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Project Beastie Bike

tonyturley

Hall of Famer
Nov 24, 2014
124
Scott Depot, WV, USA
To the other two people on these boards who are interested in cycling, I'd like to share my latest venture. For the past couple of months, I have been working on a DIY bike I have affectionately dubbed "Project Beastie Bike". So named because I used the frame from a Mongoose Beast as the central core, this frankenbike uses 26" x 4" wheels and tires, and a real smorgasbord of parts that were never really meant to be together. When this project started, I knew next to nothing about bike mechanics, beyond adjusting the brakes for proper fit. Despite days of reading, researching, and planning, I still ended up having to do an about-face several times because I had bought the wrong part(s), and had to wait for the return/exchange process to run its course. Ended up spending about $60 in postage returning stuff I had bought that didn't fit through no fault of the vendor. I will say there are several bike vendors out there who were very patient and understanding with me as I explained my faux-pas.

One of the biggest errors I made was not taking into account that The Beast was a coaster brake only machine; ergo, there were no brake bosses on the frame. I somehow managed to find the only set of Fat Bike wheels designed for rim brakes. Rather than incur the considerable expense of sending them back for a set of wheels designed for disk brakes, I chose to soldier on. After much head scratching and scouring of web sites, I found bikeman.com, and a set of clamp-on brake bosses from Carver Bikes. I still had to shim the mounts to get them to snugly fit my bike frame, and a bit of garage engineering was involved in getting the cable runs to clear the monstrous tires, but the brakes work (see subsequent post at end). I also discovered a 1.125" alloy seat clamp works a treat in topping off the steerer tube, adding extra clamping pressure for the very old-fashioned quill stem.

Final assembly and adjustment of the 7-speed derailleur took place over the last two evenings. I've had the bike out riding it up and down my short suburban street as I tested the gears (which shift smoothly), getting used to the steering and ride (which is rather odd). Despite the huge wheels and tires, the bike seems to turn much faster than my normal comfort bike. I dressed it up with a set of high quality vinyl decals from Do It Yourself Lettering. Creating a custom design on their web site was a snap. I'm still looking for a brass plate that I can use to create a custom head badge appropriate for the project.

I am looking forward to getting the bike out on some of the easier woodland trails around here this weekend. I'm no mountain biker, but there are some beginner trails that should be perfect. All photos were taken with the X30.

TT

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KillRamsey

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2012
124
Hood River, OR
Whoooooa, you've been BUSY. I didn't even realize fat tire bikes could have rim brakes - I feel like all the ones I've seen were discs.

I've got my own serious, serious bike problems now that I moved to Hood River. Cambridge is flat. HR is ... vertical. Like "San Francisco" vertical. Suddenly the fleet of steel single speeds and 90# dutch cargo bikes is not feeling so useful. The old Peugot single project bike has become the coveted ride, insofar as it weighs very little, and can thus be shoved up hills without a ton of huffing and/or puffing. But we're going to be electrifying both dutch cargo bikes (workcycles FR8 and Bakfiets Long if you're keeping score at home), and eyeing a third electrified mountain bike similar to what we hauled the kiddo from Pittsburg to DC with. This will not be cheap. But it will make life fun again.
 

tonyturley

Hall of Famer
Nov 24, 2014
124
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Whoooooa, you've been BUSY. I didn't even realize fat tire bikes could have rim brakes - I feel like all the ones I've seen were discs.
Yep. I was trying to keeps costs down as much as possible, and found this set. I did say I was pretty clueless about bike building, didn't I? ;) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GISCE3I/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Although I built the bike with off-road and winter use in mind, I just came back from a 5 mile cruise on the streets in my neighborhood. It definitely made me work harder than my comfort bike. If the weather cooperates, I plan to get it out on some easier woodland trails this weekend.

