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Saturday, October 02, 2004

BMX LX version II.i 

Sorry, no photos yet, but The Lovely One's bicycle underwent some major surgery Friday. I did a fork transplant in order to add new brakes in hopes of improving the braking. Did it work? A painful but hilarious endo during the first test ride says yes, emphatically!

Alas, it didn't go quite as planned. In fact, it took three tries to make the brakes work.

Attempt #1: I replaced the fork with one that had cantilever/V-brake posts, as I didn't have a long-reach brake around with any decency. In the long term, I may try to buy some for use in this project and on the Auto-Mini. Dave donated some very nice Suntour XCM cantilever brakes for the BMX LX, and I tried to put them on. Unfortunately, there was some odd incompatibility, and they almost-but-not-quite worked. I think they're designed for a slightly different mounting post.

Attempt #2: No trouble. I have lots of other, cheesier cantilever brakes. I grab a set of plastic-bodied Exage brakes from a bike in the shed, and pop those on. A perfect fit. Unfortunately, the new fork had a slightly shorter steer tube than the old one, and there was no way I could fit the a headset-mounted cable stop. Which sucked. But I wasn't licked yet.

Attempt #3: Grab some cheesy linear-pull (V-brake) units I had in my parts bucket. The sad part was this obviated using the really neat Campagnolo brake lever I had (it was from their long-defunct mountain bike group, but would only work properly with conventional or canti brakes), forcing me to dig into the parts bucket for a linear-pull lever (Alivio, sigh). But it all worked, at long last.

That led to the amusing test ride. The previous brake was nasty and flexy, and required a high-effort pull to get any stopping power. I pulled the new brake as if it was the old brake, and learned that short-wheelbase bikes are very happy to lift their rear wheels. Then I lost my balance and endoed over the bike.

I did some other bike stuff at the same time. I completely stripped the donor BMX, I examined the Auto-Mini with an eye to doing some other projects on it (to do: get a frame gusset welded in, and possibly canti posts added to the fork, then lace up my new 3-speed hub into a 20" wheel, expressly for this bike), and I made a problematic attempt to rehab two bad wheels into one good one by transplanting a freehub body from one to the other.

I'm on the back side of my vacation time. Last day at home is October 5, my birthday.

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