Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Not a bike but a project nonetheless

I just spent the evening gathering the parts and making this little dude.  I've needed a ipod dock for work forever but I'm a cheapo and I can never quite bring myself to buy one. I decided to just kind of hack one together out of some cheapie(30$) computer speakers, an Ipod charger that I already had, and a extension cord that splits to two outlets. Inside the box the charger and speakers are plugged in so that only one cord comes out. The speakers are held in place by the screws that are on all sides. The wood is some scrap resawn redwood that I believe was part of a old water tower and stood in water for years, hence the black stains. Anyway, it's not fine furniture or anything but I'm stoked about it and  it seems like it's part of the same tinker spirit as wrenching on bikes.
I was also thinking about old bike parts recently. I was specifically thinking about how they often suck despite collector hype. There are a lot of folks who want to collect old parts, but in truth many 25+ year old parts just don't work that well. I suppose that I'm mostly talking about derailleurs. I saw an ebay auction recently for one of those old Superbe Tech rear ders, there were a bunch of bids on it, and it was up to 40 something bucks. It's kinda crazy unless it's for a museum bike that never gets ridden because those are/were terrible derailleurs. Both front and rear derailleurs need strong springs and tight non-flexy pivots to work well, and mostly those super old parts just don't cut it. I was thinking about it because I have been going through my Stumpy and just replacing almost all of the old "collectible"stuff. I changed the entire cockpit to some thing that works better (slinshot stem and super wide bars weren't comfy and tomaselli levers are overkill), the brakes (old ones have no spring tension adjustment and are crummy to balance), rear der (for better springs/better shifts), and recently the rear wheel (because there are no really good 5 speed freewheels, not even IRD, and the rim had a dent in it that caused uneven braking). I have kept some things: the original Specialized crankset is great, it's 110/94 bcd (I think it is anyway), the loose ball bottom bracket is at least serviceable, and surprisingly the old "high normal" front der still has strong springs, at least for the moment.
I guess I was also thinking about it because of that Ridgerunner I recently found.  It was neat to document it in it's original condition because it frees me up to now take off all the funky old parts and make it work right.
Anyway don't get me wrong, there are a bunch of great old parts that are still really functional, sometimes better than most new stuff, like old Suntour power ratchet thumb shifters. But many of the "rare" collectible parts are mostly on bikes that collect dust, and not the good kind that comes from riding trails!

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