The detailed engineering process :
Frame and fork
- Make a list with all (all) the aspects you can think of that might be important for your bicycle.
- Put notes (plus pencils) around your house, be able to write down any idea immediately. This might be the most important thing to do !!!
- Start way far in advance with your oriëntation. Even after a long time you will think of more details. And for sure they all are important, no mather what they are about.
- Filter your details-list. Look at all kind of examples you can find. Think about their pro's and cons (for you).
- Keep in mind that everything can be changed or altered afterwards. Often even simple, fast and at low costs. Just not the frame and fork !
- Determine your theoretical frameheight.
- Look for a bicyle manufacturer that sells framesets, so just frame and fork.
- Make a double appointment, so for 2 testrides, (per email) and mention your theoretical frameheight. Make (very) sure what your goal is so that there will be no misunderstandings or delays at arrivel.
- Plan ie a four-day trip to that manufacturers site *.
- Confirm your visit shortly before !
- Testride * that (type of) bike at days 1 and 4 (and ie
relax make mountainbiketours at days 2 and 3 *)
- Be sure to be able to adjust the height of the seatpost and the angle of the steer and saddle during the rides.
- Have a thorough look at the number and height of the distancerings below the steeringstem. Showroom bikes have a lot of them since their stem will not yet be shortened to fit any particular customer.
- Rearrange those rings if you think it will make you a better ridingposition. This can easily be done while on the road.
- Also have a look at the length and position of the stem and the steer, are they pointing up or down and how much ?
- And at the offset of that seatpost (if any).
- Analyse the seatingheight in comparision to the bracketheight. On a touringbike the bracketheight should not be to heigh and not be to close to the seat.
- Then determine the correct framesize.
- Decide which manufacturers color(s) you want (or not !)
- If you decide to go for your own unique colorscheme then order the parts unpainted (and ask for a discount).
- During the above process, think about whether you would also want to buy other parts and components at that same adress.
- Order accordingly.
- Pay That Bill ...
- Or do not order if you are not convinced ... The Frame is The part that will lett you enjoy your rides. Or Not.
- Decide about the wheels.
- Have a good look at the maximum weightload of the rims ! A really fully packed touringbike plus driver could weigh up to 150 kilos. Whereby rule of thumb is that about 2/3 ths is at the rearwheel.
- Judge the maximum tire pressure they rims will allow you to use (since that pressure will also try to spread the rimwalls ...).
- Do you want a dynamohub ? And for what reason precisely ? Have a look at the chapter "Electrical Powerplant" by clicking here. - Hub bearings are always of very good quality. Nevertheless can you choose for the loose bearingballs system or for industrial ballbearings.
- If you choose for industrial bearings then note down their size(s) Now in your computer. Only then will you be able to easily order spare ones on forehand and before having to disassemble the hub first ... Don't just rely on online info, articlenumbers can be wrong and it migh take some time for those (wrong) bearings to arrive while out there.
- If you stick to rimbrakes (don't ...) the rims will end way before the bearings will.
- Many rearhubs have a 36 degree freeplay since they use a 10-point engagement. However some have a 36-point engagement and therefor only a 10 degree freeplay. The latter is fine if you use a gearbox like Pinion that has already its own freewheel construction.
Tip : you can easily bloc the rearhub freewheel by putting in some small plastic strips.
- Which fixing system do you prefer for the brakediscs ? Can you have matching hubs ? If you don't want those hubs, take the other type of discs.
- Can you do with rims that will (only) fit small valves ?!
- Many manufacturers can also offer you custom prepared wheels. There to are wheels-only manufacturers.
- Which brings you the possibility to choose the best parts available and so have the best wheels (for your purpose) available.
- If you decide to use the belt drive system then take a lot of pictures of the rearhub - beltsprocket assembly of a same type of showroom bike .
- Since aligning the belt correctly is the most difficult job. A belt is not flexible crosswise so this is rather critical.
- Wheelsets have 4 sides of spokes and they all could be of different lenght ! So order ie 5 spare spokes of any lenght that is used in your wheels. And order ie 10 pieces of spoke nipples.
The small parts
- Decide about and order any remaining small parts.
- Make a list of all bolts and nuts of all the parts. Note the types x lenghts and buy them asap before the final assembly. - Then go out shopping and buy them all in a socket and selflocking stainless steel version (1) !
- Or order them in one or more of those brightcolored anodized versions (2) at any webshop.
- Your bike, your tools and your eyes will love them (1) !
- And maybe even other persons eyes will love them to (2) ...
- For all those presents to arrive *
- Be patient ... Although that is not really a good habit.
Paint job (the preparations)
- If you ordered unpainted parts now is the time to start thinking about the color scheme.
- Powdercoating is a matter of static electricity having the powder fly and stick to the metal. Then the parts are baked in an oven (for some 20 minutes at 180C). So for both reasons only metal parts can be powdercoated.
- Which also means that only 1 color per part is possible.
- And only on fully disassembled and fully degreased parts.
- Visit a home construction market were you will find free color samplesheets at the decoration department.
- Look for websites were you can compose a bike yourself and have a look at the color chapter.
- Download pictures of bicycles in several colors, change the colors in a photoeditor and save and compare the several ideas.
- Look for a (nearby) powdercoating company, make an appointment, meet the chef and discuss and decide about the colors. They have the experience with their process and with creating nice colors and -combinations.
- Ask about the (always necessary) sandblasting of all the parts. Normally it is included, but sometimes it is not.
- Agree upon the price and condtions, and ask for a timeschedule !
- Note the colornumbers and/or ask for samples *
- Ask whether they allow you to make pictures at their site. Offer them to send them copies of those, And Do So !!!
- Look (online) for a sticker supplier and check for matching colors and finishes they can supply to fit your bike.
- Measure the bikeparts for maximum length and height of the stickers you want. Be aware of the "stock-height" principle which is the height from the highest point to the lowest point of any given lettercombination.
- If you have choosen not to have your own colors then this is the final assembly. Els it is not.
- Assemble the bike for the first testrides, decide about all details and adjustments that can not be altered after coating *
- Use the newly bougt stainless steel (socket) bolts and (selflocking) nuts.
- Do Not Yet shorten any part, like steer and steering tube.
- Check and re-check belt-alignment and -tension !!!
- Make several testrides, with several days inbetween them, adjusting steeringheight, handle-, brakehandle- and sadleposition, sadleheight, luggageracks and mudguards positions *
- Mark the (final height of the) steering-tube (and shorten it later).
- Mark the (final height of the) seatpost (it will not fit with a coating).
- Take pictures.
- Take More Pictures.
- Disassemble the bike.
- Create two or more (well marked) sets of parts if the bike shall have a two- or moretone colorscheme * Use ie cartonboxes and put the Number of the Color on them !!! You will probably not be there when the parts are coated ...
- Transport the parts to the powdercoating company *
- Wait for the productiontime to arrive (phonecall 1 hour in advance ?!).
- Then visit the company to make a photoreportage of the coating process *
- Wait 1 hour at site to let all the parts cool down, pay the bill and transport the parts home*
- Assemble the bike finally, make testrides *
- Process some nice pictures of the assembled bike.
- Show the bike at the powdercoating company and Do deliver a free set of the photos for their commercial use*
- * Take pictures *