Check out this new article by BIRRDsong member Karl Mortiz!
And follow this link to see photos of Karl with his new bike: https://plus.google.com/115893960526187521638/posts/UTFL1UkxmWR
Hello, I would to share a story about my first complete bike build. My initial idea was to customize a Trek Y-Foil into a Time Trial bike because I really love the frame design and the fact that it was banded by the UCI (Union Cyclist Internationale) for its aerodynamics and Carbon frame design. This frame was only produced for two years. For me, the T/T idea was just because I like the look of a bike that looks like it is moving while standing still and I don’t participate in Time Trials. I was shopping for this bike to buy and customize but then due to a nearly fatal life change when I was involved in a bicycle accident with a car. In short; the car ran over me and dragged underneath for some thirty feet on 6/29/10, spent three months in the hospital and 32 days in my “Unplanned Sabbatical from Life” AKA coma. My bike build plans changed as well. Here is a link to that story in that point in time http://bikeportland.org/2010/06/29/serious-injury-crash-near-ladds-circle-photos-35908 That was then and this is now, moving forwards and learning how to build a new complete custom bike because I love cycling and being creative.
I really wanted to have this unique build completed for my fourth year ‘Re-Birth’ as a present to myself, but with all the prepping, details, components searching and planning, time got away from me to finish on that date. And also now that I am on disability so the budget was tight. In this build I wanted to apply my years in design as an Apparel Tech. Designer and with an artistic approach incorporating high orientated details. Back in the day prior, my original T/T build idea was just to customize this same type of bike with just paint and graphics and this Single Speed idea would be a total frame up custom build. After doing some research on S/S and the benefits of riding this type of bike (balance, cadence & strength). I decided to change from a T/T Multi speed build to a single speed build because I can now benefit from these attributes. I also researched if anyone has ever converted a Y-Foil into a Fixie / Track set up. I could only find a few post that said; “Put down your tools and don’t destroy a beautiful design”. So this may upset a few Y-Foil purist, but oh well!
The Frame is a ’98, 58cm pictured as the way that I got it from my immediate family on my actual birthday. Getting started, I removed the front derailleur mounts, bottle cage mounts and all the cable housing mounts (4) from the carbon frame filling in all the rivet holes with a two part epoxy resin. I did this because I wanted the frame to be silky smooth with no visual or aero distractions. So it will now be a single speed frame forever, unless it is taken to have the mounts professionally reinstalled. I went out and asked for advice from a few blog sites on weather I could create a single cog with a double chain-ring. As I wanted more gear options due to my daily commute ride has a 13% grade incline and my former daily cycle trek was around forty miles round trip. I also wanted to use it for local event rides. The answer was ¬no, because of chain tension even with a chain tensioner. It was suggested to use a ‘step back’ two speed rear hub. I never knew this even existed! I wanted to assemble as much as I could on this build myself including building a custom wheel-set. So, I bought a set of 70mm Deep V rims and a new rear hub with 100% ratio on 1st and 138% ration on 2nd gear along with a front Disc 32H hub. I didn’t want to set up this bike to skid for braking, because I am older than most “Hipsters” and wanted this bike to safely stop and go. It was a little difficult to find a front fork with a Disc brake mount for a one inch head tube, but I finally found one on-line made for Cycle Cross. I went with a 160mm Disc Rotor at the front and no rear brake. From my parts bin I used my 170mm carbon crank arm set, carbon seat post and carbon T/T bars.
I went several times plus volunteered at a local Non-Profit bicycle repair shop called Bike Farm (http://bikefarm.org). I went there so that I could learn on how to make bike repairs myself and for this project build. Before starting to lace the rims, I applied a red carbon vinyl laminate film (Wrapped as it’s called in the Auto field) over the rims. I then had to have the spoke length calculate for each hub. The unique lacing pattern is one that I created myself by using 4 White Double Butted Spoke and 4 Black Bladed spokes X4. The reason I used the 4 white Double Butted Spoke was to make the black bladed spokes visually to be set back. I have never seen this done before. So I’m calling the wheel set lacing pattern “Laced Mag Style”. Lacing the wheel set took a very long time especially for a first timer. And the fact that I was working with two different spokes shapes to coordinate in a pattern series and all doing this on my living room floor before I would true them up at the shop. I actually had to draw out a quick diagram with the hole count of the hub and rim to get it all correct aligned. But it’s all done and I’m very happy with the results, although in hindsight I should have flipped flop the Spoke colors! Bike Farm guided through the process of pressing in new fork headset’s bearings caps, rethreading the Bottom Bracket threads on the frame and using the wheel stand to adjust spoke tension and balancing the wheel-set. I bought a new chain-ring on-line that is an asymmetrical 46 teeth and a 22 teeth rear cog that is a propelled by a black and gold chain. Bike Farm guide me through the process of converting from a threaded fork to am thread-less set up for a disc mount front fork including installing the Bottom Bracket and correct chain line. I was not sure whether the ‘step back’ hub would work well with the asymmetrical chain-ring, but so far no issues and I absolutely love it!
I really wanted the have the frame professionally painted like I had done on some of my other bike projects, so I sent out pictures of the frame to several local bicycle paint shops and auto paint shops to get an estimate on the price. Wow, I was blown away at the proposed cost, I didn’t want to spend more money on the paint than on the cost of the frame itself! Sadly, I could not work in the painting cost into the total build budget that I had set up for this project. So I wet sanded the frame, seat post, crank arms and T/T bars removing all Brand/Model names with 320 & 400 grit sandpaper getting it ready to paint it myself. After having the frame all prepped for paint, my former neighbor Taji, helped me and took the sanded and all prepped frame to a painter contact that would apply paint and graphics. The Graphic of the Flaming Flying Eagle I designed myself using Adobe Illustrator and took the file to a local Vinyl Sign Shop to have it cut out at in a gold color vinyl laminate. I used a clear gloss shaker paint on the crank arms, seat post, and T/T bars because I wanted the carbon weave texture to be exposed on these components. For the longest time I have been a fan of the 50’s hot rod, so that’s where the color scheme comes from red, gold, black, and white plus I wanted the finished project to look Neo-Vintage.
All in all, this bike was 100% hand built by myself with only the frame paint being out sourced. After having the bike all completed, I went for a spin one day and rode past by a UPS shop and thought to myself, ‘Let’s see how much this puppy weighs’? Hmm…a total weight of 14.3 Lbs. Not so shabby for my first build but I was a little surprised on the weight and thought it would be a wee bit less! It is was it is!
My final comment: Thank you for taking time to read this and knowledge of my new journey. I have now completed my personal full circle of completing this bike build and all the changes along the way; Live and Learn. I would like to end my story with a song that comes into mind from the band ‘Queen’, “Bicycle bicycle bicycle, I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike, I want to ride my bicycle’ I want to ride it where I like. So get on your bikes and ride”!
My three boys (Cubs) are doing fantastic and now they want a custom bike built, more fun to create more bike projects.
Icebreaker, Thank you for the employment Opportunity!
Cheers> Karl, AKA “Kaj’omo”
Ride Wise=Wear a helmet!