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EighthInch Scrambler Updates

September 17th, 2011 [print] No comments

I love my Scrambler V2, but as I’ve said in the past, the OEM paint job was pretty bad.  Even if it didn’t flake off in small pieces, the matte black still isn’t very attractive.  So, I’ve begun the process of re-painting it.

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Since I no longer have the use of a media blaster, I went the chemical route and used paint stripper.  It’s incredibly nasty stuff, and burns like hell if you get it on you (trust me), but it does the job incredibly fast.  Tip:  forgo the "environmentally safe" crap, which states that it may take up to 24 hours to work (and then never actually does), and get the hardcore stuff, instead.  Literally as I was painting this stuff on, I could already hear the paint bubbling up.  Scraping it off was then effortless.

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Beautiful, raw steel…

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Of course, stripping paint is the easy part; the hard part is re-painting.  At this point, I have it primered, and have spent quite a few hours wet sanding (and then re-priming spots I messed up, and sanding them again).

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I started out with 400-grit to take the roughness off the surface of the primer, then finished up with 800-grit, to get it as smooth as possible.  I’m going with a high-gloss finish, and don’t want any rough spots under the paint.

Speaking of paint, it took a long time to settle on colors, since I like so many different things.  In the end, though, I decided to somewhat mimic the well-known Ritte paint scheme, for a couple of reasons:  I like it; and it matches the Scrambler V3 sticker pack that EighthInch sent me.

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I was able to use FixieStudio and Photoshop to mock up something pretty similar to the finished product, to get an idea of how I wanted to do the colors.  It’s not perfect, but it’s close enough to give you an idea of what I’m shooting for.

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Because I already have black carbon fiber cranks, stem and fork (more on the fork in a minute), I wanted them to blend into the rest of the paint job.  That meant I couldn’t go with some other colors that I like even more, because they’d look better with polished components.  My seatpost is also carbon, but it’s going to be painted to match the blue on the frame.  The same goes for the seatpost clamp.

However, I’m not done desecrating the brand name of the bike just yet.  The name EighthInch is based on the classic chain size, which is still used on most fixed gear and singlespeed bikes.  About a year ago, I did the unthinkable and put a 3/32" chain on the bike, forever destroying its good name.  But it’ll soon get much worse… not only will it not be an 1/8", it won’t even be a singlespeed.

Back in 2008, a member of MTBR.com posted about a bike he’d just built around a Paul Components Melvin chain tensioner.  Basically, he wanted the simplicity of a singlespeed mountain bike, but with the option of an extra climbing gear.  With a 1-speed drivetrain, you have to find a balance between a gear that doesn’t result in you having to coast all over the place, but which will allow you to climb hills with some bit of ease.  On a road bike, it’s difficult enough, but due to off-road terrain being so completely random, it’s even harder to figure out a good ratio.  By using the Melvin in place of a typical chain tensioner, he’s able to have dual chainrings, while running only one cog.  That means you can go with whatever chainring feels best for the flats and downhills, but still have an awesome climbing gear when you need it.  The bike remains lighter and simpler than one with full gearing, without losing most of the simplicity of a singlespeed.

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I’ve always thought it was an awesome idea, but my frame posed a problem:  there’s no place to hang a rear derailer or tensioner.  That is, until I discovered these DMR chain tugs with a derailer hanger built in:

DMR chain tugs w/ derailer hanger

I already wanted a set of chain tugs to being with, and now I’ll have the ability to add a Melvin (or derailer) to my frame without having to find somebody to weld a hanger on.  This opened up the possibility to adding a second chainring, but I still had an issue with clearance for a small ring on a frame that’s designed for only one.  Since I’ve already been using a double crankset with the small ring removed, I simply bolted the 39T back on and did a test fit.  There’s not a huge amount of clearance, but there’s certainly enough that it will work.  In the process, I also made sure my 3/32" freewheel works with a 10sp chain, so I don’t run into any issues there.

Other upgrades include a front derailer, obviously, as well as a set of drop bars and brake levers (the left lever will also be a shifter for the front derailer).  I also bought a new fork with clearance for 32c tires–which also fit the frame; I checked–and some medium-reach brakes to clear the larger tires.  Once I’m finished, the bike will primarily be a rail-trail bike, but the smaller chainring will assure I can take it for some light singletrack riding should the opportunity present itself.  It’s also a 30-minute swap of parts to get the bike set up back how it used to be: a SS roadie on skinny tires, or even a fixed-gear track bike.

But that’s not all...  White Industries makes a dual-cog freewheel, called the DOS ENO, with 16 & 18 tooth cogs on it.  I’m playing with the idea of adding a shirt cage derailer and Shimano downtube friction shifter, which could give the bike 4 speeds.  I don’t know how well that’d work, nor do I know if I want to go through the extra hassle, but it’s certainly a possibility.  It’d also give the bike an extremely unique drivetrain.

More photos later as the project rolls on…

Edit:

I was looking around today, and found this other bike that’s set up how I plan to do mine.  The owner is lucky to have a derailer hanger on his frame to make things easier, but otherwise this gives a really good idea of how mine should end up if I just go 2×1.

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