Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Return of the Banana Head

Or I made a really big boo-boo.
First of all, I am really pooped!
All day I was working on the YKW, a cutting and a tweaking and a adjusting and a turning the screws.
Still not done!
I finally got the headset done at the LBS, took them like forty five minutes to figure everything out as the crown race was giving us some problems.
I got out of there around elevenish and headed on back to Flat Tire Central to finish up The Build.
Or so I thought.
I got the seat post cut down:

Lemme tell you, that took a bit o'courage!
I mean it's not like you can add any back on.
If you know what I mean.
Then I messed around with the fork, cutting that was easy as I knew it was above the stem.
Then I had trouble with the steerer tube and the expander plug thingy:

I put it in, then tried to take it back out.
Which is a good thing I suppose.
Just not sure what I'm going to do when I finally have to cut it down to size.
I mean you can't get to it from the bottom of the fork, it's sealed up down there.
Speaking of the fork, the LBS saved me some trouble as I needed an extra long recessed brake nut, one that was 30mm long. It still doesn't feel like it's grabbing enough thread, so I may have to order one that's longer.
Pesky carbon forks!
So then I'm measuring up the cable housing and get my brand new Park Tool cable cutters and make the cut and-
Well gee Mr. Flat, next time remove the cable from the housing before trimming to size.
So there went my rear brake cable!
Too short to even use as a front cable.
Luckily my old cable was still all nice so I just used that.
So I get my Lizard Skins chain stay protector:

Put on the wheels and I'm all set to give it a go.
So go I well, go!
Lots o'rattles and stuff, turns out the bottle cage bolts were loose.
So was the headset so I tighten that up and back down the hill I head.
Something is binding.
I didn't bother to adjust them, I just made sure I could stop.
Seat is too high, must cut the post down a bit.
What the hell is rubbing?

I'm going up and down the hill and my freakin tire is rubbing against the seat stay!
I want to cry.
I mean seriously, I can't believe I was banana headed enough not check that.
Okay, it's not the end of the world, just the end of a small part of it.
I needed to take a break anyways, so off the drug store I go and find some white nail polish:

Good as new!
Sort of.
At least it's in a place where I can't see it.
So anyways, I cut the seat post again, tighten up the bottle cage bolts and off I go down the hill again.
This time I went about a quarter of mile this a way then a quarter of mile that a way, until I felt more banana headed for riding around without any bar tape.
Then I came back and spent an hour trying to tune the derailleurs.
Slight problem there, but I think I know what it is.
I gotta say, it's sort of weird this carbon frame as it sounds all hollow as you're riding around.
Seems comfy though, but I was mostly checking for fit.
Which is pretty good so far.
I won't get back on the YKW until Thursday, but that will give me time to think about everything I did today and make some final tweaks.
I also need to figure out how to get that expander thingy out of the steerer tube.
Just a few more things before the Big Debut.
Oh, and I need to figure out a name, you know, something catchy and fast sounding.
Maybe White Lightning?
Okay, maybe not.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Build

Foiled again!
Yesterday, when went to install the headset at the LBS, it seems the mechanic person was at the dentist and they couldn't find the tool thingy to install the crown race.
It's oversized you see:

The head tube tapers from 1 1/8" to 1 1/2" which is the newfangled thing to do.
There were no instructions for installing the headset, so we're just sort of guessing where the o-rings and the washer goes.
Anyways, while I wait for the LBS to open this morning, I'm working on a few other things.
First of all, lemme just say, the frame is stupid light!
Dedacciai says 1100 grams for the medium frame and this is the small so I guess it's a bit less than that.
It's the sort of thing that sort of fools you when you pick it up, you sort of expect a frame to weight something, not close to nothing!
More on this later.
Anyways, back to the build.
The bottom bracket sleeve was a bit gummed up with glue:

Since I don't have a tap, I got an X-acto knife and cleaned out the threads the best I could.
Cups installed with no other problems.
You can also see the finish on the BB sleeve, not real great if you ask me.
The integrated seat post was a worry for me.
I mean once you cut it, the bicycle has your name on it. I also worried about changing saddles as they differ in the top of seat to rail height, even between the same models as seen on my Selle Italia SLKs.
By the way, the saddle holder thingy and the saddle seem to weigh more than the freaking frame!
Anyways, the saddle holder thingy looks you got a half a centimeter to a centimeter of adjustment, but still this worries me:

