Post-014
Jan. 30th, 2022

Bike upgrades part 1: parts, plans, and tire replacement.

"It's not a bike, not a bike, not a bike..." — Diane

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Typically me servicing my bike doesn't deserve a post — let alone multiple of them. But this time we're doing just slightly more than servicing and since what we're doing will involve a little machining and electronics as well, we thought it might be nice to post the plans and progress because it may be slightly interesting. 

So a little backstory, I have an unusual bike. It's called a Strida LT and it's a triangular shaped folding bike which my friend Diane really hates. It's a great bike in my opinion because it's super convenient, it looks cool, and it's my favorite color! But it has a few small flaws and we wanted to fix them while also using some spare parts we have lying around to add some interesting features. 

  • We want to give it wider, more durable tyres since it's time to replace them. At the same time we can make the tyres more stylish (white wall)!

  • We wanted to add a head-lamp, and later figure out a way to power it from the bike itself instead of using battery power. 

  • We want to replace the ridiculously uncomfortable seat. 

  • The bike has a really annoying issue that comes from the seat holder being plastic, sometimes the rotational constraint pin just detaches and it causes the seat to swing, we're going to fix that as well.

The only reason we'll have multiple posts for this is because we're going to do it over multiple days, but the amount of work is much less than other projects we've done and are doing.

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So here's our fun before photo, we ordered two white-wall tyres from Amazon along with a retro seat and a retro bike front light. We ordered the mounting hardware as well for these things.

So the plan with the tyres is simple, replace them. The plan with the front light is a little more complex, for today we will just mount it but we also want to add a power source somewhere on the bike that allows us to use the light without having to change the batteries every time. Some suggestions are the following. I prefer the wheel dynamometer.

  • Add a little wheel dynamometer that powers the front light.

  • Wire in a usb-powered waterproof battery pack to power the light. 

  • Solar power? Of sorts?

The last component, replacing the seat, will require some machining because we want to replace the plastic seat mount with an all-metal one. We will detail designs and manufacturing for this in the next post as we still need to think about it and we won't touch the seat for today.

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The wheel was a quick and easy replacement, we just popped the old one off and put the new one on. We replaced the inner-tubes while we were at it just for a nice new set for the new semester. I didn't realize until they came that the wheels said "LowRider" on them, which is more funny than anything else. I do enjoy the look of the white-walls over the previously black walls. It's very retro and fits my aesthetic well :) ! 

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As a side note if anyone has not picked up one of these, you 100% should if you like bikes. It's by a company called LEZYNE who make beautiful CNC'ed aluminum bike pumps that are so wonderful and such high quality they just make you happy when you use them. I love this one because it fits in the small space inside the wheels of my tiny bike making pumping easy. 

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Next was mounting the light. We used one of those camera clamp mounts and clamped it to the bike and used a 1/4"-20 screw to secure the "tail" of the light to the camera mount. We noticed the light runs on (4x) AA batteries which we think means it runs on like 6V. Hoping the manufacturer did do anything weird with series and parallel cells.

There's a bunch of bicycle dynamos on Amazon but because I've been trying to order from Amazon less and less these days we're going to try building our own with what we have. We'll need a DC motor, and a voltage regulator to regulate it down to 6V. We probably don't need that many watts. We'll need to make the whole enclosure for this water-proof so we may do some CNC machining here with an O-ring groove or something so that's another justification for the multi-part bike mod series. 

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Here's some pictures of what we've done just to get the bike working for the first day of classes. The yellow walls and the magenta light in the background I think just add to the retro vibe going on here. I think we'll do two more posts on the bike.

  • Post 1 — will be about getting the seat machined and mounted, and we can order metal for that now from McMaster so we can do that later this week.

  • Post 2 — will be about the electronics, the machining for the dynamo and that sort of stuff.

In each of these posts we'll describe in detail the design and plan so we won't cover it here. But yes! That's the plan for the bike. 'Till next time! 

#bicycle #reto #machining #tune-up