Rick's First Build, Black Max

Discussion in 'Photos & Bicycle Builds' started by roughrider, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. roughrider

    roughrider Member

    Well, this is my first attempt at uploading pictures, so we'll see how it goes...

    Here is the bike I started with. I bought it off Amazon, super cheap. Basically, I wanted the Schwinn cantilever frame, and a single speed. I bought this particular one because it had fenders, and I planned on using the fenders as molds for some wooden fenders I wanted to make. This is the link to Schwinn's page for this bike. (I mistakenly called the image a "schwinn-landmark," but it's actually a "Sanctuary.")


    While scraping together the cash for my engine kit, I ripped the bike apart and repainted from bare metal. Those China bikes use laquer paint, not urethane. Did you know that? You can tell because acetone will dissolve dried laquer. I call this finish "stealth fighter." It's actually polished primer, smooth as glass.


    A few things to note: That's a Sunlite replica springer fork, and it was a pain every step of the way. It didn't fit, so had to bend the top piece. It needed a mounting plate for the disk brake. I got that from Venice Motor Bikes. I ended up brazing in some bushings where the fork swivels below the headset, and while I was at it, I brazed on the disk adapter plate. It's better now, but the whole assembly still feels a bit noodlely to me. I wanted that retro look though! I shoulda sprung for a Monark style fork. In this photo, I had not gotten to the chopped fenders that I later installed, and I replaced the stock chainwheel and crank with a three piece alloy one.

    Note too the Brooks saddle. Cost me more than the bike, and worth it. Man, I love those saddles! This one was my first springer though.

    At this writing, the only stock parts on the bike are the bearings and nuts in the headset, and I'll replace those, I'm sure. The bearings in these China Schwinns are cheap, cheap, cheap!

    Right now, I'm tearing down the 66cc GT5 I got from enginesonline. They were cheap, and they shipped to California, but I wish I had bought my kit from Venice Motor Bikes. I'm sure Norm would know what's in the boxes he sells, unlike the guys I bought from. No biggy. I figured it out by going on Grubee's website.

    Next, I'll show some stuff about the motor and all that. In the mean time, I rebuilt my road bike, so I have something to ride while Max is worked on.

    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013

  2. Anton

    Anton Administrator Staff Member

    That is an excellent job you did on that bike! I really like it.
  3. roughrider

    roughrider Member

    Thanks Anton. Right now, I have the engine all broken down on my workbench. I sorted the mounts and expect to have the motor on the bike this weekend. (I hope?) Really enjoying the process. More pix coming in a day or so.

    Now, I've noticed an odd thing about the pix. When I'm logged out, I can see the images. When I log in, I just see links. I've noticed this in other threads too. Weird.
  4. Anton

    Anton Administrator Staff Member

    I changed a setting in your profile so now you should see inline images.
  5. roughrider

    roughrider Member

    Thanks Anton. Whatever you did totally worked! That was really bugging me, and I could not figure it out.

    I just came in from working on the bike. I had a weird, weird problem. When I went to dry fit the chain and the sprocket, I could not rotate the engine!

    So I took the engine off the bike and put it back on the bench and tore that cute little piece of China doll down AGAIN, trying to find where something got jammed somewhere.

    After backtracking through all my work, it turned out that I had over-torqued the new studs I ordered from SBP. One of them had actually driven down far enough to put a tiny crack in the case just above the flywheel. A bit of aluminum was pressing against the flywheel. Yow! That's what I get for going "by the numbers" (on the torque wrench I just bought) instead of trusting my own sense of how far I could stress aluminum.

    All fixed now. But hey, I can say, "Yeah, I've broken these things down to the last part." :cool:

    Finally, when I got back to the dry fit, I realized I did not like the stock sprocket or the clamshell design. I just don't want that cheap :poop: near Max. Grind a new hole so it'll fit over the coaster's dust cover?


    How about I find something that's not made out of pot metal and fits in the first place?

    I ordered a manic mechanic sprocket adapter and a 48 tooth sprocket from bikeberry.

    I know, a lot of you all want speed. Not me. I got a 750 Yamaha for that. For my moto-bike, I want a hill-climber/stoplight-jumper. Combining a big sprocket with modifications for low end torque is the way I'm going, and for this build, no shift kit. It's just the design challenge I set. BUT, see? The cool thing about a sprocket adapter is you can easily swap sprockets, so I'll get me a 36 tooth sprocket too, later, when Max lives in the flats and ain't hauling camping gear up hills. If my torque mods work out, Max should be a pretty kick-butt little moto-bike with the smaller sprocket, but for now, I need a bike that can pull hills going "putt, putt."

    Sorry, no pix this post, but then, the pix I have at the moment are not that interesting.

  6. roughrider

    roughrider Member

    Rolling Rocks Uphill

    I thought I'd just post a quick update. Sorry, still no pix, even though I've been snapping shots of the whole build process.

    Boy, did I ever underestimate the time required to do a proper job!

    By "proper" I guess I mean "perfect in every detail," which, I admit, is impossible. First, the engine mounts did not fit. If I had more spare metal and tools, I probably could have fabbed something, but I ended up ordering a large tube adapter from Sick Bike Parts.. While I was at it, I got a gasket set and a kill switch. SBP has become my go-to guys for all the little things that make a build have those extra touches of quality.

    Today, I spent hours and hours making the Manic Mechanic sprocket and adapter fit. I have this really wide rear tire. It's a Nirve "Badass." It's hella cool, but it was tricky getting chain clearance. I succeeded, if 1/8 of an inch counts. I looked into shimming out the drive gear too, but it just did not look bulletproof enough to do that, so I figured, "Well, if this don't work, I'll first try re-dishing the wheel, and is that don't work, I'll get another tire."

