing issue.

Another test drive showed me the 18T rear cog was too high. I switched to a 20T and it pulled better on the canal. Now I at 36/20 setup. However, chain jumping returned. On another hunch I reversed the 20T cog, this put the derailleur ramp outboard. Last chain problem solved. I realize you can buy single speed cogs. The cogs I have seen were for Sram or Shimano. This hub is stepped for larger ID cogs toward the hub, smaller ID cogs out board. The inner splines are cut differently. Mine is on the left below.


I still may go to a lower ratio as these fat tires are over an inch taller than the usual 26" tires. This raises the effective gear ratio.
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I think this is a 1992 Trek frame. Just noticed this designed and manufactured (I'm sure just a %) in the USA graphic.


Serial # 785753, Model # 930 16


Cool frame detail

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I have put nearly twenty miles on the Canal Crawler now. I test it as the build goes on. I have flogged areas like chain alignment, gear ratios, fitment, seat choice, bars angle and etc. I will report on the performance near the end of the thread because I am not done.

Here are some more pictures of it in its' natural habitat to give you an idea of what I'm shooting for. This first picture is a place where two canals intersect. It is about 1/2 mile by canoe from my house. About 1 mile by bike. When you leave the pavement there is a path through the woods to this spot.

Where the above photo was taken

Home canal.JPG

Another spot about two mile NE from my house. The sand on the opposite bank is where they recently dredged the canal.

Finally, this is a lake about 1/2 mile east from the first photo above. A canal empties into the lake.

Let's see I have the drive line good as modified to single speed from the old 21 speed OEM set-up. About the steering. I can't do a bent over riding position. Hurts my back too much. This is the factory set up. Steel stem with brake cable pass thru and basically a straight bar.


To get a more upright position I did three things:
1. I ordered an aluminum mountain bike riser.
2. I used a Specialized bike short BMX style aluminum stem.
3. I used a set of BMX bars I had. Changed them from pink to black. Now that this stage is sorted out I am going to pull them and do some follow up paint.

Here is the result. Also got these grips with red anodized locks and bar ends.


You may recall I considered using a suspension fork. The ride and performance is so good I do not want to tamper with things. It would change the hardware I had to use and probably not clear the 2.35 tires.
I'm going to test out a theory. The Kenda 26 x 2.35 have a lot of rolling resistance. I'm curios if smaller tires wouldn't perform better. I can pedal the 2.35 but I'm looking for an edge. I still have the original wheels. The front wheel just needed c;leaned and serviced. The rear wheel had severely rusted and corroded spoke nipples. I pulled those and replaced them with some brass nipples I had.

Once I cleaned them up I chose some hardware.



These are standard Shimano so I can get aftermarket freewheels spacers. I'm going to try going further down on the rear gear. With the 2.35 tires I have had to fine tune the truing twice because there is only about 1/8" clearance at the stays. You also have to carefully adjust the brake shoes as the 2.35s balloon out so big you will strike rubber. The tinkering is worth it because those tires pull and rotate great with no interference.

The offbrand hub on those wheels would't stay together without Locktite on the retainer ring threads. I have some Shimano size free wheel spacers coming. Then I can experiment with rear cogs on these wheels.

* * * TIRE CHANGE TEST * * *

I originally installed Kenda 26x2.35 on this. Curious as to what some K-RAD 26x1.95s would do I made the switch. 1.95s on right below.


Tread difference, 1.95 not as aggressive.


The Kenda K-Rad tires are a full 1/2" less in over all diameter. They roll about about 5" less so they feel like it has lower gears in it. That has resulted in near perfection once you get off road.

Kenda says the K-Rad is a multi use tire. Yesterday I took the bike 8 or 10 miles over all the terrain I would normally cover. There will never be rock riding here just sod, asphalt, gravel, sand or mud.

As you might guess the K-Rad tires were great on the pavement. I didn't encounter anything where they didn't suit my purpose. Here are a few places I went.



I imagine I will go with these. Do they look as racy and aggressive? Well, no. However, they perform as well in these conditions and are probably better getting from spot to spot on pavement.

Any thoughts?
Any thoughts?
Those k rads are right for your riding, and match the BMX style stem and bars, I'd go with that. I put an old set of the 2.35 version on my RockRat, really excited to try em out . Those other big boys are pretty aggressive, that'd be good on a trail specific rig.
Those k rads are right for your riding, and match the BMX style stem and bars, I'd go with that. I put an old set of the 2.35 version on my RockRat, really excited to try em out . Those other big boys are pretty aggressive, that'd be good on a trail specific rig.
I think you're right. There is no denying the 2.35s give style points with the profile and the white lettering. But practicality matters.
The shims came in for testing the Shimano wheel that would let me easily try various rear cogs. This is the wheel I replaced the nipples on and trued.

Here I dry fit the shims to set up the chain line.

One difference between the Shimano hub and the other hub I have is the splined area of the Shimano is the same across the length of the hub. Below is the non-Shimano hub. It is stepped. The cog is up against the largest diameter splined area.


The Shimano cluster is held together with 3 rivets. I removed them to separate the cogs. The outer cog is separate from the cluster. It is dished to reach the splines and also provide a lock surface for the washer between it and the hub lock.


I ground the teeth from that cog and just used it for the final internal collar. The external collar it the black one. It is the one that requires a splined socket on a Shimano hub.

This is the final prep the wheel works and rides good.


I think the Shimano is a cleaner assembly. The other hub has a toothed lock collar I used a punch to tighten. It kept working loose so I used LockTite on it. That isn't needed with the Shimano and I can easily change cogs as desired.
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Well there is a lot of clickity clack from the phone bouncing off the bars. About 30' off the pavement I'm holding the bars with one hand and trying to adjust the phone. The tail kicks out and I'm briefly headed to the canal (What's the number for 911?). Sorry for the makeshift video mount and poor quality. This is leaving my driveway and going a bout 1/2 mile. I come back onto the same road.