I got the spot marked off, I need to remove about 8 centimeters of post to get my BB to seat top height.
Boy, I'm just sitting here looking at it, not quite ready to lop it off!
I'll tape it off and use the Dremelizer to cut.
Once I get up enough courage to make to the first incision.
I bought some of that assembly grease stuff for the well, stuff:

After thinking about it, there aren't too many carbon to carbon assemblies.
I put some on the braze on adapter; it feels like regular grease with some fine grit in it.
The frame is not without some quirks:

The rear brake cable stop is mounted on the right side of the top tube.
In some of the builds I looked at online, most folks had the brakes set up opposite, like the left was operating the rear.
Not sure exactly how I'm going to deal with that as I like to cross the cables in front.
There are also some weird looking things in the finish, but the inside pics don't show them too well so I'll wait to take some images in the sunlight.
I don't think they are flaws per se, but they sort of look funky.
Anyways, it's time.
Time to hack off that seat post.
Don't turn that dial!

Monday, February 27, 2012

YKW Update: Absolutely Incredible!

Off to get the headset installed!
Stay tuned.

YKN Update: Impressed by Express!

That's what I'm talking 'bout Willis!
Through the sort facility in Honolulu by Sunday!
The You Know What I mean.
Lemme see, ordered last Monday, Tuesday for them, packed and sent on Thursday, in New York by Saturday, and in Honolulu the next day.
Double even!
The YKW is going to beat some parts I ordered by a day or so and that's via domestic USPS Priority Mail!
Holy Express Mail Batman!
Okay, now what to do?
I gotta sign for this thing so I guess I'm staying home tomorrow, maybe even coming home early from work today.
I'll be using the Secret Flat Tire Package Tracker(SFTPT) from a remote location to see if it touches down in Kailua today, if so I'll be a rushing fool coming home and waiting expectantly by the door.
The SFTPT didn't say whether or not there were any fees to pay, but I guess I should stop by the ole money place and get some funds anyways.
Oh boy!
Something wonderful is going to happen!
Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Final

Old habits die hard.
I spent the better part of the day perusing the eVilness and the eVilist looking for something I already have.
Well, you can't really have enough of You Know What.
The good news is that what usually happens didn't happen.
I mean when you wait and wait and buy something and then all of a sudden something better comes along or goes on sale.
I kept expecting some immaculate lugged Bianchi to pop up for sale, but so far it's been just the usual suspects.
If you know what I mean.
Part of the reason I spent time on the ole web was that the weather looked like this all day:

Looked like rain but it didn't rain and it still hasn't rained but I was hesitant to go out anyways.
I did go out eventually, I had a meeting to attend regarding The Something Wonderful(TSW) so I took the Bike With The Funny Name(BWTFN):

More on the TSW later.
So the thing is, I took off the seat from Project Rockhopper and put it on the BWTFN, the old seat was a serious A$$ hatchet.
What did I expect for $15?
Anyways, before I left, I forgot to adjust the seat and as you can see it was tilted a bit downwards.
The seat already has a bit of a rise in back and I like my saddles flat so it was an interesting two miles or so as I tried to keep from falling off and riding the top tubes.
Despite the ramp the saddle is leagues better than the torture device I got off the eVilness:

It looked nice and all and matched the color scheme but sometimes looks don't count.
I swear I would start to go weak with pain a couple of hundred yards from Flat Tire Central!
Sometimes form does not always follow function.
So anyways, after the meeting I headed on over to the food place and picked up a few things:

Since I did such and awesome braze job the other day, I decided to reward myself with a frozen pizza and some chips!
Oh yeah baby!
I'm gonna need to get on the bike this week to neutralize all the junk.
Inspiration comes in mysterious ways.
Don't you know.

Sunday Early Edition

Boy, this is embarrassing.
So embarrassing that I don't even want to show you the pictures.
I mean they really look bad.
If you, the reader, remember yesterday, off I went to try and do a braze job on a frame.
Well braze I did.
Sort of.
First, the excuses.
The pipes were not mitered.
Apparently, this bicycle, a tandem, was actually two bicycles that were put together.
Rather nicely I might add, except that on the area I was working on, the rear triangle/seat tube/top tube junction, the tubes were just sort of stuck together end to end.
Which meant gaping holes where I was trying work.
Someone else had already worked on this area, old braze was everywhere.
The person with the frame had tried to remove as much of the old stuff as possible, but it was pretty ugly.
Sort of hard to see, but here it is, covered with flux before I started:

