Monday, October 19, 2009

The Beater Build

Sometimes bike work is fun and rewarding I'd do it for a living if it paid better and then there is the other times. This last build I was asked to do left me frustrated and disappointed.

I was asked by a friend of Jenny from the fire department to build a mountain bike from two parts bikes and a bunch of leftover parts. I'd rebuilt his old road frame last year when Dan from Atkins recommended me. That build was easy compared to what I was facing this time.

The two frames

A pile of parts...could be scrap metal.

At first he wanted a single speed then after riding both my single speeds decided on a 1x7 setup. Once I had all the parts in the basement it was a strip and swap operation since the frame he wanted had the more abused parts. The headset needed to be cleaned and greased, the bottom bracket stayed after the left cup refused to break loose. Yeah I could have got it out but this was to be a economy build so no point in wasting labor time to swap in a marginally better one. Everything went together alright and a liberal application of PBlaster got the freewheel and rear derailleur moving again. The new chain seemed good but once out for a test ride it skipped in the two smallest cogs, a quick swap to the chain that had been running on the freewheeling had it running smoothly.

The crankset had minimal clearance at the chainstays but seemed fine, road crank on a mountain frame and bottom bracket. The only mountain crank I had seen was cracked and was awaiting a weld job by a mutual friend. This is the last shot I took before the fun was over.

When I called to have our friend come get the bike I thought I was done finally. So he shows up hops on and throws the chain off the crank by shifting four gears while cranking as hard as he can. It is instantly clear why the parts are all beat up. Next he has issue with the crankarm clearance at the chainstays. By this point I wanted the bike gone so I pulled the crank swapped pedals and the short chainring bolts so once welded the mountain crank would be all set. Twenty wasted minutes to gain a millimeter.

Maybe I'll get lucky and the next person who wants a bike built won't expect miracles.