    But it worked. The MM sprocket adapter is pretty sick. I like it. It's strong, and it looks really cool. Getting the brake arm bent to the right shape took some trial and error (mainly error), but it's all torqued down now.

    I'm thinking of doing a Sportsman style chain tensioner, but in the meantime, I'll roll with the stock one, ugly though it is. At this writing, my chains are both just right--straight and tight with room to adjust. Good enough!

    My Dellorto clone carb, it turns out, does not quite fit. So I'll run the stock, NT, carb until I figure out the frame clearances. I was planning on a stock build anyway; that way, I can compare the performance mods meaningfully. I got a few ebay items: some cool mini bike grips with a metal throttle and a one gallon tank designed to go on my rear rack. That last is SO big I'm not all that sure I want it. We'll see. But that stock peanut tank is, well, take "lame," and replace the first letter with a "g" and the last two letters with a "y." :whistling:

    Don't expect to get much done tomorrow. It's Stupid Bowl, after all, and I'll be at a bro's house. (For you UK types "bro'" = "mate," and they've just started selling Guinness Extra Stout here in the States! Yippee-Yi-Yi-Yo-Coyote-Yay! Not all Americans drink pee-water.)

    Funny, but it seems this build has just been a bee-atch every step of the way. But I'm picky. Are you?


    PS. I do not know WHAT I would have done without the accumulated lore in these forums. Lately I've been clicking up the rep power of many of you. Thanks!
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
    FurryOnTheInside likes this.
  7. roughrider

    roughrider Member


    Well, I finally got Max running. Wow, did I have a hard time! Things fitting the first time was a weird exception for this build. I have new respect for people who can actually make money building motobikes for others. I don't know if mechanics use this phrase, but in the construction industry, if a worker takes too long, they say, "Man, you DIED on that job!"

    I died on this job.

    At certain points when my frustration level got too high, I'd just quit for a few days to get my attitude back. But after pushing through one glitch after another, I finally got her running, and then, without too much ado, I got her purring. She's still in the break in period though. Here's Max at her current state.


    And here's a pic of her out on one of my test runs. That's N Van Ness Ave, in Fresno. As an amusing anecdote, according to a book on San Joaquin Valley The King of California by Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman, this zip code--93711--receives more federal farm subsidy checks than any other zip code in the U.S. Funny thing is that there are no farms in that zip. Mainly, there are mansions.


    P.S. "Max" is short for "Maxine." :goofy: Also, I am temporarily using the peanut tank because the rusty, rear mounted tank I got off ebay needs to be refinished.
  8. roughrider

    roughrider Member

    Latest, and Fairly Stable

    Well, I finished the break-in. I have--maybe--300 miles on Max. I made a few changes based on Real World Data. Here's a pic of Max at the Native American Garden by the San Joaquin River where I volunteer on the weekends. Behind her is a particularly pungent variety of sage, which the natives hold sacred, and I, personally, love the smell of.


    First, the rear rack failed due to metal fatigue in the front mount. Gone.

    Guess I never showed the versions of the bike with fenders. Gone.

    New! A Kip springer chain tensioner! (Those things put the "K" in "Kewl.") I had to get a 410 chain to get proper clearance with my case though. Words To The Wise. As far as 410 chains? They rock. Better clearances. Less drag. Less noise. 415s can be happily disposed of. Quite useless.


    New! Moved the old chain tensioner to the pedal side. That's because I simply do NOT have enough play to get it right. My pedal chain is either too tight or too loose. I did order a half link for my BMX chain though. We'll see.

    New! Got rid of the Schwinn springer fork and went with a Suntour mountain bike fork. What I lost in "kewlness" I made up for in safety and speed. Problem was, my front end was propped up an inch and a quarter! I had to extend my center kickstand with a couple bolts. (For now.)

    Finally, I see no reason to upgrade anything performance wise. Maxine will pull hills I can not even pedal up, and she goes faster all day. We are a happy team.

    Next, Max and I are going camping in the mountains.
    FurryOnTheInside likes this.
  9. KeepOnKeepnOn

    KeepOnKeepnOn New Member

    Sweet bike. Mighty fine job, usually the first time is a hurry up and get it done type of thing. It's funny how you find a bike that is a perfect candidate and then basically replace every part on it. Very nice write up too.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  10. MotorBicycleRacing

    MotorBicycleRacing Well-Known Member

    Clean sharp looking bike.
    Is this the moto bike you wanted to ride to the race at Grange Motor Circuit?
  11. roughrider

    roughrider Member

    Thanks! I know what you mean, but the "perfect candidate" was far from perfect. For one, the tires sucked, and every bearing in the stock bike was extremely poor quality. I have, like just about any rat rodder, a tire and wheel fetish. If you are gonna go deluxe but you wanna save some green, put your money in tires and wheels.

    What was great about the starting point was a great frame. Even though built in China, the welds were very clean, and the steel had a nice bounce. The Chinese DO have a tradition of craftsmanship, you know? They are just like us. They may work in a factory, but humans are humans, and humans have pride.

    This is the bike. I'm working on a custom, long-bed trailer right now. Though, if I could get a ride from the Valley, I'd leave it behind and just bring a backpack. … Er, except, it WOULD be cool to show up with my long distance touring bike, wouldn't it? She's not fast, but, she gets me down the road and over the hills. I'll have ridden her from Fresno to LA already. What's 50 more miles?