If you squint yer eyeballs, you can see all the residual braze still there under the flux.
It wasn't pretty.
So a brazing I went.
Most of the joints I worked on were pretty bad. There was so much braze there all I had to do in some places was heat it up and move the brass around.
Or so I thought.
Too much heat and the braze just dripped right through the join as there were rather large spaces between the join areas. In some places more than 1/8" between the tubing.
So I just did my best:

This is actually the good side.
Again if you look good, you can see the two different colors of the old and new braze all mixed up.
Really, this side went well I thought.
Besides the big balls of braze hanging down all over.
If you remember Brazing 101, you know that braze is not a filler material, but today it was.
I was also able to see and distinguish a good braze from a bad one, the brass gets all shiny sort of like soldering and spreads compared to a cold braze which stays sort of dull looking.
Here's the other side, which I have to say looks really really bad:

Keep in mind, only half that braze is mine, most of it was already there.
This was the side which had the gaping holes.
Very difficult to fill.
There was also a crack in the seat tube on the top which I tried to fix.
I got to see the capillary action though, using the old braze already there and just heating the area that needed to be filled. The braze just follows heat and flows towards it.
In retrospect, I wish I was able to move the frame around, upside down and upright and side to side, since the braze is subject to the forces of gravity and flows downhill.
I think that would have helped a lot.
Being able to move the frame around I mean.
The good thing is, I learned more about controlling the heat, I mean I didn't make any pukas in the tubes!
The distance of the torch to the surface is important, as is the amount of gas you are pushing.
As for working with lugs, this wasn't a very good lesson for the fluxing temperature of silver braze is a lot lower than brass, and you use more of that capillary action to fill the connections.
Still, a good practice session.
I just wish it looked a little better.
Okay, a whole lot better!
On the other hand, I wasn't working with properly dressed and mitered tubes, so it is what it is.
Now I really want to try and fillet braze some real tubing.
You know, to test my Jedi skilz.
Okay, I'm still a Padawan.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

You Know What Update(YKWU!)!

I know you, the reader, are just as excited as I am to get the You Know What(YKW) here and on the road, so I've installed a YKWU! on the side bar so you too can track it's progress to Flat Tire Land(FTL).
Presently it resides someplace in New York, probably going through some Customs inspection or something, being poked and prodded and being made to take off it's shoes.
Which brings up Customs fees, something I didn't think about until after I ordered it.
I hope it ain't like an arm and a leg as the Quest for Frame Fund is almost exhausted.
Anyways, today is fix up the other bicycle day as I finally got my new tubes, rim strips and tires for Project Rockhopper(PR):

Hopefully these new tires, Specialized Hemispheres, won't feel like I'm pedaling through peanut butter.
The rim strips are the looping type, meaning you stretch the whole thing over the rim:

I don't like this type as it doesn't sit in rim nicely and you always have to go back and fix it up.
I prefer real tape, but this will do for now as I may or may not change out these wheels later.
I also needed them presta adapters for the rim, but I only had one on hand so I'll have to wait until the LBS opens to finish the tire change up.
Until then, it's off to Kvibe this morning where I'll attempt to braze up a crack in a frame.
Hope I don't blow myself up or put a puka in the tubing!
More on this later.
Parts are beginning to come in for the YKW, I got my new BB cups yesterday.
I expect everything to be here before the carbon goodness arrives.
Some things are not going so smoothly:

As you can see, this item has been stuck in Richmond, CA for ten days.
I have no idea what's going on there, maybe it got run over by a forklift or it dropped off the back of a truck.
Thankfully, it's not something I need!
I'm more curious than anything to see what happens, whether or not USPS notices that they got my front derailleur in limbo and how long it will take them to finally deliver.
I am not holding my breath.
If you know what I mean.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Also Rans

The frames that didn't pass go.
The ones I took a long hard look at, but for some reason or other didn't quite do it for me.

No surprise here.
In the end, I was looking for something a bit different.
I mean there can only be one Celeste Devil.
So I went outside the box, so to speak.

Parlez vous francais?
I looked at this Lapierre Sensium for a while.
I liked the internal cables, but wasn't too sure about the elastomer in the rear triangle.
This was a back up frame.

