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Stinky Old Fish
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Apr 20, 2022
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The Sunny SanJoaquin
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This is a thread about updates to all my current/future bicycles. For instance, I just raised the headlights on my bike 1” and I think they look much better.


Also I finally got the Tokyo bell screwed onto the bike. It had a broken clamp, and the only way I could mount it and make it ring was to put it on something rubber.


I was going to change the name to The Cooked Goose, then The Baked ‘Goose, then The Half-Baked Goose. . . . And then it was suddenly all Moot.
So it is still named A Lengthy Insanity.

It could’ve been called A Lengthy Delusion, because it’s not all that long, at 79 inches, compared to other bikes around the forum.

We went from being a one bicycle household to several, just in the short time I have been on the Ratrod Bikes. It could have been worse too because I exercised some self restraint in buying of antique bicycles that I would have to hang up and look at for a long time before my wife could watch me cut them up.

Meanwhile, the Centurion Accordo is getting mocked up for a 26” mountain bike gear train from the fake Schwinn.

Yes those are the handlebars from the 16”Frozen movie tribute bike. Remember, it’s just a mockup. I don’t have a 1 inch gooseneck anywhere.
Well the Centurion bike is a bust. Even with the shorter wheels & the seat all the way down, there is no way I’m going to wanna ride this tall frame.

I think I’ll cut it & use this frame to practice my silicon-bronze brazing.

I was anxious to put that long fork on to a little stingray bike anyway.
I spent most of today trying to come up with a tail light for my bike.

This started life as a Powerbilt vacuum pump used for automotive repair purposes. It was powerfully built all right but it could not hold the vacuum.

I shaved it all down and drilled it to fit.


The little clamp used to be on my shifter spring


I drilled that lower leg and tapped it to the frame with a 3/16-24 screw, which will be hidden by the Sturmey bracket.

I had to shave down the Sturmey bracket a bit to get rid of that unnecessary tab.

These two lenses came with my fake Jaguar but I’m not going to use them. I shaved one down on the belt grinder until I could screw it into the threads.

Soooo… mockup photo number 2.


Don’t look at the lumpy paint. Look at the cute little yellow clearance lamp!


It’s not wired to anything yet.

So now I have to take it apart and get rid of all the black paint, shave the aluminum a little bit more so it points in the right direction, buff it out, and put it back together.
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I had to take a pipe cutter to my stem in order to change the gooseneck.

Thar she be mates!
The great silver whale!
I hadn’t cut the stem yet in this photo. You can see it sticking up.
I buffed out those black rings and I cut the stem enough to remove one of them.

This was originally designed for 7/8” bars with no lump and, of course my stingray tight bars have a lump which is 1” dia. I measured carefully, and I figured it wasn’t quite going to fit, no matter what I did.

I took it over to the drill press and started grinding with a series of 1 inch diameter stones. There was a big gap the first couple tries.

I just kept shaving at it, little by little, on my little drill press.

It took three test fittings, and by Jove, I got it to fit, and it is sturdy!
The old one was just not holding the bars tight during maneuvers.
I’m still playing with the shifter spring. It’s not enough tension if I hit a big bump.

I guess I’m just going to have to figure out a detent setup.

I wish I had an EDM so I could put a little hole in the spring but I’m going to have to do it by grinding.
Everything looks better in photographs.

Thank you, nontheless.

The fabrication works take time but it takes even longer me to figure out what I can do with the things I have on hand, and will come out cool looking, and function.

That’s a lot of things to consider. But I wanted it to come out really nice, because I ride this bike in my neighborhood every day, and I want people to know that I am proud to live here, and that I am not some itinerant junk picker from the ghetto side of town.

Now, once everybody gets used to seeing me ride around on this big shiny bike for a while, they won’t freak out when I start rolling around in grandpa Munster’s Frankentrike.

But they have only seen me drive my fake Jaguar about 4 times, so I’ve got to get back to work on that Puppy before any trikes get built.
I liked the new shifter spring, but I still wasn’t happy with the friction spring arrangement on my shifter.

It looked a lot better, but it wasn’t as secure.
This shifter is more decorative that it is strong, particularly with that long stick.
I didn’t dare add more tension to one side. The center spindle on this is only 6mm diameter stainless steel. The base plate is 3/16 aluminum so I could rip it apart.



I decided that it absolutely needed to have detents, and I carved three notches into the shifter body, by hand, with a Dremel. Then I filed each notch by hand. It looks like it too so far.

I found more spring wire & made a new spring to engage them & I made a hard plastic follower, so it would work without a lot of friction.

Unfortunately, perfection is always the enemy of sufficiency, and when I was perfecting the plastic follower, I snapped it & I didn’t have another piece.

At that point it was 2 AM and I gave up and went to bed, So no photos of that debacle.

More fun to come!
Broken spring experiments, bent bits, & a failed finger follower.

After playing around for hours and hours I gave up on the idea of having detents and went back to the friction shifter.

I ended up with this spring, which has an extra tail on it that makes it easy to assemble the device.

This will have to do for now and I am going back to finish my tail light.

It is not a good solution. The metal is going to gall. If I lube it, it will slip.
Way past midnight metal finishing inc:

I took the lamp apart to finish shaving everything and removing the black paint.


So here it is all sanded and shaped; and except for a small amount of initial roughing on the grinder, all the shaving was done with hand files and sandpaper.
The amber light is retained by a rubber O-ring but it needs a better gasket. If I use this I will just have to glue it in place.
This is the first test assembly.
Here is the base of the lamp mounted. The chrome bezel and screws were part of the vacuum pump.
Everything is mounted but still not wired. I only sanded the alloy down to 320 and I did not buff it yet. It will need some clearcoat too.