I've got my own serious, serious bike problems now that I moved to Hood River. Cambridge is flat. HR is ... vertical. Like "San Francisco" vertical. Suddenly the fleet of steel single speeds and 90# dutch cargo bikes is not feeling so useful. The old Peugot single project bike has become the coveted ride, insofar as it weighs very little, and can thus be shoved up hills without a ton of huffing and/or puffing. But we're going to be electrifying both dutch cargo bikes (workcycles FR8 and Bakfiets Long if you're keeping score at home), and eyeing a third electrified mountain bike similar to what we hauled the kiddo from Pittsburg to DC with. This will not be cheap. But it will make life fun again.
That does sound like a big change. What are the roads and traffic like? I see people riding bikes along busy roads here . . . I would never dare. Our terrain and roads, except for residential areas away from the main drags, are not bike friendly.
 

KillRamsey

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2012
124
Hood River, OR
Roads here have some cars and trucks on them, but not a ton. Certainly nothing like what I was used to in Boston. And it's a grid, so there's a quieter street one block away, all the time. People here are very laid back and friendly, too.
 

tonyturley

Hall of Famer
Nov 24, 2014
124
Scott Depot, WV, USA
This is my first ever off-road bike, and I'm 57. I don't ride fast or aggressively . . . I'm not too proud to get off and walk the bike if I think a section of trail looks sketchy.
 

KillRamsey

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2012
124
Hood River, OR
It's so much fun. I had a decent mtn bike when the Mrs and I started dating, but she was on a fast, light road bike, and we rode exclusively on long roads in high winds. I had zero fun. Eventually hers got stolen, mine got sold, and we both started riding steel city bikes, happily ever after... til here. Still like those bikes, but need e-assist for these brutal hills.
 

tonyturley

Hall of Famer
Nov 24, 2014
124
Scott Depot, WV, USA
I took the bike on a 15.7 mile ride on an abandoned rail line along the New River in southern WV this morning. Awesome ride, although only about 1/3 of the route was actually an easy to ride rail trail as described in the brochures. The rest was typical forest trail - narrow, rocky, tree roots, railroad ties partially buried. Gave me a great workout. Here's a pic along the river with the X30.

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tonyturley

Hall of Famer
Nov 24, 2014
124
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Well, the garage-engineered brake system shown in my original pics didn't work as well as I'd planned. The geometry was all wrong; if I adjusted the tension enough to give me good brake authority, one side or the other of the calipers didn't return to its resting position, causing extreme rubbing. If I adjusted the tension to eliminate the rubbing, the brake authority was insufficient for anything other than beginner trails. I therefore stripped off the original brakes and installed cantilevers front and back. They were a bit fussy to adjust, but I now have a much cleaner installation and solid brake authority. I know cantis are old school, but so am I. :D

Before and after pics, still with the X30:
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KillRamsey

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2012
124
Hood River, OR
Nice shot! Looks beautiful out there.

We finally managed to sell the big, heavy dutch cargo bikes. That funded the next piurchase, an electrified "box bike" similar to the un-powered one we sold. It arrived Tuesday, and while we are smitten with the quality of it, the stock motor setup isn't strong enough for what we want to do. Discussions have begun with the shop we got it from... don't know if Bosch makes a stronger motor that can be wedged into the frame, but if not, I suspect we'll try to opt out of it.
 

tonyturley

Hall of Famer
Nov 24, 2014
124
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Nice shot! Looks beautiful out there.

We finally managed to sell the big, heavy dutch cargo bikes. That funded the next piurchase, an electrified "box bike" similar to the un-powered one we sold. It arrived Tuesday, and while we are smitten with the quality of it, the stock motor setup isn't strong enough for what we want to do. Discussions have begun with the shop we got it from... don't know if Bosch makes a stronger motor that can be wedged into the frame, but if not, I suspect we'll try to opt out of it.
Thanks. It is beautiful here, and we've had an odd Autumn. Foliage took a lot longer to change, and we've had many trees holding onto their color longer. Most are done now, except Oaks and bushes that tend to hold onto their leaves through the winter.

Powered bike sounds interesting. I tend to run out of leg strength going up hills in the woods with the big and heavy fat bike. Even with a Mega-range Shimano cassette, I just run out of oomph. I've seen guys powering MTBs up some of the hills I've hiked, and I don't know how they do it. I just think it's easier to get off and push than to struggle up a hill until my legs are burning.
 

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