I got all hot and bothered over this Look 595.
Lugged construction, not manufactured in Asia.
2009 closeout frame was sold before I could collect all my funds.
Maybe next year.
Then there was this:

2009 Look 566 also on closeout.
It was Rival equipped, so I was going to part it out and transfer my stuff over to it. If I could have gotten a decent price on the Rival, I would have gone Campagnolo Chorus here.
I almost hit the buy button on this a couple of times, but I told myself to wait a week, you know, to make sure it was what I wanted.
Well, it wasn't.

There was also this Colnago CLX that popped up on the eVilness.
Boy, I was thinking long and hard here too.
I just couldn't go used.
Not with a carbon frame.
By this time I knew it was impossible for me to get anything that matched my criteria, mainly lugs and not made in Asia.
Time, the bicycle, was out of my league and I didn't want to wait for a used Look 595 or 585 to come up for sale.
There were some others, like a Casati and a Specialized Tarmac SL3, stuff from Wilier, BMC, and Ridley.
None of them captured my eyeballs.
I mean I wanted something different, unusual if you will, not something you see everyday.
Thank you President's Day Sale!
I had already decided to step up to the plate when thank goodness for 20% off dropped into my lap.
No problem hitting the buy button at all.
So in a couple of weeks, I'll be riding on this:

Oh yeah.
You, the reader, knew that was coming.
Stay tuned.
Something wonderful is going to happen.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Getting Ready

Oh yeah baby.
I'm getting ready.
Getting ready so that when You Know Whet gets here, I'll be all set to hit the road all guns a blazing!
Oh I've been rubbing my greedy little hands together, scouring the eVilness et al. making sure I got everything, I mean everything! I need to get going.
Thankfully, I got the stuff I took off my other bicycle, so there's not too many things I actually need.
Or is there?
I mean this is a completely different bicycle!
All them old parts are like well, old parts!
New frame, new parts.
Lemme see.
Frame, check!
Group, check!
Wheels, check!
Braze on adapter thingy, check!
Seat, check!
Pedals, check!
All that I need is already right here in front of me.
Sort of.
Okay, to install the cranks, I need me some BSA cups, the ones I got are Italian threaded.
No problem!
I got me a spare set of English cups.
Somewhere around here.
I think.
Well, new bearings means new cups so I'll just get me some.
I mean I don't want the tremendous amount of power I create burning out no old cups.
I got the stem and handle bars too, but now there's the matching part to think about.
Black stem and white bars or white stem and black bars?
I need to think on that one.
I also need a new chain catcher, maybe.
You know, one that matches the new paint job.
More searching the eVilness!
Then there's the new cables.
Oh My Goodness there's like three colors!
Three freaking colors!
How can I possibly make up my mind?
I mean it took me three months to decide on this freakin frame, it may take me three months to decide what freakin color cables to install!
I need a consultation.
The Holy Oracle of the Carbon Goodness.
Or something.
I should flip a coin, but wait!
There's like THREE colors!
I may not survive this.
There's more.
Bar tape!
GAGILLIONs of hues of bar tape!
Okay, a GAGILLION minus the splash tape cause I ain't going there.
If you know what I mean.
Boy, this is harder than I thought.
I mean just when you think you got everything, there's always something else.
Like the valve stem caps!
I am lost.
Lost in an endless sea of infinite color combinations the likes of which I shall never be able to decide.
Impossible is this task I have ahead of me.
Still, I shall persevere.
I will drop it in the small ring and grind it out.
You'll see.
I'll make it to the top.
Get over the hump.
Make it through the week.
Color coordinated I shall be!
If it's the last thing I do.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pull Off, Tap On

It was as easy as that.
Changing the Ultra Torque bearing on my cranks it was.
The Park bearing puller came in today, the bearings arrived last week, so a pulling I went!
The Park Tools thingy:

To be honest, I really didn't need this as my Dad used to pull automotive bearings all the time.
It's just that the pullers are probably buried someplace in The Warehouse and I didn't want to bother digging around for them.
Besides, the Park thingy came with the installer thingy too.
Anyways, there's lock ring holding the bearing in so you remove that first. Snap ring pliers helped out here.
Then you adjust the puller and well, pull:

The bearing came off in like ten seconds as the pressed on surface is only the width of the bearing:

The bearing kit comes with two bearings and two seals, which go on the outboard part of the crank shafts.
The seals I mean.
I just greased the seals up a bit, mostly to prevent moisture I suppose, and used the installer thingy:

A couple of taps and I was done!
Just like new.

