Make It Work


You’ve got a problem, maybe.

DK - 04/08/2015

1 Comment

We made a new sketchbook. This is the introduction contained therein: 

"In our ranks are mountain bikers, BMX racers, anti-establishment commuters, ‘cross racers, e-bike enthusiasts and all the bike types and places in-between. Sometimes, we have a hard time defining who our audience is. Like many of our childhoods, we just don’t fit into any one group.

So who are you?
Perhaps you were the one kid in the neighborhood that knew how to get anyone’s department store bike back up and running with nothing more than an adjustable wrench and a blunt object. Maybe you’re still that kid, just all grown up and holding better tools.

Or you’ve done this all before. Bike shop Service Department veteran, some might say LEGEND. You fear nothing – can’t be told no. You know who Frank Berto is, and have poked some holes in Sheldon Brown’s theories. You know how things are done, and how to do them right—the first time. The UBI should give you some sort of certificate, gratis, ‘cause you’re so pro.
Maybe you’re a total parts geek and you want your bike any way but “standard.” Of course you have a bunch of unreal parts around, just waiting like Excalibur in the stone. That sweet Dura-Ace Aero single bolt stem is going to fit that top tube length perfectly because you have YOUR geometry committed to memory like a Social Security number. That 26.0 Zeus 2000 seatpost isn’t going to fit in the 27.2 frame, but you know where you can find shims. You’ve got to find the perfect cable hanger to put on your headset so you can run those new-in-the-box Onza H.O. canti brakes. You’ve got an XC Pro front thumbie and a 600 “Arabesque” traditional road front derailleur, so even though the frame has top tube cable routing, you can use a clamp & pulley to get that working. With that cassette body in its current state, there’s no way you can slide a full 7-speed cassette on there, so with a splined cog and some spacers you make it a two-speed since you also have a sick NOS Avocet road crank in a double. Guess who’s got the most unique bike in Springfield now? Nice work, pal.

If you’ve picked up this little sketchbook, you likely fall somewhere in between, on a think we like to call the DIY Spectrum. You might be at the point where you fix flats and keep your drivetrain lubed, or you might be taking a break from welding a few tubes together that’ll become your next frame. Once you get a taste for getting it done, there’s no going back. It feels so good to resurrect an old bike, or to make an impossible setup work well. This impulse to problem solve translates to a lot of things we’re sure, and maybe it’s just our bias, but there’s something personally satisfying about building, maintaining and fixing your own bike.

We decided to make this sketchbook because we’ve gone through piles of them ourselves, and writing things down is important. Whether it’s to sketch out new ideas, record your findings, workarounds, geometries, spoke lengths, never-try-it-agains…or just to doodle during that boring meeting at work. Whatever the reason, you’ll be glad you put pen to paper."


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Bike Nerd Pen Holder

DK - 03/14/2014


From Certified Problem Solver El Gato comes this re-use for your old hub shells & disc rotors...

1. Find an old hub with 6-bolt or center lock disc mount, (ideally with a larger hub shell)
2. Locate a used rotor; pick your size
3. Use the proper hardware to mount rotor to hub. Bend outer edge of rotor downward, to "lift" the center of the rotor upward, making room for bolt heads.  Avoids wobble.  Takes a little time but works out well.
4. Clean it up, make it shiny
5. Insert a "plug" at the bottom (I used foam) to stop the pens from falling through
6. Place pens inside, and enjoy the envy of your peers


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Fat Tire Repair

DK - 12/23/2013


Fat tires are very 'spensive. Certified Problem Solver "El Gato"sends in this report from the field: 

Ultra-mean tire gash. Does this mean $100+ dollars down the drain? 

Nah. We got this. 

A view from the inside

Cut yerself an appropriately sized bit of spare inner tube


Glue: spread it on

Patch it. 

Ensure adhesion. 

At last report, this solution has held up for 2 months of winter riding so far. Nice work Gato!

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Fender Flutes Now In Stock

DK - 10/24/2013


There's lots of suspension-corrected forks out there, which is great, 'cause it makes a mountain bicycle versatile. There's one stinker of a problem, however: fender mounting. The extra fork clearance causes fork crown mounted front fenders to sit way up above the tire, rendering them less effective than they should be, and really unattractive (one always desires a consistent radius, doesn't one?).



There are two common hacks we've used to address this problem: cutting a bit of a fender stay to essentially extend the fender's mounting bracket, OR using a disc brake adapter to provide a secondary mounting point. Neither of these solutions is particularly simple or attractive, so we manufactured this thing and decided to call it the Fender Flute.

The Fender Flute, on Mark's Desk


It's a 100mm long piece of black anodized alloy with M6 holes tapped at 10mm intervals. You attach the fender tab to its backside: 

Then find the sweet spot and attach it to the fork crown via corresponding threaded hole:

The fender tab has adjustability for fine tuning, and there you've got yourself a more effective fender with a much nicer-looking radius: 

Nice (but be sure to cut those fender struts). 

Now available from our big momma QBP. Talk to your local bicycle retailer.  

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Fork Crown Light Mount from Repurposed Hardware

DK - 07/19/2013

The recent random obsession in my basement has been disc brake adapters. I've got about a dozen of these I've accumulated over the years and no braksets that need these particular varieties, so I've been searching for re-uses. They do have some features that piqued my interest: they're threaded for M6 bolts (pretty common to find in the junk drawer), and the threads are perpendicular to each other, rare for bike-related hardware. I used one as an extension/mount for a front rack, and last week found another sweet repurpose: 

There's the disc brake adapter, one of our QR nut light mounts, and a double-ended stud (I'll explain later). 


The vice was occupado, so I screwed the adapter into the bench to cut one end off. 


It's pretty quick to get through the alloy with a hacksaw. Then I tried to get fancy with the bench grinder. I used a black Sharpie to cover up the silver...


The disc brake adapter threads right onto most fender mounting bolts, since they're threaded for M6 nuts. Still a fair amount of clearance for the brake arms.


The double-ended stud. I've encountered a handful of these in my day, and they've always come in handy. I decided to get some made for Problem Solvers, thinking that they might be something our kinfolk may be interested in. This particular stud is M5 threaded on one side and M6 threaded on the other.


The M6 side goes into the modified disc brake adapter...


The M5 side goes into our QR nut light mount, much like this previous post...


Then the headlight attaches to the light mount. Pretty slick, huh? It would work just as easily on a rear rack with a taillight. I have to be a little careful because the heavy end of the light may cause the mount to twist loose, but it's been great through a couple night rides so far. The real question I have is what other potential uses there might be for these double-ended studs? It would seem there are myriad possibilities...





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