See that black chunk of alloy that tensions the spring? That’s my next victim!

After that I will buff out my spare brake caliper and put it on. That’s gonna take some time, and sore fingers will be involved.

I need a bottoming tap so I can make some more threads in these things.

My little homemade brass tap wasn’t very effective. There’s only about three full threads in there, And it fits too tight.

After I made the initial threads I shaved that home made tap off, and expanded it slightly to mimmic a bottoming tap, but it was only marginally successful. It’s just not making a proper thread form in the plastic.

I’m still looking for a chrome plated pen that I can steal the barrel off of to cover this stem. I put this on there and told Judy it was a red hat lady bike. She informed me that the hat should be red and the dress purple.
I created a new shifter spring today, and once again I cushioned it with heat shrink tubing.

This one solves the problem of heavy offset loads on the spindle. It grabs the body from both sides at once. This cancels almost all of the Unwanted forces from the spring.

It actually took me about four hours of fiddling around to figure this out and do it, and trim it and fit it, and re-trim it, and refit it.

I started with a wire model so I would have something to measure to, as I was doing the difficult spring bending.
It did not come out exactly like that but it came out well and it seems to hold the shifter where I put it.
I had a little problem with the fit up on the upper steering bearing. I ended up taking the whole thing down & customizing a race from another headset.
This is a lot meatier than the upper bearing that was in there.
You can see I have the worlds ugliest kickstand now, having bent it around in a corkscrew.
Possible new kickstand material from 13 mm perforated tube.


I needed some more tension on my spring clamp so I got rid of the little Paisley washer and I made this special clamp which started life as an ordinary flat washer.

I could have made it a little bit longer as it doesn’t quite cover the spring. This does increase tension and it stays in gear. Before it was fine until I hit a sharp bump, and then it could jump out of position.
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I decided not to do the square kickstand yet. I just did a quickie on this one.

I Straightened it cold on the anvil with a big hammer, and re-cut it. I took it on and off the bike about six times to get the right length.

I did this with an acetylene torch, and I forged it out on the anvil with a 4 pound hammer.

Cine noir Mongoose:

Before: LOL

The thing that you do not see at all is the fact that I re-shaped the bracket on this kickstand considerably, trimmed the tail, retensioned the spring, and re-indexed it so that the kickstand would not fold too far from the bike. There was a considerable Crown in the bracket and It didn’t sit square on the frame, so I flattened that on the anvil quite a bit.
I brought the mongoose into the office today because it was kind of humid in the garage. The fish were not amused.

I was just going to true the wheel but I also decided to polish this ugly black tensioner.

I hit this on the belt sander on every possible surface, drilled & chamfered all the holes, and finished it off with a chainsaw file.

Then I buffed on it with sandpaper and a buffing wheel.

there was a lot of eccentricity in this device and I managed to remove a little of it by judicious modifications, bringing it slightly closer to the chain.

Chain alignment seems better but I need to bend the mounting tab for the tensioner a little bit to get things straightened up perfectly.

That tab took some abuse previously. It’s slightly tweaked in relationship to the dropout alignment.

It’s all back together now of course and I have to still true the wheel.
I finally re-shaped & buffed out my rough modded brake lever, which still had file marks and Shimano-silver paint. It's had a lot of reshaping and hand filing/sanding/buffing. Pix when I get the bike out in the sun. Weather here is gloomy, and It's still in the office, but I need a ride soon.

Some days I feel like a fool. I'm posting from the office desktop, and it doesn't take photos!
I wrote some blurb about selling stock, & I got this free hat from The Motley Fool years ago.
That's all, until I get the bike outside with the photo-phone.

I originally re-dished my rear wheel with the tire mounted, so I opened the rear tire and made sure I had no spokes poking thru. I knew I was going to add a washer and re-dish slightly to relieve the caliper adjustment, which was chock-a-block.

Everything was perfect, so I'm happy about that. I wasn't thinking about dishing when I ordered the spokes, and fortunately it didn't need 2 sizes.

But after a hundred miles or so it had relaxed, and needed the spokes trued up & tightened.

I use the drumstick testing method. I rap each spoke with a stick & I and listen for the right sound. I don't try to true the wheel until they all sound right.
Once they do, I know nothing's snapped or stripped or over-stretched.

My dial indicator is toast, and I haven't found a new one, so I used welding wire tell-tales.

I flipped the bike, put 2 strong magnets on the sissy bars, and hung some bent 1/16" welding wires off the magnets.

(I didn't take pix, having finished very late, but I will set up another wheel for demo purposes.)

Anyhow, the wire must ride the corner of the rim, gently, so smooth wire is essential. It hinges over the magnet, and hangs down, allowing gravity to keep it in contact. As the wheel spins the short end rides the wheel and the tail, which is 8x longer, magnifies any wobble or hop. once the tails only move 1/8", the wheel is good to 0.012" or about 0.25mm. (My wheel isn't quite that good. about .7mm or 1/32", which is still pretty good.)

This method is much more fun than the dial indicator, but the setup is delicate. also. I'm putting flat magnets on a round tube. I add some tape to stabilize things. Without photos, this is hopeless. Time to roll out.
My levers started out like this, but painted Shimano silver.

It took some hours to trim them & make them shine.


The trimming uncovered small amounts of internal porosity, so these don’t look perfect, but they’re good enough.


I need to find chrome adjusters. These are painted silver. I might try to strip them. I still must strip that black brake caliper.