Just a word on the Park puller.
I broke it.
Sort of.
There's a washer and C-clip that holds it all together and when retracting the puller part, I managed to pull the C-clip off:

Now the threaded part can be separated from the grabby part though it didn't affect the usefulness of the tool at all.
Not a problem, but not something I expected from Park at all.
They need to beef up that C-clip so it doesn't just fall off.
Now I just need something that I can install these cranks onto.
That something may be coming soon.
I think.
I hope.

Monday, February 20, 2012

It is Time

Time to make a decision.
Time to make up my freakin mind and get this over with.
Time to move on to bigger and better things.
If you know what I mean.
By this time tomorrow, it will be all over, this Quest for You Know What(YKW).
Actually it will be over tonight, by midnight, or there abouts.
I got the braze on adapter on order.
Also the Deda Fang chain catcher and a new saddle.
There's some other stuff I need, but I must wait for said YKW to actually arrive before making those choices.
Now, I just have to decide on the color.
There are only two choices, but it might as well be a million of them.
I just cannot make up my mind!
This looks good, no that looks good, but that looks better, no that looks better.
On and on it goes like some psychotic cycle of madness that I'm slowly drowning in.
Someone please throw me a life preserver!
Of a life saver!
Wild Cherry flavor please.
Cause that's the bestest flavor:

Two Freakin Colors(TFC)!
Okay, the white with the nastly black looks cool, but it's black and white.
The red also looks good, except it sort of reminds me of kamaboko:

Kamaboko is Japanese for fishcake.
Sort of like ground up fish parts that are made into a paste then cooked.
There a lots of varieties of kamaboko, but that red and white frame reminds of the type cooked on a wooden board.
Not all of them are on boards, some just look like round bars:

Some even look like Hello Kitty:

I don't know if I could ride around on a kamaboko colored bicycle.
On the other hand, red does give me more accessorizing options down the road.
I mean man cannot live on celeste alone.
Well okay, one can but it's still nice to have some variety.
Don't you know.
So anyways, I'm gonna torture myself for another oh, eight or so hours, take a deep breath and hit that Checkout button.
Now this doesn't mean I'll be getting my YKW, it'll just mean I got it on order.
When I'm getting it is anybody's guess.
Let's just say, I ain't holding my breath.
This better be worth it.
Yes, Quest for YKW fans, it will soon all be over.
You can proudly say you lived through it.
I'll have the commemorative shirts on sale soon.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Final

Oh boy!
Was it windy today!
I was blown all over the creation, left and right and backwards.
Hardly any forwards.
At least not that I can remember.
How windy was it?

That was just from my first ride!
Oh, did I mention, I went on two rides today.
Well, it was actually like one ride but it was like a Super Sonic ride in the beginning and a Sub Sonic ride after.
Nothing much to tell about the first ride except that I had trouble holding Mach 1.
All that wind don't you know.
In the second ride though, I was joined by my cousin who says he reads this blog everyday, but I think he's only humoring me.
Anyways, off we went!
Despite a bit o'rain during my first ride, the skies cleared and the wind died down a bit as we made a Tour of Kailua.
Ducks on Duck Road:

Actually they sort of duck like, I'm not really sure what they were.
At least they stopped at the stop sign.
So anyways, my cousin is rehabbing his leg as his Achilles snapped like a rubber band a while back so we sort of took it slow.
Amazing the things you see when you're not Super Sonic!
By now folks were taking advantage of the stiff breeze:

We also came upon two younger blokes(that's like Great Britain talk for dudes) that had an interesting kayak:

Sort of like Cinderella's slipper except bigger and with outriggers.
Bloke said he bought it at a garage sale for like $350 and they were going to try it out today.
I don't think they make it into the actual ocean, probably just cruised in the canal though we didn't see them on the way back.
We did see this:

Apparently some folks were going to take out their canoes and brave the wind swell.
Let me tell, those were some brave folks right there for did I tell you the wind was blowing?

No, them aren't tents you see there in the park.
Them are the kites for the kite surfing blokes.
The kite city always springs up whent the, did I mention the wind was a blowing?
Well my cousin and I braved the vicious breeze and stopped off to refuel:

I was thinking burrito all the way, but now I gotta get in shape cause I'm getting a new You Know What(YKW).
Although my intent with the YNW is go faster than ever, I must say, it's pretty nice just going out and about taking the time to see things you pass by all the time with eyes blurred by industrial strength perspiration.
I should do this more often.
Take my time to see things I mean.
Thanks to my cousin for making me slow down and smell and flowers.
Even if was windy.
Did I mention that it was?
Windy I mean.