Sunday, March 25, 2012

City Bike Build, prepping the frame for paint

Now that all those funky stickers have been removed, it's time to prep the frame for paint. The one thing that is of the utmost importance for making a great looking paint job is proper surface preparation. The time you spend here will save you an enormous amount of time later for fixing mistakes or even worst, starting all over again.

A well prepared surface is the key to any, and I do mean any, paint job. The first thing we need to do is to clean the frame in order to have a clean surface before doing anything else. I removed the left over glue from the old stickers with lighter fluid. You can use other products as well like WD40 or other goop removers. I hope that if you do use lighter fluid, you have at least half a brain to do this outside or else...BOOM!

Removing left over glue.

Next we need to clean the surface. After making sure that all the glue was gone, I went over the frame once with mild dish soap and rinsed it. I then went over the entire frame again with paper towels in order to dry it.

Washing the frame down.

Now that the frame is clean and degreased, it's time to sand. Some of you might think that in order to do a proper job it means to sand this sucker down to the bare metal. If you plan to have the frame powder coated or painted by a professional, it's not a bad idea. If, like me, you're planning a straight spray can job, I don't recommend it. No amount of spray cans can equal the toughness of the original finish when it comes to protecting the frame from corrosion and dings.

Exposed metals dings smoothed out with rough sand paper.

So what I am doing is going over the exposed metal areas with a rough sand paper in order to smooth it out with the surrounding finish. While doing this, I try to keep as much of the original finish as I can. After taking care of all those rough spots, I went over the rest of the frame with a fine sandpaper in order to give grip to the first coat of primer. Again, I do this while trying to keep as much of the original paint job as I can. A good way to know if you've done enough is to remove the shine out of the finish. Don't freak out if you see metal coming through fast, some bikes have very poor and thin paint originally.

Entire frame done with a fine grit sand paper. Original shine of the finish is gone.

After this was all done, I wiped the frame down with a tacky cloth to remove all the dust. I also sprayed all the exposed bare metal spots with primer in order to prevent rust until I have time to work on it again. Exposed metal can rust pretty fast especially when exposed to any kind of moisture. I use Krylon's Rust Tough since it reacts with rust and this will inhibit any that I have missed in the sanding process. Those spots of paint will also tell you if your surface is clean for more spraying later on. If there was any problem with the surface, you would see bad reactions like fish eye or orange peel on your new coat of primer. If this happens, strip it, clean it and start over.

Ready for primer.

That's it for now, next step: Primer and paint.

Don't forget to check out the how-to articles. 

Until next time, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

City Bike build, getting down to the bare frame.

There wasn't much left on the bike but I still had to get it down to the bare frame. First thing to go is the fork. I'm not planning on using the bike in trails anytime soon so no need for the extra weight of the suspension fork. It will be replaced by a leaner rigid fork.

Removal of a threaded fork is quite easy. After removing the stem by unscrewing the top bolt a few turns, punching it down with a hammer and pulling it out, you can start removing the fork by unscrewing the locking nut, that's the real big one. Then the rest comes off easy, the washer, unscrew the bearing cone off and then just slide the fork out. The bearing cups on the frame can be removed by gently tapping them inside the frame with a hammer and a long piece of steel like a worn out screwdriver. I've re-installed all those components back on the fork afterwards for storage. Until I locate a decent replacement fork, I don't want to lose those bits in my shop somewhere.

Next up is the crank arms and the sealed cartridge bottom bracket. Here you need bike specific tools like the puller and the sealed BB socket. There's no going around those.

To remove the cranks, start by taking off the locking nuts inside the crank arm with a 14mm socket wrench. Before you insert the puller tool, lubricate everything that moves on it. The friction you are about to create is the enemy of that tool. Protect your investment and make the job easier by taking a few seconds to do this. Clean the threads in the crank arm with an old tooth brush before you proceed. Screw the tool in by hand all the way in. If you are having a hard time doing this by hand, you have dirt in there, clean it again. If you don't screw it all the way in, you take a chance of pulling the threads out and if you do that, YOU are screwed! Once you have all that done, turn the handle and the arm should come right off.

Next is the sealed bottom bracket cartridge. Insert the special socket on the chain side and go clockwise in order to unscrew it. The thread is reversed on that side of the bike. Once it's out, remove the cartridge and proceed to remove the holder on the other side by unscrewing it counter-clockwise.

My seat post was stuck, so I installed a seat on it to use for leverage and managed to pull it out easily.

The last thing left to remove was the stickers. The best way to go about that is to heat the sticker using a hair blower on the warmest setting. This will melt the glue partially and help you remove the stickers with less residue on the frame. Whatever is still left can be removed with WD40 or other stuff made for that.

That's it for now. Next step will be to prepare the frame for primer and paint.

Don't forget to check out the how-to articles. 
Ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Announcing Bike Project 2012

The snow is melting away and it is time to prepare for the new riding season here in Montreal. Last year I had some fun with my fleet of 3 bikes but i felt there was definitely a hole to fill and I also did some changes.

The big bike known as Jenna Saykwa will be transfered to my Son who has been salivating over it ever since it's been created. Since I built my stretched Chopper, I don't have a need for it anymore. The 1958 Raleigh Sports will be sent to semi-retirement after surviving last year's Beat the Main race. Turns out my Dad had the exact same bike back in 1958 so I want to preserve it.

Not much to look at but you know me.
That leaves me with nothing to ride around town and haul my photo equipment. That means it's time for a bike build. I need a versatile ride that's comfortable and that can carry a small load. The pile of junk that you see here comes into play.

This use to actually mean something and it will again.
This is the very first mountain bike that I ever bought back in 1992. It took me on off road single track, the city as a commuter and even served as a Winter bike for a very short time. It's been gathering dust for many years and gave away most of its parts for various projects. I love how this frame rides and I never had the guts to get rid of it, smart move!

Yeah those are ape hanger handle bars on there...don't ask!
The first step is to clean the frame and paint it in order to rebuild the bike. Keep posted as I will document this build from beginning to end.

Don't forget to check out the how-to articles.

Ride safe and free.

Gerry :)