Thursday, 8 December 2011

Bambi Update

Finally got to ride the bambi last weekend! Building it wasn’t without its cock-ups and challenges but has been a really enjoyable process.

I had an old steel frame in the garage which
was a bit knackered but good enough to donate its joints and a few other bits to the cause, so I used that as a donor. I did this one the easy way and used the existing frame geometry, cutting out a tube at a time, leaving a stub at each end and then “springing” the frame to fit over or inside the new bamboo tube as required.
When I finally got the frame tacked together, it was 60% the weight of the steel one – a useful kilo lighter - but when you factor in the weight of glue and other bits and bobs to be added, the saving wasn’t quite so impressive.

The superglue/nylon tights joint wrapping worked a treat. I ended up using 300 ml of glue, which would have cost about £200 for branded stuff but I went to Poundland and got all I needed for a tenner. Superglue was invented for sticking back together squaddies in Vietnam battlefields, so it’s supposedly non-toxic on the skin . But you do need a well ventilated area if you’re using lots of the stuff, as it gives off horrendous fumes as it reacts and I’m sure glued together brain cells can’t be particularly healthy.

Took it for a spin round Murieston to see how she handled. It’s not totally anorexic in the weight
stakes, but still light enough to be pretty nippy. Vertical stiffness, braking and fit were all perfect, but it’s still too flexible laterally, and I could feel the twist when powering the pedals out of the saddle. I shouldn’t really be surprised, as the bamboo tubes were about the same size as the original steel ones, and I probably need something about the size of the chunkier tubes you get on aluminium bikes. It would be fine for tootling about but I’m not really happy with it, so it’s back to the garage I'm afraid, to stiffen up the main tubes. For that, I’m simply going to glue on bamboo strips to the sides. As this will add a bit of weight (but hopefully not too much), the bike’s going on a diet and I’ve belatedly decided to eschew nancy-boy gears and stuff, and convert it to a single speed. And as my research on how to do this revealed, there’s a whole murky world out there inhabited by the weird sub-species of single-speed and fixed wheel enthusiasts - things can only get sadder!…..
From this...
via this....
to this...
A few left-overs.....
Bambi in all her glory.  Shame she'll have to be uglified to beef her up

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