Thursday, December 18, 2014

Build a winter trike

hammerhead winter trike

Meet the Hammerhead
This simple DIY project is designed to inspire you to build a bike to conquer a typical winter climate with snow, ice and slush. The Hammerhead is a two-headed monster that eats snow and ice for breakfast and has no fear of Old Man Winter or his frozen wrath. Read more>> 


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Welcome to Atomic Zombie's Murphy's Moments

When bad things happen to good builders


electric bike failure
Wheel dropouts broke off of an electric hub motor, causing a dramatic crash.

"Perhaps this one was only partly Murphy's Law fault, leaving the other half of the blame to the crazy dude that didn't listen to reason. When I was building the E-Style Electric BMX, I originally put on a pair of front suspension forks from a mountain bike. Now, this might not seem like a bad idea, but if you know a little about electric front hub motors, then you probably know that this is a recipe for a face plant.

Here is the problem in brief. Front suspension forks have aluminum dropouts. Aluminum is an evil unpredictable metal. Front hub motors introduce heavy torque to the axle. The axle is connected to the dropouts. Eventually, the aluminum dropouts rip away from the fork tubes and you get a very rude and swift introduction to the pavement. Sadly, I knew this ahead of time.

I never intended to release the plan with these forks, but didn't actually think that such a well-made set of forks would be an issue, so I threw them on for some test riding one weekend. My hub motor was only rated at 500 watts, but I did modify the controller and bump up the voltage from 36 volts to 48 volts, boosting the top speed from about 25 Mph to 40 Mph or better!

There I was smoking down a street in my neighborhood and I took a sharp turn into the parking lot of the coffee shop I like to visit, trying to look cool as I carved into the lot running under silent electric power. Actually, I did look cool until the exact instant that the front wheel went in a different direction than the rest of the bike!"

Read more>>

bike plans

Friday, December 5, 2014

Restoring a bicycle derailleur - DIY tutorial

restoring a bike derailleur
From this. AtomicZombie shows you how to restore a typical derailleur.

A new tutorial for all of you bike hackers who recycle and reuse parts for your projects. This 10-part article includes step-by-step instructions, 53 high resolution photos and 13 High Definition (HD) videos to show you how to take apart and recondition a grungy derailleur using basic tools and methods. The tutorial also explains the difference between "hanger" and "frame mounted" derailleurs.

Here's an excerpt:

cleaning a bicycle derailleur

"The tension spring shown here, is wrapped around the main bolt, and it is responsible for the pulling back action that picks up the slack in the return chain. This will be one of the dirtiest parts of the derailleur, so give it a good wipe down with the degreasing agent and a rag. "

More on the Derailleur Tutorial>>

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bike building a family affair

homebuilt tandem bike
Rex and his family built their own tandem bike.

By Rex Marin, Rochester, New York

It's been a while since my last bike build. In the meantime, I've built a baseball pitching machine and a squat rack for lifting weights. Now that my kids are all skilled riders, I decided one Saturday morning that it was time to build a unique bike with them.

Since the kids have outgrown their bikes, the boys have taken an interest in taking them apart, so we ended up with some donor parts. We decided on a tandem.

new york tandemThe long tubes are from some parallel bars that were destined for the dumpster at the prosthetics and orthotics clinic where I work. So, we chopped away and made a small tandem in one day.

The kids took a few minutes getting used to the feel of steering with a long wheelbase.

kids helped build the bikeWe took it to the school parking lot, and it wasn't long before they were riding around the school and around the block. They had such a blast riding that I had to cut them off at two hours!

having fun on a tandem
My wife and I took the liberty of riding it as well. The kids love it and can't wait until the next project.

Many thanks to Rex and his family for submitting this article and pictures. Rex has been a member of the AtomicZombie family since we launched our first bike building forum, roughly 10 years ago.